The gateway to the World Heritage Sites
of Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad is named after the Mughal emperor,
Aurangzeb. Lying along the right bank of the Kham River, the city is
the district headquarters, which offers visitors all the modern
comforts and amenities.There are several luxury and budget hotels,
shopping centres and banks.
In the city, there are three museums housing the art treasures of the
region -the Sunheri Mahal Museum, the University Museum and the
Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum. You can also while away the hours in the
pleasant confines of the Bani Begum Gardens.
Some of the prominent tourist attractions of Aurangabad are:
Aurangabad Caves, Bibi Ka Maqbara, Himroo Factory
Aurangabad the only tourist district of
India having two-world heritage monuments to its credit. Moreover it
is hoped that there will be good addition of two more in near future.
Barring these heritage monuments of Ajanta, Ellora, Daulatabad and
Bibi-Ka-Maqbara the district is rich in monuments, historical and
religious, of National importance. Hence, it deserves the epithet as
Tourist District of India. Realizing its International Status the
erstwhile central Minister for Tourism and Culture rightly praised the
tremendous tourism potentiality of this district in one of the
International Press- Met. (Mayami U.S.A. Press Meet.).
By and large the Foreign tourists visit India to see the beauty of
“Taj” the dream in marble, to experience the world of Lord-Budha and
to speak to the colors sculptures of Ellora- Ajanta and Ellora are the
creations of the dedicated artists of the by-gone days of this region.
Besides the groups of the heritage caves there are large number of
caves of equisite beauty at Pitalkhora, the earliest rock-cut-temples
of Western India, at Ghototkacha in the panoramic gourge of Jajla
hills and at Aurangabad the sculptural beauty of which is unmatched,
on the periphery of the city itself. Besides these cave temples the
district is handsomely adorned other heritage objects such as, the
ancient city of Pratisthan ( Paithan) famous for exuberant Paithani
sarees, the abode and saint Eknath and also known for the wood-work of
the Peshwa period, Elopur the house of Ghrushneswara one of the twelve
Jyotirlingas of India and also the “ Gadhi” of the Bhosales, the
ancestors of Chhatrapati the architect of Hindavi Rajya, the
impregnable fort of Devgiri- Daulatabad , Khultabad the seat of the
Sufis and the Roza of the Aurangzeb in the midst his close relatives
and preceptor. Besides these there are large number of historical
manora and mansions, tombs and maqbaras, Hammamas and gardens, temples
and monastores. Prominent among them are Bibi-ka-Maqbara, the tomb of
Rabia-Ud Baurchi alias Dilres-Banu- Begam the wife of Aurangzeb also
known as Mini Taj, Soneri-Mahal, the Haveli constructed by Pahadsing a
noble of orchha, Navkhanda palace, erected by Malik Ambar the
prime-minister of Nizamshahi of Ahmednagar who enhanced the status of
the city from Khadki a small hamlet to Fateh-Nagar the then capital of
Nizamshahi Kingdom, Kile Arq the palace of Aurangzeb, the 52 towering
gates interspersed in the fortification wall of the city mainly
constructed by Aurangzeb during his over-stay in the Deccan, Pan-Chakki,
the water-mill constructed by a sufi-saint a marvel Feet in hydrology.
Aurangabad caves are just a few kilometers away from the famous
monument of Bibi Ka Maqbara. These caves are believed to be excavated
between 2nd and 6th century AD. Aurangabad caves are carved out of the
hillside and are a fine piece of architecture. A major chunk of the
caves in Aurangabad are Viharas. Total number of caves is twelve; out
of which cave number 3 and 7 are the most fascinating ones. Cave
number 1 to 5 are in the western group and caves from 6 to 10 are in
the eastern group. Tantric influences are noticeable in Aurangabad
Bibi Ka Maqbara
Bibi Ka Maqbara is situated 5 km away from Aurangabad. Aurangazeb's
son, Prince Azam Shah built it in 1678 in the memory of his mother
Begum Rabia Durani. This mausoleum is a replica of the famous Taj
Mahal. Despite the layout and surrounding of the tomb is very much
similar to Taj Mahal, somehow the architecture fails to produce the
magic of the Taj. Hence, it is considered to be a poor imitation of
the Taj Mahal.
A workshop in Aurangabad's Zaffar gate is continuing the conventional
style of Himroo hand weaving. The workshop also maintains a show room
to showcase these products. Here, one can see and shop Himroo shawls
and sarees. Bold patterns and colours are the specialities of Mashru
fabrics. It is said that Marco Polo has been gifted a fabric woven in
silk and gold threads.
There is also a shrine of a saint, Baba Shah Musafir at the site where
panchaki is situated. Panchakki (Water Wheel) derives its name from
the mill that was used at the early days. The mill is driven with the
water brought through earthen pipes from the river 6km away.
Aurangabad airport is directly air-linked to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and
Udaipur. The airport is conveniently located at a distance of around
10 km east of the town.
Two trains leave daily from Mumbai for Aurangabad. Tapovan Express
departs Mumbai early morning that arrives Aurangabad by late
afternoon, while the Devgiri Express is an overnight train.
There are many luxury and state run bus services that ply between
Mumbai and Aurangabad and the Ajanta/Ellora Caves