Ajanta, Ellora, Daulatabad



Dairy Entry

The dry and barren landscape surrounding Aurangabad is not exactly tourist friendly, except during the monsoons and the winter. My timing of visit cannot be called the best as I missed the sight of falling water in the Ajanta and Ellora caves. However, the sight of the sculptures and paintings adorning the walls of the caves, for over thousands of such seasonal cycles did strike me with awe.

Ellora caves, built between the fifth and the tenth century AD, represent some of the best of Indian rock cut architecture. The sheer scale of effort and engineering skills required to sculpt out a structure as massive and intricate as the Kailasanatha temple (the most prominent of all) out of a basalt mountain, astonishes every visitor at the first sight.

Ellora is a group of over 30 caves in close proximity, belonging to various faiths : namely Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Beyond their stature as an epitome of Indian art and architecture, these caves stand as a solid testimony to the religious harmony that existed between various faiths in a bygone era !

Ajanta on the other hand was once a Buddhist settlement, nestled deep in the hills, secluded from the outer world, primarily for the monks to engage in their spiritual pursuits. Over twenty caves used for various purposes like worship, meditation, lodging, etc. were built around the horse shoe shaped ravine on the banks of a river. The beauty of the paintings in a few caves, easily overshadows the beauty of the architecture and the sculptures. Almost ironically, the walls of these dark caves, where sunlight seldom reached, are adorned with such brilliant figures that radiate beauty and grace. The depth of the details presented by these paintings convey lot of interesting information about the life styles of the people of this era.

The Daulatabad fort, around 15 KM from the city is a colossal structure in good shape, built around 14th century. Bibi ka Maqbara is another monument worth a visit. Considered an inferior imitation of the Taj, this was a dedication by Aurangazeb's son to his mother, whose mausoleum it houses.

Itinerary

Day 1

Reached Aurangabad early in the morning. Rented a room to freshen up and set out to visit Ellora & Daulatabad. Auto rickshaw charge a fixed 450.Rs for a day's trip to Ellora, Daulatabad, Ghrishneshwar, Bibi ka maqbara, etc.

Day 2

Vacated the room and joined the MTDC charted/guided trip to Ajanta. Back at 6 and reached pune before 12 in the night. 

Tips:

Trips organized by MTDC or private operators are not advisable for those interested in spending time at the sites and examining the details. They waste time at motels on the way and rush you through at the site. Their guides are no better than printed guide books. Ajanta is hardly reachable through public transport. If you are not taking the charted trips, you might need to hire a cab.

Albums

Image of Siva (Kailasanatha temple)Inside cave no.1 (Ellora)

Reclining Buddha (Ajanta)

Inside the Daulatabad fort

Bibi ka Maqbara