Visiting Shirdi to take the blessings of Sai Baba is a ritual i follow every year, this time I thought of spending the weekend at places nearby to Shirdi and after little research Aurangabad was the place decided, though 2 days are less to explore the city.
The plan was to visit Shirdi and leave for Aurangabad after the darshan and spend Sat and Sun for sight-seeing in Aurangabad and return back to Mumbai.
Route : Mumbai – Ghoti – Shirdi – Vaijapur – Aurangabad
Left from Mumbai at 7.30am and got stuck at the usual traffic jam of heavy vehicles at Thane bridge.
After Thane it was a smooth drive on the MUM- NASHIK highway till Igatpuri. Took the Ghoti -SInnar road after Igatpuri which was in a very good shape with moderate traffic. Shirdi :
Reached Shirdi at 1.00pm and parked the car. There are lots of Pay n Park in Shirdi but its always better to take a left just before the Mandir premises and park the car at any pay n park as its less crowded and the Mandir and Biometric pass counter is only a 5 mins walk from the parking. For a quick darshan keep all the bags and mobiles in the car.
There is a new Biometric pass system with the time slot and the gate number on it which is available in no time from separate counters. All adults are required to get their individual pass. This time I had decided not take any VIP pass and stand in the regular line for darshan. Kept my fingers crossed for lesser queue. 1.30 pm
: Done with the pass and proceeded towards the gate no 2 for darshan. The crowd was really less as compared to other days and time I have come for darshan. Had the best Darshan I have ever had this time as the crowd was less and the management was not pushing people out from the main hall. 2.45 pm
: After a peaceful darshan, out of the main bldg towards Baba’s Gurusthan. Completed the darshan in 1hr 15mins and was near my parking at 3.15pm.
After a quick break Started the journey towards Aurangabad at 3.45pm from Shirdi. Aurangabad :
The distance between Shirdi – Aurangabad was 110kms via Vaijapur. The roads were really poor and a stretch of 40 kms was full of potholes and in a really bad condition.
After 3 hrs reached my destination Hotel Grand Kailash, a beautiful hotel with huge premium rooms and a rooftop restaurant.
After freshening up, the evening was spent leisurely on the rooftop restaurant with cool breeze and delicious buffet dinner.
Next day and the only full day for sightseeing, I had decided on seeing Ellora caves and Bibi Ka Maqbara only as with 2 kids its difficult to plan more activity than this, as such kids enjoy the time in the hotel rooms and premises. Ellora Caves:
Appealing Ancient Architecture, Amazing, Beautiful, Must see in a lifetime.
The caves are around 3o kms from the city. There is a huge parking lot before the entrance and a couple of smaller parking space after the entrance. The entry fees is nominal for Indians but higher for foreigners. There are ST bus services within the premises to take you to the caves with the farthest cave almost 1KM far. The place was little crowded with huge number of school students out for picnics. There are 34 caves in total and all are beautiful. But cave no 16 is simply marvellous. There is a famous Shiva Mandir inside cave no 16 with huge Shivaling. You will find beautiful Inscriptions and Sculptures all around the caves and pillars. You need more than 1 hour to explore this cave completely and soak in the architectural beauty. I saw only cave 16, 15, 14, 13 and 12, with kids this was the maximum I could motivate them to see. Bibi ka Maqbara :
Over crowded and a place to visit only if the crowd is less. Some crowd was not at all decent. Still I decided to go ahead and have a look at this place. There is a nominal entry fee and was complete chaos at the counters, people breaking the queue. The condition of the monument is in urgent need of restoration. The place is a replica of The Taj Mahal, also called as “mini Taj”. If polished the monument and maintained the gardens well this place could be a great spot. Nothing much to say about this place.
Also, all around Aurangabad town, there are lots of historic Gates which just blends with the surroundings with no importance given to them which they deserve.
Ended the day with dinner at the hotel.
Next day morning checked out from the hotel at 11, and went to see Daulatabad fort. Daulatabad fort
: The fort was just 20 kms away from the town on the way towards Ellora Caves. sufficient parking available at the spot. The fort is small trek to the top where the views are simply superb of the town of Aurangabad. The place is good with lots of history behind it. Bharatmata Temple, Chand Minar, Ancient Darwaza, Cannons, Secret way, the bridge which used to get submerged in water if enemy arrived, are all amazing to see. Must see point in Aurangabad.
After the visit left towards Mumbai by the same route.
The return was driven in way to extract the maximum mileage from my Baleno. And was able to achieve a fantastic and the best mileage of 26.1kmpl from my Baleno SilverEyez.
I have a detailed post about how I got the best mileage here Tips To Improve Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency
Hope my post is helpful to all TAI
-gers and Travellers.