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Published: August 9th 2017
Geo: 19.8853, 75.3197
After the experience of Mumbai, Carole any myself boarded a train which went east to a town called Aurangabad. The train took about 6 hours where we arrived at about 9pm, we got a free ride to our accommodation, Shree Maya. Here they had a really nice restaurant in which we grabbed some food and settled in for the night. Once again we had to endure the cold showers. Most places will have hot water from 6-9 in the morning, so being in hot places and spending the day drenched in sweat sometimes cold showers can be a blessing, but then i still prefer them to be hot.
Johannes was due to arrive from Mumbai to meet us around midday so Carole and myself wandered off for the first part of the morning. During our stay in Aurangabad we had planned to see the Ellora caves, Ajanta Caves and Lonar Meteorite Crater.
While we were waiting for Johannes to arrive we took a rickshaw to the poor mans Taj Mahal or properly refereed to as Bibi-Ka-Maqbara. As soon as you get to the gate it looks like the real Taj Mahal, this is because you are looking at it from a
distance but as you get closer you can tell immediately that it's a lot smaller and not as well preserved. In fact there is only one way in and out to the main room and all it is is a walkway around the side and down below people throw money on some kind of big coushin. From the poor mans Taj we continued to the local Aurangabad caves, these were fairly insignificant caves compared to Ajanta and Ellora and they all looked fairly similar, so for me it wasn't anything special.
After the local caves we continued back into town where we met up with Johannes. We decided to all go and see Ellora caves that day, which is only 30 km away so we took a rickshaw between which cost us 450Rs about $11 between the three of us. We reached Ellora and had a quick bite to eat and then proceeded to the main entrance which is based at the front of cave 16, there are a total of 34 caves at Ellora and cave 16 is the main one, and what a beauty it is.
Cave 16 is called the Kailasa temple and was built in AD 760,
It's pretty big and fairly high, it had been carved from the top down, and as soon as you enter the temple you immediately start wondering how the hell they managed to carve this temple from the top down, some of the detail is amazing and you just cant grasp the amount of time and effort that would have gone in to all these rock temples all throughout India. We proceeded to see most of the other temples in the limited time before it closed. The Ellora caves feature three different religious caves. Caves 1 - 12 are Buddhist temples, Caves 13-29 are Hidu and 30-34 are Jain. So as the sun set we headed back to Aurangabad on a very bumpy and heart stopping ride as we drove back at night where the danger pretty much doubles, they all drive with high beams on and it makes it harder to see in front of you, but we made it.
The next day (Monday) Carole and myself hired a car and went to Lonar Meteorite Crater, we chose to do this today because on Mondays the Ajanta caves are closed and on Tuesday the Ellora caves are closed so we had
to go on the Monday, which was fine. Johannes didn't join us because he was so exhausted from previous days, so he went to Daulatabad fort instead.
The Lonar meteorite crater is about 170Km away from Aurangabad, so ewe kinda had to hire a car. The car cost us 2000Rs which is about $25each. After 2.5hrs we finally arrived and it was an amazing view straight away, i didn't realise how green it was inside, how big the lake was at the bottom and that there were farmers living down the bottom. A french guy arrived at the same time ina seperate car so we asked him to join us and headind down to the bottom, along the way there are old temples which some house bats. There is a track that leads halfway around.
We spent about 2.5 hours checking out the base before we had to head back before it got dark.
I thought it was worth the trip, i had never really seen a crater before and this one was really nice although quite a bit of money to get there.
On the Tuesday we met with Johannes again and took a local bus to Ajanta Caves, these caves are
about 100Km from Aurangabad and took us about 3 hrs on the bus to get there, much cheaper than hiring another car. Again these caves are pretty spectacular, they are cut into the face of a gorge the bends around with the Waghore river,surrounded by valleys and hills. The caves are all fairly spectacular in their own way but do all look similar inside it which usually consists of a main room at the back with a bid buddha and some small side rooms. But unlike at Ellora these caves had paintings which some had been restored. But these paintings had amazing detail and colour depicting all kinds of things.
If you cross the river you can also climb up some stairs to the other side and get a top view of the caves as well as a water fall just around the corner, but there are people trying to sell you tacky gifts along the way.
I was pretty impressed by Ellora and Ajanta but if the Ellora caves were situated in the landscape of Ajanta then I think it would be even more impressive.
Carole and myself had booked a night train to Hyderabad leaving at 10pm. I was surprised i
got a decent nights sleep, i was expecting to get no sleep at all but it wasn't bad although it was on and off.
we arrived at Hyderabad at about 9am where we had to wait till about 4pm where we had to leave for the airport to fly to Bangalore. maybe it was the lack of sleep, the hunger, the heat and the fact that it was another bug and busy city, but i did.t like Hyderabad.
I'm not a big fan of big and busy cities so to me it was another big city and i wanted to get out as soon as i could. But that's the thing about India, to try escape big and busy cities is hard because it such a populated country. So i was looking forward to reaching Mysore and Ooty.
We put our backpacks into storage at the train station and went to an internet place, we also got some lunch and took a walk to the public gardens and checked out a small museum to kill the time. By 3pm we headed back to the train station, collected our bags and headed to the airport where we caught our flight into Bangalore, it was
only an hour flight but it saved us time.
Upon driving to our accommodation I could sense that Bangalore was a fairly cleaner city to those I had previously visited, there seemed to be less people and there were no stalls lining the major streets which bring in the crowds.
Bangalore was also just a transit point, so we had a train booked to go to Mysore at 3pm so during the day we went and checkout city market which is a fruit and veggie market. What amazes me in India is that everyone sells the same thing, so you will be walking along a street where there are many shops selling clothes and they will all sell the same stuff, In markets as well, you gotta wonder how is this possible. We walked there which probably took about 30 min but found it hard to find it, this is because its located on the wrong side of the map in the Lonely Planet map, but we asked around and found it. It wasn't that special, just another market all selling the same stuff. We also walked a bit further up the road to the Bangalore fort, which was closed, so we
walked a bit more up the road to Tipu Sultan's Palace, it cost 100Rs - $2.50 and all it was only a building where you could walk upstairs. There wasn't anything of great importance to see so i thought that was a waste of time and money but it did kill some time.
By this stage it was time to collect our bags and head to the train station to head towards Mysore.
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