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Aurangabad


Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb gave his name to present day Aurangabad (which actually means "build a throne. The city is located in the state Maharashtra, which is (roughly) west India, around 220km north east of Pune and 400 km north east of Mumbai.

There are several attractions of which the Bibi Ka Maqbara is the most famous. But there is more. There are many other historic monuments and in the vicinity you will find the Aurangabad Caves (many skip them) and further away the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves, both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Aurangabad, from the nearby Aurangabad Caves

The city photographed from the nearby caves named after the city,
with the Bibi Ka Maqbara in the middle of the photo

It's a big city with over 1 million inhabitants. Most travelers come for just a few reasons, see above. But there is more. In the city there are several gates, hence the nickname: "city of gates". And around the city there is more then caves.

Aurangzeb's tomb in Khuldabad
Aurangzeb's tomb in Khuldabad

Bibi Ka MaqbaraPanchakki has an interesting watermill, Paithan and Daulatabad are historic cities hundred of years old. Khuldabad is a walled town lying at 24 km of Aurangabad.

The tomb of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and his trusted general Qamar-ud-din Khan, Asaf Jah I first Nizam of Hyderabad and the tomb of Malik Ambar are located in this town.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

If the Taj Mahal had not been build the Bibi Ka Maqbara would have been hailed as a triumph of architectural beauty and craftsmanship. And at first sight it looks beautiful. And like his "big brother", the mini Taj or Poor Man's Taj (other nicknames) was a "love monument" too.

The Mini-Taj is a tribute by Prince Azam Khan's, son of the Mugal Emperor Aurangzeb. He built the Bibi Ka Maqbara in 1679 to honor his mother Rabia Durani.

He modeled it on the original Taj Mahal, but about half the size and in limestone with parts in marble, hence the other nickname "Poor Mans Taj".

The Bibi Ka Maqbara does not have the status of the Taj Mahal but it is still worth a visit. In fact, if you are in Aurangabad to visit the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves, a visit to the baby Taj is good afternoon spend.

I read somewhere the architecture is plump. It certainly does not have the grace of the Taj Mahal but it's also not a fair comparison. When you look at the Bibi Ka Maqbara it has it's own charm. And it is a magnificent monument.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

Bibi ka Makbara
Bibi Ka Maqbara in the 17th century (photo source wikipedia)

My rickshaw driver convinced me the Aurangabad caves would be a good visit. He was right, but they were no match for the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves caves I would see later. Still, I had a few nice moments near the caves to make a few shots of the city and the old city walls.

city walls of Aurangabad

The city walls

Eating beef in India

My rickshaw driver was a funny guy, a Muslim. He asked me if I wanted to eat beef! In India, it was virtually impossible to eat beef. My new friend was confident. We had to be careful though, he said.

He brought me to a small restaurant in the city center and went to a window less room. Here we were offered a decent meal with what was considered to be beef. While I was eating I wasn't so sure but it could be. In fact, I had not been eating much meat anyway as the vegetarian dishes were usually so good, I had no desire to eat any meat. But for once ....

Cow slaughtering is illegal in India but I am not 100% sure if eating beef is illegal too. It's a sensitive thing which makes all sense as Hindus consider cow a holy animal.

School kids going home on the back roads of Aurangabad
School kids going home on the back roads

Getting there and stay

Aurangabad is connected with Pune, Mumbai and many other destinations in India. There is a good and fast train to Mumbai. Should you decide to fly, Aurangabad has an international airport with connections to all major cities in India.

The city has a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses.

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Ellora Caves

Caves 10 and 16 are the most spectacular in the Ellora Caves, a man made structure in the rocks.

Ellora Caves


Ajanta Cabes

The Ajanta Caves, 80 km north of the Ellora caves are another must visit. Here you find some of the finish art Indian Buddhism has ever produced.

Ajanta Caves


Taj Mahal

Maybe with the exception of Angkor, Machu Pichu and Borobodur, there's no place with such majesty as the Taj Mahal:

Taj Mahal

More about the Taj Mahal


Hampi Karnataka

Aurangabad and surrounding might have the spectacular cave temples, Hampi has most certainly one of the most extensive temple cities. Much is still in use and much is preserved. I loved it as much as I loved Aurgangabad

Hampi Karnataka

Hampi Karnataka