Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shravanabelagola, Belur & Halebid

Talk about a random event. I went on a road trip with a Product Manager who works for the "Company's" biggest competitor but it wasn't as confrontational as I thought it'd be and we didn't throw each other out of the car. In fact, I had a great time with P because he, though an American, speaks Tamil fairly well and that was close to essential while traveling in the countryside of South India.

The first time I met P is at 5:30am when he came to pick me up with his hired driver. We drove for about 3.5 hours before reaching Shravanabelagola, a town well known for its Jain art and Gomatheswara statue.

The 13 meter Gomatheswara statue

We had to leave our shoes in the car and walk on rock-cut stairs. It took us about 15 minutes to hike up Indragiri Hill to see the Gomatheswara statue.

800 steps of rock-cut steps.

Alternatively, you could pay for this service. These men practically ran up the 800 steps stairs in a few minutes.

Next to the Indragiri Hill is Chandragiri Hill that holds a group of smaller shrinesand to me a more difficult hike . It's so surprisingly quiet up here that the only sound you hear is some women doing laundry by the pond.

View from Chandragiri Hill

This is the Jain God's feet carved on the highest point of Chandragiri Hill.

Barata Statue on Chandragiri Hill

Indragiri Hill from Chandragiri Hill. You could see the top half of the Gomatheswara from here.

A very rewarding yummy paper dosai for breakfast after a long hike at Hotel Raghu.


Our next stop was Belur, which is about 2 hours away on sometimes unpaved roads but passing scenic farm lands and small villages made the drive bearable.

Sunflower farm

Belur seems to me like a very sleepy town but is renowned for its Chennakeshava temple which has one of the most intricate and fine carvings on stone I have seen yet.

Elephants for strength, lions for courage, horses for speed

Chennakeshava temple

Chennakeshava temple

Pillar at the Chennakeshava temple

Not only were there figures of nude female dancers but also figures of people having sexual intercourse. My friend K.O. would have a blast here.

Can you spot it?

My South Indian Lunch.

Curd Rice to calm the stomach after a spicy meal. Curd rice taste exactly how you think rice mixed with unsweetened-yogurt would taste.

About 30 minutes drive away is Halebid town, which is known for its Hoysala art and Hoyseleshvara temple. I thought this temple wasn't as impressive especially after seeing the Gomastheswara statue and Chennakeshava temple but it's surroundings make it a pleasant place to be.

Inside Hoyseleshvara temple

Tour guide at Hoyseleshvara temple

Hoyseleshvara temple

Took us about 4.5 hours to get back to Bangalore. The last 2 hours was terrifying because there were no streetlights and big buses and trucks were over-taking each other. I had a great time with P. I especially like picking on his brain about India. I think I found myself a travel partner, or as P would call it "frienemies".

More pictures.


RamnathK said...

Brilliant pictures, and hats off to the impeccable spelling! I also think I know why you were feeling under the weather today :D

Anonymous said...

when i try to click on the "more pictures" section, it says this page is marked private..but it looks like u had a blast! i am so jealous! lol! you need to tell me ur schedule so i can try to make it there!!! :)

Weng said...

Sounded like you had a blast.

Weng said...

yes and what is with the private photo thing... what r u hiding???!!!

~Po~ said...

Not sure why it was set to private. Maybe I needed to edit it or something. Yeah, I had a blast! More to come!

Linh, I think you should just scrap your Egypt and Spain idea and just come to India.

Anonymous said...

LOL hahah i already booked egypt and jordan! whats going on with u in oct! tell me soon so if there is a chance we can plan something lets do it..seriously! i just need to plan now bc i need to hire a freelancer to work while im gone :)