Home > Indore getaway, Travel > Biking to Ajanta and Ellora – 2

Biking to Ajanta and Ellora – 2

Sorry guys for being late, I was away on a mindblowing Khajuraho trip the Pongal weekend. But that has to wait. Having done one stage of my longest bike ride in Ellora, both of us had a simple breakfast near the caves and proceeded to Daulatabad. There is a scenic ghat section on this stretch of the highway. Daulatabad is pretty close to Ellora (15km) and very soon we passed this beautiful lake Daulatabad lake. The landscape is also pleasing to the eyes. We could have had fresh guavas on the very pretty look-out point, but I was a little sick and we took no chances. Our next stop was the famous Daulatabad fort itself. Every history fan knows of Mohammad bin Tughlaq‘s experiments in failure. The shifting of India’s capital from Delhi to Daulatabad is a prime example. The day being a Saturday morning in late December, Daulatabad was full of folks. We parked our bikes and proceeded amidst the heaps of crowds. There were quite a few guides willing to share their knowledge. But we decided that we could not do much in this crowd Daulatabad fortand so did not go all the way to the top in the narrow stairs. Daulatabad reminded me a little of Golconda. This Chand Minar Chand Minaris the big minaret in this charming fort. School kids were playing in the big courtyard.

After spending a little less than a hour in the fort, we left for Aurangabad, our initial destination for the night primarily because it is well-connected. Aurangabad is 15 km away from Daulatabad and we reached it pretty quickly. We hoped to see the duplicate Taj Mahal, otherwise known as Bibi Ka MaqbaraBibi Ka Maqbara, built by Aurangazeb inspired by you-know-what. The Taj in Agra is simply the grandest man-made spectacle my eyes have seen and this Aurangabad imitation pales badly. But the similarities are clear. The Mughal garden and the marble (here unclean) are amazing. But there’s no Yamuna to lend that magical finish here. After this whistle-stop, we went to Panchakki – the water wheel systemPanchakki of those olden days. At this place, we met an Australian STA agent who’s here on a holiday. We chatted with him and wished him a good time. STA is not very useful in India to me. I also spotted the Paithani sarees and Himroo shawls showroom (both Aurangabad specials) here, but this is no shopping trip! We had asked the locals near Bibi Ka Maqbara about good restaurants to have biryani. The Muslim influence hopefully gets very tasty biryani. But the local guys were not very helpful and so we sped off on the Ajanta highway after this 2hour Aurangabad tour.

The Aurangabad-Ajanta road (about 100km) is also very good and we hit our top speeds on this stretch. We had a quick lunch at a dhaba midway and still managed to reach the Ajanta shuttle point at 3.45pm, in roughly 2 hours. This point is 4-5km away from the caves and no private vehicles are allowed beyond here. The MTDC charges a park entry fee, a parking fee, a shopping plaza fee (wasteful) and a shuttle fee, which we paid in 3 different places. Why can’t they make the fee structure simple? The Ajanta caves are located in a beautiful gorge and that explains their charm apart from the fact that they are very very old. We had less time (two hours) to see these cute paintings as some of the caves close by 5.30pm. There are 29 caves in all and the Australian had recommended us to walk to the top on the other side of the stream to have an awesome view. We are forced to drop our shoes at every cave, thus losing some time. The cave guards directed us to the ones worth seeing – which are 3, 5, 10, 16, 17, 29 and we ended up seeing only these caves. These caves are supposedly monasteries and we could see different images of the Buddha in these. Here is an image of the Buddha inside a stupa and here is a mural . The guards did not let us use the tripod and so my companion went livid at them. It is astonishing to note that these murals and sculptures have survived more than 1500 years and some 2000 years and we know what they were meant for! We were tired of our adventure in just about an hour.

We decide that we will go back to Indore riding in the night (just about 330km away) not through the way we came back, but through Bhusawal, Burhanpur and Omkareswar road. The road is fantastic and we ride all the way till Burhanpur in MP, about 140 km from Ajanta and decide to take a break because it has become too cold by 10pm. An early morning start at 7.30am the next day takes us back to our college by 12.30 noon, a distance of 190km, just in time for the new year celebrations. My first long ride has been a great success!

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Categories: Indore getaway, Travel
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