26 May 2008

Historical, Mythological, Magical Kolar

Taking a cue from Rahul Gandhi’s discover India, I did a Discover Kolar trip last Saturday. It was a homecoming for me, as well as discovering my neighbourhood with a different out look. I was there in search of the real Kolar, the historical Kolar, the mythological Kolar.

Places I visited on my last week’s ride to my homeland.
1. Antharagange beTTa - An ancient Shiva temple is built around Antharagange (water that flows from mountain under heavy rocks, it is visible in only two places in the hill). The hill range is known as shataShrunga parvatha shrENi, since there are 100 peaks of this hill range. To reach Antharagange temple and water body, we need to hike up about 150 steps, and If we trek up the hill, further from the temple, we will get to 7 villages, ancient and beautiful.

We hiked to find about three villages, one of which was tEru haLLi, where an ancient temple, of Gangadhareshwara was an amazing site; I was not expecting all these, since I never had a chance before to go up the hill, after Antharagange. The temple, in ruins today, was a surprise and prize find for me, for the reasons that I dint know there existed a history for this hilly area. Another surprise that was in store for me, was a summer camp for small children in drama and light art, like painting, singing, folk dances etc.. The camp was named 'chukki mELa', to find such an activity, that too in kOlAr...an unexplainable joyful experience!

We trekked down the hill, on a road that has been constructed over the hill, for easier transport purposes of villagers, about 4 years ago, and reached Antharagange foothills, where the bike was parked. I completed my LIC work which was the sole purpose of my planning this trip. The office work was over in just about a 30 mins time, and the sun was as sharp as always in a rocky mountain area, but the grace was the humidity was at its low best.

We had lunch and had some time left to port our next part of the itinerary.

2. We moved to the foot of another mysterious hill called AvaNi beTTa. A very little known, yet, highly spiritual mountain stands hiding a million stories from the past. Unfortunately, no historian has documented the place, nor the archeological department has done any research on here... But a very nice place to research about is this.

It is said that the great daNDakAraNya, from where sage vAlmiki wrote rAmAyaNa in trEtAyuga, that avanthikaa puri is this. Avanthika also finds a mention in the seven moksha daayaka places, in Hindu puranas.
To quote the shloka,
'AyOdhyaa mathuraa maaya kaashi kaanchi avanthika
purii dwaaravathi cha eva sapthaite mOkshadaayakah'!
Such an important place pauranically, and it really sounds as mysterious as it has been projected by locals. The hill contains all the places that are explained in uttara raamayana. where Lakshmana drops off seethe, a pregnant woman, there is dhanushkOti, a small pond on rocks, that resembles an arrow in structure; and it is said that Lakshmana created this pond, by pushing an arrow on the rock when seethe asked for water.

There is a small cave, where it is said that seethe gave birth to lava and kusha, after finding out that it was an ashram, inhabited by none other than the Brahmarshi, Vaalmiki. The cave, which has a very small entrance, is as mysterious and real as the story is. Newly married ladies get a handful of mud from this cave, which is considered as sacred, and drink with milk every morning for a week, and get healthy babies, as the locals describe!

There is another place, which is called kudure kallu, where it is said that lava-kusha trapped the horse of Sree Rama, stopping the unprecedented march of the royal horse for the great ashwamedha yaaga of Sree Rama. This act of the children calls for a war between the brothers and the royal army of ayodhya. In this great war of uttara ramayana, the royal army is defeated and that calls for the emperor Sree Rama himself to get into the war with children, when Hauman finds out who the children were, by spotting Seethe on the hills, he gets her to the war zone, where she sees her husband in war with her children, she cries with joy over the heroics of her children, with milk in one eye, and cries with blood, since the children were fighting her husband, with blood in another eye, all the spectacles are there for one to watch!!

The hill top temple of Seetha Parvathi is said to be the place where Seetha was gobbled by Mother Earth, by proving her purity once again, after the great Earth quake at the end of the Uttar Ramayana.

Though Ramayana finds the major connection with this hill, highlight of the hill is not mythological, but a huge rock, called horaLu baMDe, (Rock to whirl down), a huge rock that sits on another boulder, on top of the hill, leaving a small cleavage, that seems pretty small, but where one can whirl down to the other end of the rock! Its kiddish, but derives to a great joy, when one does that. At the first glance one finds it to be not possible, for him to roll down in that small cleaves, but as he ventures in, it seems easy. And people here attribute the successful passage to the good things one has done in past incarnations!! Whatsoever, a great refreshment, to end the hike with!

The village has an age-old temple, that is built next to a kalyaani, a huge temple, that of RamaLingeshwara swamy. There are so many lingas in the temple complex, and around that, as villagers put, it adds to make a number of lingas to 101. Each member of the royal army, established and worshipped a shiv linga each, for the sin they had committed by fighting the war. Ramalingeshwara is a linga that incorporates Rama (Vishnu) and Shiva in one, Seetha Parvathi on the hill is a deity that incorporates Seetha and Parvathi in one.

A very peculiar pattern and a strange mystery behind all the stories that is told in the place. Avanthika puri became Aahavaniya, place were aahavaniya yaaga was performed by a sage in later era, and aahavaniya became Aavani, as that is today.

Though there is no documented history of this place, the people have managed to maintain these mythological stories as historical ones, and one can not deny their faith of the place, That’s the real India for you!

3. Kurudumale temple, an extraordinary Ganesha temple, about which I have talked time and again, also was put on the itinerary at the last moment that made our journey back to Bangalore inevitably a night ride.

We reached back Bengalooru at 9:00 PM, leaving Kolar at 7:30 PM. It was an endearing journey, but an exhausting one. I made some startling and exciting discoveries of my homeland, Kolar, in this great journey. Exhausting because of the ride and hike of two hills, in search of our ancient pride!

NOTE : Please do come back tomorrow for the snaps from this trip!

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