Pat and Richard in India and Nepal travel blog

LK, Vicky and Matt on the roof seats

The view from the top of the truck

Bush Camp at Karwand Dam

Ajanta Caves

Carvings inside the caves

Only a reasonably short drive today (3.5 hours) after our visit to the fort at Mandu, to reach our next bush camp at Karwand Dam. We had been promised a surprise and we jokingly said there must be a swimming pool - well, it wasn't quite a swimming pool, more a muddy pond but after a day of sightseeing and travelling in the heat and humidity, it looked like heaven to us!

Our drive was again through rural areas surrounded by hills, and on these quiet roads we were able to open up the roof seats and take turns to sit up there and watch the world go by.

We arrived at camp during the afternoon and got set up next to the dam - lovely views, it was a great spot for a camp. Raffiq set to work making pakoras and other nibbles for our afternoon drinks and curry for tea while we went down to the pond for a soak. We have an early start tomorrow for the drive to Ajanta to visit the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples and caves.

It was a 5.5 hour (250km) drive to Ajanta where we visited the caves.

These caves date from 200BC to 600AD and are cut out of the solid rock hillside. They contain beautiful temples and monasteries decorated with carvings and frescoes and are very well preserved. When the caves at Ellora were constructed in around 500 AD, the Ajanta caves became disused and the jungle took over, covering them with vegetation. They weren't rediscovered until 1819 when a British hunting party stumbled across them.

There are 30 caves and not all are open to the public. The paintings inside are beautiful and the colours still strong - they used only 6 colours, 5 of them being made from local minerals and the 6th a stunning blue made from lapis lazuli from Central Asia. There are still indentations in the floor of the caves where they used to mix up the colours. The caves were just amazing when you consider that they were carved out of the hillside with chisels and took years to complete. We were blown away by them.

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