The Real India: Exploring Badami

Ancient temples Badami Karnataka, India
Ancient temples Badami Karnataka, India

The Real India: Exploring Badami

I woke very early, to the sound of call to prayer. I fell asleep around 1 am last night and woke at 5.30am to the call. I normally sleep eight hours, but was way too excited to see where I was.

I pulled back the curtains I stepped onto the balcony it was still dark. I watched the sun rise and to my surprise I could see temples…I was left breathless, it was one of the most beautiful sunrises I ever witnessed. I started to cry, I wasn’t sad I was crying because of the beauty, it had shocked me and pleased me. I didn’t expect it.

I had not slept long, and had a nine hour bumpy car journey, but inexplicably I felt energized, was this a religious epiphany?  Why was I feeling so over whelmed and happy and full of energy.

Well, in all seriousness it probably wasn’t an epiphany, but suddenly, this morning, all the drama and troubles from the days before became meaningless and I am now alive.

All the beauty in the world that you can imagine is here outside my window, it feels surreal like I am watching a TV screen. There are ancient temples, wild boars running through the dusty streets and baby monkeys climbing all over the buildings. This is the real India!


 

90 days is a long time and a huge commitment to move to a new foreign and unknown country. I am the sort of person who loves an adventure but after a few weeks in another country I am ready to get back to my world and life.

I am starting to realize that visiting India is a gift. Had I not visited I would not have seen the real India. All of the troublesome media that we are exposed to in the West is unbelievable. I read an article in LA Weekly just before I came here, it was written with a purpose and even had accounts from Indian nationals. I wont go into the article, but lets just say it was enough to make anyone think that India is a totally sexist country that doesn’t respect women!

I have been given this gift to live in India and experience the real India and now I am living and experiencing it. Everything that I had previously read is typically sensationalized and one-sided and now I plan to use this gift in educating the world.

I am in India shooting a travel series. I am here for 90 days traveling the whole country top to bottom, for a documentary series about a solo-female traveler called Backpack.

When I arrived in Badami India to start filming and give a piece to camera about Goa to Badami immediately a crowd drew, this was not anything out of the normal, but during this I met with some local village children who were talking in broken English, asking me questions and trying to help us. I immediately fell in love with these little kids, their warmth and smiles and spirit came through their eyes. The little children that I have met here have such amazing shining eyes.

 

local children India
Local children welcome with a smile in Badami India

They helped us set up equipment and were so well behaved, with their mother standing in the wings, the little children who I am sure did not understand a word my colleague was shouting, stood in perfect line as if they were lining up for school. Even though there was a communication barrier I feel the warmth and interest from Karnataka locals. They really amazed me at how well-behaved (not to mention adorable) they were.

Another warm encounter today, was with an elderly Lady on the edge of the lake washing, she was 80 years old, I was having a break from work and she and took me in her arms, she didn’t even know me but showed me so much love. She also tried on my glasses (so cute) all language barriers were gone, we had a human connection we shared laughter and love.

Lady washing clothing India
Lady washing clothing by the Lake Badami. Karnataka India

A profound connection with someone so different I really felt in that moment that we are all human and the human spirit is all it takes to make a connection. Thinking about humans and even when we have cultural/language barriers shifts my mind to a more peaceful state. I am feeling more relaxed and at ease the more I connect with local people here.

I explored Badami caves build in the 6th Century for Gods and Goddesses of the time, the caves for Lord Shiva and Jain. They were impressive and my mind is boggled at how they achieved this attention to detail in this era. The artisans of time were incredibly talented.


 

The Archeological society of India have maintained the ancient carvings well. We are often stopped shooting in certain areas on monuments to honor this and from a journalists perspective, and my Directors perspective this can be frustrating but I can understand they need to maintain the caves, this is a great thing. I feel that the Archeological Society of India are doing a great job in maintaining these historically important monuments.

Today was a holiday and locals flocked to the temple to give respect to their Gods. I have to admit, I became the focus of their day with film crew in toe, the villagers were overwhelmingly interested in us and requested picture after picture. Looking so unique compared to the people in this village in Karnataka its not surprising. What is surprising is their politeness and kindness.

indian Family
Indian Family enjoying their holiday at the Badami Temples, Karnataka, India

A lady enjoying the holiday with her daughter and husband, came to greet me. I complimented her daughter on her braids and told her, her hair style looked pretty, Immediately her mother, who I learned was a school teacher in their village, began to untie my hair and start to braid it too! The way she braided my hair, with such a gentle and caring touch was just as surprising as her braiding it in the first place. Such a small intimate moment to share with stranger is uplifting and makes me feel positive about life.


 

My journey through India took place a few months ago. Most posts on this blog will be post in real-time and will be updated as I am traveling. As I was filming a documentary while in India I kept notes on my travels and often lived without wifi so kept an ‘old-fashioned’ diary. I will be uploading my diary entries to this blog.

 


I hope you enjoyed this post on traveling to Badami India. I adore traveling in India and will be updating my adventures here. Sign up for updates on my entries Dear India and more travel tips.

If you’ve been to Badami India Karnataka or you have any questions about traveling to Badami India drop me a line!

For more on travel in India see my diaries on travel in India.

 

 

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9 Comments

  • Hey, Sommer. It’s really nice to hear nice words from you about India. We Indians are really very friendly and caring. While visiting many places, You must have observed the same as well. We consider even a stranger as a part of our family and this makes us unique.

    I wish i were able to come with you in your journey to show you the Real India. Anyway, Have a great day ahead.

    Regards
    Ravi

  • Hi sommer, I love watching backpack on travel xp, and after that show I planned a dream trip of Kerala in similar way and loved a lot. Now I m planning for humpi and badami.
    Thanks for inspiring me for touring these place and ur anchoring was too good.
    Hope u continue ur show with many more new places.
    Regards
    Shyam

  • Dear sommer you should visit Rishikesh (swargashram) near dehradhun, utrakhand you will love being there. Please plan your stay in some ashram instead of hotel.
    Regards
    Shyam

  • Dear sommer, today I visited humpi it was excellent tomorrow I will be going to badami, kishkinda, and then gokarna, etc. As said this trip is again inspired by ur similar trip of Karnataka. Thanks again for inspiring to tour these places in my own country.
    Have great trips ahead all the best. Take care.
    regards
    Shyam

  • Hi Sommer

    You look really beautiful in those pics. Hoping Indians gave you a warm welcome in their land.

    As we say “Atithi Devo Bhava” (Vistors are meant to be gods to Indians)

    Kudos!

  • Hi Sommer, I like traveling a lot thats why you just found a new fan. I loved all the articles that you wrote about India. However I need “whatsapp” share button on your blog so that I can share your blog to my friends as they are also travel freaks. Also please give your twitter handle if you have would love to follow your traveling experience.

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