On a weekend trip arranged by Siemens, we visited the great Hoysala temples in Belur and Halebid. These two temples are over and over decorated with thousands of beautifully carved stone figures: gods and godnesses, people, animals. There are not even two figures identical with each other. These temples are dating from the 12th century. The level of culture and architecture is very much comparable to the European Gothic period.
Very remarkable is a huge stone pillar on the court of the Halebid temple, reminding at an obelisk. This granite pillar is not fixed with the ground, just perfectly balanced and erected. It survived all natural and human-created disasters without toppling. People told me that there have been very farsighted people: during a period of wars, they poured tons of sand on the temples to protect them successfully against looting and destruction.
Chikmagalur is a hill station near by. It is surrounded by coffee estates. Coffee needs a very special environment to grow: lots of rain and a slope to drain the water off. To protect the plants against the sun, farmers are planting high trees with slim trunks between the coffee bushes.
Close to Chikmagalur is the highest point of Karnataka. On the top of the mountain is a small temple with four men living up there. To reach the temple, pilgrims have to climb up the hill on a path through bushes and meadows, then some 500 stone steps leading finally to the temple.