Ramalingeshwara Temple at Avani

The Origins of the Ramalingeshwara Temple

Nandi in an enclosure facing the Shiva linga. The temple is under renovation and a man is tanding on the platform on the temple.
Nandi facing the linga at the Ramalingeshwara temple

Ramalingeshwara temple or more appropriately, the Ramalingeshwara group of temples is a tranquil destination at Avani near Bangalore. It is a lesser known temple but an architectural marvel constructed by the Nolamba dynasty in the 10th century AD. Renovations have been done time and again by the Cholas and Vijaynagar kings. The temple does have a far much ancient root with inscriptions on its walls that date back to 399 AD. Today, the Ramalingeshwara group of temples is a National Heritage Site maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Not much information is known about the Nolamba dynasty. Actually they were feudatories of powerful empires like Pallavas, Chalukyas, Gangas and Rashtrakutas over many centuries as the power changed hands. They held a good sway over southern India, including one-third of Karnataka, parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu for nearly 300 years.

The ancient temple of Ramalingeshwara in Avani. The dhwaja stambh or the flag pole is also seen along the numerous structures next to the betta.
Ramalingeshwara temple complex with the dhwaja stambha

The Ramalingeshwara Temple Complex

The first and foremost thing that strikes you when you enter the temple premises is the serenity and tranquility of the place. As you enter the temple courtyard on a sunny winter morning, the exquisitely carved gopurams of the temple make a striking contrast with the azure blue sky and invite you warmly to take in its fabulous details. With hardly any visitors even on a weekend, the place renders the required solitude to its seeker and is full of positive vibes.

It is said to be first temple complex of its kind in India where the numerous shrines are surrounded by a single outer wall. The carvings on the pillars and ceilings in the main shrines are especially notable.

The four main shrines are the lingams dedicated to Lord Rama and each of his three brothers, Bharat, Lakshman and Shatrughna. The Lakshmalingeshwara temple houses the largest lingam and is also the most ornate of all the shrines. There are other temples of Anjaneya, Vali Sugreeva, Navagraha, Devi Parvati, and of course, Ganesha in the temple complex. Explore the place leisurely, enjoy the beautiful carvings and panels, and revel in the intriguing legend associated with this temple.

Temple Timings:

6 am to 8:30 pm

Time taken to see the temple:

Around 30-45 minutes

Directions to Avani:

Take NH 75 from Bangalore to reach Kolar which is around 100 kms away. Continue on the same highway for about 30 kms from Kolar to reach the Avani Road. Avani is about 10 kms from this diversion. Totally, it takes around 2 hours to reach Avani from Bangalore. Roads are in great shape all the way from Bangalore to Avani.

Food Options:

Food options are available on the highway. There are not many food options in Avani though and is advisable to carry some light snacks and water with you.

Entry Fee:

The temple entry is free. However, one can contribute towards the renovation of this temple using the UPI scanner made available in the main shrine.


Parking is free and near the temple. There is no assigned parking facility but there is space near the temple entrance where one can park.

The Story Around the Ramalingeshwara Temple:

Devi Sita is exiled with her sons, Luv- Kush, at Maharishi Valmiki’s ashram in Avani after the battle of Lanka. In spite of her agni pariksha, she is banished from the kingdom in her pregnant state. She seeks refuge in Avani where her twins get educated under the tutelage of Maharshi Valmiki.

Ashwamedha Yagna

After a few years of this exile, when the twins are in their adolescence, Lord Rama conducts the Ashwamedha yagna to assert his imperial sovereignty. A ceremonial horse accompanied by his warriors traverse the length and bread of our country challenging the rivals to accept his suzerainty. Those who wish to challenge the ruler, must capture the horse and must overcome the accompanying warriors.

However, the ashwa (horse) is captured by Luv-Kush when it reaches Avani. This leads to a war between the twins and their uncles – Bharatha, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. When the uncles are defeated by the powerful twins, Lord Rama himself comes to Avani to fight the supposed challengers to his supremacy. When the war between the father and sons starts, Devi Sita intervenes as it is a sin for a father to wage a war against his own young sons.

The Lakshmanalingeshwara temple with a Nandi facing it. The pillars and ceilings of the temple are carved beautifully.
Lakshmanalingeshwara temple with intricately carved pillars and ceilings.
The ancient well at Ramalingeshwara temple
The ancient well which is still in use

Paap Parihaaram

She reveals the true identity of the twins to her husband and prevents them from fighting against each other. Lord Rama is overjoyed to have found his sons and wife again. However, Sita decides to undertake bhoomi pravesh and enters the earth after reuniting her sons with their father. However, amidst all these happenings, Lord Rama and his brothers commit a grave sin. They have fought with their own adolescent sons and family. To help atone this sin, Maharshi Valmiki consecrates the lingams at Avani to do paap pariharam (absolving the sins) of Lord Rama and his brothers for fighting against their adolescent sons.

This is the story of how the Ramalingeshwara group of temples came into existence.

Rathotsava at Ramalingeshwara Temple:

Come Mahashivaratri and all roads lead to Avani to celebrate the two-week long Rathotsava (Chariot festival) at Ramalingeshwara temple, which starts the day after Mahashivaratri. The Rathotsava is a huge premier event and is attended by people from all over South India. The chariot is 74 feet in height is the tallest in the entire Kolar district.

The festival is also well known for its cattle fair and people from far flung areas of Karnataka attend this event to buy and sell cattle for their agricultural needs.

Avani, the Gaya of South India:

Avani is full of legends and tales associated with our great epic Ramayana. It is the place where Devi Sita went back to her mother’s womb, the Earth. It is the place where Lord Rama atoned for his bad karma by constructing the Ramalingeshwara temple and performing a penance. Avani is the place where Devi Sita and Lord Rama both sought salvations. No wonder, I guess this is the reason this place is called the Gaya of South.

Avani betta is seen from the Ramalingeshwara temple. The temple gopuram is seen in the picture
Avani betta as seen from the Ramalingeshwara temple
The kalyani or the pond next to the Ramalingeshwara temple.
Kalyani of the Ramalingeshwara temple. A dip here in this pond is considered a blessing to beget children.

Other Places of Interest in Avani:

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