After my trip to the fort I arrived at the Kailas Hotel and enjoyed lovely accommodations. The stone cottage with a view of the caves, a relaxing swing, a comfortable outdoor table and chairs, air conditioning, hot water, and clean sheets! It was just what I needed.
The langur monkeys here are beautiful. They’re much, much bigger than the macaques I saw during my stay in Matheran. When the adults stand upright, they come close to being eye-level with you. Unlike the macaques, they prefer to run from you rather than steal your food.
I had a difficult time taking good photos of them since they have coal-black faces and dark eyes. There were dozens on the grounds of the hotel and I enjoyed spending some of my leisure time just watching them.
In the morning I got up early, had Indian style French toast – not bad – and set out alone to explore the Ellora caves. There weren’t too many people – so other than the vendors incessantly trying to sell me things, it was pretty quiet.
When my friend Lauren arrived that afternoon, Vikram, Lauren and I set off to see the caves again. Lauren and Vikram went to caves 1-16. I started off in the opposite direction to view other caves I hadn’t seen during my morning visit. We made plans to meet back at Kailasa Temple (#16) in an hour.
At this time of day the caves were swarming with people and I became the main attraction, again. Each cave I went to, people would ask if they could take a photo with me. The people watching, seeing that I was amenable to the idea, would come over and ask if I would take a photo with them. Then lines form and I have to politely break away to continue to the next cave where the cycle would begin again.
I finally make my way back to the Kailasa Temple and don’t see Vikram and Lauren. While I am waiting, I decide to explore areas of this beautiful temple I missed earlier. For a while I am able to avoid the photo-takers until I climbed the upper level of the temple where I could sit and view the courtyard scanning for Lauren and Vikram. Sitting down encouraged people to ask for more photos and soon I had large families of people posing to take photos with me. Unknown to me, Lauren and Vikram were laughing, enjoying the show from below.
Vikram left and told us he would meet us with the car at Cave 29. So, Lauren and I set off to see the caves along the way. There was a beautiful long narrow ledge walkway with a waterfall and a pond below. There was a blockade preventing people from entering the walkway. I looked around to determine if there was a ‘danger’ reason for the blockade. When I didn’t see one, I decided to climb over and continue on to the remaining caves. Lauren was reluctant to do this, but I talked her into it. How else were we going to meet our driver?
We continue on this beautiful path, view the smaller temples along the way, and eventually come to Cave 29. The problem is this entrance is blocked too! No problem, I’ll just climb over this one too…..until the large guard looming overhead has a problem with this..…
He told us that we (of course) weren’t supposed to cross the blockades, and told me there’s a fine for ignoring the large “No Entry” signs. The sign is in both Marathi and English, so no excuses for me.
After using my ‘naïve, I’m sorry, please let me in, I won’t break anymore rules’ voice he let us through. In the meantime, Vikram recognizes my voice, comes over, looks down, slightly shakes his head and smiles. I wonder if he thinks all Americans are crazy, or just me.
Ellora Caves – Another must see while in India!