IPv6 + Freenet6 Howto

January 13, 2003: A step-by-step howto on how to connect to the 6Bone and have a unique global IPv6 identity, by tunneling to Freenet6 from inside an IPv4 NAT

Introduction

FreeNet6 provides people who have static IPv4 addresses with a convenient way to connect to the 6Bone , a worldwide IPv6-only network; by using an IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnel. My case is slightly different though – my computer is on a large 255.255.0.0 network, and I’m assigned a static 172.16.x.y address, and all my connections have to travel to and from the Internet via the gateway server, a computer running GNU/Linux and having a globally static IPv4 address.

My aim was to get a global, static IPv6 address which directly references my computer inside the LAN, and thus become a static member on the 6bone.

I succeeded.

Synopsis

The below howto is what I wrote down while I set up the FreeNet6 tunnel. FreeNet6’s website does not explicitly mention a step-by-step procedure that a person in my situation should use – it just points the user to an old webpage that has the instructions for an old version of FreeNet6’s software. I have created this howto for their latest software version.

I hope it helps.

Prologue

I connect to the Internet via a NAT. I have a private static IP address (say) 172.16.10.20, my gateway is (say) 172.16.0.1, and the gateway’s globally static IP address is (say) 200.1.100.2. I use galeon and connect to KAME . I see a turtle that isn’t swimming😦. In other words, the connection I made to KAME was IPv4-only.

Step 1: The Kernel

I first made my own kernel. I couldn’t get make xconfig to work for the latest beta kernel at the time (2.5.53) (Reason: xconfig relies on QT in 2.5.x!) , so I used the latest stable kernel (2.4.20) instead.

To enable IPv6, I had to say yes to the first option in Code Maturity Level Options. The IPv6 protocol comes under the subheading “Networking Options”. I also had to choose a driver for my network card under “Network Device Support”. I also enabled iptables here.

About Kernels and Images

In a few minutes, I had a new kernel image installed. Let me take this opportunity to plug for Debian GNU/Linux – it’s make-kpkg option is fantastic – creating a new kernel required just three commands::

make xconfig make-kpkg kernel_image –revision=xxx dpkg -i ../linux-2.4.20xxx.deb

Step 2: Moving On

Booting into the new kernel, I used the command:

          ifconfig | grep inet6

to get the output as automagically assigned IPv6 addresses:

          inet6 addr: fe80::200:21ff:feaa:bbcc/10 Scope:Link [eth0]
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host [lo]

You will notice that the inet6 address my eth0 has been assigned is a mangled 64-bit version of my 48-bit MAC address (00:00:21:AA:BB:CC). This has been done using an IETF specification for conversion of 48- to 64-bit MAC addresses, and then appending it to an fe80:: prefix.

Step 3: FreeNet Begins Its Role

I then proceeded to download the freenet6 Linux source  which was followed by the command:

          tar -zxvf freenet6-0.9.7.tgz

The README file included asked me to run the lines:

          make all target=linux
          make install target=linux installdir=$INSTALLDIR

I warn you that this may overwrite your /etc/radvd.conf – make a backup of it first.

I recommend $INSTALLDIR==/usr/local/tsp as the default tspc.conf that comes with the source, contains that as default (i.e. the line tsp_dir=/usr/local/tsp). In any case, I will assume it to be true for now.

Step 4: More FreeNet6

I now had the freenet6 package ready. (Note: Debian users are advised that after an apt-get install freenet6, you may have to manually write your radvd.conf. In my case, I still don’t have a radvd.conf on my box.)

On recommendation from freenet6.net, I then visited this site. It is an old page that talks about connecting to Freenet6 from behind a NAT (exactly my situation), and refers to a very old freenet6 package and old IPFilter rules.

The new freenet6 kit contains a configuration file (/usr/local/tsp/bin/tspc.conf) and an executable (/usr/local/tsp/bin/tspc).

In short, the page told me to modify /usr/local/tspc/bin/tspc.conf, and specifically change the following lines to the right values:

          username=xxxxx
          passwd=yyyyy
          client_v4=<your gateway's public IPv4 address>

Both the username and password can be received from freenet6.net by filling a form there; you can also achieve anonymous logins by default.

Step 5: Getting TSPC Up

I then ran:

          /usr/local/tsp/bin/tspc -vf /usr/local/tsp/bin/tspc.conf

and got the output:

          tspc - Tunnel Server Protocol Client
          Loading configuration file

          Connecting to server

          Send request

          Process response from server

          TSP_HOST_TYPE host
          TSP_TUNNEL_INTERFACE sit1
          TSP_HOME_INTERFACE
          TSP_CLIENT_ADDRESS_IPV4 200.1.100.2
          TSP_CLIENT_ADDRESS_IPV6 3ffe:abcd:0001:dcba:0000:0000:0000:0002
          TSP_SERVER_ADDRESS_IPV4 206.123.31.114
          TSP_SERVER_ADDRESS_IPV6 3ffe:abcd:0001:dcba:0000:0000:0000:0001
          TSP_TUNNEL_PREFIXLEN 128
          TSP_VERBOSE 1
          TSP_HOME_DIR /usr/local/tsp
          --- Start of configuration script. ---
          Script: linux.sh
          sit1 setup
          Setting up link to 206.123.31.114
          This host is: 3ffe:abcd:0001:dcba:0000:0000:0000:0002/128
          Adding default route
          --- End of configuration script. ---
          Closing, exit status: 0
          Exiting with return code : 0 (0 = no error)

which you should too, if everything goes well.

Step 6: A Little Fine-Tuning

Note that the command:

          ifconfig

suddenly showed a THIRD device: sit1 (the IPv4 tunnel for the locally generated and locally bound IPv6 packets). The rest of the steps are very easy. Here is the general idea:

          eth0 has the v6 address fe80::200:21ff:feaa:bbcc
          sit1 is the tunnel connecting you to the glorious v6 Internet. The tunnel has the (permanently static! globally accessible! free!) address
3ffe:abcd:0001:dcba:0000:0000:0000:0002

Now all that is left is to route all outgoing packets from lo/eth0 to sit1, and all incoming packets from sit1 to lo/eth0. I used the tool ip6tables (a v6 version of iptables) to do this.

This was done with the commands:

          sudo ip6tables -I OUTPUT -s fe80::200:21ff:feaa:bbcc -d 3ffe:abcd:1:dcba::2
          sudo ip6tables -t filter -I INPUT -d fe80::200:21ff:feaa:bbcc -s 3ffe:abcd:1:dcba::2

for outgoing and incoming packets respectively.

Step 7: A Little Testing

Let’s test it out!

… and that’s it!

Notes

A simple sequel for dialup users. I don’t know if you are assigned globally static IP addresses during the course of you dialing up. If so, things become much simpler – no ip6tables is involved…. I think. If not, you just have to find your gateway’s IP address out, and use your local IP as the equivalent of 172.16.10.20, and do the whole process above. By my reckoning, it should work.

Try it out, and correct me if I am wrong.

PESIT Projects

6ify

15th December 2003: IPv4-IPv6 Header and Packet Translator

This project was implemented by Amit N Gandhi and me as a project requirement for the seventh semester Network Programming Laboratory. It is a basic protocol translator that captures packets at the Layer 2 level (as Ethernet frames), modifies or replaces the IP headers, and retransmits them on another interface.

To compile the source files, the libnet 1.1.1 and libpcap 0.7.2 “.a” files are required, and a minimum requirement for libpcap.0.7.so also exists.

 


CHAINS on the Web

15th December 2003: The “Child Health and Nutrition Information System” database project, implemented using Perl and PostGreSQL

For our seventh semester Internet Programming Laboratory, Amit N Gandhi and me implemented the CHAINS on the Web project as an extension of our CHAINS project previously implemented using Visual Basic for our sixth semester Database Management Systems Laboratory.

CHAINS on the Web is an HTML+Perl+SQL implementation of CHAINS.

 


CUBISM!

18th June 2003: Multiplatform GUI Graphics Editor

As part of the syllabus requirements for the VTU sixth semester Computer Graphics Lab, Amit N Gandhi and me created the dual platform CUBISM! Graphics Editor that utilizes theAllegro Graphics Programming Library . The GCC compiler for Windows, DJGPP , was used on Windows while GNU GCC was used on Linux.

  • It works on both the Linux and Windows platforms without any requirement for modification of source code.
  • It works in the non-GUI mode in both platforms.
  • The default graphics environment uses a 16-colour mode.
  • The BMP bitmap format is the default format for CUBISM! – it can open, modify and save bitmap files of any size.
  • It currently has a default size of 800×600 pixel viewable area, with a maximum bitmap size of 640×480 pixels.
  • The primitive operations that it can perform are Freehand Curves, Lines, Bezier Curves, Filled Rectangles, Unfilled Rectangles, Filled Circles, Unfilled Circles, Filled Ellipses, Unfilled Ellipses, Filled Polygons and Unfilled Polygons.
  • The support operations currently enabled are Scale, Clip, Erase, Undo, Fill.
  • The basic clipboard operations Cut, Copy and Paste are implemented.
  • The file operations it implements are New, Open, Save, Save As, Close, Quit.

 


MSBang! Text Editor

30th December 2002: Console Text Editor for the *nix Platfom

As the fifth semester project for our System Software Laboratory in the Computer Science and Engineering course at PESIT, we designed a GNU/Linux-based screen text editor called MSBang, the first of the many VTU projects we have had to complete. The name is a twist of the creators’ names, Manu S Bhardwaj and Amit N Gandhi.

Some of its main features are:

  • Macro operations that start recording, stop recording, save and load oft-repeated editing patterns
  • Multi-threaded search capabilities with choice of thread scheduling priorities
  • Syntax highlighting systems with an easy facility for the creation of user-defined highlighting rules
  • Extensive documentation that accompanies the program
  • AutoSave and complete recovery of files in case MSBang crashes due to unforseen circumstances

All versions have been published implementing the GNU General Public License. IDEseq requires SEQUEL, a circuit simulation package, available here . It also requires the g77 compiler for Fortran to be installed.

 


LaTeX: Document Preparation in Linux

5th December 2002: Presentation on LaTeX at Linux Bangalore/2002

Hareesh Nagarajan and I presented a talk on LaTeX , a WYSIWYW system for very easy creation of presentation documents and PDFs. This talk was given at Linux Bangalore/2002, the primary Linux conference organized by the Bangalore Linux Users’ Group. I was also a volunteer at that event.

Take a look at:

 


IPv6 Presentation

8th August 2002: An Introduction to IPv6

I made a presentation titled An Introduction to IPv6 at the July/August 2002 meet of the former Bangalore Linux Users’ Group.  The presentation contains short yet structured information about IPv4 and it’s improvements over IPv4, and serves as a very good self-contained introduction to IPv6.

 

 


Anaconda

February 2000: A ‘Snake’ game cloned using the Turbo C++ graphics library

This program was written as a mini-project for my Standard Twelve CBSE course in Computer Science. The requirement was a simple C++ program of our choice that showed our programming skills. Hari Balaji S and me created this snake program (now made so popular by the Nokia GSM handsets available in India) as the project. I personally was very happy with the results, and consider this among the best pieces of code I have written in my short, almost non-existent programming career.

 

 

IIMB Projects

Abstracts of the projects done as part of my course requirements at IIMB.


Financial Accounting

Title: SAIL–A Financial Analysis
Team Size: 3 members
Abstract: Study the financial statements of the Steel Authority of Indian Ltd. (SAIL) from 2000-01 to 2002-03 and analyze the profitability of the company using various financial and accounting ratios. Also use other data (media briefings, statements from company authorities etc.) to aid our understanding of the financial statements.

Managerial Economics
Title: The Economics of LNG
Team Size: 4 members
Abstract: An analysis of the costs associated with bringing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to India from Central Asia via either pipes or ships. A look at the costs associated with LNG. Description of a few inter-country deals on LNG.

Managing Organizations
Title: Infosys–A 7S Analysis
Team Size: 6 members
Abstract: Visit to Infosys campus in Bangalore followed by analysis of Infosys using the McKinsey 7S Model. Description of where macro decisions of Infosys fit into each related S of the model. Data from publicly available sources such as newsletters and websites was also used.

Marketing Management
Title: Post-Launch Marketing Strategy of Monster.com in India
Team Size: 6 members
Abstract: A look at the business models and sustainability of online job sites. Study of the size of the job market in India. Identification of the segments of the job-seeking population to target. Suggestions on tactics monster.com may use to expand its business in India.

Managing People and Performance in Organizations
Title: An Organizational Critique of ABC Hospital (name changed)
Team Size: 5 members
Abstract: A description of the history and growth of the hospital since the 1970s, with specific concentration on a certain department. Transcript of interview with the head of that department. Identification of the organizational structure of the department and hospital. Comprehensive analysis of human relations in this department and hospital based on established HR theories.

Competition and Strategy
Title: Strategic Analysis of the FMCG Confectionaries Industy and Britannia Industries Limited
Team Size: 5 members
Abstract: A look at the size of growth potential of the biscuits and confectionaries market in India, accompanied by a Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of the Indian biscuit market. Description of Britannia’s product space and strategy as perceived from public sources of information, followed by academic recommendations on new initiatives the company could take to grow their business.

Business Law
Title: Data Protection Laws
Team Size: 4 members
Abstract: A comparision of Data Protection Laws in India, the USA and the EU and the different ways in which such laws have evolved in these communities.

Software Project Management
Title: Software Process Review of Companies
Team Size: 5 members
Abstract: A review and comparision of software processes (organization structures, development strategies and management methods) of five different IT companies that follow five different business strategies: River (name changed), Thoughtworks, Trilogy, Infinite Computer Solutions and SCT.

Database Management Systems
Title: Comprehensive Solution for a Sample Case
Team Size: 5 members
Abstract: Conversion of a sample case into a working model on an Oracle database by incorporating database constructs such as normalization.

Options, Futures and Other Derivatives
Title: Real Options in Mergers & Acquisitions
Team Size: 4 members
Abstract: The application of Real Options in the field of Mergers & Acquisitions, including a description of ROs, a case study and the use of a toolkit for valuing real options.

Supply Chain Management
Title: The Urban Supply Chain of Colgate-Palmolive in India
Team Size: 5 members
Abstract: An overview of the existing supply chain of Colgate-Palmolive in India, while differentiating between the urban and rural models. Comparision of this supply chain model with those of its nearest competitors. Suggestions on how to make the Colgate-Palmolive supply chain more responsive.

Multinational Management
Title: The Indian Airline Industry
Team Size: 5 members
Abstract: A brief history of the Indian civil aviation industry. The application of the “Empty Core” theory (where even highly efficient operators may make losses) that may have forced the creation of airline alliances in this industry. A discussion on the evolution of such airline alliances.

Infrastructure Appraisal, Financing, Privatisation and Regulation

Title: World Water Issues and the Cochabamba, Bolivia Crisis
Team Size: 6 members
Abstract: Arguments for and against privatization of water services, and the impact of this decision on water quality, availability and price. A look at the Bolivia crisis, where privatization without adequate planning led to increased prices and subsequent chaos.

IIMB Courses

A list of courses I took while at IIMB.

Corporate Strategy and Policy

Economics and Social Science

Finance and Control

Marketing

 

Organisational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Production and Operations Management

Quantitative Methods and Information Systems

Others

EDHEC Risk and Asset Management – Nice, France

  • Cross-Cultural Management (Olivia Lafond-Levingston)
  • Beginners’ French (Daniel Radelavsky)
  • Financial Theory (Ranko Jelic)
  • Financial Modelling (Koray Simsek)
  • Options, Futures and Other Derivatives (Koray Simsek and Christine Verpeaux)
  • Fixed Income Analysis (Lionel Martellini)

South Indian Recipes

Recipes I had written down a decade ago, from a notebook I just found:


Key to Dals

When in doubt, use toor dal.

  • Moong dal: Khichdi, Pongal only
  • Channa dal: Payasa, Kosambri
  • Urad dal/Uddin bele: Idli, Dosa
  • Channa dal/Kadale bele: Puliyogare

Bisi Bele Bhath

  • 0.5 cups toor daal + 1 cup water
  • 0.5 cups rice + 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp sambar powder
  • tamarind paste, salt, oil, turmeric to taste
  • chopped vegetables
  • optionally: coconut oil

Pressure cook everything for 2 whistles, low heat for 5 minutes, let it cool.


Dal

  1. 0.5 cup toor dal; 1.5 cups water : pressure cook it
  2. Hot oil – add cilantro, ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder (and optionally onions till they brown, garam masala and any other spices)
  3. Mix both together & add salt to taste

Kosambri

  1. Soak chana dal in room temperature water till soft (~2 hours)
  2. Remove the water
  3. Add green chillies, lime, cilantro & salt

Khichdi

  1. Oil in bottom of pan. Add garam masala, chili powder, whole cloves (3-4), salt.
  2. Add moong dal 2/3 cup, rice 1/3 cup, water 2 cups.
  3. Pressure-cook for 3 whistles, then cool.
  4. Variant: Add onions, tomatoes.

Mosaranna

  1. Pre-cook white rice (0.5 cups rice, 1 cup water)
  2. Hot oil: chopped onions, cut green chillies, mustard seeds, cilantro
  3. Let it cool & then mix the curd & rice

Pongal

  1. Hot oil in pressure cooker
  2. Mustard seeds till they pop
  3. Then whole pepper (0.5 tsp), cumin seeds (jeera) (3/4 tsp), pinch of turmeric, pinch of asofoetida, 2 cut green chillies, lots of cilantro (cut fine)
  4. 2/3 cup moong dal, 1/3 cup rice, 2 cup water
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Cook for 3 whistles

Palya with Gravy

  1. Finely chopped onions (use a mixie if necessary)
  2. Sautee with oil in saucepan till very dark
  3. Add tiny part ginger, tiny part garlic, pinch of coriander powder, then chili powder & salt to taste
  4. Keep frying till it becomes a paste (i.e. 5 to 10 minutes)
  5. Add water and then cook for a while (5 to 10 more minutes)
  6. Add the pre-boiled vegetables
  7. Keep on low flame till the water dissipates (5 to 10 more minutes)

Potato Palya Dry

  1. Cube the uncooked potatoes.
  2. Sautee in a saucepan: oil, mustard, salt, garam masala, (optionally any other spice powders), chili powder
  3. Add the cubed potatoes to the hot oil
  4. (If also adding other vegetables, then add a little water as well)
  5. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until deep brown
  6. Sprinkle coriander (cilantro) on top

Palya Plain

  1. Into hot oil, add mustard + asofoetida & minced green hillies
  2. Add vegetables (beans, peas, cabbage, beetroot, carrots etc.)
  3. Add a little water so it won’t dry up
  4. Cook on medium flame till done

Palya with Tomato

  1. Onions & tomatoes into hot water; cook till soft
  2. Peel off tomato skins; crush the tomatoes into a paste
  3. Run onions through mixie so it becomes a paste. [This can also be done with raw onions, but they would take longer to cook.]
  4. Hot oil: Add the onion paste, saute till light brown.
  5. Add in ginger & garlic paste; continue to saute till the whole mass starts moving together [but don’t cook until the oil starts seeping out]
  6. Add turmeric, Coriander powder, garam masala, chilli powder
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes; stir it more
  8. Add salt to taste
  9. Lots of chopped cilantro
  10. (gravy is now ready)
  11. Add in cooked or frozen vegetables

Puliyogare / Gojju Avalakki

  1. Pressure-cook the rice: 0.5 cup rice, 1 cup water [Gojju Avalakki: use poha or couscous]
  2. Heat the oil (more than usual), mustard seeds, asofoetida, turmeric
  3. Add groundnuts and cook till it’s dark brown
  4. Add some chana daal & stir it around till it’s red
  5. Add curry leaves
  6. Add puliyogare powder & stir 30 seconds
  7. Add all this into the precooked rice / poha / couscous
  8. Add salt to taste

Saaru or HuLi

  1. In pressure cooker: 0.5 cup toor daal, 1.5 cups water, 2 whole tomatoes
  2. Add tamarind paste & rasam powder (handful) into the mixture [huLi: add sambar powder & vegetables instead of rasam powder]
  3. Add salt & coriander (cilantro) to taste
  4. Hot oil: mustard, curry leaves, asofoetida. Add this to the above.

Uppitu

  1. Sautee 1.5 tsp oil in a pan with mustard, cumin
  2. Add onions (1 full, chopped fine), green chillies (2 cut), cilantro. Stir until the onion is soft (2 to 3 minutes)
  3. Add 1 cup couscous & frozen vegetables
  4. Add water (1 cup) & salt to taste
  5. Cover & cook (2 to 3 minutes) till done

World Heritage Sites: Pattadkal and Hampi

After our first day at Badami, we used the next day to drive up to Aihole and back. Since Aihole was the furthest away, we stopped at Pattadkal on the way back. Pattadkal basically is a temple workshop where a bunch of beautiful temples of various architectures were constructed by the Chalukyas. The main complex consists of 8 or so temples by the river. The first five are small constructions with very grand looking shikharas (viz. the towers straight above the God’s statue.) The next couple of them are even more grand – their construction is in the Nagara Shikhara style where the tower is very ornately constructed and shaped, and looks very beautiful from the outside. The last two were the Mallikarjuna temple and the Virupaksha temple, which are both constructed in the Dravidian style (viz. better known for its grandness of size and scope and not so much for its smaller shikharas.)

The last two temples were mirror images of each other, with ornate pillars in the main hall and a Shivalinga at the end, but the Virupaksha temple was of course much the grander. It included a thick fortification of an outer wall, and an absolutely massive pedestal outside the temple for the special black granite Nandi that faced west towards the temple entrance. The temple also opened out into a direct path to the river, where boats could stop and people get out to it. The temples themselves had windows carved into the sandstone blocks, each window with its own specific design that lent itself to a different sort of shadow within the room.

The next day, we started off on our drive to Hampi from Badami. We got advice on two conflicting routes and thankfully chose the better one – the state highways all the way to Gadag and then onto Hospet were in excellent shape and we maintained really high speeds along the way, stopping at Gadag for lunch and having to wait for a bunch of schoolkids in some sports team to finish stuffing themselves before we could get our hands on a thali. By that time, we’d gotten really used to the Dettol hand sanitizer!

The entry into Hospet was horrible, since NH13 itself is utterly horrible, but we finally got there to find that of the two biggest hotels in Hospet, both were really expensive and the better one was full to boot. We spent our first night at Krishna Palace and ate in, but the experience was not great given the price. Thankfully, we were able to move to Malligi the next day and even get a room upgrade (as well as a reduction in room price), so our next two nights weren’t as bad.

Hampi itself is quite glorious. Our Sidilaphadi guide, Raju Kalmat (as we later found out, the son of the even more famous Kalmat), recommended to us a guide named Prakash Shetty who would be able to guide us around Hampi. Having hired him with a quick phone call the previous day, we reached Hampi at 8:15 the next morning to meet him near the first Ganesha idol.

Our first day included starting at the Hemakuta hill just overlooking the Virupaksha temple. A lasting highlight of our photography was where I attempted to hold up the Virupaksha gopuram using the tips of my fingers as a nice piece of perspective photography, but ended up holding on to one corner of an obscure watchtower in front of the tower instead. So it goes.

Virupaksha temple itself is a “live temple”, including Kamasutra carvings in stucco in the brick and mortar gopuram (which is 52m of absolutely massive height, by the way!), and also a live-in elephant which Noella fed bananas to. A wedding was blaring in the temple area itself, with a happy looking groom there, and the painted insides and British-sponsored art of the 1800s also lent a nice touch to the temple. The camera obscura pinhole reflection of the gopuram at the side of the temple was amazing, both in its size and its clarity. That was a quite memorable experience.

The evening was spent in the royal ruins. Palaces and aqueducts and beautifully constructed tanks including one which had numbers carved into it in readable Kannada indicating where every stone was to be placed (e.g. 11 North, 12 North etc.) So they were assembled elsewhere, and then based on their numbering, were actually placed in the correct place during the construction of the tank!

The plumbing everywhere was quite astounding. One of the highlights was looking at the headlevel aqueduct that ran over our heads and then into one of the tanks near the royal area. Every major temple had an accompanying tank, and we even saw a HUGE 88m x 25m tank right by one of the ancient canals, ready to be filled with water.

Ladies’ bath, or the Queen’s bath, was an interesting monument. Constructed with curving doors, it is thus one of the few remaining structures that wasn’t destroyed by the “Deccan” sultans as they invaded. Most of the royal ruins are because the sandalwood structures on their white granite bases were burnt down, leaving only the bases behind.

The royal area was beautiful in its immensity of scope, and the Mahanavami Dibba (aka Dasara/Navratri Pandal) afforded both a great view and was a beautiful construction in and of itself. It’s a pity that the place is in ruins due to all the burnt sandalwood, though. The hidden walkway leading into a protected underground area (the King’s private councilroom) was a big highlight.

Other highlights included the two Ganeshas, both of which had had their trunks chopped off, one of whom had a carving of a woman holding on to the Ganesha behind it: quite an interesting touch that. The Ugra (ferocious) Narasimha idol and story of the head on top of the idol, was fun too. The underground Shiva temple and a few other temple areas were interesting, though dilapidated.

The gradually increasing heat turned into a bit of a problem for us, as we hadn’t started the day with our sunscreen lotion, and so looked pretty black as the hot afternoon started setting in.

Mango Tree is an interesting restaurant that is obviously Lonely Planet’ed, due to the amount of firangs around. It is a bit of a detour from Hampi proper, and is on the banks of the Tungabhadra with a great view of the riverbed and the prancing langurs below. We reach it after a nice walk through a banana farm, and the food is pretty decent too.

Our second day was supposed to be a full day, but after the heavy sunburning of the first day and the general travel lethargy that was setting in, we ended up quitting halfway. We started off on a beautiful hill with a beautiful view all around, with a temple on top where the idol had been carved into a rock itself and a temple built around it. Some Ayodhya troupe was out there shouting out ‘Jai Jai Ram’ for what we were told had been 2+ years now, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Crazy.

We went to the famed Vittal temple in the morning, passing by an absolutely massive ‘bazaar’ area with stone pillars which gave us a scale of how big Hampi must have been in its prime. The temple’s really got two parts – one is the 15th century temple area with its typical dancing section with intricate black granite pillars, and then the utterly beautiful 16th century Mahamantapa extension by Krishnadevaraya (as also the similar Kalyana Mantapa by the side.) Though we weren’t allowed up into the Mahamantapa, the carvings were jaw dropping. The Dashavatars were carved into big structures on the side, each one depicting the whole temple itself in miniature. The musical pillars and the carvings of the musicians were at the same level, as was the complex cuts into the base of the area for rainwater to flow down.

And then we come to the stone chariot. That’s also a Krishnadevaraya construction, and houses Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, within it. It’s one of the most photogenic things I’ve seen; it’s what is on the World Heritage Site tickets depicting Hampi.

The later part of the second morning was spent at the Queens’ palaces. Just before that, we went to one area where we saw the granite blocks where carved into round and banana leaf shaped holes, where soldiers would supposedly just eat from the rock itself before washing it out in the nearby stream for the next guy. Similar carvings of small tiny Shivalingas where EVERYWHERE we looked – just walking across a hill would sometimes lead to a field of 30 tiny Shivalingas just arbitrarily carved across the rock!

We then went to the Lotus Mahal by the Queens’ palaces in the womens’ enclosure, and were fascinated by not just that air-conditioned Mahal (with its “Muslim” construction), as we were by the old photographs of Hampi from the 1850s that we saw at an adapted museum nearby. The elephants’ stables were quite beautiful, especially the differentiated roof constructions in each stall.

We had a fun boatride in a big round boat, which was fun though it wasn’t for very long. We then had a nice and relaxed lunch again at Mango Tree and decided to go back to the hotel room to return for sunset, but of course that didn’t end up happening. Our tourism was done.

The drive back from Hospet to Bangalore was tiring and a little sad because we were done with what we both agreed was a much fun trip. The drive down the NH13 to Chitradurga was really painful and stressful, 4 non-stop hours down an utterly dilapidated NH13 before we finally reached salvation after joining NH4 and then the NICE road down to Bangalore. One last dinner at Aroy JP Nagar, and we were done!

The mountains around Hampi are works of art in themselves: beautiful perching white granite rocks that look like they were placed there gingerly by some huge giant. The natural formations were amazing. The black granite sections in Hampi – imported from Andhra and used only in certain places – also added quite the exotic touch to the whole place. (Badami, on the other hand, was also beautiful because of the natural orange sandstone hills that were uniquely shaped and seemed to rise out of nowhere, everywhere. And then there was Ajanta and Ellora, with their black granite monoliths like that Kailasha temple.)

Krishnadevaraya was also an amazing organizer, given that he seems to have pretty much constructed all of what’s good in Hampi during his 30 year reign. His yali’s – the mythological combination of 7 animals – were a trademark in front of every place that he got built. Another big highlight were the musical pillars he had constructed everywhere, which played different sounds as we tapped on them. A third one was the multi-design carvings in some corners – e.g. one that looked like a frog, 2 monkeys, a horse, a bull and a lion depending on what part of the structure we covered up.

The lasting impressions of our trip is that we found it very difficult to judge the relative grandness of every single architectural monument we saw, as each one was constructed in wildly varying eras, from a cave in Ajanta in 200BC to Hampi in the mid-1500s. So while we found things beautiful, we weren’t able to give each place the credit that was its rightful due. But that’s how it is.

And let’s not forget that I actually am somewhat into birdwatching now!

Badami and Aihole (guest post Noella)

We broke our journey from Pune to Badami at Belguam. The journey from Pune was great on the glorious NH4, which has so far been a pleasure after driving through bad Karnataka national and state highways. At Belguam we spent a quiet night back once more at Adarsha Palace. Also ordered in some yummy tomato cheese pizza! Next day was a journey back on NH4 southwards to Hubli and back North to Badami. We decided on this huge deviation to take advantage of the national highways. Unfortunately the new Nokia N8 mapping application had other plans and sent us on a few wild goose chases here and there. Google maps still beats all.

At Badami we tried few of the Lonely Planet hotel recommendations. The rooms were average to fairly dismal and did not seem worth the steep prices of 1300. We decided to check out the most expensive Hotel Badami court and found a beautiful resort style hotel called the Heritage Village on the way. Lots of one room cottages with green spaces and breakfast sitouts. The insides were great too,with tasteful lampshades, curtains and comfy duvets. Even better was the rate we got it at: 1800.

The next day after a lazy breakfast we headed to see the four caves at Badami. The sculptures on sandstone were beautiful. There was no need for paint as the natural red hues and layers of sandstone provided enough decoration. The first cave was dedicated to Shiva. Two for Vishnu and the last for the Jaina Tirthankara. As usual we started last first to avoid crowds. By this time after our awesome experiences at Ajanta and Ellora we knew what to expect. The highlight for me would definitely be the unique ArdhNareeshwara or the sculpture combining the form of Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Was strange to see a single breasted statue with a massive hip curve on one side of the body.

After lunch we explored the Badami museum where we spotted the Sidilaphadi paleontological site from 5000 B.C. This was on our list after information from Mahesh that it was worth checking out. The museum also showed photographs of paintings we should have seen in the Vishnu caves but couldn’t. There were images of gods / people of 600 AD. Both men and women were topless and wearing a short dhoti to cover themselves. Tools used in the cave were also displayed. From the museum we headed to the Bhutanatha temples which were around a massive town tank. The caves being on one side, the museum and north fort on the other and the temples all around. We couldnt see much as the temples were locked and didnt really match up to to Ellora. More interesting were the local women washing their clothes and vessels all together. It seemed like an evening ritual.

Badami proved to be disappointing for the both of us. The town seemed like one massive slum with the ruins mixed up in it. It was not a pleasurable tourism experience dodging human feces at various points to reach a mosque or a temple. The museum itself was behind what could only be described as a slum. The town tank was filled with putrid sewage near the temples and it was disheartening to see people washing clothes and vessels in the same water.

Dinner was a surprise birthday invitation at the Heritage village resort. The manager’s baby was turning one and we turned up in our grubby clothes for cake and snacks. Dinner was on the house for the night.

At Aihole the Durga temple was of note with its apse with verandah and pillar structure (what would the technical term be?). The other temples did not make a significant impression in our minds. At some point one does start looking like the other, nor were there any well preserved sculptures to hold our attention. Ravanaphadi cave was an exception, where we saw an amazing Nataraja sculpture I was inspired to imitate with unimpressive results.

The day we were leaving for Hampi we pushed in our trek to Sidilaphadi. The trek was not too strenous and we saw some beautiful landscape near the cave. The cave itself had few faded paintings of animals and birds. We saw rubble left from the barrier used to cover up the cave as well as holes on the roof from lightning that struck the rock. We returned at around 9:45 and left for Hampi at noon.