Sunday, 25 August 2013

India Part II: Badami

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Well, here we are, the second instalment of our Indian odyssey. We've moved on from Hampi to Badami, a couple of long bus rides away after spending most of the day waiting for a bus that most people seemed not to think existed. Eventually, after asking the driver of every bus that pulled up over a two and a half hour period, we made it. We ended up in a weirdly deserted ex-government hotel, the only place in town serving beer and so a spot attracting groups of Indian men drinking late into the night. Map of Chalukya rule I was fairly happy to leave. However, we did visit the nearby rock cut cave temples, the first of our trip! Badami is nestled into a ravine between two red rocky outcrops into which caves and temples were cut and carved by the Chalukyas of Badami who ruled the orange shaded area on the map between 540AD and 757AD. Badami is the red dot. The caves themselves are dark, broken up by non-structural pillars, echoing an earlier wooden temple building tradition carried through into stone. Outside, the red rock soaks up the sun, even on the fairly cloudy day that we were there, and my orange salwar kameez and hair began to blend in with the rocks. Below the elevated caves spans the manmade Agastya lake, tiers of steps disappearing into it draped with expanses of colourful cloth left to dry in the sun by the women, knee deep in the lake washing clothes. To ring out the water they would slap the cloth against the rock of the steps and the noise of the wet fabric against the stone rang all the way round the curved cliff faces, amplified and echoed back over the blue water.
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More to come and I'm hoping try out a dosa recipe, my favourite dish from India and perhaps some wadas, a traditional breakfast dish that we ate on the trains. Keep your eyes peeled!

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