Randy, Kirstie, and I left Saturday afternoon for this remote city in southern Gujarat. As we neared our destination, our driver Gamer navigated his way through bumpy and damaged roads scattered with mutts and ferrell hogs, asking several strangers for directions before we found our hotel located a couple miles outside the city. Most of the lodging in Palitana is dorm-style accomodations available only to Jains. We had three hotel options, and though I was interested in checking out the $3 options that the travel agent advised against, I may have deterred Kirstie and Randy with stories of sweaty sheets and brown water at other such economically-priced hotels I visited during my first trip to India. So we stayed at the Vijay Vilas Palace. It was a rustic, quiet, century-old house with six rooms for guests. We were the only ones there, and had a relaxing evening with a delicious home-cooked meal and good conversation, then hit the sack early to prepare for our morning trek.
The Vijay Vilas Palace
The climb turned out to be pretty manageable, with steps the entire way, and plenty of switchbacks to provide a steady slope.
Nonetheless, some folks elected to make their way up the mountain with a little assistance.
We also saw several cows and donkeys on the way up. I don't know if they were Jain cows making a pilgimage or just tourists like us.
Watch your step! The steps were filled with droppings. I don't know if most of it was holy crap or just the regular kind.