Greetings from reality! I spent a surreal weekend in Aurangabad, about 8 hours away from Bombay and I figured I would share the experience with you so you can see it for yourself. Part of the reason I had a great time is because I was with awesome company, so make sure you travel to Aurangabad with a good group. If we had it our way, we would’ve spent another day exploring Aurangabad but alas, we were there for a good time, not a long time.
A 48-Hour Guide to Aurangabad
I love taking night buses for weekend trips because they’re essential teleportation slash time machines to another destination in the future. We booked our night bus through redbus.in with Himalaya Travels. Our journey began in Mumbai at around 9:30pm, and by the time 6:00am came around, we were in Aurangabad! The bus is quite spacious, with double and single bunk beds for travellers. We were offered water and there are snacks you can purchase as well in case you’re hit with the midnight munchies. Ask about scheduled bathroom breaks beforehand! Heading back, we did the same thing: Booked a midnight bus back to Bom-bae!
Where to Stay
Through booking.com, we found the Hotel Lalaji’s Executive and deemed it our weekend crib. Make sure to be clear about check-in and check-out times. I always say that India is the Land of Opportunity, when in reality, it’s the land of “Anything Goes”. You’ll find that hotel receptionists will make up the rules as they go along. One one occasion, we were informed that check-out is 24 hours, and in the same breath, at 12 noon.
Read: “Our Guest is Our God”
You can hire a personal driver for around 900 – 1200 INR daily, depending on how many people you’re with and how well you bargain. Luckily, we travelled with our friend who knew how to speak Hindi so bargaining wasn’t an issue.
Tandoor Restaurant: Our favourite restaurant! To be honest, I came for the beer and stayed for the kaju curry. Warning: As a general rule, I avoid the public restrooms in India and as lovely as the food and service was at this establishment, unfortunately the cleanliness of their restroom was exactly what I expected.
(aka Tourist Traps that are still fun to see!)
1. Ellora Caves: I would reserve a minimum of one day to see the Ellora Caves, and all the stamina you’ve got, too. There are a total of 33 caves to see, the first 12 being Buddhist caves, and the rest being Hindu and Jain caves. You’ll spend the most time in Cave #10, since it’s the one with the largest Buddha structure. Aurangabad is also home to the largest monolithic Hindu temple in the world! (Meaning, the temple was once a huge rock, and after 150 years of people chipping away at it, we’re left with this intricately designed religious site to explore. I recommend taking a lunch break before you hit the temple – it’ll take about an hour and a half to see the whole thing. Entry is 500 INR and totally worth it.
2. Daulatabad Fort: Don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes! The Daulatabad fort is located about 16 km away from Aurangabad and is about 600 ft high. You might want to hit the gym to do some cardio before tackling the stairs at this place. They’re rather intimidating. Entry is 200 INR.
3. Bibi ka Maqbara: Essentially a mini vesion of the Taj Mahal. Our “tour guide” (a local who followed us around) told us it was built by a ruler who built the tomb for his mother. Later, I found out that “Bibi” actually translates to “wife”, so evidently our unpaid tour guide was misinformed. Entry fee for foreign nationals is 200 INR, for Indians it’s 20 INR, although the line for foreigners is significantly shorter so we didn’t mind paying the premium!
If you’re looking for another 48 hour getaway, check out this blog post on my trip to Lonavala!