2/20/2010 | India , Karnataka


Somnathpur is home to the 13th century star-shaped Keshava Temple built by the Hoysala dynasty.  These masters of sculpture also built the larger more famous temples at Halebid and Belur, which I visited in 1994 and 2008.  I made an effort to visit this temple in part on behalf of my dad.  I […]

2/18/2010 to 2/19/2010 | India , Karnataka

Tibet in Exile II: Bylakuppe


I somewhat reluctantly accompanied Sunny to the other major Tibetan exile settlement in Karnataka, Bylakuppe, near Mysore.  When we were able to secure overnight train seats that made it more palatable to me at least compared with taking the state run bus overnight.  We met up with Sunny’s classmate from Taiwan John […]

2/16/2010 to 2/17/2010 | India , Karnataka

Tibet in Exile I: Mundgod


While the most well known Tibetan exile settlement is near the northern Indian city of Dharmsala home to the Tibetan government in exile actually the largest concentration of Tibetan exiles in India is in the south Indian State of Karnataka.  It is in Karnataka where the great monastic universities of Ganden, Sera, […]

2/15/2010 | India , Karnataka

The Cart Pull: Gokarna


For weeks leading up to this day the massive wood cart parked at the end of Car Street in Gokarna had slowly metamorphosed into its present ornate configuration.  Teams of laborers had constructed an elaborate canopy on the massive wood wheeled platform decorated with splendor fitting enough for the god that would […]

2/12/2010 to 2/14/2010 | India , Karnataka

Shivaratri: Gokarna


With the arrival of Shivarati pilgrims poured into the sleepy sea side town of Gokarna.  In addition to these pilgrims who blanketed the town beach in lingams out of sand and waited in lines that wound around the town for a chance to enter the temple on this auspicious day, a couple […]

1/23/2010 to 2/12/2010 | India , Karnataka

Chill’n in Gokarna Again

I left Agonda in a relative hurry as the landlords of the place Mohan and Carol were staying in suddenly began giving them a hard time about me being there, so I hopped on a train down to my favorite mainland beach in India, Gokarna. The beaches surrounding this pilgrimage town on the […]

4/6/2008 to 4/10/2008 | India , Karnataka

Return to Hampi

Towards Virupaksha Temple from Hemakuta Hill, Hampi.


On my first trip to India, having seen my father’s pictures of Hampi, I immediately wanted to go there myself.  The 16th century ruined capital of the Vijayanagar empire, set in a fabulous landscape strewn with boulders appeared to be a perfect place to live out my “Indiana Jones” fantasy.  As soon […]

4/4/2008 to 4/5/2008 | India , Karnataka

The Sculpture of the Hoysala

Detail on the 12th century Hoysalewara Temple, Halebid.


Central Karnataka was ruled by the Hoysala dynasty during the 11-13th centuries.  Their temples were characterized by incredibly ornate sculptural detail, possible because the soft steatite soapstone used in construction oxidizes and hardens when exposed to air, beautifully preserving the artistry for almost a thousand years.  The Hindu temples of Halebid and […]

1/18/2008 to 1/19/2008 | India , Karnataka


Detail on temple cart, Udupi.


Udupi is a pilgrim town near the coast in southern Karnataka.  It is also the birthplace of the masala dosa, a tasty south Indian snack/meal consisting of spiced potatoes wrapped in a rice flour pancake served with chutneys.  It as close as India comes to a breakfast burrito, which is not very, […]

2/2/2008 to 2/12/2008 | India , Karnataka

Gokarna: Rest and relaxation on the Karnataka coast

Kudle beach, Gokarna.


Its far from the prettiest beach I’ve seen, there isn’t a whole lot to do, yet Gokarna has a way of gripping and enticing travelers to stay far beyond there intended duration.  I think one would be hard pressed to find anyone who has not stayed longer than they expected among the […]

1/30/2008 to 2/2/2008 | India , Karnataka

Badami to Gokarna: Via Hampi

6th century Cave temple (no. 1), Badami.


From Bijapur, I left Muslim ruins behind for Hindu ones in and around the village of Badami.  Badami along with nearby Pattadakal and Aihole (pronounced a-hole-leh, rather than a-hole) are the sites of some well preserved Hindu temple architecture dating from 4th to 8th centuries.  Although the temples were nice and the […]

1/28/2008 to 1/29/2008 | India , Karnataka


Ibrahim Rouza (early 17th century), Bijapur.


Bijapur, the last in my three city tour of central India’s former Islamic kingdom capitals, was the capital of the Adil Shani kings from 1489 to 1686 AD.  Bijapur became one of the major centers of power in the region after the disintegration of the Bahmani Empire centered at my previous abode, […]

1/27/2008 to 1/28/2008 | India , Karnataka


Entance to Bidar’s fort.


The city of Bidar is not on the way to much, trains from Bombay heading south blow by town with little more than a honk of the horn, and few tourist make the effort to get to this provincial backwater town, tucked away in the far north of Karnataka.  The city was […]