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A later start today; at 10am Raju drove us about 20km over the other side of the Tungabhadra River to Anegondi and a hilltop temple. 570 steps up to the top of Annanadri Hill, much of it on a covered walkway, and despite many people believing it is the birthplace of Hanuman the monkey god, not a monkey in sight. The view was fantastic however, and lots of locals were there, young boys and girls all dressed up for the visit. Several people asked for photos with us (we said yes to all except a couple of smirking young men).

Raju took us to several other places, though to be honest they couldn’t match the wonders of the last two days. The first was a tank and temple that had been heavily and horribly renovated with new stonework (despite the sign saying it was an historical monument). A sign next to the tank said ‘be aware of crocodiles.” The next, in the village of Anegondi itself, was a 16th century civic structure called the Gagan Mahal that was smothered with new plaster and dotted with electrical outlets.

Nearby was another small working temple (Ranganathswamy), then after another drive, a small temple complex called Chintamani with a nice view of the Tungabhadra River.

Back to the Mango Tree again for a relaxing lunch. Returning to the homestay, I paid Raju 5,000 R for his 3 days of tuk-tuk work and our upcoming drive to Hospet train station tonight (plus a 1000 R tip).

Now I’m writing from the night of the 24th in a hotel on the outskirts of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Yes, I got food poisoning again and haven’t had a chance to write for a few days … Since we were leaving from the train station at Hospet at 11.30pm, Carol booked our room for another night so we could relax here before catching that train. We stayed in our room for a few hours, recharging and playing games of Archaeology (I finally won a game – our seventh!) Then another trip out to the restaurant for dinner. How clever is our host, Lakshmi? She owns the best place to stay and the best restaurant in town. The guys there gave us a big farewell when we left.

After killing a bit more time, at 10pm we piled our bags into the back of Raja’s tuk-tuk. Lakshmi and some of her staff came out to wave us off.

About a half hour drive and we said our farewells to Raju at the station and started wandering around trying to find out which of the three platforms our train was departing from. Of course, there’s no way of knowing until the train arrives at the station. An English couple were taking the same train and seemed very worried about this question, eventually going over to platform 3 because there was a train sitting on platform 1, where we were. Then four young Indians actually asked us if we knew; they had no idea either and had been there since 7.30pm. The train was late half an hour, so it was after midnight when the train that had been sitting on our platform finally limped away and ours arrived. I saw the English couple as they got on and called out jokingly “we won!”

People were already in their bunks sleeping as we boarded our 2nd class AC (air-conditioned) sleep car and found our bunks, which to my surprise ran parallel to the train (with two sets of bunks opposite that were placed, more normally, perpendicular to the train). The bottom bunk had a window and we both climbed in there behind a curtain and watched the Indian countryside go by for a while; then I climbed up to the coffin-like windowless top bunk (which was exactly as long as me) and stretched out on the provided sheets with a blanket over me and my carry bags hugged against the carriage wall, and to my surprise quickly went off to sleep. Our backpacks were padlocked with a thin retractable security wire under the bottom bunk.

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