Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani Near Kolar

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Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani
Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani

South India is full of beautiful temples with stunning architecture all around. The Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani, Kolar is one of them that is a must visit. Avani is a small town located almost 30 km from the main town of Kolar, Karnataka. The place is located very close to Bangalore. Yet, it is unexplored and offbeat. It is declared a national heritage by the department of Archeological Survey of India.

History of Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani

Carved Shikhara of Ramlingeshwara Temple at Avani near Kolar in Karnataka
Carved Shikhara of Ramlingeshwara Temple at Avani near Kolar in Karnataka

As per the archeological survey of India, the temples in Avani were constructed in 10th CE by the Nolamba dynasty. A minor South Indian dynasty who were also the followers of Lingayat tradition centered around Shivalinga worship. Later the temple was restored a bit by the Chola dynasty. The temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. According to historian James Harle, the Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani is one of the earliest examples of temples with a group of Shrines surrounded by a single outer wall.

Read More – Jangamwadi Mutt of Lingayats in Varanasi

Ramalingeshwara and Lakshmanalingeshwara Temples
Ramalingeshwara and Lakshmanalingeshwara Temples

As per the local legends, Hindu Saint Maharishi Valmiki lived here. The plateau beside the temples in Avani is where his abode was. Lord Ram visited here after his return from Sri Lanka. It is also believed that the sons of Lord Ram and Devi Sita – Luv and Kush were born here. That is why the plateau is also fondly named ‘Luv Kush Betta’. Betta in Kannada means a hill. When Shri Ram was doing the Ashwamedha Yagna, this is where Luv and Kush stopped his horse and a war was initiated between Ram and his brothers, against his own sons Luv and Kush.

Later, Lord Ram and his 3 brothers decided to absolve their bad ‘karma’ of waging war against children by doing a puja. That is when they established a Linga each of Shiva and did a puja of Shiva here.

Getting to the Temples in Avani

Temple Entrance at Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani
Temple Entrance at Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani

From Bangalore, head to Kolar, and then further on NH 75. Almost 30 km from the main town of Kolar, a road from the main highway on the right side diverges inside the village of Avani. Travel 10 km on this road and one reaches the temples.

Since the Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples is a prominent heritage site of Avani, everyone in the village knows the route to it. Add to it the fact that the temple is the sole point of interest for most of the visitors. So, you can easily ask for directions to the temple. Even if you don’t know the local language. Just mention the name of the temple and the villagers will point you in the right direction.

Keeping on the path is really easy because there is only one main road leading to the temple. And the Luv-Kush betta is quite visible from far. As long as you are nearing the plateau, you are in the right direction.

Visiting The Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani

Ramlingeshwara Temple complex - Avani, Kolar
Ramlingeshwara Temple complex – Avani, Kolar

As we step inside, the beautiful Dravidian style architecture of the group of several small temples inside the main courtyard immediately captivates us. The intricate carvings on each and every pillar of the temples are especially notable. There is a Mandapa or porch before the main entrance of each temple, leading to the cell.

Dhwaj Stambh in front of the temple at Avani
Dhwaj Stambh in front of the temple at Avani

There is a Kalyan Mandapa (Wedding Platform) at the right side of the entrance. And a bench to rest on the left side. Inside the temple courtyard, there is a golden flag in the center, right in front of the entrance. Take a round of the temple from left to right in the clockwise direction and you will see all the major small temples and shrines that form the Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani. The carvings on the temple wall represent Deities & animals like Lions and Elephants.

Nandi Temple at Avani near Kolar
Nandi Temple at Avani near Kolar

There are signboards in front of each of the temples describing the rich architecture. Here’s the description from the one in front of the Ramalingeshwara temple.

The Ramalingeshwara temple has a Garbhgriha (The innermost sanctum of a Hindu Temple), an Antarala (A foyer in front of the Garbhagriha) and a Navranga (A hall supported with multiple pillars, often used for dance performances as a part of the prayer offering). The pillars of this temple are of ornate style. They resemble the Manastambha design. The Adhisthana has moldings decorated with Kirtimukhas and Lions while the walls have pillars surrounded by Dravidian towers.

The Shrines & Temples inside the premises

Ramalingeshwara Temple at Avani near Kolar
Ramalingeshwara Temple at Avani near Kolar

The Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples contain a shrine named after each of the four brothers from the epic Ramayana – Ram, Lakshman, Bharat, and Shatrughan. Each of these shrines has a huge Shivlinga. These shrines are named Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmanalingeshwara, Bharatlingeshwara, and Shatrughanlingeshwara respectively. Three of the shrines stand adjacent to each other. These are the Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmanalingeshwara and Shatrughanlingeshwara shrines.

Read More – Panch Kroshi Yatra around Kashi Khand

The Ramalingeshwara is the central one and is also the main temple. You will most probably find a priest inside this main shrine. Lakshmanalingeshwara has the largest Linga amongst all shrines. While the other three Linga’s are almost of the same size. The Bharatalingeshwara shrine lies on the other side of the temple premises. Some believe that it was the first shrine to be put up in this temple. Finally, there is a shrine dedicated to Parvati also in the temple premises. Afterall, where there is Shiva, his Shakti has to be there.

We particularly loved the peaceful environment and the beautiful carvings on the temples. There was hardly anyone else apart from us. And that makes it an even more beautiful weekend getaway from Bangalore. We went to each of the Shrines and said our prayers.

Thereafter, we moved further and reached the end of the temple premises. Apart from the shrines, there is a small Vigneshwara Temple with a small and beautiful idol of Ganesha on the far left of the premise. Ganesha, remember is the Parivar Devta or the family deity as the son of Shiva and Parvati.

Then, there are some Shivlingas on the front right of the courtyard, besides an ancient well. The well is still functional and contains drinking water.

The Sita Temple at Avani

Luv Kush Betta at Avani, Kolar
Luv Kush Betta at Avani, Kolar

There is a small temple of Sita atop the Luv Kush Betta. Although we didn’t trek to the top, there are stairs that lead to the top. And the views of the Ramalingeshwara Group of temples from there must be very beautiful.

There is a small and beautiful pond between the temple and the plateau itself, where lotus plants abound. This pond is believed to be the prime source of water for Sita when she lived here. The pond is believed to be holy and people use it for taking a holy dip. While the priests of the temple also bath here. Using a few flights of stairs, you can go right into the pond.

Sita is also called ‘AvaniSuta’ (the child of the earth) as it is believed she was found while the earth was being plowed. It is believed the village derives its name Avani from this same association of Sita with the earth. Along with the temple, there is a cave here which is believed to be the abode of Valmiki when he was staying here.

There is a faith that if a childless couple wants to be blessed by a child they should visit this temple. The lady should take a bath in the pond and then trek up the plateau to this temple. As she reaches the temple, she feels sleepy. And when she falls asleep, she dreams of a loving woman blessing her. And thereafter the couple’s wish for a child is fulfilled.

Festivals at Temples in Avani

Mahashivratri is celebrated at a grand scale in Avani. A Rath Yatra is held during Mahashivratri that starts from the courtyard of the Ramalingeshwara Temple. Thousands of people from nearby villages and towns gather in Avani during this time to witness and be part of the festival.

The village of Avani near Kolar

Temple Well, Avani
Well that still serves the temples in Avani

Avani is a small village, and it falls in the Mulbagal taluk. There are no train stations within 10 km of the village. It is best reached by direct buses from all the nearby cities including Bangalore. Also, self-driving is another great option to reach here. Sri Narasimha Bharati IV of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham had established a new Matha here. And installed one of his Shishya’s or disciples as the head of the new Matha. This can also be visited along with the Ramalingeshwara group of temples.

The village is also known as “Gaya of South India”. However, we couldn’t find the exact reason as to why. Do tell us if you know, we are so interested to find out.

Overall, Ramalingeshwara Group of Temples in Avani are a great place for the spiritual soul, the architecture lovers, and tranquility lovers. For those who love ancient temples or heritage sites. And for those who get intrigued by the legends associated with temples. As well as anyone who is looking for a peaceful offbeat destination. Being a bit of all of the above, they made a perfect destination for us.

Recommend you read following articles.

  1. Chalukyan Temples of Hubli – Dharwad
  2. Jain Temples of Moodbidri
  3. Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram
  4. Ramayana Temples in Sri Lanka
  5. Kanyakumari Temple 

This is a guest post by Neha. She and her husband Abhishek are travel enthusiasts & travel bloggers by passion and software engineer by profession. They travel with their little daughter far and wide, sharing their experience through their travelogue Revolving Compass. They are spreading their love for travel through all their social media platforms as well. You can connect with them on Facebook & Twitter.

27 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much for giving home to this article on Inditales! The temple is a gem of a place and of so much historical significance. I am really happy people from far and wide will come to know of this temple.

    • Thank you, Neha for writing the lovely post for IndiTales. Hope lot of people will visit these temples after reading this post. It is our endeavor to put light on the lesser-known heritage of India always full of stories.

  2. Im happy I got connected to you. Getting to know more about India and it’s heritage. What a serene place and temple.. going through it only got me in another mood

  3. Hi Anuradha,
    interesting, as usual. The place reminds me of Hampi, the landscape is similar.
    Greetings from Poland, Jan

  4. We spent an entire month in India and still I feel like I didnt see enough. I totally missed out on the areas around Banglore cause we only flew in and then immediately went to Ft. Kochi. SO I would definitely want to go back and explore it and the surrounding areas like Kolar and Avani. The Ramalingeshwara temples look amazing. I loved the amazing temples we saw throughout the entire west coast. It always amazed me the artistic stone work they were able to accomplish!

  5. These temples are lovely! I’ve never been to Karnataka but I know there are a lot of historical sites there and if I ever plan to go, I’d definitely like to visit them. I’m not in awe of cities as much as I am in awe of historical places and this includes religious ones even though I’m not a religious person. Having visited all sorts of temples in Asia, I think it’s time I started exploring some in my own country. Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Medha, if you have not experienced the temples of India, you can not understand this country. Temples were our social, economic, cultural and administrative spaces for a long time in history. Why this disclaimer – not religious.

  6. The picture with the temple complex walk through is beautiful! You get the feeling of being back in the past as if time has stood still. I never knew there was a temple complex in Kolar. I do remember seeing the place on my map but obviously I was ignorant of the existence of a beautiful temple complex. I like the carvings, the peaceful atmosphere, the ancient vibe. It’s amazing that there are almost no visitors! =D

    • Helene – you have very well captured the essence of this quaint temple that not many people visit. Imagine the days when the small village lived surrounding this temple and how peaceful the life would have been there.

    • Hi Helene. Do you know this is one of 4-5 beautiful temples which are in Kolar district of Karnataka. And the place is so close to Bangalore as well. Makes for a perfect day trip

  7. Karnataka is one of the areas of India I have not visited and hence was not familiar with Ramalingeshwara group of temples. They look incredible, and your photos really show the beautiful details of the carvings. I guess it would be pretty impressive to visit during festival time!

  8. Man i had never heard this.. Hindu Saint Maharishi Valmiki lived here. Luv kush were born here and so many other ramayana reference is so cool.. Also that you’ve mentioned of how to reach there is definitely gonna be of help whenever I go here..

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