From Aurangabad to Ellora and back
Once again I took an auto rickshaw from the hotel to the bus stand for Rs 20 (June 2010). The fare to Ellora was Rs 21 and it took almost 45 minutes. If you are on the bus and see it pass the road to Ellora, don’t worry. It just goes in to a village, makes an U-turn and continues to Ellora. In Ellora the bus stops next to the entrance to the sight.
Going back to Aurangabad I took a shared jeep as it was leaving before a bus arrived. It was Rs 25 but took longer than the bus, almost 55 minutes. The jeep stopped to drop and take up more people all along the way and we were at the most 22 people in the jeep, as many as five in the front seat.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Aurangabad and beyond
Aurangabad has a small domestic airport. Jet Air and Kingfisher definitely fly in and out. Spice Jet do not.
Aurangabad also has a train station and trains arrive from several destination, including Mumbai which is proably the most convenient point of departure.
I took the overnight train with my family from Mumbai to Aurangabad. The Devagiri Express, train no. 7057. It departs Mumbai CSTM at 2105hrs (prompt) and arrives into Aurangabad at 0400hrs. Tickets for the train can be booked over the internet on Indian rail website: www.irctc.co.in
We travelled in a 4 berth, lockable, A/C (a fan stuck on the ceiling) compartment. It was a total of 3357.50INR for the 4 of us. NB there is only one such compartment on this train. There are x2 2-berth compartments. We booked our return ticket at the same time - 2 of us got a space in the 4-berth compartment but the other 2 in our party were put on a waiting list which was no good for us. We cancelled our return journey and were promptly refunded minus a small admin fee. The train was comfortable enough - I slept. Bedding is provided.
We returned to Mumbai via Jet Air. It cost approximately 3 times that of the train but we were returned within an hour.
From the airport or train Ellora is about an hour away.
Getting to Ellora
The gateway to Ellora is the nearby town of Aurangabad, a provincial city with an airport, rail link to Bombay and a couple of modern hotels. Ellora lies about 35 minutes east/north-east of Aurangabad and is easily accessible by bus, tour groups or private car. If you are a group of 2 to 4 travelling, the best way is to hire a car and a private driver, which is relatively inexpensive. This would allow you the freedom of stopping wherever you want and for the amount of time you prefer, particularly at the two points of interest along the way: Daulatabad and Khuldabad. If cost is an issue, then bus is the way to go (you will need to inquire further).
Lastly, in case you're wondering, it would be impossible to visit both Ellora and Ajanta in a single day due to distance and time required to see each site.
- Road Trip
Getting to Ellora Caves
By Air : The nearest airport is the Aurangabad domestic airport . Aurangabad is directly linked to Delhi, Udaipur, Jaipur, and Mumbai.
By Rail : Aurangabad is directly linked to Mumbai by rail. Two trains Tapovan Express and Devgiri Express depart daily from Mumbai to Aurangabad.
Catching an overnight train to Aurangabad from Mumbai is easiest way to get to Ellora.
From Aurangabad you can either hire a taxi to Ellora, or use the bus service.
Bus: MSRTC Services from Aurangabad to Ellora Temple Caves
- Historical Travel
I took two car tours over two days in order to visit the caves at Ellora and Ajanta. I shared the cost with an American guy who was staying at my hotel, the MTDC Holiday Resort on Station Road East (see hotel tips). We booked the tours at our hotel and they cost Rs700 for both days for the two of us, so Rs350/day each, which I didn't think was bad considering how far we were travelling (the Ajanta Caves, alone, are a good 100km away).
The first day, we visited the Ellora Caves, Grishneshvara Temple (near to the caves), Khuldabad (a small town located about 3km south of the Ellora Caves, which is famous for the tomb of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb) and Daulatabad, a fortified city located 16km (10 miles) northwest of Aurangabad. We then headed back to Aurangabad and visited a small textile factory and shop. On the second day, we visited the Ajanta Caves.
Bus or taxi.. you decide
Local buses run from 4am to midnight (or longer) between Ellora and the Central Bus Stand in Aurangabad. Rs18 per person oneway. Not as clean as the private or state-run tourist buses that go for Rs200 a head.
There's a local bus about every 20 minutes. Returning from Ellora, just wave your hand to a bus that seems to be slowing down for it to completely stop and pick you up.
Or you can go for an all-day taxi that will go to Ellora, take you around caves 17-34, drop back at Aurangabad or more sights in the way if you wish also. All this for Rs 500 or less. It will take longer though and won't give you a rollercoaster ride like the bus usually does :)
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel