Sunday, 3 January 2010

Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Sunday 3 January: Arrived 11:00 am at the delightful Hotel Plaza in Jalgoan. Caves closed on Mondays so time to relax and review my trip plan. The Indian government has just changed the visa rules - no re-entry within two months of exit - and as I only wanted to be in Bangladesh for three weeks - I need to rethink. Probably spend more time in India before heading north to Nepal and Annapurna in Spring when the Himalayas warm up a bit.
Tuesday 5: Local bus to the Ajanta T-junction then green eco-friendly bus (38th mode of transport) to the caves - not really caves but rock-cut caverns sculptured out using hand-tools, some dating back to 2 BC, to produce temples and monasteries - some decorated with carvings and frescoes.
Photos of the Buddhist caves at Ajanta.
Local bus onto a brick-hard dorm bed, and breakfast, at the Youth Hostel in Aurangabad.
Wednesday 6: Day trip to Ellora Caves where Buddhist, Jain and Hindu rock-hewn temples and monasteries line the river bank. The most magnificent is Kailasa Temple 'built' by a reduction process - chiseling out a cliff to 'expose' the ornate temple within - great planning!.
Returned to Aurangabad by shared jeep taxi (39th mode) for dinner and a cold beer.
Photos of all three styles of cave at Ellora.
Kailasa Temple is the biggest rock monolith in the world and both sets of caves are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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