First day, Robert the driver is on time. It takes three and half hours to get to Trimbak, the source of the Godavari River that I will be following for 60 days, very loosely, because of it being so remote.
A little bit of background on the river before I continue.
Godavari River: rises in northwestern Maharashtra state in the Western Ghats range, only about 50 miles (80 km) from the Arabian Sea, and flows for most of its course generally eastward across the broad plateau of the Deccan (peninsular India). After crossing central Maharashtra, it enters northern Telangana state northwest of Nizamabad and continues through a broad valley and, for a short stretch, forms the border with Madyah Pradesh state to the north. The river then turns southeastward for the last 200 miles (320 km) of its course, flowing through a gap in the Eastern Ghats ranges and then across Andhra Pradesh state before reaching the Bay of Bengal. There it empties via its two mouths: the Gautami Godavari to the north and the Vasishta Godavari to the south.
I couldn’t book into the Ashram for the first night as originally planned, as it only took families. After driving around for a while, Robert found me a hotel. By chance, it was at the foot of the mountain, the Brillavile Hills. It was this beast that I had to climb to reach the source of the river. It was really steep and if I had had my rucksack on my back, I would not been able to manage it.
On the way up, I was warned about the aggressive monkeys, told to hold onto my pink hat and also to take a stick to beat the monkeys away. It took me 1 and quarter hours to get to the top. I met some people and we sort of walked together. At the top, was a well that held the source.
Also at the top was some guy, a priest or someone important. I had to put down the stick to be blessed. He blessed me with the water, and I had to repeat after him for about 5 minutes in Hindi. You can imagine how good I was at that! When we left, the man and his friend handed me back my wooden stick. It was a good job they did.
Walking along, I was attacked by a monkey; the stick I was carrying was going to come in useful. But the monkey showed its teeth and grabbed my stick. He was a strong bugger, pulling determinedly on the stick. I was thinking how am I going to get out of this situation? I have had many fights in my youth, but never with a monkey.
I was shouting at it but that just made it more aggressive. Then just by chance, the man who had given me the stick back walked past and the monkey, thinking he was an easier target, changed direction and started to attack him!
I shouted to the guy to follow the same path I had followed, but I think, in a strange way, he was enjoying the fight. And as I watched to see if he was ok, eventually they used stones to scare the beast away.
Then I descended the mountain.
Got back to the hotel which took only 1 hour, it was so much quicker to get down. Any way after walking into town and looking at some temples, I realised that this was not a trip where I could go sight-seeing, so I went back to the hotel. Lovely 3 course meal for £3.50, veggie of course, getting bitten by mozzies through my socks and then to bed.
First day complete. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?