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Old 15th August 2012, 12:18   #1
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Default Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha

Had done this trip in May. Bit late to write, though thought of writing
particularly about Anwa temple, a little known ancient temple right close to
Ajintha caves.


Itinerary

Day 1

Pune - Aurangabad - Anwa - an hour spent at the temple - Ajintha - Stay at MTDC
guest house

Day 2

Visit to Ajintha view point the "discovery" point of the ancient caves
Visit to main caves

Day 3

Back to Pune via Aurangabad


Pune-Aurangabad-Ajintha Road quality

Pune - Aurangabad : good

Aurangabad - Ajintha : 2 laned road. Slow traffic though good road. If you go
thinking of Ajintha as "close to Aurangabad", you tend to feel you are "almost
there" as soon as you are at Aurangabad and then the next couple hours feel
like forever as still 100kms left on a 2 lane road.

There are ample fuel stations spread over the entire route.


Directions to Anwa and road quality

Road to Anwa village which is a diversion from Aurangabad - Ajintha road:

Be warned. The road is really bad. You either need a car with good suspension
or a really resilient back!

Particularly avoid in monsoons. (However best time to visit Ajintha caves is
monsoon.)

(Ironically, on reaching the village, when we asked how the road further is, a
villager proudly said "Just like this. Very good road!")

Following route is shown on most map sites, though I am not sure whether it is
right. We saw a right turn to Anwa with a large sign welcoming to "Anwa
Sansthan" much earlier than this map suggests.

GolegaonAnwa in Maharashtra, India | cycling Map | MapMyRIDE

I think, the road we took was rather this:
GolegaonAnwa_2 in Sillod, India | cycling Map | MapMyRIDE

Better to ask at Golegaon after which there is the right turn.

On reaching the village, try to avoid the narrow roads that pass through the
village. We made the mistakes of taking them as someone pointed. The roads were
very narrow and it was difficult to take turns. On return path, we continued
further from the temple instead of a U turn and avoided the same route again.


Directions to Ajintha view point

Road quality is decent except for some bad patches through the villages on the
way.

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/125371601


Good food joints on the way:

Smile Stone on Pune Nagar with ample parking space, good food and overall
cleanliness:
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-ontheway01.jpg

Pass through Aurangabad:
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-ontheway02.jpg

Aurangabad Ajintha road with sparse greenery in summer (inset a co-passenger
enjoying free ride on the outside of the car!)

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-ontheway03.jpg

Last edited by mayuresh : 25th August 2012 at 00:29.
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Old 15th August 2012, 13:38   #2
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Default Re: Trip to ancient temple at Anwa en route Ajintha

The Anwa temple

First heard of this temple in an article in Maharashtra Times (12 May 12 by
Sudhir Joshi). Also found a couple of useful web pages:

Anwa Temple - Anwa Temple Maharashtra, Anwa Temple Aurangabad

Anwa Temple in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India

Believed to be a Vishnu temple originally which may have got later converted to
Shiva temple.

The pictures reminded me of Kopeshwar temple at Khidrapur, near Sangli, I
visited a few years back. Of course Kopeshwar is much larger temple with much
more elaborate and non repeating carvings. While time and weather does take a
toll on such creations, Kopeshwar was somehow in a little better shape.

The place does not appear properly maintained. There was no guard to be seen on
duty. On generally striking a conversation, villagers said that's a common
occurrence for the guards to disappear from the place.

It was generally good to interact with the villagers. Were cordially asked
whether we need anything, offered drinking water and help with further driving
directions.


Having passed through the village, this view comes across as a sudden
surprise making feel the tough ride to reach here was worth it:

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06850.jpg

A closer look
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06853.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-20120525_022.jpg

The information
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-a05.jpg

Jay - Vijay greeting at the entrance (I think).
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-a03.jpg

Carved central dome
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-20120525_020.jpg

The idol
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-20120525_001.jpg

Carvings inside
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-a04.jpg

Beautifully carved exteriors
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06858.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06860.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06861.jpg
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Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06866.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06859.jpg

Another temple (perhaps they call it some Ashram) around. Its Kalas can be
spotted from a distance. That can guide you to reach here.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-a01.jpg

Last edited by mayuresh : 16th August 2012 at 21:17.
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Old 15th August 2012, 16:16   #3
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Default Re: Trip to ancient temple at Anwa en route Ajintha

Stay at MTDC

MTDC guest house is behind the main parking of Ajanta caves. There is no
separate parking for guests.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m06.jpg

Shop keepers' nuisance

On reaching, a couple of guys just helped us up to the resort. We initially
thought they work at the resort itself. Turned out, they were shop keepers who
had their small shops in the adjoining area, of "stones" and other such
mysterious things. They were quite stubbornly inviting to the shops, once we
got hold of the room, and it took a while to get rid of them. Had to assure
that we'll visit their shops the next day.

On next day, too, they virtually chased us when we walked down the shop area.
Wherever we ate, they'd go and say something to the stall owner there as if
they have brought us there, etc.

Quite bad to see such nuisance there.

A decent uncluttered layout
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m04.jpg

Rooms are spacious

The facilities include, 2 a/cs, refrigerator, TV and cupboards. There is a
separate kitchen and a dining area.
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m02.jpg

In the evenings they will attach this swing.You can get a good view of the
sunset from here.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m07.jpg

A polite way to say "don't ask for food here"! There is indeed no food
facility at such a nice accommodation.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m01.jpg

During daytime you can make do with small restaurants on the way to the bus
stop for caves.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m08.jpg

But as the sun sets, everything gets closed. She, too, will be lonely
now...

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m09.jpg

Fortunately this place is indeed just 5 minutes drive. The food is good as
well. Food is very spicy by default. Ask specifically otherwise if you don't
want that way.
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-m05.jpg

PS: Beware of dogs if leaving MTDC T junction area after it is dark -
particularly on foot. (Perhaps those are owned by security guards at the main
entrance, but are definitely scary...)

Last edited by mayuresh : 25th August 2012 at 00:33.
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Old 15th August 2012, 21:09   #4
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Default Re: Trip to ancient temple at Anwa en route Ajintha

The Ajintha View Point

This view point wasn't in our original plan, neither had read anything about it
before. Read the sign on the onward journey and decided to give it a try and
weren't disappointed. It's a good 20+ kms drive and at times you might feel
like lost as once you leave the main road, there are no signs at all.

This is the point where the caves are supposed to have been discovered by a
British officer.

Marathi movie "Ajintha", released just before our trip has been picturized in
this area, giving a lot more fame to this place - said the lone villager we met
here. He had a lot to say about controversies surrounding the historical /
ethnic correctness of the story - a lot of which was discussed in Marathi media
around that time. (No, won't get into those details here!)

No one seen on reaching there contrary to what we expected. I'm pretty sure
this will be crowded in the right season i.e. monsoon or immediately after the
monsoon.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-v01.jpg

No one in the gallery either except for a local villager (and yeah (inset) a
loner keeping a vigil on the whole area!)

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-v02.jpg

Do you see the restaurant? No? You are right. There is absolutely nothing
there besides the board. Perhaps the restaurant exists only on paper.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-v03.jpg

From here you can walk down to the caves. This is not for everyone. It can
be very tiring. Besides you need someone to take your vehicle back to the
caves. You are unlikely to climb back all the way to this point.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06881.jpg

Views of the valley and caves. Surely we came here in the wrong season. This
would be so beautiful in the rains... Definitely plan to visit this place late
in rainy season ..


You can see that small green bus in the photo below. That is the caves' side
end of the bus that takes you there (starting from the T-junction).

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06885.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06890.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06892.jpg

Last edited by mayuresh : 24th August 2012 at 21:34.
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Old 15th August 2012, 21:14   #5
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Default Re: Trip to ancient temple at Anwa en route Ajintha

Ajintha caves : Trivia first
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-b03.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-b02.jpg
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Last edited by mayuresh : 15th August 2012 at 21:19.
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Old 15th August 2012, 21:26   #6
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Default Re: Trip to ancient temple at Anwa en route Ajintha

The caves area:

The "eco-friendly" transport

From T junction is is mandatory to take this bus to the caves area (that is,
you can't take your own vehicle and it's not exactly walkable). The buses are
clean and well maintained. There are a/c as well as non a/c buses. I think the
one we landed up in was a/c, though a/c was almost non functional.

There is fair bit of queue to catch the bus. Sometimes large groups book whole
bus - with just one person in the queue representing a few tens of his group
mates and you are left with no option but to wait for the next bus.

It's about 10/15 minutes drive and some people accept to board standing as
well. But you will be usually too tired to stand again in the bus on your
return journey.

I do not know why these buses are called eco-friendly. They are regular diesel
buses and ironically at the stop the drivers keep the engine running. They are
probably called so because they keep several vehicles from coming near the
caves area.

Cave end bus stop - in a photograph shown from the "view point" in previous
post, this bus appears a small green dot

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-c03.jpg

About getting a guide

Official guide charges here are high. I think Rs 700+. They were not to be
found anywhere. Instead there were some persons, one in each cave, whose
official role wasn't clear to me. (I think they were responsible for showing
"light" in the caves - see below.) They were offering guidance for a small tip,
something like Rs 20. It was useful to take it.

About "light charge", use of camera, flash prohibited

At the entrance, we paid something called "light charge" for the camera. The
rule here is, visitors are not allowed to use flash, though photography is
allowed. The caves are totally dark and there is a certain kind of (I think
LED) light a person there is supposed to show you when you show this receipt
for the light charge.

I do not know how scientific this is. The idea, we were told, is bright flash
lights cause damage the paintings over time.

It was not very convenient to take any photographs this way. So we have taken
really very few.

On the way to the caves, firstly you will come across this shop by ASI. There
are several interesting books over here with full coverage of paintings at
Ajintha as well as other archaeological information.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06902.jpg

Really resent going here in summer. Can just imagine how beautiful all these
snaps would have been during monsoon ...

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-c02.jpg

A view point, different from the one I posted about in previous posts. (The one
I posted about is somewhere on the hill appearing in the background.)

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-c04.jpg

You can take this bridge on the way back after finishing the round of the
caves.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06921.jpg
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06922.jpg

Harmless inhabitants normally, on the way back to the bus stop on the bridge
route

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-c01.jpg

After a tiring walk of the caves area you will definitely need this place
and thank your fortunes that it exists here. This is near the bus stop. The
food is good here. Not very chilly, contrary to what we expected having visited
the other MTDC restaurant at Fardapur the last night.

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06900.jpg

Last edited by mayuresh : 25th August 2012 at 14:28.
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Old 25th August 2012, 11:11   #7
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Default Re: Trip to ancient temple at Anwa en route Ajintha

A few snaps of the carvings

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06915.jpg

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06916.jpg

Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06919.jpg

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Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06954.jpg

A "guide" demonstrating sound effects in a cave
Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha-dsc06947.jpg

Last edited by mayuresh : 25th August 2012 at 14:15.
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Old 27th August 2012, 16:22   #8
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Default Re: Trip to ancient Temple at Anwa, en route to Ajintha

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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