It was a hurriedly planned trip. The Guy's sister, brother-in-law and niece were in town, and they asked if we wanted to accompany them. I've always wanted to go, and the Guy and I had been trying to plan a visit. My mom's an enthusiastic traveller too. So there we were in a car hurtling towards Aurangabad.
I am so glad we went. My only regret was that we had too little time. From all I had read, I expected Ajanta to be wonderful, and Ellora much less so. But the Guy and I enjoyed Ellora (where we got to spend only a couple of hours) thoroughly. If I had a choice I would go there again rather than to Ajanta. Ajanta has luminous - now sadly decayed - art. But Ellora has magnificent sculpture. See for yourselves. The first picture is of Ajanta and the next two of Ellora. But pictures really don't do the caves justice - it's dark inside and you're not allowed to use a flash in most of the ones in Ajanta.
On our way back we stopped by some temple that the in-laws wanted to visit. The place was filthy and stank strongly. We needed to go to the loo but when my mom enterprisingly looked into the public toilet she found it covered in shit. People came over and asked if we needed 'arrangements for bathing'. Apparently it was auspicious to bathe before you go into the temple. (In those bathrooms? I didn't ask.) We waited by the car for the in-laws to come back.
The Guy pointed out to the next car, where a little boy peed out of the car door. The rest of the inhabitants seemed unconcerned.
I fumed. "Why doesn't he go pee on his mother instead?"
"Maybe he does," suggested the Guy.
"Yeah, but why don't they just pee on each other instead of dirtying the rest of the place?"
A little while later, the lady who was sitting by the car window (I assume she was the little boy's mom or some other relative) dropped her hanky. Right near you-know-where. And another boy helpfully picked it up and gave it back to her, and then trod over the ground barefoot. I wonder what their house looks like - actually, I'd prefer not to think about it.
Something else I prefer not to remember is the sight of all those men clad in nothing but dhotis. "The sight of all these topless men is enough to turn me off for a year," I said to the Guy. (Thankfully, I was proved wrong.)
But I would like to go back to Ellora and walk within those cool walls again.