“In my bowl of great antiquity, a spiritual concert is in eternal motion…”

Divinity whispers softly in the rain forests of Western Ghats in south India as the temple town of Banavasi goes about its daily business. The echo of the temple bells travels far and wide epitomising the sacredness of this land. Encircling the holy precincts, the Varadha river flows by… Banavasi is one of the oldest towns in the Karnataka state; it is recognised as the first capital of ancient Karnataka ruled by the Kadamba dynastyDuring its halcyon days, Banavasi was the capital city of the Kadamba kings, the first royal dynasty of Karnataka. The Kadambas established their empire in 345 A.D. and held supreme for two hundred years. .

For the devout, this place is equivalent to heaven on Earth owing to the presence of more than twenty temples; most prominent of them being the Madhukeshwara TempleBanavasi has evolved around the Madhukeshwara Temple built in the 9th century by the Kadamba kings. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the supreme God in Shaivism, major branch of Hinduism. ‘Madhu’ means ‘honey’, and since the Shiva Linga is of the colour of honey, the temple is named Madhukeshwara Temple. Of such divine stature is this temple that a visit to this temple is regarded equivalent to visiting all of Hinduism's main temples. The temple is an amalgamation of several schools of architecture. built in the 9th century by the Kadamba kings. Banavasi is, in fact, regarded as the most ancient spiritual centre of India, after Varanasi. It is referred to as 'Vanavasaka' in the epic Mahabharata, suggesting that the town has existed since 4000 B C. A fifth century copper coin was discovered here recently !

Banavasi and its surroundings are gifted with nature's bounty… rice, sugarcane, spices and pineapple cultivations flourish here. Distinctive agricultural practices, indigenous systems of medicine and traditional dwellings heighten the experience. The traditions, festivals and crafts of bygone days are still in practice. The rusticity is heightened by the soothing presence of lakes teeming with lotuses and water lilies.
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