The city of Aurangabad is particularly famous for the heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. A plethora of 29 rock cut Cave Mountains, these caves stand tall as an important symbol of architectural achievements of the country. The mural paintings in Ajanta and the sculptures in Ellora along with their picturesque location would cast a spellbinding effect on you. The city owes its name to Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, who made it a viceregal capital to rule over Deccan. Here, the emperor built Bibi-ka-Maqbara as a tribute to his mother. It is an imitation of the famous Taj Mahal. Pan Chaaki and the Darwazaas are examples of exceptionally skilled architecture of the bygone days.
Aurangabad airport is conveniently located 10km from the city and has direct flights to and from Delhi and Mumbai.
Aurangabad is well connected to Mumbai and other cities. There are two trains that depart daily from Mumbai, the Tapovan Express and the Devgiri Express is an overnight train.
There are several luxury and state run bus services that ply between Mumbai and Aurangabad and the Ajanta/Ellora Caves
WHAT TO SEE
The Ajanta Caves showcase the Buddhist stories of the period between 200 B.C. and 650 A.D. This group of caves was discovered by few British Officers, who went for a tiger hunt in the site.There are 29 caves in Ajanta, constructed by some Buddhist monks, using tools like chisel and hammer. These caves were habited by the Buddhist monks, who imparted knowledge and performed rituals in the Viharas and the Chaityas, the age-old seats of learning. The paintings and sculptures of the caves portray stories from the Jataka tales. The caves also feature images of princesses .
Bibi ka Maqbara:-
The Bibi ka Maqbara, the sole illustration of the Mughal architecture in the Deccan Plateau was built in the model of Taj Mahal. The creator of this tomb was the son of Aurangzeb, who built it to pay homage to his mother Begum Rabia Durani.
The Jama Masjid can be found near the Killa Arrak. Five rows of ten polygonal pillars are connected by a system of arches. This separates the building into twenty-seven equal compartments. Each of these compartments is covered by a small dome-shaped vault bearing exquisitely simple designs. Five of the nine pointed arches in the front were put up by Malik Ambarnine. A spacious court in front of the mosque has open buildings on three sides for travelers. A water tank in the middle of the court is filled with water from the Malik Ambar canal.
The Ellora Caves were built during the period of 350 AD to 700 AD. It presents structures with the three faiths of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The 34 caves of Ellora are situated at a distance of 29 km from Aurangabad. The interiors of these cave temples are rich in facades and sculptures. The 17 caves in the middle are devoted to the Hinduism, the 12 caves found in the south are dedicated to the Buddhist and the 5 caves located in the north are Jain.
The Kailashanath Temple found in Cave 16 is noted for its architecture. The whole structure was a piece engraved out from a monolith and the process took almost a century for its completion. The most noted aspect of this structure is that the architects of this sculptures started engraving from the top and the sides and not from the base like the other structures.
Daulatabad, formerly known as Devgiri, is located 13 km from Aurangabad. Also known as the city of fortune, it features a 12th century fortress located at the top of a hill. The fortress displays a strong wall of 5 km and a series of ramparts.
Bani Begum Garden:-
Bani Begum Garden is a panoramic garden located 24 km from Aurangabad. The garden is known for its lush green surroundings and comfortable atmosphere. The garden got its name from the tomb of Bani Begum, wife of Aurangzeb’s son, which is found in middle of this garden. Fountains, fluted pillars and massive domes can be seen in the garden and is landscaped in the Mughal style and presents with architecture of the departed period.
In 1692, Aurangzeb ordered a palace to be built. This palace became known as the Killa Arak. The palace has not survived in its original form leaving only ruins, and these can be found from Delhi to Mecca gate. The Killa Arak had four entrances and a Nakarkhana for musicians. The Dabar hall and the Jumma Masjid are the only parts of the palace to remain and are still of some interest. For the use for sport, a piece of ground, which is close to the Masjid, was walled. The gate to the ground carries an inscription, which dates back to 1659 AD. The majestic throne-room of Aurangzeb is now humbly located in a garden and has a rostra appearance. The pavilion while plain and simple is still elegant and can be entered by a gallery from behind.
Shopping in Aurangabad is fascinating as the region is rich in the art and culture of several communities. Aurangabad is known for :
Fabric –The beauty of Paithani silk sarees is legendary .So also the beautifully woven silk Himru and Mashru shawls, of which Himru is an age-old weaving craft of Aurangabad with a blending of cotton and silk. which gives a feel of satin.
Silver- Aurangabad is also known for its bidriware, the intricate silver inlay craft which was once patronized by the Mughals.
Semi-precious stones- One can find a wide display of jewellery made of semiprecious stones and decorative pieces in Auranagabad.Agate in particular is available in a variety of forms and shades.
If you are looking for inexpensive food, then the East station Road in Aurangabad is good. Indian, Chinese and fast food are available across the city in restaurants and hotels. There are a number of good road side eateries in the city. Apart from being cheep, they serve hot and tasty food provided you are used to deep fried and medium spicy Indian junk food such as Batata Vada, Bhajiya and bread pakodas. Aurangabad has fairly good restaurants and eating joints spread across the town. Apart from the star catagory hotels there are many restaurants in the city.