Rising dramatically over 600 ft above the Deccan plain is the arresting sight of Daulatabad. Once known as Devgiri, this fort served as the head quarters of the powerful Yadava rulers. In the 13th century, Mohammed bin Tughlak, the Sultan of Delhi, made it his capital and renamed it Daulatabad, or City of Fortune.
In the 14th century, several Sufi saints of the Chishti order chose to reside in Khuldabad or the Abode of Eternity. The Dargah, or tomb of Moinuddin Chishti, the spiritual guide of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, is within this sacred complex. The austere emperor himself rests nearby, in a grave as simple as that of a common man's, in striking contrast to the grand mausoleums of his predecessors. Eloquent testimony to Aurangzeb's simplicity is the inscription on his plain tombstone: "No marble sheets should shield me from the sky as I lie there one with the earth."
Khuldabad is a part of the MTDC tour to Ellora. It can also be reached by private taxis.
Anwa Temple (10 kms)
A Shiva temple, with beautifully carved sculptures and decorated pillars stands in the village of Anwa, 10 kms east of Golegaon, on the main road leading from Aurangabad to the Ajanta Caves. It was built in the 12th century, and consists of a sanctuary, mandapa or open hall with decorated pillars. The niches have exquisitely sculpted images of Vishnu, Ganesha and other divinities.
Close by to Ajanta, Anwa Temple can be reached by taking a well-marked diversion at Golegaon. Private car or taxi is probably the best mode of transport.
Pitalkhora Caves (40 kms)
Thirteen Buddhist excavations, dating from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD lie about 40 km northwest of Ellora, cut into the side of the a secluded ravine. Comprising mainly Viharas they form the largest group of Hinayana Buddhist structures.
Pitalkhora is best accessed by private car or taxi and can be reached from Aurangabad by motoring on the MSH1 and taking the diversion after Satkunda.
Lonar Crater (170 kms)
170 km from Aurangabad, is the village of Lonar. Over 30,000 years ago, a falling meteorite struck the area creating the world's largest impact crater in basaltic rock. Botanists have recently discovered vegetation life forms not found anywhere else on this planet, in the stunning lake of the crater.
There are a few state transport buses that ply between Aurangabad and Lonar, however the best way to go is by private car or taxi.
Paithan (51 kms)
51 kms south of Aurangabad, the looms of Paithan still weave the beautiful Paithani saris that are prized by all Indian women. The town is also famous for the Dnyaneshwar Udyan, which is the largest garden in Maharashtra, and a museum which treasures a fascinating collection of art. The Jaikwadi Dam nearby is a bird-watchers delight.
There a number of state transport buses that leave at regular intervals for Paithan from Aurangabad, In addition cars or taxis are easily available as well.