Friday, January 15, 2016

Amazing Ajanta caves

We arrived in Aurangabad several hours later than expected last night (delayed India flight... no surprise there) but everyone was still in good spirits. We're staying at the Lemon Tree Hotel Aurangabad, which is very nice.

It even has a fancy pool area

This morning we drove about 2 hours to the Ajanta caves.  Created by  Buddhist monks over 2200 years ago (yup, that's 200 BC), there are over a dozen caves.  We went inside just five of them.

If you look behind our goofy boys, you can see the various cave entrances dotted in the hillside behind them.

The whole complex is awe-inspiring.  Carved statues flank nearly every entrance to the caves

Look at the paintings on one of the cave walls ... and remember these were done thousands of years ago.  Incredible detail.

Mesmerizing Buddhist statues

Inside one of the caves was a giant Buddhist stupa temple. Kneeling before it were a bunch of Buddhists, all tourists, praying

Next we drove to Ellora Caves.  These cave / temples / statues / carvings were literally etched out of the mountain in 750A.D.  With hand-held chisels, the monks dug into the rock and created an entire temple complex.

The caves offered awesome backdrops for photos.  I have probably 30 more photos I'd love to post but the internet is so slow tonight that it has taken me hours to load the photos I selected already and we have an early start tomorrow.  So here are just a few of the best ones:

Lindsay and Lillian

Ms. Isabella:  Who is nursing a very sore toe but being totally brave.

Pilar and Erica

The boys

The St. Michael's crew

Quick side story:  On the way into the caves, we bought a newspaper funnel filled with "snacks"... which translates into a bizarre mix of nuts, crushed crackers, corn and perhaps some bread product.  Not sure what is in it, but it tastes OK.

We were busy munching away on our "snacks" when a very cheeky monkey ran straight up to Jordan, snatched the food from his hand and ate them all up. So naughty!!

Second side story:  Wherever we go, we are constantly asked to pose in people's photos.  I have no idea why.  But it's a little like being a rock star: always being asked if people can take their photograph with us.  Kind of flattering and kind of creepy... all at the same time.

An entire class of school kids begged us to be in their photo

A family handed Lindsay their child, just so they could get her picture.

Last, look at the colors of India.  Truly breathtaking

We leave tomorrow morning early for the second Miracle Foundation orphanage: Dreamland. This home is so remote we will be actually living at the facility with the kids.  There is also no internet so I'll be out of touch for several days. Don't miss me too much.

Here is something to consider.  We see Indian families every day who live in tents and houses made literally from sticks.

While we get to stay in fancy hotels with door men and room service.  No where do you seriously confront the "there, but for the grace of God, go I" sentiment quite so sincerely as in India.  A humbling country.


Derek Maingot said...

Keep the posts coming... take lots of notes while you're offline!

Unknown said...

One day I hope to see these...your blogs keeps us with you


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