06 April 2009

Maharashtra Yatra - 2

8th January (contd)

Ellora is about 35 km from Aurangabad. It's about 500 years later than Ajanta. It has Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves spread over some 2 km. We were shown only the four most important ones: caves 10, 12, 16 and 32. Cave 10 was a Chaitya, cave 12 a Vihara, cave 16 the great Kailasa temple and cave 32 a Jain cave. The guide's explanations help you appreciate what you are seeing. Kailasa temple is truly a marvel of India, second perhaps only to the Taj. You can't believe it's carved out of a single rock. After Ellora, we visited the nearby Grihneshwara, the 12th Jyotirlinga temple. The Linga is ancient, but the outer temple was built by Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in the 18th century. Males who enter the sanctum sanctorum have to go in topless. We finished the tour with a visit to Bibi-ka-Muqbara, tomb of Aurangzeb's wife in Aurangabad. It's modelled on the Taj Mahal. It was evening when we got back. I checked my mail, had dinner, checked out of the hotel and boarded my bus to Bombay.

9th January

I got off at Dadar, took a train to Andheri and reached Kaddi's house by 7:30 am. The poor fellow had been woken up an hour earlier by a phone call from my dad. I had my bath, packed up and left for Dadar to deposit my luggage in a locker/cloakroom while I saw more of Bombay till 3:15 pm, when my train would leave for Nagpur. At Dadar, the TT told me that cloakroom was available only in VT, now CST. In Bombay, everything has been renamed as either VJ (Veermata Jeejabai) or CS (Chhatrapati Shivaji). I sighed and boarded a train to VT, where I did find a cloakroom. But it accepted only locked luggage. So I left my suitcase (which had a lock) and took my kit (which didn't have a lock) with me. I came outside and admired the station. Right across is the Corporation HQ, another beautiful building from the British era. Took a cab to Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, now the CS Vastu Sangrahalay.

I had 90 minutes to see the museum, 30 minutes for each floor. Check out the beautiful section on Indian miniature art. From the museum it was a 30-minute walk back to VT. Along the way, I saw the Rajabai Tower (tallest tower in the city), Stock Exchange and GPO. At VT, boarded a train to Dadar. I arrived 30 minute before the Sewagram Express to Nagpur was to depart. Amitesh and Nattu were waiting for me outside our coach. We spent the journey catching up with what each of us had been upto in the last 1.5-2 years. I wasn't too sad to leave Bombay. At first sight it's quite depressing: slums, poverty, filth. Especially for someone from Bangalore. But the people are nice and helpful. Not like Delhi.

10th January

The train reached 5 minutes early, at 7:15 am. There was supposed to be a guy from the hotel to pick us up. We called up Suchit, found out where the hotel was, and took an auto. At the hotel, we bathed and left as early as we could – the wedding was at 10 am. On the way we had to get the gift packed, which took quite a long time. The baraat arrived at the hall shortly after we reached there. The wedding was over quite quickly. We had lunch there and left for the railway station, where Amitesh had to book a ticket for Ahmedabad. Then we went to our hotel. Amitesh left at 6:30 pm, Nattu left an hour later. I was left alone.

11th January

There's nothing of note to see in Nagpur. There is one fort, but it's open to the public only on January 26 and August 15. So I left for Ramtek, 50 km away. There's a Rama-Lakshmana temple there, to commmemorate their stay in that place. The temple is on top of a hill; the climb reminded me of the View-Point at Ajanta. There's also a Kalidasa Smaraka nearby, still under construction. Apparently, Kalidasa lived here for some time and wrote some of his works. It was afternoon by the time I returned to Nagpur. I boarded a bus to Wardha, 80 km away. Gandhiji's ashram (Bapukuti) at Sewagram is a short distance from Wardha. Near the ashram is a Gandhi exhibition. I then returned to Nagpur.

12th January

Woke up at 4 am, packed up, checked out and reached the railway station at 5 am to board the Gorakhpur-Bangalore Express at 5:25 am. I needn't have bothered; the train was 2 hours late. I bought a magazine to kill the time. Finally the train arrived. It was the only boring part of my journney. Maybe I was fed up – it was my third train journey in 8 days. Thankfully it reached Bangalore in time the next day, at 10:30 am. Then back to Tumkur for a long sleep!

1 comment:

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