"I believe that if one man gains spiritually the whole world gains with him." -Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nandi Hills and Coorg

Kapi means monkey and jalaprapata means waterfall in Hindi

           This is everyone else’s last day in India and I can’t imagine leaving this country and going home already.  We have been reflecting on the trip, our favorite activities and places, friendships, etc the past week and I think there is very little I could have done to make my experience in Bangalore better.  It is very satisfying to feel the success of the trip thus far and it makes me even more excited for the next month that I will be in India.

            The other day four of us planned a day trip to Nandi Hills, which is outside of Bangalore.  Unfortunately our ride backed out, but we were able to turn to plan B and take the bus there.  We were told it was a 45-minute bus ride, but I continue to learn how flexible “India time ” is.   Almost four hours later we got to our destination.  But before we got to the top we drove up sharp switchbacks and noticed that there were more and more groups of men.  We started getting a little nervous because as we went up there were more and more, but then we turned a corner to see the biggest group and found that there was an official street race! The constant amazement in this country continues.  The bus waited its turn and we worked our way up the rest of the way, crowds cheering as we went.

            We got off the bus at the top and went straight to the puppies we saw in the parking lot.  While the puppies distracted me, one of the other girls went to get some chips and was readily attacked by one of the many monkeys.  It jumped in her arms to grab her chips and launched off her stomach.  We were on high alert after that as we walked through the pathways up to the top of the hills.  One of the other girls got confrontational with another monkey who kept grabbing her bag and eventually she had to sacrifice her mango juice. 

            The rest of the day was spent eating lunch, walking around fearing monkeys, playing with the puppies again, watching the street bike racing, and waiting for the bus to take us back to Bangalore.  It was quite a full day with a lot of time spent on the bus, but that wasn’t the end of my bus travels for the day!  I planned a trip to Coorg, which is a six-hour bus ride from Bangalore. 

            Marissa and I took an overnight bus to Coorg (unfortunately a non-AC seater bus) and got there at 5:30 Thursday morning.  We stepped off the bus to a dark deserted street (except groups of men as always) and cold fog and mist coming from the alleys.  Uh oh, this is not what we were expecting.  After hiding out in a stairway to a hotel for a while we ventured out to walk around a bit and eventually found restaurants that were opening so we could sit and get some tea.  After two different restaurants and cups of tea, we called Jacob to find out if there was anything for us to do in Coorg.  We were definitely expecting something more like Hampi that was small an accessible from the bus stand.  He connected us with a travel office and we ended up hiring a driver to take us to different places in a tourist package.

           This isn’t usually my style for traveling and I was a bit skeptical at first, but it ended up being awesome and not very expensive at all!  We started by going to an elephant camp (we just can’t get enough elephants) on the Cauvery River, where you can bath the elephants and watch them get fed.  Our next destination was this park-like place in a bamboo forest.  It was a little odd-rabbit park and deer park-but it was a nice place to sit and read for a while.  After that we went to a Buddhist temple and monastery in Madikeri, which I have heard has the largest Tibetan population outside of Tibet.  It was really cool seeing these huge gold plated statues and walking around the area with prayer flags flying everywhere.  This was probably my favorite place we went while in Coorg because it felt so peaceful and safe.  We ended the day by going to one of the waterfalls in Coorg.    It was already raining a bit, but we got soaked stood on the suspended bridge in front of the waterfall and let the spray cover us.  It was an amazing day. 


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