The white pond of the Sravana (Stop 1 of 3)

Trip Start Mar 03, 2011
Trip End Mar 27, 2011

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Flag of India  , Karnātaka,
Saturday, March 12, 2011

Written by: Fran

Saturday we took a day trip to 3 temples to the West of Bangalore in Shravanabelagova, Belur and Halebidu. The day started by meeting at 5:30 am in hotel lobby. As we were about 5 blocks from the hotel, Dave asked if everyone had their passport; unfortunately, Nate forgot his so we had the cab driver literally turned around on the one way street and drive back to the hotel (against traffic). That should have been an indication of the day to follow.

We arrived at the tour stop around 6:15 am and saw two buses appearing to be waiting for travelers to board. After about 15 minutes of waiting outside a bus, we finally found someone who confirmed the bus we were standing next to was the bus to board. We were very glad that the bus was air-conditioned and similar to buses in the US. However, as the bus started, we realized, however modern it may feel, this was not going to be a restful, stress-free day. Almost immediately, the driver began honking his horn and swinging from left to right to dodge traffic. There were many surges of speed followed by immediate stops to manage speed bumps that were on every highway and road during our journey. Much of the video footage starts with our travels while in the bus. All-in-all, we spent 10 hours out of the 15 hour day on the bus. This made our 30 hour flight to Bangalore from the US seem like a walk in the park.

After we drove for about 2 hours, we made our first stop at a rural rest stop where we could eat and use the restroom. There were probably more than 6 buses also parked here, so things were very busy and the setting was much different than I was accustomed to. The dining area was open but there was plenty of Indian cuisine for those who were interested. Not being a very "camperish" kind of girl and noticing the large number of flies buzzing me, I opted to skip the bathroom and food and head straight back to the bus.

Each of the small towns we passed took on similar looks. They were a mix of sound structures and dilapidated ones. There were often cows and chickens visible from the road. There were women out sweeping, feeding animals or hanging laundry. There were often crowds of men hanging around a small store reading the paper or just sitting and talking with one another. Small children were playing around their homes and older ones were walking down the road in their uniforms heading to school (even though it was Saturday). Trash is prevalent everywhere you go. It lines the streets in the city and highways. Even some nicer looking structures are filled with trash around the outskirts. I hope that someday it will become a focus to the people and they will take pride in their vicinity.

As we neared the 1st temple, Shravanabelagova, the tour guide spent about 45 minutes telling us the story of Gomateshwara, the monolithic statue where Jain religious followers worship. He began his story by telling us there were one thousand, one hundred steps, let me repeat thousand, one hundred steps to reach Gomateshwara. Enjoy the attached video and pictures.
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