Aurangabad India - Touring, Travel and Photo Guide.

Beautiful Aurangabad Gate with Mahmud Darwaza Mosque

About the Indian City of Aurangabad, Maharashtra State, Western India.

Aurangabad is a large city which from a touring point of view offers easy access to several very interesting Indian locations namely the Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves and the excellent Daulatabad Fort.
Named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the City started it's rapid development from just a small village (initially called Khadki) in the early 1600s.
Aurangabad is a walled city and there are several what should be beautiful gates and bridges but sadly the condition of large parts of these fortifications is poor and where any water lies it is just one appalling smelly mess.
However at least the City's Gate and Bridge next to Mahmud Darwaza Mosque is in a quite reasonable condition (Photo right).

Travelling too and fro from Aurangabad - flying, road and rail.

Aurangabad's airport is officially known as Chikkalthana Airport - it's a small fairly quiet airport and located around 8kms from the city centre. Airlines offering regular services there are Jet Airways, JetKonnect and Air India - which go to either Mumbai or Delhi.
As far as Indian Railways is concerned, there are direct connections with Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad - the main railway station is located on the western side of Aurangabad City. Long distance buses provide sometimes quite fast services to Mumbai and Hyderabad - although as with Indian Railways if you have the time just about anywhere in India is reachable by bus. An enjoyable bit of road if coming from Indore by car is when you reach The Western Ghats and have to go over the Ajanta Hills. The NH22 really twists particularly on the climb up - with little room for traffic to pass there are huge drops. The roads into the city are quite good although if travelling in and being anywhere near the Caves expect delays because of the tourist traffic. Within the city the fastest way to get around is by auto-rickshaw - the area around the markets gets very busy and jammed up especially in mid-afternoon.
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Aurangabad - where water lies the smell is appalling. Crumbling City Walls at Aurangabad, India. Maka -Pol - Aurangabad City Wallks, India More of Aurangabad's deteriorating city walls.

Hotels and Accommodation at Aurangabad.

There are several hotels to stay within the city which are of pretty reasonable standard - these are of course set up specifically for tourists and are in fairly quiet areas of the city. For instance you can get a pleasant room for around UKstg55 to 65 or so a night (The Lemon Tree was pretty good).

Sightseeing around Aurangabad City - a few things to look at within the City itself.

Visiting the Bibi Ka Maqbara - Tomb of the Lady (Taj of the Deccan) in Aurangabad.

Constructed in the mid to late 1600s possibly by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in memory of his wife Dilras Banu Begum or possibly by Aurangzeb's son (Azam Shah) in memory of his mother. The mostly marble built mausoleum sits within a huge walled enclosure and is located just a few kilometres from Aurangabad's City Centre.
Outside view of the Taj of Deccan, Aurangabad, India. Approach to the Bibi Ka Maqbara in India. Bibi Ka Maqbara Tomb in Aurangabad, India. The Mosque at The Taj of Deccan, Aurangabad.
The Taj of Deccan is open daily and has an entrance fee of 100 Indian Rupees (that is of course only applicable to non-Indians! - Indian nationals of course as usual just pay what amounts to peanuts to get into most sites in India).
The marble Bibi Ka Maqbara Mausoleum, Aurangabad, India. Marble constructed Taj of Deccan Mosque, India. Outer walls of the Taj of Deccan, Aurangabad, India. More distant view of the Taj of Deccan, India.
From a variety of viewing points the whole area really does look like the Taj Mahal in Agra - including laid out gardens, fountains and ponds (usually dry). Sadly much of the area apart from the main approach to the tomb is covered with scrub but this place is well worth a visit for an hour or so.

Visiting the Panchakki (i.e. water mill) - water feature, garden and mosque in Aurangabad.

It is always interesting to see how in olden times the Indians manipulated their water sources to provide supplies to their forts and palaces - both for decoration in the way of water gardens, ponds and fountains but also of course for sustenance. The Dargah of Baba Shah Musafir lies alongside the bank of the Kham River - it is open daily and has a small entrance fee. It is a religious compound which was built under the auspices of Emperor Aurangzeb.
Grinding stone at Panchakki - Aurangabad, India Entrance to Panchakki - Aurangabad, India. Panchakki Mosque at Aurangabad in India Rectangular mill tank at Panchakki, Aurangabad, India.
The Panchakki at Aurangabad dates back to the 17th century and the mill was powered by an underground water source some 8kms away in the mountains. In front of the mill there is a rectangular pond (full of large hungry carp) which contains small fountains and on one side of the of the mill there is a beautiful small mosque dedicated to Hazrat Sufi Saint Baba Shah Musafir (who was Aurangzeb's mentor). Apart from the mill and mosque there are several craft shops plus a college and women's quarters (Zenana).

The above are easily achieved by doing a deal with an auto-rickshaw driver as they are more or less within the confines of the city. Also as part of a your circuit can include getting the driver to stop to enable looking round the market and shopping area of the city as well as taking a look at more of the city walls and bridges - some parts of the walls still remain in some sort of reasonable condition. However do hold your breath somewhat if looking over one of the bridges should there be any water lying underneath - it really will truly stink and is of course full of rubbish.

Going to see Jama Masjid, Aurangabad - perhaps not!.

Mentioned as one of the places to visit in Aurangabad the only comment from our experience is to say do not bother especially if one of you is female. On an auto-rickshaw ride around town we (my wife and I) mentioned to the driver that we wanted to see the mosque - he was quite negative but did take us there. The reason was obvious on arrival - women are not allowed in and non-Muslims apparently are not wanted there either even if male. I did go in but was soon confronted by a couple of people who aggressively demanded to know what I wanted - and basically was made to feel 100 percent unwelcome.
Maniknagar Bridge in India View over the river at Maniknagar, India. The impressive Gate at Maniknagar, Maharashtra, India. The photos on the left are not in Aurangabad - they are the entrance to a village called Maniknagar which you may pass when going to Ajanta Caves. The excellent bridge, gate and walls are certainly worth a quick look so get your driver to stop there for a few minutes.
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