Tuesday, 10 March 2015

10 Mar - Shravana Begola to Belur (Chennakeshava Temple)

Day's run: 93 km
Total: 902 km
Start:  06:53
Saddle Time:   04:59
Total Climb:    610 m
Total Descent: 487 m
Average: 18.6 kph

Noisy neighbours kept me awake most of the night so I gave up around 05h30 and started packing. I noticed that one of my rear panniers had lost a screw (where the hook bar attaches to the bag) and the others appeared loose. I wasted an hour faffing about trying to tighten these anti-theft screws without the proper tool, at the same time realizing I've left my carefully selected pack of spare nuts and bolts back in Portugal. Damn!

Pocket Earth again routes me on some real 'off the beaten-track' back-roads. From the looks I get from the villagers I imagine I'm the first white face to pass their way since the Raj. It would be wonderful on an unloaded mountain bike, but now (nut and bolt-less) I worry about the jolting and jarring on my racks and panniers and head for the boring highways. The traffic is light and with a bit of tail-wind assist I make good progress. Keen to get to Belur before the afternoon heat I go into overdrive and race a tractor and trailer for about 10km. He gains on the uphills, I gain on the downhills and at the frequent speed-bumps (vicious triple-gangers!). We both stop at the same melon stall and he wants me to chuck the bike in his trailer. They just don't get it.......and I understand perfectly.

A deliciously cool, misty dawn and a medieval scene, fisherman punting silently about a shallow lake.

Ploughing the paddy, another medieval scene

Decorating the dirt with white dye powder, like we'd have a hanging basket by the front door, I suppose.

Mass production sugar cane juice extraction - the juice looks evil!

........and for the stationary engine fans, water cooled Indian-made thumper with external push-rods.

One bold, the other not so self-assured.

My room at the Vishnu Regency. Looks nice........ for 500 rupees a night. Freshly painted walls (very rare) but...........hot water from 0600 to 0900, regular power cuts, a mouse under your table for dinner......and worst of all for me, bed bugs....yuk! I made the mistake of locking the door from the inside with the key, but couldn't unlock it......trapped 2 storeys up! I eventually found the reception number on the internet using my data SIM card. As they didn't have any spare keys, I was instructed to throw my key out of the window, in the dark, to the assembled staff below. That's India!

This ancient and enormous cart is spruced up and hauled through the streets for the temple procession. I imagine similar wheels on the famous Trojan Horse. I'm in Belur to see the famous Chennakeshava Temple........tomorrow.

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