>Travel Pictures



February 2008

We hit the town of Aurangabad for the express reason of seeing the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Ellora and Ajanta. While much of our time in the town itself was taken up with food (finding places to have dinner, buying vegetables, eating breakfasts, etc.), we did get to see a bit of the city on our way back and forth to the caves, the fort at Daulatabad and the baby Taj Mahal.

The grapes were in season, and we certainly helped put a dent in the city supply. Our favorite purchases were the grapes, apples, and strawberries that we found everywhere, while the potato and carrot stalls proved to be more elusive. 

On the roads, the sights rivaled anything we'd seen in our time cruising around Rajasthan. Unusual were the camps that were set up at various places - almost looking like those o migrant workers in to tend the fields. Cows and buffalo were everywhere, interestingly enough with horns that were often painted. We saw pure blue, blue and red striped, and orange/white/green stripes (India's colors). Of course, a cow is one of the most valuable possessions one can have, so it was no surprise to see them getting washed alongside the road.

Coming back from the Ellora caves, we visited Aurangzeb's tomb. He was the son who overthrew Shah Jehan (he of Taj Mahal fame), imprisoned his dad in Agra fort, and ruled as a strict Muslim Mughal leader (and whose name became attached to Aurangabad). He had actually decreed that he was to be buried in a simple dirt grave, but the British disinterred him and 'replanted' his remains in a somewhat more ornate setting. The mosque area where he now rests has become the final home of a number of Aurangabad's more famous sons and daughters, including one whose tomb is presided over by a 400 year old hanging decoration made of ostrich eggs!
Outside the walls of the mosque, life goes on as it has for centuries: curious kids come to see what the foreigners are up to, while housewives stroll with a baby under an arm and a load of wood on the head.

And our kids got to see how real tandoori roti is made - Breck even took a spell behind the counter!

We went to a government sponsored shop that employs women working on the traditional machines to teach and preserve the techniques of this weave. Rather than working off a written pattern, huge bunches of strings are tied with specific knots in a predetermined fashion to relay the color and type of stitch to use at a particular area. 

Back in town, Susan wanted to do a little shopping, so she asked Jayved (our driver for the weekend) to take us to a shop that made Himroo material. Apparently this is a locally made only technique that involves weaving golden colored thread into the stitches themselves, and so makes a fascinating study of old customs still kept alive.

Neat stuff, and we made some purchases, but Breck was sure more interested in playing cricket with the shopkeeper's sons!!

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