I had been considering 3 places to explore that are well off the beaten track, namely the Thar Desert, Cherrapunji, and Aurangabad. After much deliberation, I decided on going to Cherrapunji and Aurangabad. All three of these options offered me what my heart truly desires. Going deep into the country to experience something that nobody else that I will meet in the United States will be able to compare to. I decided to skip the Thar Desert because I felt that despite the awesome desert ambiance and the truly cool ballooning they offered that those activities could be done somewhere else in the world.
However, seeing the fantasy living tree bridges of Cherrapunji and the phenomenally amazing, giant, sculpted caves of Ellor and Ajanta were more unique in this world. I feel that if I miss these two locations I will never have the opportunity to see them again. And so my excitement grows daily about this new portion of my upcoming adventure.
Ok. I need a minute. Who goes to remote regions in India just for the fun of it? This guy. Adam.
Planning Aurangabad’s Famous Caves
The Ellora and Ajanta caves. Going to Aurangabad means I will get to see these amazing caves! The Ajanta cave is about 2.5 hours away from the Ellora Caves. The Ellora Caves are about a half hour from the town of Aurangabad. The hotels out there look bad! The traveling infrastructure needs to be fixed so I could be stranded out there a bit – don’t tell my father, he doesn’t like the idea already.
Things to know – Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesday, Ajanta Caves are closed on Monday. Both caves close at sunset.
There are 3 flights from Delhi to Aurangabad daily all at no great times. Either 3 am, 5 am, or 3:30 pm. This means I’ll either be a complete wreck when I get there or arrive at night. Something I’m trying to avoid for security reasons.
I assume that I will arrive in the afternoon but be extremely tired so instead of trying to see a cave before it closes at sunset I hope to drive to the Ajanta Caves before night falls and stay overnight, exploring the cave in the morning. I understand that the cave takes about 4-5 hours to enjoy. So afterward head back to Ellora Caves and book into a hotel as it will be too late to enjoy those caves. Then the next morning see Ellora caves and if there is time see Aurangabad caves and the surrounding interesting spots in town.
The hope is to be able to leave before nightfall on a plane. I cannot tell if there is a direct flight from Aurangabad to Cherrapunji
Tree bridges! Cherrrapunji is an interesting place. What I want to see is the living tree bridges crafted by the tribes after a deep hike into the remote region of Cherrapunji. Happily, there is an airport not too far away. Once I land, there is about a 3.5-hour car ride ahead of me that will bring me to the start of the hike to see the living tree bridges. Along the way, there are phenomenal waterfalls and interesting caves to explore, and even a magical forest to see along the way.
The flight into the region from Aurangabad will begin with a 2 am wake-up to make a 5 am plane to Delhi. Then I will fly again from Delhi to the Cherrapunji region arriving at about 4 pm. The roads there are much rockier and not suitable for driving fast so I will likely stay at a hotel near the airport. From there, as I alluded to earlier, I will explore waterfalls, caves, and the magical forest and sleep near the start of the hike.
My original hiking plan was to hike down to those living tree bridges, for about 2.5 hours then sleep locally at one of the…. what looked like…. terrible homestays… and in the morning see the tree bridges once again then the waterfall in the area before hiking back up and out back to the car. Where I would likely need to book a hotel at the airport overnight. However, my wife talked me out of this plan. Instead, opting to hike back out from the living tree bridges the same day (3.5 hours to hike out) and staying near the top of the hike before waking up very early again only to go to the airport to fly to Delhi.