We escaped the madness of the Bangalore to the slightly less mad madness of Mysore. Stayed at a nice place there (Dasaprakash) with a few other like minded travellers out of the Lonely Planet (hereafter refered to as the Lonely Bastard). Discovery of a nice 4th floor roof space led to creation of a lovely place to chill with some matresses, incense and more fruit than you can shake a monkey at.
Saw the local sights but nothing to write home about. Managed to juggle my camera onto the concrete so that has gone back to Bangalore for repair. The upshot is that it has been quite liberating to not be constantly thinking “Would this make a good picture?”
We left Mysore maybe a week ago with Adi, a German lad full of energy and life. Great to see how he tackles everything with such passion. Jumped upon a local bus and headed out of the city. The roads defy belief, and it quickly becomes apparent how vast India is. A seemingly short distance of 30kms will easily take an hour by bus so the gaps that seem so small on the map can turn into marathon travel events.
We left the Lonely Bastard behind and stopped at a small town Kushalnagar. It was so good to get out of the city, to somewhere we could breathe and where we weren’t constantly hassled by everyone we passed. I think we were the only visitors in town but by day three I think most people had started to get a bit more used to us.
We caught up with Kurt a German trevellor that Adi had met in Mysore. As a very experienced semi-perpetual traveller (something like 120 countries visited!) we got another look at a different way to travel. We went for a day walk of 15 odd kms out of town into some Tibetean settlements. A sizeable tract of land was given to Tibetean refugees some years ago and thousands of Tibeteans live in the area now. Nice to see their architecture and sample their noodles as I don’t think we will make it to Tibet this time around. The last stop was their Buddhist Golden Temple. A large hall with three massive golden Buddha’s with the most intricate details all over. The four story walls inside the hall were decorated completely in beautiful paintings with a level of detail to rival any grand master painter. Mind blowing stuff. A bit strange to see the local Indian people working FOR the refugees. Maybe it was the better off Tibeteans who could afford to leave?
After a few days at Kurt’s suggestion we moved from Kushalnagar on into the hills of Coorg to the town of Madikeri. Stunning lush jungle clinging to mountains and valleys as far as the eye can see. We wandered our way into a very good homestay with Anoop. They made some room for us by relocating Mama to another room as their sleepout has an English couple in it. We have got on very well with Anoop as our interests cross over especially on the eco/environmental side, and his lovely Mother making us home cooked Indian meals all the time. We repay her tonight with a treat of Vanilla Icecream I think…
Anoop has taken us on trips about the place in Blue Victoria, his trusty Land Rover. It is one of eight that he now owns through nothing more than loads of positive energy and sheer force of charming personality! We visited his ancestral farmlands, and old family temples. Amazing to me that a family history can stretch so far into the past. One of the temples he suggested was over 1000 years old and it certainly looked the part.
Anoop also introduced us to Suryayog (Sun Yoga). We went to nearby sunset point. A truly spectacular scene dropping off to a varigated rice padded valley then into jungle and climbing up ridge after ridge of mountain peaks to the summit where Surya retired for the night. Suryayag harnesses the suns light to energise the body and mind by essentially gazing into the sun while meditating. Full power and exactly the sort of experience I was planning on having in India.
Not certain on where our next stop will be… maybe it is time to roll a dice