Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 307 Bodeli - Champaner

Wooohoooo! After more than half a year I finally see a piece of land that
I've seen before! The last time this happened was in Armenia, somewhen in
early November. And once again it was a mountain - back in Armenia it was
the huge Ararat, now Pavagadh - a bit more humble in size (just about 700m)
but much easier to climb. According to legend this is a piece of the
Himalaya: when monkey god Hanuman carried the Himalaya to its place he
happened to lose this piece of rock. Looking at this hill this actually
seems like a very plausible explanation - how else could this huge rock
have ended up in the middle of a plain? I will leave the climbing for
tomorrow, so only then I will also set foot on a piece of soil where I've
been before. Today I found a wonderful Hacienda-style guesthouse inside the
royal compound of Champaner - an important sight in its own right and
something I had missed when I climbed Pavagadh on a daytrip from Vadodara
back in 2003. The area of Champaner once was the capital of Gujarat, what
is left now are many old mosques and fortifications. Most of the royal
compound is now occupied by a village - where I spotted my first work
elephant (as opposed to temple and only-for-tourists elephants).
On the trip I found something remarkable: Kingfisher water! As some
regulations forbid advertisement for beer, the beer companies simply make
advertisement for water of the same brand name - everyone knows what is
meant anyway and usually this water is not available anywhere. I was really
surprised to find that the water of Indias biggest beer brand is actually
being sold.
In the evening I had a very nice career call - which was made somewhat
difficult by what happened outside. I thought I had found a quiet room, but
just when my phone rang people outside started to sing. After the call I
saw that they were sitting and singing around an illuminated god (mobile on
a small chariot). They made some breaks, but the singing went on and on
more or less until midnight. It could have been very nice, but
unfortunately the leader of the group a) had a microphone and b) was an
incredibly untalented singer - something that is very very rarely found in

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