“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky , and you ask “what if I fall ?”
Oh , but my darling , what if you fly?”
– Eric Hanson
Though this part of the internet isn’t much about travel blogging , still a travelogue once in a while never did any harm. There are days when you feel low and are in a dire need of a respite from whatsoever is going on out there , and the only way out is a trip .
It all began with a trip to the Andaman and Nicobar islands which , apart from being a refreshing one , was also a purely imaginary one , for the event never actually took place.
So instead , we ended up at the threshold of the Ajanta and Ellora caves , and it turned out to be just our cup of tea.
The trip plan was conceived when I concocted up the idea of visiting a world heritage site , and the caves being the nearest. After a ho-hum turn of events , there were six of us. I (N1) , N2(Mr antiblack) ,N3(Mr notsowhite) , S1(theslut) , S2(the non-kafir) and Bro.
We started off at Pune , all set for Aurangabad , sneaked out of the college at 8 pm pretending to be going for random chores , because the college won’t allow us to leave. Once out, we set off for the railway station and boarded a train to Aurangabad.
Once in Aurangabad , we right away started our journey after a few samosas on a booked brand new Innova.
It was drizzling and the pristine grasslands , hills and forests on the way made the scene even more picturesque. After an hour of travelling, we halted at a petrol pump to pour some fluid into the car and in turn , empty out some of our fluid. But were confronted by a harsh dilemma. There was just a ladies toilet available ( so are men just supposed to pee around wetting random bushes? ) which led us to hold our urges a little longer . However ,N2 and N3 , antiblack and notsowhite , loose cannons that they were , couldn’t keep up and surrendered in the face of their more faithful callings. They peed in the ladies toilet , and that too, in the wash basin , because they didn’t have sound comprehension about how to use the female facility ( how could we possibly have known? Given our decorum of not sneaking into the lady facilities so often).
The vehicle took off and we set on our way chatting and frolicking , recording videos of ourselves and of the beaut environs of Aurangabad in the pleasant drizzle AND… of course , reminiscing over our old and new one-sided loved ones . The next stop was at a Motel about forty kms before Ajanta caves. Half of us freshened ourselves up , the other half didn’t feel like it. Notsowhite tried to take a dump twice , but to no avail.
After at least three of us had relieved ourselves, we took a light breakfast , grabbed a few cans and took off again amid fun , frolic and raunchy remarks and slanders. Theslut , who was a boy. Since we were all boys , spent the journey taking the piss out of Bro. The non-kafir was the quiet and probably the maturest one. I had packed along two books, one of which was ‘the Satanic Verses’ , and throughout the trip , I managed to read no more than five pages.
Finally , we arrived at the bus stop of Ajanta from where a shuttle bus would take us to the caves. We bought a few statuettes of supposedly ‘antique-stone’ (as per the seller) and then after taking along a few packets of chips and snacks and clicking a few pictures of the wondrous hills encompassing us , boarded the shuttle bus . It was a short and wavy journey through the hills and forests and was really a spectacle to behold.
We were at the threshold of the Ajanta caves by 9 am in the morning. Six tickets were bought and then an additional one for the camera. It was a devious climb to the gate of cave no.1 where we were made to part ways with our shoes and though the others walked back into their shoes before continuing further, we , for some reason decided not to wear them , most probably because it was about 50 metres! back journey from where we were.
So it came to pass that we pulled off the arduous journey all the way barefooted. Ajanta caves were monolithic caves , which means they were cut out of a single massive piece of rock for Buddhist monks to meditate.
A guide was hired for cave no.1 who explained us about the numerous paintings and revealed to us the storeys the paintings depicted (one of them about how Mahamaya dreamt of an elephant and gave birth to the Lord). They had been made from colours of flowers.
No doubt they were legendary but that much being known , it soon became clear to us that thereafter , guides weren’t needed any more. Still we hired guides on two more occasions further. We took pictures ( flash and recording were prohibited) of the beautiful paintings . Each cave had a large effigy of a sitting-and-posing Buddha at the innermost point except one cave. In each effigy, the symbol made by the hands and fingers were distinct and had a meaning. Seven of the caves were identical so we just skimmed through them , some were incomplete so we skipped them too( they weren’t open , actually).
Then came the middle caves which possessed the marvels of the Ajanta famous for it’s intricate images , spectacular paintings and marvellous bare-breasted statues. There were caves which contained a domed structure called a stupa. There was two certain adjoining caves which grasped our curiosity . The first one had two pillars in which percussion music was heard when beaten. Strangely , there were no other pillars even in the same cave which possessed such quality and moreover , the caves were monolithic structures (they were 1500 years old, just 500 years younger than Christ), so there was no chance of them being hollow from inside. He later told us that the rock in that part was a rare mixture of some jargony-ignious-and-metamorphic rocks.
The next cave had the property of giving out a strangely profound echo.
The guide sang ‘Buddham Sharanam Gachchami’ and the entire cave resounded like a conch shell , soothingly. We tried too, to disastrous results , until we were asked to move out .
All this while , we had been moving further and further along the horse-shoe shaped cave series. The scenery outside was marvellously pristine , green hills and everything green and pink stretching all the way from horizon to horizon (unless of course, the asshole next to you came in between). A waterfall was there at the opposite side . The path was sometimes uphill and sometimes downhill , overall downhill.
At the end of the caves , we preferred not to return the normal way back , through which we had come all the way . Adventurous fucks that we were, we chose the road not taken , which Robert Frost often seems to be advocating. The road not taken was actually a trail downhill and then flat , not a proper ‘road’. We muddied our feet a bit at the beginning until we got stepping stones to tread on. Two cucumber sellers sat on the path wo cajoled us into buying their cucumbers and even resorted to emotional pleas. When we agreed , there came another problem , we had to buy from both of them . We bought an odd number of cucumbers and the division of the odd amount of money was a problem solved by the agency of the astute cameraman and videographer , the owner of ‘the Null’ … to cut it short, by me of course.
Further we went and came across a low lying wall over which we had to balance ourselves ahead. I had the additional task of videography . It led to a bridge under which flowed quite a stream , a wide one. This place had an unusually picturesque scenery.
To be continued.. more to come ! –
read next part here – Into Elloran Enchantments
these below are some of the pics from the trip thus far.
photographs by : Neelesh Chandola (http://thenullstreet.com/) -The Null
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