Despite having rich heritage background, Andhra Pradesh is one of the few leading states in the country that doesn’t have any heritage site listed on UNESCO World heritage list. Now the state government is trying hard to get UNESCO heritage tag for Lepakshi temple. The state government seems to have become even more serious when neighbouring Telangana succeeded in getting similar tag last month for Ramappa temple.
In the past, Archaeological Society of India (ASI) had moved a proposal to get international recognition for the Lepakshi temple and it reached the tentative list of world heritage structures. ASI subsequently asked the state government to clear the encroachments in and around the Lepakshi temple in order to meet the criteria to get the world heritage structure label. However, the failure of the successive governments in removing the encroachments and make the historical area a clean heritage structure left the temple behind in the race.
However, recently, the Parliament Sub Committee on tourism led by TG Venkatesh had announced efforts to get the Unesco tag for Lepakshi and other sites. The application process takes at least 18 months and is highly complex. A consultant should be hired for documentation as per Unesco norms.
Lepakshi is culturally and archaeologically significant as it is the location of shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Virabhadra which were built during the Vijayanagara Empire period. The temples are the location of mural paintings of the Vijayanagara kings and Telugu inscriptions. Near the temple complex there is a large granite Nandi bull. Points of interest in the temple include a rock chain, Vastu Purusha, the Padmini race lady, the hanging pillar, Durga Paadam, the eyes of Virupaksha and Lepakshi saree designs.