"I wonder, why I wonder?" -- Feynman

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Jaunt

It starts with this amazing invitation from Mr. Bansi....

Hi guys,
Qualis has been booked for tomorrow. We are gonna start at 6.00 AM IST tomorrow. It will cost us Rs 6 per km and additional Rs. 100 to driver for night stay. On the way, we are required to pay all the toll taxes and driver's lunch. Advance payment has already been done.
Following people have been confirmed:
1 Vikas Bansal
2 Rahul Menon
3 Abhinav Mishra
4 Sayak Biswas
5 Rajarshri Guin
6 Abhishek Singhal (Makkad)
7 Ravi Malviya
8 Harsh
9 Amit Arora(TENTATIVE)
Aurangabad is 214 kms from pune. From there , we will go to Ajanta thats 110 km ahead. Then come back to Aurangabad and see Bibi Ka Maqbara ( replica of Taj mahal)-made by Aurangzeb for his wife and looks awesome in night(open till 10.30 PM IST). Stay there for night. Next day we start for Ellora(30kms) and en route, we will be visiting Aurangabad Caves ( east and west), Daulatabad(capital of tughlaq and his magnificent fort), Grineshwar temple( 12th Jyotirlinga), Khuldabad(Tomb of Aurangzeb). By afternoon, we will be back to aurangabad and go around to buy some souvenir( suggested: Paithani Sarees, which are world-famous and could buy for ur mom,sis and Girl friends). Finally, back to Pune. The entire trip's cost should be less than 1000 rs per head(exclusive of food and drinks and personal luxuries).

PS: All are requested to maintain the cordial environment and behave like adults during the trip. No letching, ogling or commenting on the fair sex is allowed. Most important, if you are expecting call from ur kuchi-koo(GF) , switch off ur mobiles. LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, ADVANCE TOKEN MONEY SHALL BE COLLECTED OF RS 600 BY THE CASHIER(THATS ME). ANY QUERIES CAN BE RESOLVED BY CALLING MY SECRETARY, SAYAK KRISHNA BISWAS.Please bring suitable memory capturing device.


Thanks and Regard,

Vikas Bansal
02/24/2006 11:57 AM

On Saturday the 25th we did not start at 6:00 AM. And suprisingly it wasn't our fault. Our Qualis was late and nobody asked for the excuse. Our driver was very busy with his cellphone.His fully charged mobile got discharged on the way to Ajanta. He had quite a few protracted telephonic session. Apart from two petrol-pump stops and a lunch-break those were the times when we rearranged ourselves inside the gondola of the Qualis. Priviledged ( as per as the sitting concerned) blokes weren't very cooperative in the rearrange process. Some of them had taken advantage of their weight and volume to occupy all cozy middle row seats by kicking all handsome slender guys out to the back seats for simple reason that slim guys take less space so stuff them in the boot. Our James Bond driver who was once caught by a cop in Aurangabad for his assumption of city roads as expressway, always kept our adrenaline level high up so nobody slept in the flying Qualis on the way to Ajanta.

We did not start with the nine guys mentioned in Bansi's missive. Mr. Ravi Malviya who had been planning this trip for weeks missed it as occupational hazard and was replaced by Mr. Babe (Sorry Babe I forgot ur first name, will replace soon). Tentative Amit Arora was never there. From left to right in the pic above : Pandit, me, Babe, Rahul, Makkad, Harh, Bansi, Guin and Aquafina.

The Ajanta Caves are still Magnificent, Glorious, Splendid, Brilliant, Resplendent, Splendiferous and Superb! I'm not qualified enough to talk about the history of those glorious works. We enjoyed our self guidance ( not really coz Bansi was our official guide) and imagination by explaining things in our own way to ourselves. We never took those so-called guides, available at every cave entrance. Flash photography is prohibited inside the caves containing frescos. Those caves are partly illuminated by a mystic green light which is not at all suitable for photography. Thanks to the infrared sensors of one of our 'memory capturing device' we were able to take lots of snaps in the dark. Inside one of the caves we found a small meuseum showing how the old paintings had been chemically treated to reveal their original colour. There, on a table we found this claymodel of the Ajanta cave region, the only close approximation of the two thousand years old magnificent work, todays man can make.

The Ajanta caves were excavated out of the rock in the horse-shoe shaped gorge of the Waghora river. In the claymodel you can see the rock faces of the two opposite sides of Waghora river gradually came closer at the left hand side of the figure. At this place Waghora has created a beautiful waterfall, which you can see if you visit the place during the monsoon.

When we went there (Feb end) there was nothing except a dark green dead waterbody with few birds sitting by. But that was something, a creepy but beautiful place. We could guess the temperature of the water there by feeling the cold water vapor, coming out of the trapped waterbody.
We followed the dry river in our way back. Some adventurous minds tried few abortive attempts to reach the road by the river side which was at a reasonable height from the river bed . Pic below:: First unsuccessful try.

Well all attempts weren't abortive, three of us did climb up a bridge and took the path by the river. Finally, mesmerised we returned to the pollution free, air-conditioned, green colored bus which was ready for its last trip for the day. Forgot to mention, as a pollution control measure, near this world heritage site, government has made it compulsory to park your vehicle 2 km away from the caves. These eco-friendly buses are your only escort. Don't know if walking is allowed.
When we leaved Ajanta it was nearly 7:00pm. According to our itinerary we were supposed to reach Aurangabad by that night. But, it was not what happened.
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