Avani's many wonders

Avani's many wonders

Of the many dynasties that ruled Karnataka, one little known dynasty is that of the Nolambas. The Nolambas were feudatories of the Rashtrakutas and ruled over the south-eastern region of Karnataka which covers present-day Kolar and Tumkur.

Flourishing under the influence of the Rashtrakutas, the Nolambas eventually declined as the Gangas rose to supremacy. Though having been a small vassal state, the contribution of the Nolambas to art and architecture is immense. One such marvel is the Ramalingeshwara temple situated in present-day Avani, which is in Kolar district. Like many places, this place too has a unique mythology.

Avani gets its name from the Sanskrit word meaning earth. Mythology has it that Sita stayed in this place during her exile and eventually, the twins, Lava and Kusha were born here. Some mythological sources also say that the place Sita stayed in can be seen atop the hill situated behind the temple.

The temples in the town are an example of architectural beauty and exhibit the skills of the Nolambas. Though some sources say the temple construction was taken up during the Chola period, the renovation and subsequent expansions are said to have been taken up by the Nolambas in the 10th century. The temple compound includes many small temples, the main ones being Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmanalingeshwara, Bharatalingeshwara and Shatrughnalingeshwara. Each temple consists of a linga built and dedicated to the temple by the four brothers. Although Ramalingeshwara temple is considered the main deity and worshipped, the Lakshmanalingeshwara temple is said to be more ornate. The real splendour, however, lies outside where one gets to see the intricacy and finesse in the sculptures atop the temple’s shikaras and walls painstakingly achieved by the sculptors. 

In addition to the main temples, one can also find temples with lingas believed to have been dedicated by Anjaneya, Vaali, Sugreeva and Jambavantha. Many small lingas are also lined along the compound. Other structures like mantapas are also present, the most distinct one being the Ganji Mantapa, which was probably used to serve gruel to devotees in the past. The entire compound comes under the purview of the Archaeological Department and is well maintained. Placards containing additional information regarding temple history, construction and sculptural details are installed to help the visitors get a better idea.

Other places surrounding the temple compound include the Basava Teertha, a small pond in the vicinity of the temple and still used by the locals for their drinking water needs. Lava Kusha Betta, the hill located behind the temple and the spot where Sita stayed, are also other spots for people interested in trekking. One can also find the Sharada Math, a branch of the Shringeri Sharada Math which was established by Guru Narasimha Bharathi IV during his visit to the place.

How to get there


Avani is about 10 km from Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) and about 100 km from Bangalore. One can reach Avani by taking the NH4 highway from Bangalore and proceeding towards KGF.

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