Nandi hills

Sunday 5 August 2018

It’s always a struggle getting up early after just landing in India.

I had to leave the hotel at 6am (12.30am UK time!) and got an Uber into the city centre.

I am going on a day tour to Nandi hills, which is just north of Bangalore city. I was supposed to be picked up by the Hard Rock Cafe at 6.30am, but they were running late. So I sat on the steps, waiting. A few runners past by.

Once we were on the move, it turned out that I was the only one on the day tour!

It took around 90 minutes to drive north, out of the city, past the airport (where I had only just arrived yesterday) and into the countryside. A summer retreat of Tipu Sultan.

Through vine yards (I didn’t know they grew wine here!) and past fields with cows. Small villages with just a few houses, and little temples scattered between.

Our first stop was at a family house, where they have an organic farm. They had made breakfast for us – idli and sambar (one of my favs!) and it was so good.

Then we were off cycling!

Through the village, past all the houses.

First stop – a clay factory. A few men, making pots out of clay. They were making small plant pots, but also large clay tandoor ovens – they sell them to hotels for about £20 each.

I had a go at making a small pot. I wasn’t very good and it was mostly the man just pressing my hands in the right place!

We stopped off at a silk farm – where they grow the silk worms and feed them mulberry leaves, until they form cocoons across large coconut leaf frames.

The silk is collected and sent to another family for weaving. We also saw the weaving – very old machines.

Everyone’s house is a small enterprise.

We visited the old railway station. It still has working tracks, and trains pass by each day, but they no longer stop here. There were w few macaques hanging around.

Then we went around in a large loop and up a long hill and a few steep hills. I’m not used to cycling on a real bike (only indoor spin bikes!). It was also a bit scary with the large buses and trucks going by!

We stopped for a coconut along the way – so good.

The last stop was the temple complex – Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple. There was a festival going on inside – a statue was being carried around, with music and lots of people following it.

After around 30km of cycling (ok, so not too far!), it was time for lunch back at the house. They had made a feast – different vegetable curries, rice, chutnies, chapatti. It was so delicious.

Then for the return drive back to the city, which took around 90 minutes again – the traffic wasn’t too bad!

I had a wander around the city centre, and there was a tea shop that I wanted to visit to stock up!

Then, back in an Uber, back to my home for the next few weeks.

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