|the gravity column|
It was about to become another boring weekend and add to that the nauseating joblessness of final semester, what you are left with will make even the Coen brotherscringe. But some articles on this temple town I had read earlier flashed before my eyes and there I was packed and all set to go!
I set off to Bengaluru in an SETC bus.
A warning to all those who try to attempt this stunt. The bus journey is not as rosy as they show in the movies. Instead of following a straight trajectory on a smooth and arrow-straight stretch of a national highway the driver chose to hop the bus on the carriageway. His dexterous hands made the bus trace parabolas on the road. It was a ride that a 5 year old (like the one sitting in the seat next to me) could enjoy. After that back breaking stomach churning ride lasting for infinity to me and just 11 hours for the driver(adjusted for relativity)
I was at the Majestic bus terminal , Bengaluru.
The adventurer in me decided to enquire about the route to Belur in Kannada. I approached a uniformed man and uttered "Belur ... Temple-udu...". The man stared at me and replied in clear and near-perfect English. "Please board a bus to Chikmanglur. It will take about six hours to reach Belur. So have something to eat now". I sheepishly left to find a bus to chikmanglur, this time taking care not to resort to any Kannada antics.
After a refreshing tea and morning snack I boarded the bus to chikmanglur. Banglore was slowly fading away from the window and the bus started making a monotonous hum as it entered athe highway.
The journey to Belur was uneventful and I reached there at noon. I began scouting for a place to stay. I chose a tourist lodge near the famous Chennakesava temple. The rates were affordable Rs 250 per day per head. Only problem was that they kept my driving licence with them till I checked out. It was some governement regulation I assumed.
I set out to visit the temple in the evening. There are many templea that overpower you with its gigantic constructions and grandeur. But this temple was different. It welcomed me with simplicity.
What strikes you at first is the exquisite carvings covering the entire temple and from a distance it looks like a fine embriodered cloth covering the deity inside. After snapping some pics in and around the temple
I strolled around the temple courtyard. I noticed a solitary column standing right in the middle like a giant prayer reaching out to the sky. On enquiry I learnt that it is a pillar that is not joined at the base with cement or mortar. Just pure gravity and its own weight has helped it withstand the test of time. After ogling the beautiful carvings for a while I returned to my room. I had another journey to prepare. This time to Halebidu (pronounced alabeduuuuu in Kannada. Seriously ask any local and he will howl out this name.)
The next morning I took the first bus from belur to halebidu . The journey took a little more than half an hour. I was told by someone that the temple opens at six. That someone was wrong. I came to know that 6.30 a.m was the standard opening time. I decided to take a stroll down the road. The scenery was incomparable - morning sun jsut caressing the clouds overhead,a large lake with palm trees bordering it
birds cackling and taking their morning dip in the ice-cold waters. I thanked the above-mentioned 'someone' for making me come here early.After taking in as much nature as I could, I headed back to the temple. Tragedy struck. My camera battery was out of charge!Seeing my trouble someone gestured towards a nearby restraunt that lets you charge your batteries for just five rupees. I rushed to the place. DOuble whammy! Power cut!
I dragged myself back to the Halebid temple and with the batteries borrowed from a helpful tourist clicked a couple of snaps.
Maybe I was not destined to take the photos. Maybe I wasd supposed to enjoy this poetry in stone with my eyes. After a light breakfast I bid farewell to the town that fed me sweet sambhar, and delicious tamarind rice. I was not concerned about the 'hopping' journey back to college. I was refreshed and recharged. I was prepared.
For photos that i clicked check out my album.