Playing badminton at the hotel.

First day of caves.



We were allowed to use flashes in these caves.

Family portrait in cave entrance.

Very grand in size.

Women doing laundry at the river.

Ben and Simon with milk shakes delux.

Simon and the boat he built on his birthday.

Some caves are two stories tall.

There were usually one large statute on each side just inside the...

This cave had an inner chamber, all carved from the same hole...

The eyes of the bats hanging on the ceiling.

The central, masterpiece temple.

Terraced roof top of mini temple on top of main temple.

Family portrait with local family - they asked for picture, but we...

Cave temple with a "cathedral" roof. Who designed this shape first in...

Simon - does he look as peaceful as the statue?

Simon and Bob take a swim.

On the second day the caves were lit inside and shoes had...

Often struck by peacefullook of the statues.

So different from the statues of Greece, Rome and Egypt which were...

Ben next to Budha statue

This shape is in many of the temples

Half of the temples at Ajanta

Ben and Simon next to lieing budha statue

Around every turn are more carvings

Most people at the caves were Indians and many came for clear...

Notice the sugar cane home behind the cows, I was to shy...

Some were just stacks of sugar cane, some were clearly homes.


The second day of drive was much like the first except not so much uphill. And now there are farms around us growing things like sugar cane and cotton as well as some more regular things like vegetables.

We booked into a fancy hotel in honour of Simon's birthday. It had a swimming pool, extensive gardens, tennis and badminton and ping-pong. The service was the sort where five guys fight to carry your bags for you and you say goodmorning to seven servers at the breakfast buffet (with only six people actually eating in the restaurant).


We were here to visit caves, two sets that would each take a day to see. We opted for the closer set the first day. These were build in the 7th to 9th century, first by Buddhist's, then Hindu's and finally Jain's. Each type had different figures carved as decoration. Most of the tourists were Indian and they were viewing the caves with as much enthusiasm as if they were attending a party: lots of laughing, loud chattering, snacking here and there. Their mood was infectious (even for the boys who were trying to be sullen that day).


The second day of caves was a World Unesco Heritage site, so there were even more people, regulations restricting camera flashes, attendants at the most popular caves, the caves were gently and beautifully lit up inside, and shoes had to be removed before entering each cave. There also was a shopping stall guantlet to walk through and a bus ride from the parking lot to get to the actual site. The Indians visiting were in just as good a mood as at the other cave. Even more today said Hello to us or asked for pictures. Of interest, there was a group of Asian Buddhist women in white robes who were stopping and praying at each statue, adding some mystery to the day.


We are again overly tired. Our driver finds this hard to believe. We do not go to any of the minor sites he had suggested. We don't even venture out to eat, but stay at the hotel. Even order room service the last night. Next stop is just for rest.


In two days we entered over 50 caves, each dedicated to and containing to a god of some kind or Budha in some stage. What was striking was the Peaceful looks of the statues, and the joy, almost celebratory of the visitors. This is in such contrast to the statues of Egypt, Greece, Rome which were about power..yes there was the odd Venus tossed in here and there but read a bit and you will know that she was not just about love.

Those who know me are well aware that I belive Nature wins most battles over Nurture, but I can not help wonder how my world view would be different if my parents immigrated to India rather than Canada. If they had, I might be more at ease, and the food certainly would have been more flavourful but I suspect that I would not have been rich enough to take two years off to travel and be in Canada now writing to my Indian friends back home. Peaceful and tasteful as things are, I know I am blessed in some way for my rich white english speaking behind.

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