The 120° angle

“Bro, you wanna ride pillion?”

And that’s how it started. My 450 km long pillion ride from Aurangabad to Mumbai. It took me 8 long hours to finally reach my hometown. But there it was, finally, “my bed”.

The metal horse.

At 7.30 in the morning when I was still trying to get out of my sleep and figuring out why did I drink last night. I decided to go for a long walk from my bed to the bathroom. Every cell of my body was revolting because of this decision. Still, in sleep and with a taste of old monk still lingering in my breath. I was looking like a drunkard.

After few splashes of cold water and a strong dose of Dantkanti on my teeth, I started gathering my senses. With my heavy eyes, I was trying to figure out my route. I was deciding how the hell am I going to get back to my city.
I was in no mood to take the 6 hours long train journey, which would only manage to make me realize the population explosion our country has. So, the only workable option left with me was to ride a bus. Shivshahi, the luxury bus line of MSRTC runs between Aurangabad and Mumbai.

It has its own pros and cons.
Pros being- It has AC and it is luxury.
Cons- long journey and not so comfortable.

So, if an option was given to chose between a train and a luxury bus. A sensible fellow would anytime go for the latter. And hence I decided to go for the third option, pillion.

Thanks to Rahul, my rider in the black Armour. Who asked me whether I want to join him. I happily said yes as it would kill my boredom of travelling by bus.
For 8 long hours, I travelled pillion on an avenger with our bags as my backrest. Thanks to him that my ride was comfortable.

The yeola road.

Wearing a beanie, glares, hoodie, shorts and floaters I decided to leave. For initial 150kms up to Yeola, the roads were so smooth that we had to ride at a speed of 30kmph. Thanks to the potholes in that area, it made us realize the value of our butts. The occasional speed breakers were so frequent that we started to think that the entire road was a giant speed breaker. Thanks to the speed breakers, potholes and the 120° angle made by my thighs. I realized how painful our butt can be.

Riding the sun

Anyway, no matter how the road was, yet again thanks to Rahul for being an amazing company. After all, it was the experience that matters. I would be honest with you all, I haven’t travelled much. But based on the very little experience I have, I can say that it is always a new experience.
An experience worth cherishing.

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1/3 An unthinkable destination!

2/3 The enchanters of Aurangabad

3/3

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The enchanters of Aurangabad

You don’t live a place until you go there again and again and again. There is always something left. A road not taken, a place not seen, a food that you didn’t taste.

Exactly something like that happened on my 4 day trip to the City of Gates. I was in this beautiful City for 4 long days and yet I wasn’t able to see everything it has to show.

I did manage to check out a few amazing places and here they are.

The showstoppers

Engineering at its best: ( Pan Chakki)

Built-in 1744 to commemorate Hazarat Baba Shah Musafir, who was a Sufi saint who migrated here from Russia. It is famous for its brilliant use of gravitational force and engineering skills. It was originally built to grind the wheat using hydropower. The wheat was later distributed freely to the pilgrims.

Pan chakki

The most Impregnable fort ( Devgiri fort)

A seat of power, wealth and culture. An Impregnable fort which was the capital of the Yadav dynasty in 1338. Although, it was captured by many future Invaders. The reason why it is still called as an Impregnable fort is that it was never captured by force.

The most stunning feature of this fort is it’s mighty Canon which is kept at the top of the fort and a beautiful Bharat Mata temple (Mother India temple).

Devgiri fort (Also known as Daulatabad fort)

The Caves (Ellora)

Situated at just 30kms from the city. The 6th century UNESCO world heritage site has nearly 73 caves carved out of rocks.

The major architecture of this place is it’s world’s most gigantic monolithic rock-cut temple, the Kailas Nath temple. The structure is so massive that it took nearly 200 years to be completed.

Ellora Caves (Kailas temple)

A son’s love (Bibi ka Maqbara)

A symbol of love and one of the few reasons why the city of gates is so famous for. The Bibi ka Maqbara (mausoleum of Aurangazeb’s wife) was built by Aurangazeb’s son Prince Azam Shah for his mother Begum Rabia Durani. The Mini Taj Mahal is a beautifully constructed structure with an intricate design which truly stands as the Taj of Deccan.

Bibi ka Maqbara

That’s not all of it. There are few other places which are sacred sites for many Hindus.

Such as,

Grusuneshwar temple

Just half a Kilometer away from the Ellora caves is a sacred temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the 12th jyotirlinga which is considered sacred in the Hindu religion.

Paithan

One of the few sacred places of the Varkari/warkari sampradaya (Pilgrims) is the birthplace of Saint Eknath and it also has the largest garden in Maharashtra, Dnyaneshwar udyan.

Although I stayed in this beautiful City for a long time, I agree with the fact that I didn’t cover every single thing.

In a way, I am glad that I didn’t. Because now I got a chance to visit this enchanting city one more time and go to every single place that I have missed.

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2/3

An unthinkable destination!

Kanyakumari -rejected

Gokarna -rejected

Dwarka -rejected

After 3 hours of a brainstorming session with my own brain. The city of gates was finalized.

Aurangabad, place with a unique blend of Hindu, Muslim culture. This city is full of surprises.

It took me 6 hours to get here from Mumbai. 6 hours of train travel. 6 hours of “general compartment“.

Boy! I must say, there were people, many people, many many people. I had someone else’s bag on my lap on which someone else’s son was sitting. And that’s was the least weird example of the journey

Once I reached here, I thanked God for opening a Zostel in Aurangabad. They have put the city on the map for bag packers. With a cosy warm feeling, Aurangabad Zostel was an ideal place for my stay.

After a long journey, the only part of my body which was craving for attention was my stomach. I decided to get out and satisfy the needs of my abdomen.

PS: my train journey was pretty normal and even though I wasn’t exaggerating, the people around me were very kind and thanks to them I got a seat.

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1/3

2/3 The enchanters of Aurangabad

3/3 The 120° angle

1.3 Paradise on the eastern coast

When I started packing my bags for my return journey, I realised what an amazing solo trip it has been. Travelling for 2000km and meeting new people, to meditate on the beach at 5 in the morning and of course the most important “FOOD”.

And now on my last day, as I started my journey back to my city. I saw the great bay of Bengal on my right side covered in the sense darkness. And then slowly and steadily as the first rays of the giant ball of light started falling on the bay, the darkness started vanishing and the picture started getting clearer. I believe just like the bay even we need someone to free us from the darkness that surrounds us.

On my way to Chennai, I visited Mahabalipuram where the Pallavas dynasty built some of the oldest temples known to mankind. Proclaimed as a world Heritage site the shore temple is an 8th century temple worth visiting. My journey from pondicherry to Chennai was a 3 hours bus ride which costed me around 110 Rs. And when I reached Chennai I had 15kgs on my back and a hot sun breathing fire on my head. In Chennai I visited one of the oldest temple of lord Shiva called kapaleeshwara and the famous Marina beach.  

This was my first solo travel and there are many more to come. The reason why I travel is that I get a chance to meet new people, people who have their own stories and their own version of reality. Travelling helps you gather a varied range of experience and this type of experience helps you to maintain the plurality in your thoughts. It helps you to accept more than one idea. It helps you to see the world by other person’s view. And that’s when you realise that there are is no good and bad, that there is no positive or negative. There are shades.

3/3

1.2 Paradise on the eastern coast 

Built on the shores of the great bay of Bengal is a statue of the man who changed the fate of the country. For whom ahimsa and satyagraha were the most powerful weapons. The statue of Mahatma Gandhi is so build that it looks upon the vast subcontinent and the people living in it like an elderly tree.

The city of pondicherry is blessed by a breathtaking coastal line.During my stay, people used to sit and Meditate on the beach at 5.30 in the morning and would feel the first rays of the sun. The people here are unique in a way, a group of elderly who were taking a walk along the promenade asked a local shopkeeper to hand a bucket of water and then cleaned the bench which was covered in trash. The beach road is so clean that at night when all the vehicles are banned, you can sit on the road and observe the vast bay. You can see “pondicherry will not be same if you litter” written on the walls along the beach road.

People here are very polite and courteous, however if you come from a Hindi dominated area then you need to brush up on your English-speaking skills. But it will be a little difficult for them to communicate. If you are planning a visit to this city (which you should), then you should visit the Aurobindo ashram. They make sure that your phones are turned off so you can meditate in silence (and yes! No talking). Nearby there’s Arulmigu Manakula Vinaynagara temple (Ganesh temple), the architecture and the evening aartis of this temple are just amazing. You can see an elephant in the premises of the temple and if you want some blessings then you can have them by paying them a small amount.

It might be a newly established city for us but in reality the ruins of Arikamedu near the city suggests that it was a 4th century trading port where Romans used to trade. It was famous for its beads and coloured gems. Visit the museum and you will see the superiority of a major trading centre lost in its ruins.

During my stay I met a fellow-traveller, he is a 73-year-old American visited more than 60 countries and travelling in India for the first time. Trade and commerce was his solution to all the problems in this world. His ideas were simple, “ war will divide us for generations to come, trade will unite us for generations to come.” He has witnessed many wars in his lifetime and hence he preferred people trading with each other rather than fighting with each other. For him India is unique, it is a place of “diversified cultures living in an integrated manner”.

Part 2/3

Ruled by French and later governed by the government of India the city of Pondicherry is famous for its serenity, breathtaking views and a classic blend of Tamil and French culture. Situated on the eastern coast of India this mini french city is a fusion of ashram, temples, churches, and beaches.

My journey to this city started with a month-long preparation, I decided to take the mode of transport which is the bloodline of this country. The 33-hour long journey made me meet new people from various backgrounds. I shared my compartment with a 60-year-old lady whose husband and their son went missing for almost a decade. A mother who was going to visit her son who is studying in a different state and in the midst of a different language. A teen girl and her mother who settled in the south with their entire family and a physicist who agreed that not entirely but they are a tad like the famous Sheldon Cooper.

33 hours or 1640kms, I saw the massive engine pulling us from one coast of our country to another. And when you get a window seat for 33 long hours, you get to see the mountainous ranges of Sahyadri getting converted into the fertile landscape of Karnataka. And with the soothing wind of Belgum the land transforms itself into a vast patch of gigantic coconut trees. 
Part 1/3