Places with legends from Ramayana and Mahabharata in and around Bangalore

Overview: Associating a place with our great epics and having local legends is common in India. Both Ramayana and Mahabharata have touched almost all of India. Here is a list of places associated with the great epics in and around Bangalore.

Places associated with Ramayana:

1. Avani (95km): Of the many places in India claimed to be the birthplace of Lava and Kusha, this is one place in South India. At the base of the hill is an ancient Nolamba era temple with Shiva lingams consecrated by Sri Rama and his brothers, and at the top is the Sita Mata temple. On the way to the top is a rock cut cave believed to be Valmiki Ashrama.
Avani
2. Teerthamalai(165km): Legend says that the water has been pouring down since ages when Lord Rama shot at the rock to get water to perform puja. Hanumanteertham was created when Hanuman threw a pot of water from Theerthamalai. Theerthamalai hilltop can be reached through a flight of steps, which are quite steep ate places, but very safe for climbing. The top of the hill has some unique rock formations, and water pouring out at a few places. At the top is the 7th century Theerthagirishwarar temple, built by the Cholas.
Teerthamalai
3. Ramanagara(46km): Many interesting legends dot the Ramadevara Betta in Ramanagara. It is believed to be the place where the demon Kakasura was punished by Sri Rama, and hence we don't see any crows visiting this place even today. The Rameshwara linga is believed to have been installed by Sri Rama himself and the deity of Sri Rama was installed by Sugriva.
Ramadevara Betta
4. Namada Chilume(70km): Near the popular hills of Devarayanadurga is Namada Chilume, believed to be the place where Sri Rama, Seeta Devi and Lakshmana visited during their exile. It was when Sri Rama couldn't find water to apply 'Naama' or tilaka on his forehead, he shot at the rock and water started gushing out, which still flows to date.

Places associated with the Mahabharata:

1. Aivarakandapura(34km): Aigandapura, or Aivarakandapura, was a celebrated agrahara during Cholas and is believed to be the place where the Pandavas spent some time during exile. The connection with the Mahabharata can be established with the 5 shrines dedicated to Shiva. The main temple in the complex is the Dharmeshwara temple, and other minor temples include Nakuleshwara, Sahadeveshwara, Arjuneshwara and Kuntigudi. There is a Bheemeshwara temple also but outside this complex. According to the inscriptions from 11th and 12th century, the temples can be attributed to Ganga, Chola and later Hoysalas.
Aivarakandapura
2. Bheemeshwara(22km): Near the village of Makali on Tumkur road is the place called Bheemeshwara. This Shiva temple was probably belonging to the Vijayanagara period, and the lingam is believed to have been consecreted by the Pandava prince Bheema. This place was earlier on the banks of the river Arkavathy, which has gone dry now. Near the river bed is a giant depression, which is identified as Bheemana Hejje, or Bheema's footprint.
Bheemeshwara
3. Kondrahalli(54km): Dharmeshwara temple in Kondrahalli is a place near Bangalore which is believed to be one the places where the Yaksha Kanda was held. Yaksha had asked a set of riddles to Yudhishtira during their exile. His brothers Nakula, Sahadeva, Arjuna and Bheema were earlier invited into this contest but refused and suffered consequences. There is also a Shiva temple here which has carvings from Yaksha Kanda.
Kondrahalli
4. Dharmaraya temple, Bangalore(0km): Right in the middle of Bangalore city is the Dharmarayaswamy temple, of the Bangalore Karaga fame. The origins of this 18th century temple are in the Mahabharata, portraying the strength of womanhood after Draupadi undergoing severe tragedies in life like the disrobing incident, and the killing of her sons in the war.
Dharmaraya Swamy temple, Bangalore
5. Sadali(80km): Once a part of the VIjayanagara empire, Sadali has a few temples built in the 13th-14th century now in ruins. This place was ruled by the palegars Naganna Odeyar between 1370 and 1385. Interesting legend says that Sadali was found by the youngest Pandava, Sahadeva, and was also known as Sahadevapura.
Sadali
6. Kaiwara(75km): One of the many places being claimed to be the Ekachakaranagara, Kaiwara is one of them. This is where the Pandavas spent some time after the escaped from Lakshagraha 'the house of lac'. This is also claimed to be the place where Bheema slayed Bakasura.
Kaiwara
7. Kaurava Kunda(70km): More of a trekking spot, this place is named after the Kauravas. On the top of the summit, there is a Vijayanagara era Shiva temple.
Kaurava Kunda
8. Vidurashwatha(85km): As the name suggests, this was the place where Vidura from the Mahabharata worshipped Sri Ashwatha Narayana under a Peepal tree as suggested by Rishi Maitreya.
Vidurashwatha
9. Mulbagal Anjaneya(100km): The place full of legends, the Anjaneya sculpture in Mulbagal was installed by Arjuna as Haunman blessed the Pandavas with his image on their flag during the Mahabharata war. Another legend says that Hanuman's mother Anjana stayed on top of the hill for meditation and hence it was named Anjanadri.
Mulbagal
10. Kunti Betta/Pandavapura(120km): As per one legend, after escaping from the Lakshagraha (Wax palace of lac), the Pandavas camped at Kunti Betta or 'French Rocks' as it was called earlier. Hence the name of the village was also named Pandavapura.
Kunti Betta

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