Hassan: Deft and doe-like they sprint up the steep and rocky Vindhyagiri Hill carrying devotees to the statue of Bahubali that towers over Shravanabelagola. The dholiwallahs from Jharkhand take barely 20 minutes to reach the hill-top, finding it an easy call after the tough four hour climb up the Parasnath Hill in their state.
“The Vindhyagiri journey is shorter, but a bit steeper,” says Shivlal, one of the dholiwallahs who arrived in Shravanabelagola a week ago. Nearly 200 more dholiwallahs from Jharkhand are expected to arrive in the town on February 15 for the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony when their services will be greatly in demand.
At Parasnath the dholiwallahs spend four hours travelling to the top, another four hours to take devotees around and three hours to climb down. But at Vindhyagiri Hill it takes 20-minute to reach the top, 15 minutes for the devotees to have their darshan and another 15 minutes to climb down, explains Shivlal.
Ramlal, a fellow villager, says, dholi is big business in Parasnath Hill with hundreds of dholiwallahs competing to ferry devotees to the top. But not all dholiwallahs are able to make a decent living this way, he laments.
Of medium built and short in stature, the dholiwallahs are sturdy enough to carry the devotees and not many complain of aches and pains.
While they charge about Rs 4,000 on Parasnath Hill, a sum that is distributed among four dolliwallahs, at Vindyagiri , they charge Rs 600 per devotee....