Mesmerizing glimpses into Indian heritage

subru_traveler

Well-Known Member
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Kailasa temple Ellora (One of the best cave temples within ellora)
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Bird's eye view of Ajanta caves from View point
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Cave 16 Ellora
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Bibi ka Maqbara (Aurangabad)

Day 1: We started off from bangalore at 3.30 AM. Since it was early in the morning decided to avoid NICE road. Driving through the city was a breeze. We crossed Chitradurga by around 7 AM. Had breakfast which we had carried along with us. There are few diversions along the Chitradurga - Hubli stretch due to the 6 lane conversion. Worst thing I experienced in the stretch was the absence of speed breaker markings. Top layer has peeled off in some stretches. Hubli-Dharwad bypass is in good condition though it is only a single lane road. Dharwad to Kolhapur is a driver's pleasure with one of the best roads and sparse traffic. We had an early lunch stop at Hotel White house around Tawandi Ghat around 12 PM. Traffic increased significantly as we crossed into Maharashtra. Kolhapur-Satara is a very nice 4 lane highway with trees lined on both sides. Satara-Pune has a few diversions due to the 6 laning work especially closer to Pune. Traffic congestion on the diversions ate away a lot of time and finally we reached our abode in Pune at 5.15 PM. Route map and a few snaps enroute.
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Sunrise (Some where after Chitradurga during breakfast break)
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Hotel Whitehouse (Tawandi ghat Lunch stop)
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Tawandi Ghat

Day2: Plan was to go to bhimashankar and come back to Pune. Started off from Pune at around 7.30. Traffic was relatively less since it was a sunday morning. After a quick fuel break stopped at Vithal Kamat VITS sagar plaza rajgurunagar toll booth. It was crowded with no proper facilities other than a parking. Took detour immediately to SH54. After traveling for a while the quality of the road started deteriorating. It became better only in the last stretch of ghats just before it meets SH112. Reached bhimashankar and got a parking spot relatively quick. Enjoyed the views before proceeding to the temple. Had a darshan relatively fast. By the time we were back at the parking lot the crowd had increased exponentially and it had become a mess. Took almost 20 min to take the car out since buses had parked hap hazardly on the road as well as in the lots. We took a lunch break at Ratwa resort. We decided to explore the longer route via Manchar on the way back. Road condition was relatively better but not great. Had a few photo stop on the way like at Dhimbe dam view point etc. Reached back in pune by around 5 PM and decided to call it a day.
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Route map of the day
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Bhimashankar back drop (Was pretty hazy)
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Bhimashankar temple

To be continued
 

Suneesh Sharma

Love my Iron Beast
Thanks. There is a view point about 25 kms away from the cave which you can easily access by road and get that view. Unfortunately it seems they are not putting a lot of effort to popularize the view point.
In case I make any plan to go I will touchbase with to get all the required info..

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subru_traveler

Well-Known Member
In case I make any plan to go I will touchbase with to get all the required info..
Sure. Will help you as best as I can
How may days you took to complete trip?
Pune-Aurangabad (With Aurangabad & Daulatabad) was 1 day
Aurangabad -Ajanta with sightseeing and back 1 day
Ellora sightseeing + return to Pune 1 day.
Effectively it was 3 days from Pune to Pune visiting the places
 

Suneesh Sharma

Love my Iron Beast
Sure. Will help you as best as I can

Pune-Aurangabad (With Aurangabad & Daulatabad) was 1 day
Aurangabad -Ajanta with sightseeing and back 1 day
Ellora sightseeing + return to Pune 1 day.
Effectively it was 3 days from Pune to Pune visiting the places
Nice...thanks for the update

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subru_traveler

Well-Known Member
Day3:
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Route map for day3

We started from Pune around 6.30 AM to avoid the rush as much as possible. We could cross the city without much hassle. Had breakfast on the way at one of the Vithal Kamat.
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Famous Misal Pav for breakfast
Pune-Ahmednagar highway is in very good condition and for cars there is no toll. As I had read reports about the horrible condition of Ahmednagar bypass and google was also suggesting to go through the city decide to follow gmaps. Roads are good all the way till Aurangabad. Had a fuel/bio break as well enroute before entering the city limits. Traffic started to increase as we were nearing Aurangabad. First destination was Aurangabad caves. We went through the university campus to reach the Aurangabad caves parking lot. Did not realise that there is an option to take the car to some intermediate point though it is only a mud road. Walked all the way up. It was not a daunting task to climb though it was extremely hot.
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Aurangabad caves

After visiting the caves started to drive back to Bibi ka Maqbara. Found some snack shop. Had some snacks as lunch. Continued further to Bibi Ka Maqbara. It was relatively crowded even in the afternoon. They give a small token which you need to swipe and enter. The same token is used to exit out. Found some people who had lost the token and had to buy ticket to just exit out.
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Bibi ka Maqbara
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Carvings @ bibi ka maqbara
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One of the buildings inside Bibi ka Maqbara compound
Had a quick look at google maps to check the feasibility of visiting Daulatabad fort. Realized that we had enough time. So started to daulatabad fort. I climbed all the way to the top but my parents decided to stay back in between. It is about 3.5 kms to climb all the way to the top (According to one of the ASI security there). It is absolutely necessary to carry a torch as there is a dark passage somewhere around the middle of the climb. After climbing and enjoying the view of the fort as well as the panoramic view of the hillocks around, decided to head back to the car.
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One of the many doorways near the entrance of Daulatabad fort
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View of the top of the fort and temple below
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View of the fort and its premises after climbing about half the distance
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Panoramic view from the top
After having some snacks it was time to head back to the Hotel which we had already booked through Oyo.
 

subru_traveler

Well-Known Member
Day4:
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Route map for Day 4
We started off from Aurangabad before sunrise. Road to Ajanta is in utter shambles due to the four laning work. Almost the entire stretch of 100 km has been dug up and left. Took more than 3.5 hrs to reach Ajanta. Took couple of breaks to take sunrise snaps.
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Reached Ajanta by around 9.15 AM. Bought the Amenity ticket and took the bus to the entrance of caves. Had breakfast at the MTDC restaurant at the entrance to the caves. After a quick breakfast, started the climb to the caves. As it was early in the morning and a weekday, it was relatively empty. Some of the security were unofficially providing the service as guides for the caves for small amounts. In Ajanta, the cave numbers are continuous, i.e we start from Cave 1 and keep walking to Cave 26.

Flash photography & Tripod is not permitted. It is always recommended to have a powerful torch with you for viewing the dimly lit portions of the cave. For people who have limited time, the recommended caves not to be missed are Caves 1, 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 19 & 26. It is a wonder how these intricate paintings using natural vegetable colors have withstood the onslaught of natural calamities through the ages.
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From which ever direction you look at the calf in the above photo, it looks as though the calf is looking straight at you.
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View of caves (Inside paintings and entrances)


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Panoramic view of Ajanta caves

After visiting all the caves, we headed back to the MTDC restaurant for lunch. It was about 2 PM. Had a sumptuous lunch and boarded the bus to the parking lot. Bought some souvenirs (forced by shops) and started to head back. We visited the Ajanta caves viewpoint. It is about 8 km detour from the highway towards Aurangabad. It is not very popular and we had to enquire at multiple points to reach the spot. It is called "Upper viewpoint Ajanta Caves".
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Ajanta caves as seen from Upper view point
We had planned to stay at Ellora. Drove back through the horrible stretch of so called road :) and finally reached ellora by about 7 PM. Stayed at Ellora heritage resort, very near the caves & Ghrishneshwar temple. After the hard trek and torturous drive we hit the bed soon.
 
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