Finally… A planned vacation 🙂 After thinking, planning, researching, fighting, and almost cancelling we decided that we were going to Mangalore. It was almost an 8 hr drive – assuming we drove with minimal breaks and at an amazing speed… daunting task for most ppl but I had the enthued Arien as my travelling companion and so ob… it was a fun journey 🙂 Lets start at the beginning…
Somethings never change, Arien wanted to leave at 5 am and we finally left at 6:40 am 🙂 And as predicted we hit the Yeshwanthpur traffic and slowed to crawling pace. I spent the next half hour staring out of the window at other vehicles as the Arien went on and on about how we should have started at 5 am over and over again. The Piscean has a fair amount of patience and tolerance especially wen she is in the wrong 😛
We finally got out of the traffic mess and moved towards Neelamangala and got the shock of our life. There was so much fog or mist (I am never sure which is which) that we could barely make out the road ahead. I had to, of course, state that had we left earlier as planned, well, maybe we would be waiting near Yeshwanthpur for the fog/mist to clear… Hehehe I know that was a cheap thrill… Kya kare control hi nahee hotha!
Anyways, we were soon speeding along towards Kunigal as the sun peeped out. On the way, we say a board pointing to Shravanabelagola… and we were soon moving towards the Bahubali monolith.
I had totally forgotten ’bout the steep climb to see the Gomateshwara. Considering the sad state of fitness that I was in – it was a herculean task. I remember having climbed the same pretty easily some years ago… Maaan!! Well, I huffed and puffed away as we climbed the steep hill. I was very tempted to change my mind half-way and the AC in the car was so tempting… but I went on… surprisingly 🙂 It was also a pretty warm day which added to the discomfort.
We saw a bunch of school kids climb the hill effortlessly and that kinda seemed to call attention to my fitness albeit lack of it… Grrr… When I thot we had reached, I remembered that there were more steps and so we went on and on and on.. I saw a few old people being carried on a cane chair by some folks. I also saw some old people braving the climb while I was taking one of my many frequent breaks.
Seeing the Bahubali, so huge, clean, and so well-maintained was a splendid sight. It is 60 feet in height and is supposedly carved out of a single stone.
The pujari spoke good English and was busy explaining the history of Bahubali to some foreigners. The abhisheka of the huge Bahubali happens only once in 12 years and the last one had happened in 2005.
Puja is done everyday for the small bahubali, seen in the picture on the right.
We started walking down the steep hill and the climb down was easy (ob) and so we hopped, skipped our way down… I was a little apprehensive of the effect of the climb on our feet later in the evening. We were soon on our way to Chenrayapatna where we were supposed to have breakfast… it was around 11:30 and we both agreed that this called for a brunch and we could try the Kamat near Chenrayapatna.
We reached Kamat at 12 after almost giving up the hunt for the Kamat hotel.
There was no crowd… we were almost the only folks at their dining hall. The food was jes okay but we were extremely hungry and so we wolfed it down while stating that the other Kamat was so much better.. The service was pretty good that it actually scared us 🙂
We were soon speeding away to Sakleshpur and then came the dreaded ghat section. The condition of the roads deteriorated from bad to worse and we were shocked at its state. The drive alternated between slow and bumpy to fast and bumpy – it jes felt far more painful when we were fast 😦
The ghat section was scary. We came across a bunch of men looking down a ravine and as we went around the hair pin bend, I saw a mini-lorry that had fallen in. I urged the Arien to go slow as I did not want to end up in a ravine. We thought the roads would get better as we reached Mangalore… Hahahahahaha 😀
The sakleshpur route to Mangalore is really the worst route a person can ever drive on. We drove without a break and reached Mangalore at 6. We checked into a hotel and decided to have a chai while we plan our day-2-day activities for the next few days… after an amazingly good chai/coffee and steamed wantons – we decided that this was a fitting end to Day1 – no more driving. (I did not drive but I was glad to comply).
The hotel had a very popular resturant which served yummy food and so we decided to have dinner there and sleep early. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day said the Arien – while I dreamt of lazing away my sunday 🙂