This blog is going to be about a city which was termed as one of the four most important cities of Maharashtra, the city which is known as “The city of Gates”, the city which is home to the two famous UNESCO World heritage status place – The Ajanta and Ellora caves, and the twin of the world famous Taj Mahal – The Bibi ka Muqbara. If this would have been a title less blog then the last sentence would have given away the name of the city anyways.
Aurangabad, located 367 Km from Mumbai and 236 Km from Pune has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, making it a perfect weekend getaway for people of Pune and Mumbai. And it’s not restricted to one particular era , some of the famous tourist spots are from different time periods and dates as long back as to 2nd century BC and have survived the test of time.
For people from Pune and Mumbai reaching Aurangabad is easy as there are many buses and cabs running from Pune to Aurangabad and Mumbai to Aurangabad. And for people from other parts of the country can directly reach to Aurangabad via train or flights.
Since all the tourist spots here are from different time period it beholds different culture as well, which to date can be seen, ensuring that on your way back from the trip along with beautiful memories and experiences you will be taking major share of knowledge that the city has to offer . The must visit places in Aurangabad which sums up its entire tourism are:
The Bibi ka Maqbara
Mostly Mughal architectures are found in Northern region of India, but apparently this beautiful mausoleum was built in the central part giving an opportunity to the people here to witness the marvellous work of Mughal architecture. Bibi ka Maqbara has gained fame mostly because of its obvious resemblance to Taj Mahal which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and which was built prior to Bibi ka Maqbara. Also there is a popular story that Shah Jhan who had built the Taj Mahal had ordered to cut off the arms of the artisans who had constructed the Taj so that a similar architect won’t be built again, now nobody knows how true this story is but this surely also attracts number of people to Bibi ka Maqbara, as it was built by the son of Shah Jhan, Aurangzeb as a tribute to his wife setting an example just for the sake of saying of following the footstep of his father which otherwise cannot be said as the father and son were not in good terms with each other.Keeping this stories apart, Bibi ka Maqbara is a true beauty in itself, and the gardens surrounding it enhances the beauty of the Maqbara.
The Ajanta Caves
Most of the people associate Ajanta Caves with the above painting which happens to be one of the top most famous paintings of Ajanta that have made its presence in many travel blogs or books varying from travel to history. No one knows who actually carved the Ajanta caves, all we know is that it was accidentally discovered by a British officer who was out on a tiger hunt back in the 18th century, and that there are 30 caves in total which dates from 2nd century BCE to 480 CE and are in two phase. The paintings beautifully depict bits and pieces of stories from Jataka tales which you might not necessarily understand by just having a look at it if you haven’t read the tales and also the paintings have been damaged overtime so it is best to hire a guide who will be able to explain the meaning behind every painting and different rock sculptures of Buddha in different forms.
The Ellora Caves
Popularly known as the sister caves of Ajanta, Ellora caves are a bit younger than Ajanta caves as it was carved in between 6th century to 8th century. Unlike Ajanta caves which is entirely dedicated to Buddhism, Ellora has caves dedicated to Hindu and Jain culture along with Buddhism and also it is known that all of these caves were built in the Rashtrakuta and Yadav dynasty. In total there are 34 caves here but the most famous and by famous not only restricted to India but all over the world is Cave 16 which beholds the Kailash Temple, it is believed that this temple which is the largest sculpture built out of a single rock, is the main reason that attracts such a large number of tourists to Ellora. Like Ajanta, here also it is better to hire a guide to get to know about the stories of the different caves.
Grishneshwar Jyotirling Temple
As the name suggests Aurangabad is home to one of the twelve jyotirlinga temples. To those who are not aware, Jyotirlinga temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is believed that originally there are 64 jotirlingas but out of them 12 are considered to be the holiest and are spread across India. Visiting all these 12 Jyotirling temples are considered highly auspicious. Grishneshwar Jyotirling Temple is the 12th Jyotirling and is located near to the Ellora caves so if you are travelling through cab it is to best to visit this temple while going to towards Ellora.
Devgiri Fort popularly known as the Daulatabad fort is a must visit if you are someone who enjoys visiting forts and have that curiosity to explore and imagine of how things would have been in the forts during its good times. Now if you are someone who has seen the Qutub Minar in Delhi prior to visiting Daulatabad then you will be attracted to this fort even if you are just passing by in a distance because of a tall tower located in the fort known as the Chand Minar which kind of looks like the Qutub Minar. Amazing thing about this fort is the defensive system that is present, back in the days the enemies surely must have had a tough time while attacking this fort. Don’t miss visiting Anderi also known as Bhool Bhulaiya inside the fort which is a dark passage with number of uneven staircases which was used back in time to misled enemies.
Apart from these there are some other places as well in Aurangabad which are worth watching and also comes under its tourism like Panchaki, Paithan Gate, Mahishmal Hill station, Aurangabad caves. Well even if you are not here as a tourist and are just here in the city for some work you would still come across architectural beauties in the form gates which the city is filled with because of which it has earned the name of the city of Gates.