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Googling to going...to Gujarat!

Old Mar 10th, 2017, 07:10 AM
  #61  
rje
 
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Your photographs are beautiful. So you have a great eye for photos and a great ear for dialogue. Not sure what part of you to credit for your great writing: your mind for the thoughts, your mouth for the words or your fingers for the typing? But really, the photos add a whole other dimension to your trip report, so I'm glad you're posting them. Now I want to see the ones of the colorful saris drying in the field!

Palitana looks amazing! But no one will blame you for demurring to 3500 steps! In the heat! And possibly barefoot, too?

I notice that some of the Wikipedia photos are views of the tops of the temples, from a higher vantage point, highlighting the tops. I wonder if they were taken from a hill above, or from the roof or terrace of a taller adjacent building?
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Old Mar 10th, 2017, 11:41 AM
  #62  
 
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I agree your pictures are wonderful. They seem like something done by a pro!

When was that Jain temple with the real gems built? This was common to use real gems in temples and palaces hundreds of years ago. I remember seeing some of the wives houses in Agra Fort or Fatehpur Sikri and the walls were basically full of pits from where the gems used to be. The largest house was for his favorite wife BTW at least so we were told. .

Wow! I never even heard of Palitana so to see how holy it is and has hundreds of temples is an amazing fact. And I hope you did not walk 3500 stairs!! And if so how did you get down. .

In the first pic is that you with the wedding couple?

Still following your amazing TR!
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Old Mar 10th, 2017, 11:43 PM
  #63  
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/142254...57681182154566

A bit behind the written narrative. Apologies. These were taken the day I left, and include the morning market set-up, the Jama Masjid Mosque, and the tomb of Sultan Ahmed which includes him, his son, and grandson.
Huge thanks for everyone's encouragement and interest--especially as I just spent an hour recalling how on earth to get these on an album in Flickr!! Grrrr!! More specific answers to comments later. Again, many thank yous.
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Old Mar 11th, 2017, 04:11 AM
  #64  
 
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Well, I am now ready to return to India! But, not when it is 100 degrees.
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Old Mar 11th, 2017, 04:37 AM
  #65  
 
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Love, love, love the photos, CaliNurse! And am looking forward to reading your trip report as soon as I have time to relax (off to Rome tonight for a short break!).
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Old Mar 11th, 2017, 05:39 AM
  #66  
 
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You were touring in 100F heat? You have my sympathy and congratulations - definitely a trip for an AC car and driver.

WRT the jewels at Palitana. Presumably the same thinking as that behind all the gold leaf on the Buddha statues in SEA. Or the decidedly ostentatious medieval cathedrals in Europe (they're impressive now, imagine them in the 13th century). When I first saw the gold leaf my thought was that the money would be better spent on better housing, but it's not my decision.
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Old Mar 11th, 2017, 12:36 PM
  #67  
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@ JulieS and Thursdaysd, indeed, in my pre-trip posts above, I was concerned with the forecast temperatures. Was pleasantly surprised that even 100F didnt feel that bad, most day , ...IFlimited the time in it. It became a game, with me guessing the temp, and Yatendra checking his smartphone to see what it actually was. I guessed 100 in Lothal--it was in fact 98.6, and rising! Still, itwas nothing like the draining misery of heat plus humidity experienced in Vietnam in late September 2015. At end of this trip, the temperture got to me in Mumbai, because of its combination with humidity. Julie, I recall your TR, when you were so hot you could hardly move from the beach at Kannur. I had a few moments like that later in this trip.

@ rje, lol Gallops restaurant!! I ate lightly there and was ok! Sari pix upcoming.

@ jacketwatch, the name of that Jain Temple is Ayodhyapuram Temple. IF I recall correctly, it is not old, but recent.. built y2K.
http://www.templeadvisor.com/temples...am-jain-temple
Not me in the wedding photo--although if the beaming grandma had been in the photos, you'd have seen someone my age!!

@progol, enjoy Rome!!!!!

@all...continued thanks for the interest and comments. It being my first tr in a decade, I need the feedback!!
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Old Mar 11th, 2017, 01:54 PM
  #68  
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/142254...57678954830202

A few more pix: saris drying, weird bathroom drawing at house of MG.

More later
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Old Mar 11th, 2017, 08:02 PM
  #69  
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The sound of gentle chopping awakened me. The owner's wife was preparing garden veggies for the day's meals. After a masala omelet (including some of those veggies) toast and black tea with lemon and honey, i had a stroll 'round the property. There are loads of birds there, including peacocks, and a variety of buildings, including a small Hindu temple, in addition to the main residence. This place and its countryside surroundings are so peaceful! Had I chosen the itinerary differently, I"d have spent two nights here...with adequate time for rest after an early ascent up to the mountaintop. This is what other guests did, leaving after a 6 am breakfast.

As we left Vijay Vilas, Yatendra warned me, "Madam, when we approach the steps leafing to the temples, you will see many men waving sticks. Please, do not be afraid. They want your business. There are hundreds of them, trying to get you to take their dholi up the hill. Do not open the door or get out of the car until I guide you."

We approached the steps in the Innova. Suddenly, an enormous crowd of shouting men appeared, waving sticks--in the form of thick bamboo poles!! Reminiscent of the scene in "Empire of the Sun" when the family attempts the frantic drive thorough Shanghai to get to the pier, or scenes of camera-flashing paparazzi sticking flashing bulb cameras in the face of celebrities, they surrounded the vehicle. Ok, ok... not nearly quite as dramatic, but nevertheless intense. Yatendra opened the door, cleared a path, speaking in Gujurati to, I suspect, tell these guys that we didnt need their service and to leave Madam the hell alone. This was the only time in Gujarat when I had that feeling of running the gauntlet---like what you have in the lane on the way to the Taj Mahal entrance gate. But this is different--pure business. No smiling pretense at "Namaste, you buy?" Everywhere I heard, "Dholi, dholi!! 600 rupees, 500 steps!!!! 500 rupees, 300 steps!" etc. There are 2000 dholi carriers in Palitana, and the season is winding down. So there is urgency to their shouted offers. Here's a youtube--although the day I was there, there were far fewer pilgrims.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dgW4NwO7wc

Yatendra showed me 'round some of the lower level Jain temples. Then I wanted to walk up a bit on my own. Again, I am accompanied by "the mend with sticks" but by a smaller group, calling out the number of steps and the price for that. Yatendra told me what happens: you are carried up part way, then set on the ground...unless you pay more for additional steps, whether up or down. By the time you've finished paying in increments, it is no bargain,. It;s better and much, much calmer, to have it prearranged. $90 for up and down, a total of 7,000 steps.

I walked up to Step 300 (steps are marked at intervals). That was less than 10% of the way up! The higher I went, the fewer dholi carriers were there. When they insisted, ignoring "Na!" they were shooed away by Jain devotees. A few times I went into a crazy old lady routine, which worked like magic. Really, the entire experience was great fun, once used to it.

When first hearing about being carried up, I imagined one of those big palanquins, me royally peaking out from curtains. Ha! the reality is much more mundane. Picture a folding lawn chair with plastic woven braided seat, on four big poles.
Even with this, and the growing heat, the walk up and down was amazingly peaceful . The steps are lined with trees; there was a lovely if warm breeze, there are hills in the distance, and temples below. Serenity and chaos co-existing: that is Palitana--one of the highlights in an overall fabulous trip.
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Old Mar 11th, 2017, 08:09 PM
  #70  
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Last afternoon in Ahmedabad, before heading out of town for Lothal and Palitana. Images lag behind writing:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142254...57681306327405
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 10:48 AM
  #71  
 
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I've finally caught up with your report and it is every bit as engaging as I'd hoped. Looking forward to more.
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 12:30 PM
  #72  
 
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Thats a strange BR picture all right!

"Serenity and chaos co-existing" This is India too. .

"Yatendra told me what happens: you are carried up part way, then set on the ground...unless you pay more for additional steps, whether up or down. By the time you've finished paying in increments, it is no bargain."

This pay as you go system reminds me of the hospitals there. My Indian nieces dad was admitted some yrs. ago for a GI bleed. Day to day they make sure you are paid up. This the way it is. But thats another story. .

Again great pictures. Being in those chairs looks bad enough. Quite bumpy so walking, no way! .
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 04:58 PM
  #73  
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Jacketwatch, I hope they don't interrupt during surgery, threatening to stop pending payment due!
Kathie, thank you!! Glad you're enjoying.

Correction: Searching through photos' order, I realized the saris in the field were a couple days later, near Jetpur city, which is indeed known for fabric dyeing.

Here are two more sets of pix. The first is from the archaeological site at Lothal and along the Ahmedabad-Palitana Highway--there are comments under the photos. The next group are all at the marvelous heritage Vijay Vilas Palace in Palitana (not to be confused with Vijay Vilas on the Arabian seacoast at Mandvi, visited later in the trip).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142254...57681347802635

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142254...57677875314554
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 06:45 PM
  #74  
 
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Your photographs are worth a 1000 words!
Great shots and amazing description in your writing.Enjoying very much.
Would love to know what wonderful shopping you enjoyed.Did you buy any necklaces from the photographed necklace seller.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 07:44 PM
  #75  
 
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I'm enjoying this very much CaliNurse, your descriptions and photos take me right back there, even though I've never been "there" ie Gujarat.
Quick question about Flickr, is there a way to upload only select photos ? It keeps wanting to upload my entire photo library, over 5000 shots and will take forever !
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Old Mar 13th, 2017, 06:46 AM
  #76  
 
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I'm curious about the food served at the heritage places you stayed. On our previous trips we stayed in many different heritage/palace hotels that were a package deal--room and board included in the price. Most places served pretty much a variation on the same theme, and we got sick of those menus. Did you find this to be the case on your trip to Gujarat?
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Old Mar 14th, 2017, 09:12 AM
  #77  
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Soem scenes of Palitana and the steps up toward the mountaintop:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142254...57677911154094
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Old Mar 14th, 2017, 09:30 AM
  #78  
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@Sartoric, when you open Flickr... on the Home Page, next to where it says "Flickr" there's a black bar across the top. Click on "You: Then on the drop down menu, click on the last choice, "Organize."
When yo do that, do you see the thumbnail sized "strip" of ll the photos you've taken? If YES, let me know, and i'll tell you what i do from that point. I'm not expert, and flickr drives me NUTS!!! There has to be an easier way,. I don't think I'm doing it correctly, as the links above have other information that doesnt appear on galleries of other Fodorites who've used it.

Yes, that's one of the things about India ---no matter what part you're in, there are evocative colorful reminders of all the other places you've been. That's probable true anywhere, butfor some reason,seems more notable and colorful in India. And no matter who modern it is, there are constant reminders of the old. New glass fronted malls... but just in front, chai wallahs and pakora vendors and sugar cane juicers!!

@ ileen, Thank you! Indeed I bought some of those necklaces, and a few loose polished stones. I can't recall the exact price, but it was truly a deal compared to USA or even in-city India prices. Gujarat is known for its fabric crafts,including natural=dye block printing and Rogan art, and in future "installments" of this, will post photos

@JulieS, there was a lot of variation in the "home cooking"--from delicious and unique at Vijay Vilas and Bhavani Vilas, delicous and varied buffets at Rann Riders (a hotel, not heritage inn), to mediocre and repetitive at OrchardPalace to almost inedible at Shaam e Sarhad. Based on this trip, I'm not a "fan" of Gujarati food, although I had two very good hotel meals (not places I was staying) discovered some interesting "new" dishes :
kadhi, shriakhand, and a sort of grain dish served at breakfast called boha (spelling?)
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Old Mar 14th, 2017, 09:42 AM
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Poha I think it is. Just saw a package at the Indian grocery store yesterday.
.
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Old Mar 14th, 2017, 05:54 PM
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Thanks for trying CaliNurse, my Flickr looks nothing like what you describe, probably because I'm using an iPad. Don't worry, one of these days I'll figure it out.
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