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Part 3
HAMPI & MYSORE

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Hampi is such a peaceful place, with not a fraction  as  many vendors or beggars as what you would generally find in a touristic spot such as this. Some westerners come to stay for months on end or just meditate and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this ancient kingdom and its many attractions.




Holy cows on their way to the cliff temple.




This is supposed to be the spot where Kipling got his inspiration  for "The jungle book", especially for the settings surrounding King Louis castle. This is what our guide told us and if one looks closely there is a striking resemblance with that scenery, or at least I thought  so.                                                                   



This happy gathering was in fact a class of high school students with two or three teachers all coming from the southerly state of Andhra pradesh. As soon as they caught sight of us they got themselves lined up for a photo, though at this occasion we actually tricked them by taking the shot when they thought it was all over, which was for us a way to avoid the stiff postures usually taken on by people of India when caught by the lens.




Some butterflies were virtually impossible to capture on camera but this one seemed a bit more keen on cooper- ating than most others.




Finally we're moving on to our next stop being the Karnatakan city of Mysore. The question is if it wouldn't have been quicker had we taken a rocking chair to our destination considering all the time we involuntarily spent hastily running in and out of touristic sites on the way there! Because strange as it may seem, our one way fare  turned out to be a guided tour for Indian tourists and would just go on and on for the next grueling five days (if we hadn't decided to make our own little sortie on the second day.)

The captivating sight of Mysore palace at night, here illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. In fact, we were informed that each year during the Dassera festival 70.000 light bulbs are used to illuminate the entire royal compound and its surrounding gates and buildings.





Happy to pose for our camera, these young shop keepers sold a few of the items below of which the brownish candy like substance to the left was probably meant to be hammered into smaller chunks before eating (or our dentists may have had to hammer out the remnants of our few remaining teeth when we got back home!)




Maybe it was wise to leave that green "ummy yummy" too or God knows what we'd get ourselves into!




In front of Taj Mahal
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Would you believe it but this man, in spite of his being 106 years old, walks 2½ kilometers each and every day through the dust and the heat from his home and back again to stand for hours on end in this position begging!




This is supposed to be a rather antique replica of the world famous Taj Mahal, though this one is a lot smaller and carved out of one single rock.




Hanuman, the famous, celestial monkey as
presented in a mural painting.




One in a happy gang of sadhus up in the cliff temple area happily huffing and puffing away all day on their chillons.




One of numorous themes from the famous "Ramayana", imprinted in the murals of the impressive Virupaksha  temple.




The stunningly beautiful Mysore palace against a
background of  thunderclouds.






One of four gates encompassing the castle area. At this occasion we were surrounded by tens of thousands of celebrating Indians. The noise and the commotion was simply tremendous, with balloon hawkers and merchants of all kinds clamoring out their messages while every one, both young and old, were busy partying around.




An interior photo of the pallace itself. We were not permitted to bring our camera inside but this shot was taken from the outside as we visited a concert of classical Indian music on the night prior to the grand festival.




Mysore was the best city for paneer (a remote Asian relative to cottage cheese) on this trip to India. And nowhere else did they prepare this dish so well as in our own hotel!

 


This is one of my favourite South Indian dishes, one called Massala dosa and which is commonly served for breakfast at every local canteen.