Postcards from Karnataka

Ok… I’ve been trying to figure out how to share the jaw-dropping amazingness of all the sites we visited during our train journey throughout Karnataka (a state in South West India full of World Heritage Sites). And unless you want to come over to my house and see hundreds of photos, I think the best bet is to share a few highlights.

You’ve already seen what we ate on the Golden Chariot, now here are the incredible sites that we visited:

In Mysore we visited the Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace):
Mysore Palace | kitchenoperas.com

But I tend to get stuck on the beautiful gopuram (entrance gates):
Gopura at Mysore Palace | kitchenoperas.com

Gate at Mysore Palace | kitchenoperas.com

Then off to Kabini River Lodge where WE SAW A WILD TIGER!!!

Wild Tiger in Kabini, India | kitchenoperas.com

Who sniffed a tree:

Wild Tiger in Kabini, India | kitchenoperas.com

Then peed on the tree, before leaving us to prowl through the bushes:

Wild Tiger in Kabini, India | kitchenoperas.com

We also saw an elephant… but this is the best view we got:

I spy... an elephant? | kitchenoperas.com

The next morning we started bright and early with a sunrise river cruise:

Sunrise Over Kabini River | kitchenoperas.com

Sunrise Over Kabini River | kitchenoperas.com

And ate a really delicious masala dosa for breakfast:

Masala Dosa in Kabini | kitchenoperas.com

I particularly love the arches and onion domes of Islamic architecture — which were stunning at the Tipu Sultan Masjid (a Mosque for Tipu Sultan, a ruler of the kingdom of Mysore):

Tipu Sultan Masjid | kitchenoperas.com

Where we wore bright red “temple socks” to protect our feet from the sun-baked stone (yes, we agree that they look ridiculous!):

Temple Socks at Tipu Sultan Masjid | kitchenoperas.com

One of the major highlights of the trip was the Jain temple in Shravanabelagola. We had to climb 660 stairs to get to the imposing statue at the top. The 57-foot-tall monolithic (carved out of one piece of stone) granite statue is of Gommateshvara (also known as Bahubali), a Jain monk.

Shravanabelagola | kitchenoperas.com

In Halebidu and Belur we visited gorgeous temples, known for their stone carvings:
Stone Carvings at Halebidu | kitchenoperas.com

I particularly loved this carving of Ganesha:
Ganesha (Halebidu, India) | kitchenoperas.com

Back on the train, we ladies got such pretty mendhi (temporary henna tattoos) on our palms:

Mendhi (henna tattoos) | kitchenoperas.com

In Hampi we explored the ruins of Vijayanagara, and the Virupaksha Temple:
Hampi | kitchenoperas.com

Including the Lotus Mahal (the summer palace where the royal ladies could go to cool down):

Lotus Mahal (Hampi, India) | kitchenoperas.com

With the archways that I just can’t stop falling in love with:
Archways of the Lotus Mahal (Hampi, India) | kitchenoperas.com

And whose lawns get personal attention:
Lotus Mahal (Hampi, India) | kitchenoperas.com

We got to eat fresh coconut, first drinking the coconut water with a straw, then getting the coconut split open for us by the coconut guy with the machete, so we could use the top of the coconut as a spoon to eat the jelly and flesh within:

Fresh Coconut | kitchenoperas.com

We also visited the Queen’s Baths, which had gorgeous ceiling details:
Queen's Baths (Hampi) | kitchenoperas.comAnd the feature attraction of Hampi, the iconic Stone Chariot:

Stone Chariot (Hampi) | kitchenoperas.com

Then we walked back out the beautiful gopura (entrance gate):
Gopura (Hampi, India) | kitchenoperas.com

And down to the river, where we enjoyed the view and were joined by a friendly herd of goats:
Goats (Hampi, India) | kitchenoperas.com

Led by their fearless canine companion:
Goats (Hampi, India) | kitchenoperas.com

Over to Badami (a town whose name means “almond”) where we visited the astonishing Badami Cave Temples (which were for me, the best part of our trip):

Badami Cave Temples (India) | kitchenoperas.com

These are ancient cave temples (from 600-700 CE) carved out of the sandstone cliffs:

Badami Cave Temples (India) | kitchenoperas.com

Badami Cave Temples (India) | kitchenoperas.com

And not just roughly carved, but intricately decorated with beautiful figures:

Badami Cave Temples (India) | kitchenoperas.com

And even the ceilings were carved with mandalas:

Badami Cave Temples (India) | kitchenoperas.com

Badami Cave Temples (India) | kitchenoperas.com

And with that, my recap of our India trip is complete!  Since we’ve returned home, I’ve been in the kitchen, working on some Indian-inspired dishes and enjoying a lot of fresh flavours.  Stay tuned for new recipes & as always, delicious things to eat!

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Categories: Travel

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