From Mangalore's greetings, entertainment, and farewells to Karkala's (DL)

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January 27th 2013
Published: January 30th 2013
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As other team members have already mentioned, we had a big audience for our presentation at the District Conference in Mangalore last weekend. Thanks go to Val and Terry Leivers from Nottingham for the picture of us up on stage not looking at all nervous. We have done so many formal and informal (unexpected) presentations now that nothing seems to faze us!

After the long build-up to our conference presentation, it was great to spend an evening winding down, even if it did mean I had to sing in the karaoke bar, which you would never see me doing at home!

We knew we would have the opportunity at the conference to catch up with many of the Rotarians we have spent time with throughout our trip but this time we were saying goodbye for much longer. Having bid so many farewells, it felt quite strange to hop on our bus again and set off to our final two host families. However, we were warmly welcomed in Karkala and immediately started another programme of visits.

Our first visit was to the Rotary hospital, whose main services are for women and children. There is also an ophthalmology department. The hospital teaches students and is associated with a medical college under Manipal University.

We then visited a Catholic church where preparations were being made for the annual Attur Shrine Festival. Thousands of people travel far and wide on a holy pilgrimage. Non-believers and people of other religions also attend.

Also on our programme for the first day in Karkala was a visit to a theme park. We thought this was a bit strange until we were told that it was actually a museum! The Kotti Chennaya Theme Park depicts the lives of two heroes (Koti and Chennaya) through several pictures and there are 10-feet high statues of them. There are also many interesting features of the local culture displayed.

In the afternoon, we saw the skilled work of students at an artisan training centre that is sponsored by Canara Bank. Great talent was evident in their stone and wood carvings, metal work, and terracotta items. Had we not already been struggling with the restrictions on our luggage allowance, I think a few of us may have been tempted to buy a few items!

After a little rest, we were taken to a spiritual festival known as bootha kola. We saw the ritual dancers preparing to impersonate a spirit. When viewed in full costume and make-up and seeing them run towards you bearing swords, it is a little unnerving!

The following day, we thought we were going on a trek in the kundremukh national park. It turned out to be a relatively short, gentle, walk to the hanumangundi falls, though there were almost 400 steps involved. It was very peaceful and relaxing sitting in the sunshine at the base of the falls, chatting and eating papaya. We almost had to be dragged away from the scenic beauty of the falls and the national park.

As if one climb that day was not enough, we climbed another 200 steps up to a slightly smaller gommateshwara statue late in the afternoon. At 42 feet high, it is the second tallest in Karnataka (the tallest being the one we saw in Shravanbelagola).

An informal Rotary meeting followed and we delivered a short presentation about ourselves and our experiences so far. We were then whisked off to one of the Rotarian’s relative’s housewarming in Moodabidri. It was a bit like an open house where people were welcomed into the home and were able to wander round at their own pace. I am not sure that I could welcome complete strangers into my home! As is customary here, food is always offered. We therefore sat down to a wonderful selection of foods, eating off a banana leaf.

The hospitality everywhere we go is overwhelming and we are always sad to say goodbye to our hosts but we are looking forward to the next, and last, stop of the tour of Karnataka now, which we believe will be somewhat more relaxed (we’ll soon find out if this is the case!).



31st January 2013

Sounds like you are getting so many brilliant experiences,the national park looks beautiful, it's lovely to see the photos to support the blog. best wishes Jennifer Rotary Club of Carlisle Castle
5th February 2013

Hanuman gundi waterfalls
Is the falls dry or is the right time to visit?

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