Exploring Aurangabad: Day 01
Aurangabad! Also called as “City of 52 Gates” was founded in 1610 by Malik Amber happens to be 5th largest city in Maharashtra. We just wanted to take a break from our hectic routine and Aurangabad came up as a good option and indeed our four-days trip not only helped us to rejuvenate but also to explore nature and culture.
Wikipedia link for ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurangabad,_Maharashtra
Google Maps link for ref: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Aurangabad,+Maharashtrafirstname.lastname@example.org,75.2351608,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x3bdb9815a369bc63:0x712d538b29a2a73e!8m2!3d19.8761653!4d75.3433139?hl=en
Travelling becomes more comfortable if we get a good warm shower at the end of the day yet not costing us a fortune! I started to Google for some good accommodations. I heard this many a times online “Kya aapne kabhi online hotel search kiya hai…?” He compared more than 600,000 hotels from more than 200 websites for me but yet came out with relatively costlier hotel options, wasting both my “Samay and Paisa!”.
We got a better deal through #Goibibo, one can think of trying.
Link for booking at 7Apple Pvt Ltd through #Goibibo
I generally prefer to hire two wheelers on rent in tourist destinations but Aurangabad fails to provide any such facility! I could not find any such amenities. #JustDail has listed few dealers who give bikes on rent but it was useless.
Link of #JustDail to get Bikes on Rent
All the dealers listed in this are just taxi providers and nothing more. Needless to mention that they are really costly. But as a good friend on mine suggested, I used #OlaAuto. Ola helped us a lot. Ola services are really good in Aurangabad. Auto Drivers are helpful and well behaved. One of the Auto Drivers called Arif Bhai (Mob: 09665337660) helped and guided us a lot.
We tried to explore Aurangabad in four days, which I’ve covered in four blogs. Our Day-01 started at 0800H. After having a cup of tea at a local tea stall, we booked an #OlaAuto and headed towards Bibi Ka Maqbara from our hotel.
We generally prefer to plan our day as per our convenience and not as per any tour agent. There are cheaper options available to do city tour but we preferred to travelled destinations as per our time plan.
One of the cheaper options is to go to central bus stand and book seat in City MTDC AC Bus which takes you around the city.
Website for booking bus tickets
The bus starts from Central Bus Stand and takes around the city.
(a). Bibi ka Maqbara.
(b). History Museum.
(c). Soneri Mahal.
(d). Buddha Caves/Aurangabad Caves.
Google Maps link indicating above mentioned destinations:
BIBI KA MAQBARA
Bibi ka Maqbara was built by the 6th Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the memory of his first wife Dilras Banu Begum. Bibi ka Maqbara has a striking resemblance to the famous Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of Aurangzeb’s mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Due to this striking resemblance, Bibi ka Maqbara is also known as Dakkhani Taj (Taj of Deccan).
It is interesting to know that the main entrance door of Bibi ka Maqbara is designed by Ata-ullah who happens to be son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, who was main designer of the Taj Mahal.
I used OlaAuto for transportation from my hotel to Bibi ka Maqbara which cost me somewhat around Rs60 which is way cheaper and transparent as compared to normal Autowalas.
There is an entry fee of Rs15/head at Bibi ka Maqbara. No camera fee for DSLRs unless you have a video recording camera (DSLRs can also record!).
Bibi ka Maqbara is quite ill-maintained mausoleum. I wish the management and tourism department could do something about it. Well! It’s not new for we Indians!
Bibi ka Maqbara is a good place for photo-shoots. Carry sufficient batteries and memory-cards or may be selfie sticks.
Well, there are some decent food joints outside Bibi ka Maqbara where we had our breakfast!
From Bibi ka Maqbara, we hired an #OlaAuto which cost us Rs30 for History Museum.
History museum is a good travel destination for history lovers. It has a good collection of artifacts dating back from 7th century to 12th century along with sculptures from Sir Rao Bahadur Paranis’ collection of original Pajput, Maratha and Mughal paintings; Dr. SB Deshmukh’s collection of arms & armours, coins, textiles, semi-precious stones and excavation objects from Paithan.
Some important details:
(a). Timings: All days of the week except Fridays. 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM.
(b). Entry fees: 15 per person for Indians & 20 per person for foreign tourists.
The History museum is a part of the History department of the University developed by Late Dr. Ramesh Shankar Gupte. Dr Gupte developed this museum as he felt requirement of training aid for his students. Being close to other historical places, the museum was developed comfortably.
Soneri Mahal used to be the venue of Aurangabad festival which has been stopped by the Govt as of now. Soneri Mahal is located at foothills of Aurangabad Caves and can be seen from there too. Located at distance of just 2 km from History Museum, Soneri Mahal was built around 1651AD by Bandalkhand Chief.
The Mahal got its name from earlier possessed Gold Plated paintings inside which was taken by British when they left India.
It is important that PHOTOGRAPHY IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED INSIDE. There is magnificent Wooden Ganesh idol inside the Mahal which is worth seeing and adoring.
The architecture of Soneri Mahal is of Rajputana Style. Paintings inside Mahal are really very beautiful and are made using very bright colours.
BUDDHA CAVES / AURANGABAD CAVES
Transportation: We took OlaAuto from Soneri Mahal to Buddha Caves but I don’t recommend that. Hire a full auto from Soneri Mahal and further to elsewhere as it becomes difficult to find conveyance to return as Buddha Caves are at relatively secluded area.
Food: Carry sufficient snacks/food. Carry water. You will not get anything here. It is advised not to have lunch before you reach this destination as Caves are at height and it become difficult to climb after lunch.
Moving on! Buddha Caves/ Aurangabad Caves are 12 rock-cut Buddhist shrines dug out in soft basalt hills during 6th and 7th century. The caves are divided into 3 separate locations which generally tourist miss seeing all of them.
They are usually called:
(a). Western Group: Caves I to V.
(b). Eastern Group: Caves VI to IX.
(c). Northern Group: Unfinished Caves from X to XII.
There is a ticket of Rs15 per head for each Cave Groups.
After a tiring day, we decided to dine at Hotel Green Leaf. It’s a good restaurant. Strongly recommended.
Link of location of restaurant on Google Maps:
Another busy day awaits to be unfolded in next travelogue.