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Entries about karnataka

Chapter thirteen - Mysore

sunny 30 °C

Day 67: Mysore, Karnataka 05/12/11

After negotiating a check out time of 9am (not the 7am the hotel originally requested of us), we head down to the train station to book a ticket to Mysore. A quick breakfast at the hotel sees Gemma presented with an omelette, which naturally was met with a mature and welcoming reaction.

The train ride to Mysore is fairly uneventful and far less demanding than yesterday’s quick ride in Bangalore. After arriving we have a little trek around with our stuff in search of accommodation and end up taking a rickshaw to one of the hotels in our Rough Guide. It’s not the best place we have ever seen and far from a decent price so after being collared by someone on the street outside we end up checking in to a nearby hotel.

Take a stroll to the nearby market and wow, what a place to spend some time. The market is packed full of incredible sights, sounds and smells and an amazing array of colours – blues, purples, electric pinks, and fluorescent yellows – in the form of the powdered dyes on sale. Some of the touts and market traders have some superb catchphrases to entice you to their stalls. A personal favourite was the guy who nonchalantly explains to us his stall is ‘Asda price’ as he turns to walk away.

We find it difficult to find somewhere to eat, opting in the end for a tandoori house miles from the hotel. Inspection of the book reveals a whole host of places to eat nearby…

Day 68: Mysore, Karnataka 06/12/11

Still feel less than 100% and after reading about the symptoms and effects of malaria the previous evening, a paranoid trip to the doctor ensues. Examined at a hospital that specialises in fertility treatment, and proudly boasts of the first ‘test tube babies’ in the city. How PC. The doc diagnoses a urine infection and prescribed antibiotics. Examination and prescription costs around £6.

Visit Mysore Palace in the afternoon, a spectacular and splendid old pad built for the Maharajas. No shoes are allowed in the palace but better still is the complete ignorance of all signs, barriers and ropes by almost all the Indian visitors. There are a number of elephants in the grounds, and nursing a headache, I receive an ‘elephant blessing’ that sees me slapped forcibly on the head by its trunk, a hugely welcome manoeuvre, thanks.

Take a tuk-tuk to the Forestry Department, where we are told we can book accommodation in the nearby National Park. Turns out it is a public holiday and the offices are deserted. Oh well, end up playing cricket with some local kids in the street.

After Gemma walked straight into a hanging display of Mazaa (mango soft drink [very good]) bottles, we have tea at the swankiest place we have seen yet, an American road trip themed restaurant with a great menu, where Gemma naturally opts for the chicken biriyani.

Day 69: Mysore, Karnataka 07/12/11

Up and out and back to the Forestry Department, where today we are able to find people. Find the accommodation office, see their prices and reassess – too much for us!

Head to the station and look to book a ticket to Mangalore, where again we are forced to reassess by some very unhelpful staff and fellow customers, all of whom are deserved recipients of the sarcastic treatment. The only train to Mangalore being an overnighter is a deal clincher and we decide to head into Kannur in Kerala instead. On the way to the bus station for enquiries, we pass the hospital and college playing fields where there is quite a crowd watching some students pretending to play volleyball (pretty sure you are not allowed to catch the ball every time it goes over the net).

At the station some more helpful staff receive some more helpful comments, and after filling in a reservation form and waiting in a queue we are told morning buses cannot be booked. Eat at the bus station, a definite no-no at home but some surprisingly high quality food fills us right up. On the way back to the hotel we visit the Indian equivalent of the pound shop. You may be surprised to hear it was full of tat.

Posted by tevs 05:35 Archived in India Tagged palace karnataka mysore maharaja Comments (0)

Chapter eleven - Hampi

sunny 33 °C

Day 61: Hampi, Karnataka 29/11/11

Up early in Benaulim (6:20ish) for our 7:40 train to Hospet and on to Hampi. First things first, I jump onto our neighbour’s bike to hurl down to Annie’s and pick up our tardy laundry. Gemma meanwhile visits the German bakery to pick up some breakfast and lunch. None of that train food for us it seems.

Quick shower and a painless taxi to Margao and we are waiting on Platform 2 with about half a million other European backpackers destined for Hospet. A spectacular train journey (even though I slept for some of it) sees us roll through tropical, densely forested hills, past magnificent waterfalls and eventually into the Flintstones-esque landscape of the boulder hills around the Hampi area.

Before alighting, the rickshaw touts are already somehow on the train (they must get on the stop before Hospet) and giving it the hard sell. Do one! So annoying.

Hospet, after the bliss and relaxed vibe of Goa, is a shithole. However, a 100 rupee tuk-tuk into Hampi reveals a beautiful ancient city full of history and surrounded by mountains and banana plantations. We manage to find a room at a hotel highly recommended by the Rough Guide (Mowgli Guesthouse), have tea (a thali for me, lasagne for Gemma) and watch a film at a joint next door.

Back to Mowgli and the non-recessive Evans destructive gene kicks in. Gemma and myself are sat on the swing outside our room and the rope at my end miraculously snaps, sending the two of us tumbling to the floor. How proud my dad will be!

Day 62: Hampi, Karnataka 30/11/11

Up earlyish and we head out for Hampi to check out the temples and the nearby monuments. We catch the boat across the river to Hampi, which with this being India is packed to the rafters. Take a walk around the temples and the monuments, which are about 500 years old, some of them being incredible works of art. Some of the slopes to climb are pretty steep to say the least and at one point an old lady asks us to help her up to the shrine she is visiting. We help her up and she performs puja before blessing us. And then asking for money. Her shrine has a psychedelic coloured monkey on the wall and a giant millipede the size of a hosepipe.

Absolutely gagging for a drink and the we stop for one, where the waiter asks if we would like a special marijuana lassi. No thanks. Meet a little boy selling postcards as we wait for the boat back across the river and he is both charming and heartbreaking in equal measure. Back to our hotel where we eat (pizza and bbq chicken – have realised that it seems we do not eat Indian food in our commentary here – this is not the case, we have had lots and lots of incredible Indian food) before we go to watch a film on the big screen next door.

Day 63: Hampi, Karnataka 1/12/11

We have now done two whole calendar months in India (October and November)! Here’s to the next two…

I have my second bout of the sub-continental stomach, which sees me confined to the bathroom and the hammock outside our room (which has been fixed). Gemma, meanwhile, ventures into Hampi alone to run some errands and sees some sights – monkeys in the post office apparently – and is told off for showing too much flesh in her shorts near the temple.

My time recuperating leads me to some conclusions. The travellers in Hampi seem to be of a stoner/pothead disposition and the French are falling further and further down the league table of life. Gemma returns errands complete and we discuss where are going to go next. Gemma goes off to book the overnight bus to Bangalore. Back she comes, checks my temperature and sends me to bed. Do not feel too good.

Go to watch tonight’s film, Red with Bruce Willis as a CIA agent. Pretty good. Very uncomfortable night, shivering, feverish and diarrhoea. Nice.

Day 64: Hampi, Karnataka 02/12/11

Sleep in until about ten after a rough night and the oh so rare of luxuries, a steaming hot shower, makes me feel a lot better. Join Gemma for a cup of tea (not for her obviously) and we talk, type, read and I eventually decide to eat. Something safe like boiled eggs on toast should make me feel better. Mistake – back to shitting myself.

Discover in Hampi another drink to bring back with the fresh lime soda – ginger, honey and lemon tea. Healing. We do very little for the rest of the day – visit internet café and laze about. Tonight’s movie is Due Date with Robert Downey Jr. and the weird bloke from the Hangover. Good one.

Day 65: Somewhere between Hampi and Bangalore 03/12/11

Wake up and feel a lot better – because we have not seen as much as we would have liked whilst in Hampi due to illness, we hire a bike and go to visit the surrounding country. Head into some pretty rural areas, with Steve McQueen a little unsteady to start with, slightly heavy on the throttle, we take in some outstanding scenery. Farmland, mountains, monkeys, people as well as goats, cows, buffalo and tractors with road wide bales of hay block the road surface.

We visit a dam and skim stones in the lake, delve further into the mountains and have a drink at a ‘hotel’ called ‘Whispering Rocks’. Would absolutely recommend this place to anyone in the area – a secluded spot in the middle of the mountains, with bamboo huts, at rock bottom prices and also a room carved into the rock face as well as livestock including peacocks.

On the way back we visit a temple frequented by lots of monkeys. Shoo them away with a pathetic leafy stick to have teeth bared at us. Come on then. Not scared.

Head back to Hospet, where we spend time at a highly recommended hotel, where we are told we absolutely cannot use the internet facilities even if we pay. However, a huge wedding eats up some time and makes for an interesting spectacle. Catch our overnight bus to Bangalore and prepare for the night ahead.

Posted by tevs 02:39 Archived in India Tagged temples india karnataka hampi Comments (0)

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