Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A simple but colorful Hindu Temple in a small farming village

click for a larger view
My walk into a farming village

Yesterday we left Nargahole National Park and drove seven hours into the mountains to a hill station town called Ooty. There are numerous hill stations throughout India and were used as places for the British to go to during the hot and humid months at the lower altitudes. Ooty has a population of just under 200,000 people and is surrounded by lush green vegetation including tea and coffee fields. Our drive took us through numerous small villages of which I had the opportunity to get out of the van and do some walking with my camera.  Walking in the country side was one of my highlights this week. Everyone, even women walking by themselves, would look at me, smile and say hello. Just like in the United States the people here in the country are very friendly. I noticed too that there were a lot of Hindu temples everywhere. Some are for a specific family while others for a village. The fence posts here are cut slabs of granite, pretty cool actually. The school kids were all in uniform and it looks like each school as their own uniform colors. Cows here are not branded in the way we know with a hot iron and specific brand. Here cows have their horns colored and the color combination signifies who the owner is. Not only is it colorful but painless I’m sure. Ooty is an interesting town and while on a walk in town I noticed many Indian tourists but very few foreign tourists, maybe it's just the time of year. This time of year it's fairly cold, about 50 degrees fahrenheit with a lot of fog and some light rain. Mom and Donnie decided to skip this afternoons exploration into town so it was just us guys. We found a great chocolate shop with a great variety of outstanding chocolates (should have bought more!) and then we stopped at the Sunset Cafe for a very late lunch. I had speghetti and Lee had pizza, Steve just had a sampling of each of our dishes. Great food. After another walk our driver picked us up and took us back to our hotel where later that night I had the best lamb chops I've ever had. Grilled to perfection and seasoned only with salt and pepper, these chops just didn't need anything else. Yesterday was a very long day, today equally as long and that post coming as soon as I can get the photos edited. In the mean time enjoy some of the photos from yesterday.

Granite fence posts are everywhere in the south

working in the sugar cane fields

Working in the sugar cane fields in Nargarhole

Small Hindu temple

Boys waiting for school
Colored horns identify the owner

Indian Ringneck parrot

Truck carrying sugar cane


Hindu Temple

Tea plantation

Nargahole safari and nearby village

The Kabini River Lodge at Nargahole National Park was actually a pretty nice visit. I got a couple of days to rest and recouperate and a day to go on a safari. The lodge has accommodations ranging from luxury tents to the very nice cottages that we had right on the edge of the lake. All our meals were included but the meal times weren’t what we were used to. Breakfast at 9:30, lunch at 1:30 and dinner at 8:30. I didn’t eat much while there because I was feeling under the weather but for what I had it was pretty good.

Yesterday was our last day at the national park and I finally had the energy to take a three hour safari. There was only five of us in the jeep aside from the guide and the driver. We saw lots of spotted deer and some interesting birds, some wild boar, water buffalo and best of all some wild elephants. The photos are below and as usual you can click on any image for a larger view. Keep in mind that it was hard to get a sharply focused picture in a moving jeep.

Plowing fields the hard way
Making dosas at a roadside stand


wooly sheep
My cottage at Kibini Lodge

The grounds at Kabini River Lodge

Kingfisher bird

Spotted deer

Yellow footed green pigeon