OK - I feel like I have an apology to make.
Yesterday's entry was rubbish, the heat was no excuse, and I'm sorry. I hope I haven't lost my audience because of my selfishness, and I will do my best to make it up to you!
So, about those caves. As I said there were 34 in total. We had to drive about 54km in a rickshaw along mountain roads to reach Ellora, and on the way took in a few oher sites. One was a temple that was displaying a shroud, apparently worn by the prophet Mohammad. To see it you had to take off your top, and plunge into a hot steamy room, full of half naked men, and offer something to it. We politelt declined the chance to go down, remembering what showers at school were like and associating them with this. We watched the commotion, and couldn't help but be overwhelemd by the chaotic nature of this holy place. Churches at home are a peaceful affair, and unless the vicar is drunk, or Jesus himself shows up, I can't imagine them getting especially raucous. Here though there were people screaming and shouting, prayer bells ringing, and water and milk being thrown around. Dare I say, it was actually quote a fun place to be!!
The fort we went to was up the top of a mountain, typically, and to get there you had to take some very windy corridors, a couple of which were in the total darkness. Above your heads you could hear the sound of bats squeaking, and I'm convinced one went pretty close to the top of my head!
Now, I have been forced into this next confession by Dan; not because I didn't want to share it - I'm an open guy - but I didn't think it was that important.
One of these corridors was in complete darkness - you couldn't see anything, and had no idea where to go. There was a man with a little flame torch, and he led us half the way, at which point he decided to put the torch out, leaving us stranded, blind to anything that might take a fancy to my luscious golden locks, or maybe even Dan's greasy mop! Anyway, the point is when our little guide did this, I know not why and Mum, it means nothing, I grabbed onto Dan, like a small Koala. I'm not ashamed to admit it. The dark I'm not scared of; the bats I'm not scared of. The two combined did concern me slightly though! They are designed for the dark - they hunt in the dark. I could have died, and if by holding Dan they may have gotten to him first, I think it would have been worth it. (Besides, I'm a bit of a queen anyway!)
That all said, we eventually got to the caves, and they were magnificent. You know in 'Indian Jones and the Last Crusade' they team go to find the holy grail in a temple carved into a canyon (the place with the invisible bridge)? They were a bit like that. They weren't just holes carved into the rock, but were intricate temples, statues and resting places. Some of them were so detailed, and if you were to imagine them lit up with candles in their day, you could see how spritual they could be. Even more amzing was the peace that surronded them. Maybe because they were in a mountain, you could hardly hear anybody talking nearby - the peace was eventually disturbed by coach loads of Indian families descending on the caves, but even they failed to make them any less tranquil. I think they may even be up there with the Taj as my favourite thing we have seen here!
We returned in the afternoon, and spent the rest of the day drinking beer. admittedly this was slightly foolish, and perhaps given the dehyradtion and lack of food, we shouldn't have done, but we did, and are both on surprisingly good form today. (We are, in fairness, just sitting around in an air-conditioned room for most of the day, but hey, we are on holiday! Adventurers need their rest!)
Tomorrow is back to Mumbai for our last 4 days, before we jet off for stage two.
Bollywood stardom beckons!