Known as the Tourism Capital of Maharashtra, Aurangabad is a historically and culturally significant city that is best known for the magnificent Ajanta and Ellora Caves. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb and the dynasty has also left its stamp on the city in the form of several monuments. The city attracts visitors from far and wide and if you haven’t been there yet, now’s the time! Pack your bags, book a hotel and read our guide to find out some of the best things to do in Aurangabad on your vacation.

Things to do in Aurangabad

1. Explore the Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

Ellora Caves | #1 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

One of the first and best things to do in Aurangabad for any visitor is to explore the UNESCO World Heritage monument – the Ellora Caves. Built between 550 CE and 950 CE, the Ellora Caves are an epitome of ancient Indian rock-cut architecture and will leave you speechless with their grand sculptures, opulent facades and intricate carvings. Featuring Buddhist, Jain and Hindu temples, Ellora has 34 caves for you to explore. Out of these we’d particularly recommend Cave 16 – the chariot-shaped Kailasha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Cave 10 – the Vishwakarma Cave where the rock has been sculpted to resemble wood.

  • Distance from Aurangabad: 29 Km
  • Timings: From sun up to sunset! (Except Tuesday)
  • Entry Fees: ₹30 for Indians, tourists from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries, ₹500 for tourists from other countries

2. Witness the wonder of the Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad

Ajanta Caves | #2 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

If you went to Aurangabad and did not visit the Ajanta Caves, you’d have missed out on the second best thing to do in Aurangabad! Go and be enthralled by the stunning murals that narrate the life of the Buddha, elaborate rock-cut sculptures, massive domed stupas and carvings that show dancing girls, court scenes and other imagery. Wonder at the reasons why the caves were built during two distinct time periods – 100 BCE to 100 CE under the Satvahanas and 400 CE- 600 CE under the mighty, but now forgotten Vakatakas. Imagine the lives of the Buddhist monks who prayed in the richly decorated chaityas here or spent time in the viharas. And then think about how all this was made without the aid of modern tools and technology!

  • Distance from Aurangabad: 100 Km
  • Timings: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm (Closed on Monday)
  • Entry Fees: ₹30 for Indians, tourists from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries, ₹500 for tourists from other countries

3. Be blessed at the Jyotirlinga Grishneshwar Temple

Jyotirlinga Grishneshwar Temple, Aurangabad

Jyotirlinga Grishneshwar Temple | #3 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

When you walk into the Grishneshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, you feel the divine presence of the deity and a sense of calm engulfs you. And that’s why going to this revered shrine to be blessed is one of the top things to do in Aurangabad. An important pilgrimage point, the temple is believed to house the twelfth and the last Jyotirlinga on the planet. Situated close to the Ellora Caves, the temple has, through history, been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, the last reconstruction being by the celebrated Holkar queen, Rani Ahalyabai. The temple is built in the South Indian Temple architectural style and of note is a carving of Vishnu’s Dashavatars in red stone inside the temple. 

  • Distance from Aurangabad: 30 Km
  • Timings: 05:30 am – 09:30 pm, 03:00 am – 11:00 pm (during Shravan month)
  • Entry Fees: Free

4. Pray to the mighty Lord Hanuman at Bhadra Maruti Temple

Bhadra Maruti Temple, Aurangabad

Bhadra Maruti Temple | #4 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

We’re used to seeing the mighty Lord Hanuman in a standing position; mace on his shoulder, ready for battle. But at the Bhadra Maruti Temple, the deity is depicted in an unusual sleeping pose, making this shrine one of the only three temples of Lord Hanuman to do so. And that’s why visiting this temple is one of the most rewarding things to do in Aurangabad. Legend has it that the white marbled temple is built at the spot where once Lord Hanuman relaxed, listening to devotional songs in praise of Lord Rama, sung by King Bhadrasena, the ruler of the area in ancient times.

  • Distance from Aurangabad: 28 Km (approx.)
  • Timings: 05:00 am – 12:00 pm, 04:00 pm – 09:00 pm
  • Entry Fees: Free

5. Visit Bibi ka Maqbara

Bibi ka Maqbara, Aurangabad

Bibi ka Maqbara | #5 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

History books have taught us that Aurangzeb was one of the cruellest Mughals to have ruled India. But when you visit Bibi-ka-maqbara, a Taj-like mausoleum built by him for his favorite queen, Dilras Banu Begum, you see another side of him…that of a family man and a faithful husband (the latter quite an unusual quality for the times!). Built between 1668 and 1669 C.E., the tomb is laid out in the Persian Charbagh traditional design with gardens, waterways and fountains dotting the landscape. The structure itself is very impressive and offers many instagrammable backdrops. Doesn’t that make visiting this monument one of the best things to do in Aurangabad?

  • Where: Begumpura, Aurangabad
  • Timings: 8.00 am – 8.00 pm
  • Entry Fees: ₹ 25 for Indians, ₹ 300 for foreign tourists

6. Have a fun filled day at the Siddharth Garden and Zoo

Siddharth Garden and Zoo, Aurangabad

Siddharth Garden and Zoo | #6 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

Another popular things to do in Aurangabad is to pack a yummy lunch and head to the Siddharth Garden and Zoo; a beautifully landscaped garden right in the middle of the chaotic city. Fascinating topiaries, a wide variety of trees and plants make the place perfect for spending some relaxed hours. An especially ‘important’ thing to do in Aurangabad if you’re traveling with kids (who’ve had enough of caves!), visiting this park means a trip to its small zoo that homes some big cats, crocs, hyenas, deer and other animals. A small aquarium that homes turtles and a variety of fish is also fun to watch as is the musical fountain that delight kids.

  • Location: Central Bus Stand Road, Mhada, Aurangabad
  • Timings: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm
  • Entry Fees: ₹ 5 for adults; ₹ 2 for children

Some other places to visit in Aurangabad would be to explore the Aurangabad Caves, visit the Sunehri Mahal and spend some time at the Shrimant Chatrapati Shivaji Museum that exhibits among other things, a copy of the Quran handwritten by Aurangzeb.

7. Relish local cuisine

Relish local cuisine, Aurangabad

Relish local cuisine | #7 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

There are only two levels of food in Aurangabad – Spicy and Very Spicy. But you’ll love everything the city has to offer! Try your hand at the special Aurangabadi Tikki Kebabs and Biryani that seems to be a hybrid of a pulao and fried rice. The most fun thing to eat here would be the Aurangabad Cantukky – a spicier take on the American Kentucky Fried Chicken that has a lingering smoky flavour. Interesting!

Another interesting dish is Naankhaliya – slow-cooked chunks of meat in a fiery sauce served with naan or sheermaal. Try it!

There’s a sea of street food stalls in the city and one of the best things to do in Aurangabad would be to sample as many as you can! Try Pani Puri, Missal Pav, Ragda Samosa, Sabudana Wada and an Aurangabadi specialty called Bajri Sandwich made with millet flour. Imartis, Jalebis and Kulfi –falooda stands can be found in every major market and have to be attacked with gusto as do Ice Golas – a special summer treat made with desiccated ice and flavoured syrup.

If you want a proper sit-down meal, try some of these restaurants: Yalla Yalla, Bhoj, Green Leaf, K A Lounge and Swad Restaurant.

8. Witness Paithani and Himroo Saree Weaving

The kaleidoscopic Paithani saree is a must-have element in every stylish woman’s wardrobe. And it’s made in the town of Paithan in Aurangabad district. A great thing to do in Aurangabad would be to visit a Paithani weaving unit in the town and witness first-hand how these beauties are made. The city is also a centre of Himroo weaving – a type of fabric made by blending cotton and silk – and watching the textile being made is also quite an experience.

  • Where: Paithani Silk Weaving Centre, Opposite 54, P1, Lokmat Nagar, Town Centre, M G M, Aurangabad
  • Timings: 9.30 am – 9.00 pm
  • Entry Fees: Free

9. Marvel at the Engineering skills at Panchakki

Panchakki, Aurangabad

Panchakki | #9 of 10 Things to do in Aurangabad

Panchakki (or watermill) is housed in the dargah of Baba Shah Musafir and is a marvel of medieval engineering. Built in the 17th century, the Panchakki is hemmed to a brimming reservoir and was used to create hydel power for grinding mills that ground grain into flour for visiting pilgrims. Visit it to see how water was brought in from the Harsul River, 6 Km away, through earthen pipes to power the grinding mills and keep the resting quarters cool. Several other buildings in the dargah complex offer interesting nuggets of history and make for an enjoyable experience.

  • Where: Panchakki Rd, Nagsenvan, Aurangabad
  • Timings: 6.30 am – 9.00 pm
  • Entry Fees: ₹5 for Indians, ₹100 for foreign tourists

10. Experience Spirituality at Valley of the Sufi Saints

Lying on the way to Ellora, the Valley of the Sufi Saints is a memorable spiritual experience and one of the top things to do in Aurangabad. The area is situated in Khuldabad, a small town near Aurangabad, where several 14th century Sufi saints resided at one point of time. The place reverberates with positive energy and has shrines in honour of several of the saints. You can also find the tomb of Aurangzeb here.

  • Distance from Aurangabad: 20 Km
  • Timings: From sun up to sun down
  • Entry Fees: Free

There are many things to do in Aurangabad for the casual tourist and a wealth of monuments for the history buff. A trip to the city will certainly make you want to come back and we hope you do. Know of many more things to do in Aurangabad that should be on our list? Tell us in the comments below.