It’s more than a month since I returned from a week-long tour of Karnataka, the state of which Bangalore is the capital. We stayed for a few nights in Hospet while we visited the temples of Hampi. We then moved on to Badami, Hassan and later Kolar where we attended the 50th Full Moon Festival–one of my favorite places.

I left for this trip on my second day in India, tired and jet-lagged. I didn’t have a camera and I didn’t think to bring along a notebook. Very frustrating. Raja lent me his camera so I do have pictures of some of the oldest, most beautiful and holy places on the earth. But-I don’t have a record of my thoughts or a list to identify and organize my photos. Sister Ruth has offered to help me identify the places, so watch for an update.

Toward the end of our trip I bought a notebook and made lists of things I observed and of some of the things that moved me. Here are some of those lists.

Things that moved me deeply:

  • The temples. Their age, sense of history. I had a sense of all those who had passed here before me, millions of bare feet wearing the stone smooth, millions of hands caressing the sacred hand-carved statues of the gods. The holiness. The craftsmanship and artistry; the unbelievably intricate detail of the carving in granite.
  • The people. In spite of the poverty and squalor, heaps of trash, lack of plumbing, mud, the people I saw were beautiful, clean. Women dressed in brightly colored saris. And the warmth. I felt like the “ugly American” driving around in a van, hanging out the window trying to absorb everything, looking at people, how they live. I feared that people who lived in such abject housing, such poverty, would resent me, think me a voyeur of sorts, peeking into their homes, looking at their laundry drying spread on the banks of a stream, taking pictures  of them. Instead, I was greeted with smiles, the warm, genuine kind of smile that creates little wrinkles and a twinkle in the eyes. People waved. Children ran up shouting, “Hello. How are you? What is your name?”


  • marigolds
  • sunflowers
  • sugar cane
  • rice paddies
  • cabbage
  • tomatoes
  • potatoes
  • beans
  • lettuce
  • bananas
  • corn
  • coconuts
  • grapes (I had the best grape juice of my life a couple of weeks ago at a restaurant in Bangalore that a friend  of Janaki’s took us to)

Flora and fauna that I was able to identify:

  • monkeys!!    
  • mongoose
  • egrets
  • eagle
  • crows
  • owls
  • green parrots
  • osprey
  • hawks
  • lotus flowers
  • hibiscus
  • eucalyptus
  • lily pads
  • bougainvillea

Domestic and in the streets everywhere (except the elephant–she was in the temple)

  • an elephant who gave blessings (I was blessed)
  • ponies
  • cows
  • pigs
  • goats
  • sheep
  • chickens
  • camels in downtown Bangalore!
  • oxen
  • street dogs
  • cats

Cars, SUVs, trucks

  • 1 volvo
  • 1 mercedes
  • 1 dodge
  • 1 chevy
  • fords
  • tata
  • toyotas
  • suzuki

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