Shrevanabelagola

Day on the road yesterday to Shrevanabelagola for the Jain mela, the Mahamastakabhisheka, and the anointment of the Bahubali Gommateshwara statue, something which happens once in every twelve years.

Left the house at 8 or just gone, after the usual pot of coffee with my wife on the veranda of our house in the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe in South India. Out and onto the Karnataka plains, me with Sonam Tashi behind the wheel. We were joined by an American, Adam Schmidt and a Tibetan, Nyima Dorjee. They were from a neighbouring house in the settlement over from the United States for a holiday in India and who were also coming along for the ride.

Continue reading “Shrevanabelagola”

Another Shatabdi

An account of a journey made on the Shatabdi Express from Mysore to Chennai in March 2017 with Anita for company and Black Ice from AC/DC on the cans.

The ride from the Tibetan settlement to Mysore was a quick one, as the road was relatively clear, it was a Sunday morning and the traffic seemed a little lighter than usual, although I knew that being in India things could change very quickly, that from almost out of nowhere you could suddenly feel you were slap bang in the middle of the busiest place in the world. We had a short stop at the Anapoorna, a well used restaurant which was by the side of the road in Hunsur, a town about halfway to Mysore from Bylakuppe. There both Anita and I had a double coffee which tasted pretty good – hot, strong and sweet – in the mid morning highway heat. It would keep us going until lunch time in Mysore that as for sure.

Continue reading “Another Shatabdi”

Mysore Day Trip

This is an account of a day trip which I made to the city of Mysore by bus from the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe in March 2018.

Been feelin’ rough these last few days, little appetite for food but still managin’ to get some down me, little appetite for meditation but still knockin’ in those sittin’ hours as well, but it is all a bit flat.

Continue reading “Mysore Day Trip”

Betadapoor

This is an account of a walk I made in March 2018 up to the top of a little known hill holy to Lord Siva called Betadapoor in the South Indian state of Karnataka. In recent years UFO sightings have been reported in its vicinity, these gain some limited local press coverage but that is about it.

Day Before the Climb

Old spelling for the place I am going to tomorrow is Betadapoor, saw it the other day whilst having a McMaharaj in Mysore Mall, on an old map of Karnataka from the nineteenth century. Very tasty McMaharaj it was too, all for 499 rupees along with a generous portion of fries and large cup of Coca Cola, a drink I do not usually have but which occasionally, under the right circumstances, can slide down rather nicely.

Continue reading “Betadapoor”

Sringeri

This is an account of a journey made to the temple town of Sringeri in the state of Karnataka which I made in February 2017.

It was an early morning start for the trip to Sringeri as we rolled out of Bylakuppe at 7.15, heading west on the road past the Coorg town of Kushal Nagar and up into the hills. For this little trip it was me and Anita, Sonam Tashi and his daughter, Passang Dawa. It would be Sonam Tashi doing all the driving in his black Mahindra Scorpio, his bulky four wheel drive we had to take us there and back. The reason for us going to Sringeri was to see the holy Hindu temple at Sringeri, which lay by the river Tunga in the hilly Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, north east of Mangalore on State Highway 169. It was an ancient temple, or math, and had been founded by the great Advaita Vedanta teacher, philosopher and saint Adi Shankara in the 8th century. Sringeri has been a place of pilgrimage, and spiritual learning more or less ever since and is the seat today of the Jagadguru Shankaracharyas who can trace their lineage back to Adi Shankara himself.

Continue reading “Sringeri”

Travelling from Madurai to Bengaluru on a Sleeper Bus

This is an account of a journey by sleeper bus from the Tamil Nadu city of Madurai to the mega city of Bengaluru in Karnataka and occurred in February 2017.

It was early evening when we got back to the Residency in the centre of Madurai, time had moved on quite quickly if truth be told, it hadn’t been such a drag after all, my fears of it being an unmitigated bore fest had turned out to be unfounded. After all we were not due to catch our sleeper bus to Bengaluru until 9.45 pm and yet we had officially checked out of the Residency at 1 pm, leaving our bags there behind the reception leaving us with over 8 hours to fill.

In fact it was not long after I had settled back down in one of the comfy chairs in the lobby, stomach still full from the meal we’d eaten, that our man from the travel desk came over and advised us that we take the taxi ride over to the Maduthavani bus stand sooner rather than later, due to the fact that some parts of Madurai were likely to disrupted because of the thunderstorms from earlier on. This kind of made sense to the both of us, me and Anita, as there was simply no point in hanging around the lobby anymore if truth be told, we might just as well get on with it, and thus avoid any last minute hiccups. We had agreed a price of 500 IR with the man from the travel desk earlier on in the day for the ride over to the Maduthavani which, although well above what we could have got a ride for if we had stepped outside to negotiate with one of the numerous street taxis, was OK for us. This was mainly due to the fact that we had been able to hang around the lobby and safely store our cases behind the reception until it was time to go.

Continue reading “Travelling from Madurai to Bengaluru on a Sleeper Bus”

On the Shatabdi Express

This is an account from 2016 of a journey I made on the Shatabdi Express from the city of Mysore in Karnataka to Chennai, state capital of Tamil Nadu.

The Shatabdi Express from Mysore to Chennai was due to depart Mysore at 2.30 pm so I got to the ticket office at around 12.45. As soon as I saw the queue that had already formed at the reservations counter for the departure that afternoon I had a bad feeling. This was confirmed when 20 minutes later, after I had gone to the trouble of filling out the obligatory reservation form, I was told in no uncertain terms by the man behind the counter that I would only be able to travel as far as Bangalore, just a couple of hours down the line. I would not be able to go the whole way to Chennai as the leg of the journey between Bangalore and Chennai was already fully booked.

Continue reading “On the Shatabdi Express”