Aurangabad, named after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, is the gateway to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora. These complexes of caves are probably the best examples of rock cut architecture in India.

A site worth visiting in Aurangabad is the Bibi ka Maqbara, built by Azam Shah in 1678 to rival the world famous Taj Mahal of Agra. Just to the north is the magnificent hilltop fortress of Daulatabad.

What to see

  1. Aurangabad Caves: Aurangabad, too, has a group of caves which are quite beautiful. These Buddhist caves were carved out of the hillside in the 6th or 7th century AD.

  2. Bibi ka Maqbara: Built by Azam Shah in 1678, the Bibi ka Maqbara is a son’s loving tribute to his mother, Begum Rabia Durrani, the Queen of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Standing spectacularly on the lawns of the landscaped garden with ponds, fountains and water channels, the white marbled monument was banal bid to copy and rival the world famous Taj Mahal of Agra. The central tomb, distinguished by elaborate surface ornamentation and intricately perforated marble screens, is framed by four towering minarets.

  3. Panchakki : An engineering feat of the time is the Panchakki, or the water mill built by Malik Ambar in 1695. The water, channelled from a spring on a distant hill was used to power the flour mill and grind grain for the pilgrims.

  4. Darwazas: Most of the monuments in Aurangabad are of the Nizam Shahi, Mughal and Maratha period. There are four main darwazas, or gates leading into the city, which along with nine secondary darwazas formed part of the defence systems of the city.

MUSEUMS

  1. History Museum of Marathwada University (Timings:1030 -1730 hrs.- closed on Sunday);
  2. State Archaeology Museum;
  3. Sonehri Mahal.

Getting There

Air: Aurangabad is connected by air with Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Udaipur.

Rail: Aurangabad is directly connected by rail with Bhopal, Gwalior, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, etc.

Road: Aurangabad is well connected by road with Ahmedabad 623 Km, Bangalore 1004 Km, Bhopal 644 Km, Delhi 1371 Km, Goa 712 Km, Gwalior 950 Km, Hyderabad 536 Km, Jaipur 1013 Km, Khajuraho lO26 Km, Mahabaleshwar Km, Mumbai 392 Km, Nashik 204 Km, Nanded 277 Km, Pune 226 Km, Shirdi 136 Km, Surat 379 Km and Udaipur 886 Km.

General information

Area: 200 Sq. Km.
Altitude: 513 Mts. Teperature: Summer - Max 40.0 Deg. C Min: 24.0 Deg.C Winter - Max 30.0 Deg. C Min: 14.0 Deg.C Rainfall: 55.7 cm.(June-Sept)
Season: Throughout the year. STD Code: 0240

Excursions

  1. Daulatabad Fort (13 Km): Built by the Yadava Dynasty in 1187, and known as Deogiri, It was renamed Daulatabad by Mohd-bin-Tughlaq who shifted his capital temporarily here in 1326 A.D.

  2. Khuidabad (26 Km): The simple tomb of Emperor Aurangazeb is situated here.

  3. Ellora Caves (29 Km): The Ellora Caves belong to the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain faiths. There are in all 34 caves, of which 12 are Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain. The most remarkable of the carved shrines here is the Kailasa Temple, chiselled out from a single rock & lavishly carved and sculpted. (Timing : From sunrise to 1730 hrs (Closed on Mondays)

  4. Grishneshwar Temple (30 Km): One of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India.

  5. Maheshmal (50 Km): A beautiful hill resort, at an altitude of 913 metres.

  6. Paithan (56 Km): Situated on the banks of the river Godavari, is this ancient city of Pratishthan, also famous for it’s association with the renowned Marathi poet Saint Eknath, whose shrine is located here. Paithan is also famous for it’s gold and silver embroidered saris called ‘Paithanis’. 4 Km away is the Jaikwadi Project with the Gyaneshwar Udyan, planned along the lines of the Brindavan gardens at Mysore.

  7. Pithalkhora Caves (75 Km): A group of 13 caves-Chaityas and Viharas, dating back to the 2nd century B.C. with additions in the 5th and 6th centuries.

  8. Shani Shingnapur (75 Km): Famous for the much venerated Shani shrine.

  9. Sindkhed Raja (90 Km): Famous as the birth place of Rajmata Jijabai, the mother of the great Maratha warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

  10. Ajanta Caves (104 Km): The thirty rock-hewn caves, cut into the scarp of a cliff are either Chaityas (chapels) or Viharas (monasteries). On the walls of the caves are paintings, many still glowing with their original colours. The outer walls are covered with brilliantly executed sculpture. The Buddhist theme of the Ajanta paintings recounts the life of Lord Buddha and tales of his previous earthly experiences. (Timings: From 0900 hrs to 1730 hrs (or sunset). (Closed on Monday).

  11. Lonar Crater (145 Km): The Crater was formed by the impact of a meteorite, nearly 50,000 years ago. The Lonar Crater, said to be among the five largest in the world, has the distinction of being the only natural impact crater in basalt rock.

  12. Aundba-Nagnath (203 Km): One of the twelve Jyotirlingas, it is an important place of pilgrimage.

  13. Pal and Yawal Wild Life Sanctuary (248 Km): The tropical dry deciduous forest of Pal and Yawal of Jagaon district, constitute this sanctuary which covers an area of 177.52 sq.km. Many species of birds and animals are found here including the Panther, Jungle cat, Neelgai, Langur, Wild dog, Sambar, Hyena, Tiger, Chital and Chinkara and birds like the Peafowl, Grey jungle fowl, Red spurfowl, Green pigeon, Sandgrouse and Grey partridge.

  14. Nanded (Huzur Saheb) (277 Km): The Sachkhand Gurudwara here is an important place of pilgrimage for Sikhs.