Lepakshi is very important historically and archaeologically. There are three shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishu and Virabhadra.
Temples of Lepakshi
Lepakshi is an ultimate testimony for Vishwakarma Brahmins who sculpted these temples. It is believed that noted Vishwakarma Amarashilpi Jakkanachari took part in the planning the architecture of these temples. There are many shila shasanas that the famous sculptors like Dakoju, Maroju took part in this temple sculpture.
Specialties in the TempleThere are many specialities in this temple like rock chain, Vastu Purush, Padmini race Lady, Hanging Pillar, Durga Paadam, Lepakshi saree designs etc. On the walls of this temple, there are several stories like Mahabhaaratha, Ramayana etc. are sculpted. Also on the roof there are so many beautiful paintings done by natural colour mixtures. One more famous spot in this temple is "Eyes of Viroopaakshanna". As the history says, due to king's misunderstanding with the temple's builder, king ordered to make him blind. Hearing this, the builder plucked his own eyes and threw at the temple walls. Till date one can find those blood scars on that particular wall.
the above text courtesy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepakshi
During the 16th century Lepakshi was great centre of trade as well as pilgrimage with fine architecture blended with bold, greaceful sculptures and exquisite paintings. Legend dates the Lepakshi town back to the days of the Ramayana. It is said that Lord Rama found the mythical bird Jatayu lying wounded here, its wings were cut off by Ravana when he abducted Sita. According to locals, after Ravana had cut the wing of the bird, Lord Rama said "le pakshi"(rise bird) and the bird rose. Hence, this sacred place was named as Lepakshi. Local lore has it that sage Agasthya installed the idol of Papanaseswara at the site. However, the temple as it exists today is of more recent origin. The temple at Lepakshi is not a merely a Siva temple but has a temple complex. The peculiarity of this temple complex is th at it has idols of both Siva and Vishnu. The panchayatana advocated by Adi Shankara is probably implemented here in a slightly different from.
Lepakshi temple is said to have been built by two brothers, Virupanna and Veeranna. The temple was constructed during the reign of Achyuta Devaraya, who ruled the vijayanagara empire from 1530 A.D to 1542 A.D Virupanna was favoured by Achyutaraya.
For the construction he used funds from the imperial treasury. Virupanna's enemies reported to the emperor that the treasury funds were being embezzled and the treasure was in danger of being exhausted. In those days it was customary to pluck the eyes of the keeper of the royal treasury if he was found guilty of theft or embezzlement. The king ordered that Virupanna should be blinded. Virupanna, being a loyal servant carried out on the spot with his own hands, this order, and to this day, two dark stains are shown on the west wall of the southern entrance of the inner enclosure, which are said to be the marks made by his eyes which he himself threw at the wall. The builder of the temple did not survive long after this and hence the kalyanamandapa was left unfinished.