I hate early morning journeys, but you gotta lose some to gain some. Early morning heralds the take off to Belur, Halebid and Sravanabelagoda. Some journeys have little to do than twiddle your thumbs in transit. This is one of them. The time spent at the monuments though, proves worth its while.
After stale idlis and watery sambhar, Sravanabelagoda is the first destination. Six hundred and eighteen steps are all it takes to get the top of the hillock to get a glance of the temple and the famous Jain statue. Six eighteen is a large number, and palkhis [palanquins] are available. In true adventurous & religious spirit, I intend to conquer those six hundred & eighteen steps (that I don’t have money to spare for the palkhi is irrelevant banter). The sluggishness of daily life & the sins of zero exercising catches up when only on the 50th step itself, the lungs are screaming for air, the feet are trembling and buckling under their own weight. But grit and determination (and a resolve not to embarrass myself) gets me going anew to the summit. This gargantuan task is accomplished bare foot, creating a record of sorts of banging my toes painfully into every rock or stone I encounter on the way up.
Each figure carries a different story, sometimes amusing, sometimes amazing and sometimes downright insane. Like how once Lord Vishnu was so pissed with a demon that he literally ripped the skin off his face [a la autopsy]. Also, how the word GOD actually stands for the Holy Hindu Trinity –
G - Generator (Brahma)
O – Operator (Vishnu)
D – Destroyer (Shiva)
That one has me rolling on the floor.
Two figures that really catch my eye are of figures attired in what appears like the European judges’ wig and coat, and also space suits of astronauts. And these temples were built in the 12th century!!!! I wonder if these guides just make up these fantastic stories to make us believe our ten bucks is worth the banter!