The morning was spent lazing, packing, having breakfast, and cleaning the car of beach sand 🙂 I was not involved in the last activity – Thank God! Breakfast was an easy affair as the cat was not to be seen. We had thick dosas for breakfast – the Arien totally lowes only a crispy dosa and so he was not tooo happy – I lowe our set dosa type dosas as long as they are served hot and they were and so I was smiling like a cheshire cat 😀
The Arien had come up with a route plan that ensured we were going to have a hectic day ahead. The first visit was to Kharkhala. Kharkhala was famous for the Bahubali monolith and honestly, I believe the heat had affected my head when I had said Yes! to visiting the monolith. The Bahubali monolith is always atop a hill or hillock and usually involves climbing an amazing amount of steps which requires a huge amount of stamina and sm basic fitness quotient. I had already been to Sravanabelagola where I had literally huffed and puffed away and here I was agreeing to it all over again. We both associated Bahubali and the climb only when we reached the bottom of the hill 😦 Well, the sun did not affect only my head – you know 😀
The climb was not all that bad this time but it was past 11:30 a.m. and pretty warm – the climb was not too steep and so we made it with fewer breaks. It always feels like an achievement at the end of the climb – but while you are starting – you are sooo cheesed off – At least, I was.
The unfortunate part of this visit was that this monolith was very badly maintained – it had turned black and was totally non-awe-inspiring 😦 There was a gate at the top and so we could not really go close to the monolith – as well. I am not sure if the gate is opened at a particular time or if the whole place was actually shut down. I felt that those shop keepers could have told us instead of letting us climb it like fools – Grrrr… We saw a bunch of gossipy gals – who looked upset to see us – they were discussing an actor, a boyfriend, and giggling – well, the climb ensured their moms wud not b climbing the same to drag them bk home to attend to sm household chores 😀
The only interesting thing to note was an old structure that is bang opposite to the monolith. We asked the locals what tht building was when we climbed down and had our fill of coconut water and sugarcane juice. The building was known as a basadee. It has 4 identical carved gateways – one for each direction built into the high walls. The Bahubali had so badly affected us that we decided not to venture in that direction in search of smthng that probably is in ruins, currently. This is a picture taken of the basadee from the bahubali summit.
On our way out of Kharkhala, we had to pass via Attur which was famous for its St Lawrence Church. I was worried that we would get lost – ppl sent us off repeatedly in one direction – but tht did not make me less worried – the number of turns that we took – fairly boggled my mind – but we finally found it – Thank God! The grandeur of the church was a sight for sore eyes. It was a serene place. We thought the place was closed as it was almost post lunch. However, few ppl were still around and so we could step in and pay our respects before we continued on our way. Most churches in and arnd Bangalore are so surrounded by other buildings (Real Estate boom?!!) that their beauty is hidden and stays unappreciated. This church was surrounded by trees all arnd and looked very nice.
After we left Attur, we drove for a loong time – debating going for Sringeri vs Dharmasthala. The Arien knew I wanted to visit Sringeri – it was not too way off – only 40 kms – which roughly translated to 2.5 – 3 hrs. When we came to the fork where we had to decide – I decided to drop the plan – our route to Belur was via the Ghat section and I was not too comfortable hitting the Ghat section in the late evening. Even if you drive carefully, if the other driver is either drunk or reckless – nighttime automatically places you at a disadvantage. I did not want to take that chance and so we both agreed that Sringeri shall happen sm other time.
By then, the Arien was hungry and as a result cranky and irritable. We decide to get some biscuits in an attempt to handle the hunger especially as most resturants that we visited had what we call Bullet Rice (Kerala rice). I opt for the chocolate cream biscuits that look enticing. However, the cream biscuit actually did not have cream. What it had was – something akin to “Shakkarra Achhu” – in Yellu Bella functions, there is a sugar structure like a Taj Mahal, Rose, etc. which is made entirely of sugar and is pretty hard to bite – most children lowe it – I did 🙂 After so many years – finding it as the filling on my cream biscuit – jes totally killed it tho’ 😦 We decided to stop at the nxt resturant, however small it was – it was indeed small – we asked them what they had – the guy says “Dosa-Parota”. The Arien chooses Parota while I go for Dosa – it is made at that time and served hot. As we eat, a person sitting nxt to us – tries to veer us off destination – telling us to go via a particular route and we are both a lil suspicious – does he want a lift? Was it safe to give a lift to a stranger? I remember every scary movie that I have watched and am signalling end of conversation to the Arien – he can be a lil gullible at times – I had no plans of taking an axe murderer with me 😛 (I do have a vivid imagination). We leave the resturant having paid Rs.20 for the meal that was both jes right and tasty and are totally amazed – I vividly recall the Poonj experience and I know for sure that the Arien is thinking of the same and we both smile.
We procced to Dharmasthala, on the way- we pass Rama Kshetra – no time to go in and so I shoot some snaps while the Arien tries to figure out if the guy was telling the truth or was looking for a lift. He does not find any answers – the drivers are taciturn, probably tired out, and nobody confirms or denies anything. Grrr… I got some good shots though. There is a considerable amount of ornate and intricate carvings on the outside. By virtue of being so close to Dharmasthala and looking so awe-inspiring – it was assured a lot of visits. I, was of course, not one of the lucky ones.
The Arien was worried – not recieving any answer made it kinda worse – suppose we were wrong and the fool guy at the resturant was right? We would b wasting precious time by roaming arnd here and in the process reach the Ghat section late. Tht had me worried too… at least Dharmasthala was close by. We promised each other that we won’t spend tooo much time here as that may totally mess things up. Post Abhi baaakhee hai mere dost – Wait up 🙂