After the hugely successful Playshop and Community Drum Circle we headed out for food and then back to our Bangalore base for a nights rest before we hit the road into the West. We were heading for a quiet beach house location near Kundapura, where Roberto and Vasundhara had married a few years back. Whilst it was a planned period of downtime we had also promised to hook up with a local school and deliver an Expressive Rhythm Stories session. More on that amazing group of children later.
As always our first task was to negotiate our way out of Bangalore. Once done we began to see the countryside change as we passed through a more rural side of this amazing country. Out in the country the roads were bumpy and dusty and we were grateful for a car with AC and for cold bottled water. Sat Nav led us through all sorts of backwaters and we saw a whole different world to that of the City including a very old and quaint Ferris Wheel off the side of the road. Check the video below for a glimpse of the rural world we passed through.
We took regular stops for refreshments, water and toilet time including this lovely wee roadside cafe aptly named perhaps (Dose Corner!!!) where we were served delicious Dhosa and breaded omelettes along with some delightfully ice cold juice from the fridge. Perfect.
Sat Nav once again took a magical mystery tour approach to guiding us and we ended up in a larger town called Belur, which is home to one of the grandest examples of Hoysala architecture, the Chennakesava Temple (Also Chennakeshava). The temple was built in the early 12th century by the Hoysala ruler, Vishnuvardhana, when the town of Belur was the site for the capital of the Hoysala kingdom.
Vasundhara gave us a guided tour ( we all were barefoot on hot stone) and explained much of the Mythology we saw carved into the stone walls. You can learn much more about this amazing place HERE.
We entered the Temple for a Blessing, sat in contemplation outside and bought a gift of food on our departure.
Everywhere we went Vasundhara was recognised, having starred in many Indian movies in many Indian Languages. She was always always so polite with people who wish to take a snap.
Onwards we drove towards the West Coast passing through all kinds of beautiful green lands, still benefiting from the most recent monsoon rains but soon to turn brown in the wilting heat of the summer sun.
We raced across the last leg of the journey in an attempt to be at the beach by sunset. We made it just in time to see the sun go down and watch the moon rise all withing a few feet of the beautiful beach house that would be home for the next few days.
So so beautiful.
I knew visiting India would present me with two major challenges. Food. Mosquito’s. I have an intolerance for Nightshade foods, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Aubergine, Chilli, Paprika, Cayenne…in INDIA!!!!! I did mostly OK but inevitably Chilli found it’s way into some meals causing my hands to blister. Shit Happens!! I had a bad night with mossies in Bangalore before we left for the beach and was struggling with itching sores. The beach house gave me no respite even with repellents and long sleeves/Trousers. Sometimes there appears to be a price to pay for being in Paradise 😉 Well worth it though.
The following day we chilled in the morning sea with a Moonset and Sunrise. Just WoW.
Later that afternoon we welcomed 50 children and their staff/support team to the house for an Expressive Rhythm Stories session followed by a picnic and beach time. The group were connected to an organisation called The Concerned for Working Children that rescues children who have been sold into slavery in India. Through this amazing organisation the children were brought together in a school called Namma Bhoomi
Please follow my links and take a few moments to read this incredible story. Such an inspiration to work with these children and boy did we have fun. Language barriers were mostly not an issue but my opening Hello ( sounded like Halo) was open to interpretation. My pronunciation was very close to a Kannada (Karnataka) phrase for ‘Go take a Poo’ Ooops. No wonder the kids looked bemused.
I ran a simplified version of a Zimbabwean story called ‘The Awongalema Tree’ and the group, aged 5 -15, just dived fully into the process with me. There will be video footage when edited so please come back for a look.
After we had completed my part we were treated to some Traditional Yakshagana dance/song by two of the girls and then invited to learn a few steps. Again video will come in time. Keep coming back. Ever evolving Blog 😉
Here’s a selection of shots I took of the session, the picnic and the beach time.
We enjoyed another night at the Beach and then set off for an 8 hour drive back to Bangalore through the Monkey Forest, before preparing for a trip to Atmantan Wellness Festival in Pune. More in the next blog.
To finish off this Blog, here’s a selection of photos from the road trip that don’t feature above.