Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
17Trip End May 22, 2011
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Then after rolling, they said that they have to let them sit for a couple days to dry and get harder, then that is when they add the oil to make the incense… well, incense. After this we just went to get a traditional Thali meal (the one on the banana leaf), that was so delicious.
The following day, was our very busy day. We woke up early, called this auto driver that had told us he could bring us around the city for Rs. 10 per head and show us the sites. So he met us at our hotel, then brought us for a traditional Indian breakfast at a different hotel.
On the way to breakfast we had seen a snake charmer on the side of the road, and really wanted to check that out. So, I paid them Rs. 30 to take pictures while holding some of their snakes which was awesome. The whole snake charmer thing wasn't real like they show in the movies though. The guys were playing their music... but the snakes did absolutely nothing. So that was kind of a bummer, I was really hoping that the snake charmers they have in movies actually existed. But who knows, maybe they do somewhere?! After that, we went to Chamundi Hills, to climb the 1,101 stairs to the top to see the views and the temples. The walk up was absolutely ridiculous. It took us 40 minutes to walk all the way to the top of the stairs. It was ridiculous mainly because most of us were not in shape enough to climb over 1,000 stairs... it was a lot harder than it sounded. But the views along the way were amazing. And so were the people. There were a lot of people that stopped us to chat quick on the way up, as many Indians climb this hill for spiritual reasons... as there are a few Hindu temples at the top.
At the top, we wandered around, did a bit of shopping, and wanted to go into the temples, but the line was ridiculously long, so we didn't. Even though the walk up was completely hard... I would definitely do it again any day. It's awesome the way that people react to religion here. Every time I go to a temple or church or wherever, the people are so emotional about their praying and worshiping that it's almost quite moving. I was raised Catholic... but consider myself non-denominational Christian... and have never really got the emotion about anything relating to religion as the people here seem to. It's amazing seeing someone crying out of pure joy while praying is an indescribable feeling to experience. Never once in the states have I ever seen anyone get that emotional while praying and worshiping... no matter what religion they are. So for me, that was one of the best parts about being up there, because it's a sort of pilgrimage for some people, so it was an amazing experience. After we left Chamundi Hills, we went back to the city to go to the biggest market there, called Devaraja Market.
The market was super nice... but I finally got to the point that I got angry at a man trying to sell me necklaces. This guy seriously followed me for at least a half an hour trying to get me to buy 3 necklaces from him that I did NOT want... and he just thought I was trying to get him to lower the price so he went from an original Rs. 1200, all the way down to Rs. 200. The 200 was probably a really good deal, but I just didn't want them. I even yelled at the guy to go away and he still followed. So, I think it just finally got on my nerves... but so far thankfully that is still the only time I've actually gotten upset about something here! Anyway, after the market we had to go back to our hotel and get all of our bags to check out in time. Then we went out to the Mysore Palace. The palace was gorgeous, as you can see from the tons of photos I took of it. I got a little carried away on photos in Mysore... but I felt as if every one that I took, didn't do any of the things I was actually seeing any justice. But it was quite a hassle to get into the palace grounds... we kept being told that the grounds were closed and we weren't going to be able to get in. Finally, at the final gate... they let us in for the nighttime lighting of the palace. It was absolutely gorgeous. I probably spent a good 10 minutes just standing in the same spot and staring at the beauty that these lights showed of the place. There were probably a good 400 people on the grounds too, so it was hard to stay for too long, but we were there for quite awhile. After leaving the palace, we had to go straight to the bus station and catch a bus back to Bangalore.
Then, on Sunday after being back in Bangalore since late the night before, a bunch of us went to see His Holiness, the Dalai Lama speak. His speech was absolutely amazing. I'm not quite sure what he was talking about at first, because we walked in late... but he was talking about research of some sort and mentioned the University of Wisconsin!!! Out of all schools... I was in complete shock and had to ask a bunch of people if I heard him right, and I definitely did! But anyway, his speech about how certain people attach to their religion so much, that they become close-minded towards others. He said that there are so many people in this world that believe that their religion is the right way, and all others are just flat-out wrong. He said... that obviously he's Buddhist, but he believes that all religions are correct in some respect of what they do and believe. He said that all people are essentially the same, but need to have differences in what they believe, or everyone would basically be, well, boring. He spoke in much detail about these things, and I absolutely loved every word. He seriously had the most adorable little "hehehe" giggle too, that it cracked me up everytime he laughed. haha.
So yeah, overall last weekend was a wonderful, amazing experience, and I can't wait to leave again. As for this weekend... I'm staying in Bangalore and attending a weekend-long yoga and meditation course called the Art of Living... so we'll see how that goes, should be a great time!!
~We Only Part, To Meet Again,
ps. I finally took a photo of the crosswalk signs here... check it out, quite hilarious. Oh, and I suck and still haven't taken photos of my apartment... but I still have 4 months here so that's plenty of time to show you guys what it looks like!!