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Aurangabad, Ajanta and Ellora

Old Jul 9th, 2013, 04:45 PM
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Aurangabad, Ajanta and Ellora

Will be flying to Aurangabad for 2 nights in January, arriving very early in the morning the first day. Ajanta is closed the next full day we will be there -- so we need to see Ajanta the same day as our arrival. We can then visit Ellora and sites in town the following day.

Would it be best to hire a driver and/or guide for the entirety of this trip? Or is it just as good to hire taxis on the spot to get from one place to another? I understand that there are English speaking guides available at both Ajanta and Ellora, but I suspect it would be better to have a driver/guide who can take us everywhere we want.

Has anyone had a particularly good guide to recommend?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 05:02 PM
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Ajanta is the one to see first because the caves are older, even though it's a 2 hour drive. We had a driver and a guide, arranged through our hotel, the Lemontree (at the time, the best in the area). It worked out really well. The guide knew exactly where to go and kept it interesting. Ellora is a shorter trip, and you can start later but both guide and driver would be helpful there too. My trip report is here:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ad-bangkok.cfm
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 05:36 PM
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If you arrange the driver in advance he can pick you up at the airport. The caves are superb. (Be sure to wear hats and sunscreen since Aurangabad is hotter than Rajasthan, as we learned.)
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 05:43 AM
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We have already been planning to stay at the Lemon Tree. I've tried to contact them to arrange a driver/guide, but they haven't responded so far. We were indeed thinking we'd have the driver pick us up at the airport and then take us to Ajanta. I'm hoping someone on this forum may have the name of a good driver/guide. Thanks.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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The airport is about 10 minutes from the hotel, so it does not make much difference if you leave from there. We had one the Lemontree's sightseeing packages, which included the two tours plus airport transfers. I believe you will get a reliable guide and driver if you go this route. After all, the hotel's reputation is at stake. Aurangabad has not had many visitors from this forum, so you may not get a response to your request for a name.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 06:15 AM
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I have visited Aurangabad, and both caves, but it was a while back. I arranged a driver through my hotel for Ellora, and took a tour through the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation for Ajanta, but I'm not sure you can still do that. In any case, I didn't find that the guide added a whole lot. I much preferred Ellora to Ajanta, but Ajanta is more about the paintings.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 04:53 PM
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Do bring a torch to the caves to get a better view. The season of January is perfect and the weather should be cool but carrying a hat is a good advise. I have heard some good reviews about Hotel Kailas which is located right opposite Ellora caves never tried it though. I am sure the hotel will be able to help you with the guide but it is a known fact that when you book a guide through the hotel the charges are higher as they have to pay a percentage to the hotel.
It would be a good idea to look locally once you reach there, I have generally found good English speaking guides at the location itself.
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