Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hoysala temples

Happy New Year to all!
Yep, we have picked up Sandra and are back on the move. We are also trying to eat ourselves sick with all the candy, cookies, etc she brought for us. I swear our packs have doubled in weight since she arrived. Wow we've changed a lot as we can't handle the sugar at all anymore.
In true Watkins fashion we attempted to kill Sandra right away (as we did with Brittany) but she is way too tough. We picked her up at Cochin, and that night we got on an overnight train up the coast to Mangalore. Bre and Savannah had to share a bed on the train (again) because we were stuck trying to get the emergency quota tickets and they wouldn't give us 5. From Mangalore we jumped on a bus to Hassan, 5 hrs east and up on the Deccan plateau. Talk about another bus ride from hell, the only thing different between it and a rollercoaster was the lack of shoulder harnesses. It was crazy with all the turns and hills and the locals throwing up out the windows. Mmmmm..... I am also supposed to mention that we had to walk at least 3 km to the bus station (carrying our heavy packs, we are up to 30lbs now easy) and hadn't eaten anything but candy for ~24hrs. Add to that the lack of sleep and the heat and it's a wonder we weren't successful in our attempted murder.
In the towns around Hassan there are some great Hoysala temple ruins (at Halebid and Belur) with amazing stone carving decor all over the walls. I've never seen anything quite as detailed and delicate. Every pillar is different and every vertical level on the walls is a different set of images. Not many people get out here to see them and it's a pity because they are so beautiful. The surrounding countryside scenery is also great. It's still tropical but much drier now, with fields of corn and rubber plantations lined with palm trees surrounded by hills instead of canals and boats everywhere.
Today we have arrived in Mysore via yet another bumpy 3 hrs bus ride, thus we are now calling it "Mysorebutt" town. We will be here for the next 3 days seeing the palace and fort before taking off to Delhi on another very long train ride (we may set a new record with this one).
Ammon

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