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Published: June 16th 2008
We looked for ways to get rural. The town of Badami has fantastic Chalukyan hilltop temples and caves, around 1600 years old. From the roof of our hotel, you can see the full length of the red rock cliff face, with it's northern and southern forts, and all the temples inbetween. It's incredible, but walking the streets is a little depressing. I swear there are eighty percent more children hanging off your arms asking for school pens and chocolates than there were two years ago, when i found the town quite peaceful. These kids are cute really, but you feel like a big dollar bill wandering around town. It wasn't the experience we were looking for, however dramatic the landscape and temples might be. So, we made a plan. We knew the temples of Pattadakal and Aihole were accessible from Badami. We also knew that there was a 13km stretch between the two towns, full of villages, fields, countryside, trees... we decided to walk between the two. Eight hours walking in the Indian sun, stopping at deserted temples and veering off into villages, is hard work, even in monsoon time, but it was worth it. Between Aihole and Pattadakal, we met
about five hundred goats, a hundred water buffalo, about 150 screaming kids, sixty girls washing clothes and carrying water, a hundred curious, friendly villagers, and many farmers. It was great to be in amongst the life we have always watched wistfully from buses but have never felt involved in. From Pattadakal, we even got to ride on the roof of the bus for part of the way back to Badami. Very Bollywood! My faith in India's Jadoo (magic) is fully restored. We are now both burnt, like true Brits, in bizarre patches. I wore a bandanna all day and now have a red and white striped face. I think this is a new record in ridiculousness for me. Think Sikkimese red panda meets Crash Bandicoot. Pictures to follow...
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