What a day!
Two days ago Udaipur was great sight seeing but nothing exciting. Yesterday was 24 hours on the train. Surprisingly it was not boring even if it was uneventful.
We took a coach for the 70km journey to the Caves of Ellora. Part of the journey was up a steep serpentine road with many curves and switchbacks. On one side there was a cliff and some ramshackle or non-existent crash barriers; on the other there was a large monsoon ditch.
The road was narrow. Just enough space for a coach and lorry to pass each other with about 9″ between unless there was a curve when getting past each other was impossible. There were signs encouraging drivers to drive slowly.
“Better to be late than to be the late”
“God blesses good drivers”
There were many lorries coming down the hill. On our side there were many slow lorries climbing up the hill. So guess what? Our driver overtook them! Even on blind curves. It was very scary.
The journey back was worse. It was dark. Way down the mountain it was clear that all the many lorries in both directions were having trouble passing on the curves so there was a very long queue nose to tail. Every so often a lorry would wind its way up the hill.
The unbelievable bit is that the car and motorbike drivers, seeing an empty lane for the oncoming traffic would just pull out and go zooming down the hill. When they met an oncoming lorry the road was totally blocked in both direction. Nightmare, scary as we worked round the curves. We were late back for supper!!
The Ellora caves are stunning. They are not caves. They are 34 temples and monasteries chiselled out of a mountain between 400 and 1000AD. The main (Hindu) temple is vast, see pictures, it is 30m wide and high and 80 m deep.
The whole thing is just one rock. No pieces, no mortar. They started at the top and slowly chipped downwards until the whole magnificent structure emerged. Mind blowing.
The smaller Buddhist is also one rock. It’s curiosity is that the vaulted roof looks like wooden beams but is just simulated by carving the rock.
As always, in these situation, for the locals, we were the tourist attraction rather than the caves. We shake hands and have our pictures taken with whole families.
Certainly, one of the highlights of the trip. Even the terrible journey is part of India.