Caving, Indian Style

So we made it onto the train to Jalgaon and met a really nice guy on it who works for a pipe making business there, he was pretty keen to tell us all about it and fortunately we managed to feign interest in large industrial pipes and farming irrigation for a polite amount of time. In return he gave us some good train travel info.

When we got to Jalgaon we jumped on a local bus to Fardapur (aka middle of nowhere) which is the town closest to the Ajanta caves. We only had the day planned for Ajanta and had to be on a bus at 7am the next day, so despite our lack of sleep we jumped in a car and headed for the caves.

Kailasa Temple

We’re both continually surprised about the places that we’ve visited and how incredibly old and beautiful they are. I can’t believe that we’d never heard of most of them, and probably never would have if we didn’t come to India. The buddhist caves at Ajanta are less immediately striking than those at Ellora, because they are less about structure than design, and more about painting. They date from around 2nd century BC to 6th century AD and whilst most of the paintings are only partially visible they are truly beautiful.

Ajanta paintingWe got up at 6am Saturday morning to pack and get ready for the 7am bus to Aurangabad. Unfortunately our guest house didn’t mention they turn the electricity off from 6am-12pm so we had to pack by torchlight. We got to Aurangabad, checked in and jumped on the bus to Ellora. Once you get out of the big cities and the really touristy areas the English signage and tourist info disappears. It took us a while to get on the right local bus, but eventually we did and arrived at Ellora about 45 mins later.

The Ellora caves are spectacular, they’re not as old as Ajanta (earliest is AD 600) but were chipped out of the rocks over 5 centuries by Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monks. The Hindu caves are definitely the most grand, the Jain caves incredibly detailed, and the Buddhist caves the most simple and somehow the most calm. As we walked in the unforgettable Kailasa Temple, the most impressive of the Hindu ‘caves’ I decided to climb some steps to check out a balcony area. As I stepped off the top step, I trod in a hole and had a pretty spectacular (and thoroughly embarrassing) fall, twisting my ankle. After a few minutes it felt ok so we carried on with the day. The caves cover an area of approx 2.5 km up and down roughly hewn staircases and paths. By the end of the day my foot had swollen up and was quite painful so we decided to catch a jeep which depart when ‘full’ rather than a local bus where I may have had to stand. So when all 19 people were in we left for Aurangabad… yes 19 people! Not the most pleasant 45 minutes back into town.

Next morning was another early start, a taxi picked us up at 7am to take us to the airport where we were due to fly to Delhi and then on to Jodhpur. Unfortunately our flight was delayed by 2.5 hours due to bad visibilty (ie. smog) so we missed our connecting flight to Jodhpur. It is notoriously hard to book accommodation in Delhi and as I could barely walk, let alone carry a pack, we decided to treat ourselves to a night in a big hotel. We arrived at lunch, ordered room service, ice for my foot and dvds. More room service for dinner and great night’s sleep left us feeling refreshed and ready for the flight to Jodhpur the next day. The highlight of the stay had to be when the dvd arrived on a silver tray with a small bucket of popcorn and a can of Pepsi! Classic.

Here are the pictures!

Alexandra Written by:


  1. Heather
    February 16

    Wow fantastic, stunning, everyday is this whole new adventure for you, its fantastic! xxx

  2. benathy
    February 17

    What a great blog. Every one is such a good read with great pics. Good Job, keep it up!

  3. Alexandra
    February 20

    Why thank you Benathy, so glad you approve!

    February 27

    When you go to Cambodia to visit the Angor Wat you’re see where it all stems from!…HERE! The hindu’s made such a permanant markings in many old civilisations across the world!

    Amazing pics as always!


Comments are closed.