Banavasi-The Eternal Beauty
Chaagadha bhogadhakkaradha geyadha nottiyalampinimpugalgaagaramaadha maanasare maanisar! amthavaraagi puttalenaagiyumeno theerdhapudhe? theeradhodam maridhumbiyaagi menkogileyaagi puttuvudhu namdhanadhoL banavaasidheshadhol”
wrote Pampa, eminent Kannada poet of the Kadamba era.
( It is a virtue to be born in Banavasi as a human being. If not as a human being, then at least one should be born as a bee or a cuckoo in the garden of Banavasi'.)
Banavasi and its surroundings are gifted with nature’s bounty. There are numerous ponds around the districts and they are filled with lotuses and water lilies. On a winter morning, when the mist is just lifting, their sight acts as a balm to the weary urban soul.
Banavasi, a big village or a small town is on the banks of river Varada and has many stories to tell. It is recognised as the first capital of ancient Karnataka when the Kadamba dynasty ruled over the region from the fourth to the sixth centuries. A fifth century copper coin was discovered in Banavasi recently!
Banavasi also features in Hindu mythology across the yugas (eras). It is considered to be as old as Kashi Varanasi or Benares which is amongst the most holy of Hindu towns. Buddhism and Jainism have also spread their roots here. During the reign of Samrat Ashok, Banavasi was a learning centre for Buddhist monks. An ASI site at Gudnapura village nearby shows evidence of Jainism being encouraged by the royalty.
Time has gone by but Banavasi has remained young and green. The traditions, festivals and crafts of bygone days are still in practice. More stories will unfold when you visit here, spend a couple of days and your inner rhythm matches that of this great land.
Banavasi revolves around the Madhukeshwara temple which was built in the 9th century by the Kadamba kings. The annual car festival, Mahashivaratri, Lakshadeepotsava and Navaratri are some of the main religious and traditional events celebrated according to the Hindu calendar at this temple.
The State Government organises the “Kadambotsava” every year in December. For those few days, Banavasi regains it former glory as a cultural capital. Blessed with plenty of rainfall, agriculture abounds around Banavasi. The neatly laid out banana and areca nut plantations or the chequered rice fields offer ample shade for a leisurely picnic. Pineapple is the speciality at Banavasi.
Finally, if for nothing else, come to Banavasi for its simple yet wide ranging cuisine!