Southern India day 17 – Treatments & Climbing Chamundi Hill

21 Oct 2017. We had to wake up early for breakfast this morning because 3 of us had 09:00 treatments scheduled. Today mine was the scrub and the pouring oil. The scrub was intense, and I even had to ask them to go more gently at one point, because I thought the skin at my armpits was going to rip right off if they went over it one more time. With the scrub still on my body, they wrapped me up in a towel and let me stew while they performed the oil pouring.

My main therapist was really interesting, and we had time to talk before and after my treatments, as she collected me or walked me back. She’s worked at IVAC for 10 years, and before that she was a nurse at a hospital. On my last day, I asked her why she left nursing, and she said that every day as a nurse there was blood, vomit, and lots of feces and other accidents. At IVAC, in many senses, the job is the same, except less of that.

Derek was sleeping when we all finished our treatments, so I went for a swim. When he woke up, we all got in an Ova car (a bit like Uber) and were dropped off at the bottom of the steps up Chamundi Hill.

People walk the entire way up to the temple at the top as a devotional, and you can buy colored powders at the bottom, which you use to mark every step on the way.

We saw one young woman doing that, and asked if she was doing it for a particular reason or if it was purely devotional. She said she had a particular reason, and we asked if she minded telling us. It turns out her exams are coming up… I hope she put even more effort into her studying!

There were various points along the way when you can alternately be dropped off, but we went the whole way. At the top there were lots of food stalls and market stalls in general. We sampled many things, and walked around the outside of the temple.

When we were done, we started down the road instead of the steps, and eventually caught a bus the rest of the way into town. Abbie and Derek went into town from there to do some shopping, and Matt and I went back out to IVAC. I went for another swim and Matt had an upcoming additional treatment.

Dinner at IVAC was disappointing. No sweets! Apparently, as I learned from another guest – a very funny woman from Delhi – the next day, sweets are not recommended in the evening on an Ayurvedic diet, so they’re only served at lunch (which we’d learned the day before is also kind of boring). She told me about her last stay, which was for weight loss, when she would sneak sweets out from the lunch buffet wrapped in napkins, and eat them in the evening or night in her room – strictly forbidden! She’s hoping she has better willpower this time.

After dinner, we met at our cottage for illicit gin & juice. Derek had kind of warm beer.

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