From the land of gold mines; dotted with varied sized rocks; the Rockies of Karnataka; a reminiscent of Gabbar Singh of the popular Sholay; lotus filled tarns; clusters of compactly packed colourfully painted kutcha houses; mystical primordial stone temples of medieval era in rocky environs. This is a wee bit of what AVANI is.
As you drive inside this village, you recognize the colourfully painted small kutcha houses. My fascination of an Indian Fairy tale. The popular scene of a rural Indian village where in beautiful women and little girls cat-walk with plastic pots carrying water from ponds or lakes. Small shops selling lovely scented candies, local soda in orange and yellow, “beedi”, sachet of pickles, shampoo, tooth paste or mosquito coils hung in the exteriors, line up the non asphalted dung smelling roads. There is something in these tiny villages. Guess what? The innocence. The loving smiles immersed in brilliant radiance of friendliness spells a cast of our rich social culture.
Avani received a prominent place mainly due to the legends associated with it. As per the local belief, sage Valmiki, the author of the epic Ramayana was residing here. This is the land where Goddess Sita sought refuge after being exiled by the Lord Rama and eventually gave birth to her twin children Lava-Kusha. It is also said that the war between Lord Rama and his sons Lava and Kusha took place in this village.
At the bottom of the hill, the first shrine that we come across is the ancient temple compound known as the Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmaneshwara, Bharateshwara and Shatrugneshwara, built by the Nolamba rulers in 10th century. According to legend, Rama was performing Ashwamedha Yaga when his Horse was tied up by Lava and Kusha. Even after repeated requests by Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrugna and others, they did not free the Horse and fight took place between them. When everyone lost to Lava and Kusha, Rama himself turned up and had to fight. Later this was disrupted by Sita. This is a sin since the fight was between father and the sons and other relatives. Sage Valmiki then instructed the brothers to install the Lingas in their names for absolution of the sins.
The entire compound comes under the purview of the Archaeological Department and is well maintained.
The local people have been believing that spot as in above picture is the one where in Sita Devi climbed onto to view the scene after Lord Hanuman informed her about the battle challenged by her twin sons on her own husband unknowingly about their identity. It has been neatly marked by arranging three boulders one over the other in memory of the embarrassing event.
A nature’s best gift to a rocky hilly area is a serene pond. Feels so full of life. The brightly coloured lotus just adds onto the peace it spreads onto your spiritual trek you look forward to, en-route the Sita Devi temple on the top of the hills. As you begin your march of almost an hour , snaking among the rocks, sometimes sneaking onto tipsy cliffs or sometimes a few neatly constructed stone steps, you will come across several historical landmarks on your way. I am afraid we did have no encounters with creepy reptiles other than little cute squirrels or some chameleons under every warm boulder. Most cacti plants attracted swarm of flies and that’s a warning to steer clear your way off those thorny little green monsters.
It’s a well-known fact , whether one calls it mythology or one believes in the story, that Sita Devi after being exiled sought refuge in “Ashram” of Sage Valmiki. Soon in this stone abode she gave birth to her twin sons. With a mark of respect by married women, locals have practiced hanging green bangles at the top of the entrance door of this stone room which has been named “Sita Nilaya”.
And the popular “DhanushKoti” is supposed to be where Rama’s brother who upon learning about the scarcity of water in Sita Nilaya, pulls his bow and arrow “dhaanushkoti” and splits the rock into two, to create a stream of water among the rocks. Again people believe that it never dry, even in perching summer, of today.
On top of the mountain we see the “Sita Temple” the landmark where Sita Devi calls for Mother earth to slide open and snare her within her bosom. This temple is one of the rarest temples dedicated to Sita Devi in India.
This temple observes daily worships by local priests and most visitors are left astonished at the beauty of the nature as well as the Ramayana stories coming alive amongst the stones.
Seemed like the avatar of an Hanuman family himself appeared with absolute thirst, to the top of the hill and waited for visitors to pour water to quench his throat to his fill.
Whatever is the story about, the nature leaves you in an awe as you fill your lungs with the breezy air from the top of the hills watching almost what you can term as a spectacular bird eye view of Avani.
- Avani is an absolutely cute village hosting no restaurants at all. Don’t forget to carry ample food. Small shady hotels will provide you scrumptious hot meals but the interiors are pretty puking dirty.
- Clean water bottles are however available but make it to pick up your Gatorades if you wish to.
- Don’t expect a good connectivity of public transport. Plenty of taxis will be available for hardly an hour and half, drive from Bangalore.
- Don’t forget to tag me if you visit this place and post blogs or photographs!