Serendipity is travel’s favourite child. For at every turn you take, you’ll discover an experience you weren’t even expecting to encounter.
While on our way to Srinagar, our friend insisted that we must take a little detour and visit Awantipora. Please note that it wasn’t a polite proposal, but a clear instruction given directly to our driver. Throughout the way she campaigned for the site, saying that it was a shooting location in one of the famous Bollywood films; and that we must visit such a prime spot that contributed in the evolution of Indian Cinema. In short, she just didn’t leave us with any choice. Well, I’ll always be grateful to her stubbornness.
We reached the ruins of Awanti Swami Temple in Awantipora (Awantipur), located between Anantnag and Srinagar. And, boy oh boy, we were enthralled.
What we were witnessing were nothing less but the ruins of an entire era captured in grey limestone.
The entry fee to this temple is measly Rs. 10. The Government Tourist Guide was happy to see us, as we were the only visitors at that point. The guide was earnestly telling us about the tale of this temple, built to praise Lord Vishnu.
Hundreds, or may be, thousands of years ago, a catastrophic earthquake ruined this beauty. But they say, the real beauty cannot stay hidden for too long. Soon it was resurrected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Each niche was dedicated to the Gods and Goddesses of Indian Mythology. Each pillar, each stone restored to life was telling a story. But unfortunately, there weren’t too many ears to listen to them. There are so many architectural wonders like this craving for visitors, be it connoisseurs or mere tourists.
Would these unheard stories die a sad, silent death in spite of getting raised from the dead in the past? I hope not.
P.S. This temple was not used as a filming location. But, who cares! The visuals recorded in our memories are far better than anything else!