Tuesday, 10 March 2015

09 Mar - Mysore to Shavrana Begalaru

Day's run: 81 km
Total: 812 km
Start:  06:43
Saddle Time:   05:06
Total Climb:    662 m
Total Descent: 531 m
Average: 15.8 kph

I was down at 06h30 to checkout, the foyer floor covered with the bodies of sleeping staff. I was expecting to be delayed, but by the time I had hitched up all my panniers I was groggily presented with my bill.

I'm off to see the Jain monolithic statue, a pilgrim destination and voted (by Indians) No 1 of the 'Seven Wonders of India'. That's good enough for me.

It's the best bit of the day, heading off somewhere new, through cool empty streets, seeing the city waken to a new day. Once I'd cleared the 'burbs' as Syd, my Adelaide Aussie calls them (how come Australians so excel at sport but don't have the energy to string two syllables together) I was into farming country, paddy fields, maize, coconuts and sugar cane.

I don't know if it it's to do with the Holi festival but coming out of Mysore through the 'burbs' the housewifes were washing down the road outside their front doors, then sprinkling white dye in a variety of the most elaborate and well-executed patterns. It seemed sacriligeous to ride over them so I wiggled my way carefully out of town and into the countryside. (I was later told by a waiter at the Vishnu Regency that they are purely for decoration). 

The artistry on these bullock carts is first class and seems to be the done thing around here. In rural India the craft of sign-painting is alive and well for adverts, political slogans, and on school walls exhorting students to work hard.

Cutting cane in Karnataka. This looks like hard labour.......the workers live and sleep in a tarpaulin tent encampment next to the plantation. I've  still not had a sugar cane drink....when I've lost a few more kilos   : )

So this is my programme for the next few days........today to Shravana Belagola, tomorrow to Belur (best stone carving in the world?), the following day an unloaded pedal to Halebeedu and back(more temple stonework).........and then some big distance days to get to Hampi.

Around here there are more oxen working in the fields than tractors. Several pairs out ploughing the fields today......controlling a plough and steering wayward oxen at the same time looks like a skilled and backbreaking job.

This is my objective for this afternoon.....on top of that hill.

First, check into a room at the government-run pilgrims' accommodation complex (huge!) Rooms are basic but cheap at 250 rupees per night.....my bike is sleeping with me tonight so I should sleep soundly  : )

Checked in, showered, and like a million pilgrims before me I'm off to climb barefoot up the 600-odd steps carved out of the granite rock-face (very hot rock at 2pm!) to meet Gommateshvara Bahubali.

The view from the top is impressive in itself. Climbing steps is a doddle for a cyclist in his prime (ha!) and I felt quite smug as I scampered up barefoot past huffing and puffing Indians, especially as I'd just completed 80k from Mysore. I did wonder how many heart attacks they had to deal with every year on these steps. Me and my big mouth: my calves were killing me the next day - must be a different muscle group   : /

OK, it was impressive. For me, mainly because this monolith has been superbly sculpted out of the top of the granite mountain and then the temple built around it......1,000 years ago, about 100 years before the Magna Carta was signed. Wow! It's big, about 55' high. My photo doesn't give any impression of the size but his willy is about 3' long, if that is any help. Why naked? Syd says it symbolises rising up and leaving all worldly possessions behind. I like that. What!.... and the phone? Better photos and background here

It's my chai guy. This is what you look like if you work 16 hours a day......or maybe he put eardrops in his eyes too : /

And finally, before I head for the restaurant, a street stall masala dhosa (25 rupees) for hors d'oeuvres...delish!

1 comment:

  1. Great scenery and good descriptions to accompany the photos Mike. Beryl and I went to see 2nd Best marigold Hotel . . . .the dance and spiritual side of that film went very much in parallel to your narrative.
    Beryl sends her good wishes and congratulations on the quality of your blog . . .stay safe mate and buy some spare nuts and bolts soon . . .Dad.