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WEEKEND GETAWAY FROM BANGALORE TO ANTARAGANGE , AVANI , KOLAR & SURROUNDINGS

Someshwara temple

Midst of Avani hills ... Valmiki Ashram area .... As many will agree, one day trips are more to escape the hustle-bustle of the cities and generally a less planned spontaneous ride out of the city. This August we just did that… to break our busy routine and relax through a long drive along with family outside Bangalore. Bangalore is surrounded by lots of places that you can visit to relax and get some peace. There are lot of places in my bucket list to explore around Namma Bengaluru, and a day trip to Anataragange , Kotilinga , Kolar and surroundings is one of them.


I was thinking about making a weekend getaway to Kolar and places around from long time. Recently one of my friend made a trip to Lonavala and stayed at The Machan, and Wow the place is so good. Those pics pushed me to plan a day trip soon and that’s how finally this Kolar trip happened 🙂
The itenary for the day looked some thing like this …
Bangalore – Chikka Thirupathi – Anataragange – Kolar – Avani – Kotilinga – Bangalore . The total distance was around 210 km ….so we were sure of covering the places as planned . The stage was set for a lovely weekend getaway

Chikka Tirupati
Our first destination for the day was Chikka Thirupati, which is a small deviation on the way to Bangalore – Kolar route . Leaving our home at JP Nagar at 6.30 AM .. we reached the temple around 8.00 AM covering a distance of 37.5 km Sarjapur road towards Chikka Thirupati. And yes there was pit stop in between for breakfast .


Chikka thirupathi
As the name suggests, Chikka Tirupati is believed to be similar to the Tirumala Venkateshwara temple. This temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. Here… Vishnu is worshipped as Venkateshwara and his consort Lakshmi as Alamelumangai. An interesting part of this lord Venkateshwara idol is that it is an abhayahastha (hand showing upwards as blessing) whereas in Thirupathi at Andhra Pradesh, Lord’s hand is showing downwards. Hence this is considered to be special.

chikka thirupathi
The temple is open on all the days from 6.30 am to 8 pm. The Brahmotsavam, the major annual festival is celebrated during the auspicious Shravana Shaniwara (Saturday of Hindu month Shravana) during which the idols of the presiding deities are taken on a chariot around the temple. Lucky for us was that we went on the Sunday next to Shravana Shanivara and the crowd was not much. But i missed taking a nice pic of the temple gopuram as every where there was shamiyana for the special functions happening in Shravana masa .
After the darshan of Lord we drove to our next destination Antaraga.. an hour’s drive of 45 km on the Malur road towards Kolar. The drive through the state highway towards the national highway is good. There were lot of Marigold flower farm and various other types farm making the drive so serene .


Antara Gange

 Antaragange

Entrance to Antaragange

Antara gange is one of the famous trekking destination in Karnataka . This place is also called the Kashi of the South and has an ancient Kashi Vishwanatha temple on a hillock. Specialty of this temple is it is situated on a small hill surrounded by abundant Niligiri trees and greenery everywhere . One has to cover around 350 + to reach the temple . Through out the steps there will be plenty of Monkeys to give you company and can be menace if you carry some eatables with you.

There is a pond adjacent to the temple which was dry when we visited. The holy water is believe to cure diseases, visitors get water filled in bottle.

 Antaragange
After the temple visit, we took to the small trekking trail which starts just behind the temple. The weather was perfect for climb – cloudy and little windy. The path is laden with boulders amidst scenic beauty.

 Antaragange

There are local boy guides who offer to take us to the caves above but we decided to explore the place by our-self.

We understand from the locals that there are 7 villages on the hill top and a cave temple but we decided against going further … with kids it might get difficult entering dark caves .
Though the whole trek was very rocky with just few actual steps .. we were doubtful if the kids could make it . But thanks to the weather and green surroundings .. they loved there first trekking experience as much as we did . ” Spending time in nature is healing energy … ” .. Overall we enjoyed the visit to Antar Gange, Kolar.

Bye bye Antaragange …

From Antaragange .. it was time to head over to our next destination .. Kolar ..which was just 4 km away …
Kolar :
For many decades Kolar was associated with Gold mines .. unfortunately no more !! Nevertheless , the place is has some really good ancient temples and we thought of exploring them ..
Kolaramma temple

Kolaramma temple
Kolaramma Temple, located at the heart of the city of Kolar, is built by the Chola kings. This 1000-year old temple dedicated to Kolaramma ( Durga) , the town deity . The devotees worship her by looking at the mirror which is placed opposite the idol.The temple is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India and is very well maintained. No commercialization of this place and retains its charm and history.
At a walk-able distance from Kolaramma temple is the 14th century Someshwara temple.
Someshwara temple Kolar

Someshwara temple
A lovely temple of Vijayanagara style of architecture with beautiful sculpture and serenity . The finely carved gopuram ,pillars of the main mantapam and Kalyana manatapam have many stories to offer .

Someshwara temple

We had some nice time taking some lovely pictures …because every picture tells a story and whats a vacation without making memories forever …..

From Someshwara temple we took a lunch at Woody’s restaurant and then proceeded to Avani which is about 25 km drive.
Avani
Avani .. an ancient historical place near Kolar which i would say is a hidden gem of Karnataka Tourism ..unfortunately hasn’t got much attention it deserves .

Avani

As per Mythological belief sage Valmiki, the author of the epic Ramayana, was residing here in his ashrama during the period of Ramayana. Sitadevi lived here in his ashram while in exile. She gave birth to her twin children Lava-Kusha here. It is also said that the war between lord Rama and his sons took place in this village over the Ashwamedha yaga . Even today the Valmiki ashram, room where Sita gave birth to her children, where Sita washed clothes, the Lakshmana theertha, the place where Ashwamedha horses were captured by Lava-Kusha and war happened, Sita underwent Agni pariksha… exists. It is also believed that the temple is situated at the same place where she went into/ was swallowed by the mother earth.
The Sita temple situated on a hill top and is one of the few temples dedicated to Sitadevi in India. The trek is little exhausting with over than 600 steps but very exciting as it relates to the days of Ramayana. Though it was second trekking for us in a day .. the kids didn’t crib as they were super excited and curious to see all the places associated with Ramayana .. all these days they had just heard them in stories .

That’s the Sita temple we had to reach !!!

Off we start our second trek for the day … Avani hills ….

Apparently , when luv kush and rama were quarelling over ” Ashwamedha horse ” .. Sita climbed these rocks to identify Rama and later ran to stop the fight …

Midst of Avani hills …Valmiki Ashram area ….

Shri Valmiki Ashram … It is believed that mud found inside the cave has medicinal properties and used extensively by the villagers to cure stomach ailments

Danush Koti ..It is said that when Sita was very thirsty and laksman didn’t find water anywhere .. using an arrow he created this pond to get water from earth !!!

Sitha Parvathi temple on the hill top..the place where Sita was swallowed by the earth.

Place where Rama’s “Ashwamedha” horse was tied by Luv-Kush

Agniteertha – Apparently this is the place where Sita enters fire to prove her purity to Rama and Agnideva puts off fire by creating a pond over there.

Sitha Nilaya .. place where luv kush was born .

Though the trek was very tiring .. we loved this place as it was so serene , peaceful and less explored !! Don’t know how far all these stories are true .. but  it’s a pity that …a place with so many interesting stories has got zero attention by the tourism department!! Wish there was some light and sound show .. to bring back life to the place . There is hardly any directions on the hills … 


At the bottom the hill is situated the Ramalingeshwara group of temples constructed in the Dravida style. It is believed that Lord Rama and his three brothers committed grave mistake by waging war on children Lava-Kusha. To cleanse their bad karma, Valmiki gives few shivalingas to worship. And these lingas are then established in this temple and date to year 1BC.The temple is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India as a monument of national importance. There were literally very few people when we reached there which made our visit very peaceful and pleasant.


From Avani we drove to Kotilingeshwara temple which is 22 km drive.
Kotiligeshawara temple
We ended our trip with the last destination being Kotilingeshwara temple. We reached the place around 7:00 pm.
As the name says this place is supposed to have 1 crore shiva lingas. There are too many lings of all sizes everywhere. The main attraction of the temple is a huge shiva linga measuring 108 ft tall ( supposed to be tallest in the world ) and 35 ft tall Lord Nandi idol, surrounded by lakhs of small lingams spread over an area of 15 acres .


Somehow we didn’t connect to this temple spiritually and these few lakhs of idols just looked like they are kept for some exhibition!!The place is so commercial and we were disappointed
From here we returned back to our home .. sweet home. Kolar & surrounding places were great discoveries .. especially Avani. Fascinating temples , Historical & mythological stories , nature , trekking .. all so easy to cover in a day trip . A visit to the ancient temple Bangaru Thirupathi and a Krishna temple near Kolar is pending .. well that’s for our next visit 🙂
It was a nice drive and we were back after a good day’s outing. We felt tired but very refreshed the next day… ☺

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