Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Goa -- Panaji

For our last excursion of the trip, we went to the Panaji area of Goa. This area still feels like you could be in Portugal rather than India.

Typical small lane in this section of Panaji.

A small Christian shrine on the street.

St. Bartholomew's Church (if I remember correctly).
All the 5-pointed stars in Goa are hung this way -- it would be a scandal back home!
Even the cats act European -- pampered pets rather than skittish street-savvy strays.
This was one of 4 nearly-identical  cats (of at least 3 generations) at this house.
I tried to pull off a sari for the evening's closing dinner.

Goa -- Old Goa and north beaches

We've arrived at the last stop of our tour, Goa -- famous for its Portuguese heritage and its beaches.

We passed through Old Goa on our way from the train station to our hotel. Since it was Sunday morning, we couldn't really get to see the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral. But we were able to visit the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, since that church has been deconsecrated and is no longer a site of active worship.

The interior of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi
Close-up of the crucifix above the altar.
Ceiling tiles in an arch clearly show the Portuguese culture.
Nuns and women outside the Basilica of Bom Jesus.
After visiting Old Goa, we had lunch and checked into our posh beach resort hotel.

The view from our room. The red stone jetty is part of an old Portuguese fort.
On our evening walk:

On the street near our hotel. "Thali" is a meal of small dishes served on a metal plate the size of a large pizza platter. It's very common for lunch in Gujarat. I'm not sure how "veg thali" is different from "Gujarati thali", since Gujarat thali is "pure veg". And "Chinese thali" is a whole new term -- an American analogy would be if Domino's sold "Chinese pizza". (And I'm sure that exists somewhere!)

Badami -- Cave Temples

There are four cave temples cut into the sandstone above the town of Badami.

More steps! But rather than 700 steps, there are only about 160 here.
Cave 1 -- It's a busy day here!
At the entrance to Cave 1 is the 18-arm Nataraja (King of the Dance)
Our guide demonstrates how the 18 arms can give 81 different dance configurations.
This pillar shows the beautiful grain of the sandstone.
The tank. A number of temples and structures line the side of the tank.
A temple built on top of the sandstone bluff above Badami.
Cave 2
Cave 3 is the largest and most elaborate of the caves.
On  the wall behind the entrance to Cave 3 are very faint paintings of faces. If you can't see the most prominent face, it's highlighted in the photo below.

The final cave, Cave 4, is a Jain temple. The carvings are much simpler and have an incomplete feel.


Rhymes with "botanical" …

The temples at Pattadakal.
Pillar detail
Worshipping the Nandi Bull.
Security guard and his puppy who felt entitled to everyone's attention.
Monkeys are common at the temples.
Shrine at the base of the temple peepal tree.
Our extremely knowledgeable guide wearing traditional south Indian men's wear: a Nehru cap, Nehru shirt, and dhoti.

Around Badami

Sights on the road as we traveled around Badami and Pattadakal.

A lot of sunflowers are grown in this part of India -- mostly used to make sunflower oil.

After harvest, goats are grazed on the field to clean up and add their fertilizing manure.

We had to wait for this herd of goats to cross the road.
We passed this herd of cows -- it was one of the largest herds I've seen in India.
Sugarcane harvesters camp
Almost all the tractors here were decorated. This was not the best, but the only one I was able to photograph.

It's not all agriculture.
Making bricks.
More laundry
Sarees laid out to dry.
Swimming in the large tank at Badami.
A wooden temple chariot -- this one actually gets pulled through the streets for festivals.

Hampi -- Temples Part 3

It was a long day before we concluded our visit to Hampi and returned to the Golden Chariot.

The face of Narasimh (half-lion, half-man) looks almost cartoonish.
Very large yoni-linga (representation of Shiva)

Secular structures
The Lotus Mahal (Lotus Palace) exhibits fascinating geometry. You can see the watchtower behind it at the right.
Front-on view of Lotus Mahal
Lotus Mahal
Elephant stables.
There may be some contention about the use of this structure,
but it's difficult to see what else the elephant-sized rooms might be used for.