Sept. 10th, 2013
Our tour guide Kumar had told us that there was a big festival in a small town 20 kilometres from Hampi and being templed out we decided to rent a bike and go check it out. Supposedly many animals were going to be slaughtered for a big feast and that wasn’t what we (well really Naomi) wanted to see but we figured that there must be other activities going on.
It was a gorgeous ride through the countryside and the further away from Hampi we got, the warmer reception we received from the kids of small villages along the way. So many hellos and Namastes from smiling little school children, seemingly delighted to see foreigners. After asking for directions a couple of times, we rolled into the busy, dusty and dirty centre of Huligi. We drove down a wide street lined with shops and dhaba with the main temple at the end of it.
As we parked our bike it was quite obvious the attention we were garnering being the only white people around. Even a friendly policeman sitting at a checkpoint welcomed us and asked where we were from. Our progress in and through the temple was hampered by the number of Indians wanting their photo with us. We’ve experienced this before but usually the Indians have their own camera and snap a pic but this time they wanted us to take it with Naomi’s SLR camera and then look at it afterwards. Some posed with big smiles while others donned a very serious look, even with some prodding they wouldn’t break out a grin.
Approaching the temple:
Ganesha standing on guard:
Almost all smiles:
Naomi with the ladies:
We removed our flip flops and wandered around the temple courtyard. Many people were queuing up to go into some central building but we were unsure what was inside. Then this group came around the corner with one man who would lie on the ground on his stomach with his arms outstretched in front of him, seemingly mutter a few prayers and then get up again, walk a few steps and repeat. While this was happening, 3-4 followers carrying jugs would pour some water from the nearby river on the ground in front of the worshipper....odd.
The strange ritual:
Walking away from the temple and down to a fast running river we saw another lady doing the same religious parade. There were hordes of people enjoying the river: picnicking, bathing, washing clothes. Once again we were celebrities and picture after picture was taken.
This girl reminded me of that famous National Geographic cover photo from 20 some years ago of an Afghan girl with piercing green eyes:
The Kool Gang:
Not sure if the shirtless guy was trying to look tough, or a little chilly:
Boys will be boys:
I love the head rubbing:
We walked back towards the temple and took a path that seemed to skirt around the main area which we took as we hoped to have a relatively quick exit from the photo taking. Well we paid the price for it with a lovely visual that was presented to us: a little boy was squatting down doing his business, which was bad enough but then a dog was consuming it! Yikes! Yuck! Disgusting! But talk about recycling in action...
A parting shot from Huligi:
We were only in Huligi about an hour but to be honest it was pretty draining...but a nice (apart from the poo) and truer Indian experience.