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Aurangabad

it is known for some of the finest colleges and university in Maharashtra. And it is the fastest growing industrial town in India. But the charm and glory of its long past has not been lost. And its heritage is rich and varied - the result of the artistic and cultural influences of several dynasties since its first Stone Age inhabitants.

Things to See

Caves:-

Aurangabad Caves are artificial caves, dug out of the rather soft rock during the 6th and 7th century. This caves are found on two separate locations, called Western Group Caves (caves 1-5) and Eastern Group Caves (caves 6-10), about 1km from each other. Each group has five caves. The architecture and iconography is influenced by Tantric Hinduism.

Cave four of the Western Group Caves is the oldest cave. It is a Hinayana Chaitya with a ridged roof like the Karla Cave near Lonavala. Hinayana (Sanskrit: Lesser Vehicle) is the more orthodox, conservative schools of Buddhism. Chaitya (Sanskrit) is the word for a funeral monument. There is a stupa in front of it, now partially collapsed.

The other four Western caves are viharas, which are an early type of Buddhist monastery consisting of an open court surrounded by open cells accessible through an entrance porch. The viharas in India were originally constructed to shelter the monks. Cave 3, the most fascinating cave of the Western Group, is supported by 12 finely carved columns. They show sculptures portraying scenes from the Jataka tales.



Cave 6 belongs to the Eastern Group Caves, and shows very well preserved sculptures of women, which are notable for their exotic hairstyles and ornamentation. There is also a large Buddha figure and an idol of Ganesh located in this cave.

Cave 7 is the most interesting of the Aurangabad caves. Most impressive are the sculptures, figures of women which are scantily clad and ornately bejewelled. They show the rise of Tantric Buddhism during this period. To the left of Cave 7 is a huge Bodhisattva praying for deliverance from the 8 dangers: fire, the sword of the enemy, chains, shipwreck, lions, snakes, mad elephant and demon (representing death).

Bibi Ka Maqbara:-

Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal, in Agra, in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz. His son Aurangzeb, who overthrew him, built the Bibi-Ka-Maqbara as a mausoleum to his wife Rabia-ud-Durrani.

This is the monument for which Aurangabad is best known, probably because it was obviously intended to rival the Taj Mahal, which it imitates. The comparison with the Agra monument has unfortunately somewhat denigrated the Aurangabad tomb which in itself displays a worthwhile architectural design, with much distinguished surface ornamentation in the late Mughal style.

The mausoleum dates from 1678 and it was erected by Prince Azam Shah, one of Aurangzeb's sons, in memory of Begum Rabia Durani, his mother. It stands in the middle of a spacious and formally planned garden, some 457 by 274 metres, with axial ponds, fountains, and water channels, many defined by stone screens and lined with broad pathways. The garden is enclosed by high crenellated walls with bastions set at intervals, and open pavilions on three sides.

In the middle of the south wall is an imposing gateway with brass-inlaid doors; these are inscribed with the name of the architect, Atam Aula. The central focus of this vast enclosure is the tomb itself. This is raised on a high terrace to look out over the garden plots and waterways. Access to the octagonal chamber containing the unadorned grave at the lower level is from a flight of steps that descends from the terrace. The grave is enclosed by an octagon of perforated marble screens. The chamber above is a high square structure presenting identical fagades on four sides. Each is dominated by a lofty portal with a pointed arch, flanked by smaller arched niches of similar design. A great dome, with a pronounced bulbous profile and a brass pot finial, crowns the whole composition while four lesser domes mark the corners.

Doorways lead to an inner octagonal gallery, defined by stone screens, that overlooks the grave from an upper level, an architectural innovation unicfue, to this monument. Corner squinches carry the lofty dome that roofs the chamber. White marble is used throughout, interspersed with delicately moulded stucco. There is, however, no use of semiprecious stones. Exactly like the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum is framed by four lofty minarets that stand freely at the corners of the terrace, their part-octagonal bases continuing down to ground level.

They have diminutive square pavilions in red sandstone at their summits. To the west of the tomb is a small mosque with finely worked cusped arches and corner minarets. Small recesses, rosettes, and arabesques embellish the faqade. Mention may also be made here of the Sunheri Mahal, situated to the north of Bibi ka Maqbara, which is a notable building in the late Mughal style. It is of interest for the patches of old painting and goldwork that adorn the walls.

Pan Chakki:-


The Panchakki or the Water mill, located at Aurangabad, was built in the early years of the 17th century, by the Muslim Sufi Saint Baba Shah Musafir. The complex of Panchakki had been a place of external abode of the great Sufi Saints who flocked to India in 12th Cent A.D.

The sufi's were the Muslim saints, influenced by the spiritual philosophy of the Vedanta, the Sufi movement in India is reminiscence of secularism. The Panchakki, is a calm and peaceful place that visualizes the life that existed in the medieval period. Visitors having sensitive imagination, may hear the beats of drum and the humming noise of the people moving around the complex.

The water flows down through clay pipes based on the Siphon system from the distance of 11 km. This marvelous water mill wax designated to generate energy to turn the large grinding stone, serving as a flour mill.


The Panchakki with all its glories and enchantments has a unique place in the history.In fact it was the residance of populer saint " Baba Shah Musafir ". The panchakki has its own underground water channel, having the source some where towards the North of the city about 8 Kms. away in the mountains. The construction of this water channel from the main source to the Panchakki was started during the life time of saint " Baba Shah Musafir " some time in the year 1624 A.D...

The complete water channel is made up of earthern pipes finely lined up and at appropriate distances, masonary pillers are errected which serve as natural suction pumps to make the water flow through the pipes with force through the distance of 8 Kms. Finely, the water rises " syhonically " to a huge elevated masonary piller from where it falls down into the main cistern to make an attractive " Water Fall ".

Around Aurangabad
Ajanta: In 1819, 100 kms. from Aurangabad, a group of British officers stumbled upon a secret held by the Sahyadri Hills for centuries. The horseshoe-shaped gathering of the 30 rock-hewn caves of Ajanta. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, the exquisite legacy of paintings, sculptures, 'chaityas' (halls) and 'vihar as' (monasteries) took around 800 years to complete.

Ellora: A mere 30 kms. from the city are the equally impressive Ellora caves. What makes this group of 34 caves temples unique is that they are dedicated to 3 different religions - Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism. One of its key attractions is the monumental Kailas Temple - the largest single monolithic structure in the world.

Khuldabad : 3kms. from Ellora Lies Khuldabad - literally 'heavenly abode'. The final resting place of Emperor Aurangzeb, this walled town was once an important center.

Bani Begam Gardens: 24 kms. from Aurangabad, you can find the tomb of Bani Begam - companion to one of Aurganzeb's sons. It lies amidst sprawling landscaped gardens, interspersed with fluted pillars, elegant domes and aesthetic fountains - showcasing the splendid architecture of the times.

Pitalkhora: 78 kms. from Aurangabad lie the 13 cave temple of Pitalkhora - carved between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD. The relief work is strikingly richer and more elaborate, the carvings more precise, than in earlier work.

Daulatabad: On a hill, 13 kms. from Aurangabad stands the proud fortress of Daulatabd, also known as Devgiri Fort. An impregnable defense in its day, the 'city of fortune' passed through several dynasties in the Deccan.

Paithan: An important excavation site today, Paithan town, or Pratishthan (as known earlier) was once a booming trade center. It used to be the capital of the Satvahana dynasty A legacy of those days is still seen in the intricately beautiful hand-made Paithani silk sarees. The new Jayakwadi dam is an ideal bird-watching site. The town also provides easy access to the states largest garden Dhyaneshwar Udyan.

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