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#16 – The caves of Ajanta

Travel with Henry > All adventures > #16 – The caves of Ajanta

overview

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the local story – what happened

Our next destination were the caves of Ajanta further south in Maharashtra. Up to there, we’ve been riding usually on main- and secondary roads, the road surfaces were not the best but we were able to move forward reasonably. This region now was the back country of India with its vast agricultural areas, Industry and handicraft business are not to find there – except in urban areas. Of course it would have been easier for us to ride detours on busy roads to Ajanta – but we decided to choose the shortest possible way southwards. It means riding shortcuts –  300 km on tracks and dirt roads enabled us fascinating encounters in small villages, little traffic and lots of fun on our bikes.

Even though the most people in their villages do not speak English, we never had problems to get something to eat or to drink. Also in this area we were seen as a welcomed attraction for taking some photos. While encountering this people we’d to learn, that everything coming along was different – the people are quite more reserved. In some of this villages, I think we’ve been the first western foreigners they were able to set their eyes on.

While riding through this remote areas it’s necessary to be careful – if something would have happened with our bikes, no spare parts would have been available within a large radius. In this case, we would have had to improvise. Being unlucky means organizing a tractor including trailer, to get the broken bike to the next city. Despite all this possible inconvenient circumstances it is far more interesting and merrier to ride this tracks.

The caves of Ajanta were created by ancient Buddhist monks in a hidden u-shaped valley. This huge Buddhist cave temples with its best preserved mural paintings are as well as the caves of Ellora the most impressive artworks of human creative abilities I ever have seen. I’ve been here 10 years ago and I already knew at that time – should I have ever the chance to come back in this region, it is a must to visit this place again. 29 caves have been carved in laborious handcraft into a solid rock by Buddhist monks between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD – the construction time per cave took on average 30 years. During the 5th century AD the Buddhists were expelled, the caves got buried in the course of centuries and were discovered again by a British army patrol about 200 years ago. 1983 Ajanta has been registered as world heritage site.

Apart of Indian Tourists Ajanta is most commonly visited by Buddhist travel groups coming from all parts of the world. As it is usual for Asians – if sightseeing becomes hard, they let carry themselves by porters.

In the cool of the caves you can have a little nap in the midday heat.

Ajanta is of this places in the world, I can recommend unlimited to everybody – as well as the caves of Ellora about 80 km to south.

Cu Henry

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