Shirdi to Ajanta Ellora: Via Jalgaon or Aurangabad

#1 Aug 12th, 2008, 17:57
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  • Eklavya is offline
#1
Hello friends,

Just stumbled this wonderful site through a google search. I hope to get my answers here

I am from Delhi and I am planning to visit Shridi and other places around it. I shall reach Shirdi on 17th August (Morning) and I plan to visit Shirdi, Trayambkeshwar and ShaniSignapur temple in these two days (i.e. on 17th & 18th August).

Next I plan to visit Ajanta/Ellora Caves. I read in a website that the nearest Railway station to Ajanat/Ellora is Jalgaon. So I booked my return tickets from Jalgaon for 21st August. My plan was to leave Shirdi on 19th Morning and reach Jalgaon by afternoon. From Jalgaon I was planning to visit Ajanta/Ellora in two days and return to Jalgaon on 20th evening/21st morning so as to catch my train in the evening.

However, recently I came to know through a website that the distance between Shirdi and Ajanta Cave is 143 Km, whereas the distance between Shirdi and Jalgaon is 233 Km.

So would it not be a waste of time to go from Shirdi to Jalgaon (233 Km), staying there and then travel Ajanta/Ellora when I have the option to directly move from Shirdi to Ajanta (only 143 Km) ?

I am really confused What is the best way to visit Ajanta/Ellora from Shirdi ? Should I first go to Jalgaon and then to Ajanata/Ellora OR should I directly proceed from Shirdi to Ajanta/Ellora and then reach Jalgaon to catch my train on 21st ? In case the second option is better, where should I make my base?

Please help.

Regards
#2 Aug 12th, 2008, 21:03
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  • pmvelu is offline
#2
Hi,

When We visited Shirdi We Enquired with MTDC hotel Manager in shirdi [ Maharashtra Tourism Hotel where we stayed] about visiting "Ajanta / Ellora" , and he told , Get a cab and that's the only way. When we enquired about public transportation, he told it's very minimal and asked us to get a Bus to "Aurangabad" and from there Take A Cab to Ajanta /Ellora.Infact one cab guy offered us to Take to both Ajanta / ellora Caves from Shirdi and back to Shirdi Or Drop us at Manmad Jn for 1500 Rs !. We dropped Ajanta/ Ellora Plan anyway !

Yes, You are right and nowhere Jalgaon related to "Shirdi to ajanta/ Ellora Journey".

Thought of sharing our experience and for sure "Other IMers" who did that in Bus / Train will come up with their suggestions !

Regards
Velu
#3 Aug 12th, 2008, 22:12
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  • Sadanand Kamath is offline
#3
Ellora is near Aurangabad while Ajantha is near Jalgaon. Since you are visiting Shirdi, I would suggest you as under:

Shirdi-Ellora (via Vaijapur)
Ellora-Aurangabad (30 kms)
Aurangabad-Ajantha (100 kms)
Ajantha-Jalgaon (55 kms).

While on way to Aurangabad from Ellora, you can also visit Daulatabad Fort and Ghrishneswar Temple (one of the jyotirlingas).

Sadanand
#4 Aug 13th, 2008, 00:41
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  • Eklavya is offline
#4
Thanks for your suggestion Sadanand (thanks to Velu also). Your suggestion appears very convincing. I have few related questions :

We are a group of 6 people (including one small kid). So we must be traveling with our luggages also. So...

"Shirdi-Ellora (via Vaijapur)
Ellora-Aurangabad (30 kms)"

Can the above be manged within a day. I mean should we stay at Aurangabad at night?

Next day..

"Aurangabad-Ajantha (100 kms)"

That must take one full day. Can/Should we stay at Ajantha? Or should we move on the same day to Jalgaon ?

Ajantha-Jalgaon (55 kms) then board the train on 21st ?

Regards

Eklavya
#5 Aug 13th, 2008, 07:28
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  • Sadanand Kamath is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eklavya View Post "Shirdi-Ellora (via Vaijapur)
Ellora-Aurangabad (30 kms)"
Can the above be manged within a day. I mean should we stay at Aurangabad at night?

"Aurangabad-Ajantha (100 kms)"
That must take one full day. Can/Should we stay at Ajantha? Or should we move on the same day to Jalgaon ?
Ajantha-Jalgaon (55 kms) then board the train on 21st ?

Eklavya
I presume, you will hire a Sumo type vehicle for your trip to Ellora. If so, start early morning and visit Ellora, Daulatabad and Ghrishneshwar temple on way to Aurangabad. Stay overnight at Aurangabad.

Next day start early morning for Ajantha. It should take you about 3 hours to reach Ajantha. On the same evening you can reach Jalgaon.

Sadanand.
#6 Aug 24th, 2008, 18:27
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  • Eklavya is offline
#6

My Experience of the journey

Hello ! After successfully completed this tour I am back to Delhi. Here is my documented experience of this journey. Though it may not be very useful to foreign tourists (owing to its religious theme), however, for all Indians who want to make a trip to Shirdi and places around it, my experience may be of some help as there are many lessons that I have learnt during this journey.

As already mentioned in my first post, my plan was to reach Shirdi on 17th morning and catch a train to Delhi on 21st from Jalgaon.

The nearest station to Shridi is Kopergaon (17 Km), however, as no ticket was available for Kopergaon, I bought tickets for Manmad which is 62 Km away from Shirdi.

Lesson learnt : Shirdi is rapidly gaining huge popularity among devotees. If you want a comfortable journey by train, planned it at least three months in advance as tickets get sold out quickly.

We reached Manmad Station on 4.30 AM on 17th. We were a group of 8 people. There we hired a Maruti Van for Shirdi . The driver was demanding Rs 600/- but with a little negotiation he agreed on Rs. 550/-.

We reached Shirdi by Six in the morning. There we tried to rent a room in the Bhawan (of Sai Baba Sansthan). But we were told that the booking in the bhawan will start on 8 AM. Instead of waiting for 2 hours for a room in the bhawan, we preferred to rent a room in the hotel. We rent two rooms for Rs. 800/- each per day in a hotel.

After taking bath etc in hotel, we went to Saibaba Darhshan in the main temple. Here one thing which I would like to mention is that as you proceed towards the temple, many touts (actually agents of shopkeepers selling Prasad, flowers etc) will approach you and offer you a shortcut visit to the temple. Many will say that they can manage a baba darshan in 15 minutes. Never believe these touts as their prime motive is to sell items from their shops to the customers. They cannot arrange a quick Darshan as the administration in the temple is very strict and does not allow any paid shortcut.

Though there is a separate line for Defense personnel only. Here also only those persons who are serving in the Defense forces can enter with their family.

Lesson learnt: Don't believe on touts for a quick darshan. Unless you are a defense personnel or a political bigwig, directly go to the normal queue for devotees and wait for your turn.

It took us three and half hours standing in queue before we can reach the main statue of Baba. Here the military personnel are very rude and they will push you to go forward and you will not be allowed to stay even for a few seconds before the main statue. (A feature common in almost all big temples of India). Probably the pressure of managing so huge a crowd in the temple forces them to behave in such a rude manner.

Lesson learnt: Mobiles and Camera are a strict no-no in the temple premises. It would be better for you to leave them in your hotel room itself as there is a separate (& very long) queue just to deposit them. Better if you leave your shoes/sandals also in the hotel room. This will save your time.

Lesson learnt : Though Mobiles and camera are not allowed, eatable are allowed inside the temples. Even there are stalls for Bisellary, fruity, ice-cream & biscuits etc inside the queue area. Make sure you enter into the temple with at least 2 bottles of water. It will be very helpful especially if you have children with you. Standing 3-4 hours in a queue can be very demanding at times.

After darshan of the baba, we roamed in the temple complex and visited the Museum, Book store and have some snacks. Then after taking lunch in a nearby hotel, we proceeded for Shani Singnapur. Again we hired a Maruti Van for Rs. 550/-. (to and fro).

Shani Singapur is a world famous temple of Shani Dev where a black stone symbolic of Shani Dev is worshipped and offered mustard oil. Here women are not allowed to offer oil to the Shani Dev Stone. Even men are allowed only when they take a bath and wear a special clothe (a sort of towel/gamacha of orange colour). You are not allowed to wear anything except then towel while offering Mustard Oil on the Shani Dev Stone. Even that towel must be wet. You will get the towel and other Prasad in any of the near buy shop in the denomination of Rs. 101, 121 & 151. You will have to separately buy the mustard oil which comes with a minimum price of Rs 60/-.

Lesson learnt : It is better to take mustard oil with you instead of buying it from any shop there. It is too costly and comes in very small quantity.

After offering Oil, we returned to Shirdi on that very night.

Lesson learnt : During the journey, two times we had to pay toll tax of Rs 15/- each. As we have not decided it in advance with the driver, our total journey costs Rs. 580/. So before making any journey in hired vehicle, clarify in advance as to who will pay the toll tax. Ideally it should be included in the lumsum payment which is decided initially.

Next day (18th) was Monday and we planned to visit Tryambkeshwar (one of the 12 Jyotirling of Lord Shiva) and Nasik. However, as it was the Monday of the month of Shravan (the pious month of Lord Shiva), we were told by most tourist operators at Shirdi that it would be futile to go to Trayambkeshwar as there will be huge rush there and it might take us 5-6 hours in queue for a Darshan of the Sivalinga. As a result we decided to postpone our visit to Tryambkeshwar temple and spent the whole day in Shirdi shopping and visiting all other temples there.

In the meanwhile we hire a Qualis for the next two days which was to take us to Nasik, Tryambkeshwar, Ellora, Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Azanta and finally to Jalgaon.


While I was checking out from the hotel the next day, the hotel manager told me the same room which we rented for Rs 800/- a day will be available for Rs. 350-400/- from the next day (i.e. 20th). He told me that the price was Rs. 800/- to encash the rush of holiday seasons which started from 14th August and continued till 17th.

Lesson learnt: If you want to save money while your journey to Shirdi, avoid traveling there during holiday seasons (which includes 2-3 days before and after the season). If possible, make a trip on working days to avoid rush at the temple and soaring room prices at hotel.

Next day (19th) we check out from our hotel and started for Trayambkeshwar. Our luggage were with us (tied on the roof of the Qualis). Our first destination was Muktidham at Nasik which is a temple like Birla Mandir of Delhi. There are idols of almost all Hindu God/Goddess here. If you proceed from Shridi to Nasik, this will be the first sight seeing point.

Next we reached Tryambkeshwar temple. It is 23 Km away from Nasik. Here it took us two hours standing in queue for Darshan of the Shivalinga.

Next we visited the Panchvati at Nasik. It is the ancient place related to incidents of Ramayana. It is believed that during his 14 year exile period, Lord Rama lived here with Sita. There are many temples here. But the most beautiful place is the Godavari Ghat at Nasik. The river presents an almost divine look.

We spend too much time sitting on the ghats. As result when we returned to Qualis, we realized that it is 7 PM evening and we needed to reach Aurangabad on that very night if we wanted to visit both Ellora and Ajanta the next day.

Lesson learnt : Always consult with your driver (a local ) as to how much time you should spend on visiting a sight. Overstaying on one particular sight may drastically reduced the time for other sight or may results in other problems as happened to us.

We started for Aurangabad which was 150 Km (approx) from Nasik. (I have forgotten the exact distance). As it was already dark, and the roads were empty with no sign of population on either side, it appeared to be a lonely and fearful journey. Ideally we should have started by 4-5 PM in the evening for Aurangabad. However, we were late by 3 hours. In any case, the driver was a skilful young man who assured us that there was no need to worry and we should reach Aurangabad in 3-4 hours.

Since Ellora was 23 Km (apprx) nearer to Aurangabad, we decided to cut short our journey and stay at Ellora itself. We reached Ellora at 11 PM. It was night, roads were empty and there were not many hotels there. We could only saw a few lodge where no rooms was available. However, luckily we came across a guy who was the manager of a Shiv Ashram near the Grishneshwar temple (another jyotirling of lord Shiva). He agreed to provide us a room in the Ashram which was just behind the Grishneshwar temple. The room rent was just Rs. 300/- (& Rs 200/- deposit). We spent the night there and in the next morning we proceeded towards Grishneshwar. We reached there by 7.45 AM.

As it was early morning, the there was almost no rush and we could visit the Jyotiring quite comfortably from extreme proximity. We even sat near the Shivlinga for a few minutes. The priests told us that since there is no rush of the devotees, we could even perform a ritual puja there under their guidance (which of course would be a paid service).

Lesson learnt : If you plan to visit a Jyotirling or any famous temple, try to reach there early in the morning (i.e. before 8 AM). This will ensure a proper Darshan and save your valuable time.

After a visit at the temple, we started for Ellora. These word famous caves are also within a 5 minutes drive from Grishneshwar. Here we had to hire two autos as the private vehicles are not allowed to roam inside the caves area. The rate for hiring an auto for visiting the caves is Rs. 120/- . This appears to be a fixed amount as every auto driver was asking this much amount. However, it is advisable to visit the caves using autos as they span a very large area and it is almost impossible to visit all the caves on feet. This is particularly important when your time is limited.

In Ellora, apart from professional guide (who took Rs. 450/- on average), the employees, who were posted on each cave to keep a watch on visitors (to prevent any harm to these word famous caves), also offered to act as a guide for the respective caves they are monitoring. I think most of them would agree on telling us about these caves for just Rs 20-30/ only. However, I did not take their service and prefer to understand the sculptures myself. But it is only at Ajanta that I realized that it was a big mistake not to take their service as a guide. For a paltry some of Rs 20/-, these employees of Archeological survey of India told us so much fascinated facts and attributes of those world famous paintings that we all got stunned.

Lesson learnt: While at Ajanta and Ellora, spend Rs 200/- (Rs 20 for 10 caves), for these employees who will offer their guiding service to you. Your whole perception of these caves will change after listening to their description. I have missed this at Ellora. Learn from my mistakes and don't ignore taking their services.


From Ellora we visited Aurangabad and covered BhadraMaruti Temple (one of the only two temples of Lord Hanuman where his statue is lying on the floor), 'Bibi Ka Makbara' (the tomb of Aurangjeb's wife which looks like a mini Tajmahal), the Daulatabad Fort (I could not visit it in detail as it is really big and requires a full day) , and finally Ajanta (I have already described about Ajanta in the Ellora's description. Please follow my advice and hire those employees as guide).

From Ajanta, we moved to Jalgaon which was 55 Km away. Here we took two rooms in a guest house near the Railway Station. Here we made payments to the driver which was as follows in Km.

The journey of 2 days from
From Shirdi to Nasik to Aurangabad to Jalgaon = 517 Km.

As payment was to be made from starting point (i.e. we had to pay the cost of driver's going back to Shirdi)

So From Jalgaon to Shirdi = 280 Km.

Total 517 +280 = 797 Km.

The charge for Qualis was Rs 7 per Km i.e. 797*7 = Rs 5579
Halting charge for driver = Rs 300.

So the total cost of this Qualis trip was Rs 5879 ie. Almost Rs 5880/-.


Next day we spent the morning visiting the local market of Jalgaon. We visited the famous Phule market, have lunch and finally catch the train at 4:50 PM to reach Delhi the next morning.

One more thing which I have not mentioned above is my dissatisfaction with the food that I got there. In most places, the food was not up to the mark with limited variety. The only Dal you will get there will be the Dal of Arhar (Tuar Dal). Don't expect any Dal Makhani there (The Sabut Urad Dal - a very popular dish of North India). Probably my eating preference at Delhi are the cause of this dissatisfaction.

Setting aside my dissatisfaction with food, I found people of Maharashtra extremely cooperative, simple, down to earth and very honest. There has been no arrogance or bluntness in their language. I have come with a great respect for the people of Maharashtra. I wish to go their again and again.

I have documented my journey in so much detail so that it can prove to be of some help to other fellow Indians. Another reason is that may be, if I go there again in next few years, I can recall my own experience and apply the lessons I have learnt in this journey.

Regards,

Eklavya
#7 Aug 24th, 2008, 20:50
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  • Sadanand Kamath is offline
#7
Thanks for sharing your experience and giving useful information.

Sadanand
#8 Aug 24th, 2008, 21:24
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  • skk is offline
#8
Great post - even for a confirmed atheist such as me. Thank you. And, as someone who speaks Marathi, sort of - thanks for the nice comments about Maharashtrians - even THEY wouldn't go that far !

-skk
#9 Sep 12th, 2008, 17:51
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  • pmvelu is offline
#9
That's a Fantastic post Ekalvya !..

Real nice useful info !
#10 Sep 13th, 2008, 04:33
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  • wsminkapila is offline
#10
Eklavya: Perfect is the word... Described every single thing & your experience beautifully. Om Sai Ram
#11 Sep 13th, 2008, 08:24
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  • edwardseco is offline
#11
Quote:
I found people of Maharashtra extremely cooperative, simple, down to earth and very honest. There has been no arrogance or bluntness in their language. I have come with a great respect for the people of Maharashtra. I wish to go their again and again.
Excellent summing up Eklavya. That about sums up my views although I could kill for Shrikand and Chicken Kolhapuri. I found Maharashtrans to be very blunt and direct which is one the reasons I immediately liked the people. Straight speaking wonderful people just like North Texans..

Side note is I did some of this by bus. Now I want to get a car & driver..
Last edited by edwardseco; Sep 13th, 2008 at 11:22..
#12 Oct 4th, 2008, 13:26
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  • jerry1 is offline
#12

Booking for day tour, Ajanta/Ellora

Hi Folks,

My family (4 adults)arr. in Aurangabad at about 8.35 pm from Mumbai on the no. #2071 train.
My request for advice and suggestions is:
I would like to book a tour the next day for Ajanta or Ellora.....any website, tel. nos., please.
At the moment I seem to be only asking,hopefully my turn will come to helping other members with advice in the near future.
Thanks to this wonderful site and the kind and generous help I am getting from members.
Jerry
#13 Dec 8th, 2008, 00:14
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  • Lakshmana is offline
#13

Any one can offer good hotel details in Aurangabad

Hi Folks,

I need few hotel names and tariff in Aurangabad (Below 1000 range) Can any of you offer some help.

Regards
Lakshmana
#14 Jan 5th, 2010, 15:15
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  • AnuChhibber is offline
#14

Want to travel from Aurangabad to Shirdi

Hi

I want to board flight from Delhi to Aurangabad and want to visit Ajanta, Ellora and Shirdi. Request if someone can help me on following information:

1. What should be the sequence of visit. Which place should I visit first to shorten my trip to minimum number of days
2. Any hotel information for staying.

Thanks
#15 Jan 5th, 2010, 22:16
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  • darth_lucifer is offline
#15
Ellora stay in Hotel Kailash right besides the cave

Ajantha stay in MTDC resort over there(You can reserve this online)

You can do aurangabad-ellora-Ajantha-auranagabad route

Shirdi is on a different circuit altogether so you can do it before ellora and Ajantha or after it
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