The city of Aurangabad was founded in 1610, on the site of a village, Khirki by Malik Ambar - the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah II. When Fateh Khan, Malik Ambar's son succeeded him in 1626, he gave the city the name 'Fatehpur'. Later in 1653, when Prince Aurangazeb became Viceroy of the Deccan, he made the city his capital and called it Aurangabad. The walls, which enclose the central part of the city, were added by Aurangazeb in 1686 in order to withstand attacks from the Marathas. There are four principle gateways to the city - the Delhi Darwaza, the Jalna Darwaza, the Paithan Darwaza and the Mecca Darwaza. Nine secondary gateways also formed a part of the defences of the city.
Location & Attractions
Bibi - Ka - Maqbara
A replica of the Taj Mahal, the Bibi-Ka-Maqbara
is the only example of Moghul architecture of its kind in the Deccan plateau. The Bibi-Ka-Maqbara was
built in 1679 by Emperor Aurangazeb's son, as a tribute to his mother, Begum Rabia Durani. It is the
finest Mughal monument in the South and is called the Taj of the Deccan due to its close resemblance
to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Nestled in an inner fold of the Sahyadri hills, 100 km from Aurangabad lie the world-famous rock-hewn
caves of Ajanta. These 30 caves, arranged in the shape of a mammoth horseshoe date back to the 2nd
century B.C. Discovered in 1819, by a group of British army officers, these fabulous temples took
around 600 years to create. Carved with little more than a hammer and chisel, Ajanta, once the
retreat of Buddhist monastic orders features several 'chaityas' (chapels) and 'viharas' (monasteries).
The exquisite wall and ceiling paintings, panels and sculptures of Buddha's life are renowned
worldwide for being the earliest and finest examples of Buddhist pictorial art.
The ancient village of Ellora, known for centuries to the world as Verul, featured prominently in the travelogues of Arab and European travellers, as it lay at the crossroads of ancient trade routes.
Tucked away in the lap of a crescent-shaped hill, the caves of Ellora have been carved, in a north-south line, looking across the vast Deccan plain. The Ellora Caves comprise the Buddhist caves from the 5th century to the 7th century AD, the Hindu caves from the 8th century to the 9th century AD and the Jain caves from the 9th century to the 11th century AD.
A 17th century water-mill that takes its name from the mill which used to grind grain for the
pilgrims and disciples of saints as well as for troops of the garrison. A mountain spring about
eight kilometres away provides the water which powers the mill using a maze of cleverly set
underground earthen pipes.
The almost-forgotten caves of Aurangabad lie just outside the city. Excavated between the 2nd and
6th Century A.D, they reflect Tantric influences in their iconography and architectural design.
In all there are nine caves, which are mainly viharas (monasteries). The most interesting among
these are Cave Nos. 3 and 7. The former is supported by 12 highly ornate columns and has sculptures
depicting scenes from the legendary 'Jataka' tales. Cave 7 with its detailed figures of bejewelled
women also has a dominating sculpture of a 'Bodhisattva' praying for deliverance.
This 18th Century temple, with its beautiful architecture and carvings, is located just half a
kilometre from the Ellora Caves (30 km from Aurangabad). The temple is one of the five 'Jyotirlingas'
in Maharashtra where Lord Shiva is worshipped. While you are here, another place worth visiting is
the Holkar Temple nearby.
The main festival Holi is celeberated by the people here.