06 May 2010

Ellora Caves and Aurangabad City Trip

After visiting Ajanta caves on first day, the day-2 was for seeing Ellora Caves and other important places in and around Aurangabad city. Again for psycho-economical reasons, I opted for ITDC conducted tour, booked thru the same travel agent at Manmandir complex. The departure for the trip was at 9.30 am. After boarding the bus I realized that there were many familiar faces from previous day’s trip.

Daulatabad Fort
After travelling around 10 km by Bus, we got down at  our first destination of the day - Daulatabad(Deogiri) fort. Had read a lot about the place in history books since it was focal point of Md-Bin-Tugalaq’s ‘mis-adventures’ who made an attempt to shift the capital of India to the same place from Delhi.
The fort was actually constructed by some Jain Rulers and later on captured by Delhi Sultanates, Bahamanis, Mughals and Nizams. It was one of the most full fledged fort of its time and had many unique features which have been borrowed for by other Indian forts constructed thereafter. Things like a big water tank which accumulates rain-water during monsoons and coated with lime to keep the water cool during summers. The core area of the fort used to be surrounded by a cistern infested with crocodiles as one level of security. The most amazing section of the fort was the Labyrinth(Bhool-bhulaiya), officially called as Andheri, a dark passage where any stranger is bound to get lost. Other major highlight of the fort was an open space, which was once a Jain Temple then converted into Mosque in Tughlaq era and during Indian Independence struggle it was converted into a Bharat Matha temple.

Ellora Caves
Our next destination was Ellora Caves, the place also like Ajanta has series of caves carved out of from a hill. The caves are of three religious generations - Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism mainly on account of the religion which was dominant in the region, at the time of excavation. Here also due to time constraints our visit was limited to cave 10 and 12 of Buddhism section, cave 16 of Hinduism section,  cave 30 and 32 of Jainism section.
  • Cave 10 is a chaityagriha and is similar to many caves of Ajanta.
  • Cave 12 known as Teenthal is a unique structure, a 3-storey monastery carved out of a single rock.
  • Cave 16, famously known as Kailashnath temple is the flagship cave of Ellora. The entire temple was carved out of a single rock through top-down approach. The temple was designed and implemented by Rashtrakuta kings Dantidurga and Krishna-I, over hundred years . One of the striking feature of the temple was the victory tower both at east and west of central Shiva temple.
  • cave 30, 32 -  Jain caves are 1 km apart from Hindu and Buddhism section. So we traveled in the bus to explore Jainism caves. The section was constructed in 9th-10th century has more advancement in architecture. There are more carvings on the pillars similar to carvings of Belur-Halebidu.

Other places
After having lunch at MTDC(Elllora), we went to nearby Ellora village and visited Trimbakeshwar temple which has one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. After offering prayers at temple we headed to Khulabad where there’s Aurangzeb's low-frill  tomb. The poor man’s tomb has no dome, no shelter and was constructed as per wish mentioped in Aurangzeb's will. Then we came back to Aurangabad visited Bibi-ka-Maqbara, the monuments which is a low-cost replica of Taj mahal, built in memory of wife of Aurangzeb. The last destination of the day was Pan Chakki, an ancient hydro based grinding mill.

After the trip, I came back to Manmandir hotel and relaxed for a while. Later in the evening Sameer, who was in his hometown for spending the long weekend came to meet me. He took to me his home and offered nice dinner. After coming back from Sam’s home, I did some timepass chatting with other people in the dorm. Many of them had recently re-located to the city and were in house hunting mode. One among them was a regional marketing head of a consumer durable company and other person was a Kannadiga who had recently moved from Mumbai.

At 11 pm saying good-bye to dorm-mates, I just descended two floors for boarding the bus back to Mumbai. The ‘Neeta Volvo’ bus departed at 11.30 pm and I was back in Vashi at 5.30 am concluding my solo Ajanta-n-Ellora trip.


  1. What a lovely travelogue and this is what we need. People like you who are really passionate. I would like to invite you to view and see the portal which we are running for passionate bloggers.

    My Edition - www.myedition.co.in, a platform for writers like you to blog, make Friends and Earn!

    Just have a visit and I must say, you will really love this. Do sign up for My Edition and try to get the advantage.

    Editor - My Edition

  2. What a lovely places in Aurangabad.i already visited this places so much passionable and they showing historic nature which is very aggressive.i visited other places in Aurangabad like Bibi ka Maqbara,Panchakki,Grishneshwar and jyakwadi dam


  3. Very Well written post, thoroughly enjoyed it. Photos are amazing. Panchakki Aurangabad is really amassing place. You can also check my post at Panchakki Aurangabad at http://www.touristsafari.com/fountains/panchakki-aurangabad