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Old 19th August 2011, 13:35   #1
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Default Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back

I had visited the Ajanta Caves way back as a teenager in what appears now to be another lifetime but the trip/caves had even then left an indelible impression on my mind and I just had to visit them again, also I had been raving about Ajanta to my wife and friends and making them jealous, so it was time to make my stories and promises ring true.

The newly acquired, 7 month old Linea was also looking to stretch her legs a little bit.

This trip has been in the offing for quite some time now and me and wifey in tow had initially planned to make this trip before the Monsoons in March / April.

However, not one but several spanners in the works ensured that due to unavoidable circumstances the trip was dry-docked indefinitely.

Come monsoons and TBHP was getting flooded with travelogues and pictures of members reveling in the Ghats. It really became too much for me to sit at my desk and miss out on the fun.

So, suitable dates were agreed upon, leaves applied for and approved, car serviced, checked and cleaned up and the below itinerary finalized.

///

Day 01 / 11th August – Belapur to Pune / 119km
Via Bombay Poona Expressway, thru Khandala – Lonavla – Pune / 119km
Night Halt - Relative's place, Sus-Pashan Road

Day 02 / 12th August – Pune to Ahmednagar onto Aurangabad / 246km
Via State Highway 27, thru Shikrapur – Rajangoan – Ahmednagar / 134km
Via State Highway 60, Nagpur-Aurangabad-Mumbai Highway, thru Nevasa Phata - Aurangabad / 112km

Places to visit – Bibi Ka Maqbara, Ellora Caves, Dakshineshwar Temple and Aurangzeb’s Tomb at Khuldatabad.
Night Halt - Hotel Panchvati, Aurangabad

Day 03 / 13th August – Aurangabad to Lonar onto Ajanta, Fardapur MTDC Resort / 303km
Via SH177 and SH183 through Jalna City onto Lonar / 153km
Via Sultanpur, Chikli, Buldhana and then MSH24 to Ajanta Village onto MTDC Resort Fardapur / 150km

Places to visit – Lonar Crater Lake and Daityasudan Mandir
Night Halt - MTDC Resort, Fardapur

Day 04 / 14th August – Ajanta to Mumbai / 445km
Via Major State Highway 08, thru Silod by-pass - onto Aurangabad / 103km
Aurangabad onwards, reverse route till Shikrapur / 342km
Detour from Shikrapur via Chakan and Talegaon to join Mumbai – Poona Expressway at Khalapur Toll Plaza

Places to visit – Ajanta Cave Complex, Home

So here goes ...

Day 01 / 11th August – Belapur to Pune / 119km

A rather uneventful day. i had planned to start by early afternoon from home as i wanted to travel to Pune on the NH4 and give the Expressway a miss. NH4 is a lovely curvy road and in good condition also, except for the odd potholes thrown in here and there.
However we started later than i imagined and since we had an early morning start to Aurangabad the next day we decided to stick to the Expressway and get to Pune as fast as possible.

Some pics travelling to Pune to whet your appetite.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_3899.jpg

Zipping through tunnels..

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and encountering the customary fog and reduced visibility while approaching and passing Lonavala..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-003.jpg

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-001.jpg

Drive Summary:

Started from Belapur at 1700
Reached Pune at 1930
No stops en route

Maintained constant speeds of 100km/hr throughout, except while crossing Lonavala where we were met with thick cloud/fog cover and truck traffic.


Day 02 / 12th August – Pune to Ahmednagar onto Aurangabad / 246km

I have made Pune my base camp for all excursions and drives southwards and westwards. It helps to break down the journey into more manageable and relaxed parts and ensures that i do not have to start inordinately early from Mumbai.

I could hardly sleep as i was so excited about the drive and kept tossing and turning throughout the night. Got a call from my friend at 0445 who lives in Pune and was going to join us from Pune, to wake me up but i was already awake.

We started as planned at 0530 and rendezvoused with my friends at Hyatt on Nagar Road at 0600. From there on we drove non-stop onto Ahmednagar. The roads throughout are smooth and i don't remember encountering any pothole on the way, as the pictures below will testify and once you pass Shikrapur junction, roads are double-carriage and 4 laned all the way from here to Aurangabad.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-021.jpg

Smooth tarmac all the way .. Enjoy

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-022.jpg

People usually stopover at SmileStone Restaurant Complex which is just abt 20kms short of Ahmednagar on the Nagar Road.
However, since we were not so hungry and wanted to get through Ahmednagar as early as possible, we decided to stop over after crossing Ahmednagar.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-018.jpg

The First Pit Stop, CCD, about 20kms after Ahmednagar.

The sign at the CCD outside says that it is open 24hrs, but the coffee shop operates only between 0900 - 2300. We were early hence it was shut but adjoining the CCD is another restaurant, Lilium Park which has more relaxed operating hours.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-020.jpg

Tucked into some spicy poha followed by sumptuous chai and sandwiches and headed onwards to Aurangabad.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-023.jpg

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-024.jpg

Again, roads are very good all the way to Aurangabad. We did not experience much traffic till we got to Pandharpur Village, which is just before Aurangabad. The roads also deteriorated but nothing that you cant handle. Further, roads towards Aurangabad are more or less good or bad, with the exception of the Cantt areas. However once you enter Aurangabad, roads are tolerable but had then we had to contend with morning traffic.

Drive Summary:

Started from Pune at 0530
Ahmednagar - 0715
Aurangabad - 1030
35 mins breakfast stop at CCD north of Ahmednagar
2 more stops of about 10 mins each

I maintained a constant speed of 80-100km/hr. Crossed 100km/hr on exactly two occasions for overtaking.


Checked into Panchvati Hotel for the night. Panchvati Hotel is a no-frill and strictly a budget hotel. I would recommend the place if you are travelling on a budget and just looking for someplace to spend the night in Aurangabad. The staff is helpful but make sure they air out your room, change the sheets and clean out the room in front of you.
Also try and get a room that is not facing the road if you are disturbed by traffic noise, which can get a bit much at peak hours. It is perhaps for this reason it is filled with foreigners who are backpacking across India. The car parking is very limited and there is space enough for only 4 full sized sedans at the most. Anymore and you have to park on the road. We got there early and parked our cars inside the premises.
The travel desk is very good and helpful and we rented an Innova for our Inter City and Ellora Tour.

The first place on our itinerary was a visit to Bibi ka Maqbara which is within the city.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_3949.jpg

The mausoleum was built by Aurangzeb's son, Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother, also known as the Taj of the Deccan or more colloquially as the Poor Man's Taj.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_3954.jpg

Aurangzeb, much unlike earlier Mughal Rulers, believed that the royal treasury was not to be used for personal uses and was not in favor of the building.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_3959.jpg

The grave of Rabiaul-Durrani alias Dilras Banu Begum, Aurangzeb's wife and Prince Azam Shah's mother.

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A view of the gardens surrounding the mausoleum.

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It seemed strange to me that both Aurangzeb and his son have very-very humble and open-to-sky graves in Khuldatabad, just outside Aurangabad but the wife and mother respectively has a huge mausoleum all to herself.

Women never change.. what say

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_3977.jpg

From here we went to a Dhaba on the way, had lunch and proceeded to Ellora Caves and Dakhshineswar Temple.

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The Kailas Temple, truly awe inspiring

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Inside the Kailas Temple, which is the largest monolithic structure in the world.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_4000.jpg

Can anyone guess the story etched above in stone??

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The original paint is still intact after 2000yrs, now that is one brand i would like to get my house painted in!!

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Just the Kailas Temple, was built over a period of 200yrs employing 10 generations of workers.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_4008.jpg

A view of the waterfall that becomes active only during the monsoons and a part of the cave complex further on.

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Amazing!!

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_4043.jpg

The roads from Aurangabad towards Ellora, once you across the city limits are a drivers delight, smooth and curvaceous, just watch out for the errant bus and motorcycle drivers, we infact passed an accident site where a motorcyclist had collided with a Taxi Cab but looking at the roads all i could think of was my bullet and really missing her here...

After Ellora we visited the Dakshineshwar Temple, which is one of the jyotirlings in India and followed it up with a visit to the Grave of Aurangzeb. It seems that complex which houses Aurangzeb's grave also houses one of the most holy relic of Muslims. It is said that Prophet Mohammed after ascending to heaven bought down with him a cloth blanket, which is kept here and revealed only once a year.

This was followed by some Paithani+Himroo Saree shopping at my expense, of course. Now why did'nt i see this coming..

I must apologies here because i have no more photos here as my digi cam had run out of charge.

Last edited by PGNarain : 21st August 2011 at 21:53.
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Old 20th August 2011, 10:15   #2
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Default Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back Days 3

Day 03 / 13th August – Aurangabad to Lonar onto Ajanta, Fardapur MTDC Resort / 303km

Woke up to the sound of traffic milling outside the Hotel and strangely it felt just like home!!!
We had planned to start from Aurangabad for Lonar early and get out before the city woke up but our exertions the day before and a hefty dinner at the nearby Balle-Balle Restaurant ensured that we slept soundly and could eventually check out and be underway only by about 0830.

I had tanked up on fuel at Belapur before leaving, the fuel gauge now was just below the 1/2 way mark. Since we had a long drive ahead of us, we decided to top-up at the Baba Petrol Pump just around the corner from Panchavati Hotel. After this headed out eastward onto the Jalna Road.

Roads within Aurangabad have broken down owing to general wear and tear and poor maintenance but also due to the construction of a flyover on the Jalna Road.
However once you exit the city, roads improve and are smooth double carriageway all the way to Jalna.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_4044.jpg

In between for very short stretches the eastbound lane is currently under repairs and the two lanes merge, nothing you cannot live with, also since it was a lazy Saturday morning we encountered sparse traffic all the way to Jalna.

The weather gods too were kind and we had overcast skies but no rain. It was cool and the MID showed a constant temp of about 23-25'C throughout our journey to Jalna.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_4046.jpg

Things changed drastically once we reached Jalna, and roads within Jalna are very bad, at places non existent, they ought to put most 4x4 tracks to shame. If that was not enough then the traffic within the city will get the better of your temper eventually.

We later found out that there is a bypass for Jalna city which is highly recommended. On the outskirts of Jalna, once you pass the ITI Building on your left, take the second right turn along a board indicating distances to Hyderabad and some other places. Stay to the left of the road which will take you along Moti Talab and the outskirts of Jalna and once you pass St. John's School, take a right on the crossing just ahead to get onto SH177 / Nagpur-Aurangabad-Mumbai Highway all the way to Sultanpur.

After the torture that the roads of Jalna, the roads become single carriageway and super smooth. The road winds itself between villages and valleys and ghats. We kept wanting to stop again and again just to click photographs of the rolling plains, lush greenery and open skies. It was WOW...

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-036.jpg

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-029.jpg

My Italian Stallion...

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-025.jpg

Another stop..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-030.jpg

and another stop..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-038.jpg

and another stop..

On this stretch, we regularly passed "Kavariyes" heading to the nearby or far away Shiv Temples.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-027.jpg

We encountered many roads that just beg to be driven on, especially when the traffic is thin. Guys get going..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-033.jpg

The old eclipsing the new... followed by another stop.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-039.jpg

A canopy of trees... along this stretch i was tailing my friend's car and we just had to stop here to capture this vista. Trust me there are a million places you will want to stop, take pictures and just revel in the utter beauty and bounty of nature.

No words can do justice.. I must mention that the below photo was taken by my friend and at great personal risk standing in the middle of the road.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-img_7490.jpg

We had the AC off for the better part of the journey here, as we wanted to fill ourselves with lungfuls of pure cool air and absorb as much of the nature around us. People living here are truly blessed.

A route guide here, about 12 kms short of Sultanpur there is a small dirt road which goes directly to the Lonar Crater. You will notice it especially if you are travelling using a GPS and more so if your GPS is enabled with Google Maps. Google Maps automatically routes you via this path, but it is in a bad condition so try avoid it. Travel straight to Sultanpur, and take right at the T-Junction towards Lonar. The road which keeps getting narrower after Sultanpur is otherwise in good condition, very scenic and just a much better option.

After a lot of stops and picture taking we finally arrived at Lonar, and lo and behold, it was the cherry on the cake.

You may have seen movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact but imagine, it actually happened here!!! The peace and tranquility totally belies the violence which accompanied the birth of Lonar.
Much has been written and documented about Lonar but you must visit this place at least once in your life.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-042.jpg

We stopped briefly at the MTDC resort, refreshed ourselves, had cupfuls of piping hot and absolutely great chai and coffee, then proceeded to trek down to the base of the crater and the temple at the shore of the lake.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-044.jpg

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-053.jpg

Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi Bahuu thi ...

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-057.jpg

My sweet resting after an arduous climb.

We bunch are usually a hungry and thirsty lot but the trek left us all famished and we headed back to the MTDC Resort for some lunch.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-074.jpg

The food we had at the MTDC Resort is the BEST we had on this trip. Hot, wholesome and fresh, albeit accompanied by the braying and hilarious sights of donkeys having a race and playing around.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-072.jpg

Another guide here, the MTDC resort at Lonar has taken a lot of flak for poor and unhygienic conditions. It seems the people concerned have finally taken note and the MTDC Resort even while we were there was being spruced up.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-070.jpg

The Manager at the Resort was good enough to let us use one of the rooms to refresh ourselves, have a bath and use the toilet, free of charge. I took the opportunity and checked out the conditions of the rooms.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-062.jpg

The rooms are clean and well maintained. Typical of an MTDC resort and nowhere as bad as some of the reviews online have been quoting. If we had the time we would have definitely stayed overnight.

We finally left Lonar for Ajanta at around 1600. Again, much later then we had planned but we were enjoying ourselves too much to leave so quickly.

Roads from Lonar to Ajanta via Sultanpur, Chikli and Buldhana are single carriageway throughout and the condition ranges from good to very-very bad.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-075.jpg

Decided that trained ST bus drivers are bad enough, and the above one under training needed to given i real WIDE berth.

Photo opportunities presented themselves again and even though we were racing against the setting sun to get to Ajanta, we could not stop ourselves.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-081.jpg

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-082.jpg

This road was absolutely lovely to drive on.. and it was cold, 20'C with the nice gusty wind blowing into our faces accompanied with a cold drizzle of rain. I just wished we could have camped in one the fields for the night.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-077.jpg

Green fields abound as far as the eye can see..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-087.jpg

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-090.jpg

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-089.jpg

and the last photo for the day..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-085.jpg

The roads were bad to drive on but the route itself is very scenic and again we kept stopping to click pictures.

Unfortunately I had to keep my eyes glued to the road and watch out for the regular potholes, gaping craters, topped up with a healthy dose of the truant motorcyclist and/or state bus.

As mentioned earlier the roads from Lonar to Ajanta via Buldhana were on the whole the worst we encountered throughout the trip. It will slow you down considerably but more so if you are not careful, chances are that you can end up with serious damage to your car/tyres/rims if you are not careful

The last 25kms to the South of Ajanta Village are in a VERY bad shape. I can not emphasize this point enough.
The roads are under construction and at places we did not even have the gravel/stone layer or any layer for that matter to drive on, just a broken down, boulder filled dirt track with not even enough space for one car to navigate, the only saving grace was that we did not encounter any oncoming traffic.
The roads remained this way till we reached Ajanta Village and turned right for Ajanta Caves T-Junction and further to Fardapur. Roads from Ajanta Village became smooth again and were single carriageway twisting through the ghats. In the Ghats we got stuck regularly behind truck traffic, overtaking in daytime is risky and at night not recommended at all.

Checked into the Fardapur MTDC Hotel, exhausted from the day's drive+excursions and crashed into a dreamless sleep.

Drive Summary:
Started Aurangabad - 0900
Jalna - 1015
Lonar - 1245
Started Lonar - 1600
MTDC, Fardapur - 2130

Stops - Innumerable, average speeds on good patches varied between 70-100km/hr and on bad patches fell to as low as 5-10km/hr at the least.. but I really don't know, I was too busy watching out for the next mini-lonar that we were going to crash into!!

Good roads, bad roads, lovely views, fantastic experience. Watch out for your car, especially if it has low ground clearance.

Last edited by PGNarain : 21st August 2011 at 22:11.
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Old 21st August 2011, 00:40   #3
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Default Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back Days 3 and 4

Day 04 / 14th August – Ajanta to Mumbai / 445km

Day 4 woke up fully refreshed and went for a walk behind the MTDC Resort to stretch the legs out.

The resort is very well laid out and has a lot of parking space, you can drive your car upto your rooms and park them outside your door, literally.

The service is something else, all the rooms were being attended by just ONE guy. The lights blinked out for some time during the night and the only remedy offered was a box of matches and candles!!!

Next morning water also ran out, but came back again but eventually ran out again...

In the bright morning light and fresh air checked out the damage wrecked on the cars yesterday, luckily all was ok but our cars had acquired a rather fashionable shade of brown.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-096.jpg

Looking closely ...

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-091.jpg

Our rooms can be seen just behind the where the cars are parked.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-092.jpg

That took 3 buckets of water and a lot of TLC to wash all that muck off..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-098.jpg

But the efforts paid off, i could not have taken my Italian Stallion in such a deplorable state.

Ajanta Caves open for the public viewing at 0900 and we had planned to be the first ones there but the the very lackadaisical attitude of the staff at MTDC made sure that we were delayed.

Reached Ajanta and parked our cars at the parking lot. From here we bought tickets for buses which haul you upto the base of the caves.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-101.jpg

MTDC seems more interested in advertising their Restaurant and Beer Bar rather than the caves..

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-102.jpg

It was still rather early with very few tourists around even the staff was just arriving. The first view of the caves.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-107.jpg

A few more snaps.

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Enough has been said about Ajanta, but i will add this, that given a chance i will go again, there are some brilliant things to see and experience at Ajanta.

Also one of the Guides informed us that in the near future the caves are going to be closed for the public. The govt is setting up a "Replica" which will be open for public viewing in lieu of the actual caves.
It will be like reading the review of the Ford Mustang or the new Lambo but never getting to actually drive the real thing.
Don't know how true this is but if it holds any water, people go and see this absolute marvel of human engineering and creativity before time runs out.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-132.jpg

On the way back climbed down to the base of the fjord and crossed the bridge to the other side of the river flowing through it. The walk is lovely as it winds its way through thick foliage to the base of Ajanta Caves where we initially started from and the MTDC Restaurant.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-133.jpg

On the way back we passed some heavy crowds waiting for buses to get to the caves.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-138.jpg

A word of advice, try and make it as early as possible to get to the caves. It will allow you ample time to leisurely visit all the caves and also spare you the agony of the crowds that make life impossible and also hamper you while you are moving about the caves.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-aurangabadtrip-139.jpg

This is especially more important if you plan your visit like we did, around a long weekend.

Started for Bombay from Ajanta after having lunch at the MTDC Restaurant at about 1400.

Drive Summary:
Started MTDC Resort - 0900
Reached Ajanta Base - 1030
Started Ajanta Caves - 1430
Shikrapur - 1900
Belapur - 2230

Stops - 20 mins coffee stop at the same CCD, we stopped at earlier just before Ahmednagar.
1 refuelling stop at Ahmednagar, Delhi Darwaaza Petrol Pump for 10 mins
2 10 mins stops to stretch my legs.
Attached Thumbnails
Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_3900.jpg  


Last edited by Rehaan : 22nd August 2011 at 16:52. Reason: Your day 3 & 4 travelog has been merged with your original travelog. Cheers.
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Old 21st August 2011, 23:15   #4
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Default Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar / Linea Review

@MODS: Please move the this post to the appropriate Forum, did not want to start another thread for a rather small review.

I am adding here a small review of the my Linea and how it fared on this trip.

Car: Linea 2011 / T-Jet Plus in a completely stock condition
Passengers: 3 pax + baggage

Total Distance Travelled - 1110kms
Average FE: 14.2kms/l by MID, 15kms/l by tank fill method
Total Fuel: 74lts - Rs. 5200apx

Ride and Handling: Linea has an absolutely superb and tank like build quality. On Indian roads this is very important. In-spite of the hammering by some of the roads the Linea never lost her composure and the T-Jet Plus which has 205/ R16 GYs compared to 195/ R15 GYs on the regular Linea ensured that ground clearance too was never lacking. I scrapped the bottom of my car on exactly two occasions throughout this trip.

The handling of the Linea at speeds is very good.
Straightline stability is fantastic and the steering is very accurate, just point and shoot.
Cornering roll is minimal even at close to 3 digit speeds inspiring great confidence going into corners and throwing the car around is great fun. The 4 discs, one in each corner ensure that brake fade too is minimal.
Steering feedback is very good and I could always feel the road beneath the tyres and how much grip the tyres had in reserve.

My friends Honda Civic left my Linea licking the dust in the straightline, however the situation was completely different when tackling the ghats, when the Civic lagged behind each time.

FE:
I have found out that my Linea performs best in terms of FE when i drive her in the below configuration.

Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back-sam_3900.jpg

Keeping the engine RPM at about 2000, in the fifth gear will return good FE figures and speeds of 80-100 km/hr can be easily maintained.
Also the turbo kicks in at just around 2000 rpm, so turbo lag in this configuration is minimal making overtaking maneuvers easy.
Overall FE as per MID was 14.2km/lts or 7Lts / 100kms, however as per the tank fill method got slightly better figures of 15km/lts.

Issues: Where the Linea looses out is in the interiors.
Fit and finish is not what you expect of a 10lakh car.
Storage spaces/cupholders are utterly useless. We used them to store toffees/phones/digicam.
I am 6'3" and with me driving, spending time in the seat behind me was not a good idea. Fortunately with only one person in the back, things were fairly comfortable.
Road/Tyre noise too is an issue and the cabin not being as silent as i would have liked it to be.
Gear shift though satisfactory, does'nt measure upto the rest of the driving package.

All in all it was a great drive in a great car.

Hope the information was useful and convinces people to go explore these places.

Till next time...

Last edited by PGNarain : 21st August 2011 at 23:39.
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Old 22nd August 2011, 00:23   #5
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back

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Old 22nd August 2011, 00:36   #6
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back

Good to finally see your story unveiled!
Feel bad about the digicam running out of charge.

From the photos, the roads seem to be in real good condition. And yes, the photos have come out really well. Looking forward to the remainder of the log.
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Old 22nd August 2011, 11:33   #7
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back

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After Ellora we visited the Dakshineshwar Temple, which is one of the jyotirlings in India
Nice and detailed travelogue, i must say.

The temple near Ellora is called Ghrishneshwar temple which is one of the twelve jyotirlingas.
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Old 22nd August 2011, 17:13   #8
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back Days 3 and 4

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Also one of the Guides informed us that in the near future the caves are going to be closed for the public. The govt is setting up a "Replica" which will be open for public viewing in lieu of the actual caves.
This is true. Read more about this in the following link (especially the last section) -

Ajanta Cave murals -- unmatched expressions of Middle Age art: ThingsAsian
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Old 22nd August 2011, 20:02   #9
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back

Detailed travelogue and excellent pictures. Thanks for sharing. Loved the road pic captured by your friend.
I am actually surprised to see the MTDC resorts at Lonar in a decent condition.

+1 to Lonar. Its a must see place. This satellite image (courtesy NASA) shows the beauty of this Crater Lake.


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Old 23rd August 2011, 10:14   #10
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back

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Nice and detailed travelogue, i must say.

The temple near Ellora is called Ghrishneshwar temple which is one of the twelve jyotirlingas.
Thanks Ashish, and double thanks for pointing out the error, i will correct the same within today. Don't know why i have been referring to the Temple as Dakshineshwar

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This is true. Read more about this in the following link (especially the last section) -

Ajanta Cave murals -- unmatched expressions of Middle Age art: ThingsAsian
Thanks Arya, hope the travelogue helps you plan your trip. any further assistance please do get in touch.

And thanks too for the link, this just confirms it, we did pass some construction on the way to the caves. Though it is a nice idea that caves will be preserved this way, but that is all the more reason that you must go and see Ajanta before it is too late. Nothing beats the real deal.

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Detailed travelogue and excellent pictures. Thanks for sharing. Loved the road pic captured by your friend.
I am actually surprised to see the MTDC resorts at Lonar in a decent condition.

+1 to Lonar. Its a must see place. This satellite image (courtesy NASA) shows the beauty of this Crater Lake.


Attachment 597777
Thanks for the appreciation C300, and will definitely tell my friend that you loved his pic.

MTDC Lonar was a surprise to us as well and a very pleasant one at that, but you must go visit it, and try to do it in Monsoons or just after when surroundings are all green.

We already have plans to visit Lonar again and do a full trek around the crater the next time around.
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Old 4th December 2016, 15:20   #11
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back Days 3

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Day 03 / 13th August – Aurangabad to Lonar onto Ajanta, Fardapur MTDC Resort / 303km
We finally left Lonar for Ajanta at around 1600. Again, much later then we had planned but we were enjoying ourselves too much to leave so quickly.

Roads from Lonar to Ajanta via Sultanpur, Chikli and Buldhana are single carriageway throughout and the condition ranges from good to very-very bad.
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The temple near Ellora is called Ghrishneshwar temple which is one of the twelve jyotirlingas.
I am planning a trip and plan to use your travelogue as a reference.

Any update on Ajanta to Lonar road conditions?
Will it be better to goto Aurangabad and then to Lonar to get relatively better roads?

The plan is to head off from Ajanta to Lonar for an over night stay.

Last edited by freedom : 4th December 2016 at 15:23.
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Old 5th December 2016, 14:08   #12
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back Days 3

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Any update on Ajanta to Lonar road conditions?
No idea, I think you are better off posting inquiries in the relevant section.

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Will it be better to goto Aurangabad and then to Lonar to get relatively better roads?

The plan is to head off from Ajanta to Lonar for an over night stay.
From my experience, main SH and NH roads branching off from Aurangabad are generally in a better shape. So, yes, I think it is better if you go to Aurangabad and then head onwards. Aurangabad itself deserves at least a day of sight seeing.

Also, imho it would be better to stay at Ajanta for two reasons - 1. There are more staying option near Ajanta Caves. 2. Staying near the caves means you can leave bright and early to avoid crowds that tend to really get very bad as the day progresses.
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Old 5th December 2016, 14:48   #13
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back Days 3

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From my experience, main SH and NH roads branching off from Aurangabad are generally in a better shape. So, yes, I think it is better if you go to Aurangabad and then head onwards. Aurangabad itself deserves at least a day of sight seeing.
I thought so. Thanks for the confirmation. I will check about this on other threads.

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Also, imho it would be better to stay at Ajanta for two reasons - 1. There are more staying option near Ajanta Caves. 2. Staying near the caves means you can leave bright and early to avoid crowds that tend to really get very bad as the day progresses
Right. I will be reaching Ajanta early morning (9 ish) and spending the whole day + a night halt at Ajanta. Next day, will be heading off to Lonar and spend the day+night at Lonar and head off to Pune next day morning.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 5th December 2016 at 23:47. Reason: Typo.
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Old 25th January 2017, 11:07   #14
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Default Re: Independence Day Weekend - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Lonar and back Days 3

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No idea, I think you are better off posting inquiries in the relevant section.



From my experience, main SH and NH roads branching off from Aurangabad are generally in a better shape. So, yes, I think it is better if you go to Aurangabad and then head onwards. Aurangabad itself deserves at least a day of sight seeing.

Also, imho it would be better to stay at Ajanta for two reasons - 1. There are more staying option near Ajanta Caves. 2. Staying near the caves means you can leave bright and early to avoid crowds that tend to really get very bad as the day progresses.
I have planned a trip to Lonar in the second weekend of February. The plan is to leave Navi Mumbai at 6am and reach Lonar by 5:30 - 6 pm evening (including breaks in between & I am a sedate driver). Google map says it will take 9 hrs 30 mins if I take the Navi Mumbai - Pune - Ahmednagar - Aurangabad - Jalna - Lonar.
And estimated travel time is 9 hrs via Navi Mumbai - Ghoti - Sinnar - Kopargaon - Vaijapur - Aurangabad - Jalna - Lonar.

Any suggestions which route will be better from the point of view of road conditions. As far as I have understood from several travelogues that the Pune - Ahmednagar - Aurangabad route is in better shape. Is this true?

I will be spending a complete day at Lonar exploring the crater lake and will be returning to Navi Mumbai on the 3rd day. I have not planned a trip to Ajanta or Ellora as I have been to those places before and am only looking for a lazy getaway to some place I have never been to before.

Any suggestions on route conditions, good places to stop for lunch breaks and fuel breaks or anything which will be helpful for the trip are most welcome. Thanks in advance!
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