Monday, October 15, 2012

Phulambari was it ?

The pleasure of going on a random trip remains, now with my companion- my wife. I had been to Ajanta Ellora before, but for some reason the only memory I had of the travel were travelling in a three wheeler from point A to point B. All other memories of the mode of travel were wiped out.

Trip 2 made me realise that point A was Phulambri and point B was Ellora. In trip 1, I had first gone to Pune, stayed at my friend's place for a day and from there taken a bus to Aurangabad. We had seen Bibi ka makabra in Aurangabad somewhere towards the twilight, Ajanta sometime in the morning and Ellora again sometime during the evening.

I cannot re construct the trip well but from what I recall, we had reached Aurangabad towards Day 1 evening from Pune, checked into a hotel and then had our dinner along with some wine. My friend could not complete his peg and so I had to help him. I remember his saying that we can leave the alcohol on the table, but then my respect for alcohol came in the way. On day 2 early morning, we had taken a Bus to Ajanta, seen Ajanta, had our lunch in the MTDC hotel at the foothill and met this charming foreign lady who was re living her mother's trip from many years back. We had then left Ajanta, got down at Phulambari, waited for a long time for a bus, then given up and hired an overpriced three wheeler towards Ellora.

On Day 2 we had also visited Bibi ka Makabara and my friend used his newly bought camera for some artistic twilight shots. We then were at a loss as to our return mode. As there were no buses available, we had to had to hire a taxi upto Pune. The taxi stopped somewhere for dinner, I forget the name of the place. I eat my normal course of two tandoori rotis, and my friend around 7-8. For the fist time I realised that people in this world can eat a lot more than three tandoori rotis. We reached Pune around 3 AM on day 3, my friend refused to take any money for the taxi, dropped me at the wakad phata and took the taxi to his home. I took a KSRTC bus and sat somewhere near the driver and came back to Mumbai.

Trip 1 was in 2007. I had just taken up a job after my MBA and was mighty frustrated and just wanted to take time out.

Trip 2 was in 2012. I had now discovered and started using google maps, forums, indiarailinfo, and GOI's tatkal scheme.

Sine My saturdays have beed made working, the trip was a trifle tight one.

Day 1 : Wifey called up and told me tatkal tickets were available in the train from Jalgaon, in which I had bought second class tickets for day 2. She went ahead and bought them and cancelled the second class tickets. I was on my way to work then. I left work around 12:30, reached home around 1. A few arguments on mangalsutra ensued, and we were almost about to miss the janshatabadi to aurangabad from dadar. We nearly ran upto Sion station and somehow got into a train towards dadar, and reached dadar exactly 5 minutes before the Janshatabdi''s departure time.

I have travelled in Jan shatabdi's before. They can be pretty draining for the fact that you need to remain in a sitting posture for 5-6 hours. Janshatabdi's also come in two forms. One is really congested, the one in which I went to Ratnagiri for the first time and a bit less congested types in which i have been lucky enough to travel 3-4 times. But still the trip does dran oneself. IN hindsight, I would have taken the Jabalpur Garib Rath from Dadar, got down at Manmad, and taken the Janshatabdi from Manmad to Aurangabad.

In this trip I met a 62 year old Muslim uncle whose job was to pray for couples who do not have children. In this trip he was going to pray in some shrine in Aurangabad. The last time he had gone to Nagpur. I met another 45-50 year old gentleman who works in the security department in SBI. He asked me stuff about my salary, my job etc. He was critical of Gen X who do not know anything but want easy jobs. He is apparently in some interview panel for SBI.

We reached Aurangabad around 8:30. Took a longish bus to MGM hospital where we were staying with Wifey's friend for the night. The trade off was between an auto and a Bus ride.

Day 2: Surprisingly we could wake up at around 6:30 AM and took an auto for the Bus stand towards Ellora. The auto guy informed us that Aurangabad has two bus stands, so that different buses headed in two different directions do not need to enter the city. A very good idea indeed.

He also asked us not to take the Ellora bus in which the fare was around 230 per head, but rathar a Bus towards Kannad. I misunderstood him and took a bus ticket for Kannad rathar than Ellora. We tried to negotiate with the conductor to exchange the tickets, but he did not relent.

We were pleasantly surprised when we reached Ellora in 30-35 minutes with almost no hassel in a maharastra State transport bus. We took a auto to take us to a few far flung caves, which really weren't far and completed our tour by 11 ish. We also went around Ellora to see the Grineshwar jyotirling.

We left Ellora for Khuldabad to take a Bus towards Phulambri but very soon realised that we had missed the 11:30 AM ST bus and the time of the next bus was a random function. Luckily we got a three wheeler, which this time was shared with a few other locals.Throughout the trip the auto driver kept gesturing to three wheelers coming from the other side asking whether the police were checking the vehicles on the road ahead. He informed me that his vehicle was licensed to carry only three passengers but was carrying around 7-8, which was a minor hassel. The major hassel was that his vehicle was a private vehicle and was not suppose to carry any passengers.

Luckily neither did the police choki happen to us nor did the driver develop any cold feet midway in the journey. THroughout I kept tracking our GPS location, least we had to travel the rest of the distance towards Phulambari on our feet. We had our lunch at Phulambri, as is our wont on travel with lots of Salad. We then took another ST bus to Ajanta, which just took another one and half hour.

In Ajanta wifey dropped the tickets and panicked a bit before everything was set right. We left Ajanta at 6:30 PM and reached Jalgaon at around 8 PM. We then had a heavy dinner at Jalgaon, got offended by a co passenger and safely reached home, the next day morning.