After an 11 hour train ride we landed in Aurangabad at almost midnight and were due to be met by a hotel driver. We got the normal taxi and tuk tuk onslaught…but no driver. The first guy offered us his taxi for about half of what we were expecting to pay…so after ringing the hotel and finding that no driver was coming we had the dude take us to the hotel…On the way he offered his services for the entire time that we were there…at a really cheap rate.
Aurangabad is the launching point to see the Ellora and the Ajanta caves. Prior to this I had never heard of either of them but having seen them both…wow…bucket list items. Jill had planned the Ajanta trip for day two and I locked in our taxi guy for day one to hit the Ellora Caves.
The Ellora caves are about 30 kilometres from Aurangabad and are actually a series of over 36 separate religious caves from the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions spread out over about 4 kilometres of a mountainside. These caves are up to 5 storeys high and have been etched as far as 70 meters into the mountainside. Add to this the ornate carvings and etchings throughout and this place is spectacular. Needless to say there was much hiking and many stairs as we zig zagged in and out of the many caves.
Having arrived back at the hotel, hot and sweaty, we found ourselves at the next door bar for a refreshing ale…for a few hours. A reasonable meal and a good sleep and we were off on the 120 kilometre drive to the Ajanta caves. The Ajanta caves are a series of 26 caves also carved into the mountainside but with more painted bits than the Ellora caves.
For the last two days I have been in the front seat of a vehicle, having travelled over 300 kilometres, watching Indian traffic come at me. There are a couple of points that should be made which may help the Indian roads department fix the traffic dramas.
1. Pick which side of the road your country drives on and use it.
2. Lanes…if you use them they work.
3. If you wish to turn…make your way to that side of the road and turn
3a. Do not try to cut across all of the lanes at once.
3b. Do not park perpendicular to the traffic flow and inch across
4. If you choose to overtake…do so when it is safe
4a. To achieve this try looking to see if there is oncoming traffic
4a(i) If you see a bus or truck coming…consider waiting.
4a(ii). See point 1.
5. Motorcycles are a great mode of transport for up to 2 people.
5a. They are not family wagons for 4 and more passengers
5b. They are not utilities nor haulage trucks
5c. Helmets save lives.
There are many more little tips that I could give…but baby steps to start…
As we drive along almost everywhere in India the driver of whatever form of transport we are using feels the need to point at items and tell us what it is. When passing temples and monuments this can sometimes be useful. At other times it is downright annoying and in the case here it was funny.
While driving through the rural areas the guy was pointing out the crops etc… It went kinda like this… Sugarcane…cotton…corn…chapati… (For those who do not know the chapati is the flat wheat based unleavened bread eaten widely around here). Originally I thought the guy did not know the word for wheat so used chapati instead…fair enough…the next day different driver…the same thing…