Drive to the village of Lepakshi about 2 hours or 140 km from Bengaluru (it is recommended to leave early to avoid city traffic).
The first important feature visitors will encounter is the large (6 m high and 9 m long) 16th century Nandi monolith
This unique, imposing sculpture depicts Shiva’s bull mount lying down, ceremonially decked with garlands and bells.
Visitors can then walk 200 m to the Virabhadra temple, a Vijayanagara period monument famous for its 16th century ceiling paintings, the earliest and best preserved to be seen anywhere in south India.
The paintings portray Vijayanagara provincial governors and their retinues wearing contemporary textiles, as well as mythological scenes. The compositions are of outstanding interest for their details of costume and facial types.
Note the mysterious “hanging pillar”, one of 70 beautifully carved columns in the temple, which is touching the ground only on one side. The narrow space between its base and ground allows a sheet of paper or a scarf to be passed through it.
In the outer compound of the temple, visitors can observe Kannada inscriptions carved into the blocks of the inner enclosure wall.
Outside the main temple, a large, unfinished hall features columns carved with sages and divinities, but no roof slabs
Visitors can also admire a natural boulder fashioned into an imposing monolithic coiled ‘naga’, a snake with a multi-hooded head, sheltering a polished granite linga.