There aren’t a lot of places to visit in Aurangabad, aside from the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. But the Gulmandi Road Bazaar is worth checking out if you’ve got a little extra time.
There’s not a lot to do in Aurangabad, India by itself. The city is best known as a jumping-off point for the Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
RELATED: Ajanta Caves Walk-Through
But if you’re like Wally and me, you can find your fun anywhere.
If you’ve got some extra time after visiting the caves, head to Gul Mandi market, located in the center of old Aurangabad. (For the record, it’s #19 of TripAdvisor’s 52 things to do in Aurangabad.)
We hired an auto rickshaw from our hotel and asked to be taken to the Old Quarter.
Aurangabad is known as the City of Gates. The city had 50-some during medieval times, though only 18 remain. These served as surveillance and security and as a means of collecting tolls when caravans passed through.
Our rickshaw driver parked on a side street and we got out to see what sort of shopping was to be found.
We wandered around Rangar Galli, where every store was pretty much selling the same product: clothes. We were disappointed that it was not a handicrafts market. But then we decided to go one block off the major thoroughfare — and suddenly the seemingly hidden side street, Gulmandi Road, filled with merchant stands, opened up before us as if by magic.
Marigolds and More
Known as the Gulmandi Road Bazaar, this street was a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the locals. Merchants set up stalls on the side of the road, selling various items. We were most intrigued by the cart filled with piles of brightly colored powder, wondering if it was for the Hindu holiday Holi. (You’ve probably seen the pictures of people covered in every color imaginable — in fact, the trend has even extended to races here in the States.)
In the middle of the narrow thoroughfare is the Supari Hanuman Temple.
An old mystic spied us and asked where I was from. He had me join him in a mantra chant, calling out, “Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!” right there on the street — much to the amusement of passersby.
We crossed the alley, where a pair of women sat cross-legged, stringing together marigold flower garlands amidst a mountain of the orange blooms.
As we made our way up the opposite side of Gulmandi, we spotted a small shop selling incense and ephemera. Once inside, I spotted something I had been looking to get this whole trip: a small brass trishula, the sacred trident that’s the symbol of Shiva. The three prongs represent the god’s three roles as creator, preserver and destroyer. He’s pretty badass, huh? –Duke