States of India
Aurangabad has a number of attractions and could easily stand on its own were it not overshadowed by the famous EIlora and Ajanta caves nearby. The city is named after Aurangzeb. but earlier in its history it was known as Khadke. Aurangabad is northern Maharashtra's largest city though it is remarkably uncrowded and quiet except for the occasional political rally Today, 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.
Places to See :
Panchakki(Water Wheel) takes its name from the mill that, in its days, was considered a marvel of engineering. Driven by water brought through earthen pipes from the river 6km away, the mill once ground grain for pilgrims.The mill it self is to the right of the first tank as you enter. It is also the shrine of a saint, Baba Shah Musafir.
Bibi Ka Maqbara
Bibi Ka Maqbara is the tomb of Begum Rabia Durani,wife of Emperor Aurangazeb. The monument is an excellent example of Persian Architecture. The arched aclove surmounted by a swelling dome, the idea had acquired its own reputation in India. Bibi Ka Maqbara is considered to be a poor imitation of Taj Mahal in Agra. The layout and surrounding of the tomb is very much similar to that of Taj but some how the architecture fails to produce the magic of Taj. Nevertheless, the monument has its own charm and has been attracting tourist far & wide.
Tucked away in the old town near Zaffar Gate, this small workshop is the only place in the city that still produces hand-woven Himroo shawls from cotton, silk and silver threads. This art developed as a cheaper alternative to the more extravagant brocades of silk and gold thread, known as Kam Khab, that were woven for royalty in the 14th century. Aurangabad is well known for its Himroo, shawls and saris. It can be found in the many showrooms around the market area. Most are mass produced using power looms but here you can see the tradational process. Many of the designs are based on motifs in Ajanta frescoes.
Although they're easily overlooked in favour of the Ajanta and Ellora caves, Aurangabad has its own group of caves 2km north of the Bibi-ka-Maqbara. They were carved out of the hillside around the 6th or 7th century AD. The 10 caves are all Buddhist; caves 1 to 5 are in the western group and caves 6 to 10 are 1 km away in the eastern group.
All the caves are viharas, except for cave 4. This, the oldest cave at Aurangabad, is a Hinayana chaitya with a ribbed roof and is fronted by stupa, now partially collapsed. Cave 3 is square and is supported by 12 highly ornate columns.
Cave 6 is fairly intact and the sculptures of women are notable for their exotic hairstyles and ornamentation. Cave 7 is most intresting of the Aurangabad caves, particularly for its sculptures- the figure of women, scantily clad and ornately bejewelled, are indicative of the rise of Tantric Buddhism during this period.
To the left of cave a 7 huge Bodhisattv prays for deliverance from the eight danger: fire, the sword of the enemy, chains, shipwreck, lions, snakes, mad elephants and a deamon (representing death)
Travel Information :
Aurangabad is off the mainline but there are still direct trains from Mumbai and Hyderabad. Ajanta and Ellora are completely off the railway lines and are usually approached from either Aurangabad (Ellora 30km, Ajanta 106km) or from Jalgaon (Ajanta 60km). Jalgaon is on the main broad-gauge line from Mumbai to Allahabad.
How to Reach there :
By Air : The airport is about 1Okm east of town on the Jalna road.
By Rail : Aurangabad is on Manmad-Kachiguda section of South Central Railway, Mumbai - Manmad Aurangabad:375kms.