Blogs from Karnataka, India, Asia - page 6


Asia » India » Karnataka February 22nd 2017

All it took was overnight train ride on the Hampi Express from the big city of Bangalore to Hosapete and we were in a new world - the Indian countryside of the Deccan Plateau - ox carts, palm trees, rice fields, over laden vehicles and red dirt. In the three days since we had left home, we had covered some familiar ground but had some new experiences - ordering a cappuccino and cheese plate high over the Pacific in Cathay Business class; eating genuine dim sum in a hole in the wall in Kennedy Town, Hong Kong; finding out we had a defective camera card; getting a bit worried after repeated rejections of our bank cards in Bangalore until we used an Bank of India ATM ( wait, that one was not a new experience), painlessly ... read more
Lotus mahal
Step well

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore February 2nd 2017

Our three week tour of Southern India started in Chennai (formerly known as Madras). Having not been to India for nearly seven years it was good to be back in this energetic, crazy country. Chennai lies on the Bay of Bengal and supposedly has the second longest urban beach in the world. However, that's a bit wasted for the locals as swimming is not allowed due to treacherous currents. As Chennai was just a meeting point, we immediately headed off to Kanchipuram - known as the city of a thousand temples, apparently there are only about 180 (but who's counting?). We arrived during the festival of Pongal, when everyone was dressed up in all their finery and visiting the temples. The ladies in particular were stunning in beautiful, multi-coloured sarees. Another feature of Pongal were the ... read more
Temple ceiling - Pondicherry
Locals in their colourful sarees
Kerala Backwaters

Asia » India » Karnataka » Mysore January 30th 2017

Geo: 12.314, 76.6759 After yet another overnight train ride, this time returning to Mysore from Hampi, we arrived at our hotel (Parklane) and were able to check-in immediately upon arrival at about 9:30am. What a relief! Our room, an air conditioned refuge, was huge with a balcony that we didn't use because it overlooked the quintessentially noisy, busy, dirty street. Jim and I don't typically like cities so we keep our stops short such as this one for three nights. It was Republic Day in India - a big holiday - so the Mysore Palace a short block away was to be lit with its 100,000 lights. We sauntered over before it was dark joined by the throngs of other tourists and locals to view this spectacular sight.The air was alive with celebration and anticipation as ... read more
Transportation alternatives
Donna lit up!
One of the entrances to the Palace grounds

Asia » India » Karnataka » Hampi January 25th 2017

Geo: 15.3333, 76.4667Clickety, clickety, click, woooo woooo, chai tea chai - these are the sounds of the train while my body gently jostles to the rhythm of its movement. I was stretched out on the upper berth, that I had unceremoniously mounted with many dark eyes watching while the man in the berth below me shielded his head from my swinging body and Jim tried to assist me and simultaneously protect others. It was the dance of a tired 58 year old on a moving train. Not particularly graceful. I awakened from a decent night's sleep, resting on my berth...I had applied all the accoutrements necessary for me to sleep the night: eye mask, kerchief laced with immunity-building essential oils, ear plugs and the 'piece de resistance - a good sleeping pill. I was swaddled in ... read more
Morning rituals by the river
One way to get across the river
Not much personal space

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 23rd 2017

Incredible India Southern India 1 of 3 Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala Many of our friends have expressed their frustration with long-haul travel in recent times: the long journey to the airport, exhausting queues at check-in, shoes off, shoes on, belt off, pull up trousers, belt on and empty pockets at security, three-hours of waiting around in that other world of make-believe in the departure hall before takeoff, and then the traumas of immigration on arrival. Maybe they’re right. Immigration with the new Indian eVisa at Bangalore was the final straw for us, queuing for ages as passenger after passenger struggled with inefficient fingerprint machines, retina cameras and the like. They do love their bureaucracy: passports and photos on arrival at our hotel too. But then, we British left them with that legacy didn’t we? We ... read more
Bangalore Palace
Six-up on a moped and not a helmet in sight!

Asia » India » Karnataka » Mysore January 14th 2017

From the first jarring judder bar, I knew this was going to be a rough ride. This ancient school bus did not have the softest suspension. And Indians sometimes ask the most random questions. The bloke next to me opens a conversation asking me how much I paid for the shorts I was wearing. In which to answer, I needed to remember where I bought it, how much I paid for it and then convert that into rupees. He then asks me which cellphone company I was with. Since I have an international SIM card, this wasn't an easy explanation either to someone who didn't speak English very well. Rolling into Mysore, my first impressions was that this was just another dirty, dusty, hectic Indian town. And a bit of a shithole. My hostel was nice ... read more
Marriage Pavilion
St Philomena's Cathedral

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 12th 2017

I have made countless observations in my two months in India so far that have ranged from the interesting to the unusual, and from the shocking to the downright incomprehensible. Definitely in the latter category is the apparent national obsession with photographs and in particular, selfies. It seems that when Indians decide to get into something, they tend to do so with a manic fervour unmatched anywhere else in the world, whether it be cricket, Bollywood or...selfies. I witnessed this phenomenon once again along with Immy and the typically tall Dutchman Jasper in the town of Hospet, as we had dinner while we waited for our overnight buses down to Bangalore. Even more than the females, Indian males appear to be the vainest I have ever seen, constantly taking pictures of themselves. What is this fuelled ... read more
Masala Dosa
Shangri-La Hotel
Krishnarajendra Market

Asia » India » Karnataka » Hampi January 5th 2017

To answer the question I asked at the end of my last blog entry, perhaps it was the right decision to leave. My bill at the Jungle Cafe back on Om Beach was a bit more than I was expecting and I ended up using up all my ₹2,000 - which had been my cash buffer that now no longer existed. I still had a few ₹100 rupee notes lying around but I'm not sure I would've had enough cash to stay another couple of nights in ATM-less Om Beach - so from an economic standpoint, I think it was a good decision to leave. Having been told there was a two hour delay to the bus, I was surprised when it suddenly popped up at the middle-of-nowhere hotel I was waiting at after just half ... read more
View From Matanga Hill
Such Great Heights
Achyutaraya Temple

Asia » India » Karnataka » Gokarna January 1st 2017

It was six months ago, at the start of my European trip, that I first heard about Gokarna and Om Beach. It was in Bilbao, Spain, where I met a Czech girl called Eliska who just couldn't stop going on about the place, with its great beach and chilled out vibe. It was her enthusiasm about the place that convinced me that this was a stop I that I just had to make. But you have to get there first and along with Maura, another girl that I had met in Europe, I stood on the platform at Canacona station just outside of Palolem, Goa, waiting for our unfailingly late, Indian train to Gokarna. The train finally arrived about three hours later than scheduled, which was the longest delay I've had on the Indian railways so ... read more
Utsava Ratha Of Lord Mahabaleshwara
Paradise Beach
Pilgrims Bathing

Asia » India » Karnataka December 27th 2016

Agumbe is a little village half an hour (30km) from the town of Thirtalli or, on the usual road, an hour (55km) from Udupi. There are a small handful of cheap places to stay in Agumbe, the one I chose being the Mallya Residency which is by the bus stand and costs 500 rupees (about NZ$10). Right on the edge of the village is the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, which is where the lion-tailed macaques are found. The road from Udupi runs right through this forest, and given how narrow and winding it is, it was actually good that it was currently out of action because it meant that when I was walking on it there was almost no traffic. There was some traffic because only part of the road was being resurfaced, so motorbikes and a ... read more
Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus)
Black-footed Grey Langur (Semnopithecus hypoleucos)
Malabar Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica)

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