Yesterday Badami locals told me about some ancient caves, significant to Karnataka, in Badami, that are best to see first thing in the morning. It’s a 5K trek up a rocky mountain to ‘Shidilphadi’ (a naturally occurring rock formation that dates back to the 3rd Century).
We left at 5am this morning, it was still dark on Station Rd, Badami, I could just barely make out some life moving. I could just make out the piglets, monkeys and dogs in the dusty streets, as I jumped onto the back of a rickshaw to make my way to the start of the trek.
I love the feeling of this place, it feels like ‘real life’, like every moment is meaningful, like I’m living every minute. I’m not sure if that makes sense but that’s how I feel.
The trek itself was not all that challenging for me, as I am fit and workout. Although as my day normally begins with Idli (a simple, easily digestible steamed rice bread), daal, coconut chutney (eaten using my hands now), I cant help but think, that although Im enjoying the exercise that I miss my morning Idli.
When we arrived to the cave itself, a bridge-like structure, I was surprised at how structurally beautiful it was- it was created when lightening struck the earth, but it was almost as if it were created by the hands of God as the majestic formation was just too architecturally sound.
The cave had ancient drawing inside, that date back longer than the Badami caves I had explored yesterday. This is probably some of the oldest artwork from a human I’ve come across.
As I looked around I noticed, I was surrounded by Gum Trees (Eucalyptus Trees).
Gum Trees are native to my country, Australia. I am curious as to how they got here. Los Angeles (where I’ve been living) is full of Gum Tress that were brought over and I am unsure as to whether the British brought these trees or if in fact they are native to India. More on this later- I googled as soon as I had wifi I’ll share it with you…very interesting!
I thought the way back would be a breeze…boy, was I wrong. We got so lost-its unbelievable how off-track we got.
There is a cliché about Indians and directions.
We got so lost we ended up in a desert for hours walking in circles, trying to navigate down a cliff face, what was going on… how did a simple 5km trek get us so lost?! We were in trouble!
Out of nowhere a small figure appeared, there was a small boy herding goats. What a blessing! He showed us the way to the town. Boy, did we really go the wrong way! If not for the young goat herder, we would have been in serious trouble! Being lost in Badami in the heat, literally in the wilderness with no shade.
I’m starting to think deeply about what I am doing here: showing this place and promoting tourism and what I am doing shooting a travel series , its a double-edged sword. These places are captivating and I want to share them with the world, but I do not want to see the tourism that is Bali and Thailand. Tourism changes a culture.
The children in India that I have met are not affected by tourism, in fact Indian children that I bought Candy for refused to take it at first (more on this later). The children here have a sparkle in their eyes that’s genuine, they are so curious and helpful. I really would hate to see places that are ‘untouched’ like this suffer with tourism.
I feel very connected here. The people are warm and friendly.
It’s dinner now, I am exhausted from getting lost…literally! I can’t wait for my veg thali- my array of dishes, chickpeas, mixed veg with masala, roti and rice. I want to mix it all together with my finger pouring the gravy on the rice and using roti to scoop up the rest. There is an aroma in the air and I am have an insatiable hunger for the local Karnataka food! Time to switch off the thoughts for now.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on traveling India and traveling Badami. Have you visited Badami? If you love this post please share it!