Jyotir Lingum Yatra

A travel log for my journey to 10 Jyotir Lingums throughout south and central India, November-December 2002 with my yoga group, Dhyanyoga Centers.

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Thursday, December 12, 2002
Girsheshwar and Ellora Caves

My feet are really tired, but I had a terrific day. Days where there is a mix of temple-going and sight-seeing are some of my favorite.

Girsheshwar is #12 of the Jyotir Lingums. If you have noticed that we are not going in order 1 through 12, you would be correct. Girsheshwar is the closest Jyotir Lingum to Aurangabad, so it seemed a little more built up for the tourists, which can be annoying when all the hawkers peddling their wares descend upon you! I did get a good deal on a couple of nice Shiva pictures. He started out at 100 rupees, but dropped to 50, so I took two. *giggle*

The puja was a little crowded and rushed, since there was a steady flow of locals coming for darshan of the lingum, and doing their own pujas while we as a large group working in shifts of 7-10 were trying to do ours. There was no photography allowed in this temple, as is typical, but I cut off the flash on my point-n-shoot Pentax and took a couple of discrete snaps in any case. Then they told me I could take a picture with Anandi Ma with the Lingum, so I got a couple shots that should come out well.

Speaking of taking pictures, as some of you know I have not been shooting as much as I had hoped, especially in black-n-white, because we have been so rushed in and out of the temples, and usually photography is not allowed inside. Well, today I shot 4 rolls of 120 at the Ellora Caves, a really fabulous historical treasure. The Caves are a system of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Caves that have always been known about, as I understand it. Not like the Ajanta Caves that were rediscovered in the 19th century.

At first I did not even take my Mamiya camera with me, because I did not realize the degree to which the statutes and carvings and columns were visible in the sunlight. Upon going back to the bus for my 645 camera, I had to hunt down the bus driver who had tied the bus door shut (don't ask), and evidentally went to lunch. Happily I did not give up and got my camera and back to the group. I think I will have some shots taken today that I will be very happy with. Some of the carvings and the "Kailash" temple, especially, were absolutely stunning!

Did I mention that it cost foreigners 250 rupees (about $5) to get into the Caves, but only cost locals 10 rupees? Do the math!

The group is headed to Pune tomorrow morning by bus. In route we are going to stop at a Saint's tomb. I will report more to you soon.