The historic city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra is famous as the gateway to the UNESCO world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves. Founded in the 16th century, Aurangabad was the capital of India under Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and flourished under his reign.
With prominent monuments of Mughal, Buddhist and Hindu architecture, Aurangabad and its surroundings are a history lover’s paradise.
Main Attractions of Aurangabad:
Ajanta lies 107 km away from Aurangabad city. Rock cut caves called Chaityas and Vihara dating back to 2nd century BC can be found in Ajanta. These 29 caves were the ancient seat of learning for the Buddhist monks that was rediscovered in the 19th century. The spectacular, elaborate sculptures and exquisite paintings depict the Jataka tales that showcase the progression of Buddhism as a religion.
The Ellora caves are just 29 km away from Aurangabad. There are 34 ancient caves here that depict the finest Indian rock-cut architecture. These caves represent structures of Jainism, Hinduism and Jainism. The Dumar Lena Cave, The Viswakarma cave and the Jain caves sporting images of Tirthankaras and Mahavira are not to be missed. Tourists can attend The Ellora Festival of Classical dance and Music to get a glimpse of rich Indian cultural heritage.
The 12 Buddhist caves located in the Aurangabad Caves bear Tantric influences on its architectural designs.
Religious Sites to Visit
Travellers can visit the ‘Taj of Deccan”-Bibi Ka Maqbara”, this miniature replica of Taj Mahal is the burial mausoleum of Diras Danu Begum , wife of Emperor Aurangazeb.
The Bani Begum Bagh is a garden that reflects Mughal architectural style. Tourists can relax here after sightseeing in a peaceful environment.
The Grishneshwar Temple houses one of the 12 Jyotirlinga sites that attracts devotees from across the country. Ahilyabai Holkar built this temple in the 18th century, and one can see unique Bhoomija architecture with Marathi influence on its architecture.
The tomb of Aurangazeb is located at Khuldabad lies near the Dargah of Sheikh Zainuddin.
The Kachner Jain Temple is around 250 years old and is dedicated to Parshvanath.
The Jama Masjid is an old mosque in Aurangabad built during the Mughal period. This beautiful mosque is an example of Islamic culture.
Forts and Palaces
The Daulatabad Fort is one of the strongest forts that is located 15 km from Aurangabad. Its citadel stays unconquered due to its complex defense system. Do see the two gigantic canons here that can be pivoted. The Nizamshahi Mahal is located within this grand fort.
Situated atop the Daulatabad Fort lies the China Mahal. Travellers need to climb up to get a panoramic view of the entire city.
The Panchakki watermill dates back to the 17th century. It had an 8km long underground water channel that culminated into an artificial waterfall that powered the mill.
The Mughals built 52 gateways in Aurangabad which also came to be known as ‘The City of Gates”.
How to reach Aurangabad
Cabs from Mumbai to Nasik take 3 hours 35 minutes covering a distance of 166 km. Tourists can travel another 183 km from Nasik to reach Aurangabad. Car Rental in Nagpur is available that take tourists to Aurangabad from eastern Maharashtra. It takes around 9 hours to reach Aurangabad.