We set out early for the Daulatabad Fort which was the residence of the Mughal emperors in the Deccan beginning from the 12th century A.D. Historians have called it the most solid fort among all existing medieval forts. The pyramidal hill rises 500 ft above ground and climbing up to the top was no small feat. Needless to say, it was a very good workout! Near the fort stands the tallest tower in south India, Chand Minar. A smattering of this old wall and that old outpost dot the landscape
We invited our driver, Purushottam, to come with us because he had been there before and could show us around. When you buy tickets for tourist attractions in India, there is an Indian price and a tourist price. The tourist price is significantly higher, the Indian price is almost nothing. When Rahul went the counter and asked for three tickets the man said, “Where’s the second indian?” We all got a big laugh out of that and, since Purushottam had just told Rahul that he didn’t think he was Indian because his mannerisms and style were so foreign, it was especially funny. The only thing that convinced him was Rahul’s good Hindi. Rahul seems to get this all the time.
From there we journeyed on to the Ellora caves and toured the Kailash temple, an ornate hindu rock temple that was built from the top down bringing the effect of a freestanding structure.
Beyond that were an extensive array of Buddhist caves. I really enjoyed them but there were a lot that we missed as we started to get really tired.
We went to the airport for the next leg of our journey and said goodbye to Purushottam. I was very happy to be safely deposited at our final destination because, while Purushottam was a very skilled driver he was a bit of a speed demon.
Rahul had some reservations about flying on Air India but we both found it to be a very pleasant flight with very nice flight attendants. When we arrived in Hyderabad we were very surprised to see that it was raining hard as we had expected it to be warm and dry. As we exited the airport I was struck by a giant billboard that said, “Surround Your Senses.” That really is the epitome of the Indian experience.
While the air in Hyderabad is much better, it is much more humid and seems to have an increased number of mosquitos. So, while I usually frown on the stuff, it looks like it’s going to be DEET for me for the next two weeks, if not the next two months (fairly sure it will be buggy in Southeast Asia). I’ve decided that DEET is better than malaria or dengue fever!