Blogs from India, Asia - page 5


Asia » India » Karnataka March 6th 2014

Hampi to Hassan If you are thinking of driving from Hampi to Hassan, be aware that the roads are pretty awful in places. One can see why this is a less well trodden route, most people jacking out of Karnataka at Hampi and taking the train to Goa. Not us though, we were off to see the great temples at Belur and Halebid, which necessitates this drive south. On the way we stopped at Chitradurga, to see the fort situated atop seven adjacent boulder strewn hills. The hill has seemingly been fortified for millennia and fell to Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1780 who lopped off the defeated king's head and stole all his treasure in time honoured Indian fashion. He was then succeeded by his son Tipu Sultan who further fortified the place and was ... read more
Marauding macaques

Asia » India » Goa » Agonda March 6th 2014

Monday 25th November 2013 We all arrived at Delhi Airport at about 10am local time. We assembled outside the departures doors and said our goodbyes. Most of my fellow trekkers were boarding a plane bound for the UK in a couple of hours. Lynda was catching a plane back to Australia, Jody was meeting with a guide to show her around Delhi before heading off on her tiger safari for a few days before returning to South Africa, and I was going to meet Dave who was arriving from London and we would continue our journey together down to Goa. As I got to the doors of the airport I could see there were armed guards on the doors and much to my horror would not let me in as Dave had my ticket to Goa ... read more
Dave walking along Agonda Beach
Agonda Beach, looking north

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » Delhi March 5th 2014

Friday 28th... Chill day in Alleppey, spent the day giving myself a pedicure and sorting trips for coming months. Shirley arrived about 5pm and then we went out for some dinner. Saturday 1st March... Another lazy day, had a lie in, did washing, sat out on my balcony reading, sorted trip to Egypt for end of April. Sat chatting to Mathew in the lounge whilst waiting for Shirley to return from her backwaters trip. We then shared some pakoras and onion bhajis she picked up from a stall on her way back. Spent the evening reading and packing rucksack ready for the off on Sunday. Sunday... Went for late breakfast with Shirley, wandered back passing the alcohol wholesalers which had the most disorganised queue outside, must have been over 100 men all fighting to get into ... read more

Asia » India » Karnataka March 5th 2014

It is difficult to convey the scale of Hampi. A city of 500,000 people, one of the great trading centres of the world in the 15 and 16th centuries, visited by merchants from England, Europe, the middle East and China. Devastated, pillaged and destroyed by vengeful Muslims from the Deccani sultanates after Talikota in 1565 (as the guide kept telling us ad nauseam), and then abandoned and overgrown by the jungle until discovered by an intrepid Englishman on his horse in the 19th century. And now a World Heritage Site, little known outside India. Massively long and wide colonnaded market avenues lead up to temple complexes of the 14th to 16th centuries. The temples were also social centres, so you find a dining and dormitory building, a consultation hall, a music and dancing hall and an ... read more
Intrepid explorer
Temple emerging from the jungle
At leisure in the coracle

Asia » India » Karnataka March 4th 2014

The drive from Badami to Hampi is only about two hours. Early excitement as we track two guys on a motorbike carrying a pane of glass at right angles to the direction of travel so it acts as a great big windbreak. They nearly come off as they swerve over a speed bump, but we get bored as they seem to have the hang of it and are not going to fall off, so we tell Mr Ali to speed up. The land is fertile and the trees a mix of deciduous trees and palm trees, coconut and banana groves abound, as do fields of sugar cane and rice paddies. Gone are the fields of wheat and cotton. The temperate climbs again, as does the cloud cover. “Cool today” says Mr Ali. “Only 30, when warm ... read more
Carrying glass on a motorbike
Haven't you got jobs to go to


Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi March 4th 2014

We made the long windy descent to the airport early in the morning... By the time we hit the bottom my ears were really hurting. I'd had a cold for a few days and my ears were definitively feeling the altitude difference. It got me slightly worried about our flights, especially since we had two flights to do that day to get to Varanasi. We stopped halfway for a toilet break and there was a large evil looking monkey sitting near the car. I decided to hold on until the airport. While taylor was in the toilet I got out to try snap a photo of the monkey but he quickly saw that as an invitation to come closer so I jumped back into the car. He then proceeded to jump onto the car next to ... read more
My birthday dinner
The Ghats
Images from the Ghats

Asia » India » Karnataka March 3rd 2014

Strange things happen.... as we sit in the lobby/dining room of our hotel (only place with wi-fi) under the cooling breeze of a fan, a small white rabbit has just ambled past. And left, presumably not wishing to be spotted by the cooks. Badami is famous for its rock temples, hewn and carved out of massive sandstone cliffs. For once, we don’t need the sensible hats that cause so much derision, as the temples are in shade first thing in the morning. Today we have a guide, recommended to us by our guide at Hyderabad and charging a modest £9 for three hours. There’s no doubt you see and appreciate a lot more with guide, even though yesterday we were so hot we just wanted to keep going and would not have paid attention to explanations ... read more
Market in Badami
baby bunny
Badami temple carvings

Asia » India » Karnataka March 2nd 2014

The day breaks in dusty disgusting Bijapur. I awake and contemplate the brown smears on the bedroom wall.....just what is that substance? Best not to think, get up shower, and give thanks that the bowels have held up after last night's delicious dinner – 1.5l of beer, 8 biscuits (cost 10p per packet) and six bananas. We could not face the food bizarre downstairs. We had tried room service; a man appeared with a grease stained menu card. “Is not our menu is someone else's, food not same prices not same but maybe similar”. Excellent salesmanship you will agree. We gave up at that point and took comfort in beer. By 8am we are packed and ready to flee but Mr Ali the driver does not start till 830am. But at 825am we espy him and ... read more
Pattadakal temples
Playing in the 6th century water tank

Asia » India » Assam March 2nd 2014

With a potential Assam-stopping strike in the air, I returned abruptly to Kaziranga. Better safe than sorry. If the strike went ahead I could stay at Kaziranga for a few days until it cleared, if it didn't happen I could go straight from there to Nameri National Park and arrive on the day I had planned to (I just had to miss out the dolphin search at Tezpur). In the morning I had another walk through the tea plantation. It can be a bit difficult birding in there because a lot of the birds tend to be down amongst the tea plants where it is impossible to see them. This morning I had some good luck with a whole flock of about twenty rufous-necked laughing thrushes bursting up out of the tea into a tree where ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Pushkar March 1st 2014

Pushkar February 27-28th 2014 “....concentrate on the syllable om, and feel the force that it embrace(s)......feel the energy from the trinity that flow(s) through to fill all of (you)......see the universe being created in a single exhalation of the Brahma's breath. ….. understand the delicacy with which Vishnu balance(s) everything between creation and death. The physical (will) subside as Vishnu's cycle (comes) to and end. The lasting resonance of the syllable (will) sound inside (you) as Shiva's sphere (begins) to ascend.” The Death of Vishnu – Manil Suri Maha Shivratri is the 'Great Night of Shiva', a Hindu festival celebrated every year during the black moon (usually February) in reverence of Lord Shiva. The festival marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti (shakti means creative beauty power and intelligence an... read more
Eck sau aath mandir - puja making
Another angle of the 108
Inner sanctum - Eck sau aath mandir

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