Aurangabad, which was declared by the Government as the Tourism Capital of Maharashtra back in 2010, is a famous tourist hub which greets its visitors with a richly woven tapestry of sights and sounds. From UNESCO World Heritage Sites to bustling markets brimming with delicate silk items and exquisite hand-woven garments, Aurangabad promises all tourists an exciting holiday experience. History buffs will be excited to know that Aurangabad has quite a bit of history attached to it. The city used to be the capital of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, which is how it derived its current name of 'Aurangabad'. While the city is rapidly heading towards industrial growth and globalization, it still retains most of its past glory, heritage, charms and traditions.
The most famous tourist attraction of Aurangabad is the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Ajanta Caves is home to 29 different caves, all of which showcase Buddhist artwork belonging to the period ranging from 200 B.C to 650 A.D. All paintings and sculptures in the caves were constructed painstakingly by Buddhist monks using only simple tools such as chisels and hammers. These paintings and sculptures portray a varied range of stories, starting from the Jataka Tales to intriguing accounts of ancient nymphs and princesses. The Ellora Caves, a little distance away from the Ajanta Caves, houses a total of 34 caves and has sculptures and paintings depicting not one, but three different religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The sheer diversity of the sculptures, the architectural expertise, and the centuries of hard work undertaken by artisans are enough to leave you speechless.
The sole remaining example of Mughal architecture in this part of the country, Bibi ka Maqbara is a mausoleum dedicated to Rabia-ul-Daurani, wife of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Designed by the Persian architect Ustad-Ata-Ullah, Bibi ka Maqbara has a structure similar to that of the Taj Mahal, with the main structure bordered by four towering minarets on four sides. The entire building is a sight to behold, and sunrises and sunsets are resplendent, with the rays of the sun beautifully casting the reflection of the mausoleum on the water of the canal in front of the building.
Aurangabad is also home to temples such as the Jyothirlinga Grishneshwar temple and the Bhadra Maruti Temple, both of which have legends and myths of their own.
Siddharth Garden is a place that all nature lovers will be mesmerized by. A landscaped garden housing a wide variety of sculpted trees and shrubs, the Siddharth Garden is also home to wild creatures such as lions, tigers, leopards, deer, and hyena. Sitting back on the green lawns of the garden and enjoying a beautiful picnic is a very popular tourist activity
The erstwhile Mughal capital has retained most of its traditional Tughlaq cuisine, with Tandoors and Kebabs being local staples that you will find at almost every roadside eatery.
Known for its arts and crafts, and especially its silk, Aurangabad has plenty of markets from where you can buy various local handicrafts, exotic gems, shawls, and of course, the region’s famous paithani silk sarees.
Known for its innate historians, World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora and Grishneshwar Jyotirling, Aurangabad is known for its uproar and instinctive history. Aurangabad was the capital of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and is an evident fusion of history and existence. Also an industrial town, Aurangabad is a town as well as district in Maharashtra and was named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It serves as a tourist hub with numerous points of interest such as Bibi ka Maqbara, also known as the Mini Taj Mahal. Ajanta and Ellora caves are world renowned cave temples dating back more than 2,000 years and is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Aurangabad is also an important pilgrimage centre for Hindus as the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is located just 30 km away from the main town. Apart from showcasing the era of Mughals through its royalty and great architectural work, this place is also beautiful as it has two of the most famous rivers of central India, Godavari & Tapi namely. Aurangabad is also famous for its hand-woven Himroo and Paithani Sarees, its markets and colourful crowded bazaars.
- Drinking regular water on the streets is a strict no. Always go for purified water.
Conveniently located, close to the major cities of Mumbai and Pune. Beautiful historic monuments like Ajanta and Ellora. A mix of different cultures.
The temperature during summer is very hot. Some parts of the city are not very well developed in terms of tourist facilities.
This destination is the go to place for family vacations, for history and architecture enthusiasts who want to dive into the beautiful caves and stone temples that surround the city and for photographers who want to capture the unique cultural blend the city presents.
Aurangabad is a city that is a confluence of many cultures. Over the years, it has been ruled by Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist dynasties that have each added something new to this city. Temples stand side by side with Dargahs, and the people of this city has internalised all of these cultures. The language of this city too shows a strong influence of Hindi because of its proximity with Madhya Pradesh despite the most common language being Marathi. The food is heavily influenced by the Mughal style of cooking and the outdoor night markets of Aurangabad are famed for the kebabs and other non-vegetarian preparations.
Day 1: Arrive in Aurangabad by bus, train, car or air and check in to the hotel. Late in the morning, proceed to Bibi-Ka-Maqbara which is a 20-minute drive from the city centre. There are many auto rickshaws, tourist vans and taxis to ferry tourists to and from this destinations. Enjoy the gardens, landscapes and cool breeze and have lunch in one of these gardens. In the late afternoon, proceed to Panchakki, a flour grinding mill built during the Mughal era to prepare food for the devotees who visited the dargah. In the evening, head for a stroll in one of the markets like Gul Mandi or Connaught Market and enjoy the local flavour, street food and sizzling tandoori delights.
Day 2: Leave early in the morning for Ajanta caves, a three-hour drive from the city and reach by around 10:00 AM. Take your time to explore the caves carved in different styles with sculptures, paintings and murals. Have lunch in one of the many restaurants near the caves and proceed back to the city in the evening.
Day 3: Take a leisurely morning stroll around one of the many gardens like the Siddhartha Garden and leave for Ellora caves after breakfast. Walk around the cool stone cut caves and take in the years of history. After lunch, proceed back to the city and prepare for departure.
Aurangabad offers a decent variety of cuisines, however traditionally, the food here, has a strong influence of Mughlai and Hyderabadi cuisine. Hence you can enjoy dishes of these styles in their rich and authentic form in the city . One must try the exquisite Pulao, Biryani, Tahri and Naan Qalia while here. 'Naan' is a type of bread prepared in a traditional style oven called 'tandoor' and 'Qalia' is a preparation of mutton. A traditional ending to you meal could be with a
Aurangabad is also a home to Deccani food which is prepared with a number of masalas and has a subtle influence of South Indian cuisine especially in terms of the ingredients used. The other popular items of the area are Gavran Chicken, Thalipeeth, Poli and Bajrichi Bhakari.
You can get the details about all the Jyotirlingas here- http://www.holidify.com/blog/jyotirlingas-in-india/