Saturday, August 02, 2008


On Friday, the moon day, I awakened with some loose motions - which was a relief, since not much had moved since I'd taken the pharmacist's special tablets.

After some sitting I met J and S at Anu's, where our car was waiting to take us to the Tibetan settlement, Bylakuppe. This settlement of refugees from Tibet has at least three major temples (including the stunning Golden Temple) as well as some monasteries and universities.

In the past, the drive along "puncher (puncture) road," has taken up to three hours. But they've since re-paved the entire thing, and it only took a reasonable 1.5 hours - complete with honking, speed bumps, darting cows, passing busses on curves, villages made of mud and of course thumping Bollywood salsa music.

I've been to Bylakuppe two or three times, but this was far the best. It wasn't a weekend, which meant there were very few visitors.

And I was with sattvic (calm/peaceful/pure) people - which meant we were able to sit for some time and soak up the devotional ambience. The first time I was Sean, who was cool, and a pair of arguing Spaniards - one of whom wanted to leave as soon as we got there (as did the driver, who kept pressuring us to leave), and the other of whom wanted only to go shopping). We got a flat tire ("puncher") on the way out. The second time I went with Ammu, on his motorcycle, the day after I arrived in Mysore. On the way out we got a puncher. Or was it two punchers? I think for the second one I Ammu drove while I had to take a bus back to the nearest village, where I was surrounded by locals who peppered me with questions in rapidfire Kannada. That was the trip where I stepped on a human turd. This time, I knew to use the pay toilet - where I saw this sign:

This time, we visited three temples, going from smallest to biggest. At the middle one, there were two monks still chanting to themselves and doing japa or prayer beads (which they were doing with the LEFT hand. Apparently they don't subscribe to the left=dirty, right=clean idea of cleanliness). It looked as though they'd also just eaten, too; along with watches and prayer scrolls and malas (beads), there were empty mugs, pieces of bread and food crumbs.

After milling about and taking pictures, J. asked if we could sit; it was, and we did, and it was wonderful.

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