Hassan via Karwar & Arsikere
Our last breakfast at Yash, very early (8am, they were scrubbing the floors)...we have our usual, muesli,curd,honey & tea. Say a fond farewell to Tibetian owner, Raj Kumar and our very friendly tabel waiter, Sunil from Andhra Pradesh where he returns in a month having been away from his family 6 months he is homesick. We noticed that he works every day of the week from sun up until closing, a very lonely job for this young man of 21.
Our itinerary today went as follows:
9 am bus Anjuna to Mapusa - 8 r.
9:30 " Mapusa to Panaji - 8 r.
10 " Panaji to Margao - 11 r.(Express)
11 " Margao to Karwar - 50 r. (arrive at 1:30 pm)
3:15 pm " Karwar to Arsikere - 222 r. (arrive at 2 am)
2 am " Arsikere to Hassan - 25 r. (arrive at 2:45 am)
17 hours travel, 324 r.($6.60 US), approx. 425 k. (225 miles)
We anticipated a long bus day but not quite the length it turned out to be...
On the plus side, my penchant for positive omens relating to the #4 held in that once we boarded the bus in Karwar, the conductor's id # was 1248 and the fare (for 2) was 444 r.!
After 4 different buses and leaving at 3:15 pm w/ 2 more buses to go I was beginning to slide into mild depression. This bus, however, was the best we've been on for a long time for a state bus w/ open windows for ventilation and basically bench seats, 5 across. It looked like it was fairly new since the clear plastic covering which had been over the seats was still hanging in pieces from the edges of the seats. The seats themselves were more comfortable as well not having been 'sat out' thus having some cushioning to spell the discomfort of totally upright travel.
Approaching Jog Falls (about half way) about 6 pm we debated what we should do now that we realized the 8-10 hour ride was going to be considerably longer. There were places to stay in Jog Falls according to the LP but that would mean paying double the fare to get to Hassan the next day which would still be another days' travel. Plunging forward we knew it would be after midnight & we might be staying in the bus station to get from Arsikere to Hassan in the early morning. Both of us were able to nod off and rest in our seats which is unusual, so when the bus pulled up across from the station in Arsidere (it was an ongoing bus to Bangalore) at 2 am we weren't in as bad a shape as might otherwise be expected.
Once off the bus we asked the few fellows standing there about buses to Hassan and they pointed us across the street...a bus was halted at the exit and the conductor was waving to us. Yes! It was going to Hassan, at 2 am...miracle of miracles, off one onto another and our last of the day w/ no wait arriving in Hassan at 2:45 am. Now we figured we might as well ck out the closest ON place from the LP - Vaishnavi Lodge - just a short walk away. At the gate all was quiet and I saw a fellow sleeping on a bench some distance from the locked gate, a bit of shouting did nothing to disturb him. But when Bon got there she persisted and roused him enuf for him to say they had room come back at 10 am. She persisted more explaining our situation and finally a fellow came out from the reception room, let us in and was kind enuf to sign us into the only dbl room left. Glory be! The room number was............................................................................................................Ha! Number 9, so much for numerical omens! Just minutes later another fellow came to the gate looking for a room but was turned away. What an amazing adventure in coincidental timing.
Took bus on a day trip to Halebeedu (Dwarasamudra in olden days) and the Hoysaleswara temple, 1121 AD, a star shaped structure, very un-Indian in it's squatiness but covered w/ intricately carved friezes of elephants, lions, horses, & scenes of mythological episodes. It's located in a picturesque setting alongside a lake w/ jacaranda trees blooming w/ their blue/purple (I'm kind of colorblind so?) which makes the scene somewhat surreal since the trees have few leaves so blooms seem to be suspended in air.
The ceilings of the sanctuaries in stone are configured very much like the Ismaeli ceilings of their homes - theirs in wood - octagonal w/ square center.
The next temple some 16 km away known as Velapuri, the 1st capital of the Hoysalas is called Chennakeshara begun in 1117 AD and built over a period of 100 yrs and still not wholly completed. It is still in use today and is noted for it's typical star shape design w/ lathe turned and polished pillars using soft soapstone (called Navaranga pillars). The temple carvings include 80 deities incl 19 goddesses, lions, elephants, and busty female figures dancing & playing musical instruments. The Keshara temple here is one of the wonders of India for it's completeness, intricate designs, unsurpassed in detail & artistry. The influence of Jains is evident as it appears to depict a fairly high degree of sexual freedom w/ prominent female participation in public affairs.