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Avani, a remnant of The Ramayana

Avani is a little town in Kolar, Karnataka. Famous for its boulder-hills, Avani offers some incredible views of the fields around and has an even more incredible story to tell! If you are intrigued by Hindu mythology, this is quite interesting!

 

The Ramalingeshwara Temple at Avani, a Heritage Temple of Karnataka

 

 

The Legend of Avani:

Most people know of the Ramayana up to the rescue of Goddess Sita from Ravana (the daemon) by her husband, God Rama. But there's a whole lot more, after that joyous moment!

Rama's mind was poisoned by the citizens with rumours about the purity of Sita; he was grief stricken, and decided to banish Sita to the forest, on exile. Helpless Sita, was given shelter by the sage Valmiki in his hermitage atop the hill at Avani. Here, she gave birth to Rama's twins: Lava and Kusha. The twins were mentored by Valmiki, and they grew up as students in his Gurukul (school). Years passed by, leading up to the day when Rama performed the greatest hindu ritual, the Ashvamedha Yagna. From the ceremonial fire, a providential horse manifested itself and was left to wander at will - the significance: the land the horses wandered into, were acknowledged as a part of Rama's empire.

Everyone welcomed the horse and submitted their kingdoms to God Rama's empire, except when it reached Avani, where it was captured. This news spread to Ayodhya, the seat of the Empire, from where Rama sent his brother, Lakshmana to rescue the horse and annex that land. When Lakshmana came back defeated, Rama sent Bharata and Shatrugna, his younger brothers. The two were defeated, again.

Surprised and shocked, Lord Rama came to Avani and called out to the two young boys who had captured the Horse, so bravely. What ensued was the famous battle between Lava-Kusha and Lord Rama (sons and their father), but even before the first blow was launched, the sage Valmiki approached them, and stopped them. He asked Lava and Kusha to beg for forgiveness from Lord Rama and return the horse. Valmiki also told Rama to forgive the young boys as they had committed a mistake in his absence. He then proceeded to explain to Rama that they were his own sons, born to Sita.

After hearing this, Rama immediately began calling out to Sita in the happiness that he had finally found her, after years of regretting his act of banishing her. However, Sita having longed to see her sons united with their father, never came out. Assured that her sons were no longer devoid of their father's presence, she vanished and returned to her mother, Bhoomi ('the Earth').

 

 

The surreal views of the horizon at the hill top - a perfect 'off-beat' sunrise spot

 

 

Today, it is possible to see the temples that were built on the hill top, and even the stone houses on the way up. With the winds blowing strongly, it almost feels quite powerful and humbling - after all, it was the land of the Gods themselves.

 

 

How to get to Avani?

  • Avani is 90 kilometers from Bangalore, situated near Kolar:
    • Use this marker for navigating to the hill              
    • Takes about 2 hours from the city - the road is great and mornings are very foggy!
    • Parked space is available in from of the Ramalingeshwara temple, at the base of the hill
  • Food is available on the highway – We had our breakfast and lunch at Maiyas, a popular restaurant chain (there's also a foodcourt in the same building)

 

 

The path to the hill top isn't all steps and rocks, but some walkways through large boulders and bushes

 

 

What to expect?

  • Hill-climb:
    • It is an easy trek to the top of the hill, which is actually one of the many giant boulders that dot the landscape
    • Hermitage (Ashram) of Sage Valmiki and the cave where Sita stayed
    • Pond (Dhanushkoti) where Sita would wash her clothes
    • A one-kilometer trek to the top of the hill takes about 45 minutes - it's an easy climb (with steps)
    • The best time to visit is in the morning (the sunrise and the mild mist make a great combination)
    • Carry water and some snacks - feast at the hill top (and beware of monkeys!)

 

 

The pond, the Ramalingeshwara Temple and the hills of Avani in the background

 

 

  • Ramalingeshwara Temple:
    • Beautiful cluster of small temples which were built during the Nolamba dynasty
    • The intricately carved pillars and the ceilings are very beautiful
    • There are four main temples, with Shiva Lingas in the name of each of the four brothers: Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugna
    • In late November-early December, the temple is fully decorated with oil lamps that burn all night long on auspicious days

 

 

Another temple in the town of Avani

 

 

If you want to know more, write to us in the comments below! 

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