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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

India: Ajanta

The Ajanta caves
The caves at Ajanta are not far from Fardapur, but they might as well be a million miles away, they're so pleasant

I made a beeline north from Aurangabad as soon as I could, and stepped from the world of 1950s Christian values into what can only be described as the Twilight Zone. A three-hour journey north soon saw me and Ian, a fellow inmate at the Youth Hostel, booking into a hotel in the little town of Fardapur, a speck on the landscape that has all the atmosphere of a motorway service station.



Something tells me that even an extra Man of God couldn't bring sense to the desperate situation in crumbling Fardapur...

The Ajanta Caves

A cave painting in Ajanta
One of the cave paintings in Ajanta

Still, the Ajanta caves were worth a visit, even if they aren't as spectacular as those at Ellora. Ajanta's main appeal are the paintings inside the caves, which are all Buddhist; they predate the Ellora caves, having been built between 250 BC and 650 AD. Although the paintings are faded they are quite spectacular, and the cool shade offered by the caves creates a beautiful and atmospheric viewing chamber.