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Aurangabad, Ajanta, Ellora bike trip-2nd-4th oct-2014 January 22, 2017

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Total Distance: ~1000 kms

Route: Airoli -> Kalyan -> Nashik -> Manmad -> Nandgaon -> Ellora Caves -> Aurangabad -> Ajanta Caves -> Jalgaon -> Dhule -> Malegaon -> Nashik -> Airoli

Date: 2nd Oct-4th Oct-2014

Who: Me & Abanish Mohanty

In: Royal Enfield 350 cc

First night stop: Aurangabad city

2nd Night stop: Nashik Outskirts

Places of interest: Igatpuri, Ellora caves ; Ajanta Caves, Biwi ka makbara (poor man’s Taj Mahal), Daulatabad, Grishneswar jyotirling

Best time to visit: Monsoon (July to Sept) or Winters (Dec to Feb)

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Monty, the monk inside Ellora caves

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Abanish -after tiring 1st day ride

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Biwi Ka Makbara (Aurangabad)

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Poor man’s Taj Mahal, Aurangabad

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Waterfall – Ajanta Caves

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Igatpuri 

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Biwi ka Makbara-Aurangabad

 

 

 

Maharastra religious Circle: 13th-14th April-2013 June 11, 2013

Maharastra- Religious Circle

Maharastra- Religious Circle

Dates: 5:00AM 13th April 2013 to 6PM 14th April 2013

Map Points: C: Shani Signapur ; D: Grishneswar/ Ellora Caves; E: Shirdi ; F: Trimbakeswar

Route: Airoli -> Pune Expressway -> Pune -> Ahmednagar -> Shani Shignapur -> Aurangabad -> Grishneswar (Ellora or Khultabad  -> Vaijapur -> Shirdi -> Nasik -> Trimbak -> Nasik -> Thane -> Airoli

Total distance: ~800 kms

Overall road quality: 80% was good to very good (~70-100km/hr); 10% was ok (40-70 km/hr) ; 10% was poor (<30 km/hr)

Vehicle: 7+1 Innova.

Toll paid: ~Rs. 500

Places Visited: Shani Shignapur, Grishneswar(one of the 12 Jyotir Ling) , Shirdi Sai baba temple , Triambakeswar (one of the 12 Jyotirling)

Other places of interest:

Mountain views along Pune expressway (Matheran, Lonalve); Old capital city of Daulatabad with its decaying forts & tombs; thousand years old Ellora caves, grape vineyards of Nasik.

Somewhat off route: Ajanta caves near Aurangabad.

To complete all these 3 days are must.

1)      Navi Mumbai – Pune via Expressway:

–          Toll of Rs. 165

–          Eateries/Toilets only near Toll gates

–          Cannot stop on expressway. So cannot really enjoy the scenic route.

–          Huge truck traffic.

–          Average speed: 80-90 km/hr

2)      Pune -> Ahmednagar -> Shani Shignapur:

–          4 lane divided highway, so average speed: 60-70 km/hr

–          The road are infested with Dhabas & eatery options. So eating, refreshing should not be a problem

–          Beware of surprise speed breakers

3)      Shani Signapur Temple:

–          It is the only temple dedicated to Lord Shani

–          Saturday are usually crowded & can take an hour to complete the temple rituals.

–          Oil, teel (sasam seeds) are usual offering to god. Oil is spread over god in an engineered fashion via small tanks & pumps.

–          I advise to take only oil, as other offerings are not allowed on god & so are kind of waste.

–          As the temple popularity is growing, some hotels, lodge etc. have mushroomed. Also have restaurants which serves mainly thalis & snacks.

–          Parking, Bathroom, toilet facility are available near the temple

–          Free shoe stand is also available

–          Beware of shops asking to keep shoes in their stand, as they charge a premium while selling other stuff.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES (but don’t expect high class standards)
Restaurants to eat YES (again don’t expect variety)
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist YES (again they are very dungy)
Shoe stand YES (free just near entrance)
Time taken <1 hr on usual days. Saturdays may take bit longer
Tourist guidance YES & NO. office is there, but officials may be missing
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Not sure
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 6/10.

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4)      Shani Shignapur -> Aurangabad -> Daulatabad -> Grishneswar

–          4 lane divided highway, so average speed: 60-70 km/hr

–          The road are infested with Dhabas & eatery options. So eating, refreshing should not be a problem

–          Beware of surprise speed-breakers

5)      Grishneswar temple:

–          One of the 12 jyotirlings of Lord Shiva.

–          It is not as that crowded as other Jyotirlings

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES (but don’t expect high class standards)
Restaurants to eat YES (again don’t expect variety)
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist Did not find
Shoe stand NO (free just near entrance)
Time taken < 1 hr
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Not sure
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 3/10

–          The whole tourist circuit of Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Ajanta & Ellora caves & Grishneswar temple can take 2 days.

6)      Grisneswar -> Vaijapur -> Shirdi

–          SH-39 is kind of a patchy Village road

–          Average speed is like ~30 km/hr

–          Stretch especially between Grishneswar & Vaijapur is bad.

–          Hardly any dhaba or eating option

7)      Shirdi:

–          One of the most visited religious site in India & supposedly second most richest temple in India.

–          Number of visitors are increasingly exponentially year on year with increasing popularity of Sai Baba.

–          With this growth is coming chaos of typical Indian religious place. Number of hotels are exploding, restaurants are exploding & do the number of touts.

–          Bus stand is near temple & there are number of hotels to choose from within 2 km radius of the temple.

– A railway station has started in Shirdi & daily train from Mumbai is there. Also some long distance weekly connect it to various parts of the country. But still, road is preferred means to reach Shirdi. Buses connect with all major surrounding cities like Pune, Nasik, Mumbai, Thane, Surat etc.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES of all standards. If not booked online in one of the temple trust’s hostel, it’s worthless to try in real time, especially on peak day/ season.
Restaurants to eat YES. Plenty of options. Near Gate No 2, good looking options are there.
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist YES
Shoe stand/ Cloak room YES (Both near Gate No.2 of temple). Mobiles not allowed (deposit near gate No 2)
Time taken Anywhere from 1 hr to 6 hrs
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Allowed.
Cautions –          Beware of touts thru out the town-          Worthless to take flowers, as it never reaches god-          Use shoe stand, instead of shops. They loot like anything.-          Bargain hard on purchases
Some tips –          Best time to go early morning or night-10PM (last) aarti-          Go on weekdays-          Free aarti is better than 300 Rs. aarti (My opinion)
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 5/10

8)      Shirdi -> Nasik -> Trimbak

–          2 lane highway

–          Average speed 40-50 km/hr

–          Passes through heart of Nasik. So all facilities available in tis route.

9)      Trimbak (Trimbkaeswar)

–          One of the Jyotirling & thus holds religious importance among Hindus. It is one of the three sites to hold world famous religious gathering of Kumbh Mela.

–          The village circles around a temple & a pond, supposedly birth place of Indian peninsula’s largest n longest River, Godavari.

–          The picturesque temple is surrounded by hills & give a hint of Kedarnath (in Uttaranchal) style location.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay Basic. For better options, Nasik is the place to stay
Restaurants to eat YES , but Basic.
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist Should be there near Pond (bathing place)
Shoe stand/ Cloak room YES (near entrance of the temple). Mobiles not allowed
Time taken Anywhere from 1 hr to 3 hrs. On festivals, it may take a day
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February). Monsoon will be very picturesque
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 5/10

10)   Nasik -> Thane -> navi Mumbai

–          Lovely 4 lane highway with dividers

–          Average speed: 60-70 km/hr

 Overall: the religious circle can be easily done in 2 days (except seasons n festivals). It can be clubbed with sight seeing in Aurangabad, Ellora caves, Ajanta caves to make it a complete 360 degree tour.

 FEW REQUESTS:

–          PLEASE DONOT LITTER.

–          Respect people’s religious belief & traditions