Saturday 21 February 2015

Trip to Aurangabad

Trip to Aurangabad
After a long thought, very long thought of 2 years actually, I finally visited Aurangabad last December. This is one place I would recommend everyone to visit. I am not very sure about the hotels or other accommodations here as I stayed in my sister’s place. But I am sure there should be good accommodations available.

This is a place with multiple interests and multi culture, present and past all mingled into one. Within a radius of 100km from Aurangabad town, there are lots of places which stand as a testimony to India’s rich cultural and artistic past.

Within the city the top rated tourist attraction is Bibi-ka-Maqbara and the Panchakki. Bibi-ka-Maqbara is a tomb built by Aurangazeb for his wife and is a replica of Taj Mahal. Panchakki is an ancient water mill. You can see the scientific excellence we had even centuries back.

Take a day out for each Ajanta caves and Ellora caves and the Daulatabad fort. Each of these  are about 100kms from Aurangabad. Another big attraction of the region is Shirdi. This is also about 100kms from Aurangabad and you can do a day trip to Shirdi.

The sculptures of Ellora caves dates back to the 10th or 11th centuries. The Ellora mostly reminded me of the Pallava architecture. The Kailasanathar Temple, especially, looked like an exact replica of the Kailasanathar Temple in Kancheepuram. It is a well-known fact that many artists went back and forth between Kancheepuram and Ellora and Ajanta for their interests in art, so this does not comes as a surprise.

The Daulatabad fort which is near Ellora caves is another place worth a visit. Though most of it is in ruins at the moment, this is a testimony to the strong defense system that we in place during those periods.

The Ajanta caves are the oldest of them all. Though the stone carvings may have come at a later date, the paintings on the caves are dated back to the 2nd century BC. Most of the paintings are worn out now, but whatever is left is definitely a pleasure to watch, if you are interested in arts. The stone carvings of Buddha in various postures are also a treat to watch. These giant structures are all monolithic, again reminding about the Pallava arts.

Apart from the arts in the caves, the place is also surrounded by good dense forest, unlike the Ellora caves, which is quite dry. People who are interested in bird watching or spending a day in gardens will also be delighted. This place is definitely worth spending a day or two.
The caves here are quite dark even during a sunny day. There are focus lights put just for the sculptures and art work. You can also use your torch lights with the permission of the guards there. Some of these guards may also be knowledgeable and work as guide explaining the details of the art works in the caves.
Those who are carrying cameras, please note that flashing inside the caves is totally prohibited. So you will have to take the pictures without flashes!
Anyone who wants to visit the Ellora or Ajanta, please bear in mind that there will be lot of walking around and in Ajanta there will be a bit of climbing as well. Those who cannot climb can use the palanquins available there for a small price.  Make sure you take enough water with you as these places can dehydrate you big time and you will not find much water sources there.
Make sure you have enough snacks, or food, depends on your requirement during the travel. For one, the visit may take till the evening and you will have to manage with the small food joints that are around these places.
Enjoy your travel to Aurangabad, one of the numerous living examples of heritage and architecture!