A small city nestled in the state of Maharashtra, there are some really fascinating places to visit in Aurangabad. Home to one of the most ancient UNESCO World Heritage site, Aurangabad receives thousands of visitors every day.
Defined by its historical monuments and significance, Aurangabad is definitely a place that you should visit soon. Don’t have a lot of time in hand? Don’t worry, you can refer to this short guide to plan an epic trip to Aurangabad for just 2 days.
If you love UNESCO Heritage sites then Hampi is a good option for a short trip as well.
Top 3 Places to Visit in Aurangabad
Bibi Ka Maqbara
Although I hadn’t really planned to visit Bibi Ka Maqbara, a friend suggested me to go. So, I decided to listen and added it to my list. And it was definitely the right choice.
We reached the place and parked our vehicle outside to have some breakfast nearby. After taking the tickets, we went ahead and I got my first proper look at this place. Until I saw it, I had no idea what I was going to see. It was a last minute plan, and we have only heard the name of the place but had no idea what we were going to find.
As we entered, I saw a tomb that had an uncanny resemblance to the Taj Mahal. And well, I was pretty surprised. When I had been to Delhi, I had wanted to visit Taj Mahal as well. But due to a lack of time, we could not make it. But Bibi ka Maqbara made up for it quite nicely and is definitely one of the top places to visit in Aurangabad.
This place had a majestic entrance that was made out of white marble architecture. As a result, the whole area was bright and would shine from afar.
After we entered through the gate, we saw a path divided by a water fountain. This path was leading towards the tomb similar to the Taj Mahal. We had only seen pictures of Taj Mahal but anyone could easily confuse between these two marvels.
We were intrigued as to why was there a need for another tomb with exactly the same architectural design. And thankfully, we found the answer from the local guides and with some help from Google, of course.
Bibi Ka Maqbara, also called the Tomb of the Lady in English, was built by Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb. The tomb was built in the memory of his loving wife, Dilras Banu Begum. Quite similar to Mumtaz, who died in childbirth, Dilras Banu Begum also died in the childbirth of her 5th child.
And immediately after her death, Aurangazeb commissioned the builders to build a monument for her. This also happens to be one of the most iconic monuments in Aurangabad.
The white marble architecture of the place was carved to such minute details that it was unbelievable it was done by humans just like the rest of us! What all wonders are these hands capable of! It left us with a feeling of awe and respect.
Inside the tomb, we could see the tomb of the lady buried down. And visitors could see it from a balcony at the top. We saw a lot of coins and money on the tomb, as a customary thing. Also, it was a little dark on the inside, which did not expose the carvings very much. But on the outside, the talent was clearly visible on the four sides of the tomb.
Sure, it’s not an original design but replicating Taj Mahal is no joke. To replicate such an iconic great monument itself takes courage and talent. So, until I get to see the real Taj, this has made up for half of my disappointment at not visiting Taj Mahal.
Aurangabad Caves is definitely one of the best places to visit in Aurangabad if you are interested in Buddhist shrines. Located to the northwest of Aurangabad, the caves comprises of twelve rock-cut Buddhist shrines. And it also showcases carvings of goddesses like Durga, Vajrayana, deities of the Tantric tradition, and gods like Ganesha, etc.
Though these caves have perfectly sculptured shrines, they aren’t as popular. This is because they are kind of overshadowed by the popular tourist attraction – Ajanta and Ellora Caves. But if you love history and artwork then make sure to pay a visit to the Aurangabad Caves.
Ajanta & Ellora Caves
One of the best and most popular places to visit in Aurangabad, Ajanta & Ellora Caves have been on my list for a long time!
Around 10 years back, when we stayed in Mumbai, I visited the Elephanta caves. And during that trip, I got to know about the Ajanta & Ellora Caves in Aurangabad. We stayed only for 2 years in Mumbai. And unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the place during that time period. Ever since then, it has been on my mind.
Then, 2 years back, I was approached for a job offer in Pune. And the first thing that came up to my mind was this place! I came to Pune, with only this place on my bucket list. And though I did end up discovering many other beautiful parts of Pune later, I did make sure to visit this place before my tenure ended in Pune.
And well, it turned out that this place was definitely worth all that wait.
The Ellora Caves features the artwork and architecture from the Buddhist, Jain and Hindu cultures. And the monuments and artwork here date back to 600-1000 CE.
There are a total of 100 caves in it, but not all of them are accessible to the public. Only 34 are open for public visit. And out of these 34, the caves 1 to 12 are Buddhist ones, 13 to 29 are Hindu ones and 30 to 34 are Jain ones.
The most exemplary of them is the Hindu Cave number 16, also known as the Kailasha temple, which is carved out of a monolithic rock. And it is said that it took around 100 years of work to successfully build it.
Inspired by Kailash, Lord Shiva’s abode, you can find many aspects of Hindu Mythology here. Starting from the reincarnations of God on earth, to the epic stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana, it has it all.
The main highlight of the place is the Kailasha chariot that has a temple inside it.
If you are interested in Hindu mythology, this cave is a must visit. It’s the first cave you’ll see at the entrance of Ellora Caves, so there are fewer chances of you missing it.
After that, we visited two caves each of the three religions, and then we were ready to move on to the Ajanta Caves.
Ajanta Caves, contrary to the Ellora caves, is dedicated to the Buddhism cultures and teachings. There are around 30 of them and are considered to be the masterpieces of Buddhism artwork. It was miraculous to see the depth and detail in which the Buddhism teachings was depicted in these caves.
Apart from these caves and monuments, there are other popular places to visit in Aurangabad as well. This includes the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, Panchakki, Siddharth Garden and Zoo, Soneri Mahal, etc.
So, you can easily plan to visit these places if you have 2 days or more with you. If you are interested in history, I would highly recommend not missing this place in Maharashtra.
Also Read: Yogyakarta and Bromo Guide
That’s it, guys! We hope this guide helped you to get a glimpse of some of the wonderful places to visit in Aurangabad. I hope you have a great time and stay safe while exploring here!
And if you want to make your life easier while traveling here, then make sure you have a good backpack with you. 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Backpack is definitely one of the best out there and you can read its review to learn more about its features and functionality.
Mark Bennett is an American writer and traveler, whose major inspiration has been camping with his father ever since his childhood. He aims to visit 75 countries before he’s 30. You can also follow his adventures on his site outdoorily.com.
Planning for an International trip? Then, you definitely need to check out Indonesia. With its culture and historical monuments, it is the perfect place for history and architecture buffs. Take a look at our Indonesia Itinerary to plan your trip to this epic land.