Sunday was a full moon day, no practice in traditional ashtanga. I decided to explore some history and culture of the surrounding areas. A friend who had been here before suggested we take a group trip out to see a few ancient temples and waterfalls. I was quite excited at the prospect and most assuredly I’m really glad I went. However, I had not quite grasped the driving. I’m guessing sleeping in the four hour trek from Bangalore airport to Mysore had saved me more than being tired!
I had asked how far, and all those types of things, and though I thought I has a basic understanding of driving here in India, I was wrong. There were four of us in the group, plus a driver in something similar to a small suburban, but with no seat belts or air conditioning. This was not the car from the brochure. The air conditioning, however, was really the last of my worries. I was terrified, truly frightened beyond the ability to even scream at one point, and cackling with nervous laughter at others. Highway driving or countryside driving as I’m not sure what moniker to define it with is more like driving in a video game like Mario Cart, Frogger or Temple Run. Ahh yes we were on a temple run, so why not? There were golden statues at the end!
The driver, who seemed completely at ease with two busses barreling at us in a road only the size of one and a half lanes, with one veering off at the last second, just to have a car be hidden right behind him that we somehow magically squeezed between like the knight bus in Harry Potter, just absolutely deserves a medal. Some of the major roads are done relatively well and new, but as with many things, the infrastructure of transportation is very much still a work in progress. There were at least three different times we had back ups and waits just to have a bus try and fit past other cars or trucks on single lane roads that now have two way traffic, built long before cars were a major or even minor part of daily life here.
Marc, one of my fellow adventures noticed as we were stuck on a bridge in one of these instances, that the steel from the bridge came from a British company he was familiar with. This bridge shook and shimmied from side to side as we waited for the bus to eek slowly forward through the bottleneck that had now formed packing our whole side of it. I commented back, that I was relatively certain the bridge dated back to colonial British times. I could see as I snapped pictures of the boaters below us that new pillars were being set for a new bridge, and I’m happy to have avoided the present one’s failure, I hope all continues to work until the next, improved larger one is complete!
I loved every minute of it. I certainly would never attempt a drive like that myself here, not without being in India for some time, but as with many things here, it is a point of trust and surrender. This insanity works here, at least the majority of the time, and driving through villages, rice paddies, sugar cane fields and the majestic and vibrant landscape was a gift to all my senses. The Keshava Templein Somnathapur in of itself was worth it, everything thing else was the cherry on top.
The rings in the last picture and corner stone they are linked too are all cut from one stone together, but I loved the ceilings best of all!