Aurangabad Travel Guide
While it may not be a big name city, Aurangabad still draws its share of visitors. Home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, culture hounds will find plenty to see and do during their time here.
Plan a stay of at least four days to take in all the temples, caves, and other cultural sites.
If you’re spending time in the Aurangabad area, ensure that you make a trip out to the Ellora Caves. Within, you’ll find one of the largest rock-cut temple/monasteries in the world. Boasting UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition, it features carvings and rock artwork dating back as far as 600 AD.
Over the years, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains have all used this space as a place of worship. The site has over a hundred caves containing monuments and rock art related to these disciplines. However, make cave 16 a priority, as it includes the Kailasha Temple. Dedicated to Shiva, the creators of this chariot-shaped Hindu temple carved it out of a single rock.
Of the 100+ caves, 34 are open to the public. Make a visit here a day-long endeavour, as there is much to see here. Bring plenty of water and shade (umbrella), the sun can be harsh much of the year.
If you’re still craving temples after your visit to the Ellora Caves, ensure the Grishneshwar Temple is next on your travel itinerary. It is a kilometre from the Ellora Caves, making it easy to include as part of a day trip.
Its construction is curious for a Hindu temple in Western India, as it resembles those built in Southern India. Erected initially before the 13th century, armies have razed it numerous times over the years. The current version dated from the 18th century when Queen Rani Ahalyabai ordered its rebuilding.
Hindu pilgrims visit throughout the year, as it is home to the last Jyotirlinga, or lingas of light. As such, it can get crowded, especially on weekends and during holiday periods. Keep this in mind when planning your visit to this temple.
Don’t think you’re going to get a chance to see the Taj Mahal on this visit to Aurangabad? A trip to the Bibi Ka Maqbara may serve as a suitable consolation prize. Built in 1660 by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, it bears an eerie resemblance to the mausoleum in Agra.
Clad in marble, Aurangzeb built this tomb as a final resting place for his late wife, Dilras Banu Begum. In addition to her grave, this impressive monument contains numerous water features, a garden, and a mosque.
The Ellora Caves aren’t the only subterranean show in town – make time to see the Aurangabad Caves as well. Carved out of basalt close to the city of Aurangabad, twelve caves are open to visitation from the public.
Dating from the 6th century, you’ll find Buddhist reliefs and symbols throughout these chambers. These include stupas, meditating Buddhas, and mother goddesses common to Vajrayana Buddhism. Overshadowed by Ellora Caves, the lack of crowds here will be welcomed by those bothered by them.
Do you have time to see one more temple while in Aurangabad? Add the Bhadra Maruti Temple to your list. Its creators dedicated this temple to Hanuman, the Hindu god of strength and knowledge.
This temple depicts Hanuman in a sleeping position, making it one of three places in the world where you can find this. On Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti, crowds of people come to offer prayers. Whether you want to take in this fantastic sight or avoid massive crowds, make appropriate plans.
If you are travelling as a family, Aurangabad offers a couple of attractions that will entertain your kids. Make the Siddharth Garden your first stop. A favoured park in this city, it is also home to a zoo. Here, you’ll find animals including leopards, tigers, lions, civet cats, crocodiles, hyenas, and more.
Is the punishing heat of Aurangabad taking its toll on you and your children? Spend a few hours splashing around at the H2O Water Park. It features slides that offer up to 40-foot drops, tube rides, a spray deck, and a food court.
At other times of the year, the monsoon can wash out your outdoor plans. When this happens, salvage a day by hanging out at Prozone Mall Aurangabad. With over one million square feet of retail, you’ll find plenty of shops to distract you from the rain outside. After you’ve finished buying everything you need, take in a show at the multiplex. With five screens, you’re bound to find a movie worth seeing.