India – Day 12 – Kolhapur to Guhagar

Today: 247 km
Total: 1442 km
30 – 36 degrees Celsius, some sun, some clouds, some rain

We spent the night in our first hotel with hot water. The beds were soft, the food was nice and we got an additional room for free. A perfect start
for a new day on the road.

Our first stop was at a hill top fort. The British created this to escape the heat. Currently the fort is unused. There are three old granaries, made of thick stone walls. Because it’s foggy, it’s quite a creepy sight. And indeed it’s much cooler than lower in the area.

Completely in the middle of nowhere, at the end of a hill road, there was a small village with a temple. Probably dedicated to one of the many appearances of Vishnu (not certain, because nobody spoke English and our Hindi is not that great…). In and around the temple pink powder was used to honor the statue of a cow, the temple and the statues and the blessing on the forehead. There were no other tourists, but we felt very welcome to enter the temple, even with back packs, because one of the roof racks is broken. In the temple was a mysterious atmoshere, difficult to explain. We walked through a couple of rooms, with different types of statues and rituals. In one room men were talking of their shirts for a blessing, a wedding couple was walking circles around the statues, people were blessing everything with the pink powder. The entire temple was made of gray stone, all covered in the pink powder. Outside people were throwing balls of the pink powder against the temple. Very strange, very cool. Again we are not visiting the temple but experiencing it.

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The central part of India is one big plateau, the Deccan Plateau. It’s raised 500 – 800 meters above the rest of India. Near the west coast the plateau ends into the ocean. Rain forests grow on the slopes between the plateau and the lower coastal area. This was our setting for the afternoon. Rain forest is always cool to see. Green, moist, lot’s trees and bushes, rivers, some waterfalls, etc. The coastal area has the steepest roads we encountered so far… sometimes we could only make it in first gear.

Ow… and today we made it from the east coast to the west coast. We crossed India, next… go north.

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