visit report / thoughts: belur, halebidu, shravanabelagola

We had a detailed plan for the visit – posted here: visit plan: halebid, belur, shravanabelagola . Well, we implemented most of it. We did the parikrama on 27th November, 2009. Young Soujanya went on the trip with our erdkinder, with yours truly in tow.

Young Soujanya; adult for kannada, social sciences, english, nice savouries/sweets from Basavanagudi and elsewhere...

Frankly, the fact that the exquisite temple town of Belur (and for that matter Halebidu) are only circa 200 kms away from Bangalore, is a BIG disadvantage. One always makes a plan for a ONE day trip (computing that it will take circa 8 hours for the round trip that will leave some 6-8 hours for the visit itself) which is GROSSLY inadequate. One should plan to spend a minimum of 3 days, in my opinion.

I am not talking about Shravanabelagola in this context – which has impressive monoliths and monuments and memorials and inscriptions and what not. That the fine and sensitive emperor Chandragupta Maurya chose to spend his last years here, fills one with a very introspective mood and all that. I agree. However, at another level, I feel that life is rejected in pureplay ascetic modes. What is life worth it, if lifeforce itself is rejected? How can we NOT celebrate life? Why should one hate sexuality? Why negation? Why run away?? Is the operating philosophy: Neti, Neti??

Troubling and debilitating questions…

Tips for Shravanabelagola visitors: There is a big & beautiful kalyani here. Also, one should visit the Bahubali / Gommateshwara statue earlier in the morn – say between 8 and 10 AM. Otherwise, going up and down the huge rock formations (with little greenery) in the splendid and hot sun can pose issues whereas the climb should be a pleasant one in the morns… On the contrary, it is not a very steep climb, and temple on top of the mount is quite cool and airy… So suit your mood and stamina.

Anyway, over to Halebid: oh what do I say. What do I say! I hated to get out of it, but then we had to visit Belur too and then get back to Bangalore.

Belur: Words fail me. Life is truly a grand celebration here. Fine statues. Intense carvings. Exquisite moods and tastes. Soaked and wet with history. What more can one ask for.

One can use random search engines and get hold of GBs of information about the history, herstory, itstory and what not. But nothing can prepare you for what you would see. G R A N D!!

When I did Hampi a few years back, I had the same feeling. Absolutely lost and melancholic and ecstatic – all at the same time. Me and my boyfriend (!) would walk for miles among the ruins and get back after sunset tired and in a trance. We would not talk to each other at all, eat a cursory supper and lie down… then, the delirious & phantasmagoric dreams would start off – full of fugurines that come alive, horses, crafts and walks in the great library and in the university of Hampi  – and then, the wanton destruction of history, sadistic demolition of the works of art in name of celebrating victories, mayhem; weep disconsolately; then, in the morn we would get up very early all groggy & febrile and set off for another round of heaven.

Well, some of us should do the same thing to Halebidu and Belur, sometime… The areas are not that vast as Hampi, but these two places have the details, fractal details…

Back to the trip, the children were the most co-operative, well um, children are children. I hope they learned something. And, we all came back in one piece to Bangalore.

The erdkinder and I profusely thank Soujanya for making it happen. She really pushed for it.

Soujanya, please push hard for Hampi, Aihole, Chitradurga… What say?

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