Divinity beckons the devout
Perched on a hillock in the picturesque woods of Attur, in the outskirts of Karkala town, stand the tall steeples of St Lawrence Church. The saint is believed to be a powerful intercessor before god. The church is said to enshrine a miraculous statue of this saint. People from far and near flock to this holy place on the last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the month of January, every year, when the annual feast of the saint is celebrated with great pomp and devotion. This year, it is scheduled to be held on the 27th, 28th and 29th of January.

The church has a rich history. It began modestly, with a thatched roof, near Nakre, in 1801 AD, under the leadership of a Goan priest. As this makeshift church crumbled and became unsuitable for worship, the devotees of St Lawrence, accompanied by the priest, went about scouting for a suitable site to build the church anew.  They carried with them a one-foot tall wooden statue of St Lawrence from the old one. .

They crossed Ramasamudra of Karkala and descended down the woods of Parapale Hills to reach Attur. There was a spring flowing at the bottom of the hill and the entourage decided to rest awhile. They placed the statue on the ground while they refreshed themselves in the cool waters of the stream. When they decided to resume their journey and tried to lift the statue, it would not budge. It seemed as if it had taken root on the spot and however hard they tried, they could not dislodge it. The priest then proclaimed that this must be the spot on which they should build the church. Hardly had he spoken, when the devotees realised the statue was now easily detachable from the ground. A church was then erected on this spot and completed in 1839 AD. 

Over the years, the church has been rebuilt to receive a face lift. As the word of the “miraculous statue” spread, the number of devotees increased every year and the church was extended to accommodate the crowds that throng the place. There is also a little shrine adjacent to the church, where the deemed statue has been preserved. A hundred feet high tower, depicting religious art and culture of various faiths, was built in 1997, as a symbol of welcoming people of all religions.

Another feature of this shrine is the miracle pond. People believe that it came into existence when the holy priest, who originally built the church, pierced the ground with his staff to scare away thieves. Water sprang out and formed a small puddle. Localites maintain that to this day, the pond hasn’t dried up. Simply called ‘Pushkarini’, the pond has steps leading down to it, so that devotees can touch its holy water.

Ancient Bangalore
Bengaluru has a hoary past. We have archaeological evidence of the evolution of man’s economic and social life through the last five thousand years.The Mesolithic sites in Ragigudda, Bannerghatta and Jalahalli, where man used stone tools embedded in wooden or bone frame and perhaps started primitive cultivation, are all being obliterated.

Around Bengaluru, two thousand five hundred years old Megalithic sites in Chikkajala have been encroached upon. In Ancient India History Volume Number 4 (1947), historian RVM Wheeler's writes, “15 miles north of Bangalore is a cyst circle cemetery stretching up to 1 mile east of the village (Chikkajala).” He adds that two of the burial sites had a port-hole in the slab, which could have been used to add items belonging to a relative to the grave,  and/or to make offerings to the deceased.The largest natural cave in Banner-ghatta is an important tourist attraction but it has been ruthlessly modified.