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Palitana--how hard is the trip up the mountain?

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San Francisco
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Palitana--how hard is the trip up the mountain?

The 860 Jain Temples at the top of Palitana sound like a "must see" but the 2000 steps to the top sound very difficult for an older person.

Can anybody say just how tough the trip up and down will be in late December? Do they allow us to wear shoes until we get to the top? (I went to the top of the Rock temple in Tamil Nadu last year without shoes and found out how "out of shape" my feet are and was just about lame the next day!!)

I understand they will carry us up, but I'm 6'0, 200 lbs--will that work? I've heard it is very uncomfortable to be carried up?

Can I just take a hot air balloon to the top? will Prayer do it?

Thanks a lot!

Travel-junkie3PO (also--a wimp, I guess)

London
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1. Re: Palitana--how hard is the trip up the mountain?

Hi.

The steps are relatively easy, with many stretches of walking in between. Age alone will not be a bar, but if you are unfit as well, it might be difficult.

Shoes will not be allowed all the way to the top, although you might be able to convince them to let you wear cotton ones for 3/4 journey.

It is possible to be carried up, at a cost. Go for a chair on poles lifted by four people.

If prayer gets you to the top without any other effort, let me know and I will learn how to pray from you ;-)

Hope this helps

San Francisco
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2. Re: Palitana--how hard is the trip up the mountain?

Thank you, BS Foodie.

Since I had a heart attack 2 months earlier I took a "Doolie" up and down the mountain. Doolies are carried by either two or four men. they are simply aluminum beach chairs with nylon webbing strapped to bamboo poles. It cost me $40 US to get carried up from town and brought back down the other side and the ride was comfortable enough.

The doolie guys want to hustle you back down the mountain--I started at 8 am and didn't start to come back down until after 3 pm and it was not agreeable with my porters--although I made it VERY clear SEVERAL times beforehand that this was my intention. Just tell your "guide" (who is actually your "minder") to get lost and do what you want to do.

I tipped my porters a total of $20 because I don't think they realized that I am a full-sized American Man (200 lbs) and it was hard work to get me up there. they stopped several times on the way up and had me walk....when we got to more steps I insisted they carry me again. You do have to take control of the situation.

It is a long, dry trek up and down the mountain (bring water) and you can wear shoes the entire way. Once you enter the temple complex you must remove your shoes and you are permitted to wear socks.

the steps are not individually steep but it is a really long way up (3000 steps) so the doolie is actually not a bad deal.

There are NO services on the mountain, so bring food and water. Also bring a hat and sunglasses--everything up there is white so there is a lot of bright sun.

The entire scene--or atmosphere--is really amazing--it is a "hilltown" composed entirely of Jain temples. guides want to take you only to the "main temple complex" on the left, but you should go over to the other complexes which are interesting and will have practically nobody else there--even though they are about 2/3 of the total number of temples!

The carving at Palitana is not as good as Mt Abu...and though Mt Abu gets really good billing it isn't as good as Ranakphur (north of Udaipur). But the atmosphere is unique and unbeatable! (they ABSOLUTELY won't let you bring a camera into Mt Abu, but Palitana and Ranakphur have no issues with cameras as long as you don't photo the idols).

Don't forget to look up at the ceilings--many are beautifully decorated. ALSO: a couple of the temples have stairways all the way to the top of the roof (look for the flags) and the views and photos are unbelievable.

I stayed at the Vijay Vilas Heritage Hotel which was very nice and only cost about $40 including 3 great meals. I very highly recommend the place--especially when you consider your options!

Unfortunately I had to reserve through Northwest Safaris and i had to keep after them. there was a plan to set up their own website so they can make their own reservations....you may also have success calling direct to Mr Yashpal on cell 91 94271 82809.

Otherwise, you are stuck with Northwest Safaris in Ahmedabad and you have to light a fire under them. Anil Bhagia was my agent and he speaks english,

PH : 079 - 26302019 - 26308031

FAX : 079 - 26300962

email : anilbhagia@northwestsafaries.com

By the way, I have found "Pamfax" to be a good way to communicate with hotels, etc, where their english isn't very good--they do a lot better if you send a fax (many listings around Asia don't show e-mail addresses but have fax) Pamfax is an "approved" accessory to Skype (God bless Skype, created on the eighth day, right?)

I had a car and driver from Bharatbhai Verahi [verahitravels@gmail.com] on my 2 week trip through Gujarat, cost was $59/day. Bharat is a great guy who has a full time civil service job but also has financed a fleet of about 15 vehicles that he mostly rents to company people when they visit Ahmedabad.

When I arrived in Ahmedabad, Bharat (who is very interested in his foreign guests) took me on a trip through "old Ahmedabad" including visits inside the homes of his old neighbors--you can't get inside these places any other way.

I had much very constructive correspondence with Bharat in planning my trip prior to arrival.

Bharat's driver was one of the best of the 12-15 car drivers I've had in Asia. If you take care of the drivers (be sure to invite them to lunch--and dinner if you'd like--so they are eating well), they will return the consideration many times over.

Palitana is really incredible--you won't find anything else like it. the Jains are very friendly.

By the way, if you have the time, go down to Mandvi to see the Dhow building (wooden boats) It looks like the construction of Noah's ark and is very fascinating. old Mandvi town is worth a walk and there is a great Thali restaurant in mandivi that the guide books recommend (you'll know it when reading the books).

Happy travels!

TravelJunkie3PO

Mystic, Connecticut
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3. Re: Palitana--how hard is the trip up the mountain?

Thank you Travel-Junkie3PO for your wonderful insights. I am adjusting my plans now to add Palitana to my itinerary for our first trip to Rajasthan/Gujarat this winter

Al from CT

4. Re: Palitana--how hard is the trip up the mountain?

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