7: Aurangabad to Hyderabad

by - January 13, 2014

Bibi Ka Maqbara - the “poor man’s Taj Mahal”
The tomb of the lady
While we had spent two nights in Aurangabad already, we had yet to actually see any of the city itself.  As a city with a population of just over one million people (about the size of the city of Birmingham), we figured that there must be enough sights to at least fill up a few hours (unlike the city of Birmingham…).  The first of these was the Bibi Ka Maqbara, modelled on the famous Taj Mahal but made of painted stone rather than pure white marble, and therefore referred to as “the poor man’s Taj Mahal”.  The name literally means ‘tomb of the lady’ and was commissioned by a Mughal emperor to commemorate his wife at the end of the 17th century.  To the casual observor it does look an awful lot like the 'real thing’, albeit in need of a bit of a paint job.  It seems to be tradition to throw money onto the tomb within the mausoleum - a tradition which seems pretty strange considering that there are a fair few beggars outside the gates and the lady within obviously wasn’t in that much need of money, even if her husband couldn’t afford to commemorate her with a full Taj.

From here our tuk-tuk driver drove us to the city’s other major (and I use that term slightly loosely) sight, the 'Panchakki’ or Water Mill, an early example of hydrological engineering in India which used water from 6km away to grind flour.  Unfortunately the sight was looking quite unloved and in need of renovation and we didn’t stay too long as after grabbing some lunch we would be heading over to Aurangabad airport.  Having, frankly, chickened out of getting the sleeper bus from Aurangabad to Hyderabad, we had decided to go by plane - with a connection in Mumbai.

I should have known straight away that the journey was not going to be as easy as it should have been, as I made the rookie error of leaving my Swiss Army Knife in my hand luggage - though with Aurangabad being a pretty tiny airport, the lovely security staff let me pass back through and re-check my bag in with the knife inside.  From here however things didn’t get much better however - unfortunately our first plane from Aurangabad to Mumbai (a flight time of less than 50 minutes) was quite heavily delayed and we landed in Mumbai airport in a rush.  From here things got even worse as we had to change terminals and the system at the airport was truly awful - we had to (for some reason) go from the domestic terminal to the international terminal on a connecting bus that including waiting and driving took a whole hour.  We arrived at the international terminal with 45 minutes until our flight took off, with heavy queues for everything.  Faced with missing the flight and spending an extra night in Mumbai, back where we started, we ploughed through the crowds, waving our boarding cards in the air frantically by way of an apology to our fellow passengers.  Incredibly, we got to the gate with moments to spare, only to find that all the passengers had caught the bus to the plane already.  The people on the gate called us one of the airport maintenance buggies to get us to the plane and, unbelievably, took us all the way from the international terminal back to where we had started in domestic.  We had therefore, in effect, spent an hour travelling from domestic to international to go through security and then come back to domestic. A total, total joke.

To conclude:
Mumbai International Airport: 0/10 rating.  
Air India on the other hand (for holding the flight until we arrived): 10/10

All things considered, myself and Sergei only made the flight about 20 minutes late and after arriving at the super-modern Hyderabad Airport we got a taxi into the city (about 40 minutes away) to our hotel for the next two nights - checking in at around midnight.  Having decided to fly in order to avoid the stress of the sleeper bus, I can’t say I am convinced that it was actually the right decision… But, I have to say, all’s well that ends well.

You May Also Like