We planned for a day’s trip around Bangalore. Plan was to start after 10 AM and reach home before sunset. Most of our previous trips were towards Mysore and Hyderabad. So this time we decided to head towards Kolar. Thats when we came across Avani, a place with so much historical significance and closely associated with Ramayana.
Excerpts from Wikipedia
Avani is known for the Sita temple situated on a hill. This temple is one of the few temples dedicated to Sitadevi in India. There is a belief that the sage Valmiki, the author of the epic Ramayana, was residing here during the period of Ramayana. Sitadevi lived here in his ashram while in exile. Sitadevi gave birth to her twin children Lava-Kusha here. Even today the room where Sita gave birth to her children exists. The war between Sri Rama and his sons Lava & Kusha happened in this village.
31 st October, 2016
As planned, we left home little after 10 AM and took the Varthur road to reach the Bangalore-Tirupati highway. But for tolls, drive was a breeze and without much trouble we reached the Avani town, Ramalingeshwara temple.
There are three temples in Avani town.
- Ramalingeshwara Temple
- Sringeri Sharadha Temple – Adjacent to above temple
- Sita Temple – We have to trek up the hill to reach the temple. The temple opens only on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
There is ample parking space right next to Sharadha temple. A cautionary note for travelers to carry your own food, otherwise we have to get onto highways for restaurants.
Broken Roads for the last 7 kms
Sitabetta (Hill) seen from the road
The belief says the main shiv ling was installed by Lord Rama himself. Later Chola Kings built this temple to spread their dynasty.
There are so many small shrines inside the main temple complex.
Temple with Sita betta background
Temple complex is maintained cleanly
Carvings in Tamil
A small temple between Ramalingeshwara Temple and Sita Mata temple.
Sita Mata Temple
We had our lunch at 1245 PM and started climbing up to see the Sita Mata temple. It is said that Sita took refuge in Valmiki Ashram when she got separated from Rama. And this is the birth place of her twin sons, Luv and Kusha in the cave on the hill. There is a cave inside the ashram called Valmiki-Gavi, where the great sage Valmiki, the author of the epic Ramayana, sat in meditation.
There are multiple ways to reach the top. This one is little tougher.
Else walk till Sharadha temple and take the steps.
Then you will reach the midway, stairs give way to something like this with rails to support.
A closer look. Definitely safe and easy to climb.
Our first destination was this setup. The belief was that Sita saw her twin sons fighting Hanuman by sitting here. The black strips on the rock were her tears and the white ones were her milk.
Bee hive – Little did we know that we will be chased by them later in the day
After 20 minutes of leisurely walk, you will reach the Valmiki Ashram. And the view from here is simply amazing.
Cave inside the Ashram. The belief is that, any child who has stomach problem will become alright after taking the water mixed with the sand here.
A closer look
Luva Kusha house. Behind this you have a shrine that has two shiv lings back to back emphasizing twin sons of Rama.
Supposed to be Sita Devi’s foot steps
Still a lot to climb to reach the temple
And the view kept getting better
Smaller steps gave way to much larger ones, pretty exhausting.
Finally after an hour’s climb we reached the summit. The place where Sita Devi by praying to Parvati Devi went back to earth.
The mountain opposite to Sitabetta Hill is the Mulbagal. The belief says “Hanuman picked up two sets of stones to make a temporary living for Rama and Lakshamna enroute to Lanka. Since he thought one set is enough, he made Avani, and the other set he threw it to opposite end and that beacame Mulbagal”
A panoramic view of the surroundings
A place to just sit and gaze forever.
This was when destiny stuck. We were enjoying the views and suddenly saw a group of honey bees. It stung my brother and around fifteen to twenty started circling him. We were asked to go down without disturbing them. He was bitten at seven places. It took 20 minutes to get down to a safer place. The learning from that is that even if bees come and sit on you, just keep calm without disturbing it. If one bites, then the rest will encircle you. We rushed to the Government hospital at Avani and he had a tetanus and pain killer injection. Also heard from the natives that bees are a common sighting at the top.So I strongly discourage people to take their kids to the top.
- Round trip from Marathahalli – 195 KM
- Total round trip toll – Rs 119
- Time to climb up the hill – 115 hrs (leisurely climb)
- No hotels at Avani. Get on to highways for any restaurant
- Disclaimer – I neither agree nor disagree with the above said beliefs. Whatever has been said to me, I have documented them.
We left Avani around 415 PM and reached our home at 6 PM. It was such a nice and pleasant trip made adventurous by the honey bees.