The city of Aurangabad is one of the most
popular tourist attractions in Maharashtra and it was nominated as the Tourism
Capital of Maharashtra by the Indian Government in 2010. In the past, this city
was under the dominance of various dynasties including Mughal, Buddhist and
Marathas. Hence, every nook and corners of Aurangabad including its monuments,
culture and traditions represent a perfect blend of Hindu, Buddhist and Mughal
The town derives its name from the Mughal
ruler, Aurangzeb who reigned over this place during the 17th
century. Aurangabad also serves as a major halt for the travellers heading to
Ajanta and Ellora Caves. There are several other interesting places to explore
in Aurangabad such as Daulatabad Fort, which is famous for its strong defence
system, the majestic Bibi-ka-Maqbara, mausoleums of Aurangzeb, Grinsheshwar
Temple which is one f the 12 Jyotirlingas in India.
The city of Aurangabad has witnessed rapid
development in the last few years and has been packed with bustling market
places that sell delicate hand-woven garments and silk items. In order to
preserve its ancient culture, tradition and heritage, the city has also been
designated as World Heritage Sites from UNESCO.
Places to visit in
Ajanta and Ellora Caves is the most popular
tourist destination situated near to the city of Aurangabad. The Caves is
nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage and is world-famous for its hand-carved
caverns that illustrate rich Buddhist culture and traditions of the bygone era.
There are 29 caves sites in the Ajanta Caves complex which were constructed
between 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The
inscriptions and carvings on the walls of the Viharas depict the teachings of
Lord Buddha and fables from Jakata Tales.
The Ellora Caves are situated little further
from Ajanta Caves and comprises of 34 sites. Unlike Ajanta Caves which is a
perfect representation of Buddhist culture, the Ellora Caves are adorned with
sculptures and paintings of three distinct cultures namely Buddhism, Jainism
and Hinduism. These caves were built between the 6th and 11th
Another important attraction in Aurangabad is
the mausoleum built during Mughal period. Bibi ka Maqbara is the only remnant
of Mughal architecture in the region. This mausoleum was built by Aurangzeb for
his lovely wife Rabia-ul-Daurani. The blueprint of this monument was designed
by a Persian Architect named
Ustad-Ata-Ullah and it resembles Taj Mahal. For this reason, this
mausoleum is also referred to as the Taj of Deccan. The main structures is
built on an elevated platform and beautifully carved minarets are placed on all
four sides. It is the best place to witness the sunrise and sunset. You will be
mesmerized to behold a spectacular view of this monument changing its colour as
the fading rays of the sun hits its surface.
Aurangabad is also home to temples such as the
Bhadra Maruti Temple and Jyothirlinga Grishneshwar Temple, both of which have
legends and myths of their own. If you are a nature lover then you ought to
visit the famous Siddharth Garden and Zoo. This splendid garden is beautified
with different types of shrubs and flowering plants/ trees. The zoo located in
the garden is home to several animals including tigers, lions, leopards, hyena,
and deer. It is also a popular picnic spot in the region.
The bazaars in Aurangabad are happening place
and here, you will get to shop for various handicrafts, and delicate fabrics
such as silk and hand-woven garments. The shops are loaded with exotic gems,
shawls, and the famous Paithani silk saris.
More on Aurangabad
A Cultural Milieu
The town of Aurangabad is a cultural hub of
Maharashtra. It was under the reign of several dynasties in the past including
Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim rulers and each have added new aspects to the culture
of Aurangabad. The confluence of these cultures can be seen among the people
and architecture of the city. You will spot temples built right next to the
Dargahs. People here have internalized these cultures and it can be seen in the
language they speak, and the food they eat. Despite the common language being
Marathi, the majority of the people here speak Hindi or a dialect which is a
mix of Hindi and Marathi. The food is heavily influenced by the Mughal style of
cooking and eateries of Aurangabad are famous for kebabs and other
Restaurants and Local Food in Aurangabad
The restaurants in Aurangabad offer cuisines
that are highly influenced by Mughlai and Hyderabadi style of cooking. The
region used to be the capital Mughal dynasty and hence has retained its
traditional Tughlaq cuisine. Most of the restaurants offer non-vegetarian
delicacies such as Kebabs and Tandoors.
Aurangabad is quite popular for Pulao, Tahri,
and Biryani. You should try Naan Qalia which is a dish traditionally prepared
from bread and mutton. The city is also home to Deccani food which is a combination of a lot of spices and South
Indian cuisines. The other popular dishes in the area are Bajrichi Bhakari,
Gavran Chicken, Poli and Thalipeeth.
3 Days Travel Itinerary
Day 1: You
can reach Aurangabad via air, train or by road. Once you check in your hotel,
rest for the night and relax. In the morning you can head to Bibi-ka-Maqbara
which is just 20 minutes drive from the main city. The local transportation
system in Aurangabad is well-developed and hence, you can easily get
auto-rickshaws, cabs, etc. to reach the spot.
There are magnificent gardens situated near to
this mausoleum where you can unwind from the stressful day. Later in the
afternoon, you can visit Panchakki which is a flour grinding mill that was
built during the Mughal rule. This mill was used to prepare food for the
devotees visiting the dargah.
In the late evening, you can explore the local
markets such as Gul Mandi and Connaught Market. You can also head to several
food stalls and restaurants to savour the local cuisine.
Day 2: On
the second day, leave early for Ajanta Caves. It will take around three hours
to reach the place and you will reach by 10 am. You can spend your time
exploring the caves sites and later in the afternoon you can head to one of the
nearby restaurants for lunch. After a day filled with fun, you can proceed back
to your hotel in the evening.
Day 3: In
the morning, head to Siddharth Garden and feel refreshed by taking a walk
across its green meadows. After breakfast, you can travel to Ellora Caves and
explore the splendid rock-cut caves. After lunch, you can return to your hotel.