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Aurangabad - The Destination

 
Ajanta and Ellora Caves

The historic town of Aurangabad could simply have been overlooked for the fact that the most celebrated tourist points—Ajanta & Ellora Caves lie nearby. But this medieval town, located in north Maharashtra was the seat of the Mughal empire for a short period.

The city acquired its name from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The historic significance of this city is enhanced by the presence of the Aurangabad caves which are of Buddhist origin. They include chapels and  monasteries, some  of  which  have  fine  sculptures. The Bibi Ka

Maqbara, five km away, is a mausoleum built between 1657 and 1661 by Aurangzeb for his wife Dilras Banu Begum. The mausoleum is modelled on the Taj Mahal and is believed to be the first Mughal monument in the Deccan.

Aurangabad’s strategic position in the Deccan earned it the name of Khidki meaning window, serving as it did, as an opening through which North India could look into the Deccan.

And if you have had enough of sightseeing, then turn your attention to a bit of shopping. The city is famous for its traditional Himroo fabric which is a blend of cotton and silk and is of top quality. You can also find here famous Paithani saris, traditional handloom shawls and other textiles material of Himroo fabric and silver threads. Interestingly, the designs and patterns made on these fabrics are inspired by Ajanta frescoes.

By the end of your journey, you will be exhausted, but happy when you carry mixed flavours of the old and the new world.


Aurangabad - Facts at a Glance


State : Maharashtra
Area : 3305 sq kms
Temperature : 21.5 C – 39 C (Summer)
10 C – 31.3 C (Winter)
Rainfall : 557 mm
Language : Marathi, Hindi, Urdu
Best Season : July – March


History


The history of Aurangabad can be traced back to 1610, when the former Abyssinian slave and then prime minister of the Muslim kingdom of Ahmednagar, Malik Ambar established a city on the site of an old village called Khirki. His son Fateh Khan named the city he ruled over, Fatehpur in 1626.

Afterwards, when the control of the Deccan kingdoms passed into the hands of the Mughals, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb renamed the city Aurangabad when he made it the foundation of his campaigns into the Deccan. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal Emperor took over this city in 1653 and renamed it Aurangabad. Because of its strategic location in peninsular India, Aurangzeb made it his capital from where he tried to repress the rising power of the Marathas. After his death in 1707, the city was taken over by the Nizam of Hyderabad who retained control till it was merged with Maharashtra in 1956.

Modern Aurangabad retains an Islamic character and still maintains an old world charm. The city has put on a more contemporary face as a major industrial centre for pharmaceuticals, automobiles, textiles and electronics and as the access to the cave temples of Ajanta & Ellora.
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