First peak of Girnar in junagadh

Junagadh – an erstwhile seat of Nawab in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat – is a major center of the region that is famous for saints and brave warriors. Girnar is the tallest mountain of Gujarat and is believed to be more ancient than the Himalayas. It takes ten thousand steps to climb all three of its peaks – Ambaji, Bhairavnath and Dattatreya. Ambaji is the first and represents half of the climb. From distance, it is possible to see the half-dome-like shape on one part of the mountain. Enroute to a nearby city where I had some work, I stopped by and climbed halfway to the first peak of Girnar, popularly known as Ambaji because the temple of Goddess Amba sits atop this peak.

Girnar and full moon - Dr. Bakul Buch

Girnar and full moon – Dr. Bakul Buch

The night when I reached Junagadh, it was pitch-dark because the next day અમાસ. The lights glowed in what seemed like a question mark, asking me how strong my resolve was to scale the five thousand steps the next day.

Girnar by night

Girnar by night (c)margieparikh

Except those tiny lights, everything got blended into thick black ink of opaque darkness. But the morning brought a different feel when the climb began.

Dawn breaks, ઉષા appears ahead of sunrise at Girnar

Dawn breaks, ઉષા appears ahead of sunrise at Girnar (c)margieparikh

.. And before we realised, the valley to our right overflowed with the light that spilled over onto the rest of the region, much like the water spilling over from a basin:

Early morning at Girnar

Early morning at Girnar (c)margieparikh

Below, the sleepy town looked like scattered lego blocks left carelessly in a heap by kids who got tired of playing:

Sleepy Junagadh at sunrise

Sleepy Junagadh at sunrise (c)margieparikh

Above lay some interesting bits – like this house perched at the top of the right hand ridge overlooking the vast slopes:

House on a ledge of Girnar

House on a ledge of Girnar (c)margieparikh

There were many climbers, but there were many residents as well. The steps were lined by shops and the sides were littered by trash. Bereft of it, people pushed on. Some rested a while. ‘Are you returning?’ I asked. ‘No, we are on our way up’, they said.

Catching breath at Girnar

Catching breath at Girnar (c)margieparikh

Elsewhere, as my cousin pointed out, the piles of stones stored untold stories of બાધા and its fulfilment:

Gratitude: બાધા fulfilled at Girnar

Gratitude: બાધા fulfilled at Girnar (c)margieparikh

The rock of Girnar looked beaten and weathered because of numerous holed bored into it by winds through the centuries. What all would those eyes have witnessed?

The weathered rocks at Girnar

The weathered rocks at Girnar (c)margieparikh

Enroute we see ancient temples developed by Vastupal – the precursor to Palitana.

Vastupal temple at Girnar

Vastupal temple at Girnar (c)margieparikh

Ambaji peak was not farther off from this point, and we returned from the first peak. Four hours up, two hours down. I took longer – seven hours in all. Took a toll on my legs, but in the afternoon I went to Bordevi with an enthusiastic nature lover. The forest there was strange – it looked clear yet thick.

Enroute to Bordevi -1

Enroute to Bordevi at Girnar (c)margieparikh

The growth of trees did not look wild. Rather, it seemed to beckon the visitor to explore without fear:

Back from Bordevi at Girnar

Back from Bordevi at Girnar (c)margieparikh

An ઔષધિ  grows on Girnar, which can make you invisible for three hours – said someone, quoting a saadhu living in Girnar forest. Well, I am not sure of that, but how does it matter whether I am sure or not?

I had time only for knocking at the door of Girnar and touching feet of this ancient mountain. In my mind, I sought permission for more, closer encounters and left.

Exit from Junagadh

Exit from Junagadh (c)margieparikh

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6 thoughts on “First peak of Girnar in junagadh

  1. Subhash Yadav says:

    Aku Paar by Dhruva Bhatt is an excellent gujarati novel on the Gir culture. I had witnessed a staged reading presentation of this novel few years back by an Ahmedabad based group. I purchased the novel, scanned it, yet to read it completely.

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    • I have not heard about it! Is the title Gujarati? What does it mean? — I am curious! Will buy it on my next annual trip to Gujarati bookshop.

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      • Subhash Yadav says:

        The title is Gujarati – Akoopaar, to be exact. Akoopar is the name of the tortoise who supports and holds the earth on its back. The contact point between the back of the tortoise and the earth is said to be exactly below Gir. ( Ae teko je bindu par lagelo hashe, te barabar Gir ni niche hashe ).

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  2. Manish says:

    wow! mesmerised by the beauty ….. seems like a pictorial depiction of ‘incredible India!

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    • It is indeed beautiful, Manish. On many occasions I did not even click pictures because I wanted to enjoy the scenery and then reach the first peak in time before it was too hot for the return.

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