I had a banana bread cafe for breakfast - staying at a guesthouse associated with a bakery has its advantages! After breakfast I headed out in to the fray - the festival has made the temple and the bazaar in front erupt in madness. The two car temples are finally fully decorated. In the temple itself I get pulled by the crowd into line to do puja again - at least this time I knew most of the moves. I wandered around the temple and basically just basked in the atmosphere - unfortunately I'm a big attraction so it's difficult to stand aside and watch what happens. While walking out the main gate the elephant and a procession push me aside so I turned around and went back in. I watched the elephant bless people for a while - it's particularly funny (though kind of sad) when the parents force their screaming kids to get blessed. I then got blessed by him again - it's kind of fun. It was starting to get really hot so I headed back to the guesthouse for a cold drink - only had half an hour until they were supposed to move the floats.
About twenty minutes later I was back outside the temple to watch them move the larger of the car temples. The road through the bazaar is absolutely packed, but I find a space to stand near the head of the procession next to the elephant (we seemed to see a lot of each other today). A long ladder was placed against the leading car temple (the larger of the two - I was told today it was 80 feet tall!) and the priests (?) climbed up in to it. A few minutes later the elephant leads a procession and a lot of people pick up the giant ropes leading to the mobile temple - I'm guessing there must have been around 1,000 people on the ropes. With a lot of grunting the cart slowly starts to roll forward. As the cart starts to move everyone in the crowd starts to pelt the temple with bananas - I felt sorry for the priests! About 10 yards down the road the temple stops and everyone drops the ropes - the show over!?! There are electrical wires crossing the road that prevent it from going much farther and I sit there amazed that they have spent who knows how much money and time to build this giant mobile temple only to move it 30 feet!
The festival madness continues and I wandered through the crowds down the bazaar street and then followed the old road up a series of stairs onto a hill I hadn't been on before. On the hill I found- no surprise - more ruins. From the tope of the hill I could look down on the ruins of the Achyutaraya Temple - a large complex that looked very interesting. But it's too hot, so after taking some photos I decided to explore the temple later and head back in to town. I explored some of the stalls on the side alleys of the bazaar and took some photos of the very colorful sweets stalls. The men working the stalls are fascinated by the digital camera and I had to take everyone's picture so they could see themselves. It was fun for awhile, but difficult to get away. I finally managed to extract myself and headed back to the lodge for some shade. I wrote in my journal, organize the morning's photos, and hit the internet cafe. In the afternoon I went back to the festival when I heard that they were going to move the carts again. The electrical lines have been cut down and the street is even more packed. The priests are still imprisoned at the top of the car temples, and are still being pelted by thousands of bananas. The elephant is back at the head of the procession there are musicians (especially drummers) and people dancing everywhere. I found a building that wasn't too crowded and climbed up on top of the roof. It didn't feel real safe, but the view was good. The thousand people grab the ropes again and with the elephant leading the cart starts moving again. This time they pull the temple about a 100 yards down the road before dropping the lines.
After the temple went by I climbed down off roof thinking the action was over and started to follow temple down the road - only to be nearly trampled by the rope bearers sprinting back to pick up the ropes of the the smaller car temple. The smaller cart wasn't as high, but it looked even more unsteady and the people riding in it looked to be hanging on for their lives. It got pulled down the street to join the bigger one. The entire time (I think since the morning) the barrage of bananas hasn't let up and the street was starting to get slippery with banana guts! Not to mention the gloriously decorated temple cars were starting to look more than a little slimy. There was more dancing and drumming then the smaller car gets pulled back to the temple gates. It was a lot harder to move the second time as the wheels kept getting stuck and the people pulling didn't have as much traction on the slippery road. There were two giant pry bars being carried behind the car - a half dozen people to each one - and they were used several times to get the car moving again.
When the cart was back to its original position outside the temple gates everyone sprinted back to the bigger car and started to pull it back. It too got stuck several times, and after making it about a third of the way back it veered a little too close to the side of the road and impaled itself on a tree branch. The temple won't budge. Even with the people on the rope greatly augmented by people from the crowd and the pry bars they can't get it to move either forward or backwards. After nearly an hour a man with an ax climbs into the tree and hangs upside down from the branch with one hand while chopping at it with the other. Meanwhile the priests in the car are trying like crazy to break the branch with their feet - shaking the entire tree so the man with the ax is in danger of falling. Finally the branch gets cut off and with a lot more effort they get the cart moving again and manage to keep it moving until it too is back near the temple gates.
I was getting hungry by that time so I started to fight the massive crowds to get back to the guest house. The going was very slow and I started to get uncomfortably claustrophobic. That motivated me to explore a little and I managed to navigate the side alleys (still crowded, but bearable) back to the guest house. From the loge I walked down to the Mango Tree restaurant on the river and watched the sun set while eating diner. After awhile some of the others from the guesthouse showed up and I hung out with them and then walked back late. At the lodge we sat up even later and played cards and talked. Mostly about what a crazy society this is. All that work to make those massive exquisite temples then move them a mere 300 feet, while covering them in rotten fruit - Bizarre!