The View
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+ Comments The View - 29-12-2005 09:16:24
Girnar, Gujarat - December '05 This photo has some personal significance to me, mainly because I had to climb 5,000 steps to get there . It was taken at Girnar, and as explains: Girnar is a collection of mountains in the Junagadh District of Gujarat, India. The tallest of these rises to 945 meters (3100 feet), the highest peak in Gujarat. The five peaks of Girnar are topped by 866 intricately carved stone temples. A sturdy stone path - a pilgrimage route for both Hindus and Jains -- climbs from peak to peak. It is claimed that there are exactly 9,999 steps from the trailhead to the last temple on the highest peak, but the actual number is roughly 8,000. Every year, a race is held, running from the base of the mountain to the peak and back. The locals in nearby Junagadh insist that the fastest-ever time was 45 minutes, which strikes those who have taken 5-8 hours to climb the mountain as distinctly improbable. In the Hindu religion, the legend is that climbing Girnar barefooted earns one a place in Heaven. (Obviously, since you'll be dead by then!) This shot was taken on the penultimate peak, and I was so knackered by the time I got there that I just slumped onto a rock and only then noticed the amazing view. Although my trek here had no religious purpose/significance (most of the people were locals/Hindus rather than foreign tourists), I was really curious to see what it would be like, and it was quite spiritual in a way..just being in the area surrounded by wildlife and seeing temples (and monkeys!) in every corner..and of course the view. I'm actually pretty scared of heights - going back down was definitely a challenge! A local advised me against carrying on to the last peak ("It's too dangerous for girls" - pfffft), and indeed I decided not to, simply because it's at the same height as the previous peak (so the view wouldn't have been any more spectacular) and apparently there's nothing but a bell there ¬_¬ The experience was great, although at times it reminded me of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme expedition (anyone who has done this in the Brecon Beacons or anywhere else will know what I'm on about! Erm unless you're just really good at hiking). I also got mocked by a little girl for being so slow. I actually realised just how unfit I am - there were old women in saris going at a faster rate - I even had a stick to help me! Anyway, I don't know if I'll be doing this again, so I'm glad I have this shot as a remembrance.