Of all the places to visit in Aurangabad nothing is more spectacular than the Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
Aurangabad has a long association with the concept of heritage. Aurangabad has seen several dynasties and experienced the power of rulers of different religions, cultures and communities, each of which has left its mark on the city.
There are numerous places to visit in Aurangabad. A pleasantly spacious town, it is the most common starting point for visiting the superb caves at Ellora and Ajanta. These caves are the primary reason for visiting Aurangabad. Dating from the 2nd century BC to the 6th century AD, the Ajanta Caves are much older than the Ellora Caves. Both are located outside of Aurangabad and would require a bus, taxi or private car to get there. Both caves make for perfect day trips and can be completed in a single day although it would be rushed. It is advisable to visit each cave on a separate day to enjoy the art, architecture and scenery in its entirety.
Other popular Aurangabad tourist places include Bibi ka Maqbara, a Taj Mahal replica for Aurangzeb’s wife, Daulatabad Fort located 13 kms outside Aurangabad, as well as Aurangabad Caves overlooking the town. Aurangzeb’s walled city makes up the central part of the town, although a few structures from Malik Ambar’s older city remain, including the Naukonda Palace, or Naukhanda Palace (largely in ruins) and the Jama Masjid. On the left bank of the Khan river is the Dargah of Baba Shah Musafir, a Sufi saint who was Aurangzeb’s spiritual guide.
One of the top things to do in Aurangabad is to take a shopping trip. Silk fabrics were once Aurangabad’s chief revenue generator, and the town is still known across the world for its hand-woven Himroo and Paithani saris. Made from cotton, silk and silver threads, it was developed as a cheaper alternative to Kam Khab, the more ornate brocade of silk and gold thread woven for royalty in the 14th century. A variety of such shawls and saris are available in showrooms across town. Within the old city, close to Zafar Gate, is the Himroo Factory which produces rich Paithani saris, intricately woven with gold threads. One of the best places to watch weavers at work is the Paithani Weaving Centre on Jalna Road between 11:30am and 8:00pm. If you’re buying, ensure you’re spending your money on authentic Himroo, and not ‘Aurangabad silk’.
Aurangabad has a superb government bus service to the nearby Aurangabad attractions, namely Ajanta and Ellora Caves as well as Daulatabad Fort. These red buses regularly leave the Central Bus Station in the centre of town and cost a fraction of the price that private transport would normally charge. They are a safe and reliable mode of transport while visiting the famous Aurangabad attractions.
Below is a list of popular places to visit in Aurangabad.
1. Ellora Caves[singlepic id=2049 w=720 h=560 float=center]
Located 30 kms from Aurangabad, the World Heritage Site-listed Ellora cave temples is the epitome of ancient Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 Hindu, Jain and Buddhist caves carved in the volcanic rocks at Ellora are among the finest architecture in India. Spend an entire day here and enjoy the landscape, architecture and marvellous sculptures.
See our Ellora Caves article for more information.
2. Ajanta Caves[singlepic id=1915 w=720 h=560 float=center]
Dating from around the 2nd century BC to the 6th century AD, the Ajanta Caves could well be called the Louvre of ancient India. They were among the earliest monastic institutions to be constructed in the country. A visit to these Buddhist caves are recommended to admire the renowned frescoes or temperas which adorn many of the caves’ interiors.
See our Ajanta Caves article for more information.
Located 13 km from Aurangabad, Daulatabad Fort is an attraction straight out of a Tolkien fantasy. Perched on a granite outcrop of the Deccan Plateau, this formidable fort has witnessed some of the greatest carnage in the region. Part of the ascent goes through a pitchblack, bat-infested, water-seeping, spiralling tunnel. It’s a fascinating place to explore!
See our Daulatabad Fort article for more information.
Known as the ‘Poor Man’s Taj’, Bibi ka Maqbara was built by Aurangzeb’s son as a mausoleum for his mother, Begum Rabia Daurani in the late 17th century. Modelled along the lines of the Taj Mahal, only the bottom 2 metres is made of marble; the rest is a cheap basalt and plaster construction.
See our Bibi ka Maqbara article for more information.
Tell us what you think. What attractions are you planning to see in Aurangabad? If you’ve been here before, what places did you visit? Please share with us your experiences.
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