Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adventures in Aurangabad, Ellora & Ajanta Caves

Wow. Getting out of the city brought me into the real India as many say. Aurangabad is quite different from Bombay. My morning begins with a beautiful sunrise while I wait for my host Josh to meet me. Josh pulls up on his scooter with a big Kenyan smile on his face. Josh is from Kenya but has been living in India to get a higher education. Josh & his flat mates open up their home just a bit outside of the city to me for the 2 days I’m there. I freshen up, eat a bit and then we head by scootie the 30km to Ellora Caves.
The Mini Taj
View of the Mini Taj Mahal from Josh's Rooftop
Momma pig and her piglets running through the streets.
Indian style candy necklace!

Views along the way to Ellora Caves

I’ll let lonely planet give you the DL on the Ellora Caves. “Ellora has 34 caves in all: 12 Buddhist (AD 600-800), 17 Hindu (AD 600-900) and five Jain (AD 800-1000). The grandest, however, is the awesome Kailasa Temple (Cave 16), the world’s largest monolithic sculpture, hewn top to bottom against a rocky slope by 7000 laborers over a 150 year period. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is clearly among the best that ancient Indian architecture has to offer.”
Kailasa Temple (cave 16)

Cave 32, The Indra Sabha (assembly hall of Indra), is the finest of the Jain temples.

These caves were fascinating. It’s amazing what they created out of the side of the mountain. 

I think the highlight of the day was our adventures on the way back to Aurangabad. We stopped in a shady spot for some refreshing sugar cane juice. It is so tasty, quite a shame that you can’t get it back home. I sat a bit too close to the road and drew in car loads of India families. They were shy at first stopping just to get juice and then would slowly inch their way over to ask for photo with me. Many times though they will just take photos from a distance when you’re not looking and won’t ask permission…it can get pretty distracting and irritating once you notice. Makes you feel a bit like a celebrity. Damn paparazzi haha! So in turn many times I’ll ask for a photo back, here are a few of those.

Our sugar cane juice stand :)
I was telling Josh, I always wanted to go to an India wedding. Boom, he made it happen. Haha well more of we crashed the wedding. I’m officially a wedding crasher. I went to take photos of the wedding and they turned it around on me giving us scarfs and asking me to take pictures with the groom haha. I’ll let the photos do the talking:

Day 2 took me on a 2 hour bus ride to Ajanta Caves with 3 new friends – Joelle, Eliane and Felipe. Something interesting is that foreigners pay 25x more to enter most sites in India, it’s still only $5 but just very random. I hope part of the reasoning for this is to encourage Indians to visit all that their country has to offer.

Here's the DL Lonely Planet has to offer about Ajanta Caves - “Fiercely guarding its horde of priceless artistic treasures from another era, the Buddhist caves of Ajanta, 105km northeast of Aurangabad, could well be called the Louvre of ancient India. Much older than Ellora, these secluded caes date from around the 2nd century BC to the 6th centure AD and were among the earliest monastic instiutions to be constructed in the country. The 30 caves of Ajanta line the steep face of a horseshoe-shaed rock forge cordering the Waghore River flowing below.”
At our time of visit it was HOTTT and there sadly was no river flowing below. The caves were very incredible. Hard to capture in photos though. See for yourself :-)

You can even hire porters...makes sense for the elderly but for some people, c'mon!

Thank you Josh for everything!!! He even gave us rides to the train station :-)

1 comment:

  1. Wonderfully written blog,amazing trips,miss you so much, safe and sound journey...the baby jewel is here