History lessons on two wheels~ Ajanta Ellora Aurangabad #bestof2018

Tripoto
21st Nov 2018
Photo of History lessons on two wheels~ Ajanta Ellora Aurangabad #bestof2018 by prasoon padhye
Day 1

There are many modes of transport and roads are definitely most unpremeditated and surprising especially when you are on your own. Well I had been on a Road Trip to Goa with a Car and though I had taken my motorcycle for few long commutes, a complete Road Trip was still waiting to be unfolded. So when we figured out that this could be one of the last long weekends of 2018 and perhaps our final opportunity to achieve this feat in this year, we reinitiated an old plan that could not be materialized few months back. The three of us readied our motorcycles, packed the backpacks and set the stage for the remarkable journey.

Well, waking up early is not my preferred way to begin the day, still considering the baneful Mumbai traffic and sizzling november sun at daytime I somehow agreed and managed to reach our meeting point on Eastern Express Highway near Chembur at 5:30 AM. Weather was pleasant and we could easily leave city behind as roads were pretty desolate till Thane after which the Trucks had lined up all over the highway blowing dust at our faces and road became narrower which appeared cramped thanks to the big guys covering most of it. For driving about an hour on NH3 or "Agra Bombay Highway" we took a quick stop for tea before finally stopping at a roadside restaurant for breakfast just before Kasara, there are plentiful of modest and large eateries between Kasara and Igatpuri on the ridge good enough for a short break. Road had finally become uncongested and leaving behind populous and industrialized regions we had entered a greener and fresh hilly region which felt coldish and relaxed. Adding to it were the twisted roads of Kasara ghat that too on a Motorcycle, it is a staggering experience specially when one loves cornering those curves in lap of the nature with cool breeze.

Our ride

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Jain mandir

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Jain mandir and surroundings

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Crossing the ghats we reached smooth and quick roads on the flat terrain allowing us to speed up a little, at the outskirts of Nashik we visited this astonishing Jain Dharmachakra Tirth. This place was stunningly beautiful, quiet and peaceful offering some delightful views of neighbouring hills. We traversed Nashik without much effort via the overbridges except an unwilling stop by Police for running over a bridge where 2 wheelers were not allowed. From Nashik we left NH3 and embraced the Aurangabad Road which seemed not so bad at first but, as we moved ahead it got worse. Potholes were common and construction work made the condition pathetic with number of diversions, muddy patches and small traffic jams. We travelled via Yeola and Vaijapur taking a few small halts for searching route or simply having tea and once for lunch. Reaching near Aurangabad, roads were very bad and most of the part was under construction. We reached Aurangabad somewhat around 4:30 PM, lastly checking in to our stay at "Aurangabad Gymkhana Club".

The venue looked inviting, we had pre booked the room and we could not abide ourselves from stretching our backs after the 10 hour long drive, that too on a not so pleasing path. We were not deliberate to drive anymore, so instead of jumping into the crowded city streets we headed out to discover the luxuries offered by AGC after having some tea and snacks in room. And believe me it did not disappoint us, adding to the swimming pool which was pretty sizable and clean, there was a full Gym, a Jacuzzi, Sauna and lots of other options for anyone. We spent rest of our night in hotel itself apart from a small walk around the street. AGC was indeed a great stay, comfortable and luxurious as well, the food was not great but not bad either and though the service felt a bit slow, the staff was nice.

Photo of History lessons on two wheels~ Ajanta Ellora Aurangabad #bestof2018 by prasoon padhye
Day 2

Next morning we kick started our trip for Ajanta Caves around 8:30 AM, Ajanta is around 100 Kms from Aurangabad and we expected it to be not more than 2 Hrs travel. But, the whole stretch was under construction leaving behind the jerky, dusty and slow ride which made the previous day's journey look smooth one and it took almost 3 Hrs with a single small stop to reach Ajanta. We parked our bikes and after buying tickets we reached the Caves from main entrance by a bus which is just a 15 minutes journey. After having some quick bites at MTDC hotel we were ready to delve into this enormous jewel of art.

on the way to Ajanta

Photo of History lessons on two wheels~ Ajanta Ellora Aurangabad #bestof2018 by prasoon padhye

Panoramic view of Ajanta

Photo of Ajanta, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye
Photo of Ajanta, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye
Photo of Ajanta, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Map of Ajanta caves

Photo of Ajanta, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye
Photo of Ajanta, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye
Photo of Ajanta, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

The caves are honestly incredible and witnessing these it is hard to imagine how much effort and herculean work must have been put into these. There are 30 caves which illustrate a number of admirable rock-cut sculptures and paintings which were erected more than 2 milleniums back, influenced by Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. These caves are certainly an insight into the past, the whole complex looks like a huge collection of ancient craftsmanship and mythologies. Though some caves may not be well lit and some of the structures are somewhat damaged or the restoration is ongoing, these rock cut sculptures and paintings are a feast for eyes, the whole place is also an opportunity for composing lots of brilliant photographs. It took more than 2 hours to explore the whole area and clicking some pictures, we dropped the view point as it could have cost us another short trek and some more time. We came back surviving the hawkers annoyingly selling some small statues and other souvenirs, back on the MTDC we had lunch and departed in the bus to the entrance area where we strolled through the street shops ultimately leaving for Aurangabad.

Orating the whole experience I may say that, Ajanta caves are some of the finest masterpieces of Indian history and are definitely not to be missed. Apart from that the facilities which are good enough and MTDC serves decent food. There are lots of shops if you want to buy souvenirs or small ornamental items, but be careful and bargain enough if you want a good deal there.

Although we were braced for the road ahead, it took more of the will power and literally the spine to get back to Aurangabad. And to make it worse we were driving after Sunset for more than an hour reaching AGC at around 7 PM and spent the reminder of our time lazing and relaxing at hotel after the exhaustive but memorable day.

Day 3

Next morning we left for Ellora at around 9 AM and did breakfast at a roadside dhaba. In contrast to previous day's ride, route was pretty clean and quick, also as the destination is merely 40 Kms from city it took us just about an hour to reach there.

Photo of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye
Photo of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Ellora caves

Photo of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Part of Kailasa temple

Photo of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Often the caves are titled alongwith Ajanta, though Ellora caves are around 100 Kms far from Ajanta. The place is must visit for anyone who likes visiting old monuments or history or art anything maybe just in case you want to get mesmerized with this vast and astonishing display of ancient culture. These huge sculptures are marvellous and there are total 100 caves with diverse flavors out of which 34 are open for public. Similar to Ajanta, there are Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculptures representing deities and mythologies from the past millennium. These caves surprise you every now and then but most notable is the "Kailasa Temple", which is a "Megalith structure carved out of a single rock through vertical excavation". Now, if you find it hard to read what I have quoted above just imagine how difficult it would have been to actually fabricate something complex like that.

Wandering for some 3 hours which felt small for place like Ellora we were tired and hungry so we reached MTDC restaurant in premise for lunch and after resting a little we left the rocks. the hilly road is an enjoyable ride with some pretty views of lake and the Daulatabad fort. But while our way back we also encountered a big road jam due to some bottleneck and it cost us some half an hour.

Bibi ka Maqbara

Photo of Bibi Ka Maqbara, Begumpura, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

Bibi ka Maqbara side view

Photo of Bibi Ka Maqbara, Begumpura, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye
Photo of Bibi Ka Maqbara, Begumpura, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

I can say that we reached "Bibi ka Maqbara" just in time, as it was almost sunset and the monument was offering some magnificent views in evening. Though the entrance was crowded and it took us some time in the queue, all the efforts were worth it as we caught the sight of this beautiful monument through the entrance. Fairly one can not resist to compare it to "Taj Mahal" and there is obviously a striking similarity, but still if you can just enjoy the beauty of this monument without judging or comparing it would be great. We spent an hour there clicking some great pictures and looking at this masterpiece.

On the way back to AGC we took some time to taste a couple of Pans at "Tara Pan Center", and I was surprised with the menu offering more variety of Pan than a typical restaurant's food menu.

Day 4

Being so close to "Ghrishneshwar Temple" one of the Jyotirlingas we had missed on the previous day, so we decided for an early morning visit to the holy place before checking out. It is just ahead of Ellora caves and we knew the roads well, we had heard the strict rules of the temple so we left with minimal carryings at around 6 AM. Contrary to our past experiences where we had left late in day, the weather was quite cold and the roads were pretty empty. We had the darshan quickly with no big crowd there and left for Aurangabad having breakfast on the way.

Coming back from Ghrishneshwar

Photo of Ghrishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Ghrishneshwar Temple Road, Verul, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

The stay at AGC was over with one of the three leaving for Mumbai two of us surviving for our next destination being "Trimbakeshwar". We abandoned Aurangabad around 9 30 AM, retracing the route was easier and I am still uncertain if we had come with the same way back which we had travelled while getting to Aurangabad as the road was quite better and less painful. Anyway we entered Nashik after a couple of small stops, finding the way to Trimbak isn't very difficult as the signboards are easy to find.

The beauty around Trimbakeshwar

Photo of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

E&G resort

Photo of E&G Green Valley Spa Resort, Talwade, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

The gallery

Photo of E&G Green Valley Spa Resort, Talwade, Maharashtra, India by prasoon padhye

We finally reached our destination by 4 PM, checked in at "E&G Green Valley Resort" which we had booked same morning in a hurry but it turned out to be a great decision. The resort is situated very close to Trimbakeshwar, in the vicinity of the green farms a bit far from the highway and chaos of cities. Our room was pretty satisfying for two people, clean, comfortable and spacious, boasting a small balcony where one may sip some tea or coffee spectating beautiful mountains and greenery around. Resort also comprised a small Swimming Pool, a restaurant and some other amenities which we could not enjoy due to small stay.

After some rest we left for the "Trimbakeshwar Mandir" which was merely more than a couple of kilometers from resort. On our way we could not resist taking some photographs of alluring and distinctively shaped hills surrounding the region. We parked our bike and walked to the Temple, where we had to drop our Cell phones at some paid counter. Place was crowded and people told us that it would take about 1 or 1 and half hour for darshan. We entered the queue and waited, it was barely moving I guess because of paid Darshan queue the normal or free queue was so slow and it took us more than 4 hours to catch a small glimpse of God which could have been missed at blink of an eye. The place was fascinating and ancient architecture made it more attractive, but I was disappointed with the rude behaviour and commercialization of such great and important spiritual place.

When we got out of the Mandir it was almost 10:30 PM and we decided to have dinner at one of the restaurants near Temple. After dinner we left for resort and at almost midnight it was scary driving through the empty village road surrounded only with vast farms. I realised how great was our decision to take bike and not walk to trimbakeshwar that evening. We reached resort and due to poor service we could not fetch a beer from the restaurant, otherwise just sitting along the pool and enjoying the cold breeze was great way to end this most religious day of my life.

Day 5

Next morning we were not in any hurry, making it a true lazy sunday. We took a dip in the pool and had our breakfast before leaving the place at 11 AM. The road from Trimbak to Mumbai crossing Vaitarna lake was beautiful and mostly well built, the hilly road boasted beautiful mountains and a huge lake with views that deserved more than just attention. From Igatpuri we were back to regular NH3 smooth and quick with little obstructions for traffic, we finished our trip late afternoon feeling home after long tour and a memorable ride.

Vaitarna lake

Photo of History lessons on two wheels~ Ajanta Ellora Aurangabad #bestof2018 by prasoon padhye

Shaped mountains around Trimbakeshwar

Photo of History lessons on two wheels~ Ajanta Ellora Aurangabad #bestof2018 by prasoon padhye

Some more hills

Photo of History lessons on two wheels~ Ajanta Ellora Aurangabad #bestof2018 by prasoon padhye

I can say this was the Road Trip I awaited, the first thorough Bike journey that I would like to not forget and the trip that made me appreciate the immense value of Road Trips. I lived this trip and learned a lot travelling on 2 wheels with the highways, the nature and the adventure that made the whole tour remarkable, my bonding with my fellow travellers the three of us - Lala, Paulo and Noobs, I wish I can be on more such travels. I thank everyone who has spent their time reading this account and hope you liked this one.

2 Comment(s)
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Detailed view of the whole travel and experience. Good insight for various tourist places and hotels stayed in. Helpful article to plan a trip.
Fri 01 04 19, 11:56 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks for review
Fri 01 04 19, 13:21 · Report
Good description of destinations and journey experiences.. Two wheeler trips are adventurous and your one as of from photographs and writings it seems to be thrilling and awesome. Keep sharing your experiences.
Fri 01 04 19, 11:37 · Reply (1) · Report
Thank you
Fri 01 04 19, 13:22 · Report