Continuing from the Karnataka trip, here are pictures from the day we spent shuttling from one temple to another.
The first temple we visited was Vidyashankara Temple in Sringeri. Built sometime in the 14th century this is indeed a majestic structure. The temple grounds were teeming with devotees in the morning time. We were lucky to be around when the head of the temple decided to take his daily rounds and watched stupefied as many of the devotees fell to the floor on their stomach as he passed by (without even a glance towards the poor folks who bowed down for him).
The river Tunga flows by the side of this complex. Massive fishes frolicking near the banks provide ample entertainment and awe-factor for the visitors.
Belur and Halibeedu
From Sringeri we proceeded on to Belur and Halibeedu, two exceptionally grand temples. I have no choice but to sound cliched here when I say these temples are poetry written in stone. Both temples equally spectacular, probably one was a shade better maintained than the other. Intricate carvings adorned every inch of these temples, inside and outside, some of it as delicate as lace. Figures of the Gods and Goddesses carved into monolith pillars were so realistic in form and even had movable parts carved on to their bodies.
What stuck me most was the blase display of these ethereal trophies from our rich history; no entry ticket, no information booth and no security arrangement of any degree. I am at a dilemma whether to praise our country for its laissez faire approach or to condemn it for the callousness with which we treat our treasures.
The final stop for the day was in Sravanabelagola in Hassan district to see the 60 foot statue of Gommateswara. Though I had seen pictures of this monolith I was not prepared for these proportions, nor was I prepared for the 640 steps up the mountain to see this special sight. After travelling the whole day it took every last bit of my energy to haul myself up those innocent looking steps cut into the rock face. I must add here that coming down was harder than going up as I had to do make each step cautiously so as not to slip.