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Aurangabad is named after the famous Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. It is among the most progressive cities in India, with expansion plans on a high in the past decade. The city maintained a low profile during the tumultuous medieval India period. It came into the spotlight when Aurangzeb made the city his capital from 1653-1707. With the emperor’s death, the city declined rapidly. However, the brief period of glory witnessed the construction of some significant monuments, including the Bibi-ka-Maqbara (a Taj Mahal replica). The monuments have helped attract local and global tourists over the years.
Apart from the other historic relics, which include a few Buddhist caves, these Mughal relics make the city a prime options for a weekend getaway from Mumbai. However, the real reason one should traipse here is because the town serves as the base for exploring world heritage sites like Ellora and Ajanta. It is pertinent to note that silk fabrics helped the city generate good revenue. In fact, the town is still known globally for its hand-woven Paithani and Himroo saris. A number of budget hotels and restaurants are clumped together to the south of the town near Station Rd East and Station Rd West. Northeast of the bus stand is the bustling old town, with its Muslim quarter and narrow streets. There are a number of historical places of significance in the city. However, a tour of the Ajanta and Ellora caves stand out as the highlight of any trip to Aurangabad. The Ajanta caves were discovered by British officers in 1819. These caves found mention in Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang’s writings during his India visit from A.D 629 and 645. The Ajanta caves are older than Ellora. The 30-odd Ajanta caves are embedded in a steep, crescent-shaped hillside of a forested ravine of the Sahayadri hills. The 30 Buddhist caves are dotted with sculptures and paintings that depict Buddha's life as well as his life during previous births. Five of the 30 caves are places of worship (Chaityas) while the rest are monasteries (viharas). If the thought of traveling during summer, the city is best visited during February.
The weather is fairly tolerable and perfect for excursions and sightseeing. One can also plan a trip Aurangabad during the monsoon - from August to October. The winter season (from November to February) is the best time to visit Aurangabad as the weather is perfect. For those looking to spend a few days in Aurangabad, accommodation will not be an issue. There are quite a few branded and affordable OYO premium and budget hotels in and around tourist hotspots like Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves and Devgiri Fort. One can also find rooms near the bus stand and train station. One can also find OYO hotels near Prozone Mall and Cidco.