Banavasi is the oldest documented village in Karnataka. It has been mentioned both in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It has been the first Capital City of the Kannadigas. It was the capital for the Kadambas empire. Mayura Verma is credited to have defeated the Pallavas and created the Kadamba dynasty. According to Prof B H Sreedhar, Mayura Verma ruled this place from 280 to 330 AD.
This beautiful place is just 380 km from Bangalore. This quaint village is surrounded by paddy fields, lush green tropical rain-forests, lakes, rivers and water falls. The picturesque beauty of the town is enhanced by the wonderful Varada River that flows around it on 3 sides. Besides many extraordinary temples, this beautiful town has maintained its old world charm. There are so many more beautiful experiences one can have here..... most of these are not found in one place. With this in mind, here’s my take on how a traveler can get the best out of Banavasi that too in just a long weekend.
1) Experience Divinity in Madhukeshwara Temple
You can experience the divinity in this temple. No amount of time will feel enough to marvel upon on the sheer beauty of this ancient temple. The main sanctum sanctorum is believed to be more than 2000 year old. The main deity at the Banavasi Temple is Lord Shiva in the form of a honey-colored Shiva Linga. The temple gets its name due to the color of this Shiva Linga. Visiting this temple is a must for culture enthusiasts. The architectural and natural beauty of the temple is a delight for photographers.
2) Watch sunset at the Gudnapura lake.
This above selfie was taken on a simple phone and there was no editing done. Gudnapura lake is about 5 km from Banavasi. There is a temple of Bangareshwara on the tank bund. It's a great place to sit and watch the sun go down, creating a hue of magnificent colors in the sky.
3) Stay at Vanavasika tourist home and cook with Pineapples
Pineapple is a major crop here and the pineapples go all the way to Delhi, Agra etc. Vanavasika tourist home is a good place to stay and experience the rural experience, Its surrounded by greerery on all sides and a 5 minute walk from the temple. Here you can learn to cook dishes with pineapple. You can call Kiran and pre-book the arrangements. He is reachable on 8105545777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More pics on https://vanavasikatouristhome.business.site/
4) Morning walk at the Pampa Vana
The Pampa Vana is a large biodiversity garden just besides Vanavasika Tourist home. The atmosphere will tempt you to take a slow walk amidst the greenery. Feel the creative energy here that inspired Poet Pampa to write about the beauty of Banavasi.
As you wander more into the Pampa Vana you will come across a temple that is even older than the Madhukeshwara temple. It again is a beautiful place for photography or just to sit and enjoy the relaxing energies around.
5) Bird watching at Gudavi Bird Santuary
The Gudavi bird Sanctuary is quite the refreshing spot to observe little winged or flightless versions of feathered creatures. Its almost a hidden gem and not too many people prong this place. You can spot over 200 different types of birds on a good day. If you want to see the migratory birds then June to December is a good time post that you will find mostly the birds of local origin. This sanctuary is a real treat for bird lovers and nature lovers alike!
6) Trek and Explore Chandragutti Fort
Chandragutti Fort is a historical place that is surrounded by natural beauty on all sides. The fort is located atop a hill and at an altitude of about 848 metres. This fort was under the Kadamba kings between 3rd to 6th Century.
There is a breathtakingly beautiful view from the top and the trek takes you through the ruins of the fort and a lake. The path is moderate and has steps as well.
7) Bathe in the Shalmala River and see the Sahasra lingas
The place is known for its 1000 Shiva Lingas that are carved on the rocks along the banks of the Shalmala river. As far as history is concerned, there 1000 lingas were installed by the ruler Sadashivaraya of the Vijayanagar Kingdom sometime between 1678 and 1718. The unique thing about these are that each linga features a carving of Nandi.
Tiny fishes come and nibble at your feet and its an amazing experience.
Banavasi gives you a unique experience, a perfect mix of nature and spirituality that is truly a treat to all the sense organs.