We flew from Chennai to Aurangabad with a connection in Mumbai on the 29th August 2018. I had always wanted to see the caves since seeing a documentary about them and thinking that they were such an amazing feat of construction so many centuries ago. They did not disappoint us.
We flew into Aurangabad and stayed right opposite the Ellora caves at the Kailas hotel, a basic but good place for it’s location. We could see the caves and a waterfall in the distance. The lovely Langur monkeys loped through the hotel grounds and I saw a cute mongoose on the lawn one morning.
We went first to the Ajanta caves about a couple of hours from Aurangabad and were glad that Mr Taqui our driver suggested we go first to the viewpoint high above the caves and walk down to them. It was a spectacular sight before
walking down the hundreds of steps to the Buddhist caves. We spent some time exploring the various caves and it was pleasant not going on a weekend when thousands of Indian tourists would be there.
Our last day there we spent going to the tomb of Malik Akbar an African slave who rose to be the founder of Aurangabad.
We were surprised when we visited Bibi al Maqbara which at first looked identical to the Taj Mahal although it was not made of marble and was not in a good state. Reconstruction work was underway to repair a lot of damage which had been done over the many years.
We had a wonderful Thali meal on the way to the airport and flew back to Mumbai and to our hotel the Hotel Residency in the fort area. The old section was not so good so we transferred for a few more rupees to their new wing which was excellent, only thing missing was a lift so luckily we were still fit and easily able to climb the two storeys to our room.
It was wonderful location to explore old Mumbai with its many beautiful colonial buildings from the British Raj times.
The Shivaji railway station, the Prince of Wales museum, the David Sassoon library to name just a few.
Interspersed with these buildings was a bustling city with great restaurants – The Savoury restaurant, the Burma Burma and near Chhowpati beach the Soam restaurant. Walking around the area we found food stalls, men cutting hair, transcribing clerks using old typewritters, dogs and men resting in front of buildings, fish deliveries from near the old Crawford market which
has been re-roofed and renamed. Next door to the hotel was a good hairdresser – $3 for Maurice’s haircut and a very good and efficient laundry also next door.
Despite the construction of a major metro link from Colaba to Bandra and Seepz we could walk down to Marine Drive where a cool breeze was blowing most of the time. We were pleasantly surprised to have cooler and less humid weather than in Chennai and Pondicherry.
We treated ourselves to the cinema – an old art deco one called the Metro Inox to see ‘Christopher Robin’ at the great cost of $4.50 for both of us.
The traffic situation at peak times is horrendous and a lot of it due to increasing vehicle numbers and the metro construction which causes much consternation to the taxi drivers.
We caught a taxi to Bandra on our last evening to have dinner in a Goan restaurant called ‘O Pedro’ with our friend Nidhi.
The journey to the restaurant took 1 1/2 hours and when we left it took us 30minutes to get back to the hotel.
We flew out of Mumbai on the 5th September for what should have been a short overnight stay in Doha however we ended up being there for another 15hours at the airport. I think Doha must have paid to rate it’s airport the best in the world because we didn’t find many redeeming features, finding Singapore a far better airport even before it’s 5th terminal is completed. The flight which should have left at 4pm on the 6th September to Tbilisi ended up leaving at 7.15am on the 7th September and we were shuttled backwards and forwards to the business class lounge three times.

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