Piklu has again thrown up during lunch. He is not eating anything and his mom is getting impatient about his health. I was in a fix as to what to do. We decided that Jayeeta will wait somewhere in the caves while I go around and take snaps. These snaps would be our only memory for the future.
We took our lunch in MTDC hotel Kailash which is just beside the Ellora caves. Food was decent and the price was also moderate. I was really delighted to come to a non inflated Indian tourist spot. Piklu was initially very energetic as we walked into the restaurant. There was one bunch of beautiful young ladies sitting at a distant table.
Immediately after entering the restaurant my son had a loud chat session with those ladies for the first five minutes (the time when his mom was in ladies’ room). He was shouting at top of his voice in his own language and those ladies responding to the child’s screams and being part of his fun.
I thought Piklu has recovered from his travel sickness and he would not have any problem with his lunch now. But actually when we tried to feed him we realized that the problem is far from being over. In fact he has vomited again in the restaurant. I realized that the girls have left and Piklu has come back to his normal behavior.
Ellora caves are just beside the hotel. In fact, this proximity to the caves helped the climax of the Ray’s film where three of feluda’s associates visiting the caves in the early morning hours and busting the gang responsible for stealing Indian heritage.
We took our tickets and reached cave 16 or the Kailsh temple.
-Well it is 1:30 pm now. Please come back by 3:30 pm. Ilyas told us as we were about to proceed towards the caves.
-Why? Is there any time fixed for our coming back. This is not what I discussed with your agency. I was totally irritated.
-No, I just wanted to say that it would take two and half hours to reach Ajanta. He ate his words, seeing my reaction.
-I know. I have already planned to reach there by 8 pm and that is how I discussed from the day one.
Ilyas didn’t have anything else to say after my firm reply.
-Guide sir guide! Very economical sir.
-No thanks. I tried to check my expenses as I am already been robbed enough in this three days trip.
-Idhaar har paththar kuchh kaheta hai, sir. Aap ko unki bhasha aati hai. Nehin to sab kuch sirf paththar dikhega. (here all rocks tell you a story. If you don’t understand their language you will see only rocks).
I didn’t pay any heed to those last words as I was crossing the rock garden. The whole of the garden was abuzz with tourists from all over the globe most of whom were busy in taking beautiful snaps of the enchanting architecture of the temple. I also got busy in taking snaps of everything there from all possible angles
The Kailash Temple is the most important, most beautiful and central cave of a row of 34 caves. This is one of the 17 Hindu caves or should I say a Hindu temple. I came to know that this mountain was initially covered with thick white coat to give it a look of a snowy mountain (Hindu god Shiva lives on Kailash). The moment I came to know the name of the cave, I remembered Satyajit Ray’s famous Bengali film Kailashe Kelenkari.
After crossing the main gate of the temple we came inside a courtyard. I was stunned by the beauty of the U – shaped yard. One huge elephant welcomed us to the court yard. The trunk of this elephant was broken though. In the middle of the courtyard lies the original temple flanked by huge rectangular pillars on two sides. These were punctuated with carved with sculpted panels and sculptures of various deities.
The side walls of the temple was also full of carved animals like elephant, lions and other animals carved out beautifully from the rocks. The main temple is that of lord Shiva. All the four sides of the temple had various postures of Shiva carved out by the ancient architects.
We were not feeling like coming out of this cave as history mixed with golden architecture made this place heavenly. But this experience at the beginning of our trip only made our expectations to rise.
By this time both Jayeeta and Piklu were exhausted. They decided to rest under a tree while I carry on my visit to other caves. It was 2 in the afternoon, and the sun was at the scorching us alive. One small cap was not enough to keep the toddler going.
My spirits were still up and I decided to continue with the Caves 1 – 15. These are mostly Buddhist caves. These caves had Buddha statues in different postures and forms. I liked cave 6 the most. It has got some beautiful sculptures some of which suggested some Hindu deities. Cave 11 is unique in a way that it was initially a Buddhist cave but later on Hindus took it over as the Buddhists have abandoned the cave.
The history in these caves has a lot of tales to tell. In fact each stone has a different story to tell. The details written in front of each cave are not enough to give you the true essence of Ellora history. I felt that I would have appreciated the beauty better if I were a history student.
By the time I was done with first 15 caves it was 4 pm and I was hardly left with any energy to continue further. I knew that I have missed some other Hindu and Jain caves in Ellora but this was enough for me. In the end it became little boring too. I remembered what the guide at the main entrance was saying. May be I should have checked the history of the place before visiting Ellora.