Avani Betta, 97 km from Bangalore, attracts trekkers and history buffs alike. It is 15 km from Mulbagal and 33 km from Kolar in the Kolar district of Karnataka. The place serves as an ideal spot for a one day trip near Bangalore.
Avani Betta History
The Nolamba dynasty is one of the many that ruled Karnataka’s southeastern region, which has significantly contributed to art and architecture. As per history, the Nolambas constructed the beautiful 10th-century Ramalingeshwara group of temples in Avani. The Cholas contributed to its partial renovation, while the Vijayanagara dynasty built the main Mandapam and the Rajagopuram. Gaya of the south, Avani, allures pilgrims and history buffs.
What is Avani Betta famous for?
Avani in Sanskrit means ‘earth’. Goddess Sita, the consort of Lord Rama in Hinduism, is also known by the name ‘Avanisuthe’, meaning ‘the daughter of the earth’, as she was found while ploughing the earth. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Sita atop the hill for which Avani Betta is famous and for being a trekking spot in the proximity of Bangalore
Owing to the belief that sage Valmiki had lived here, the hill is also known as Valmiki Parvatha. Mythology states that Sita stayed in sage Valmiki’s ashram, in Avani while in exile. People still visit the place where Sita stayed, according to some sources. Her twins Lava and Kusha were born here, and the war between Lord Rama and his sons Lava and Kusha took place in this village. The other group of temples in Avani also makes it an ideal place for a day trip from Bangalore.
Temples in Avani
The many temples in Avani of intricate architectural beauty showcase the artistry and skill of the Nolambas. The temple compound in Avani comprises the Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmanalingeshwara, Bharatalingeshwara and the Shatrughnalingeshwara and other smaller temples. Each temple has a Linga installed. Of the Ramalingeshwara group of temples in Avani, Lakshmanalingeshwara stands out for being ornate, especially in the Shikaras.
In addition to these temples, Anjaneya, Valli, Sugreeva and Jambava have dedicated Lingas. There are also temples for Goddess Parvati and Lord Hanuman. Apart from the other Lingas lined along the compound, there are also mandapas like the Ganji mandapa, which is noteworthy. The Archaeological Survey of India maintains the temples ably. It has placed placards containing information regarding the history, construction and other details.
There is also a Sharada Math, a branch of the Shringeri Sharada Math established by Sri Narasimha Bharathi IV in Avani.
Avani temple complex timing: 6 AM to 6 PM
Avani Betta Trek
The base of the Avani hill serves as the starting point of the trek. Climbing the hill is simple, with stone steps leading to the top. A Ramayana trail parallel to the trek stokes the people’s interest. There are two caves: the Valmiki ashram, a cave in a huge boulder where the sage meditated. The other is the place where Sita lived with her sons.
After the Valmiki ashram, the trek stretch becomes flat for some time. There is also a small waterbody in the hillock called the Lakshmana Tirtha, which is quite deep, though it doesn’t look so. Beautiful lotus flowers adorn the pond in the rainy season. You will find graffiti depicting the scenes from the Ramayana on large rocks all along the way. Well-laid winding stone steps and short passages make the final stretch of the trek, which leads one to the top. On reaching the summit, one encounters the Sita Devi temple.
You could also visit Antaragange, which lies about 36 km from Avani.
Starting point of the Avani betta trek: Base of the hill
Trek Difficulty: Easy
Trek length: 1 km one way
Trek Duration: 1 hour one-way
Trek timing: No timing
Best time to visit Avani Betta
The best time to visit Avani Betta is during the Winter season, from November to mid-February, as it will be suitable for trekking. It is advisable to avoid the monsoon season. Also, starting the trek early in the morning is good if you want to avoid the blazing sun. However, since it is a beautiful experience to watch the sunset in Avani Betta, you can start your trek in the afternoon if you wish.
How to reach Avani Betta
Avani is about 21.4 km from Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) and 97 km from Bangalore. One can reach Avani Betta by taking the NH4 highway from Bangalore and driving towards KGF.