The speciality of living in Bengaluru is that, each road going out of the city leads you to a different countryside after a journey of one or two hours.
A fine Saturday morning, me and two my trusted companions decided to take the road towards Kolar. This particular highway always is a fascinating one to ride across, one can notice the change around you as you continue to move out of the city towards Kolar. The high-rise buildings are soon replaced by empty stretches of land with nothing but heaps and heaps of boulders.
Of the many hillocks, we decided to stop at Avani Betta near Mulbagal. At the first look, we were a bit disheartened, but the best was waiting for us and it surely took out our disappointment.
Avani is located at distance of 30 kms from Kolar and 95 kms from Bengaluru.
The place has its history dating back to the days of Ramayana. It is said that the Sage Valmiki's ashram was located on this hillock and was where the twin sons of Rama, Lava and Kusha were given birth by Sita.
The cave, which is said to be the place where the twins were given birth is considered sacred now. But sadly now the cave is a huge ditch as some devotees who visit the place takes back a fistful of mud while leaving.
After parking our bikes at the base, we decided to trek up the hill. Though it looks like a very steep trek, there's nothing to be feared, it is a relatively an easy one. It is advised to begin the trek before the blazing afternoon sun comes up, which would make it difficult for one to reach the summit.
The hillock has steps carved for the ease to climb up. En route the summit, you would come across various caves, which once belonged to Valmiki and Sita respectively, with the descriptions given it is easy to find out.
On further hiking you will find the natural pond, which is believed to be the place where Sita washed her clothes. Furthermore, you would come across a shrine, which houses a Shiva Linga, which is said to be installed by the Pandavas.
We decided to step into the pond and freshen up, which eased the tiredness of the long bike ride. Although we were sweating profusely because of the heat, the caves were surprisingly very cool compared to the weather outside.
On top of the hill, there is a small temple of Goddess Parvathi; a few devotees & monkeys are the only visitors to the hillock. Another common sight at this place is that one gets to see stacks of small stones usually three in each stack.
After which we decided to return to the base and pay a visit to the temple complex. The temples in the complex are built with granite blocks and heavy lintels. The temples are constructed in the Dravidian style and they were constructed in the 10th century by the Nolamba dynasty and partially renovated by the Cholas.
The temple complex comprises of four shrines dedicated to the four brothers, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna.
After the temple visit, we began our ride back to Bengaluru taking back with us, a slice of history. If you are a person who loves history or the one who is interested in rock climbing this place is a must visit, or someone like us who just wanted to getaway from the city's buzz.