Aurangabad Travel Experience (2020)
Author: Roy D’Silva
Aurangabad is my wife’s maternal house, so we go there at least once in three months. But this visit was different, as it was her birthday and I went to visit her before our wedding. I had my tickets booked to and fro. From Mumbai, it takes about 8 hours to reach Aurangabad by bus. I usually take the AC sleeper.
However, I’d not recommend the bus route for anyone, as they are notorious for not taking any stops between Mumbai to Aurangabad (seriously). If you are traveling anywhere in Maharashtra, go by train, it’s safer, cheaper and all amenities like a decent washroom are always available, so is good food.
One pro-tip if you are traveling to Aurangabad city and don’t have anywhere to freshen up before you go to the journey forward, head over to the Raviraj Hotel, which has accommodation as well as a restaurant and bar. We were told that the hotel starts service at 7 AM, so it’s a great place to freshen up (good washrooms), good inexpensive food and even a tipple – if you feel like it in the middle of the early morning. The Raviraj Hotel is very near the Baba Petrol Pump, where buses from Mumbai stop, in fact, Raviraj Hotel is the boarding point for buses going from Aurangabad to Mumbai.
We were on a smallish birthday trip, so couldn’t do much apart from going to Panchakki and spend some time at the Siddharth Garden and Bibi ka Maqbara. Siddharth Garden is a public garden, and is quite big, for a couple to spend some time talking to each other. There’s cheap popcorn that you can munch while you are at it.
The Panchakki is a famous tourist location, and you will see tourists marvel at the structure. The panchakki is a water mill that generated energy with the help of water that came down from the hill. It’s still operational.
Another place that you must visit is the Bibi ka Maqbara. Long touted as the Taj of the West, it is a formidable structure in itself. The monument is Aurangzeb’s commissioning of a tomb for his wife, Dilraz Banu Begum. It’s structure and architecture are pretty much similar to the Taj Mahal. You can visit these places all in a day and are the perfect places if you are looking for budget outings in Aurgangabad. Siddharth Garden had an entry fee that was negligible, I don’t remember if Bibi ka Maqbara and Panchakki had one. Even if they did, it doesn’t recollect, so it shouldn’t be a major amount.
At the Panchakki and the Bibi ka Maqbara, you will see tourist guides. Unless you want to help the local economy, you don’t need to hire them, as most of the information about these places is available online and on plaques that the Government has installed at strategic locations.
I don’t know why, but the weather in Aurangabad drains you. We were out for just the morning and afternoon and slept like logs in our hotel rooms. That might be because we were touring in the summer – my wife’s birthday is in April – and toured in the late morning – early afternoon time. Carry water, carry anything that keeps you hydrated. Maybe that’s the reason Aurangabad vendors offer cucumbers.