Named for the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, it was once a major centre of power. Famous for Bibi ka Maqbara, tomb of the empress, a replica of the Taj;
- where an old mill and the tomb of an important Sufi saint are set. Daulatabad Fort just outside the city, built by Muhammad bin Tuglaq trying for an unsuccessful attempt to find alternative capital to Delhi. Ajanta Caves were discovered in 1819 by a British hunting party. Their isolation had contributed to the fine state of preservation in which some of the paintings over 2000 years old remain to this day. Aurangabad is known more for the caves excavated and painted by Buddhist monks between 200 BC and AD 600. The 30 caves at Ajanta are the superb example of Indian's finest artistic treasures. They depict scenes from the life of the Buddha and Buddhist fables with skill and devotion.
The best known caves(1,12,16,17, 19) contain magnificent depictions of the bodhisattvas, Avlokitesvara and Padmapani.
Caves 1, 4, 17, 19 and 26 also contain excellent sculptures. The superb statue of the Buddha and of a naga (snake) and the reclining Buddha are remarkable works of art. At Ellora, 34 cave temples were carved out of the hillside with hand tools. Only 12 of these 34 caves are Buddhist . The 17 Hindu caves in the centre are the mosts impressive.
The massive Kailash Temple(cave 16) is nearly one a half times taller than the Parthenon and occupies almost twice its area. It is believed that it was constructed by excavating approx., 200,000 tones of rock and is possibly the world's largest monolithic structure. Representing Shiva's Himalayan home, the temple is exquisitely sculpted with scenes from Hindu mythology, each pulsing with drama, energy and passion.
The depiction of the demon Ravana shaking Mount Kailash is a masterpiece.
Culture Aurangabad district has always been a prominent region on the Deccan plateau and has a long artistic and cultural history, to which several dynasties have made major contributions over the years. The cuisine of Auguranbad has been highly influenced by the North Indian method of cooking, as a result of the long Mughal rule in the region. It has retained much of its Islamic feel, although in the present day both Hindu and Muslim population lives in perfect harmony. Principal languages spoken over here are Marathi, Urdu, Hindi and English.
A Cosmopolitan Hub
Today Aurangabad is one of India's fastest growing commercial and industrial centres manufacturing anything from pharmaceuticals to auto-rickshaws for a voracious Mumbai market. It's a decidedly upbeat kind of place - with plenty of interesting shops in the old city, restaurants and bars - and a peaceful one.
Easy day-trips from Aurangabad include the dramatic fort of Daulatabad, a veritable warren of secret passages and strategic architecture that was briefly the 14th century capital of Mughal India. Just a little further along the Ellora road is the Muslim village of Khuldabad, where the tomb of Emperor Aurangzeb lies under a carpet of rose petals and in the neighboring courtyard, a ragged curtain in drawn back to reveal a trunk containing the sacred "Robe of the Prophet".
How to Reach
Aurangabad is off the main line but there are still direct trains from Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Ajanta and Ellora are completely off the line and are usually approached from either Aurangabad (Ellora 30 km, Ajanta 106km) or from Jalgaon (Ajanta 60km).
Jalgaon is on the main broad-gauge line from Mumbai to Allahabad.
The Airport is about 10km east on the Jalna road. The NEPC Airways office is in the President Park Hotel, 2km Closer to the airport.
Indian Airlines has daily 2 flights to Mumbai and NEPC also flies daily to Mumbai. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday there is an Indian Airline's flight to Udaipur, which continues to Jaipur and Delhi.
There are 2 direct trains daily to/from Mumbai. The Tapovan Express departs at 2.55 PM gets you into Mumbai at 11.20pm.
There are MSRTC Buses From Aurangabad To Pune, Nasik, Indore and Mumbai.The MSRTC and MTDC also offer luxury overnight buses to Mumbai.
The luxury bus agents congregate around the corner where Dr. Rajendra Prasad Marg becomes the court road.