Sunday, August 24, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

H. took the ice bucket challenge today.  While we generally work really hard to not waste water here in Hyderabad, he was really excited about participating in the challenge and raising money and awareness for ALS.  Go learn more about the challenge here. 

As you can see, we are home from our summer holidays.  We'll get back to our (not so regular) posts soon.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ellora Caves

We've finally made it to a CAVE post.  The first set of caves we visited were the Ellora caves.  Consisting of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sites, these cave temples are between 1,000 and 1,500 years old.  The drive to the Ellora Caves is an easy 45 minutes from Aurangabad.  After a small climb into the nearby hills, you arrive at the site, where monkeys groom, hawkers are eager to sell you all sorts of "treasures" and guides are ready to attach themselves to you.

We managed to make our way through the initial crowds, and turn right, down the path towards the Buddhist caves.  Here, the crowds disappeared and caves were cool and quiet. 

 These caves make you feel seriously ZEN. 

Lighting was tricky in the caves and flash photography is not allowed.  We did our best with our little point & click camera, but our skills are sadly lacking. 

 The Hindu temples were a stark contrast from the Buddhist caves.  Active worshipers crowded the areas, which were much more ornately carved but also more damaged. 
I think I should send this picture into BYU.

Elephants guarding the temple.

N. found a dancing monkey carved into the floor

With the elephant parade.

Unfortunately, the Jain caves were inaccessible when we were visiting.  Run-off from the hills had washed out the path leading to them.  We were a little disappointed.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Village Video

Our drive through to Aurangabad took us through a lot of small towns.  Each one was a bit unique but there were a lot of similarities too.  I wish that I could have taken a thousand pictures but all I got was this poorly backlit video but we think it's still interesting watch. 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hyderabad Staycation

For a long time we had planned to take our week of vacation in Singapore and Malaysia.  Without our visa extensions and considering the cost it didn't come together, even though our visa extensions were finally granted on the Friday just before the break.

Instead, we had a Hyderabad staycation.  We reviewed our favorite moments of the week over our Easter dinner this evening and they included the following:
-Getting visa extensions...finally
-Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (made by M with assistance from mom).
-Landmark book store
-Laser Tag
-Movies: Rio 2 and Captain America
-Making cinnamon rolls from scratch (mom and dad with long distance consultation from aunt Diane)
-Sleeping in and naps.  Just a little bit.
-Menchies: frozen yoghurt with toppings
-Getting our new internet connection with Beam
-A trip to Leonia, especially the water park which was pretty much empty when we visited
-Reading lots of books: The Outsiders, Tale of Desperaux, Wonder, Flora and Ulysses, Gone Girl, Miss Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Life After Life, Uglies, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and N has been reading Amelia Bedelia and Francis books.
-Audiobooks: we finally finished Howl's Moving Castle which we had started on our trip to Aurangabad and Mom and Dad have been enjoying The Martian.
-Watching the original Star Wars trilogy
-Xbox FIFA 14
-Ping pong paddles
-Multiple episodes of Bones
-Ice Cream....we purchased a huge container at Metro on our first day of vacation. It lasted one week.
-Dyeing Easter eggs with natural colors: red cabbage, beets, and turmeric.
-Easter morning egg hunt
-Easter dinner: fresh rolls, ham, creamed peas and potatoes.  Yum!
-The start of the Indian Premier League
-Air Conditioning
Stocking up at Metro early in the week. 

Star Wars inspired some fun play for H and N


Most expensive yoghurt trip ever.

Cinnamon rolls before baking

One of many naps

A cabbage wrapped egg left overnight

Easter Eggs

Yes, there was nobody else there...not even lifeguards.

H discovered the going down on his stomach provided the most speed.

Getting ready for the big splash.

Happy water face for M

Lots of lion themed spots around Leonia

Sunday, April 13, 2014


 Our first day trip away from Aurangabad took us to the the 14th century fort of Daulatabad.  Not more than 30 minutes away and we saw the fort high on a hill.  We then found ourselves winding our way through some of the outer gates and finding our way to the parking lot and entrance.  Armed with our camera and water bottles we started our adventure through the grounds and upward towards the fort.
This was the roadway into Daulatabad.  The gates and the fort itself employed the defensive technique of disorientation by requiring lots of turns and dark corners for an enemy that was able to breech a doorway or gate.  The biggest challenge now was that it only alloys for one way traffic.

H and N inspect one of many cannons throughout the fort.  Others were located in the alcoves on the right as well.

H finds the perfect passageway through an ancient doorway. 

Biggest cannon yet...but bigger ones were to come later in the day. 

Mom is always happy to snap pictures of the elephant carvings.  This was one of many.

H wanted to climb up.  We also thought this would be a good place for Rapunzel to drop her hair.

We marched past the minaret in the background and then found this tower with one of the fort's most famous cannons with ram's head.  While off it's mount we could see the original brass mount that allowed the cannon to spin a full 360 degrees around this tower.  N waited patiently for this picture as the cannon was being mobbed by a school group when we arrived who all straddled the cannon, clearly ignoring the instructions on the nearby sign.

Like Hyderabad, Daulatabad was mostly Muslim territory as indicated by the large minaret and this mosque.  Other mosques were located around the site as well as Hindu shrines that were built in later years.

Dad and N found a carved passageway in the rock to pose for this picture.  At this point much of the pathways, rooms, and other elements of the fort were carved right out of the rock.

As usual, H couldn't resist climbing.  He hates heights so he's really more of a crawler than a climber.  In any case, it's hard to keep him off of areas like this.

Exploring the pathway from the outer gates to the fort entrance.

There were a couple of school groups visiting on the same day.  They spent quite a bit of time chasing us down and demanding photos.

We usually travel on our own so having Mustafa along with us to snap a family picture was really nice.  This was near the bottom of the climb.
As we got to the main fort entrance it went right into the face of the rock.  The only way up was through caves full of bats.  Dad and Mustafa were the only ones that went on at this point.

This photo shows how steep the hill is where the fort is located.  The moat which was carved around the circumference of the fort and was  once filled with crocodiles is visible on the left.

The view from the top.  The orange minaret is visible just left of center and many of the outer fort walls can be seen wandering their way around the flat areas below. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014


We began our first Indian road-trip with a stop in Bidar.  About two hours outside of Hyderabad, Bidar is an easy day trip, with a cool fort, an old madrasa, and a road lined with Bidri workshops. 

This is the remains of the 15th century madrasa.  At one point, it was a storage facility for gunpowder, which explains why the building is now in ruins. 
The security guard was happy to unlock the main door for us, and let us wander around.  He then unlocked various gates, and we were able to climb inside the ruins. 

We then made it over to the Bidar Fort, which was, at one point, the largest fort in South India.
Walls like this stretched far into the distance, and are even found in the midst of the modern parts of the town.
Some beautiful detail work of the old structures still remain.

For some reason, there are parrots all over Bidar.

This beehive made us think of Uncle Dale.  We can't wait to taste some fresh honey this summer!