The historic city of Aurangabad, on the Deccan plateau, has many tourist attractions and could easily stand on its own charm were it not overshadowed by the world-famouns Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Founded in 1610 on the site of a village called Khirki by Malik Amber, prime minister of Murtuza Nizam Shah II this city was renamed Fatehpur after the Nizam's son Fateh Khan succeeded the throne in 1626 when Prince Aurangzeb became Viceroy of the Deccan in 1653, he made the city his capital and re-christened it Aurangabad. The traces of the long artistic and cultural influences that a number of dynasties have cast upon it are present everywhere in Aurangabad. The city continues to attract tourists from all over the world who come to discover an old world carved in stone.
1.Bibi-Ka-Maqbara :- Built in the later part of the 17th Century, Aurangzeb's son built the inspiringly beautiful Bibi-ka-Maqbara as a tribute to his mother, Begum Rabia Durani. A replica of the Taj Mahal of Agra, it is the only piece of Mughal architecture on the Deccan built towards the end of the Mughal Era in India.
2. Aurangabad Caves :- Carved between the 2nd and the 6th century, these ten hillside caves are typically Buddhist in architectural form, with remarkably detailed sculptures.
3. Panchakki :- This 17th Century water mill exemplifies the engineering ingenuity of that age. The mill, which runs on water channelized from a river 6 km away through an earthen pipeline, was used for grinding food grains for the community kitchen. Surrounded by a series of fishfilled tanks, it also serves as a memorial to Sufi Saint Baba Shah Muzaffar, the spiritual mentor of Aurangzeb.
This world heritage site is located about 107 km from Aurangabad city. Dating from 200 BC, these caves were excavated in two distinct phases and reportedly took more than 800 years to complete. They comprise Chaityas (Shrines) dedicated to Lord Buddha, and Viharas (monasteries) used by Buddhist monks for meditation. The paintings and sculptures depict incidents from the life of the Buddha and various divinities, with the Jataka tales, illustrating stories of Bodhisattva, being the most famous. Besides the temples and monasteries, there are magnificent murals that attract visitors from all over the world.
Places of Tourist Interest near Ajanta
AJANTA VIEW POINT
Perhaps in the whole country and the subcontinent nowhere is a view point like that of Ajanta. It was here that in 1819 John Smith rediscovered Ajanta. This view point is on the way to Ajanta at 8 km distance, 10 km before Ajanta at Balapur Junction. A must for the AJANTA-PHILIC person. It gives a bird eye view of Ajanta. The view point has been done in an aesthetic architecture and has an attached restaurant. It like saying " Ajanta View Point nahin dekha to kuch nahin dekha"
A distance of about 14-15 kms from Golegaon towards the left, on Aurangabad - Ajanta highway takes you to this piece of lesser known caves called the Ghatotkach caves. Worth only for an adventure traveller. Access is difficult and SUV is suggested or a mobike will do wonders.
Although this fort is unmanned and has the nearest town as Soygaon and one can access with an adventures spirit from Ghatotkach caves or the best alternative is to seek help from someone at Soygaon.
Is a property of the MTDC nestled with a backdrop of Ajanta ranges. Its a perfect retreat for the soul seeking some recreation from their daily routine. Most Travellers / Tourists/ Visitors to Ajanta take retreat here. The Fardapur Resort of MTDC is well acclaimed for its hospitality. Online reservation can be made at www.maharashtratourism.gov.in or in person at the MTDC office at New Delhi, Head office at Mumbai, Regional Office at Aurangabad, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Ratnagiri.
Total Nos of Rooms :-
Deluxe Rooms A/c. :- 16
Deluxe Rooms Non A/c :- 12
Dormitory :- 01
Vihara Restaurant :- The Fardapur resort also has a multicuisine restaurant called the "Vihara" named after the residing places of monks in the Ajanta caves. Its famous with the foreigners for it serves the food of their choice. Beer is also served here.
Travellers Lodge - Ajanta T-Point
This is designed typically to suit the ecologically fragile area very open and amidst natural verdant, picturesque area, it offers the tourist a choice to stay and commute to the caves whenever they wish, most suitable for young travellers it has no restaurant attached.
Ajanta Foot Hills Restaurant
This is the only eating facility which has been allowed in the very vicinity of the Caves. Its offers India food to the weary travellers. Its at the foothills of the caves. Beer is also served here.
About 30 km from Aurangabad are the world renowned Ellora Caves, known for their Buddhist, Jain and Hindu cultural influences. There are 34 caves containing shrines, monasteries and temples. The Buddhist caves were carved during the period 200 BC to 600 AD. These were followed by the Hindu cave ( 500-900 AD) and finally the Jain caves ( 800-1000 AD).
The Kailash Temple at 13 Ellora is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the biggest monolithic sculpture in the world. It is carved form a single, mammoth rock.
Places of Tourist Interest near Ellora
Ghrishneshwar Temple - About half a kilometre from Ellora is the Ghrishneshwar Temple, which was built in the 18th century. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India and a place that one must visit in order to make the pilgrimage to the Jyotirlingas complete. This beautiful temple has 24 exquisitely carved stone columns, which support the main hall.
Shahji Raje Bhosle Smarak - This is the site of the ancestral home of King Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's father and grandfather at Ellora. This is under the State Archaeology Department.
Lakshyavinayak Mandir - This is the site of the 21 most revered Ganapati temples of Maharashtra at Ellora.
Shivalaya Tirth (Ahilyabai Holkar Kund)
Shavadal Baba Darga
Parsavanath Jain Mandir - Located on the back side hill of Ellora caves is now a cave converted into a regular worship place for jains. Originally a part of the Ellora group of caves.
About 15 km from Aurangabad on the way to the Ellora caves, is the hill fortress of Daulatabad - one of the world's best preserved medieval forts. Once known as Devgiri, meaning Hill of Gods, this magnificent 12th Century fortress was the capital of the Yadava rulers. It was renamed Daulatabad ( City of fortune) in the 14th Century by Mohammed Tuglaq, Sultan of Delhi.
The ancient walled town of Khuldabad, near Aurangabad is where the Mughal Emperor Aurangzab was buried. It is a place of pilgrimage for the Indian Muslim community and a major centre for the five-day "Urs" celebrations held annually.
Aurangzeb Tomb :- This is located within a fortified city with 7 gates built by Aurangzeb.
Bani Begum Garden :- The Bani Begum Gardens are located about 24 km from Aurangabad. The fluted pillars, huge domes and aesthetic fountains showcase the architectural splendour of a bygone era.
Shri Bhadra Maruti Temple :- The only temple of Lord Hanuman of its kind outside prayag in Allahabad
Malik Amber Tomb :- lies on the way to Mhaismal
Mhaismal :- A Hill station of Marathwada
Shulibhanjan :- The Summer capital of the Satvahan dynasty has 7 different ponds of a water system.
Pariyon Ka Talab :- It has a Dargah and old amphitheatre of the Satvahan time.
PITALKHORA- THE MOST ANCIENT OF CAVES IN INDIA
The most ancient of the caves in India. They were carved at the beginning of a valley in the Satmala range of the Sahyadri Hills. The 13 caves were excavated from the 1st Century BC. to the 5 th Century AD and contain carvings and paintings. They are Buddhist Chaityas and Monasteries.
PAITHAN - BENARAS (KASHI) OF THE SOUTH
Situated about 50 km south of Aurangabad, on the right bank of the Godavari River, this ancient city (once known as Pratisthan) was also the capital of Satavahana kingdom, and the birth place of great Hindu Saints such as Bhanudas, Mukteshwar and Eknath. The place is also internationally renowned for its unique Paithani silk saris, which are masterfully woven by artisans traditional methods.