Fhra india / Lenders Only No Third Party Bad Credit Fri, 21 Dec 2018 10:35:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.1 A trip to Gujarat for my return to India /a-trip-to-gujarat-for-my-return-to-india/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 10:35:26 +0000 /a-trip-to-gujarat-for-my-return-to-india/ If you follow me on social networks, you probably know that I’m coming back from a month-long trip to India , mostly in Gujarat . Before leaving, when I was asked where my next trip would be and I was answering in India, a lot of people were surprised. “But you’ve been to India before?” Yes, I have been there since it was my fifth trip to this country and cumulating previous stays, I had already spent 6 months. But why, why return to this country? A lack of inspiration? A fad? I tell you everything, finally almost …

As often, I had many ideas in mind before choosing the destination of this winter trip. Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chad, Cameroon. I was on the verge of setting my sights on Sri Lanka, but finally, after a tweet from Joana de VeniVidiVoyage , patatras, it was India. India, I went there for the first time for work in 1997 while my traveler’s curriculum was just a blank page, it was India’s big beginner level . Then three more or less long journeys followed, the last for a trek in Ladakh with friends in 2003, more than 10 years ago. So why this upheaval? Because I missed India. Whenever I talk about it, I’m not quite right anymore. I see it again, a chai in one hand, a bidi in the other to nodding. But now, the curiosity that is normally the lot of the traveler pushes to always choose new horizons, but not this time, more this time. Ten years is just too long , way too long.

But why, then, this obsession? It’s usually quite difficult to explain an obsession. Why is this country that scares some and disgusts others has become for me a sort of Grail of the trip? The answer is actually in one sentence. In India, everything is possible 1 in India, everything is possible . I am very far from having traveled the world, but for what I know, no one else, the culture shock is also intense . The simple fact of finding there two religions as dissimilar as Hinduism with its thousands of gods and idols and Islam that banishes any figurative representation, this simple fact is already not banal. Cohabitation is not always the most harmonious, but it does not prevent. As Nerhu said, “India is a geographical, economic entity, a cultural unity in its diversity, an assemblage of contradictions, maintained by powerful but invisible links.” An assemblage of contradictions , the word is weak.

In India, everything is possible

We do not travel to India like in any other country, everything is stronger than elsewhere . A trip to India is a trip 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wanting to escape is a lure and the guarantee of missing out on the trip. This is undoubtedly what makes some people adore and others graze the detestation, the famous Indian syndrome. Traveling here probably requires more commitment, but once you’ve taken the plunge, once plunged your head into the Indian cauldron, what a reward for the traveler. This semblance of permanent chaos that is India contains more life than anywhere else. It is a real tidal wave, life is overflowing everywhere . At first glance, this chaos can be scary, seem hostile, but it is not so. To realize it, just stop and look. The smiles then appear on many faces. India may be intimidating, but it is not hostile, it is the very opposite, it is warm, playful, wriggling, petulant, so alive.

When I’m in India, I can not just be a spectator, go out of my hotel, go to visit a particular monument and come home quietly once the visit is over. India forces me out of my straitjacket , it forces me out of my comfort zone, my virtual fortress built around me over the years. In France and in many other countries, my fortress is respected. In India, it’s not that we do not care, it’s that we do not even see it. It does not exist, it no longer exists, it has disappeared. It has an undeniably destabilizing aspect, but is it not the essence of the trip? Admittedly, the trip allows us to see with our own eyes the wonders of this world, but not that, because it is actually quickly quite boring. The trip also allows us to go to meet something else. But with India, you do not have to invite yourself to her house. Whether you like it or not, India comes to your home . She opens all the doors, all the windows and blows a wind of freshness that dusts everything in its path.

Why go to India

If I had to list briefly and very subjectively why I returned to India, it would look like that. Some reasons are serious, others much less:

  • Because we eat well, even in bouis-bouis.
  • Because India is westernizing less than the rest of the world.
  • Because Gandhi.
  • Because it’s good for karma.
  • Because you do not have to live in the countryside to really know what a cow is.
  • Because it’s movember 365 days a year.
  • Because the hair or the beard dyed with henna, it is the supreme elegance.
  • Because we dodeline of the head. Generally, it means yes, but sometimes it means no!
  • Because there is nothing more classy than a Sikh with his beautiful turban around his head. A Rajput with his turban and his earrings, it’s not bad either without forgetting an Indian sari.
  • Because the Indians speak with an English accent like no other.
  • Because it does not roll right or left, but where it goes, even if sometimes, it does not pass.
  • Because behind the trucks, we beg you to honk. There is indeed written horn please.

 Horn please

  • Because outside of Rajasthan and some other spots, it’s not very touristy. In Gujarat, apart from Diu, I had to meet at most a dozen foreign tourists.
  • Because Indians love pictures. For who likes to take it, it’s the dream.
  • Because traveling there without planning anything is of a disconcerting ease. By pointing to the bus station, it is rare to have to wait more than an hour for a bus to pick up where you want to go. Trains require a little more organization, but not that much.
  • Because in India, everything is possible, but sometime, not available 2 in India, anything is possible, but sometimes it’s not available .
  • Because more curious than an Indian, it does not exist. Oh yes, I forgot, Bangladeshis are even more curious. Yes, it is possible, I had spoken to you here: in the skin of a star in Bangladesh .
  • Because we smoke bidi.
  • Because for those who want to travel a long time, but do not have a penny in their pocket, traveling is not expensive. This is not a reason in itself to choose India of course, but it can still count for some. For this trip, without taking my head and doing the simplest, I spent 480 € in 4 weeks . Obviously, with that, I do not sleep in palaces, but it’s good, I only like in low-end hotels. The bows of rigor as soon as one passes a category above me indisposent. I like to travel simply. The thrifty traveler can get by with € 10 per day .
  • And of course, if only one reason, because we drink chaï, the best chaï in the world and we find at every corner!

From Delhi and Mumbai through Rajasthan and Gujarat

In India, I already knew Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in the north, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karanataka in the south. It leaves so many regions to visit. This time it will be essentially a trip to Gujarat . That was the idea by buying my plane ticket, arriving in Delhi and returning from Mumbai. The exact course will take shape as often as the trip. Delhi , Bundi , Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Junagadh , Diu , Palitana, Vadodara, Aurangabad ( Ajanta and Ellora) and Mumbai, traveled by bus and train. I will not go into the details of this itinerary here. The different stages will be the subject of future articles.

So, tell, that was how

You already know the answer, it was ecstasy obviously. Just arrived in Delhi in Paharganj, the smiles are there, and the brothel too. I put my bag and neither one nor two, go on a quest … a chai and a bidi.

On these four weeks, not a single moment of boredom , not a day without. I was a little afraid before leaving to have over time a little too idealized this country, but no. No one else traveling, I do not feel as good in my pumps as in India. This country has given birth to the passion of travel more than 15 years ago and I think that I will never tire of it. Because no doubt, next time will not be in 10 years.

Enough words, a small overview of this route in 16 photos :

And in the meantime, I can not recommend too much to go on a tour of Ailleurs on Earth , the blog of Aurélie, she also great love of India. She goes back there, right away, on March 25th. His articles are always a real treat to read. Another lucky man is Brice from the World Wild Brice blog, who is going back to work, but I do not doubt he finds time to talk a little bit about it between two fields. And before the end point of this article, one last reading tip on India, the Swim in India retroblog. A trip to India in the early 80’s released today, day by day. A real treat.

On the program of this trip

  • Chaos in the heart of old Delhi
  • Bundi, Rajasthan far from mass tourism
  • Chaos and cold sweats in Ahmedabad
  • Immersion in the heart of an Indian street in Ahmedabad
  • Girnar Hill, 7000 steps to paradise
  • The island of Diu in Gujarat, to unplug Indian chaos
  • Pilgrimage to the temples of Palitana in Shatrunjaya
  • Vadodara, the gateway to the Mosques of Champaner
  • Ajanta, at the bottom of the cave, there was Buddha
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Manali-Leh road, meet the stars – Ladakh /manali-leh-road-meet-the-stars-ladakh/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:28:19 +0000 /manali-leh-road-meet-the-stars-ladakh/ To reach Leh , capital of Ladakh , many people, pressed for time, opts for a Delhi-Leh return flight. It’s fast, comfortable and allows you to have more time on the spot for your trek in Ladakh. It seems to optimize your vacation. It’s a bit of the pain of our time, even when traveling, everyone is in a hurry. But impossible on the plane to understand why Ladakh is so different from the rest of India. To understand and understand this reality, we must take the road and realize how Ladakh is a kingdom nestled in the mountains and so to speak completely cut off from the rest of the world . It was so in any case before the advent of the plane and the construction of the Manali-Leh road. And then the road offers a grand spectacle that you will not forget anytime soon.

Indian roads are rarely easy. Dantesque movement, in town a concert of honking horns, even a symphony, except that the instruments are poorly tuned. But the Manali-Leh road is made of another kind. No more traffic jams, chaos and pollution, up in the mountains. And in comparison, to say that our neck Tourmalet with 2115 m or Alpe d’Huez and its 21 turns are rather pale. Manali-Leh is 480 km of high mountain road with a culminating point at the pass of Tanglang La at 5328 m . It’s the highest driveway in the world .

The bus trip lasts two days . It may seem long for “only” 480 km but as I said before, it’s not really an ordinary road. As we climb above Manali, the vegetation disappears little by little to give way to a very mineral and almost uninhabited universe. It will be understood later that the points on the map do not really correspond to villages but rather summer camps that are there only to feed and accommodate travelers. In fact of road, many sections rather resemble a track. Crossing an oncoming vehicle is not always convenient. We appreciate quite quickly the courtesy that when a bus crosses a truck, it is always the truck that rolls side precipice . Sometimes it’s very fair. And sometimes it does not pass, as evidenced by the few truck wrecks that can sometimes be seen at the bottom of the precipice. Unless it’s drivers who fell asleep at the wheel. Obviously, when you cross another bus, the courtesy rule no longer works. One could embark on a complicated calculation to determine the number of women and children and the average age on board that passes panorama side but for once we found a much simpler solution, the bus passengers side “I do not want to dive “are asked to get off the vehicle to go back once the maneuver is over.

Most of the crossed vehicles are trucks that come to supply Ladakh with various consumer goods and military convoys. Ladakh with the conflict in neighboring Kashmir and proximity to China is a fairly sensitive area.

On the low side, it is not uncommon to meet extreme roadmenders employed to repair this road. These black mouths that prepare the bitumen in big metal cans that burn along the road would almost give you the impression of having landed in a world of Mad Max . The working conditions of these men from the poorest parts of India are calamitous. But without them, this road would not exist.

Vision of unreal also when the bus stops to load two monks and their meager luggage waiting at the edge of the road. As far as the eye can see, no habitation, no sign of life. Then comes the question, “but where do they come from?” They do not speak English so the mystery will remain intact. Arriving at Leh after these two days of travel offers a strange feeling. We are surprised to find ourselves again in a city. Leh is a small town but its presence, lost in the heart of the Himalayas, seems incongruous. Fatigue helps, we also feel the satisfaction of having somehow deserved to be here .

Practical advice

First advice, do not opt ​​for a seat at the bottom of the bus . Do not like me who said to me when I saw the middle seat in the back seat “great, I’ll have room for my big legs”. Room, no problem, I got some. The only worry is that at each pothole, and there are too many between Manali and Leh to be able to count them all, instead of taking off softly from my seat, I was literally ejected . I could not hold onto the handles of the seats, nothing helped. I even banged several times on the ceiling of the bus, a real rodeo. It obviously depends on the delicacy of the driver. Mine was kind of young and fiery! So the first half of the bus is very good but beyond the rear axles, unless you want to play the service clown (I laughed my neighbors by banging me) to avoid so. I will finish the first day on the roof with the luggage. Unobstructed views and optimal comfort provided you find soft luggage to wallow in the middle.

You can choose between more comfortable but more expensive private buses and public buses. Most tourists opt for private buses. For my first trip, I chose the public bus and was the only westerner on board . Personally I prefer but to each his preferences. A pretty interesting option if you are a small group of 4 or 5 people and opt for a jeep that covers the distance in a long day. We chose this option for my second trip in 2003. To count about 18 pm with a departure around 2 am. It also allows the driver to stop for a few pauses. It is also possible to go by truck by going to the meeting points of the trucks around Manali. The experience may be interesting if your driver is nice. It will usually cost you a price slightly lower than that of the public bus, provided you negotiate well.

Few people take the option of making the trip and the return trip by bus. This then raises the question between doing Manali-Leh by bus and return by plane or vice versa. I can not recommend too much to opt for the first solution, and this for several reasons. The Manali-Leh road is very often subject to landslides and may be closed for several days before being repaired and again passable. If it’s closed, you should still be able to find last minute flight for Leh, you have some flexibility. If it’s back, it can turn into a big hassle and make you miss your Delhi-home flight, unless you’re a long-time traveler. Then comes the problem of altitude and the risks inherent in climbing too fast without acclimation . To make the trip by bus to the return diminishes indeed this risk because you will then be better acclimated after your stay in Ladakh. But on the other hand, to make the trip by the road to the go participates in this acclimatization. And for once, it does not really represent days lost because you should have anyway stay a few days in Leh (which is 3500 m) to acclimatize before leaving on a trek. The trip is not long enough to make it really dangerous to go up as fast. However, expect a bad night on the way because of the altitude.

Finally the Manali-Leh road is open from early June to late September for buses and from mid-May to mid-October for jeeps. But keep in mind that once mid-September it becomes very random with the risk of snow at any time.

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South India, temples of Tamil Nadu /south-india-temples-of-tamil-nadu/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:27:31 +0000 /south-india-temples-of-tamil-nadu/ For many, a trip to India is synonymous with Rajasthan. It’s a beautiful region, but a country as vast as India obviously has much more to offer than that. Looking for a place a little more relaxed ? Why not go for a trip to South India in Tamil Nadu ? You may miss the Taj Mahal, but Tamil Nadu is not bad either in terms of temples and other sights. So, fasten your belts, let’s go. Well actually, you can take off your belts, because this utensil is not too local culture, but let’s go anyway.

As I approach South India, I left France for 6 months, and little by little, my steps have led me here in India. Finally to be more precise, it is rather the wheels of the buses and the trains which made the main part of the course. My legs and feet were often cramped, but I spared them most of the 16,000 km of this course. Because yes, although having climbed more than 5300 m on the road that connects Manali to Leh , I have never left the floor of the cows since my departure from Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. No plane, it was the plan of departure. It’s not a feat, but I still feel a little pride when I look at my mini world map and I say, “That’s it, I made the route to India” . I have been in India for two months now, so I feel pretty comfortable there. I did my classes and am no longer the big beginner of 3 years ago.

No plane, it was the plan of departure

We are in September and the monsoon has not yet said its last words in the North. So I continue my game of hide and seek with her and go for a ride from a single from Delhi to Chennai (Madras), a little over 2000 km and 34 hours of train. When I say this, I am told very often “34 hours by train, it’s not a bit long and boring?” . Oh no, that’s not boring. Forget the train travels in our latitudes where we keep the nose in his book, being careful not to disturb his neighbor (me first for that matter) and where the intruder who dares to use his mobile phone is shot from look if he speaks a little too loudly. You are not here in a TGV and boring is not Indian. A train in India, it lives . When it’s not the chaï wallah 1 tea merchant who does not cease, day and night, to roam the wagons cries of “chaï chaï chaï” , it’s a whole army of small sellers who come aboard at each stop to sell you samosas, peanuts , coca, toys, paans, miracle cures against everything and so on. In short, it is a concentrate of India on rail. You will find more information on train travel in India at the end of the article.

Boring is not Indian

Just arrived in Chennai, 10 minutes ahead of schedule (who said trains in India were always late?), Head to the bus station for a bus to Kanchipuram. As often, it’s a nice mess at the Chennai bus station. I ask right to left to find where to find my bus. I go around in circles until I get a bus. In front, two magnificent turbaned Sikhs seem to be the driver and the mechanic. So I ask confirmation, “Kanchipuram?” And there, my two friends dodeling laterally of the head without emitting a single sound. I repeat my question, same answer. I try to play at the most cunning and change my question, “it’s good, so I can get on the bus?” The answer does not change one iota. Both, in heart, in a harmony and a perfect synchronization sport a broad smile and … nod their heads! What does this thing mean, yes or no? I get on the bus and ask the same question to a passenger who happily dodels … and answers me “Kanchipuram, no problem” . OK, so that meant yes. But that’s not always the case and it’s more like saying something like, “I understood.” To be able to answer only yes or no to a question would be too simple. In short, it’s India what! And in South India, they are true stars of the dodeling. The funny thing is that I end up doing the same sometimes!

They smile broadly and nod their heads

After Kanchipuram, direction Mamallapuram (we are in the country of cities in “am”). Mamallapuram is known for its Temple of the Shore and its splendid bas-reliefs called The Penance of Arjuna. At Temple of the Shore, surprise, the temple is there, but there is an additional attraction. On the nearby beach has been erected a wooden platform of ten meters and at the top, a man looking like Ganghi sits cross-legged and meditates in full sun. Intrigued, I approach. There is a sign, but it is written in Tamil. An Indian comes to see me and explains that this man meditates for peace in the world . Until then, why not, after all, we are in India. But the end of the explanation is a little more surprising. He would not have eaten nor eaten for 43 days! Quite dubitative, I make him repeat, nothing drunk for 43 days, it’s impossible, but he does not budge. 43 days without eating OK, pass again, but without drinking, no. And there he does not nod his head, the answer leaves no room for ambiguity: “no, this man, very powerfull, 43 days no drink, no problem” . 2 no, this man, very powerful, 43 days without drinking, no problem Yes, no problem, it is well known, in India, everything is possible! Lastly, I do not care, I do not care, but these very Gandhian acts of passive resistance do not leave me indifferent. Although it must inevitably drink discrete at night, it is impressive this self-denial.

As for the bas-reliefs, they are splendid, with a delicacy and a depth of execution, I do not tell you more, if it is not another mystery, no one knows since how long the elephants of these bas-reliefs reliefs did not drink.

Continuing further south, I continue my pilgrimage of Hindu temples to Kumbakonam. Close up, some statuettes of this temple adopt poses of the most suggestive. But you will have to go there, do not count on me to cross the boundaries of decency

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South India Kerala and Karnataka /south-india-kerala-and-karnataka/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:26:59 +0000 /south-india-kerala-and-karnataka/ After traveling the roads of Tamil Nadu , the time has come to cross the mountains, the Western Ghats through the Palni Hills before reaching Kerala and its backwaters, then back through Karnataka to Hampi . A ticket shaped impressions here and there to whet your appetite for this region. Notes interspersed with a few mechanical rides, because we are still in India. And as I thought of you, you will even have right at the end of this post to some suggestions of itineraries for South India. No doubt, after this healthy reading, your karma goes … I do not tell you more.

So we continue the little adventure in South India. Two articles in a row on the same country, which is the same region and in addition, please, chronologically, this is a first. But sorry for the addicts of space-time coherence, I fear that it does not last. But since it’s the program of the day, let’s go.

Kerala is probably more touristy than Tamil Nadu. He has for him, it must be said, the beaches of Kovalam and Varkala where I have not even set foot. I was probably wrong, a little rest would not have hurt me, but it was a time when I had scratched the word beach from my vocabulary. It has since reappeared, but still very discreet and sporadic.

But before arriving in Kerala, I have to cross some mountains. Obviously, it’s not really the Himalayas, but there are the same mountain resorts as in the foothills of the Himalayas. Of the different stations, I chose Kodaikanal , why, I do not know anymore. Still, it was not really a success. The place is probably beautiful, but it’s just not the right season. It’s late October, and the northeast monsoon has arrived in Kodai. It’s quite complicated monsoons in India. Most of the country suffers the southwestern monsoon from mid-June to mid-September, but southeast India is affected by the north-east monsoon (okay, not too much of a whirlwind?). mid-October to the end of December. In short, I’m in the clouds and it’s raining. To enjoy the mountains, it’s not necessarily the best.

So I continue my journey to Kerala and its famous backwaters . Have you ever heard of Kerala backwaters? It is a network of navigable canals and lakes along the coast of Kerala through lush vegetation and it is an opportunity to experience a mode of transport a little less hectic than the Indian buses, namely the boat. .

Then came Kochi , a real treat. If you want to stock up on red peppers to get angry with guests once you get home, you’re in the right place. Kochi also has a few Chinese squares. What is it? Well a plaice is a wooden structure that supports a big fishing net. So instead of throwing your net into the sea, you take it down and rebuild it with this structure and ropes.

And hop hop hop, we continue north. Bus trips to India can be a bit hectic. And the one to go to Sravanabelagola kept all his promises. The bus is equipped with two horns and the driver plays us a real symphony with these two tones to make their way on these sometimes congested roads. But the symphony is a little dissonant and ends up getting on my nerves because I’m sitting in front, right next to the driver. And then suddenly there is a bridge in front of us full of sheep. The code of the Indian road stipulating that the biggest is always right, our good knight of the road takes again its symphony of more beautiful to open a passage. Obviously, it does not slow down , what’s the point! Except that there are too many sheep on this bridge to pass. At the last minute, he crushes the brake and stops in a squeak of tires just in time. Although I was at this stage rather used to Indian driving, I almost screamed at him a “but fucking, you’re too stupid, you did not see that it could ever pass” . Because yes, on that one, I really was scared. He, sure of his right, he shouted the shepherd!

Sravanabelagola is the holy city of Jainism . You do not know Jainism? I did not know either. It’s close to Hinduism, but it’s still another religion. I am not going to give you a theology class, but the most surprising aspect of Jainism is the cult of non-violence, which has reached its climax. A jain must therefore normally sweep in front of him when walking or wearing a kind of veil in front of his mouth, and this to be certain that he will not accidentally crush or swallow a small animal. It can be assumed that jains are rarely bus drivers, otherwise you might be late for your destination!

In the Jain temple of Sravanabelagola, there is an 18 m tall statue of Bahubali, who is the son of the founder of Jainism. And indeed, he looks very “peace and love” Bahubali.

On the way to Hampi, take a short break in Belur to admire one of the temples of South India with the most refined statuary. Note also the elegance of these Indian sari. I’m not sure, however, that the one in yellow is very impressed by my elegance to me

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Bundi, Rajasthan far from mass tourism /bundi-rajasthan-far-from-mass-tourism/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:26:20 +0000 /bundi-rajasthan-far-from-mass-tourism/ Faithful readers, I have no doubt about it, Tajikistan has also become your Kiffistan . But stop there, addictions, it’s dangerous! So for you to avoid any dependence, a small break is necessary. And presto, it’s the perfect excuse to go back to another of my addictions, India . I am taking you this time to Rajasthan . I already hear your disappointment, “you talk about something against the tide of Rajasthan”. But if I took you to visit a Rajasthan a little less touristy. A Rajasthan where you will not try to sell anything and everything on every street corner. A Rajasthan where you will not want to spend your nerves on the first rickshaw a bit too insistent! Today, I take you for a stroll in Bundi .

As soon as one evokes a trip to India, especially if it is the first one, the choice is carried out for the greatest number on Rajasthan. More than a quarter of foreign visitors to India come to Rajasthan, making it the most touristic region of India. There are very good reasons for this (the tourists are not completely idiots either), the region is beautiful and close to Delhi. But the counter-shock of this massive influx of tourists is an equally massive influx of touts and other sellers of just about anything and everything ( in India, everything is possible ).

And these touts know at their hours to be extremely persistent. Some travelers do fine, others do not. I am speaking to connoisseurs here, you do not have a little saturated sometimes with all these solicitations? A classic circuit like Delhi, Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Agra and back to Delhi will leave you little escape from this breaking wave.

So it’s gone, goodbye dreams of lonely visits to the land of the Maharajas. It would have been necessary for that to come to India at the time of Nicolas Bouvier , now, it is done. Hop hop hop, not so fast! Admittedly, the splendors of Rajasthan in explorer mode , it is of the past, but a small side step away from the big tourist migrations is always possible. This small step off the highway, it could be Bundi .

Rajasthan off the beaten track

In 2012, more than 500,000 foreign tourists visited Jaipur, but only 16,500 visited Bundi. Obviously, you will not be really alone in Bundi and will cross other congeners in the streets, but it does not prevent, the contrast is far from negligible, what a calm .

No, you will not be alone in Bundi

In Bundi, we take pleasure in walking quietly in the alleys of the old town. No traffic Dantesque , no sellers or rickshaws that constantly appeals to you, just Indians who look at you (yes, we are still in India!) And who gladly exchange a smile with you. In fact, I have never met tourists who came here and were disappointed. But if you’re one of those rare animals, I’d be curious to know why.

Bundi is a small town located between hills whose ridge line is filled with ramparts. I imagine that in military terms, we call it a strategic position. We are here in Rajput territory, and to say that they proudly wear the Rajputs with their dhotis , their earrings, their turbans, and their tapered mustaches. When we meet them in the streets, they do not look at their pumps, but walk proudly, with their heads held high. It must be said that with such a presence, it would be crazy to play sled-slippers.

They meet in the small squares of the old city, discuss, smoke a few bidis, drink a chaï , probably remake the world a little, unless remaking Rajasthan is a sufficient horizon. That one of them gets up, his countenance, his body language impress. Among the Indian mosaic, they undoubtedly represent with the Sikhs the quintessence of a certain elegance.

At their head, the Bundi raja lived of course in a small palace. This palace and the fort that dominates it may not be as impressive and majestic as in Jodhpur, but we are not facing a little shack either.

The palace of Bundi

Being rather adept of a certain simplicity, I did not take up residence in the palace, but in his stables! Indeed, the stables at the foot of the palace have been converted into a cheap hostel (Haveli Elephant Stable). Notorious advantage, when you stay in old stables for elephants , we do not bang on the ceiling! A very good address for the rest. The manager, Raj, is very affable and adorable, and his wife Neema, in addition to being very smiling, is a very good cook . Expect fabulous candlelight dinners in the garden.

In addition to the traditional cows, the monkeys also live in Bundi. Some jump from roof to roof in the city, but it is especially in the surrounding hills that one crosses them. As I walk along the ramparts, the monkeys walk on the ramparts, jumping from merlon to merlon. With the youngest, it’s a kind of game, each trying to intimidate the other with the means at his disposal. They scream in my direction, because they sometimes hesitate to double me, while I hit the floor with my stick. With adult males, I’m less clever. I do not want to find myself surrounded by males who can sometimes be quite aggressive. Suffice to say that the stick is an essential accessory to go to the hills. Without, it’s more complicated!

From the ramparts, like a mini version of Jodhpur, the blue city extends to our feet. This blue is recognized by the houses of the Brahmins and is also supposed to protect from heat and mosquitoes. Once back in town, we find in these streets a magical atmosphere that has disappeared from the major cities of Rajasthan. Here you will not find sitting snake charmers waiting for the tourist for the photo. Everyone is quietly going about their business.

Obviously, cows are not absent from this urban landscape. As everywhere in India, if one of them decided to occupy the middle of the street, the rickshaws will honk well, it is lost. They are here at home . Do not reverse the roles, in Indian cities man sometimes seems to be a guest in a territory already conquered by the cattle.

After walking in the fort, along the ramparts, in the palace, after being lost in the streets, after making a visit to use primates and cattle, the only, the only absolutely essential address in Bundi This is Krishna’s little stall in Sadar Bazar. Krishna will serve you no less than the best chai ever drunk in India , a marvel!

Some practical tips

How to get to Bundi

Bundi is not on one of the main railway lines, but there are nevertheless two trains a day to Chittorgarh, two to Delhi, one to Agra and one to Udaipur. Finally, since Kota is only an hour away by bus, there are many trains to Delhi and Jaipur. As always, train schedules are available on Indian Railways or ClearTrip . Since Pushkar, there is in principle a direct bus and very many from Ajmer.

Rather Bundi, Chittorgarh or Pushkar

The drama for many people in India is to have to choose where to go, but also by extension where not to go. We have known drama more … dramatic, but it does not prevent. A question that comes up often is what choice to make between Bundi, Chittorgarh and Pushkar?

The Chittor fort is worth a visit, but the city of Chittorgarh is, in my opinion, much less pleasant than Bundi. So if you have to stop a choice for lack of time, I would definitely throw my heart on Bundi. Note that Chittorgarh is also more touristy.

For Pushkar, it will be a little more complicated to give an opinion because … I have never been to Pushkar! But I sometimes chat with other travelers. Pushkar is definitely a rather peaceful place, but if you are looking for a destination that is not too touristy, clearly, this is not the place to go. Although Pushkar is only a small town, it has become trendy for many years. So again, if you are looking for a break outside the tracks, Bundi is definitely the right choice.

Now that I’ve given you all the keys for Bundi, all you have to do is find the right lock . Which one will have your favors?

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Ajanta, at the bottom of the cave, Buddha /ajanta-at-the-bottom-of-the-cave-buddha/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:25:48 +0000 /ajanta-at-the-bottom-of-the-cave-buddha/ The Ajanta Caves in India are most often described in very laudatory terms. These caves dug by man would be decorated with remarkable paintings and sculptures. A real treasure going back more than 2000 years for the oldest and classified in the UNESCO World Heritage. All this is true, this cliff is indeed in many ways quite exceptional, but me in Ajanta, I did not see that that. In Ajanta, I saw Buddha , and believe me if you want, but since then, we are very good!

After a few hours bus ride from Aurangabad, here I am at the foot of the Ajanta cave cliff, a sort of horseshoe over the Waghore River. I follow the visit of the caves and there is no saying Swim In India had done well to recommend this site is tip-top.

And then at the end of the cliff, we enter a cave a little different . It’s narrower, it’s dark, it’s intriguing. It is not scary, because the voices of my fellow Indian tourists hopping phrasing are still present in sound, but it’s intriguing. A semblance of glow appears at the bottom of the cave, and as I approach, the spotlights come on and Buddha appears there, large, in front of me. Not knowing what to say and under the influence of emotion, I rewarded him with a “Buddha salute” . Obviously, it also surprised him a little, and taken aback, he replied “Hi my friend” !

When I wrote this on the Facebook page, a colleague told me “Laurent you worry me, you did not eat weird cake I hope?” . And you what do you think ? Hard to say, because everyone will agree, “in India everything is possible”

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Visit the Isle of God in Gujarat to get rid of the chaos /visit-the-isle-of-god-in-gujarat-to-get-rid-of-the-chaos/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:25:24 +0000 /visit-the-isle-of-god-in-gujarat-to-get-rid-of-the-chaos/ Even if we love to travel in India , we must recognize that it is not always easy. Noise and this kind of permanent chaos have a certain side that can fascinate, but that can also be used. In the suggestions of destinations to disconnect a little, we count Dharamsala (Mac Leod Ganj), Manali, Goa and so on. While calm is at the rendezvous, but very often, I feel a little next to my pumps. These destinations have a hype, cool side that tends to annoy me somewhat. In the small island kind rather relaxed that does not fart, the island of Diu , south of Gujarat has some assets, not least.

the island of Diu

After my heroic climb of the 7000 Girnar Hill (yes yes, just that), I planned to go listen to purring the lions of the Sasan Gir National Park. Except that what was initially a cold is turning into bronchitis. I’ve been feverish for five days and the Coue method does not do anything, I start coughing like in a barrel. The time seems to have come for me to be treated and to rest a little. So I leave the hubbub of Junagadh aboard a direct bus to Diu.

Once I arrived, in order to flatter the gods, a detail that is important in India, I decided to stay on the roof of a church. Yes, you read correctly, a church. Until 1961, Diu was a Portuguese colony, this explains that. And on the roof of St. Thomas Church (converted into Diu Museum), there is a small pension, the Sao Tome Retiro Hotel. The rooms, made of four boards on the roof, are tired to say the least, but the view is unbeatable , exactly what I need.

So it was a bronchitis

My first mission once put my backpack is to find a doctor. They send me to Diu Hospital for that. The hospital is also in an old church (on the right in the previous picture). Obviously, a hospital in India, one imagines immediately a kind of course of miracles . A crowded place with stretchers everywhere combined with administrative chaos in which it will still have to find its way, learn the instructions. In short, the guarantee to spend the whole day.

Except that no, in India, everything is possible 1 in India, everything is possible and in the space of half an hour, I follow up on a consultation, a blood test for a determination of white and red blood cells, a test of malaria, reconsultation and a visit to the pharmacy of the hospital. Thirty minutes , not one more, and all without paying a kopeck ! In Diu, the public hospital is free, being a foreigner does not change anything. And as expected, my bronchi therefore host some Indian hosts who have a little typed the incrust without knocking on the door. So I have bronchitis.

But Diu is not India, and to read the testimony of Aurélie, the course of the combatant to which she was entitled by accompanying as a nurse a patient with cancer in Auroville gives a completely different sound. Bell. Obviously, the pathologies are nothing like, we will not compare a bronchitis with cancer, but it does not prevent, the hospital of Auroville seems quite far from that of Diu. We probably do not treat Diu such serious pathologies, nothing high-tech here, the hospital looks pretty rustic, but everything seems more functional. So you’ll understand, for bronchitis, I recommend Diu!

The city of Diu

Fortunately, Diu is not just a hospital. The island may be separated from the mainland only by a bridge of a mile, it is another world . We forget the streets where we have to check three times if crossing is a reasonable choice. Here, we can walk in the middle of the streets. There is virtually no traffic, no horn, no quibbling, we think dream.

In fact, only two indices confirm that we are still in India:

  • We always dodeline of the head.
  • There are cows in the streets.

The Portuguese past of the island offers to see some churches and a fort. Diu being an island, there are also some beaches, but sincerely, do not expect mountains and wonders. The sea is not blue turquoise and all beaches are not necessarily the cleanest. It does not prevent some tourists, some Westerners and many Indians, from coming here for the beach. But the beach is not my thing.

The fishing village of Vanakbara

For me, the highlight of the show on the island of Diu, will be my visit to the fishing village of Vanakbara . Vanakbara is located at the western end of the island, 18 km from the city of Diu. As traffic is virtually non-existent on the island, a bike rented to Diu will be my traveling companion. Of course, the bike is rotten and too small for me, but the ground is quite flat, so it will do the trick. Following the south coast of the island, a succession of beaches leads to Vanakbara.

Arrived on site, the port is actually much bigger than I had anticipated. There are boats by the dozens. At the beginning of the afternoon, the activity is not at its strongest, because the return of fishing is rather early in the morning. But the boats are repaired there, the nets are untangled and the fish are packaged with large loaves of ice. Obviously, as always in India, as soon as I leave my camera, some onlookers land for the pose. I’m still waiting to find the rare beast, an Indian who does not like pictures!

Back home, surprise, my bike all rotten turns into a rotten and rotten bike . Normally, in India, you find a bicycle repairman on every street corner, except that obviously there is none. The onlookers with whom I inquire, walk around Vanakbara. Obviously, they either do not know. In India, more often than not, when you ask for a direction, even if you do not know where it is not daring to tell you. Instead, we send you a little anywhere. But very quickly, you understand that a nonchalant response accompanied by a wave “it is there” means in fact “but I have no idea my friend . “

After a few “it’s over there” , icing on the cake, a young person questions me with regard to my problem. Obviously, he speaks very little English. So I show him the rear wheel of my bike and tell him “puncture” 2 punctured in English , to which he answers me “your name, puncture?” 3 is your name exhausted? . Here you are, as everywhere in India, young people here ask you your name at every street corner, so inevitably, it could not be anything else!

Your name, puncture?

Result of the races, 18 terminals to walk back to Diu, bof bof. The vehicles likely to charge me with my bike do not run the streets either, my choice is made, I come pedaling at reduced speed on my bike flat. From time to time, passers-by point out to me that my rear wheel is punctured, and there, I make my Indian , the one who did not understand. You know, the one who sends you to the right when he does not know where you want to go!

Arrived in town, I walk next to the bike for the last kilometer. As expected, the rear tire is a little gray mine, except that I did not even realize (yes, that’s true)! The bike rental and at first rather sorry for my puncture. But after falling on the notch in the tire, he is a little less sorry and a little more upset . Quite stupidly, I make the offended who does not understand why the tire is like that. Yes, I know, it’s completely silly of me. I could go out as an excuse that having to get used to parry a little bit of everything and anything, we crash sometimes, but the excuse is very thin.

He finally announces me that I will have to pay him a new tire, 150 Rs 4 2 € . I finally obey, but not without some shrugs. Here you are, as long as you’re stupid, you’re so far to the end. The honor is safe, I paid my due, namely a tire, but why this skit from me? Frankly, I do not know! It’s a bit nil, yes, I know

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Visit of Ahmedabad followed by a night between chaos and cold sweats /visit-of-ahmedabad-followed-by-a-night-between-chaos-and-cold-sweats/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:25:00 +0000 /visit-of-ahmedabad-followed-by-a-night-between-chaos-and-cold-sweats/ Before continuing with the story of my adventures in Benin, a small Indian interlude. It has been almost a year that I have not spoken to you about India , a height when this country is engraved in the very name of the blog! So here is an anecdote that, better than a long speech, should express quite well why sometimes, in India, the Westerner that we are can saturate a little , just a little. Nothing really bad, rest assured, just an anecdote.

On a hot February afternoon, I arrived in Ahmedabad , the largest city in the state of Gujarat . After the calm of Bundi , Chittorgarh and Udaipur, so it left for a good dose of Indian brothel . Like all major Indian cities, Ahmedabad is polluted, chaotic, noisy, messy, finally it’s India. But Ahmedabad, it will also be the story of a memorable night . A story for which the epithet only in India fits perfectly.

I just got off the bus from Udaipur as the rickshaws came to the rescue. But Ahmedabad is not a tourist city, we agree on a price in less than 5 seconds. And here we go for a Mario Kart tour. Buses, trucks, taxis, dogs, cows, and as many zigzags, fish tails, ” but no it does not pass” followed by ” ah bah si in fact” , and then horns, still horns, always horns.

Mission hotel room

At the announcement of the first two hotels where I want to go, the rickshaw wallah makes me the shot of ” it’s closed, but I know another”. Yes that’s it, and I know the song. The third and the fourth are complete, decidedly, hard to find a cheap hotel to stay in Ahmedabad. After having locked some addresses of my choice, I leave the rickshaw at the controls. We furrow the neighborhood, one shot is complete, the next is not allowed to welcome tourists, the next is too expensive, bigre, it is almost never happened to me to fight so much to find a room.

In the tenth , bingo, a free room. 1100 Rs 1 15 € It’s more than what I usually pay in India, but it will do. Thank you, Mr. Rickshaw Wallah, without his precious help, I’ll be there again. And check made the same evening, the first two addresses were well and truly closed! Like what, outside the tourist cities, rickshaws nice and honest, it exists.

The next day, it’s time to visit, but what to visit in Ahmedabad? As often traveling in India, I spend my day walking around the streets, drinking a chai around here, smoking a bidi there, take pictures over here, put my ass to observe everything there. The old city between its market and the big mosque, Jama Masjid , is really conducive to that. And the tourist is not really legion, people are curious without being at least oppressive.

Small trip also to the Ashram of Sabarmati founded by Gandhi . It is not necessarily transcendent, but it has the merit of recalling some of the actions of the great man.

Then came the night …

All this was not unpleasant, but not necessarily memorable. At most a day like any other in India. In fact, what I will probably remember most of Ahmedabad, it is this rather epic night .

The preliminaries

Being a little feverish (a little bronchitis had just pointed the tip of his nose), I go to bed early, at 22 h. The street is still very noisy, but I am HS, and fatigue helping, I should end up getting sleep. And then the hours passing, the sound of the horns will eventually end up lessening. But Bonux first gift, in addition to horns, I have the right to the shrill beep of a car alarm that is active, followed by the beep of the same alarm that is this time off. Beep, beep, beep, beep-beep with at most a pause of 5 to 10 seconds between each. And that, right under my window, the thing that annoys just a little. But all good things having an end, the game ends up stopping. It’s midnight. Yes, midnight, the guy played with his alarm for two hours! The story does not say whether, in the end, the alarm of the car remained or not activated!

Medor, shut up Medor

There is still traffic in the streets of Ahmedabad, but no more, everything is fine. All is well, until my canine friends decide to push the ditty . It starts with classic barking, but quickly, they fight, and icing on the cake, some start screaming at death. And to accompany this canine concert of some percussions, my friends the pigeons who have taken up residence above the block of air-conditioning out of order of my room enter the dance. They do not coo, but tirelessly scratch a thin wooden plate that separates me from them. It is 1:30 in the morning and the concert is still in full swing. There are still no reminders.

Gateway to the old town. A pretty henna color. And that farting …

Cold sweat

Is the end of the concert, I do not know, but I end up falling asleep. Finally, not for very long, because I wake up a little later in swimming, half panicked . No, the pigeons did not burst into my room. Simply, instead of dreaming peacefully, I was plunged into a nightmare . In this nightmare, I sleep in a house, I do not know where someone burst during my sleep. But not a cool guy who gets stuck with your computer and your camera without asking for his rest. No, a maniac who as soon as he finds a glass object breaks it and comes slice the flesh with the shard of glass. And it never ends. As soon as I managed to escape and barricade myself in another room he reappeared. He breaks a new bottle and starts his little game again. I am absolutely terrified, and to say that waking me was a real relief.

And if we tapped the talk now

I finally find my mind and calm down. It is now 4 am and I would have nothing against a little nap, but without a nightmare if possible. But it’s not counting on my roommates who have, it seems, decided that it is not really time to sleep. They talk like daylight in their rooms and in the corridors of the hotel. This is not the first time I have been to India, and in these situations, complaining is usually not very productive. On the other hand, if you really want to fart a cable, why not.

Respect for the calm and sleep of others is not really an Indian concept. Most of the time, your interlocutor, even if he speaks English, will pretend not to understand what he is talking about. I remember one night in Hyderabad where, after very calmly and politely asking my two roommates to speak a little less loudly, one of them replied: ” sorry sir, we do not know what happened with your luggage. Please ask the reception for That Matter “2 sorry sir, we do not know what it is spent with your luggage. Please ask at the reception . The guy does not care a little (a lot) of my mouth, but that’s not really the purpose of the maneuver. Simply, he refuses to lose face by recognizing his wrongs, and takes out the first thing that goes through his head. He might be discussing suitcases with his friend, so here you are, you’re entitled to a baggage story!

God is great

At 5:30, my neighbors are probably a bit of a bar because they end up quiet. My alarm clock is set at 6:30, happiness, a good little hour of sleep waiting for me. Admit, you too believe in it? No, my hotel is near a mosque and it’s time for the first prayer. The muezzin plugs his microphone, and go for some Allah akbar , Allah akbar. Allah is great, yes, no doubt, but now right now, this muezzin is especially a great pain! But without him, history might have missed a fall worthy of the name.

Epilogue

Shortly after, my alarm clock rings. I get up, loop my backpack and take a rickshaw to get to the station. In the cool early morning, the streets of Ahmedabad are very quiet , a height. There are just a few rickshaws filled to the brim with kids bags of schoolchildren heading for school.

As for me, I’m waiting for my train to Junagadh on the platform of the station. All’s well That ends well. I won a night so to speak white, but at the same time, a story that will have you, I hope, amused. Only in India ! And you, where was your portnawak night traveling?

 

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Old Delhi and its chaos /old-delhi-and-its-chaos/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:24:31 +0000 /old-delhi-and-its-chaos/ Explaining to the layman what the streets of old Delhi might look like is not easy. To immerse yourself in this urban chaos, the words, however carved they are, are not enough, the photos either. We try to explain, the connoisseurs understood us well, but the others did not. Or they only retain the negative attributes. So to find yourself immersed in the heart of this hubbub, in a traffic jam as can know the streets of old Delhi, nothing better than a virtual tour. 

The first time one ventures out of this maze, one generally makes a little round back. We are curious and we refuse to admit defeat so quickly, so we try to do a little abstraction of everything around us. Because unless you are deaf, blind and devoid of any sense of smell, you are still a little too surrounded. No need to turn around the pot indefinitely, where it’s very noisy , yes it’s rather crado (the rather is too much) and yes, it does not always feel the pink . We can stay there, or even take his legs to his neck, but we can also be a little more stubborn, obstinate say some, and continue his walk.

The first time … we usually do a little round back

But we still hesitate to look too much around. It’s not that we are afraid of being recognized by anyone, but it does not prevent us, we do not dare all the same, we make his shy, and for good reason, it’s intimidating them. alleys of old Delhi. In short, we advance by looking at his feet . This is not a bad idea if you do not want to put your mark in his first cow dung. Regardless of the foot, it does not bring happiness or misfortune, but it allows however to use the services of a shoeshine earlier than expected, unless you are in tong

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Pedestrian at the temples of Palitana at Shatrunjaya /pedestrian-at-the-temples-of-palitana-at-shatrunjaya/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:22:59 +0000 /pedestrian-at-the-temples-of-palitana-at-shatrunjaya/ Climb a hill called Shatrunjaya steps after steps until you reach the number 3500. So rise in a slightly mystical atmosphere and accompanied by hundreds of pilgrims, this is what the temples of Palitana , a jain sanctuary, have a offer the visitor a little curious about this state of Gujarat. But who are all these pilgrims?

Back to India then. Because in this particular art of my temporello-narrative incoherence, I have forgotten a country that is so dear to me. When one thinks that India has forever printed her name on this travel blog , this oversight is unseemly limit!

That year, I decided, after a long break, to go to India again for a trip to Gujarat . This trip had begun as it should in the chaos of old Delhi before sneaking to Gujarat, the Indian state so close to Rajasthan and yet a little too forgotten by tourists.

Palitana, one of Gujarat’s pearls

If I had to remember only one leg of this trip to Gujarat, it would probably be Palitana. This city sees a steady flow of visitors, but instead of tourists, they are pilgrims jain in search of better karma temples of Palitana, at the top of the hill Shatrunjaya.

Palitana has nothing of these sprawling Indian cities. Modest in size, it is not unique in itself. Few horns, but a lot of dust and cows , no doubt we are in India.

A certain air of rurality still reigns here, visible especially through the number of men wearing a traditional outfit made of pants at the top extremely bulging, like a kind of Turkish pants. Welcome to the fashion week.

Palitana streets

The restaurants, exclusively vegetarian, because the city is vegetarian , are in fact rather big canteens dressed to provide for the needs of the pilgrims. It swarms a bit everywhere, but to come back every day to the same canteen, we quickly recognize this passer-by. I am greeted by this Indian smile accompanied by this slight nodding of the head, a marvel.

As in all the rest of Gujarat, the welcome can not be more warm. Watching a passerby is enough to make him win a salute and a smile. And if your camera hangs around your neck, these passersby will solicit you very quickly, eager to enter the box. Indians love pictures and India is the dream country for street photography.

Portrait in Palitana

Shatrunjaya Hill

But let us come to the facts, the concrete, the material, even the reason for my presence in Palitana. Because if I came here, maybe it’s not to admire the local cows, as holy as they are. If I came here, it is of course for the temples of Palitana. Shatrunjaya Hill is a few kilometers from the city, let’s go.

Obviously, when it comes to improving your karma, everyone will agree, a minimum of effort is required. It should not be that the first comer so easily accesses so many benefits by only lifting a finger. The entrance ticket has been fixed here at 3500 steps .

Also, let us classify the pilgrims to the conquest of Shatrunjaya and its temples into three categories :

  • Whoever thinks that all these temples up there on the hill, it must be really nice . Not to mention the view, the air must be a little cleaner than in the dusty streets of the city. And at the sight of all these pilgrims in white clothes ready for dawn to climb, it should be a memorable day. And then he tells himself that he still climbed ten days earlier the 7000 steps that lead to the summit of Girnar Hill near Junagadh accompanied by his Indian bronchitis (in India, one is never alone). These 3500 steps, it should pass like a letter to the post office. I know, it’s not very polite, but I could not resist the temptation to start with me, egocentric tourist pilgrim, because yes, I’m talking about me here.

Shatrunjaya

  • The Jain pilgrims themselves (the real ones, not the tourists) go barefoot, wearing a simple white outfit on which hangs a ballet. The ballet is hardly any more than for the decoration, but it is supposed at the base to be used to sweep in front of you in order to be certain not to crush the slightest insect while walking. Jains have indeed pushed the art of respect for all life to its climax. They climb the hill on an empty stomach and, instead of going up the stairs one by one, after each step, they prostrate themselves in a sort of genuflection (the steps are sufficiently distant). As often before such acts, it is a mixture of misunderstanding, admiration and even if we can find it rather useless, with a certain respect.

Shatrunjaya Stairs

  • As already stated, for the number of steps, it is not negotiable. Except that it is well known, in India, everything is possible 1 in India everything is possible . So comes the category of feigners. The feigner, he is well aware that his karma would need a boost, but here he is pretending and opted for the dholi , the sedan chair. The feigner sometimes also has the unfortunate tendency to weigh as much as all his porters combined. And while his porters sweat blood and water, he is boogie, just to be sure not to turn the tide. It should be noted, however, that old people do not really have any other alternative than dholi , so the god of the jains can absolve them.

We can also notice that at the beginning of the ascent, some porters in search of work closely follow the pilgrims looking a little too clumsy. They say to themselves probably “you, my guy, you will not get there, you will crack en route for a dholi” .

Ascent Shatrunjaya in dolhi

Ascent Shatrunjaya in dolhi

A nap, because here it’s tiring.  Sometimes the dolhi is indeed welcome.

And as three categories, that was not enough, there are always little clever people who want to distinguish themselves, who always want more, real karmic capitalists. They go back and forth all day, and who knows, maybe even for several days. In India, everything is possible .

The temples of Palitana

At the top of this hill, more than 800 temples . Shatrunjaya is indeed a sacred mountain. It is even the most sacred place of Jainism. And since jains are people who do not do things in half, impossible here to opt for the glass half empty, because temples in Palitana, the glass is full, to the brim.

Just as every Muslim must go at least once in his life on a pilgrimage to Mecca, all Jains must climb Shatrunjaya hill at least once to the temples to hope to reach nirvana one day.

The jains have said, that nay, the legs of the duck will not break, even if it has three.

Once at the top, this is where the strict vegetarianism that the jains indulge makes sense. This view while the sun still bathes in the mist, then all these temples, this marble, these sculptures! There would be enough to break thousands of paws with thousands of ducks, but that no, the jains have said that nay, the legs of the duck you will not break, even if he has three.

The person at the information desk at the foot of the hill had told me that once arrived at the top, I would face the most sumptuous site I have ever seen ! We will say that the love of his work had a little exalted the senses of this nice gentleman, but it still has a clear allure.

Palitana is one of those places in India where the rather incredible religious fervor that reigns there is not really indifferent. It does not equal the holy city of Varanasi, but it can be compared for example to Xiahe in the Tibetan region of Amdo in China.

Now, if you are part of a fourth category of pilgrims who intended to admire quietly in his sofa, the fingers in fans (yes, I see you) the pictures of the temples, know that you went astray. Inside the temples, the photos are simply forbidden. So you will not see any.

After a few hours frolicking sanctuary in the sanctuary in the midst of all these pilgrims, I go back so to speak carried by the joy. Decidedly, even if it’s far from my first trip to India , once again, this country, world champion of surprise on every corner, proves that it is not short of resources! This visit made me very happy, which should, no doubt, be most beneficial for my karma.

Back in town, the cows, these Indian cows that no one seems to be able to disturb are still there, impassive. When some people go soft in the middle of the road, others, others seem to indulge in a certain self-discipline queuing at the entrance of a store. Queuing, something so little Indian. Would they have lost their heads?

As for me, borrowing this freshly acquired karma, I try to drive a rickshaw . And in the evening, in a dream, I see myself as a great guru parading in the streets of Palitana. You were warned, India is a country that rarely leaves you indifferent, and in India everything is possible .

 I converted to a rickshaw driver.  And who knows, in 20 years in guru!

Practical information

The foot of Shatrunjaya Hill is 3.5 km from the center of Palitana, easily accessible by autorickshaw. From there, it remains to go 3.5 km at the rate of these 3500 steps (500 m of altitude difference). Honestly, we are still far from the sporting challenge and the climb is widely accessible to the greatest number. Count 1:30 to 2 hours to reach the summit.

The site opens at 6:30 in the morning. I can not recommend too much to go there at the opening . You will be less hot for the ascent, and the light will be much more beautiful.

As already stated, it is strictly forbidden to take pictures once inside the temples at the top. There is no restriction along the trail that leads to it.

Respectful attire is required and shorts are prohibited . Jain Temple requires, the leather items (belt, bag) are also proscribed. It is forbidden to eat or drink in the temples.

Palitana or Girnar Hill

It would be a shame not to visit these two places of pilgrimage Jain, but if you really have to choose one of them, Palitana wins the palm of your hand for the splendor of its temples and the atmosphere that reigns during the ascent to the summit. Girnar Hill is more beautiful in terms of scenery and the climb is more sporting.

Hotel in Palitana

The choice is quickly made, since the city has only two hotels. I have opted for a room at 450 INR most basic, but gigantic, in the cheapest, the hotel Shravak facing the bus stop.

Go to Palitana

From Diu : There are unfortunately no direct buses. From Diu, you must first take a bus to Tajala (5 to 6 per day, 5 to 6 hours), then continue to Tajala with a bus to Palitana (one hour, 1 hour).

From Ahmedabad : Many direct buses (count one every hour). The trip takes about 5 hours.

 

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