Tuesday, December 4

Changing plans in Aurangabad

I arrived in Aurangabad two days ago. My arrival time was late so really I had one full day here. It's a fun city and the hotel I'm staying at has many travelers. It's a great place to take it easy.

Yesterday I spent sight seeing and the sights were good. The first place I went to was the Ellora caves. Caves with carved out columns, statues and thousands of rooms that date back to 600 A.D. It was an interesting sight for me because I love history.

After the caves my rickshaw driver convinced me to go to the nearby Daulatabad fort. I really didn't feel like it because I've seen so many forts already, but this one was different. The fort encompassed a huge area and had a palace perched right on top of a hill. Getting there was really fun, many flights of stairs and many levels with towers and canons. There was even a secret passageway that guides offered to take you through but I preferred to stay outside and take pictures than mingle with the rats in the dark passages. This was the first time I felt like I was getting any exercise in India. At the very top there was a platform, which had a 360-degree view of the surrounding area.

My rickshaw driver then took me to the Bibi ka Maqbara, also known as "the poor man's Taj Mahal" because the entry fee is only 2 dollars ($20 for the Taj). You can see the resemblance, but it really doesn't compare it's quite run down. They are in the process of restoring it and it might be really nice in a few years.

Back at the hotel I mingled with other travelers and made friends with Ramon from Spain and Babette and Kim from Belgium. Really friendly girls, though Kim is a little intimidating at first. I changed my plans to travel with them and I may not go to Goa as I originally intended. We'll be traveling together to Hyderabad and I'm excited to finally have some company along the way.

Some locals at the caves:

The caves on the outside:

Inside the caves:

Example of the carvings:

Heading to the fort:

Many levels with a moat:

At the top of the fort: