The ethnic Aurangabadi culture is significantly influenced by the essence and charm of the characteristic Muslim culture enrooted in Hyderabad which is deeply reflected in the language, cuisine and lifestyle of the locals of Aurangabad.
Marathi, Urdu and Hindi are the most spoken tongues of this city which reveal a clear effect of Dakhni – Hyderabadi Urdu dialect. The literary firmament of Aurangabad is illuminated by the most prolific classical Urdu poet Wali Dakhni; also reckoned by the name Wali Aurangabadi. He was the cardinal poet who had established his name in the world of Urdu Poetry. A number of prominent poets of the era including Shah Abro, Shah Hatem, Mir Taqi Mir, Sauda, Zauq etc admired and followed him. Other noteworthy poets of Aurangabad were Siraj Aurangabadi, Sikandar Ali Wajd and Azad Bilgrami. Abul Ala Maududi; a celebrated Muslim scholar and a descendent of the Chishti saints was also born in Aurangabad.
The cuisine of Aurangabad has a lot in common with the traditional Mughlai or Hyderabadi cuisine. The aromatic pulao and biryani as well as meat cooked in fresh fragrant spices comprise the specialty of Aurangabadi cuisine. Naan Qalia, a classic Aurangabadi dish is an exclusive mutton curry eaten with Naan. This dish finds its genesis in the army camp of Muhammad bin Tughlaq and it reached Aurangabad when he shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in 1327 AD. Tahri or Tahari a dish made of rice is yet another popular cuisine of Aurangabad and Marathwada. Other food specialties of Aurangabad include Jhunka, Pithla, Thecha, Jwari & Bajri chi Bhakri, Thalipeeth, Murg Kababs Mughlai, Murg Noorjeha, Biryani Badshahi, Shahi Chicken Korma, Meat Durbari, Keema Matar, Seekh Kabab, Shami Kabab, Mughlai Chicken Pulao, Ras Malai, Rabri, Sevian, Chand ka Tukda, Orange Phirni, Kujja Kulfi and other Hyderabadi and Mughlai cuisine.
Aurangabad is particularly acclaimed for its ethnic local arts such as Paithani Saris, Himroo and Mashru fabrics, Kimkhab work, Bidriware and the handmade paper of Kaghzipura.
Paithani Saris that receive their name from the nearby town Paithan are woven from pure silk yarn decorated with gold or silver threads. Himroo fabric, said to have originated in Persia is a textile material made from the mixture of silk and cotton. Bidriware is a unique art of gold and silver inlays worn on copper. Beautiful Bidriware such as plates, bowls, trinket boxes, vases, ashtrays, jewellery, cufflinks, nameplates and many others are must buy items in Aurangabad. Kaghzipura, located near Daulatabad is a place where the first handmade paper of India was manufactured. This handmade paper was used to print Quran on it.
The chief festivals celebrated at Aurangabad, apart from the traditional India festivals, include Ajanta and Ellora Festival, Aurangabad Festival, Khultabad Urs, Paithan Fair, and so on.
Ajanta and Ellora Festival is the carnival of classical dance and music that is celebrated in the month of March every year. Organized by Maharashtra Government Tourism Department, this fiesta is held against the backdrop of the celebrated Ellora Caves when prominent and talented personalities across the country showcase their genius in dance and music.
Aurangabad Festival organized in the month of December every year marks the jubilation of Aurangabad’s rich local cultural and artistic heritage. This festival mainly aims at exploring the hidden talents of the people and increasing the vivacity and vitality of this historic city. Administered by the Aurangabad Festival Committee, this festival mainly emphasizes upon the manifestation of local art, culture and heritage through various performances of classical dances, folk dances, popular songs, Mushaira, Ghazals, Qawalli, and so on. Moreover, the local art of Aurangabad including handlooms and handicrafts like Himroo, Mashru, Paithani, Bidri, Paperwork, etc is also exhibited at the time of Aurangabad Festival. Additional attractions of this festival comprise the traditional bullock cart race, heritage walk for senior citizens, inter-school and inter-college competitions, marathon, etc.
Khultabad Urs is celebrated by the Muslim citizens in the month of Rabi-Ul-Awal. They gather at the tomb of Khwaja for five days and undertake the Urs celebration.
Paithan Fair is celebrated in the month of March or April when pilgrims gather at Paithan and pay homage at the Eknath Maharaj Temple situated on the banks of the river Godavari. This fair is celebrated for 10 days with incomparable enthusiasm and gusto.