We slept in. A little tired after a weekend with a lot of festival fun, we checked out from the hotel at 11.45 and went to catch the bus from Nashik to Aurangabad. It is ''only'' 168 km, so we figured it would take a couple of hours. But this is India, and nothing takes a couple of hours, so five and a half hour later we arrived in Aurangabad. Local buses - which are crowed with people, you can't close the window, your ass is hurting, no space for legs and you are a bit afraid to lose your life at some point, because the bus swings from side to side avoiding incoming traffic. But yeah yeah, we made it to Aurangabad.
Aurangabad, which means Aurang City or the City of Gates in the local language, is a 407 year old city with a population of 1.3 million people. The place is used as tourist hub to go see caves that are on UNESCO's world heritage sites (well what aren't these days?) such as the Ellora and Ajanta Caves the lies around ''close'' to the city.
Ajanta caves is an 2 hour drive from Aurangabad. We hired a private driver named Hussein to take us there, nice guy, but as a lot of other people here, he was kind of short in his english. But we kind of like the drivers silent. Other times we have had drivers that stop at every temple trying to explain in very bad english what the temple is about and what god they are worshipping there. And the thing is, there are a lot of gods in India, probably as much gods as stars in the universe, and trying to figure them all out gives you an early day headache. Having a private driver are kind of a sin in the backpacker world, because you take a lot of pride in doing as much activities in the cheapest way possible. But god damn you also save a lot of time, the 2 hour drive from Aurangabad to Ajanta would probably take us 5 hours with local bus.
The Ajanta caves were excavated from 200 b.c. to 650 a.d. They were left at some point after, nobody really knows why, but it was probably because the people in the region adapted the hindi way of life and abandoned these buddhist caves because of the regret of the time wasted in building them. It was first discovered again in 1819 by British soldiers, who was on a hunting expedition in the valley. The caves are known for its beautiful paintings and the caves are symbols for the dawn and the end of Buddhism in this area of India. There are 27 different caves, that lies in a beautiful valley.
Many of the caves look alike, with an entering having lion or elephants carved out of stone guarding the door. The caves goes 20-30 meter deep into the mountain with a big hall, that welcomes you, with 6-9 small rooms connected to the big hall and in the center room a big Buddha figure in lotus position. What is impressive is that it is all carved out of the mountain, the walls are smooth and the detail of the statues are clear.
Before we went to Ellora, we went by the Daulatabad fort, which is built on a 200 metro high conical hill. It is one of worlds best preserved fort of medieval times. The fort is build with 750 stairs to the top. My god! We would lie if we didn't say that, that was pretty hard climbing in 30 degrees.
Ellora is 30 km from Aurangabad. Ellora is known for its sculptures and carvings. Unlike Ajanta, people have always known, that the Ellora caves were there and millions of people pilgrims to these caves every year for religious reasons.
We started out with the Jain caves. Jainism is a non-vedic school of philosophy and is older than Buddhism. In basic it reminds a lot of buddhism and in short it is mostly about the conquest of all desires and any weaknesses, destruction of ignorance and any attractions.
It was burning hot that day and there was a good walk between the different caves (and 35 caves total), so by the time we reach cave 21(we started at nr. 35 and went down) we actually gave up. We went to have some lunch and we were planning to go back and see the rest of the caves after, but after the lunch we didn't really feel like seeing anymore caves after seeing 48 caves in 24 hours. They are fantastic all of them - but you get fed up as well.
On the way home, we went to Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, which is a small copy of the Taj Mahal. It was build by an emperor as a tribute to his mother. Outsiders call it 'Poor Man's Taj'. We got hijacked by some tourist there, who wanted to take a lot selfies with us. It's been like that at the caves too, and after a long day, you don't really feel like doing it anymore, but it is still an small effort to make some people smile.
We had been touristing around for the last couple of days, so we wanted to take it slow. We had arranged to go with a night bus in the evening, so we had the whole day to explore Aurangabad. We started with a park, which had a zoo and a aquarium(or a small amount of fish in 12 'home' tanks, but they made up for it by having leopards, tigers and elephants (poor b******s). Afterwards we went to a old marked, where we drank some coffee out a local coffee truck with a bunch of local laughing and staring at us.
At 20.00 o'clock we boarded the night bus to Indoor.
The thing with the night busses, they are very comfortable, having a little capsule where we both could fit. We were happy, we had a good feeling entering this bus, we relaxed and talked lying down in our bus beds. We started falling a sleep just an half an hour after the bus rolled of to our destination at nine Malou rises up and says, ''f***, I won't be able to sleep'' Rickard responds and asks why not, ''Well, I have to pee''. We were both on the toilet right before we left the hotel, but we also had hydrated up a little to much, which resulted in a greatly advanced bladder.
This is devastating, because the busses have no toilets. Rickard goes up and asks if it is possible to stop the bus, and after 5 minutes of trying to explain why to the driver, who didn't knew a single word in english, he gave up. It was at least 2 hours until the next stop. We had to solve this on our own.
We started unpacking our bags, desperately trying to figure out what we could or could not pee in. We found some plastic bags, but it was wholes in all of them. The toilet bag was not safe. Peeing right down a bottle was to risky. We had no choice to fill up a plastic bag with sanitary pads, Malou in a unnatural peeing position on her knees in the bed holding the bag and Rickard trying to hold Malous body still, as the bus raising the traffic, 90 km/h, violently swinging right and left on the bumpy road. This is not as easy as it sounds, but after trying this for about 1-2 hours, we could with relief throw a plastic bag half full of pee (with no regrets) out the window out on the road. 30 minutes later we stopped for the first pee break.