The first Sunday at Bhubaneswar, the first holiday since classes had started, i.e. the first opportunity to realize the primary goal of the trip – having fun and roaming around.
Mincy suggested Nandankanan, a well known zoo in the outskirts of the city, as our first destination. The second was provided by Google. Lingaraj Temple, the largest temple in the city.
So the morning of 8th June, around 7:30 am, I kicked David out of sleep (he was never going wake up on his own). By 8:30, loaded with my brand new camera, we were outside CTTC campus hiring an auto. He demanded Rs. 150, later settled for Rs. 110.
We skipped the safaris, but we heard that they were good too.
Stepping out of the zoo, we boarded a bus to Lingaraj Temple. Well, to its closest bus stop. Then we took an auto to the Temple.
After depositing our shoes and camera and phone, we could enter.
It was a majestic one, aged down over the years. There was an immense main temple, and lots of other smaller ones spread over the area (108 in total, we were told). Like the ones we encountered during my trip to South India.
So, we were looking around, and we spotted a deity on a single leg. David, the ever-curious, found a guy who looked religious and knowledgeable, and asked its. The guy not only explained that thing, but insisted to show around.
In a few minutes, we had understood that he was a tout (he introduced himself as teacher of the head-priest !!!), and that our wallets were gonna get a bit lighter.
Nevertheless, we had seen and heard more than an average tourist there. He also got us some ‘prasad‘, that was supposedly not publicly available. Then he took us near the drains of the main temple. (Here comes the ‘icky’ part) He took out something from there, and put it in a plastic bag, and told us to wear it as ‘tilak‘ on our forehead during major exams.
That done, it was time to pay him. So I pulled out a 100-rupee note for both of us. David had the exact same thought, and pulled out one too. We ended up paying 100 rupees each. The guy was visibly happy. After we took back our shoes, camera, mobile, etc., he escorted us out to an auto, while telling the story of another adjacent temple on the way. Even he probably felt overpaid !!!