Day3: Shravanabelagola

I just returned from Shravanabelagola. It was an impressive site to see. Unlike the other hindu temples, this one didn’t have quite as much intricate multifigure stone carvings. The massive stone carving of Jain buddha himself was all from a single piece of stone. It must have been ~40 to 60 feet high.

To reach the temple, you are required to remove you shoes (as with all the temples) and trek up the mountain along steps chiseled into the rock. It is quite a long climb and the stairs aren’t always level. Once at the top, climbers are rewarded with a great view of the city. I trekked up a side path and wandered around shooting a ton of pictures and simply enjoying the view and serenity the area offered. After spending time on a plateau, I began to head toward the last path to the main temple when and India called out, “excuse me.” I turned and though maybe he wanted a picture or something. Turns out that he simply wanted to get my attention and say hi. We ended up talking a bit and taking each others pictures. His girlfriend was wearing a gown that shimmered in the sunlight. Looking at a section facing you it seemed red, looking from the side, it was green. Surely it was silk, I was surprised I hadn’t seen anything like that so far however considering how colorful/varied the soree’s I’ve seen the women here wear.

Once down the mountain I was accosted by the usual band of merchants. The are very determined and it’s difficult not to buy something. I ended up buying some bronze statues (1000 -> 320 ) and postcards (50->8).

Advertisements

Day2: Hassan, a refreshing change :)

Last night I stayed in quite a nice hotel. It cost double the rate from Friday nights hotel but was very well worth it. We were in a town called Hassan and the first hotel we arrived at. Recollecting my experience from the night before I decided to take the room w/o seeing any other hotels. Staying there, getting room service, taking a hot shower, checking email, complementary breakfast the next morning, a working cable tv, I certainly took none of those amenities for granted anymore and felt refreshed and was eager to continue my adventuring through Hassan the next day.

Day1: Somanathapur and Mysore

I just saw the dam and water garden.  It was dark by the time i arrived so i was a bit pessimistic about seeing a garden.  Well it turned out that the best time to see the garden is at night.  Basically its a collection of fountains illuminated by colorful lights.  It was difficult to take the photos in the dark, hopfully adjusting the shutter speed to a full second helps.  The cost to enter was only 15 rupies and another 50 cause of my camera.

Somanathapur: The cost to enter to the temple was 20 rupies, and once i arrived a young man advised me to pay another 20 to bypass the lines, a very good idea.  I was also given gift items to give to the god.  I was lead to a shrine where a made my offerings and a priest placed a mark in my forehead.  My guide lead me further and I passed another line and saw another shrine.  On the way out i tipped my guide another 50 rupies (though he initially asked for 100).  I also picked up three sets of postcards (initial price 150, bargined to 50).  On the way down the hill i got great pictures of Mysore and we stopped at a gigantic bull god statue where i made friends with a group of indians.

(later) Ok, let me tell you about my experience in Mysore on friday night. After visiting Somanathapur we drove to Mysore. We arrived around 8:30, that’s when the search began.

When preparing for the trip, my friend Lohit made the car and driver arrangements. When I asked about hotel, he said not to worry, that the driver would find something and accompany me into the hotel and inquire so I wasn’t given the “tourist rate.” When the trip started the driver asked where I would be staying, I said I didn’t know that I assumed we would find something. He seemed a bit perplexed and said I should have booked a room from Bangalore. That worried me a bit, but what could i do.

Anyway, so after getting to Mysore we stopped on the first hotel, very nice but they wanted 4k rupies! I thought whooh, that’s alot, lets look around. Well let me tell you, it was downhill from there. The next place was 3k but no vacancy, next was only 700 but no vacancy, another 2.4k, no vacancy. Another place, the viceroy, 1.8k no vacancy. We drove around and tried a few more, finally one place had no vacancy but the manager said he could take us to another place which apparently had 2 rooms left. The warning bells should have rung when he asked how much I’d like to spend and after replying 1.2k he said ok, the room is 450. I though, man, that’s pretty cheap. So he got in my van and we drove over to the other hotel. If ever an ghetto existed in India, I had certainly found it. Still I thought, it’s just a night, I’ve slept in the wilderness before, how bad could it be. Lol, lemme tell ya, it was bad. So there are two rooms, the local manager takes me to see the first, he says it’s 900r, I say, hey man, the other guy said 450, he replied that this one was more, it has air conditioning. That was the first turn off, especially considering the fact that it was around 10pm and I was leaving early in the morning so I didn’t need it. With that in mind, and unimpressed by the room, we left to see the other one. It was in the dungeon, caugh caugh, i mean basement of the hotel. Aside from the.. interesting… well i don’t know what that was on the walls but they were dirty to the extreme and the ceilings looked like it was going to cave at any minute. I then thought to myself, “Paul you’re not a 15 yo boyscout roughing it anymore, you are a successful professional” kicked in. As I expressed my distaste and turned to leave, he said, ok, you can stay here for free, tomorrow I can show you a better room. That just gives you a sense of what we’re talking about. Ok, more driving around. On the way back to that first hotel, crossing my fingers that they still has availability, my driver pulls into one more place on the way. The lobby seemed ok (remember I just stepped out of “hotel mysore armpit.” and was excused from my long day. I think I got the tourist rate (my driver never ended up accompanying me in any of the hotels) but it was still quite reasonable at about 1k. Well the room was still very bad. The tv didn’t work, no toilet paper, no shower curtain and the mattress or pad was about 3″ thick and left like… rubber?

After that stay I really questioned what I was getting myself into. Oh and I forgot to mention, the reason that all the rooms were sold out was that Infosys apparently had a 3 month long event and there was also a conference this weekend.

(later) I just returned from chamundi hills where i got a hillside view of mysore, visited a temple, and saw a massive statue of a bull.

Things to see around Bangalore

Its a friday and I got to work quite early since I knew today was the day I was going to take a trip around Bangalore.

My good friend Lohit set things up for me. It was to be a two and a half day trip. The first day we would drive out to see Somanathapur, a temple about 3 hours away. Then to Mysore, the neighbooring city, where after seeing the sites I would find a hotel and stay the night. The next morning I would see more of the city before heading off to a wildlife sanctuary.  The plan is to stay the night there, then to visit Sravanabelgola and see a statue of budda. Afterwards i will see another temple called Halebid and yet another called Belur.

Goa

Venkat and I left work early on a friday to set out on our trip to Goa. We planned on meeting his friend Ranga there. It didn’t take us long to get to the airport, which to my surprise wasn’t overly crowded for a friday at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Infact, we arrived early enough to browse the local bookstore where I found a book my friend case recommended. Although I came to realize that it was a fairly basic nonfiction book, the kind you might enjoy in highschool, the writer is local to bangalore and in addition to learning more about the culture, references were made to landmarks in the city, including Ulsoor road which my apartment is just off of.

Ok back to the trip. Going through security was painless, unlike the states, i left everything in my bag like my laptop and liquids and strolled through easily. What a refreshing difference.

After the short one hour flight, we arrived at Goa.

Visit to Ecospace office

Today is the first time I’ve visited the Bangalore Ecospace office and I must say that it’s quite impressive! Look out silicon valley, here comes Bangalore!

It seems that every large company is out here, and they are all in one place and reach of their facilities is HUGE. AOL for example, this building is enormous and everything is state of the art.

I have made up my mind, if I do infact go for my MBA, i’m going to study Int’l Business. There is so much potential over seas. I could almost see myself living outside the US.

Many companies in the past used outsourcing to lower development costs for their own countries. Now I realized that the host countries offer an abundant customer market, untapped by the entrepreneurial tendencies of the west.

I also realize that this is all over the world, not just here in Bangalore. Being from the states, we get mainly just domestic news, we have such a close minded view of the world. It’s like the world revolves around the states for a native who simply watches US TV programming, local certainly gets more airtime then international programming.

A visit to Ecospace

Today is the first time I’ve visited the Bangalore Ecospace office and I must say that it’s quite impressive!  Look out silicon valley, here comes Bangalore!

It seems that every large company is out here, and they are all in one place and teach of their facilities is HUGE.  AOL for example, this building is enourmous and everything is state of the art.

I have made up my mind, if I do infact go for my MBA, i’m going to study Int’l Business.  There is so much potential over seas.  I could almost see myself living outside the US.

Many companies in the past used outsourcing to lower development costs for their own countries.  Now I realized that the host countries offer an abundant customer market, untapped by the entrepreneurial tendencies of the west.

It is very interesting and I could certainly see myself studying it, if even to get an “in” with an international company.

I also realize that this is all over the world, not just here in Bangalore.  Being from the states, we get mainly just domestic news, we have such a close minded view of the world.  It’s like the world revolves around the states for a native.