Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
153Trip End Jan 01, 2007
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Hassan was my base for visiting the nearby tourist towns of Halebid, Belur and SravanBelagola, my first stop for the following day. It is here that there is a 17m high statue of the Jain god Gommateshwara, making it a noteworthy stop on any Jain pilgrims tour of India (or for anybody else interested in seeing a giant stone penis!) I was informed by a guy on the bus that there are actually still people who live and follow the lifestyle rules that this god supposedly followed, which include the following: Not wearing any clothes, getting all food from begging only and only eating once before 11am, retaining no possessions, no sleeping in beds, no consumption of anything of anything grown under the ground, no use of transport and causing no harm to any living beings, amongst other rules
Accompanied by a group of students from Maharashtra, i made it up the 614 steps to the temple everyone is here to see, taking the obligatory photos of the statue to illustrate its excessiveness, then wandered down and across the street, before ascending the stairs there for the Chandragiri, although feeling rather templed out by this point in my travels, there was little to keep me here long in the blistering midday sun, so i quickly departed for buses to Halebid.
Halebid is home to the Hoysalesvara temple, which quite frankly blew me away, despite me feeling sick of all temples by now. The sculptural detail and diversity of the images was unlike anything i had seen so far, with no two sculptures being alike. The temple is well preserved and well worth a visit by anyone in the nearby area. Within the town itself i felt there was little else to see, the Kedaresvara temple paling in comparison to this one. The highlight of my visit there was the security guard insisting i eat some of his 'special Karnataka coconut', unique to this state he added. If your reading this Mr security man (which i doubt) I'm sorry, but it tasted like any old coconut to me, thanks though.
The Bus to Belur was next on the itinerary, but unpredicted monsoon style rains made me give up on the idea of wandering around outside looking at a temple, so i returned to Hassan, meditating again (yay, still keeping it up, the meditating that is!) before bed.
Departed the next day, deciding en route to Jog falls that they wouldn't be worth seeing in the Dry season (based on a locals advice) making my detour in that direction pretty pointless and adding about three hours to my journey to Hampi. Oh Ben, when will you stop being so indecisive?