Monday, June 9, 2008

Outing Day

Saturday's are for taking rest.
There is no practice, or much of anything going on for yogi's this day and so Saturdays have been declared Outing Days. Today, we visited Chamundi Hill, a spot just a couple of km out of Mysore. After a fabulous lunch of Ginger Aloo and Palar Paratha, we caught a rickshaw to visit the well known temple atop the hill. Pilgrims are supposed to climb the 1,000 steps to the top, however, upon looking us up and down, our rickshaw driver must have decided that wasn't for us. Due to some communication issues, we were have way up the hill before successfully communicated we intended to walk up, but alas, it was too late. The ride up was wonerful, circling up and up the sides of Chamundi Hill. The view of Mysore and beyond below, becomming more and more beautiful, with each chug of the tiny auto.

We arrived at the top before the temple was open so we had a bit of time to spend checking out the view from all angles and watching the locals at work/play.

The temple itself is quite amazing. Such detail on the sides, it takes a bit of time to really see the scope of what you are looking at.

We began walking around the temple base and realized that people actually live up there. This young boy pushed his cart up on side of a long ramp up to a building and then lifted his feet and balanced his weight so that he could ride down the other side. When Evan asked if he could take a picture, there as another kid there, but this one pushed him out of the way to have his time in the lime light. Every kid there asked us if we would like to buy a "gold pen" or "flashlight" at least once. We came home with no new gold pens or flashlights.

We also sat for some time and watched a pickup game of cricket. We have no idea how this game is played, something like baseball I guess. When there was a good hit, one of the players turned around with his arms up to indicated to us "that was a good one". We gave him a big thumbs up.

Further around the temple was a group of monkeys playing wildly in a tree. We thought a video would capute the activity better than pictures. The monkeys and the people shared the steps (and more) at the back of the temple. One monkey, creeping close to a small family, quickly swiped something silver (a bracelet?) from them and bounded into a tree. Everone laughed quite a lot and several people tried unsuccessfully to retrieve the stolen item. Nearby, another monkey burst open a bag of puffed rice and started chowing down.

Finally, the temple was open and after removing our shoes and finding the proper flower garland offering, we went inside. Here to, the action was confusing to us as crowds of people, stood in front of differnet shrines, took sacred water and gave over their offerings. Everyone was kept far back form the main shrine, but some of the sacred men spotted us and took our offering up for us. It was facinating to see the often subtle, rituals performed by people as they went through. As for us, we were watching in wonder, but for nearly everyone else, it was their prayer, and a special one at that.

We have learned in India, when asking for directions, we usually get a verbal response we don't understand and some pointing in a general direction. This requires that along the way, you keep asking "stairs?" (even making the motion of walking down stairs with your fingers) every twenty feet or so. I'm sure we look like fools, but we found the stairs.

Just a ways down, there was an outcropping of rocks with the most beautiful view of Mysore, the clouded sky and beyond. The air was wonderful to breathe and the view was even better. It's difficult to describe such a thing.

One third of the way down, we stopped to check out the stone carved Bull. Another sacred spot full of flower gardlands and ritual.

Finally, with wobbly legs, we made our way to the bottom and took a rickshaw back home. Evan gets extra points though for climbing all the way back up in handstand. Check out the photobucket site for more pictures. Most of the new ones are from this outing, some are more random.


shayne said...

I like the rickshaw video. I do believe he crossed the yellow line and came very close to those people crossing the road.

Carrie said...

Hi - I popped over from Two Knit Monkeys ... So that is what a "real" monkey looks like! You'd better hope B & G can't read or they may be attempting to steal some baubles and bangles when you visit Brian and Jen!

Jen said...

Awesome handstand stair climb. I think you are now qualified to become a shaolin monk!

Thanks for the dispatches.

peasant said...

woweeee kids! thanks for letting me take a "back seat tour"!!!! i have been silently logging on and enjoying your photos and commentary! i can be silent no more!!!! what a great adventure!! monkeys! rickshaws! yogis! temples! oh my!!!

connie said...

Now really, Evan, how many steps with that handstand?