Aurangabad: day one

With driver and guide we explored a 14th century hill fort (Daulatabad Fort) and the Ellora caves.

The fort was started at another location. But the builders decided it was not to their liking so abandoned it. The original partly-built construction was repurposed in antiquity as a shrine.

It’s said the fort was never conquered. Does that mean it was supremely constructed for its purpose or that it was never tested in an attack? I do not know.

Invaders would have encountered dark mazes and misleading passageways, defenders poised in cul de sacs to attack. Once dispatched, to keep the passage clear, built-in chutes made it easy to drop their dead bodies into the moat.

Luckily, in the 21st century we only met friendly selfie requests.

Kirin, Robyn, Greg and
Bolajc, Robyn, Greg and Kiran
At the start of the twisty, dark passages
At the start of the dark passages. (Our guide, Hassan, was prepared with a flashlight.)
Cute? We thought so too until we saw one running by, clamped onto a vole.
Cute? We thought so too until we saw one clamped onto a vole. Bwa ha ha!
School groups were common. The braver children practiced their English phrases on us. Hi! How are you?
School groups were common. Children practiced their English on us. Hi! How are you?
The view from part way showing the city walls below. 650 steps to get to the too. And, yes of course we climbed them all.
The view from part way, the ancient city walls visible below. 650 steps to to the top. And yes, we climbed them all!
An airy royal residence at the top. Suprisingly tranquil and breezy inside.
An airy royal residence caps it off. Tranquil and breezy inside.

Once we’d made our way down, we headed off to the Ellora caves. Caves of the human-built type.

Starting from either the top or the front, enormous shrines and temples–entire monasteries!–were carved out of solid rock. Just like, “Who was the first person to intentionally throw a back flip?” I wonder who was the first person who thought this might be possible.

Constructed 600-1000 CE. Basalt. Over 100 caves total. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain constructions side-by-side.
Constructed 600-1000 CE. Basalt. Over 100 caves total. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain constructions side-by-side.
Huge!
Huge!

Even though we’d had just three and a half hours sleep we were inspired by the people we met, the fort, the caves and the fascinating stories told by our guide.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for giving us a taste of your experiences. I am sure these photographs don’t do justice to the real thing. Do you like the food?

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    1. Love the food! Breakfast is quite different. I always skip the Western food in favour of the Indian which is savory and spicy. Lots of vegetarian food. On flights the choices are differentiated as Veg and Non-Veg

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  2. Anonymous

    So enjoying your travel blog Robyn. ☺ I can feel the heat from here. Yes, just who thought it would be a good idea to carve an huge piece of architecture out of the solid rock? How long did it take I wonder? The elephant statues are magnificent!

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    1. Leslie

      Ummm, hit the post button too fast…it was me. ☺

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      1. Thanks for revealing yourself, Anonymous 🙂

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    2. Historians say it took 400 years to carve all the caves. About 200 years start to finish for each cave. Must have been a big work crew, considering they did it by hand. I’m loving the elephant images too. They stand for intellect and wisdom in Indian stories/iconography/mythology.

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