Did I mention the weather here is nice?
I've travelled from Belur to Halebid to Sravanabelagona via Channarayapatna by bus, all without breaking a sweat thanks to the mild climate! In the mornings and evenings it is akin to being in air conditioned comfort. In the afternoon it is just slightly on the warm side but with plenty of sunlight. Friendly conversation on the bus reveals Bangalore and its environs to be this nice weather wise all year around.
And the bus conductors have a great grasp of English and are helpful enough to make bus hopping a breeze. There are female conductors, the first I have seen since setting foot in India, and they give snazzy computerized printouts for tickets that clearly state your destination and fare. Wow!
The buildings have immaculate plastered finishes with bright coats of fresh paint, from urban shophouses to rural farmsteads. Absent is the dull patina of scruffiness, the smells of sewage, rot and feet, the darkened interiors and the dry dusty landscape I had thought was a characteristic of India while travelling through Andra Pradesh. In its place are satellite dishes on pitched roofs of terracotta tile and the smell of freshly cut grass.
The temples I have visited, the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Hoysaleshvara Temple, Jain Bastis and Kedareshvara Temple in Halebid, are superbly maintained with manicured lawns and parks, all without admission charges save for the small tip for the shoe rack guy.
I am thinking it is due in part to the affluence of the Bangalore Boom of the 80's that has spilled over to the rest of the state. However, two weeks in India does not an expert make! So I just settle myself to enjoy the experience.
However frequent power outages are also the norm here. And the people arn't as friendly and approachable. A greater proportion of passers-by avert their eyes when I make eye contact. And a small number seem almost hostile to my presence. It also seems the norm here for children to demand pens and Singapore currency.