Alysun’s words…. Violent episode of diarrhoea at 4am and after, maybe due to water at the hotel ? It had me grounded for the day. Tim went off to excitedly climb Girnar Hill.

Later I felt OK and set off myself to climb up the first part of it. No way could I get to the top as it was 4pm by then, but I had a taste of it, seeing lots of sadhus, some just wearing ash (Naga Sadhus). Lots of Langur monkeys.

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Thirsty Langur mum enjoying a cold drink

Tim’s words… setting off to climb Girnar Hill at just after sunrise, leaving Alysun in the Five Star comfort of the Fern Leo Resort, how lucky for her to be there.  Leaving the weird annoyingly relaxing lift-chill music playing in the hotel front courtyard, I walked past the security gates, back into India & into a total opposite of the dusty crowds of pilgrims walking (many barefoot) the road to Girnar Hill. 

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Crowds of pilgrims setting off for the 36km Parikrama walk around & over Girnar Hill

The crowds got bigger & thicker as I got closer to the sacred mountain. The orange & red robed Sadhus, standing out from the lay-people.

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Sadhu watching the crowds pass by

Thankfully, most of the pilgrims were off to walk around the hill, before climbing to the summit, so by the time I started the 9,999 step climb, I was foolishly confident that I could reach the summit in the cool of the morning.  My climb was slowed down by frequent smiling exchanges with Sadhus, Hijras (transgender), selfie seeking pilgrims, troops of langur monkeys and the heat of the day setting in by 10.30am. 

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Naga Sadhu in his designer sunglasses
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Hijras resting by the steps

I was joined by two young Jain lads, who escorted me to 12th century Jain Neminath Temple, keeping me company, encouraging me to climb & repeatedly telling me how wonderful Mr Modi was for India.  The Neminath Temple was only half way up the mountain. The midday heat was approaching, so I declined the youthful insistence of the Jain lads to join them on another couple of thousand steps to another Jain temple, but I did join them in tasting the temple prashad of chai, sweets & pakora. 

The descent was against an every growing crowd of very hot pilgrims walking up.  By the bottom of the steps, my leg muscles were in full spasms of “why-did-you-do-that” twinging.  In fact my legs suffered severe stiffness for a few days after, leaving me with a hesitance to climb any more staircases.

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So many steps downhill