Aurangabad: Where the finest monuments reside

Posted on June 22, 2010

Tania Goklany:

Aurangabad is a city in Maharashtra. Aurangabad (meaning ‘Built by the Throne’) is named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangabad is rich in heritage and culture, and is popularly known for its cave temples. It is also known as the ‘City of Gates’ as the old city is dotted with numerous gates which were erected by Aurangzeb. This city is a tourist hub, surrounded with many historical monuments like the Ajanta and Ellora caves, Panchakki (water mill), Daulatabad, which one time was made the capital of India under Aurangzeb’s reign.

There are innumerous places of historic importance and besides the city being a landmark on tourist map, it has numerous MNCs and prestigious Indian auto and electrical appliance industries; to name a few Bajaj Auto, Skoda, Videocon and Siemen.

Aurangabad is connected by air, rail and road with major metros — Bombay and Delhi, considering it draws lakhs of visitors from all over the world.

Bibi ka Maqbara is one of the main attractions of this city. It is a beautiful mausoleum of Rabia ul Daurani also known as Dilras Banu Begum, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The mausoleum is believed to be constructed by Prince Azam Shah, Aurangzeb’s son in memory of his mother. The mausoleum draws its inspiration from the world famous Taj Mahal; its design and layout are very similar to that of Taj’s. It is also known as the ‘Deccan’s Taj’ or the ‘Poor Man’s Taj’.

Ajanta and Ellora caves are one of the main tourist spots of the city. They are also designated as UNESCOs World Heritage sites. The Ajanta caves consist of many prayer halls and monasteries. This group of 30 caves provides a unique combination of exquisite architecture, detailed sculptures and beautiful paintings. All the paintings show great religious influence and are centered on Buddha, incidents from the life of Buddha, Bodhisattvas and the Jataka tales. While the Ellora caves are famous around the globe for its largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the huge Kailasa temple present in one of its caves. Majority of its caves are devoted to Buddhism and Hinduism, while some are dedicated to Jainism. Thus the caves have one of the greatest religious conglomerations at a single place, signifying the religious tolerance and solidarity of different faiths. The cave temples describe the excellence of art and architecture that flourished during the ancient period, when these temples were built.

Panchakki is a water mill situated about a km away from the city. It’s an intriguing water mill. It has an underground channel of water which traverses for more than 8 kms to its source away in the mountains. The channel culminates in a mesmerizing ‘artificial’ waterfall that powers the mill.

Gates in Aurangabad are one of the various things that makes Aurangabad stand out from the several other medieval cities in India are its 52 gates each of which have a local history or had individuals linked with them. Thus, it is also known as the ‘City of Gates’ as mentioned earlier.

Aurangabad is a significant place considering historical monuments. Not just this, it is really coming up in commercial terms as well. It contributes a large portion of the Tourism in Maharashtra. The monuments in and around the city have lured tourists from all over the world and made Aurangabad a major tourist destination.


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