December 03, 2006

Maharashtra Marvels

On one long weekend, I ventured to Maharashtra with the goal of exploring the famed Ajanta and Ellora Caves along with 3 South Koreans and another Canadian. The nearest major city to the caves was Aurangabad. In and around the city we visited Daulatabad Fort, complete with cannons, moats, bat infested tunnels, and other hazards, and also Bibi ka Maqbara, the “poor man’s Taj Mahal”. Ajanta contains only Buddhist sculptures and paintings compared to Ellora’s broader range of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain artifacts. Nonetheless, I preferred Ajanta due to its spectacular natural backdrop.

Having finished the caves in two days, we had a day too spare. Pune was nearby so we headed there. In Pune, I went to the zoo, parks, gardens, and a building where Mahatma Gandhi had been imprisoned. On the train journey home, we celebrated the birthday of my Korean roommate, with cake bought at the train station and some Rums Up (composed of India’s favorite soft drink, Thums Up, and another popular liquid).