Ajantha and Ellora Caves
Must do – Both Ajantha and Ellora caves. Avoid – Don’t climb up Daulatabad fort if you arent’ fit enough or are afraid of dark passages with bats in some places. If you have time – Lonar lake, formed a really long time ago when a meteorite crashed onto the earth is one of the world’s biggest salt water lake. Buses are available from Aurangabad. Would be easier to go to if you have your own transport. Tips –
- Ajantha caves are closed on Monday and Ellora on Tuesday.
- All locations close for visitors at 6pm.
- You cannot travel directly between Ajantha and Ellora caves by public transport, you have to come south to Aurangabad and then
- Eat ‘Poha’ (upma made with rice flakes) at any of the restaurants. I ate at Hotel Tirupati near the train station and Hotel Manjiri near the bus station – it was amazing at both the places.
- Lunch at MTDC restaurant near Ajantha caves is pretty good.
- Try sugarcane juice – Aurangabad is near the sugar belt of India and Maharashtra and they grow a lot of sugarcane here. I didn’t try – wasn’t feeling adventurous enough.
- Drink lots of water – it was incredibly hot even in mid february.
Itinerary followed – Day 1 –
- Bibi Ka Maqbara in the morning because it is in town (auto both ways as buses don’t go there)
- Daulatabad fort (took share jeep – got stuffed in the front seat with 3 other blokes, our Bharath one of them)
- Started from fort at 1.30 and headed to Ellora
- Lunch at Hotel Kailas (ok sorts food but expensive only because of the touristy location) and a brief nap at the table
- Checked out almost all the caves in Ellora (closes at 6pm so plan well)
- Headed back to Aurangabad, this time stuffed in the middle seat of a shared jeep. Found a cheapo hotel near the bus station and crashed after dinner.
Day 2 –
- Easy day. Started at 9am from Aurangabad and caught a direct bus to Ajantha caves.
- Got together with 2 french students and hired a guide for Rs. 750 to tell us more about Ajantha caves.
- Lunch at the MTDC restaurant.
- Return back to Aurangabad in a red bus, sleep, etc.
- Checked out of hotel and went to the nearest CCD.