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Published: September 19th 2014
Aurangabad had been on my mind since quite some time as I wanted to explore Ajanta - Ellora caves (World Heritage Sites). Had always only heard about it but never got a chance to visit it. So, with help of some travel blogs and trip advisor reviews, we planned for our Aurangabad Visit from 22nd - 23rd - 24th February 2014.
It takes about 5 hours travel to reach from Pune , so we decided to catch a overnight bus from Nigdi (Located about 20Kms away from Pune) . After booking AC sleeper bus tickets from Redbus, we caught a bus at 10:30 PM from Nigdi. After a comfortable ride, we reached Aurangabad city around 6:30 AM and checked in Hotel Oberoi near Osmanpur Circle.
Hotel Oberoi is a very basic clean hotel which seems to have started only couple of years ago. After getting ready, we hired a cab to take us to Ellora caves, Girneshwar temple, Bhadra Maruti, Daulatabad fort, Bibi-ka-Makbara, Pan Chakki for about 1000Rs. Ellora took around 1 hours drive from the hotel to reach.
For Indians the entry ticket is 10 Rs while for Foreigners they charge around Rs. 250. The caves in
Ellora are spread out. Ellora caves are about 3 major religion : Jainism, Buddhisam, and Hinduism. There are few important caves which you shall not miss.. Caves 30 - 34, 16 and 10 are the most important and the biggest caves. You can hire a guide, who can give you insights of the history. Not sure about the cost as we didnt hire any guide.
It took good 3 hours for us as well to look around the caves as they are spread out. Also, one more good thing is there are some photographers who click photos and gives you hard copies of the same in 5 minutes and just about 20 Rs per photo. Really worth a try.
After the caves, we went to Girneshwar temple which is just about 1 km distance from Ellora caves. This is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and being weekend was crowded. We then went to see Bhadra Maruti temple, which means the Maruti is in sleeping position, guess the only one in India. It was a unique temple. After a quick visit to Bhadra Maruti, we went to Daulatabad Fort where we grabbed a quick snack at the foot of
the Fort and then walked toward the Fort. There is not much to see inside the Fort but felt good to be in there for sometime.
We went to see PanChakki which can easily be given a miss as its not worth visiting. Its not maintained well at all. Our last stop before heading to the hotel was Bibi-ka-Maqbara. This mausoleum is a replica of famous Taj Mahal, Agra. After spending some good amount of time in and around the structure, we decided to call it a day and returned to our hotel after a long tiring day.
The next day we wanted to visit Ajanta which is about 110 Kms away from Aurangabad and takes abt 2 1/2 hours to reach by ST bus. So we started early and took a 6 AM bus to Ajanta. We reached around 8:30 AM to base of Ajanta, had our breakfast as you dont quite have lot of options at Ajanta caves.
Ajanta Caves is made of 30 Buddhist caves and have been proclaimed as UNESCO World Heritage.After having breakfast, we again took a MTDC bus that takes you to the entrance of the Ajanta Caves.. Once you reach
there, you need to buy tickets, climb for abt 10 mins before you actually start seeing the caves...
Caves 1, 2, 16 , 17, 27 are the best caves and will take time.. You can hire a guide or the staff at the entrance is ready to tell you a story of each cave for some money... Govt. Guides charge around 900Rs...
Its a semi circular structure which takes abt 3/4 hrs if you really see it with all the patience.
We reached back at Aurangabad around 6 PM after a very tiring day.
Had dinner at the Hotel Oberoi itself, food being really good. Since we didnt have anything to do on the last day, we took MSRTC bus at 1 PM back to Pune and reached home around 6 AM.
All in All had a really great time looking around the caves and spending some quality time with my husband travelling.
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