Sunday, October 15, 2017

Part 2 - Avani - Reaching The Zenith Altitude

Continuing our journey from Temples at foot hills to the trek. Previous post on this blog featured introduction to Avani and the magnificent temples at the foot hills.

This breath taking view requires a few extra breaths lost as you huff and puff away uphill and prepare your lungs for the fresh fill of the mesmerizing breeze. And also prepare your little hearts to greet few monkey families and tutti -frutti squirrels up there. It is overwhelming to watch the monkeys  just wait for the devotees to beak the coconut outside the temple as a part of ritual and then they could feast on the fruit by chasing the devotee with it's scary growl. And the few squirrels just wait to feast on the left over pieces of coconut or any other fruit.

Seemed like the avatar of an Hanuman family himself appeared with absolute thirst, to the top of the hill and waited for visitors to pour water to quench his throat to his fill. And there were plenty of them. Remember, they are harmless but definitely defensive. So, never tease them by walking with lot of food in hands.

Now, as you march over uphill, you pass by more heritage spots, each narrating a holy story from the Ramayana that can actually calm your nerves spiritually if you believe in Gods and Goddesses.

A small door-less entrance takes you inside the place where sage Valmiki lived as he wrote the Ramayan. The Ashram is now consisting of a neat stone statue of the sage.

It's a well-known fact , whether one calls it mythology or one believes in the story, that Sita Devi after being exiled sought refuge in "Ashram" of Sage Valmiki. Soon in this stone abode she gave birth to her twin sons. With a mark of respect by married women, locals have practiced hanging green bangles at the top of the entrance door of this stone room which has been named "Sita Nilaya".

A touching glow. An imaginary oil lamp marked with some paints on the rocky pathway outside the "Sita Nilaya" is yet another belief by people from decades ago that it was the spot where the lady placed the lamp after sun set and hence even now the place glows with such tiny remembrances. Really amazing to witness such tiny details from Ramayan coming true and much to some of us who call it mythology it seriously surprises that locals have inherited stories from their ancestors who have supposedly been in the era after the medieval. 

And the popular "DhanushKoti" is supposed to be where Rama's brother Lakshman, who upon learning about the scarcity of water in Sita Nilaya, pulls his bow and arrow "dhaanushkoti" and splits the rock into two, to create a stream of water among the rocks. Again people believe that it never dry, even in perching summer, of today. We simply admired the tiny grey and black fishes in the water that connected us to our childhood rainy endeavors where we gathered tiny fishes in "tea strainers" that were our fish nets, from water streams formed by rain water.

One of the tarn that fascinated me
There definitely is plenty of resting spots on the way to the hill. These tarns are the best. You can not resist picking up oval bubbles, flip them horizontal and throw it spinning in the water. Can you? That's exactly what we did too. The lotus is the proof that it is stagnant water and hence it is not recommended to dip your legs or hands in the water.

Finally as you reach the top of the mountain puffing and panting,  we reach out to  the "Sita Temple" from the side entrance. The landmark where Sita Devi calls for Mother earth to slide open and snare her within her bosom.  This temple is one of the rarest  temples dedicated to Sita Devi in India.  A idol of the Goddess is worshipped every day by priest.

Right behind the temple is where you see two big boulders as mark of spot where Sita devi took her last journey under the mother earth. The picture 2 on the right above is where it is and a tradition of devotees squeezing themselves under the two boulders has been practiced. Call it belief or blind belief, these Hindu praxis leave me as astonished as spiritual.

Whatever is the story about, the nature leaves you in an awe as you fill your lungs with the breeze from the top of the hills watching the splendid bird eye view  of Avani.

The colourful Lingeshwar Temple as seen from the top of the hill

Key - Notes - Remain the same as in part-1 of this post too.
  • Avani is an absolutely cute village hosting no restaurants at all. Warning - Carry ample food. Small shady hotels will provide you scrumptious hot meals but the interiors are pretty puking dirty.
  • Clean water bottles are however available but make it to pick up your Gatorade if you wish to.
  • Don't expect a good connectivity of public transport. Plenty of taxis will be available for hardly an hour and half, drive from Bangalore.