At Baijnath, legend has it that nine men can lift the large smooth rounded stone lying innocuously in a dusty arena outside the temple complex - kewal ek anguli lagaake (by using just a finger each). I challenged the men - my driver and the two from Haldwani who had found me at the riverbank and offered me fish food to throw to the rohu - to prove it true. They seemed eager to defend their masculinity, and soon we were calling out to other men passing by to join in the test. Here are the seven who formed the backbone of the team. Since the stone would not budge, they beckoned a rather senior citizen and a 14 year old gawper sitting on the railing. Women, they were firm, could not be part of the fun, since the legend decreed only men.
No luck in the first attempt, but the second time round our valiant nine, hooking one finger each under the stone, had lifted it up to their shoulders.