Aurangabad

Cave painting at the Ajanta caves

Aurangabad is an important city in the state of Maharashtra, India. It sees a lot of international tourist traffic due to world heritage sites, Ajanta & Ellora caves. Aurangabad, a dream destination of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, founded in 1610, is known today as one of the four important cities in Maharashtra. The city is heading towards rapid industrial growth, but retains its past glory and charms, heritage and traditions. Conspicuously seen on the Deccan plateau, it has a rich culture and a plethora of magnificent arts on display.

Makai Gate - Aurangabad

Understand

Travellers to Aurangabad will find history dating back to the 2nd century BCE, when the Satavahana rulers established their capital in Pratishtanapura, today known as Paithan. It was around this time that the viharas (monasteries) were carved out of caves in what is now Ajanta, and the stunning cave paintings were made, to be lost and rediscovered in the early 19th century. The carvings in the Ellora caves track the changing fortunes of three major religions Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism between the 5th and the 10th century CE.

City of Gates...

Aurangabad is famous for its Historic gates. Their was 52 gates in Aurangabad so it is also known as बावन गेटाचे शहर ("city of 52 gates") , out of 52 only 15 gates survived . These are the fifteen gates which still stand with pride and have become the characteristic part of the city. These are as follows-

  • Barapulla Gate
  • Bhadkal Darwaza
  • Delhi Gate
  • Kala Darwaza
  • Khas Gate
  • Khizer Gate
  • Makai Gate
  • Manju Gate
  • Mehmood Darwaza
  • Naubat Darwaza
  • Paithan Gate
  • Rangeen Darwaza
  • Raushan Gate
  • Islam Darwaza (Kat-Kat Gate)
  • Jafar Gate

The Yadava kings established their capital in Devagiri (also spelt Deogiri) and built a fort that stands to this day. The fort was reputed to be impregnable, but Ala-ud-din Khilji of Delhi captured it by laying siege on it and renamed it to Daulatabad. Malik Kafur, his general consolidated his hold on the region. As the Delhi Sultanate was captured by Mohammad bin Tughluq, the fort passed to him. Tughluq is famous for his famously botched plan to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad along with the entire population of the city, only to have to return because he had not planned for water supply at his new capital. This fiasco ensured fame for his name, as Indians took to describing the oft-shifting plans of their rulers as "Tughluq policies".

Aurangabad then fell to the local Muslim rulers of Deccan who revolted against the Delhi Sultan. The city of Aurangabad was founded by Malik Ambar, the Prime Minister of one of these rulers, though the name of the city then was Fatehpura. The region kept changing hands till the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan consolidated his hold and appointed his son Aurangzeb as the governor. Aurangzeb established his base here. He returned to the city again in 1681, this time as an emperor, determined to crush the south once and for all. He spent the last two decades of his life battling the Marathas in an ultimately fruitless campaign. He died in 1707 in Khuldabad near Aurangabad city and was buried therethe battles ultimately resulted in the demise of his empire too.

The district is now the headquarters of the backward region of Marathwada, but it is also a manufacturing hub as many Indian companies have their plants here. It also contains the headquarters of Videocon, a fairly large Indian MNC.

Aurangabad has a long association with the concept of heritage. Aurangabad has seen several dynasties and experienced the power of rulers of different religions, cultures and communities, each of which has left its mark on the city.

The city of Aurangabad was founded in 1610 by Malik Amber, the prime minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah II. The town was named as ‘Khirki’ and was stated a capital. The town started growing. Aurangzeb when he became Viceroy of the Deccan plateau made it his capital and named it Aurangabad. This was the golden time in the history of Aurangabad when the city flourished the most in terms of culture, architecture, art etc. In the year 1679, Aurangzeb’s son built a replica of the Taj-Mahal, the ‘Bibi-ka-Maqbara’, in tribute to his mother Begam Rabia Durani. It is considered to be a masterpiece of Mughal architecture in the Deccan plateau.

The entire city of Aurangabad was fortified and huge entrance gates were erected. Except for Bharkal gate all the other gates are associated with the period of Aurangzeb. The gates with prime importance were the ones facing the four directions, Delhi Gate facing the North, Paithan gate facing South, Makai Gate (Mecca Gate) facing East and the Khas Gate facing the West. In all there were 54 gates in Aurangabad. Out of 54 gates only 13 have survived over the period of time. The important and Architecturally most appealing gates include Delhi Gate, kala Darwaza, Makia Gate, Paitahn gate and Rangeen Darwaza.

Climate

The climate of Aurangabad is temperate, with low relative humidity and diverse but not extreme weather conditions

Aurangabad, like any other part of India, experiences three major seasons: summer, winter and monsoon.

Summer lasts from March to May with an average maximum and minimum temperatures of 37 and 21°C respectively. The hottest summer temperature is around 45°C, but it never goes above that. Nights are usually pleasant and cooler during the entire summer. Average relative humidity is as low as 9%.

Winter, from November to February, is the most comfortable time to visit Aurangabad. The average winter temperature ranges from a maximum of 22°C to a minimum of 10°C. As it gets cooler the mercury even touches 7°C but that is the lowest usual temperature. As in summer, temperatures cool off at night. Average relative humidity is 17%.

The monsoon ranges from June to October and receives moderate rainfall of 91 cm on an average. The average relative humidity during this season is 40%.

Get in

Aurangabad is well connected by Air, Rail and Road to other parts of country. Aurangabad enjoys central location with respect to Maharashtra and Goa. All major cities in Maharashtra lie within a radius of 500 km. Aurangabad has a good network of National and State highways connecting all parts of the country.

By plane

Aurangabad Airport

By train

Manmad: is the nearest Railway Junction on Central Railway wherein trains to all parts of India are available. Manmad - Aurangabad journey can be made by a good connection of trains or by road in a span of 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If you have a connecting train, make sure that there is at least a gap of 2 hours in the departures. In case you miss the connecting train, due to late running of a previous train, you can avail of a full refund at any of the two stations (i.e. connecting station or destination station). - The highest fare (Air-conditioned First Class Overnight Sleeper code 'H'), Air-conditioned 2-Tier Sleeper (Railway code 'A'), Air-conditioned 3-Tier Sleeper (code 'B'), and for day trains Air-conditioned Chair-Cars (code 'C'). - Reserved Non Air-conditioned sleeper class (code 'S') and Second Class Seating (code 'D') are available. Indian Rail Official web-site.

By bus

Apart from these cities Aurangabad has direct bus links from cities like Hyderabad, Solapur, Kolhapur, Goa, Ahmedabad, Indore and many more.

Visit MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) web site for time-table of all buses to and from Aurangabad (NOTE: The web site requires the location of bus station e.g. for Pune you have to write 'Shivajinagar' for Ellora you may enter 'Verul')

By car

Aurangabad has excellent road connectivity to all important cities in Maharashtra namely Mumbai (400 Km), Nagpur, Pune (237 Km), Nasik (190 Km) etc. The highway connections make the journey to the world famous destinations of Ajanta (107 Km) and Ellora (29 Km) very comfortable. There are also many car rental companies in Aurangabad.

Get around

The city of Aurangabad has all forms of transport right from intra-city buses, metered auto-rickshaws to chauffeur-driven taxis. Intra-city Bus service is Municipal Corporation owned but privately operated. AMT (Aurangabad Municipal Transport) buses ply throughout the city and outskirts reaching thousands of citizens to their offices, schools, colleges efficiently and in a cost effective manner. MSRT

AMT Buses

AMT (Aurangabad Municipal Transport) intra-city buses ply throughout the city including the outskirts and connect different parts of the city and adjoining suburbs together. The AMT bus service is affordable and thus masses use it for their daily transport. AMT buses carry thousands of passengers to and fro their workplaces, schools & colleges daily and thus are quite crowded during morning and evening rush hours.

Conducted Bus Tours by MSTRC, ITDC and other travel service providers

MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) and ITDC (India Tourism Development Corporation) operate daily conducted tours by semi-Luxury buses to the tourist destinations like Ellora, Ajanta and Daulatabad wherein they also take a note of the tourist destinations in the city. These journeys can be booked at Aurangabad Central Bus Stand (CBS).

Tour 1: Aurangabad CBS to Ajanta Caves, Bibi-Ka-Muqbara, Pan-Chakki and back to Aurangabad CBS

Tour 2: Aurangabad CBS to Ellora Caves, Daulatabad Fort, Bibi-Ka-Muqbara, Pan-Chakki and back to Aurangabad CBS

These conducted bus tours are ideal only if you are short of time and are alright having a glance at all these places. The major disadvantage of these tours is a very tight time-schedule. The sightseeing has to be wound up very fast without you being able to take your own time.

Metered Auto-Rickshaws (Taxis)

Attention - Important for the Tourists visiting Aurangabad for the first time


Although Aurangabad has Metered Auto rickshaws(Three wheeler taxis) which run based on the fare as shown in Meter (details given below), it is seen that like any other tourist place Auto rickshaw drivers ask for exorbitant rates from the tourists especially at Railway station, Central bus stand or stops of Private buses. Make sure to ask before boarding the three wheeler cab that he will be charging you based on the meter reading, he activates the meter when you board, he has a certified tarif card. The actual fare around 10 times the meter reading in ₹. But you can pay him around 12 times the reading. A tip up to 10% of the fare may be given ONLY IF you are happy with his services. Mid night fare is applicable from 00.00 hrs. to 05.00 hrs. which is 1.5 times the usual fare i.e. around 15 times the meter reading. Around half hour consideration can be given to auto rickshaw drivers (23.30 hrs to 05.30 hrs) as given by a majority of residents of Aurangabad.

As a tourist one is recommended to either take Metered Auto-rickshaws (3-wheeler taxis) or Chauffeur driven Taxis. These taxis are not very expensive and are ideal for one day tours to Ajanta, Ellora, Daulatabad, etc. A hatchback type air-conditioned taxi will cost you around for a least count of ₹560 (incl. first 80km) plus ₹7 per kilometer or 8 hours whichever is less. Rates of more premium taxis are also computed in same manner with a higher cost per KM. Metered Auto-Rickshaws are undoubtedly the most suitable and convenient way of traveling through the city. This is due to their easy availability at any time and the affordability. These are hired three-wheeler taxis which are ideal to move around the city. The Meter reading is read along-with a 'tariff-card' available with the driver. The actual fare is usually around 10 times the meter reading. Always ensure that the driver starts the meter on beginning of the journey. Fare from Mid night 12:00 AM to 05:00 AM is One and Half times the regular fare. The minimum regular fare is as low as ₹10/- Only.

Chauffeur Driven Taxis / Tourist Taxis

These are ideal for the tourists visiting the city and the tourist destinations around. The tourist taxis can be booked from various travel agents in the city like Blue-Ocean travels,Wonder, Manmandir, Saibaba Travels, Welworth, Classic Cars, etc. All hotels also have a taxi-counter. The fare is calculated per kilometre with a minimum of 80 KM. The fare depends on the class of vehicle and the type (AC or Non-AC). See to it that the taxi you hire has a tourist permit and is not a private vehicle. The tourist permit cars can be easily identified by a yellow number plate.

Drive (Car or Two Wheeler)

This is the most common way of transport for the local people. But for the tourists, self driven cars and two wheelers are not easily available on hire basis in India. Driving on the streets is fairly comfortable as there is not much traffic on the roads and the roads are wide (except that in old part of the city). Some roads are not very well-maintained and are prone to pot-holes.

In general, public transport in and around the city is fairly good.

Talk

Most people in Aurangabad speak Marathi, the regional language of Maharashtra. Hindi, Urdu and English are also spoken widely.

Generally people in service industries speak fairly good English.

See

Replica of the Taj! Bibi Ka Maqbara-Aurangabad

Further afield

Ajanta Caves - A panorama
Daulatabad Fort - Aurangabad
Jaikwadi Dam over Godawari river - Paithan, Aurangabad

Do

Parks

Buy

Apart from these there are a number of Multi Brand Retail Outlets like:

Along with these, there are a number of small time retail shops and grocery shops all around the city.

Eat

Aurangabad has a fairly good restaurants and eating joints spread across the town. Apart from the star category hotels there are many restaurants in the city.

Budget / Mid-range

Indian Vegetarian (a-la-carte)

Indian Vegetarian (Thaali Meals) 'Thaali' in Marathi & Hindi means a complete meal. Thaali meals consis of Assorted Indian breads, Rice varieties, 2 or 3 vegetables, Munchins, Dals, Kadhi, Traditional cold drinks, Indian Desserts, etc.

Indian Non-Vegetarian

Non Vegetarian Dhabas (Garden Restaurants & Bars) on outskirts of the city These are Open air/ semi open restaurants on outskirts of the city. They serve good food and liquor. Being a bit far from town they make ideal getaway for families.

Pizza, Coffee, Breakfast, Snacks, Savories, Pastries, etc.

Hookka lounges

Splurge (Multi-cuisine / Specialty)

Road side eateries

see also street food

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. Drinking water should be avoided at such places.

Foreigners wanting to try the food from road-side eateries must make sure that it is hot, fried in front of them and must resist from having the non-vegetarian road-side eatables, sauces (chutneys), juices, ice-candies, etc.; however tempting may they look! Drinking regular water on streets is strict no. You must have mineral water.

Paan (Tradition of Aurangabad, a must have!!)

Paan at Tara Paan Centre, Osmanpura is a must have. If you feel how can a 'Paan' be so special then you have to feel a variety of mouth melting Paans with exquisite presentation at this joint. You will not have a Pan like this anywhere in India.

Drink

Although Aurangabad is not a very Alcohol friendly place, there are a number of good bars in the city. Do not try very cheep looking bars as they can be unsafe at times. Usually All good hotels have in-house bar facilities. Some good places to enjoy a drink in Aurangabad are:

Mid-range

Splurge

Sleep

Price Range of Aurangabad Hotels


  • Budget < ₹1500
  • Mid Range ₹1500 to ₹3000
  • Splurge > ₹3000

Since Aurangabad is a tourist place, the city has a number of good hotels from all the budget categories suiting the needs of all tourists visiting the city. The budget hotels are located near the Aurangabad Railway Station and City Center, The mid range hotels have been distributed over the city and the 5 star & 4 star hotels are located near the Chikalthana Airport.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Phone

Internet

A large number of internet cafes are available across the city. The surfing charges per hour vary from ₹20 to ₹35. A few of the good Internet cafes are:

Stay safe

Aurangabad is a fairly safe place. The people in city are by and large decent with the international and domestic tourists. Ladies should be careful while traveling alone late at night after 10:00 PM. The local buses (AMT & MSRTC) are very safe for women even at late night. If a lady is traveling alone on an overnight bus from Aurangabad usually the seat next to her is given only to a lady traveler as a courtesy but make sure to request for a 'ladies-seat' while making your bookings. Walking on the streets up to 9:00 PM is usually safe for women but avoid going into small lanes and by-lanes after it is dark and make sure that you are not wearing any jewelry while walking on the streets. Women are not recommended to take lifts from private vehicles at any time of the day. Do not display ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes in public and beware of pick-pockets at crowded locations like Railway Stations, Bus Stations, Bazzars etc. Violent crime in Aurangabad is very low though not negligible. Please have the following numbers with you all the time. They can be dialed from any mobile or fixed line phone.

Go next

Day Trips


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 11, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.