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the local story – what happened

After the Sundarbans, I had to go back to Kolkata for a night, for heading south to the state of Odisha the next morning. My goals in Odisha – which was called Orissa on my last stay – are the sun temple of Konark and Bubaneshwar, the capital of the state. About 550 km at more than 45 ° C was giving a first idea, what will happen to me in the coming weeks and months.

 
 

After about 12 hours, I had reached my destination – the city of Konark on the east coast of India. In early April, it is already quite hot, foreign tourists are rare at this time of the year. So it was not difficult for me to find a room with air conditioning quickly . In the evening I could take the first night photos, using my tripod on the out wall of the famous sun temple.

 
 

The sun temple of Konark dates back to 1255, enjoys special protection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is among the list of the „7 Wonders of India“ issued by the Ministry of Tourism.

In almost every country in Asia, it is common for foreign tourists to pay more for a visit to a cultural site than locals have to do. In India, the difference between local and foreign ticket prices is particularly evident – as a foreigner, you pay about 17 times the normal entry price.

The converted 7 € entrance fee for visiting such a monument is for Western still a small thing. Especially considering the costs of maintaining and renovating the facilities. I don’t want to be presumptuous for going into the history, the religious and art-historical aspects of this complex, all these things can be read better on Internet. I can only recommend, if you get here, you should take sufficient time for this artwork.

 

When I came by on my motorcycle journey 9 years ago, an enormous effort was spent on maintenance. Legions of assistants were busy to clean the fine engravings of the entire facility with ordinary toothbrushes

As outside of every temple in India, you can find also here people who have to live of alms. I was in particular impressed by an older woman, who was no bigger than 80-90 cm.

 

From Konark I rode further along the coast to the south before I headed westwards to the capital of Odisha, to Bubaneshwar.

Bubaneshwar has about 850,000 inhabitants and is a smaller town for Indian relations. This place would have no particular mention, would not be more than 1,000 Hindu temples scattered over the entire city area. I have visited some of them, but can not remember a single name.

In this number of temples you can always observe Brahmines – it means priests – members of the highest Hindu caste performing their rituals.

In addition to my visit to the world of culture, my Prinzess had to be reworked for the first time. On the one hand, the exhaust was broken down on the ride to Bubaneshwar. A screw got lost, the problem was quickly resolved with some binding wire. Nevertheless, it had to be fixed properly again.

On the other hand I lost some oil – one of the gaskets leaked – this could not be postponed. Normally, the larger stores and workshops are closed on Sundays in India. But smaller workshops, it means single mechanics don’t know days off. One of the advantages of my motorcycle model, that it has been built for more than 70 years now almost in the same way. It has been widespread since the beginning, almost every mechanic is able to repair Bullets and all necessary spare parts are available quickly and cheaply throughout the country.

At a small mechanic in Bubaneshwar – 3l engine oil, a gasket and a seal, 2 1/2 working hours for about 12 euros …

While waiting for my bike, I had met the police chief of Bubaneshwar. He is also owner of a Royal Enfield Bullet from the 1960s. He visits this mechanic since decades, while the work has been done, we have been talking relatively quickly during having a tea. He was truly exceptional proud of his meticulously maintained motorcycle. He gave me his business card and said that, if I would have troubles somewhere in India, I should call him. Of course you can not rely on such statements in India as well, but it is nevertheless good at controls to be able to pull this business card out of the bag and holding out the prospect of calling a „close friend“.

Cu Henry

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