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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pilgrimage walk to Tirumala

A little quiz: What is the world's most visited site of pilgrimage? Rome? Jerusalem? Mecca? Nope, none of the above. The answer is the Hindu pilgrimage site of Tirumala, situated on a hill top near the city of Tirupati, which I went to after saying goodbye to Margrethe, Lisbeth and the rest of the group. You can take a bus to the top from Tirupati, but really dedicated pilgrims walk the entire way covering 13 kilometres and 3550 steps. I decided to follow in their footsteps and take the walk in the gruelling sun.
A view towards the top of the initial climb. At first I thought this was Tirumala, but I would get wiser. Reaching that white Gopuram means that you are still less than halfway.



The view from the White Gopuram you just saw above, down towards Tirupati. As you can see it is quite a distance, but nowhere near the finish line.


Fortunately most of the road is covered like this, giving good protection from the sun. It may not look too appealing, but anyone who has tried walking 13 km. uphill under a baking sun, knows that the shade provided by this is a God send.

But it simply never ends. This is a large gate apparently marking nothing but the beginning of another 1000 steps.


Fortunately there was plenty of interesting nature to look at. This amazing dear was as far as I could tell a wild animal, which had simply gotten so used to people that it would lie by the path simply waiting to be fed. I bought him some cucumber sticks that he seemed to enjoy thoroughly.
Another wild animal, a more elusive spotted dear, which had found a corn cob. I like the way it looks like he is smoking it as a cigar.

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