Aurangabad Travel Guide
Location : In the northern
part of the state of Maharashtra
Area :138.5 sq. km
Attractions : Aurangabad Caves, Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Panchakki
Ideal Time To Visit : November and February
The ancient city of Aurangabad is located in the northern part of the
state of Maharashtra in the western region of India. It is 403 km away
from Mumbai and is encircled by hills. Situated on the banks of the
Kham River, this historical city is famous for its medieval monuments
and cultural heritage.
Aurangabad was an important seat of the
Mughal Empire for a short period. Thus, the city has many monuments
speaking volumes about the grandeur of the Mughal architecture. Take a
travel trip to important monument sites at Aurangabad,
Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Panchakki, Himroo factory and Aurangabad caves are
most important among them. There are many Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu
temples also located in this region. Apart from these historical
structures, the city is also famous for its close proximity with world
heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora and for its silk and cotton
Aurangabad was earlier known as 'Khirki', due to its strategic
position that provided a window view of the Deccan plateau. Though the
city looks like a calm and serene city but it is rapidly growing as an
industrialized city, trying to be as competitive as possible.
Aurangabad was initially ruled by the Mauryans, who introduced
Buddhism in this region of India. The advent of Buddhism is evident in
the form numerous Buddhist cave temples in and around Aurangabad.
There are many temples located here which were built by Satvahana and
Rashtrakuta rulers. The world heritage site of Ajanta and Ellora Caves
are a part of this Buddhist tradition.
The history of Aurangabad is incomplete without mentioning the short
but very important Mughal period. The city of Aurangabad was
established in 1610, on the site of a village named Khirki, by a local
Muslim noble Malik Ambar. It was then ruled by his son Fateh Khan who
named the city as Fatehpur in 1626. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal
ruler, took the charge of this city in 1653 and renamed it as
Aurangabad. Aurangzeb made Aurangabad his capital keeping in mind its
strategic location in peninsular India. He used this city as a base to
suppress the thriving power of the Marathas.
After the Mughals, this historical city was also ruled by the Nizam
of Hyderabad until 1948 when it was unified with the state of
¤ Attractions In Aurangabad
Aurangabad is situated a little offbeat in the state of Maharashtra,
but still it never fails to attract the attention of tourists. It is
famous because of its historical and religious architectural sites.
Aurangabad is not covered with lush greenery but a good number of
gardens present here provide a pleasant stay in the town. Aurangabad
is a major tourist spot due to its proximity to some of the world
famous heritage sites of India. The thriving tourism of this city has
also helped the local traditional textile and handicraft industry to
There are 12 Buddhist caves snuggled in the middle of hills,
probably dating back to the 1 A.D. The most important ones are those
with the Tantric influences, which is reflected through the
iconography and architectural designs of the caves. Some of these
caves show Lord Buddha seated on an intricately carved throne. You can
also get beautiful views of the city as well as the imposing Maqbara
from this point.
Bibi-ka-Maqbara was built by Aurangzeb in the memory of his wife
Rabia-ud-Daurani Begum. This tomb bears some resemblance with the Taj
Mahal, which is a major attraction for tourists coming to this place.
The architecture of this tomb is magnificent which is surrounded by a
garden. You will have to buy an entry ticket of a negligible amount to
enter the Maqbara.
Panchakki is a major attraction of Aurangabad and its literal
meaning is water mill. This mill receives its share of water that
travels through an underground channel from a source which is 6 km
away in the mountains. The water is then discharged on to the wheel
creating a fascinating waterfall. There is also a garden and fountains
with fish-filled tanks adding to the charm of the entire area.
Panchakki also has a tomb of Baba Shah Muzaffar, a Sufi Saint who was
spiritual adviser to Aurangzeb.
Another major travel attraction of Aurngabad is the Himroo Factory.
Himroo is a traditional fabric which is a blend of cotton and silk,
famous for its quality. Paithani saris, traditional handloom shawls
and other textile material of Himroo fabric and silver threads are
very popular. An interesting fact about the designs and patterns made
on these fabrics is that they are inspired by the frescoes of Ajanta.
The Jama Masjid at Aurangabad was built by Aurangzeb. It situated in
the center of a grove of trees in Killa Arrack. The Masjid has a low
building with minarets and a broad band. This broad band is carved
with Koranic inscriptions written through the length of the facade.
The Chauk Masjid was built by Shayista Khan, the uncle of Aurangzeb
in 1665 is another travel attraction of the city. This Masjid consists
of five beautiful domes.
The Lal Masjid was built in 1655 and is built in red-painted basalt.
This mosque is located in the old city area of Aurangabad.
¤ Excursions From Aurangabad
The world heritage Ajanta caves are one of the few historical and
architectural marvels of India. It was discovered accidentally during
the 19th century by a group of British officers who were on a tiger
hunt. These caves are located deep within the Sahyadri hills above the
Waghora. They describe the story of Lord Buddha and Buddhism religion
that prevailed here during 200 BC to 650 AD.
The Ellora cave temples are regarded as the World heritage sites of
India. They are situated just 30 kilometers northwest of Aurangabad.
It can be easily reached from the nearby major towns. There are almost
34 monasteries and temples that date back from 600 to 1000 AD. The
temples of Ellora are dedicated to Brahmanism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
The cave temples here have some superior carvings on the stone
depicting the legends related to Lord Shiva.
The exquisite Daulatabad fort is located just 13 kilometers from
Aurangabad on the way to Ellora, makes an excellent travel excursion
from Aurangabad. The fort was built during the 12th century by king
Bhillama of Yadav dynasty. It is situated on a pyramid shaped hill
making it a major attraction here. According to the locals here, the
Daulatabad fortress was earlier known as 'Devgiri'. Later the name was
changed to Daulatabad by Mohammed Bin Tughlaq, Sultan of Delhi.
Shirdi is situated approximately 144 kilometers from Aurangabad. It
is an important excursion destination from Aurnagabad and is
considered as a holy place by the Hindus. Innumerable tourists come
throughout the year to visit the shrine of Sidhi Sai Baba, located
here. Apart from this, there are some more holy shrines closely
related to Sai Baba here. It can be easily reached from the nearby
¤ Events and Festivals
An important festival celebrated in Aurangabad is the Mahashivratri.
It is celebrated during the months of February/March in the temple of
Ghrishneshwara, which is located near Ellora. Other festivals
celebrated here are Buddha Jayanti, Dussehra, Ganesh Chaturthi,
Khultabad Urs, Paithan Fair and Shivaji Jayanti.
¤ Reach Aurangabad
By Air : Aurangabad airport
is situated 10 km east of the city. Both Indian Airlines and Jet
Airways have a daily flight to Mumbai (Bombay). The Indian Airlines
has an evening flight to Delhi via Udaipur and Jaipur.
By Rail : Aurangabad can be easily approached by rail from
Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. There are regular
trains available on South Central Railway to reach Aurangabad.
By Road : Aurangabad is well connected with major cities of
the state by a good network of roadways. The distances for some of the
major cities from Aurangabad are Pune (214 km), Nasik (218 km), Indore
(402 km) and Mumbai (403 km).