Thursday 25 April 2013

Travelog: Seven Jyotirlings and other stuff, 14 days Part 2/14

Day #2 of the drive, the plan was to getup early, and leave for Aurangabad after a quick breakfast. We could only leave by 9:45am after breakfast and completing checkout processing at the hotel. We started our drive towards Ahmednagar and Shirur.
10:15am Crossed Koregaon
10:50am Crossed Shirur
11:15am We stop at this complex called The Smile Stone, has a bunch of shops and eateries. The toilets are clean. There is a coffee day as well here. Ample parking space is also there. Seems to be a popular stopping point for people travelling on this route. There are signages for the place almost 15 kms before its location and it is very easy to spot.

12:25pm Crossed Ahmednagar
1:55pm We entered Aurangabad city. 3:00pm.
We had booked Hotel Lemontree but the location of the hotel in Google Maps is marked incorrectly so it took us a while to find it and check in. We were finally in the hotel by
Since we were only in Aurangabad for a day, we had to finish all the site-seeing that day itself. The hotel seemed nice, they have a large pool, rooms are big. But once you travel outside of metros, you realize that the definition of service changes completely. Everything is leisurely.  If you order a bottle of water, you should not be surprised if it takes half an hour to one hour to get.
Pretty much everybody has started arranging buffets for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But after filling your plate with food, you realize that breads (roti/nan) may take half an hour to arrive.
Once bowls are finished, they may take another half an hour to arrive.
Once you are out of metros in India, you should tune yourself to these service standards. I did the mistake of expecting too much to start with and was disappointed. In hindsight, they probably were doing the best that they could and it was considered great service in these places.

4:00pm We left to visit Ghrushneswar Jyotirling and Ellora caves. 
4:15pm Crossed Daulatabad fort. Since we had little time, we did not plan on stopping here. See the video below, Daulatabad fort can be seen on the left side.

We continued our journey towards Ghrushneswar Jyotirling temple. The road is narrow but surface quality is good.
4:35pm We arrive at the temple. There are couple of parking areas near the temple, the access is very narrow to these areas but since this was not a peak day, it was easy getting in and parking. As soon as you get off the car, there is usual set of vendors who approach you but that was not a huge hassle here though.

The temple was pretty much deserted and we could do the darshan pretty quickly. We were in and out in about 45 minutes. The next stop was Ellora Caves. These caves are less than one kilometer from this temple. Ellora Caves, like most ASI monuments, close at sun-set, so we really did not have sufficient time to do justice to this place. Unline Ajanta caves, Ellora caves are spread over a larger area but the good thing is that you can rent autos and they will take you to each of these places.
5:15pm We reached Ellora Caves. One needs to buy ticket to get in. Here are couple of Panorama photographs of Ellora entrance.
Here is another one with slightly different angle.

Ellora has multiple caves which are numbered. We visited only some of them. Here are some assorted photographs from these caves.

6:30pm The monument closed and we were kind of kicked out of the place. We started our drive back. After little shopping on the way, we were back in hotel by 8:00pm.
Since we had planned to leaving early the next day, we had the dinner and called it a day.

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