After Mulbagilu fort and Virupaksha fort, Avani fort was third on the list. Avani is about 10 kms from Mulbagilu. That's eastern face of Avani hill, the fort is located at the lower and middle levels of the hill, at the top is a shrine dedicated to Sitadevi, Lord Rama's wife.
It was past noon when we arrived at Avani, weather was warm and we here hungry. We chose to see Avani temple complex first, the easier option. According to sources these temples were built by kings of Nolamba dynasty. Nolambas were subordinates to Ganga and Rastrakutas.
Avani temple complex is well maintained and boards fixed provide basic information about individual shrines:
5. Vali and Sugreeva
That's the gateway to Avani temple. Notice how bright it is, flagstones are reflecting white light into our faces. However, once inside the structure weather changed drastically, it was cool and relaxing.
|Art on column face|
|Interior of Bharateswara shrine|
|Matrix on ceiling|
|Examples of pillars|
|Collage of images on Laxmanalingeshwara shrine|
South-eastern view of Avani hill, as seen from the temple complex.
|Collage of images depicting Varaha|
Shatrughnalingeshwara shrine is nearly the same size and shape as that of Lakshmanalingeshwara shrine, but its basement has three cornices only one of which is rounded and another has rows of poorly carved lions. Its doorway is of dark strap stone and ornamented bonds with Gajalakshmi on the lintel. The upper wall of bricks and town are latest. The navaranga is similar to that of Lakshmanalingeshwara Shrine, the pillars are sixteen side shafts with floral hangings.
Ramanjaneya shrine looks closely like the Shatrughnalingeshwara except that in its basement and cornice, elephants are more prominent than horned lions, yalis and horses also appears.
Its navaranga has only the shape of an ardhamantapa with ceiling of nine padmas only. Its northern pierced screen has too finely shaped dancers.
Kamakshi shrine: The shrine with a garbhagriha, Sukanasi, an open ankana, navaranga and a porch. The only things noticeable here are the pillars which are of the sixteen sided and cylindrical type. The
two pillars in the porch have floral hangings and are round. the pillars in the shrine are brough from elsewhere and used for this building.
The gateway. Shivu the cab driver, Deepak and Gulli had parked themselves on a bench.
We still had Avani fort on the itinerary but the idea of scaling the hill under the blazing Sun after a nice meal was not appealing. I said we'll come here again and visit couple of other forts too. We headed towards Mulbagilu in search of other ground level forts- Kaki Bise Gowda citadel, Kurudumale fort and Mandikal fort.