May 7, 2010
Aurangabad is approximately 400 kms. Initially we had planned to take a bus or train to go to Aurngabad. At one point in time we also thought of flying there but lastly we decided to take our own car. It was indeed an wise decision because later on when we went to places like Ajanta and Ellora our car really saved us from the hassle of finding a taxi and bargaining on the price etc. I am anyways very bad at bargaining.
It took us about 7 hours to reach Aurangabad from Andheri (West). Instead of going via Pune we took the bypass route through Talegaon and then travelled through Ahmednagar.When we reached Aurnagabad it was almost 10pm.
Finding a hotel in Aurangabad is not difficult. You can book a hotel through the net, as we did or you can reach and walk into any hotel. Usually you will get occupancy. the weather is Aurangabad is hot, so always plan your trip in early morning so that you can avoid the scorching sun in the afternoon. Especially if you have kids never venture out in the afternoon. The mercury level really rises high.
Next day early morning we travelled to Ellora. If you have a car, take the car inside the premises. You will not be able to walk all along. There are numerous caves in Ellora but if you are not keenly interested in cave painting or archaeology then you can highly skip few caves and only see the chosen few. Do make it a point to visit the musical cave and the Kailasnath cave. The former is a engineering marvel and the later is the famous Kailash temple as mentioned in the movie and book "Kailashe kelenkari".
From Ellora you can straight go to the cemetery of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. The man really asked for a humble burial. The next spot to visit was Daulatabad Fort. This is the famous fort of the mad king Mohammad bin Tughlaq.Do make it a point to visit the dark chamber. On your way you can also check out some Paithani weaving mills. Aurangabad is famous for Paithani and himroo fabric and in these mills you can have a first hand experience of the weaving.
This entire trip we covered in 6 hours time. In the afternoon it is best to rest A/C rooms of your hotel. Keep the evening free to visit the various gates of Auarnagabad. Very few people know that Aurangabad is called the "city of gates" for it numerous gates.
The second morning should be set aside for Ajanta trip. It takes about 2 hours to reach Ajanta from Aurangabad. You cannot take your personal vehicle inside Ajanta. You will have to depend on the govt tourist bus to reach the top of the hill from where you need to clinb the stairs to reach the caves.Climbing those steep steps was strenuous for me. In Ajanta there are about 24 caves and unlike Ellora you cannot skip them. They are lined up in a circular pattern. In Ajanta you will get to see some photographs directly from the pages of your history book and the posters of incredible India.The last cave is worth mentioning. Peace of mind can be really attained in this cave where Lord Buddha is lying in his Mahaparinirvana posture.
Ajanta trip would leave you quite exhasuted so plan to rest in the aftrenoon. In the evening try to visit the Bibi ka Maqbara. If it is a full moon day you are going to have a treat for your eyes.This structure was a reply to the wonderful Taj Mahal. A poor replica or should I say poor man's Taj Mahal was built by Aurangzeb's son in memory of his mother.
The last day of our visit we went to Panchakki which I personally felt nothing special. It gives you an idea of the water system during the old days. We did made it a point to visit the Bibi Ka maqbara again in the morning, and I must say it was really worth a visit.
In the afternoon we started off for Mumbai.