Avani Temple, A Lost Page From The Ramayana
South India has many interesting Ramayana places and locations where the mythology comes to life! One of them is Avani, a hill town in the outskirts of Kolar district in Karnataka. Here, the Ramayana story is continued after the rescuing of Sita from Ravana and her homecoming with Rama during Diwali. But what happened at the end of the Ramayana?
In this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know to plan a trip to Avani in Karnataka, India, including details on map routes, best time to visit Avani (with a secret tip for the most amazing evening experience). Most importantly, read about what happened at the end of the Ramayana while exploring the Avani temples.
Avani, the lost 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 an interesting place to visit near Bangalore!
You can also visit the Ramalingeshwara temple. It is also called as the Avani temple or the group of Shiva temples in Avani.
Visit another off beat heritage temple in Karnataka
The history of Avani (or legend)
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. Sage Valmiki offered Sita shelter in his hermitage atop the hill at Avani. Here, she gave birth to Rama’s twin sons, 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 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. But when it reached Avani, it was captured. This news reached the capital Ayodhya 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. They were also defeated and they returned to Rama.
The reunion that sanctified Avani
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 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. He had regretted banishing her to the forest. 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’) right there on the hill.
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!
Read about more such amazing places in India
What to expect at Avani Hills?
Hill climbing at Avani: It is an easy trek to the top of the hill, which is actually one of the many giant boulders that dot the local landscape. Visit the hermitage (Ashram) of Sage Valmiki and the cave where Sita stayed. There is a 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 breakfast snacks to feast at the hill top. Enjoy the amazing wind and the cool surroundings up there.
Tip: Carry sunscreen or a hat as the sun can get very intense. Also, beware of hungry monkeys!
Ramalingeshwara Temple, the holy Avani Temple
A beautiful cluster of small temples which were built during the Nolamba dynasty remain here today. The intricately carved pillars and the ceilings are very beautiful. There are four main temples with Shiva Lingas in the name of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugna.
Tip: The temple is fully decorated with oil lamps that burn all night long on auspicious days in November and December. Consider visiting in the evening on these days.
How to get to Avani?
Avani is 90 kilometers from Bangalore situated near Kolar. Use this marker for directions to Avani Hill. The drive takes about 2 hours from the city, the road is great and mornings are generally foggy. Parking space is available in front 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).
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Shishira & Navneeth