My previous trip to Kolar last year had motivated me to cover the entire district at some point of time. Some or other reason kept postponing this trip for several monhs. Finally on Saturday, 26th July, not even heavy rainfalls or 8 bomb blasts in Bangalore could stop us. In fact it felt good to drive away from tensed Bangalore to some peaceful place where people are busy interacting with nature rather than killing one another.
At 7:45 AM, My roommate and I rode on his bike (Honda Unicorn) towards Old Madras road (NH4). Till hoskotte the traffic was slightly busy. We reached Kolar at about 9:00 and took a deviation towards Avani (25Km). One nice thing I have learnt about navigating is to ask the villagers or localities, they can guide you like no one else. The weather was perfect for road trips; cloudy and cool. We reached Avani at about 9:45 AM.I had been to the Ramlingeshwara temples at Avani during my previous trip but could not make it to the hill behind the temple which is believed to have housed Valmiki ashram.
At Ramalingeshwara TempleWe started up the hill along with a village guide with whom we negotiated for an amount of Rs 50 for his information’s. We had underestimated him; he had several stories to tell, about every single rock. A structure comprising of three rocks one over the other is believed to be built by Hanuman for Sita to view the war from a greater height. she cried while watching the war between her sons and her husband. The rock is still mysteriously wet in form of three streams which are believed to be “Milk”, “Water” and “Blood” based on the colours they show. Devotees build similar structures with smaller rocks if they want their wish of building houses needs to be fulfilled. On the hill is, Valmiki Ashram; A rock on which are impressions of cradle believed to be that of Lav and Kush and several other depressions of whose purpose our guide very well knew; There is a water stream breaking through a rock which is believed to be created by Lakshman by his arrow cutting through the rock; A huge dome shaped rock with a snake shaped rock near it is supposed to be Sita’s safe where she stored her jewelry and dress. On top of the hill is a Parvathi temple. Sita is believed to have disappeared into earth, in the same location; a pair of foot at the base of Parvathi idol represents this event. We also visited the place where Ashva medha horse was tied by the Lav-Kusha brothers. At the base is a Shankara Matt and Sharada temple. A book on history of Avani is available near the matt. Avani is derived from Avantika and it means Earth.
View at Paravthi Temple from Danush Koti
Avani from Parvathi Temple
An old man caught hold of me while buying this book. He said he was previously a guide and is now 70 and old. He seemed to me a little drunk, but he spoke good English, however nothing of what he spoke made any sense to me as I was terribly hungry and tired by the hike. He kept speaking and I could not find a pause to escape. He spoke about Avani history,Sita, Bangaru Tirupati, Spinal cord and mathematics which I am not at all attempting to combine so as to derive a meaning. But my talk with him would be meaningless if I say I learnt nothing from him so I just recall one statement of his. He said – A man needs to have General knowledge, and that shall be his very strength. This was probably the only statement I understood and liked. In fact even at that state, his style of speaking was very impressive and I could not stop him from speaking.
We watched the villagers lay silk worms on Chandrike (A tray made of bamboo). The worms build nest over themselves. Silk worms are first fed with a special leaf for several days and then placed on the tray to build nests, which takes about four days. One such tray gets them 1.5 to 2 kg of silk which is sold for Rs100-120/Kg. The nest is then boiled to separate the thread and the worms get killed in the process.
While we were in a hurry to go for lunch, another young man came to us enquiring about us. He recommended few must see places. I was not interested in building up any conversation with him, due to my bad hunger but as soon as he mentioned that he works for Army, a sudden respect emerged in me for him. I believe it is an obvious salute to people in army for their duty towards the country and its people. He works for the intelligence at Nagaland and says the condition there is much worse than that in Jammu and Kashmir. After a small conversation, we thanked him and rode to Chandana hotel in the nearby street. To our hunger the ambience & unhygienic environment at the hotel did not matter; its darkness and untidiness did not bother.
After food we rode to Veerupaksha temple near Avani (6Km). We met the army guy again and he was kind enough to direct us till the temple. We followed him as he took us on a shortcut. At one place there was wet mud everywhere and we had to ride on a thin edge on which our bike skidded. Thankfully before the bike fell, we had placed our foot on the ground. The army guy helped us pull the bike out from the ditch. He even went to the temple priest’s house and asked him to come to join us at the temple. He also drew a map for our next destination. He said that in his village was a boy who has completed just tenth standard and if we could help him find a work in the city it would be a great help. I was touched by his helpful nature.
At Veerupaksha Temple, which again is a beautiful architecture built by Cholas; the priest performed a special pooja for us. (Pushpa Archane) It was peacefull to sit outside the main shrine of the temple as the priest chanted the mantras. The priest was very happy about our visit and kept asking whether we have traveled all the way to see this temple.
From here we reached Guttahali on a route through Avani again (20Km). Bangaru Thirupati Is a nice picnic spot for villagers apart from the religious reason. A small golden Thirupati idol is the main attraction here.
Our next stop was Koti Linga (10Km). The ambition is to have one crore Shiva Linga’s. I had been to this place before too and had not particularly liked it for its commercial environment.
Our next stop was KGF town (6Km). We looked for a good hotel near the bus stand and settled. We went out for a walk in the city. I bought a shirt too, realizing that I could by 4 of them with the money I use to buy one branded shirt in Bangalore. :-) Loved the jilabee prepared at the streets was delicious. After dinner I collapsed on to bed, tired.
To Be Continued.....