Banavasi is an ancient temple town in Uttara Kannada District bordering Shivamogga district in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It comes under Sirsi Taluk .

Location:

Banavasi lies deep in the rain forests of Western Ghats with the Varadha river flowing around it on three sides. It is located 374 km from Bangalore. The nearest railway station is 112 km away in Shimoga. Nearest town is Sirsi which is 23 kms away from Banavasi.

History:

Banavasi was one of the capital of the Kadamba Kings who established the first Kannada Empire in c.e 345AD. Kadamba Empire built by Mayura Varma, who was originally Mayura Sharma, a Brahmin studying in Kanchipuram. He took up the study of warfare or Kshatriya Vidya and became a warrior king who established the Kannada Empire.

It is the same place where Pampa, the famous poet of Kannada wrote his epic poems. The great Kannada poet Pampa was so much enamored of this place that he exclaimed that he wished to be born as a petty cuckoo or bee in the land of Banavasi! Pampa told about Banavasi that, Arankushavittodam Nenevudenna Manam Banavasi Deshamam”. It was also the ancient place of learning where scholars from other states used to came and settle down here.

Banavasi is mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. The Buddhist work Mahavamsa states that Emperor Ashoka sent missionaries to Banavasi.

We are reminded of foreigners mentioning Banavasi. Greek geographer Ptolemy's (1st century C.E), Banavasi is identified with this place. Huen Tsang the Chinese monk and Alberuni the Arab scholar also mention it. Tradition speaks of Kalidasa the greatest Indian poet, having visited Banavasi, as an ambassador of Gupta kings, and the beautiful description of nature in his love lyric Meghaduta, pertains to Banavasi.

Formerly Banavasi is known as ‘Vaijayantipura’ or ‘Jayantipura’ or ‘Vanavasi’.

Geography:

Located in the deep forests of Western Ghats, this beautiful pristine village is becoming a hot tourists destination. Tour to this village will definitely transport you to the good old days of the rural India. The region not only presents the rustic rural beauty, but also offers an enriching cultural experience. The best time to plan out the trip to the Banavasi village lies between the months of September to May. Lodging is available in ‘Pravasi Banglow’ and ‘BAIF guest house’.

Famous tourist Attractions:

Lord Madhukeshwara Temple is major attraction of Banavasi. It was built by the legendry Hindu architect Jakanacharya around 1500 years ago. The Madhukeshwara Temple is famed for its architecture, deriving its name from the honey colored Linga. The innermost sanctum sanctorum is built in a very plain style with minimal carving on the door and the lintel. The Sankalpa mantapa in front reveals the influence of the Chalukyan style. There is a seven foot huge Nandi idol made of a single stone. The Nritya mantapa or the dancing hall was added during the Hoysala period and has exquisite carving on the pillars and the ceiling.

The temle has beautifully carved stone cot called as Kaalu Mancha’. It also has Triloka mantapa, Goddess Parvathi Devi, Lord Vishnu, Parashurama, Ardhaganapathi, Dhundiraj ganapathi idols, Astadikpalakaru statue etc. The famous five hooded Naga sculpture with the Prakrit inscription of 2nd century C.E was installed by princess Sivaskanda Nagashri when she got constructed a Vihara and tank as per the inscription in second century.

Banavasi has the 75ft height Ratha which is tallest in South India.

Occupation:

Most villagers are doing agriculture. They grow rice, sugarcane, areca nut, coconut, spices and famous “Banavasi Pineapple”. Pineapple is exported to various states of India like Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Hariyana, Gujarat etc. Some of the Banavasi villagers are the artisans who have learn this unique art from generation to generation. They are expert in making sandalwood carvings, baskets, pottery, black smithy, shoe mending, rangoli, basinga making and many more. On the tour to the Banavasi village do not forget to purchase the famous Yakshagana mask.

Culture:

Banavasi has always been a centre of culture, mainly the Yakshagana art Form. Some folk singers and dancers also here.

Festivals of Banavasi:

Mahashivarathri: Major festival celebrated in Banavasi is Mahashivarathri.

Rathotsava: Rathotsava is the biggest festival celebrated in the month of April every year.

Kadambotsava: The annual December cultural festival, Kadambothsav, is a huge gathering, organized by the state government, and featuring folk dancers, drama troupes, classical musicians, art exhibitions, while drawing together performers, artists, and writers from all of south India

. The “Pampa Award” will be given to famous writers or poets by the Government in Kadambotsava. .

Tourist Spots around Banavasi :

1] Madhukeshwara Temple Banavasi

2] Aadi Madhukeshwara Temple Banavasi

3] Chandranatha Basadi Banavasi

4] Pampavana Banavasi

5] Varnaloka Art Gallery Banavasi

6] Varada River Banavasi

7] Bangareshwara Temple Gudnapur

8] Kaithabeshwara Temple Kotipura

9] Gudavi Pakshidhama

10] Renukamba Cave Temple Chandragutti


Photogallery:


Entrance to Madhukeshwara Temple

Madhukeshwara Temple Banavasi
Dhwaja Sthabha

Mahanandi

Lord Shree Madhukeshwara

Lord Mahavishnu Dashavatara

Triloka Mantapa

Kallu Mancha

Temple Side view

Lord Dhundiraja Ganapathi

Lord Ardha Ganapathi

Goddess Parvathi

Varada River

Varnaloka Art Gallery
Varnaloka


Hoovina Teru

Dodda Teru

Tiruguni Teru
Rathotsava
Elephant at Temple Entrance

Lord Saakshi Ganapathi

Lord Shriram

Photos and Informations : Shriharsha.B.S. - Banavasi

One Response so far.

  1. HI
    NICE ONE.....
    BEST OF LUCK TO UR TEAM....

    PRAVEEN JOSHI

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