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Published: September 4th 2018
We arrived in Aurangabad late on the 27th. Having left our first class coupe (I.e. private) cabin on the train the hotel was something of a disappointment. We are staying at the hotel lalitja executive hotel. We couldn’t find any hostels and this place seemed to get good reviews. Unfortunately the sheets were dirty (we could identify one of the stains as being a footprint), the air con is malfunctioning, the room dirty and there’s a lack of any mosquito netting and plenty of mossies around.
The shower was freezing (so much for 24hr hot water) and the tea supplies were missing a kettle.
Never mind, we went to bed, exhausted, in our silk sleeping bag liners.
Sleep was elusive. It’s noisy and smelly (from car fumes and the dump over the road) and it gets light with the sun due to rubbish curtains.
The WiFi is also hopeless.
Breakfast in the morning was edible but my thimble full of tea to accompany less cornflakes than I’d give a toddler is enough to award this place with the worst breakfast so far.
We decided to go for our usual explore in the morning.
We arranged transport for the next couple of days so we can see the Ellora and Ajanta caves and then got a tuk tuk to the Aurangabad caves. We were hoping to walk most of the way but this city is dirty, noisy, full of rubbish and very unpleasant to walk around.
The caves are out of town and have pretty views down the valley. There are 2 small sets of Buddhist caves about 1km apart. They were built in the 6th or 7th century AD. It’s clearly where local courting couples come and we felt quite old walking around surrounded by teenagers. Whilst the carvings are interesting the temples are repetitive and not worth a special effort to see (but worth a look if you end up stuck in Aurangabad for a few hours).
Once we had seen the caves we went back into town to the Bibi qa Maqbara, or mini Taj. This is a mausoleum built in 1679 by Adam Khan for his mother. The grounds in which it sits are beautiful but as is often the case here it’s expensive for foreigners to enter and we were targeted by tauts, guides and
hordes of people wanting selfies. Whilst it was a shame as it made what should be a relaxing garden somewhat stressful it was funny watching Stephens face as complete strangers thrust their small children into his arms saying ‘selfie?’.
The last major sight to see is the Panchakki - a garden complex and water wheel with working hydromill. The old city walls and gate nearby were of more interest to us and we could see from the bridge that the ‘gardens’ were mostly stalls selling things, and the Panchakki was in a tiny room at the end. Given we’ve seen plenty of water wheels we decided not to pay the exorbitant ‘foreigners’ fee and went off to find lunch.
We ate at Bhoj - a Thali only restaurant that keeps serving you until you’re done. It was a little expensive for Thali but it was delicious. Although it was strange to us having sweets and mains being served at the same time.
We walked back to our hotel a different way. It was still smelly and dirty and full of piles of rubbish. The hotel, however, redeemed itself slightly as we ended up hiding in
our room watching Avatar before eating in the hotel restaurant which was actually very good for dinner.
In conclusion don’t come to Aurangabad! Let’s hope the Ellora and Ajanta caves (the reason we’re here) are worth it....
(spoiler alert - they are more than worth it!)
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