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I woke at 6.30am and we both got started a bit earlier today. I’ve taken to singing a little snippet of the Phil Collins song Another Day in Paradise to Carol each morning!

We got a car to take us to the Rock Fort Temple after a brief unsuccessful attempt to get a tuk-tuk, disembarking like royalty in front of an almost hidden entrance to a dark arcade. Leaving our sandals in the room provided, we climbed the 400 or so stone steps within the huge stone outcrop up to the top, passing several Hindu-only temples on the way. Why are Hindu temples so incredibly filthy I wonder? (We searched the internet for an answer to this question and it appears even Hindus ask it, but government and priestly corruption is probably involved.) At the top was another fenced-off staircase that led up to the Ganesh temple at the summit of the rock. Despite the amazing location it was difficult to find a spot to enjoy the view, but there were panoramic glimpses through the metal grates of the ugly modern temple.

Back at ground level we wandered past through chaotic jungle of shops, concrete, dirt, and crowds for a bit, then got a tuk-tuk to take us to Ranganathaswamy Temple, which was huge, though I must admit the temples are starting to blend together as one now. There was a view from the roof of the entrance hall (extra charge to visit), though the roof tiles were very hot on our bare feet. Some groups of older French tourists, but as always, no younger travellers – where are all the backpackers? All we ever see are people over 60 it seems, and very often groups of old women – perhaps recent widows finally getting a chance to enjoy some adventures?

There was a very impressive 16th century pillared hall featuring Vijayanagara carvings of rearing battle horses. We wandered through several dark shrines where coloured electric signs flashed, people lay full length dozing on the grotty flagstones, couples stared at mobile phones, and barrel-gutted priests handed out tikas. Hindu worshippers touched the statues and the columns, daubing them with ash and making offerings of flowers and food.

A long tuk-tuk drive later (the driver asked for 400 R but I gave him 500 as it was such a long, difficult drive), and we were back at the Marriott in time for a leisurely lunch in the hotel restaurant, followed by a lazy afternoon in our room. I’m still coughing like mad and going through waves of feeling crap, unfortunately. Tomorrow is our last new place (apart from a stopover in Bengaluru to catch our plane back home). We’re both tired, I’m tired and semi-sick, and it’s been a long trip and especially difficult for me. Carol is more positive, but then she hasn’t been as sick. After ten weeks in total in India, I’m starting to feel that’s enough …

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