Aurangabad Travel Guide – A potpourri of ancient cultures

Aurangabad Travel Guide

Introduction

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Aurangabad is called the ‘Tourism Capital of Maharashtra’ and the fifth largest city of the state. It is home to the legendary Ajanta and Ellora Caves, both of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Aurangabad is also known as the ‘City of Gates’ with 52 gateways built during the Mughal era. The city is a popular tourism hub. It is this tapestry of old cultures and new communities, history, art, culture, and nature that Aurangabad is famous for. Read on for a detailed travel guide on the antiquities of Aurangabad.

Geography

Aurangabad is the administrative headquarters of Aurangabad district and is the largest city in the Marathwada region. Located on a hilly terrain in the Deccan Traps, Aurangabad is the fourth-most populous urban area in Maharashtra with a population of 1,175,116. The city is known as a major production center of cotton textile and artistic silk fabrics.    

History

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Here’s a little background about Aurangabad. Originally named Khadki, this town was founded and established by Malik Amber in 1610. After Malik Ambar died, it then got conquered by the Mughals. It was then, when Aurangzeb was the Viceroy of the Deccan, that the city was renamed to Aurangabad. During the Maratha-Mughal war, the Marathas ruled the city for eight years before it was taken over by the Nizam of Hyderabad as a protectorate of the British East India Company.

Best Time to Visit Aurangabad

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The city of Aurangabad sits on a plateau region and experiences the region’s typically dry and arid weather. The summers are hot and dry with extreme temperatures. Winters, however, are cool and chilly, with occasional cold waves. The rainy season, from June to September sees heavy rainfall with a slight dip in temperatures. So, depending on your travel goals, you can choose to visit either in winter or after the monsoon and before summer. The most comfortable time to visit Aurangabad is from October to February.

Places to Visit in Aurangabad

With ancient monuments, museums, temples, and mosques, as well as natural wonders, Aurangabad sightseeing is as exciting as it can get. Some of the best places to see in Aurangabad are –

Aurangabad-travel-guide-places-to-visit
Panchakki
  • Bibi Ka Maqbara Aurangabad – a marble mausoleum built by Aurangzeb; it is like a mini–Taj Mahal in Aurangabad. It is also called the Taj of the Deccan and is a prominent monument with minarets, intricate stone carvings and ornate arches.
  • Panchakki – a 17th-century water-mill. Spanning 8 km, this underground water channel is fed by the nearby mountains during the rain and culminates into an artificial waterfall. 
  • Kachhner Jain Temple – a 250-year-old Aurangabad temple, dedicated to Parsvanath, and a sacred site for Jains. It is one of the top Aurangabad places to visit for architecture fans.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum – a conservatory dedicated to Shivaji. The museum documents and preserves the Maratha ruler’s life and contribution, along with artifacts, historical evidence, etc.
  • Salim Ali Lake – the greenest patch of Aurangabad. The natural waterbody is fringed with lush green vegetation and is a nature lover’s delight. The lake is great for day tours and picnics.
  • Siddharth Gardens – an oasis in the middle of the city. A lush green enclave with landscaped gardens, fountains, and fish pond, the sprawling area is a great place to unwind after a long day or spend a day picnicking. There’s also a mini zoo with a play park, a tiny aquarium for kids. You can also catch the water fountain show.

Things to Do – Aurangabad Travel Guide

salim-ali-lake
Salim Ali lake
  • Take a trip to the ancient and iconic Ajanta & Ellora Caves. The distance from Aurangabad to Ajanta caves is 107 km and from Aurangabad to Ellora is 29 km. The complex caves systems with 64 caves, have rock carvings of mythological deities. The Kailash Temple Aurangabad is an important part of the Ajanta Cave.
  • Take a tour of the Aurangabad caves. Nestled in the Silyachak range at 700 feet above the ground, Aurangabad caves is a cluster of 2000-year old caves housing 12 rock-cut Buddhist shrines.
  • Visit the iconic Daulatabad Fort in Aurangabad. The historical fort sits in Deogiri/Devgiri and features massive turrets, an imposing gate, and other relics from the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Tour the magnificent Pitalkhora Caves. The 3rd century caves are finest examples of classic Indian rock-cut architecture with 14 ancient Buddhist shrines. There’s a gushing waterfall adjacent to the caves, which is great for treks.
  • Spend a day at the Jayakwadi Bird Sanctuary. A natural reserve of 30 river islands, with tropical trees, and exotic, migratory birds, this is a rich biodiversity zone and great for bird-watching in winter.
  • Shop at the Gul Mandi Market. The bustling bazaar is known for traditional, vintage items, collectibles, clothing, and local souvenir and handcrafted fares.

How to Reach Aurangabad in Maharashtra

Being centrally located in the state, Aurangabad is well-connected to other towns and cities of Maharashtra. There are many travel options available.

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By Train

Aurangabad is served by South-Central Railways of the Indian Railways. The town’s own station, Aurangabad Railway Station is a major junction for trains from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Nagpur, Shirdi, Bhopal, Bangalore, etc. There are many express trains from Mumbai and in regular frequency.

By Road

By bus – Aurangabad is well-connected to Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune, Satara, Shirdi and other major places. There are state-run buses from Mumbai to Aurangabad on a regular basis. There are also a host of private buses of different fares, that ply between these cities and Aurangabad.

By car – You can also avail a car rental service at reasonable rates to drive from anywhere in Maharashtra to reach Aurangabad. NH 211 and NH 160 connect to most cities and road conditions are good, making driving to Aurangabad is a great option, and lets you enjoy the countryside of Maharashtra.

By Flight

Aurangabad is served by Aurangabad Airport or Chhatrapati Sambaji Maharaj Airport, located about 5.5 km east of the city centre, and 11 km from Aurangabad Railway Station, along the Aurangabad-Nagpur State Highway. There are several daily flights to Aurangabad from major cities of Maharashtra, and all metros and major cities across India. You can book an Aurangabad airport taxi for a comfortable ride to your hotel in the city.

How to Reach Aurangabad from Pune

Aurangabad is well connected to Pune by road, rail, and air. 

By Train

There are daily and weekly trains from Pune to Aurangabad. The most popular train is Nanded Express which reaches Aurangabad station directly.

By Road

From Pune, Aurangabad is roughly 240 to 300 km, depending on the route. You can take state-run or private buses to reach Aurangabad city center. But the better road travel option is to book a cab and drive from Pune to Aurangabad.

By Flight

There are no direct flights from Pune to Aurangabad. All flights between these two cities are connecting, with layovers of one to four hours.

Places to Eat – Aurangabad Travel Guide

ajanta-caves
Ajanta Caves

The cuisine of Aurangabad is heavily influenced by its history of the Sultanate, the Mughals, and the Nizams. From conventional delicacies to modern flavors, the city has everything to please your tastebuds. These are some of the best places to eat in Aurangabad –

  • Bhoj Thali Restaurant, Central Bus Stand Road Pushpa Nagari, Samarth Nagar
  • Green Leaf, Town Centre, N 1, Cidco, beside Inox Tapadiya
  • Madhuban, WelcomHotel
  • Yalla Yalla, New Usmanpura Road
  • Swad Restaurant, Kanchan Chambers, Doctor Bhapkar Marg, Kranti Chowk, New Usmanpura

Popular Nearby Places – Aurangabad Local Travel Guide

Gautala-sanctuary
Gautala Sanctuary

To make your vacation complete, here are a few places to visit near Aurangabad –

Grishneshwar Temple Aurangabad, 30 km – It houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva and is an important pilgrimage center. This Shiv temple in Aurangabad is also one of the most famous temples. The temples architecture is also worth witnessing.

Gautala Autramghat Wildlife Sanctuary, 69 km – A popular wildlife sanctuary near Aurangabad. The natural reserve houses many endangered species like the Indian panther, barking deer, wild dog, wild cats, chital deer, peacocks etc. The best time to visit this sanctuary is between August to February, for spotting wild animals and birds. There’s also the Antur Fort inside the forest, which is a protected monument and houses a temple.

Ahmednagar, 115 km – A city older than Aurangabad, Ahmednagar is also a relic of the Delhi Sultanate. It is famous for its historical sites like Chand Bibi Palace, Ahmednagar Fort, Bagh Rauza, Aurangzeb’s Tomb, etc.

shirdi
Shirdi

Shirdi, 122 km – The most sacred and popular pilgrimage site in Maharashtra, Shirdi is one of the must-see places near Aurangabad. Besides its religious significance, the town has a lot of stories of India’s political and social history.

[Also Read: Things to do in Shirdi – Explore the Temple Town]

Aurangabad Travel Guide – Hotels & Resorts

To make your vacation comfortable and memorable, here are some of the best places to stay in Aurangabad –

  • Vivanta Aurangabad
  • Lemon Tree Hotel
  • The Meadows Resort & Spa
  • Hotel JP International
  • Ambassador Ajanta Hotel
  • WelcomHotel

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Aurangabad: A Potpouri of Ancient Cultures
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Aurangabad: A Potpouri of Ancient Cultures
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Aurangabad is called the ‘Tourism Capital of Maharashtra’ and the fifth largest city of the state. It is home to the legendary Ajanta and Ellora Caves, both of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
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Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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