Hanuman sits lotus, Pavagadh hill station, Hindu mural Gujarat àª¹àª¨à«àª®àª¾àª¨ àªªàª¾àªµàª¾àª—àª¢
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Pavagadh is one of many Hindu temples built on top of a mountain. It takes 2400 steps to climb it and the same on the way down.
Ibrahim & brothers, which I told about here http://jpgmag.com/photos/2765632,put me on a truck heading this way.
I arrived at night and stayed at a Dharamsala (Hindu temple hosting pilgrims) in the village by the foothills. In the morning I went for a cup of Chai on the sandy main road. While waiting for the Chai wala to slowly brew it I watched the monkeys jump balcony to another, climb the plumbing and snatch food from kitchen backdoor. but on the way to the mountain I was reminded that monkey is god too, and has a temple in town. Here's some more about Indian monkey horror shows http://jpgmag.com/stories/19017Boarding a taxi-jeep going up to Pavagadh, I met a traveling sales person. He was selling price guns (those which attach price tags to products). He paid for me, no questions asked - by then I learned this is pretty common with locals meeting a foreigner.
The Jeep, an Indian Mahindra brand, took sharp curves on the winding road uphill. I crowded in the front bench with 2 others beside the driver. Sitting near the door (only there's non on a Jeep) I could see the tire pop out of it's chamber every time we took a curve. The tire sole was worn to where the radial linings showed through the rubber.
As we got to where the road ends we had 2400 stairs to climb up to the mountaintop lake and temple. Each stair was long and slanted so it was more like a sunny-day-easygoing hurdle track
The path was lined with shacks made of any available building material, selling souvenirs, food, drinks etc...
Herds of donkeys carrying goods and even cooking gas barbells for restocking those shops and restaurants, were crossing our way occasionally.
By the end of the day, after descending those 2400 stairs, I had a sore knee, hardly walking.
My new friend had to return to his hometown and family, also in the state of Gujarat and invited me to come to visit him and gave me his phone no.
The next day I got on my way to another town, one he recommended me, an age old center of semi precious stones processing and crafting. You can read about that adventure here: http://jpgmag.com/stories/15223 Then after the few days on the road, I reached my friend's town. Camping out in the common neighborhood yard on a bed handmade from reused electric pole parts covered by a mosquito net hanging from a tree above as you can see here: http://jpgmag.com/photos/2712888
Also by Etan Doronne
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