Tourist Attractions in Aurangabad

Attractions

Overview

Aurangabad is a city in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the administrative headquarters of Aurangabad district and is the largest city in the Marathwada region.[4] Located on a hilly upland terrain in the Deccan Traps.

The city is also a popular tourism hub, with tourist destinations like the Ajanta and Ellora caves lying on its outskirts, both of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983.[5] Other tourist attractions include the Aurangabad Caves, Daulatabad Fort, Grishneshwar Temple, Jama Mosque, Bibi Ka Maqbara, Himayat Bagh, Panchakki and Salim Ali Lake. Historically, there were 52 Gates in Aurangabad, some of them extant, because of which Aurangabad is nicknamed as the “City of Gates”. In 2019, the Aurangabad Industrial City (AURIC) became the first greenfield industrial smart city of India under the country’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.

Aurangabad is an important city in the state of Maharashtra, India. It sees a lot of international tourist traffic due to world heritage sites, Ajanta & Ellora caves. Aurangabad, a dream destination of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, founded in 1610, is known today, as one of the four important cities in Maharashtra. The city is heading towards rapid industrial growth, but retains its past glory and charms, heritage and traditions. Conspicuously seen on the Deccan plateau, it has a rich culture and a plethora of magnificent arts on display.

Place to Visit

Places to Visit:

  • The Ajanta Cavesdepict the stories of Buddhism spanning from the period from 200 B.C. and 650 A.D. These caves were discovered in the 19th century by some British Officers who had been on a tiger hunt.These 29 caves were built by Buddhist monks using simple tools like hammer & chisel. These caves were the retreats of Buddhist monks who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas, the ancient seats of learning. The elaborate and exquisite sculptures and paintings depict stories from Jataka tales. The caves also house images of nymphs and princesses.The Ajanta caves and the treasures they house are a landmark in the overall development of Buddhism as such.
  • The Ellora (Verul) Caveshave been Carved during 350 A.D. to 700 A.D. these structures represent the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. These caves 34 in number are located 29 km. from Aurangabad. They are fascinating and the finest example of cave temple architecture housing elaborate facades and exquisite interiors. The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre dedicated to Hinduism, and the 5 caves to the north are Jain.
  • Tomb of Mughal Emperor AurangzebThe tomb is located in the village of Khuldabad, in the district of Aurangabad, 24 kilometres (15 mi) from Aurangabad city. It is located in the south-eastern corner of the complex of the dargah of Sheikh Zainuddin. The city of Aurangabad is named after Aurangzeb. This tomb is an ideal place for families as well as history lovers. It is a must visit and should not be missed when in Aurangabad.
  • Ghrishneshwar templeis half a kilometer from the Ellora Caves, and 30 km from Aurangabad. It is an 18th century temple that presents outstanding architecture and carving. This place forms one of the five Jyotirlinga sites in Maharashtra where Lord Shiva is worshipped. The Holkar temple nearby is a must-see.
  • DaulatabadDaulatabad, earlier known as Devgiri, is situated at a distance of 13km from Aurangabad. Also termed as the city of fortune, it houses a stupendous 12th century fortress well placed atop a charming hill. This invincible fortress boasts of a 5 kilometer sturdy wall and an intricate series of ramparts. Don’t miss the climb to the very top through the bat cave.
  • Bibi ka MaqbaraA replica of the Taj Mahal, the Bibi-ka-Maqbara is the only example of Mughul architecture of its kind in the Deccan plateau. It was built in 1679 by Aurangzeb’s son, in tribute to his mother, Begum Rabia Durani. It lies in the city of Aurangabad itself.
  • PanchakkiPan Chakki is a 17th century water mill. The name has been derived from the mill that crushed grain for the pilgrims. There is a picturesque garden here that houses several beautiful fish tanks and it plays abode to the memorial of a Sufi Saint.
  • Aurangabad Caves, a fine piece of architecture, is presented in the most unembellished manner. The caves lie just outside the city and are believed to have been excavated between the 2nd and the 6th century. They house the most stunningly intricate carvings. There are nine caves in all, most of them being the viharas. The 4th and the 7th cave are worth a look. The 4th cave stands well supported on 12 columns carved with scenes depicting the stories from the Jataka tales, whereas the 7th cave is embedded with carvings of women, adorned with jewels. The main attraction is the sculpture of a ‘Bodhisatva’ praying for deliverance. Also, the views of Aurangabad from the caves make it worth a trip. One can see the Bibi-ka-Maqbara almost from the air.
  • Soneri Mahal, an old historic monument now converted into museum houses a variety of ancient Indian pottery, dresses, remains of local palaces and antiques of daily use. A number of sculptures and reliefs from the local excavations are also on display. It is located within Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University Campus and is on the way to Aurangabad caves.
  • History Museum – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada Universityalso located on the University campus has on display a good number of ancient Indian paintings, coins, fabrics, arms, artifacts, etc. The museum collection is huge and has some fine sculptures from the excavation at Bhokardan, a nearby historic site.
  • Chatrapati Shivaji Museum- As the name suggests, this museum is dedicated to the great warier of Maharashtra – Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A number of exhibits associated with Lord Shivaji are on display. The museum is on the way to Ajanta caves from the city.
  • Lonar- This is site of a meteor which crashed on earth some 50,000 years ago and formed a large crater (few hundred meters in diameter) in the ground.
  • Paithanis an ancient Taluka town, which lies 56 km to the south of Aurangabad. This place is well known for the exquisite saris that it specialises in. It was a trade centre earlier and also the capital of the Satavahanas. MSSIDC (Maharashtra Small Scale Industrial Development Corporation) has a weaving centre where the traditional art is still practiced. It has formed an important excavation site recently. Of the few nearby attractions, the Jayakwadi dam is a treat to the eyes of the avid bird watchers. Next is the Dnyaneshwar Udyan, which is supposedly Maharashtra’s largest garden planned and landscaped on the lines of the Vrindavan gardens at Mysore.
  • Gautala Wildlife Sanctuaryis a dense forest reserve, with rare flora and fauna, almost 70 Km. Northwest of Aurangabad. Home to leopards, bears, wolves, hyenas, jackals, flying squirrels and 85 different species of colourful birds.
  • Pitalkhoralies peacefully nestled in the Satmala ranges of the Sahyadris, at a distance of 78km from Aurangabad. There are 13 cave sanctuaries embedded in this region. These monasteries date back from 2nd century BC to 5th century AD. Rich carvings with elaborate details can be seen in these monuments. WARNING: The side road to reach Pitalkhora from the main Aurangabad road is in bad shape. Don’t go unless you have a SUV/Tata Sumo type of vehicle. The caves are reachable via a footbridge that is in a very bad shape. There is little to see in the caves except for half-finished carvings.
  • Siddharth Gardenis a beautiful landscaped garden, with good variety of trees and shrubs. There is a small aquarium inside the garden, however the biggest attraction is the Siddharth Garden Zoo, with a large variety of animals, viz. Lions, tigers (White & Bengal), leopards, crocodiles, snakes (Snake-house), civet cats, hyenas, foxes, porcupines, Emu, deer and sprawling lawns to sit and have a great picnic.

When to Reach

When to Reach

November to February, during the winters, is the best time to visit Aurangabad. Winters are pleasant with clear skies and cold temperature, making it a lovely holidaying experience. Since most of the tourist attractions in the city are located outdoors, it is best to avoid the monsoons as it severely restricts sightseeing activities.

Why Should Go?

Why should I go?

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. The city got its name for being the erstwhile capital of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century AD. The town is used as the base to explore the extremely famous caves of Ajanta and Ellora, Daulatabad Fort which is renowned for its strong defence systems, Mausoleums of Aurangzeb and Bibi-Ka-Maqbara famous for its architecture and Grishneshwar Temple, one of the only 12 Shiva Jyotirlingas in India.

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. While the city is rapidly heading towards industrial growth and globalisation, 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 here.
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.

Travellers to Aurangabad will find history dating back to the 2nd century BCE, when the Satavahana rulers established their capital in Pratishtanapura, today known as Paithan. It was around this time that the viharas (monasteries) were carved out of caves in what is now Ajanta, and the stunning cave paintings were made, to be lost and rediscovered in the early 19th century. The carvings in the Ellora caves track the changing fortunes of three major religions Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism between the 5th and the 10th century CE.

Aurangabad has a fairly good restaurants and eating joints spread across the town. Apart from the star category hotels there are many restaurants in the city.

Getting Around

Getting Around:

AMT (Aurangabad Municipal Transport) intra-city buses ply throughout the city including the outskirts and connect different parts of the city and adjoining suburbs together. The AMT bus service is affordable and thus masses use it for their daily transport. AMT buses carry thousands of passengers to and fro their workplaces, schools & colleges daily and thus are quite crowded during morning and evening rush hours.

MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) buses connect Aurangabad to nearby tourist places, distant suburbs and villages around. MSRTC Red Buses are available at regular intervals to the important tourist destinations near Aurangabad like Ajanta, Ellora, Daulatabad, etc. The frequency is good, are extremely safe and fairly comfortable though not very luxurious. MSRTC also operates semi-luxury Asiad buses also to these destinations but the frequency is not very good. All these buses depart from and arrive at the Aurangabad Central Bus Stand (CBS). There is no need for Advance Booking and the tickets are issued on the bus itself.

Metered Auto-Rickshaws are undoubtedly the most suitable and convenient way of traveling through the city. This is due to their easy availability at any time and the affordability. These are hired three-wheeler taxis which are ideal to move around the city.

Ideal for the tourists visiting the city and the tourist destinations around are the tourist taxis which can be booked from various travel agents in the city. All hotels also have a taxi-counter. The fare is calculated per kilometre with a minimum of 80 KM. The fare depends on the class of vehicle and the type (AC or Non-AC). See to it that the taxi you hire has a tourist permit and is not a private vehicle. The tourist permit cars can be easily identified by a yellow number plate.

Tourists who wish to travel to Ajanta, Ellora, Daulatabad, Paithan or any nearby tourist place are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to travel only in MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) buses from Aurangabad CBS (Central Bus Stand), if they have not hired a Chauffeur driven Taxi from an authorised agent.

Weather

Weather:

Aurangabad features a semiarid climate under the Köppen climate classification.

Annual mean temperatures range from 17 to 33 °C, with the most comfortable time to visit in the winter – October to February. In the cold season, the district is sometimes affected by cold waves in association with the eastward passage of western disturbances across north India, when the minimum temperature may drop down to about 2 °C to 4 °C (35.6 °F to 39.2 °F). Most of the rainfall occurs in the monsoon season from June to September. Thunderstorms occur between November to April. Average annual rainfall is 710 mm. The city is often cloudy during the monsoon season and the cloud cover may remain together for days. The daily maximum temperature in the city often drops to around 22 °C due to the cloud cover and heavy rains