Monday, August 6, 2007

Badami (Still Rhymes With Salami)

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
This weekend, my last in India, I went with some Microsofties and Co. to Badami in northern Karnataka (the same state that Bangalore was in). I'll admit that I was a little nervous about the whole thing, everything work out great. If there's one thing I've learned about India, it's that you should just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Why was I nervous? Well we only had train tickets to a place called Hubli, which was something like three hours away, and we didn't have any good idea of how we going to make that final leg of the trip. Well, stumbling of the train at 5:30 in the morning, we managed to make our way to the bus station where we found a bus that would take us closer, but not quite to, Badami. In fact it was my first bus experience in India, and for the first time here, I began to feel like I was in fact, Off The Beaten Path (TM Lonely Planet Inc.) We were riding down some bumpy roads through what can only be described as villages; Animals, and little children running around naked, goats blocking our path (and later) what appeared to be some kind of farmer's uprising. It was pretty wild. But our fellow riders were nice, and very excited to ask us questions. ("From what country?" "What is your good name?" "Do you know George W. Bush?" etc.)

Of course, I am playing it all up for effect. In fact for the first time I felt like I met and interacted with a lot of Indians, and they were almost all extremely nice and helpful.

(Aside: on this trip I was told that a.) I was a handsome man, b.) that I had nice pants, and c.) that I had the best height. Not just a good height, mind you, but the best. height, because really, once you get to 6'3", that's just too much.)

Anyway, on to Badami. Badami was the former hub of the Chalukya, and is filled with ruins going back to the 5th century. The most interesting are a series of cave temples (guarded by the monkey menace!) that overlook a sort of small lake. Due to the relatively difficulty we had in getting there, there weren't nearly as many tourists as, say, Hampi but the sights were definitely on par.

The second we hired a driver, Suresh, to take us to two smaller towns, Pattadakal and Aihole. (Aihole is actually pronounced ay ho ley, but we had our own, unique way of referring to it...) More temples, which again were fantastic, but the trip was somewhat marred by the constant rain. It is in fact monsoon season, so we sort of knew that ahead of time.

You wouldn't have guessed by his flip flops, but Suresh was a bit of a thug behind the wheel. He was passing cars and hitting gaps that I never in my right mind would have attempted. I, of course, caught all this from the front, and most dangerous seat in our Jeep-like vehicle. Was their a seat belt? Sure. Did it have anything to plug in to? Not so much. I'll be honest though, on some of those one-lane dirt roads with animals and children on both sides, I think 80kph is a bit fast. Anyway, if you're reading this Suresh, you are truly a man's man, at least behind the wheel. I think we may have made his month when we gave him a 300Rs tip, but I feel that he earned it.

A little train ride home, and I'm back to my last week in Bangalore!


  1. How can a man of THE BEST height not know George W. Bush?

    (What's your eta in Pittsburgh?)

  2. Less than two weeks!

  3. I shall put the crabs in their best outfits. Stanley will wear a top hat and Stella a frilly blouse.

  4. Ha!
    Can you put Stanley in one of those little sailor costumes? I just love them...