AJANTA / ELLORA CAVES & AURANGEBAD

Dec 12th, 2011, 10:54 PM
  #1  
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AJANTA / ELLORA CAVES & AURANGEBAD

'The old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be.,,. ain't what she used to be, ain't ..

I'm contemplating a side trip to Aurangebad a day or so after Christmas. [I'm in Mumbai right now] Can anybody give me a quick heads-up on the amount of shlep involved in visiting the caves? Lotsa stairs? Endless walking? Climbing etc?

Also, other good things to do in the immediate area. Side trips etc... There must be more to the city than caves...

Forgive me not researching this: I'm on the road, subject to the whims and foibles of an old mongrel. You know how we get easily diverted..
dogster is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 02:49 AM
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Hi Dogster - the caves aren't that bad as far as climbing goes. Ajanta is fairly compact - the caves are pretty much all on the same level with maybe a stair or 3 between some of them and a short climb to get to them. Ellora is spread out - some of the caves are on two levels but you basically drive up to each set so there's not a lot of walking to get to them. The drive to Ajanta is 2+ hours from Aurangabad and you will spend 2 hours at the caves. Ellora you can do in 1/2 day as it is only 45 minutes from Aurangabad. 2 hours is enough time for Ellora. I recommend you do Ajanta first. We found that it was helpful to have a guide for the caves.

The Lemontree was about the only place that you would want to stay in Aurangabad - ask if they have a package that includes a driver for the caves. Aurangabad is kind of an ugly city which is purportedly one of the fastest growing in India. In addition to the caves there is the 12th century Daulatabad Fort near Ellora but visiting it would require both walking and climbing. In Aurangabad is an interesting monument, the Bibi-ka-Maqbara or "mini-Taj" - worth an hour or so.

Hope this helps.
Craig is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 03:31 AM
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Well, good morning mr dogster!! Nice to see you here. I take it that you will not be in BKK for Christmas this year then.... (so much for tradition).... but actually, we're not sure what WE will be doing on that day. Side Pocket is very iffy. Maeng seems to be away from BKK and the bar is on its own, being run by the cook and one waitress. Too bad Maeng's big dream did not pan out. I'll find out more about it when I get back to BKK on Monday night.

Anyway, enjoy India! If you like caves, I assume you've been to Jenolan in your own country. Very interesting. Lots of climbing, IMO.

Hi Craig. Merry Christmas to you and Jeane.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 03:59 AM
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I would say that the climb to the Ajanta caves is nontrivial. There were porters carrying people up. Once you've reached the Ajanta caves the between cave distance is not too long, but it is rocky, uneven surface. You have to take a bus to the stairs/ramp to the caves. At Ellora you can drive between caves but obviously you need to walk in them.

The natural order for seeing the cases is Ajanta first, then Ellora. It's best to do them on separate days. With mobility issues I'd start at Ellora with the Kailasantha Temple (cave 16). Remarkable.Then you can see others depending on the state of the legs. The next day, if you're up to it, go to Ajanta.

We stayed at the Taj and it was fine. Hope you take us along on this part of your trip!
Marija is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 04:25 AM
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Hi dogster - good to see you on dry land!

I didn't find anything good about Aurangabad itself, but I absolutely loved the caves at Ellora. Ajanta not so much, but I prefer carving to painting. Unfortunately, I vaguely remember that Ellora required more exercise.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 04:38 AM
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just fly thru the caves on the back of a bat
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 04:54 AM
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They were a schlep and I was underwhelmed by them. I was also battling a bad case of Delhi Belhi at the same time. I remember more about that than I do the caves!
Femi is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 05:15 AM
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@thursday did you have a guide and driver at Ellora? I think that makes a big difference since a driver can take you from cave to cave by car.

@femi Perhaps you couldn't see through your delhi belly. IMHO the caves are absolutely amazing.
Marija is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 05:18 AM
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I'm planning an itinerary in somewhat the same area and am planning to give them a pass. We intend to visit Mandu instead. Much more difficult to get to and much more appealing to me and very highly rated. BUT, I have no idea about getting around and how difficult it is. I believe I read that you can hire a bicycle rickshaw driver to take you between places.

check out this blog:

http://10yearitch.com/tag/mandu/#
julies is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 05:50 AM
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Thanks guys - as usual, many and varied responses to the topic. I'm reviewing the situation... so far, doing the math, I'm coming up with three days minimum, return flights and airport shlep, transfers and check-in plus six hours or so driving to the wonders and maximum six hours actually looking at them. I'm not sure the wonders hold up to the math.

Of course, in my addled state I have no idea whether or not this will happen. Colaba has me by the short and curlies, lost in life in the streets just below. I'm in the Hotel Apollo, yet again - closely examining all the low-life I can find. It all in the view from my window...

Today I had a shave and a haircut. I came out smelling of Old Spice. The entire performance cost 100 rupees. That's $2. I'm a classy guy.
dogster is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 06:19 AM
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@Marija - I had a driver TO the caves at Ellora (I was having a down day for some reason I forget), but I think I walked between the caves. I took a state Tourism Development tour to Ajanta, with a guide. I didn't think the guide added much, but I generally prefer just to use a guidebook.

@dogster - the caves really are worth a schlep - more so than Hampi. Kailasantha is remarkable.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 15th, 2011, 07:32 PM
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Sorry to hear that Femi found the caves underwhelming. Of course Delhi-Belly or the Kathmandu-dus are highly memorable, capable of drowning out everything else.

I visited the caves in 1977 and was blown out by them, amazed then they weren't more well-known. But I was an impressionable lad then.
Nelson is offline  
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