India
Aurangabad Division

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8 travelers at this place:

  • Day25

    Long Day of Travel to Aurangabad

    February 8 in India ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Today was our longest day of travel for the whole trip. Up at 5am and into an Uber to the station for our 6am train heading south to Aurangabad. We had a pair of bunks reserved so we spent the first few hours dozing before folding them up and sitting on the bench seat. Not the most comfortable, but manageable. The berths are arranged into two pairs in little compartments, and the two opposite us were empty which was nice so we spread out. Until we were halfway through lunch, and two local men got on - doh. Especially since one of them was constantly on the phone, yelling the entire time. I think that the constant noise of car horns, trucks and the like means that the locals are all slightly hard of hearing, and just talk at full volume by default. A minor irritant in the scheme of things.

    After 9 hours, and an hour behind schedule, we finally rolled into Manmad Junction and hopped off. The only direct train to Aurangabad ran overnight and had no seats available, so we had to catch connecting trains - a dicey proposition in India at the best of times. I'd booked our connecting train for 6pm, so that unless our train had the once-a-month luck of being 4+ hours late, we should be OK. Except that the previous day's train had arrived 4.5 hours late, and only 2 minutes before the 30 minutes late connecting train. So if we'd caught it yesterday, we would've had two minutes to change platforms and find our carriage - not an easy task when the trains are usually over a kilometre long!

    But in the end our train was only an hour late, and the connecting train was about 45 minutes late. So we had plenty of time to sit in the "upper class" waiting room and get bored. I'm not sure what upper class means in this context, probably just fewer mice or something - it definitely didn't mean zero mice!

    Finally got on our connecting train to Aurangabad as it was growing dark, and nothing especially eventful happened for the two hour trip down. Our hotel here is directly opposite the station (close enough to hear announcements), so we just walked over and headed to bed.
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  • Day26

    Ellora Caves

    February 9 in India ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Despite being a city that probably nobody has ever heard of, Aurangabad is semi on the tourist circuit in India. Outside of town are two sets of cave temples that are quite famous, and it was those we'd come to see. The closer of the two is Ellora Caves, and we bravely decided to get public transport here. After a tuktuk to the bus station, we had a rough idea of the bus to catch - but of course all the signs and announcements are in Hindi! It then becomes a game of picking the best person to ask; someone who'll understand questions, be willing to help, and isn't looking to profit from your interaction. In the end I picked a young guy who looked like he was heading to work as a programmer. He pointed out the right platform and made sure we got on when the bus arrived which was nice!

    When the bus arrived it was complete pandemonium, with pushing and shoving and a new trick I hadn't seen before - people throwing their bags through the window to reserve a seat! Funnily enough we didn't get a seat, but the trip was only 45 minutes so we survived. Better than Sri Lankan buses to be honest.

    So the Ellora cave complex is basically a large group of cave temples (36 in all), from the three key religions in the area. Some are Buddhist, some are Hindu, and some are Jain. The caves have all been hewn out of the rock over centuries by monks and the like, and are full of carvings of deities, religious scenes and so on. They were actually really incredible to see, and we were both really impressed.

    The highlight is the colossal temple #16, a Hindu temple carved from a single stone. It's considered be the world's largest monolith, and I could easily believe it. You have to keep reminding yourself that not only was this dug out of a rock, all of the sculptures and carvings were dug out too. Crazy stuff.

    Had a quick bite of lunch then got the shuttle bus up to the Jain temples, which were on the same site but a couple of kilometres away. These were likewise very ornately carved and intricate, and also connected internally which was really interesting and something we hadn't seen before. Was a lot of fun exploring, even if we did end up running out of time slightly before the shuttle bus left.

    Getting back to Aurangabad was a bit of an ordeal! We waited at the bus stop for an hour while several buses went past - apparently express services! They stop here outbound but not inbound for some reason. But nobody else would stop or even come close. Eventually we and a few other tourists waiting nearby gave in to the private minivan guys who'd been hanging around and trying to sell us tickets for the last hour. I wasn't keen on it, but we were also sick of waiting.

    So we all piled in, thirteen of us into the 9 seater van. He stopped to let one guy hop off, and then five more got in! I was on a bench type thing in the rear right corner and there was a guy sort of in front and above me but not on me. I'm not quite sure where he was actually existing - he seemed to be floating in space! Though the worst one was the guy who sat in the driver's seat - who then got the driver sitting on his lap! Yes, our driver drove about halfway back while sitting on someone's lap. It was okay until he started going offroad, dodging trees and the like to get around queues of traffic. Yikes.
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  • Day27

    Ajanta Caves

    February 10 in India ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    After yesterday's fun with public transport, we decided to catch the specific tourist bus out to Ajanta Caves, which was quite a bit further (3 hours rather than 45 minutes). Some French girls we'd spoken to briefly said the road was pretty bad. The tourist bus left from near our hotel and was quite comfortable - large padded seats, air conditioning etc. And it was only 1/3rd full so we could spread out and recline. The journey out there passed without incident.

    Had some lunch at the on-site cafe which didn't quite sit right with me, I felt slightly off after eating it. But I soldiered on, checking out another series of mostly-Hindu caves this time, all arranged in a cliffside around a horseshoe bend of a river. Lots of impressive carvings here, mainly of Hindu deities like Ganesh, Shiva, Vishnu and so on. Quite a similar site Ellora yesterday, and just as impressive. A couple of the caves were large cathedral-style rock chambers with vaulted ceilings and excellent acoustics. You can just imagine the monks chanting their mantras.

    Hopped back on the coach at 3pm, ready to commence the journey back home. We set off, and soon stopped on a mountain pass road in a traffic jam. A pair of trucks had collided, causing one to lose a huge load of cotton (it's standard practice here to massively overload trucks). With the blockage being exacerbated by people driving on the wrong side of the road to skip the queue, it took us over two hours to get past the accident. Eventually we made it past and trundled our way back home. After stopping for a tea break, we didn't make it back to Aurangabad until about 8:30pm, which, considering we'd left home at about 7:15am, made for a pretty long day!
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  • Day17

    Aurangabad, India

    October 30, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    27. - 30. Oktober 2018

    In Aurangabad habe ich mich mit Jignesh verabredet. Ihn habe ich im Zug in Mumbai kennengelernt. Er ist Inder, hat Kunst studiert und als ich ihm erzählt habe, dass ich die Höhlentempel von Ajanta und Ellora besichtigen werde, war er Feuer und Flamme. Er hat diese zwar schon mehr als fünf Mal besucht, kann sich daran aber nicht satt sehen. So bittet er darum, mich zu begleiten. Ich habe nichts dagegen einzuwenden. Und so treffen wir uns am Bahnhof von Aurangabad. Wir quartieren uns bei ehemaligen Studienkollegen von Jignesh ein. Dipak (28, Kunstlehrer Malen), Sachin (28, Kunstlehrer Fotografie) haben eine kleine Wohnung. Diese besteht aus einem Wohnzimmer, welches auch gleich Schlafzimmer ist. Geschlafen wird am Boden. Im zweiten Raum hängen ihre Kleider. Es hat ein Gaskocher und ein Minimum an Kochutensilien. Das WC ist draussen und fliessend Wasser gibts nur vom Wasserhahn (und auch nur, wenn die Nachbarn nicht gleichzeitig den Wasserhahn offen haben).
    Es gesellt sich noch Laxmikant (28, Kurzfilmproduzent) dazu. Fürs Nachtessen gehen wir mit den Motorrädern in den muslimischen Bezirk, um feinstes Chicken Masala zu essen. Zum Dessert gibts die von mir mitgebrachte Schweizer Schokolade.

    Wir starten um 7 Uhr morgens. Nach einem Chai und etwas Süssem nehmen wir die zweistündige holprige Busfahrt in Angriff. Anschliessend fahren wir mit einer Rickshaw an Baumwollfeldern vorbei und durch kleine Dörfer zu einem Aussichtspunkt. Hier bietet sich ein atemberaubender Blick auf die buddhistischen Höhlentempel von Ajanta. Erstellt wurden diese zwischen 200 v.Chr. und 600 n.Chr. und gehören damit zu den ältesten Klosteranlagen Indiens. Die 30 Höhlen wurden alle in mühsamer Handarbeit aus dem Fels gebrochen. Zu sehen sind schöne Skulpturen und immernoch gut erhaltene Wand- und Deckenmalereien. Diese erzählen vom Leben Buddhas. In fast jedem Tempel steht ein Altar mit einer grossen Buddhastatue. Wir bleiben bis Sonnenuntergang und beobachten die hier lebenden Affen wie sie Posieren und auf Futter hoffen.

    Am nächsten Tag gehts wiederum früh los. Diesmal ins nähergelegene Ellora. Zuerst besichtigen wir den Grishneswar Tempel. Dieser ist wiederum ein jyotirlinga. Da ich mit Jignesh unterwegs bin, machen wir die Verehrung diesmal nach hinduistischer Tradition. Wir kaufen Blumen und bringen diese in den Tempel. Vor dem Eintreten ins geheiligte Zentrum des Tempels müssen die Männer sich ihrer T-Shirts entledigen. Wir knien vor dem jyotirlinga nieder und streuen die Blumen drauf. Es wird gesagt, dass man dadurch im Leben allen Luxus bekommen soll. Der Tempeldiener gibt uns zu verstehen, dass eine finanzielle Opfergabe jetzt angebracht sei. Das ist uns dann doch zu „weltlich“ und wir verlassen den Tempel.

    Die Höhlen von Ellora enthalten im Gegensatz zu jenen von Ajanta nur wenige Malereien, dafür bestechen sie durch geniale Steinmetzarbeit. Das Herzstück ist die grösste monolithische Skulptur der Welt: Insgesammt 7000 Arbeiter schlugen den grossartigen Kailasa-Tempel in über 150 Jahren von oben nach unten in einen Felshang. Anschliessend wurde der Shiva-Tempel von innen ausgehöhlt. Die Masse von 50x33x30 Meter sind gigantisch und die detailreichen Skulpturen einfach nur atemberaubend! Wir können uns kaum satt sehen.
    Daneben gibts noch hinduistische, buddhistische und jainistische Höhlentempel. Der Jainismus fordert einen noch stärkeren Verzicht auf materiellen Besitz als der Buddhismus. Zu sehen ist dies unter anderem an den Steinskulpuren die alle nackt dargestellt sind, also sogar auf Kleider wird verzichten.

    Am letzten Tag besichtigen wir noch den Bibi ka Maqbara alias Mini Taj Mahal. Diese halb so grosse Kopie des Taj Mahals ist aber trotzdem sehr eindrücklich und zieht etwas weniger Touristen an als das Original.
    Als Jignesh noch kurz etwas in der Universität erledigen muss, setzt er mich bei den Höhlentempel von Aurangabad ab. Da ich aber schon genug davon gesehen habe, geniesse ich den Ausblick auf die Stadt. Ich beginne den Abfall rund um mich zusammen zu sammeln. Ein Aufseher lobt mich und sagt den vorbei gehenden Studenten wie vorbildlich der Schweizer ist. Als ich weiter mache, fragen mich Studenten, warum ich das mache und ob ich mit ihnen ein Selfie mache. Als ich unten beim Tempel ankomme, hat sich meine Aufräumaktion schon rumgesprochen und ich werde in den Tempel gebeten. Hier scheitert eine tiefere Konversation dann leider an der Sprachbarriere. Aber ich glaube der Kern meiner Aktion ist angekommen.
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  • Day50

    אלורה

    March 4, 2016 in India ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    מערות חצובות בסלע עם מקדשים ופסלים בודהיסטים הינדואיזם וג'איניאזם

  • Day51

    דאלוטאבאד

    March 5, 2016 in India ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    מצודה מהמאה ה 14 שננתשה מאוד מהר אחרי הבנייה בגלל מחסור במים

  • Day51

    ארואנגאבאד

    March 5, 2016 in India ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    במאוזוליאום ביביקאמאקאבארה, העתק לא ממש טוב של הטאז' מאהל שנבנה ארבעים שנים קודם

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Aurangabad Division

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