The Eternal Ellora Caves

It was back in 2002 that I last visited this place. The caves retained the same charm even after 12 years. Astonishing and timeless. The Ellora caves are situated on the Aurangabad -Chalisgaon road just 30kms north-west to the city of Aurangabad. These caves were named after the nearest village of Ellora, also called as Verul. Thus the caves are also popularly known as Verul Leni.

In 1983 UNESCO recognized the group of caves as World Heritage Monument.

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The cave temples are carved out of the basaltic Deccan trap which is volcanic in origin between 6th and 10th centuries.

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These rock-cut temples and monasteries are the symbol of incredible human architecture

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The caves also exemplify religious tolerance which characterizes ancient India. Cave 32 – A JainTemple in Ellora.

Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism – the cave temples and monasteries bear witness to these three religions to establish harmony in their communities in one single unit. Out of 34 there are 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves. All the caves are Viharas except cave no.10.

During this period the Deccan was dominated by the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. The former were tolerant of all religions. Thus, the caves built in the first half has Buddhist influence. But after the reign of the Rashtrakutas there was a perceptible decline in Buddhism in central India. The caves excavated in the second half has been highly influenced by Hinduism and Jainism. The Hindu caves of Ellora date back to 600AD which marks the gradual decline of Buddhism.

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‘Mandapa’ at the center of the courtyard is magnificent. The shrine at the center is dedicated to ‘Mahavira’ (Cave No.32)

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The main hall has beautifully decorated terrace or ‘Verandah’. The predominance of elephant statues and carved sculptures can be seen in this Jain cave

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Cave no. 32 is locally known as ‘Indra Sabha’

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The elephant statue, pillar and the elaborate details on each pillar is noteworthy (Cave No.32)

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Cave No. 21 is locally known as ‘Ramesvara’. It is extremely popular for its elaborate pillars and beautifully engraved façade.

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Huge decorated pillars are one of the main features of Cave No.21

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Each pillar has been engraved brilliantly with intricate details

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The sculptures of Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna on the front walls are most striking – a view from the cave

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Shiva – Parvati (Just ignore my little one please)

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Shiva – Parvati wedding

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AndhakasurvadhaMurti

The most popular among all is Cave No.16. Unfortunately it was a wrong day for us. We could not enter this cave as it was sealed by the police due to the presence of some suspicious elements in the campus and remained closed for public security. Thus, my trip to Ellora was incomplete this time. I do remember the experience of my first visit but will always regret for not getting an opportunity to click some good shots.

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‘Kailasa’ (Cave No.16) is the replica of mount Kailash, the home of Lord Shiva. This is biggest and the most popular cave temples of all. It is not only the world’s largest monolithic structures but also has an exceptional character. Unlike others this cave temple is excavated downward from a basaltic cliff by removing almost 150, 000-200,000 tons of solid rock!!

This was followed by an absolutely fabulous lunch at Hotel Kailash which is just beside the main cave entrance. It also provides top class accommodation along with the enviable locational advantage. The mouth-watering Bengali cuisine and indelible effect of the mesmerizing Ellora caves marked the conclusion. There was off-course the regret of Kailasa. But that keeps a ray a of hope alive in me as well. Some day some time I am sure I will be back to Ellora to witness one of the wonders of art and architecture – Kailasa.

Important Information:

  1. Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. Open on all National Holidays. But try to avoid those days to have a peaceful experience.
  2. Timings: 9am to 5.30 pm.
  3. Highly recommend Hotel Kailash for accommodation.
  4. There is a huge parking area with ample space. But it is advisable to hire an auto-rickshaw for the entire expedition of the caves.

Daulatabad Fort – A Historical Hike

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Daulatabad Fort entrance

As a child I was always attracted towards stories based on a historical backdrop. I was absolutely in love with those tales. History has its own charm. And that takes me to another spectacular historical journey to Daulatabad, originally known as Devagiri, the Hill of Gods.

The history of Daulatabad dates back to 12th century and is very interesting. It was a capital of Hindu Kingdoms of Deccan. Then it was named Devgiri or Deogiri. The fortress was constructed by Raja Bhillamraj of Yadav dynasty. In 1308 A.D the Sultans of Delhi conquered the fort and Mohammed Bin Tughtuq re-named Devagiri as Daulatabad (City of Fortune) as the capital of the Tughtuq dynasty in 1327A.D. He forced the entire population of Delhi to move to Daulatabad, the new capital. Women, children, and even sick were not exempted. Thousands of people died on the way. But soon he realized his mistake (there was scarcity of water in the region) and repeated the same action of madness, dragged the entire population back to Delhi.

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High outer wall of the Daulatabad Fort

“700 fort steps”! Yes, we had to climb that high if we wish to reach the peak of the fort. And that too, not the usual steps that we are familiar with. Fort steps. We just smiled at each other, looked at our two and half-year old daughter and took a deep breath…Ahhhh. We paused for a while at the courtyard.The cannons welcomed us.

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Ready to move forward

The pleasure of standing inside a fort made in the 14th century and touching the cannons once used by the Mughals slightly cleared the air. And we were ready to take up the challenge till the boiling point. With the sun looming over our heads and our daughter in the sling bag…we started.

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As move ahead

Forts actually have their own ways of story telling. No guide can ever tell the actual story. They might give you the actual facts though. The remnants of the huge structures, walls exposed by heat and rain, incomplete and rough carvings, broken minarets – they will tell you the true story. The story of the prosperity, conquers and bloodshed. You can almost see the story unfolding in front your eyes. That’s the beauty of forts. Built on a conical hill it was one of most powerful forts of the medieval period.

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Smaller and lower inner wall with heavy iron gates

The fort was famous for its complex defense systems and complicated secret escapes. I tried visualize troops fragmented in smaller groups and passing through the narrow escapes to combat their enemies. Lofty outer walls, numerous inner walls with heavy iron gates with sharp spikes made the fort unique. These spikes were made to prevent elephants who would forcefully try to open the gates. The iron gates are gigantic and divide the path in smaller segments. Thus, ensuring a better defense mechanism.

As we advanced (the scorching heat retarded our ascent), we could see the Chand Minar (Tower of Victory) from distance. It was built by Ala-ud-din Bahmani in 1435 A.D as a symbol conquering Daulatabad. An outstanding example of Islamic art.

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Chand Minar

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A victory symbol

We climbed few more steps and found a lush green lawn on the left. I wonder what was purpose of keeping such an open space? May be they wanted to have a place for a good cup of tea or just to stroll around planning the next attack.

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The open green space for the fort dwellers

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Gate with iron spikes

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Remnants of the fort

The first gateway leads to an enclosed area which surprisingly has a Hindu Temple. This is the sign of the fort being originally built by a Hindu King. It is a small temple with numerous beautifully decorated pillars.

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The huge pillars depict Hindu architecture

From this point we decided to come back. Although we could not reach out to the top but the journey was memorable. As always history behind this 700 years old fortress still fascinates me.

From Daulatabad Fort, we headed towards Ellora.

Some Facts:

  • It is located 17 kms from Aurangabad on the way to the Ellora caves.
  • Daulatabad Fort is also included in the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) tours to Ellora caves as well.
  • Timings – 9am to 6pm (All days of the week)

A Memorable Day in Bern

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River Aare wraps around the Old City of Bern

A city built in the 12th century! How awesome is that! “Come what may, we have to make it to Bern”, I told my husband while planning our honeymoon in Switzerland. Though not very keen, but he agreed. Our travel agent for this trip suggested us to buy the Eurail Passes for our 7 day long trip to Switzerland. And believe me that paid off. On our way from Interlaken to Genève we dropped by this quaint city of Bern for few hours.

27We kept our luggage in the baggage lockers available in the Bern Railway Station and explored this amazing medieval city built around river Aare in 1191. The River binds the city of Bern. The main part of the city lies within the meander loop of the river.

Bern is famous for its rich history, culture, museums and collections. Bern Museum of Fine Arts house a collection of art and architecture of a millennium. This city is one of the finest examples of the medieval architecture in Europe. In 1848 Bern became the capital of Switzerland.

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City of Bern

Over the centuries most parts of the medieval city is being renovated and restored keeping the townscape almost intact. The best part for us was that we could just walk around the city and visited most of the attractions in less than five hours. Yes, we were in a hurry. We had to catch the connecting train for Genève in the late afternoon. In that limited time period the places which appealed me the most in Bern are here for you.

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Buildings made of sandstone in the city of Bern

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Buildings with bay window

Old Town of Bern – The Old Town is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It is the home old bridges, structures and cathedrals. The buildings in the old city were constructed in various periods of time. After a massive fire in the 14th century most buildings were damaged and reconstructed with sandstone found locally. The buildings are made in Gothic style with the typical bay window. What I loved the most is that the restoration work has been done by retaining original medieval character of the city. The Lower Gate Bridge is the oldest in Bern connecting the old city to its neighborhood.

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Untertorbrücke – the oldest bridge in Bern

The name is Zytglogge. But it is popularly known as the Clock Tower in Bern. You cannot miss this mammoth structure when you are in the city. One of the most prominent symbols of Bern. History says that in the great fire in 1405 this tower was completely burned out and was reconstructed only in 1983. The old buildings in this lane are merged together. They form a series of adjoining arches and are unique. People enjoy the leisurely stroll through the long arcade.

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The Clock Tower, Bern

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Adjoining buildings forming a long arcade

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Typical Gothic structures

Towering over the old town, the Munster Cathedral is Switzerland’s highest Gothic cathedral built in 1421. The exceptional illustration of the Last Judgement over the main entrance is truly incredible. The arch above the giant gate contains stone and wood carved figures which are a rare collection.

Details of the Last Judgement of the Munster Cathedral in Bern

The Last Judgement on the arch above the main entrance of the Munster Cathedral

The impeccable details of each figure mesmerized me. It depicts good and evil, saints and devils in the same frame. The huge interior, massive square pillars, large stained glass windows are remarkable. The glass windows date from mid 14th century and are priceless. It is beautiful old cathedral where you can sit and have a quiet little prayer. It requires at least half an hour to take a tour of the cathedral. And definitely worth a visit.

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These glass paintings are priceless possessions of Bern 

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Towering ceiling and the intricate designs

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The Munster Cathedral, Bern

The Federal Palace (Parliament Building of Switzerland) – Definitely one of the most amazing experiences in Bern was to enter the Parliament Building of Switzerland. It is also a part of the Old City of Bern but claims a special mention. It looked like museum to me at the first glance.

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View of the Federal Building from Lower Gate Bridge

A stunning construction which is the face of the political scene in Switzerland. The building hosts both the Federal Council and Federal Assembly of Switzerland. It has a central Parliament building with two wings.

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Federal Palace of Switzerland

When the parliament is not in session free guided tours are open for the public. We were lucky to have this one I guess. We had to keep all our belongings including bags, wallets, and watches and off course camera at the main entrance where lockers were provided to us. Thus there are no photographs of the interior with me. The interior is believed to be decorated by 38 artists from all over the world. The tour guide explained us the brief history of this Federal Palace and also gave us an insight of how things work during the sessions of the Parliament. We were taken to the main hall (below the huge central dome) where the two debating chambers exist.

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The house of the Swiss Parliament faces Bundesplatz, a very large square with fountains

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A wing of the Parliament Building

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The backyard of the building which gives a beautiful view of the city

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The view of the city of Bern form the backyard

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Another wing of the Federal Palace

Einsteinhaus (Einstein House) – ‘Welcome to my apartment where I worked on the Theory of Relativity’ – this is how Albert Einstein welcomes his guests to his house at Bern. The idea took few seconds to sink in. Had goose bumps to even think that he actually stayed in this house from 1903-1905.

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Einsteinhaus

A flat in the second floor of a building was the home of Albert Einstein! The furniture, books, artifacts and other personal belongings used by him and his family are carefully kept in this small museum. A larger and permanent exhibition is at the Historical Museum of Bern. Unfortunately we could not visit this place because of time constraint.

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A warm welcome to my house…

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Remembering the genius

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Welcome to the Einstein Museum

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We had to miss this opprotunity

Our Evening Gateways In Burnaby

The Mumbai-Hong Kong-Vancouver flight took us a little less than 32 hours (including the Pune-Mumbai journey by road) to reach Vancouver! Our one bedroom apartment was located at Burnaby, a small city just at the heart of Metropolitan Vancouver. Burnaby is the third largest municipality in British Columbia. This small place with a population of only 2 million is said to be the heaven for outdoor enthusiasts. Lush green enormous parks, Sky Train running through, shopping malls, Golf courses, shoreline lakes, skate parks, outdoor tennis courts and swimming pools really make the outdoor life most happening in the summer months.

Vancouver is rated as the second best livable city in the world after Sydney. It is Canada’s warmest cities in winter. Its marine west coast gives it a temperate climate by Canadian standard. That makes Vancouver, one of the most preferred locations and thickly populated city in Canada. My first impression of the city was the greenery around. The city of Vancouver aims to become the ‘Greenest City’ in the world and have a well etched out Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. Today it is definitely the cleanest city in the world. I immensely admired their passion and dedication to preserve nature and wildlife. It’s truly a place where nature lives.

There are few places which were frequently visited by us. Here’s a brief account of our evening gateways…

Canada Place  

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View of Canada Place from the ferry

Canada Place is Vancouver’s cruise (primarily Alaska-bound) ship terminal. It also acts as the trade and convention centre. The building has become a distinguishing architectural landmark of Vancouver which is the Pacific Gateway to Canada.

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Canada Place Building

This is the place to sit, breathe some fresh air and soak in the views. The mesmerizing views of the surrounding North Shore Mountains, Seaplanes taking off and landing, evergreen Stanley Park (just across Canada Place) and the tranquility was addictive. Then you can walk along the seawall into Coal Harbor and down till Stanley Park. It’s within walking distance from downtown Vancouver or you can take a Sky train and get down at Waterfront Station. The ferry terminal serves as the main transportation nucleus to North Vancouver. I could never imagine a place which is so busy yet so peaceful. Even if it is raining, this place is always happening and eventful. Watching the seaplanes from a distant tempted us to take one ride for our day trip to Nanaimo (Vancouver Islands).

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Downtown Vancouver

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Burrard Street junction – the central avenue of Downtown Vancouver

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Seaplane

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Seaplane Terminal – Departure Lounge

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Seaplane terminal

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Serene

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North Shore Mountains

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People enjoying the view

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Papa on duty

Must Visit @ Canada Place

  1. Vancouver Port Authority Interpretive Centre – For acquiring overall knowledge and interesting facts about shipping this is a must visit for school going kids in Vancouver. It is open to public from Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.
  1. Self Guided Walking Tours – Absolutely fascinating self-guided tour which will give you a historical insight of the area.
  1. IMAX Theatre – For an outstanding big screen 3D experience do visit this place.

Central Park

Improved access to green spaces is one of the top agenda of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 action plan. Burnaby is no exception. It is the home of beautiful parks. Central Park was the closest from our house. It was our destination for evening walks which we had to take in turns (the other person had to push the perambulator). It is quite awesome that how a park of such magnitude, situated at the city center is so well maintained. It is great location for picnic. Central Park is famous for its recreational facilities. There is abundance of greenery to relax your eyes. With a unique undulating terrain, small lakes, short trails, birds, owls and squirrels the park became our evening destination. There, for the first time I came across the idea of dog parks and off-leash areas. People who know me would understand why I was so happy to know that.

Must Do @ Central Park

  1. Outdoor Tennis Courts – Just take your racquet and start playing. There is no need for registration. It’s free for all.
  2. Golf Course– The very popular Pitch and Putts provide amazing golfing experience for all age groups.
  3. Outdoor Swimming Pool – The 6 lane, 50 meter pool is open from the month of May to August. Check the schedule
  4. Walking and Jogging Trails
  5. Playground

Burnaby Mountains 

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Sunset at Burnaby Mountains

A long drive to the Burnaby Mountains with family was always fun. It is a low forested mountain overlooking the city of Burnaby. Simon Fraser University is located here. A quaint walk around the tranquil settings of the Burnaby Mountain Park, the spectacular view of the city and the breathtaking sunset – what else do you want? A perfect evening gateway. Just keep one thing in mind, beware of Bears. They too can hang around with you to view the sunset!! It is one of the popular summer destinations in Burnaby. The hiking and biking trail attract most of the outdoor enthusiasts.  From the top you get a bird’s eye view of the city of Burnaby. One can spend hours sitting on these benches enjoying the sunset, mountains, inlet and the city of Burnaby.

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Far from the madding crowd

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Out of the World!

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Brilliant colors

Must Do @ Burnaby Mountains:

  1. Hiking and Biking Trails: The Burnaby Mountain Conservation area has one of the best natural trails in Vancouver that would stimulate hikers and mountain bikers. It ranges from a rigorous to leisurely hikes.

Click to find the Trail Map of Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.

  1. Golf Course: The 18-hole Golf Course at the foot of the Burnaby Mountain is an all time favorite of players from all levels. The gently rolling terrain and the serene beauty of the foothills add more charm to this place.
  1. Clubhouse: Time for wedding bells and you are still looking for a venue? Here’s the Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse. Situated at the backdrop of the deep green forest and the scenic mountains this place is perfect for planning your event.

The Magical Ajanta Caves – History, Architecture, Art and Beyond

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The Magical Ajanta

My earnest request to everyone is to visit this place at least once in a lifetime. You will get to see a marvelous human architecture and it will definitely be an experience of a lifetime. I had to convince my husband for long to make this trip happen. And now, he is in love with Ajanta. I am fortunate enough to visit Ajanta twice. My maiden visit was in the year 2002 when I was in college. Earlier, I used to do a fair amount of research before visiting a place. That’s something I learnt from my father. But this time with my 2 year daughter I could not manage to do the same. And I knew that as I would stand in front of the caves I will be blank. That’s the magic of Ajanta.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Ajanta caves essay the story of the unimaginable prosperity of ancient art and architecture. Undeniably the most popular tourist attractions in Maharashtra and I know this going to be very difficult for me to write about this eighth wonder of the world. It is 55 kms from Jalgaon and 105 kmns from Aurangabad city. You should dedicate an entire day for Ajanta caves to explore and understand the history and capture some beautiful snaps. The caves acquired their name from the neighboring Ajintha village. Ajanta caves were declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

Brief History: Ajanta caves are one of the finest examples of early Buddhist architecture, cave-paintings and structures. There are 30 rock-cut caves. The monuments of the caves date back to 2nd Century. The caves are cut from the southern side of a cliff in a horse-shoe pattern. This helped the painters and sculptors to use the movement of the sun accordingly to do their work. Large mirrors were used to reflect sunshine into the dark caves. These caves are built in two distinct phases of Buddhism – first, from 2nd century B.C to 1st century AD and the second from 5th to 6th century AD. The caves are of two kinds – Chaitya Grihas or halls or shrines and Viharas or monasteries. Out of thirty caves, only 5 are Chaitya Grihas (caves 9,10,19,26 & 29) and rests are Viharas or places to stay. All the cave paintings and sculptors are inspired from the life of Budhha and Jatakas.

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View of the caves from the entrance

The horse-shoe shaped caves overlook the gorge. Each cave forms a separate chamber or a room within the hill. They must have required thousands of excavators to curve out such a mammoth structure out there. It is unbelievable. Each cave has its own story and a master piece. The Geological Survey of India has published a detailed description of each and every cave at Ajanta. These caves remained undiscovered until accidentally identified by a British officer.

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Here we go…

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has undertaken the responsibility of restoring and conserving the paintings and sculptures of Ajanta Caves, based on the studies carried out by the Geological Survey of India. The eco-friendly buses pick you up from the car parking area and drop you at the caves.

Now we were all set to start our journey back to the 2nd century. The first huge ascent on the rocks made us feel that it is not going to be easy to cover the 30 odd caves. But we were all charged up. A walkway cut out across the cliff face takes you to the caves. You can make out the structural difference between Chaitya Grihas and Viharas once you enter. The front walls of the prayer halls are sculpted. Mostly the Viharas have a porch with robust pillars and are known for wall and ceiling paintings. Each of the Viharas has small cells for the monks to stay. And moreover you have to take off your shoes to enter the Chaitya Grihas or prayer halls. It is believed that these caves were the shelters of Buddhist monks during monsoons. They must have been great explorers and outstanding artists.

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Here we start our journey – huge pillars excavated from the rock cliff

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Exquisite wall paintings

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Small cell inside a Vihara

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Budhha – the enlightened one

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Gautam Budhha

The elaborate paintings on the walls and ceilings depict the life of Prince Gautam Budhha. What surprised me was that the paintings were done in extremely poor light (painters used the diffused rays of the sun) and still they look so perfect. I wonder how this amazing piece of work survived over millennia! In many caves paintings have partially or completely faded. Very soft lights are now used inside the caves to preserve these earliest surviving paintings in India.

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Paintings of Budhha

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Most of the Viharas have beautiful paintings on the ceiling at the entrance

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A closer look

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Moving ahead

The exquisite detailed carvings on the pillars, cave entrances and walls, arch shaped ceilings in the Chaitya Grihas are beyond description.

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Cave No. 9 – the oldest Chaitya Griha

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Stupa at Cave No. 9

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Cave No. 10

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Looking back

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Cave No. 19

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Beautiful structures of Budhha on the facade of the cave entrance

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Yaksha on the right wall of Cave No.19

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Capturing the minute details

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Budhha in the shrine Holding the heritage for over a millennia..!!

For long there was a misconception that the Ajanta paintings are frescoes. It is a technique which uses water without any binding agent and executed on white lime plaster.  But Ajanta paintings are done using the Tempera technique. The sources of colors are pebbles (crushed and mixed with glue) and vegetable found along the hill slopes. The sculptures mostly belong to 4th and 5th century AD.

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Cave No. 26

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Reclining Budhha at Cave No. 26

It took almost six centuries to complete the work. Ajanta caves are the evidence of the unparallel reign of Indian art in the forms of architecture, sculpture and painting, which depicted the golden age of Buddhism. It’s pride of India.

Important Information:

  1. Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays.
  2. Open on all National Holidays. But try to avoid those days to have a peaceful experience.
  3. Cave Timings: 9am to 5.30 pm.
  4. Advisable to stay at Aurangabad as good quality accommodations are limited.

Bibi-Ka-Maqbara – The Taj of the Deccan

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Bibi-ka-Maqbara

Ours was a group of four adults and two children, traveling all the way from Pune to Aurangabad. This trip was due for quite some time and finally we planned it over a long weekend in August 2014. We started early. Around 6 in the morning. It was Independence Day. Aurangabad is approximately 235kmn from Pune via Ahmednagar. For breakfast we stopped at the Smile Stone restaurant just before Ahmednagar at around 8am. In this endeavor, we planned to cover Bibi-ka-Maqbara in Aurangabad, Ajanta Caves, Daulatabad Fort and Ellora Caves. We stayed at Hotel VITS Aurangabad. You can make online bookings to strike a good deal as we did. They have sufficient parking space within the hotel premises.

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View of the Maqbara from Aurangabad Caves

After a much required refreshing bath and a good buffet lunch at the hotel, we were all geared up to visit one the main attractions in Aurangabad, Bibi-ka-Maqbara (Tomb of the Lady). A beautiful mausoleum of Rabia-ul-Daurani, the first wife of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. It is constructed by her son Prince Azam Shah between 1651-1661 A.D. Due to its similarity with the Taj Mahal it is also known as the ‘Dakkhani Taj’. The history book says Emperor Aurangzeb was not keen spending much wealth on making this tomb and thus allocated only 7 lakhs! He was not in favor of making this mausoleum and even blocked the movement of marbles coming from Jaipur, Rajasthan and various other parts of the Mughal Empire. I wonder why?

Bibi-ka-Maqbara is a reflection of s typical Mughal architecture with Char-Bagh pattern. This is a Persian style of garden layout where the quadrilateral garden space is divided (by walkways or flowing water) to four smaller parts. The Taj Mahal is also built in the same pattern.

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The entrance

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The Char Bagh pattern

The Maqbara is built on an elevated square-shaped platform with four minarets at its corners. The walkway from the main gate has a series of fountains at the center and it is flanked by lush green gardens. The Maqbara looked beautiful from the entrance. But a closer look revealed that it is not fully made out of marble. It lacks the polish of the marble. It is covered with marble only up to the dado level.

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Bibi-ka-Maqbara

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A closer look of the Maqbara

The upper portion is constructed with a high quality plaster, which gives a marble-like finish. Because of the use such alternatives of marble it is also referred as the ‘Poor Man’s Taj’. The Maqbara is crowned by a dome which is made of marble. The moral remains can be viewed from the ground level through on opening.  The small marble chamber is exquisitely designed.

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The dome is made of pure marble though

Although continuously been compared with the majestic Taj, I felt the Bibi-ka-Maqbara has its own charm. It is a tribute from a son to his mother. May be the outcome would have been different, had he been the Emperor during that time. May be it would have surpassed the Taj! Who knows?

Have you visited the Maqbara? Do share your thoughts with me.

Romancing the Dolphins @ Dubai Dolphinarium (Photo Story)

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Dubai Creek Park, Bur Dubai

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Dubai Creek Park is just a few minutes from the Creek. It is one of the oldest and undoubtedly most scenic parks in this part of the city. Ample greenery and beautifully maintained flowers amazed me. No wonder the Creek Park hosts a huge crowd in the evenings and weekends. There are separate barbeque areas as well. So you can bring your own food (with reasonable restrictions) for picnic and a barbeque.

Apart from the Children City Centre there is enough space for the kids to play and run around.When in Dubai, do visit Dubai Dolphinarium at the Creek Park. This was my first experience of watching a live show by these amazing mammals. Even the Seals participate, they sing and dance. People also get to interact with the Dolphins through live shows and photo sessions – Incredible. Take a tour of the Creek Park and the Dolphin show through my camera lens…!!

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Dubai Creek Park

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Huge place to take a tour

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Time to take some rest

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Beautifully decorated park

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I wonder what it takes to maintain these plants in the middle of a desert!

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Hello and Welcome All…

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Fish fish fish…we want more…!!

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Here we go…all of you have fun..:)

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See what we can do…enjoying guys?

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Hope we are entertaining you all

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We love our Master

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Here we go again…

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Did we perform well?

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Yay..!! Now the Seals joined us as well…:)

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Listen to what the Seals had to say….

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Ready to dance

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Time to say Goodbye…!! Hope to see you again…:)

Things to Remember –

Creek Park – 

  • There is a small entry fee of AED 5 per person (You have to pay this even if you have the Dolphinarium show tickets).
  • Timings are 8am – 11pm (Saturday to Wednesday) and 8am – 11.30pm (Thursday, Friday & all public holidays).
  • In mid February every year the Dubai Creek Park hosts the Kite Festival to celebrate an Indian cultural event.

Dubai Dolphinarium 

  • Ticket price for the Dolphin and Seal Shows – AED 100 (Regular) and AED 120 (VIP) for adults and AED 50 and AED 80 respectively for children between 2-11 years. Online you can avail discounted rates of Monday and Friday 11am shows which starts from AED40.
  • Show Timings – 11am, 3pm and 6pm daily.