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City Guide - Aurangabad

Introduction: Aurangabad is one of the oldest cities in Maharashtra with a cultural heritage that includes, the Ajanta - Ellora caves and Daulatabad Fort. The town is named after Aurangzeb, the last Mughal emperor, and has many places to see, admire and know about. The most famous trip that should be taken from Aurangabad is that of the Ajanta and Ellora caves. Several fine Mughal monuments surround Aurangabad, including Aurangazeb's mausoleum for his wife, the 'Bibi-ka-Maqbara' resembling Taj Mahal. Famous for its Bidri work and Himroo products, the city has a university, medical and engineering colleges, an airport to complement its industrial and commercial activities, and is one of India's fastest growing cities.

History: The history of Aurangabad is incomplete without mentioning the short but very important Mughal period. The city of Aurangabad was established in 1610, on the site of a village named Khirki, by a local Muslim noble Malik Ambar. His son Fateh Khan who named the city as Fatehpur in 1626 then ruled it. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal ruler, took the charge of this city in 1653 and renamed it as Aurangabad. Aurangzeb made Aurangabad his capital keeping in mind its strategic location in peninsular India. He used this city as a base to fight the powerful Marathas.

Places of interest: Bibi Ka Maqbara is an excellent example of Persian architecture. This monument was built around 1657-1661, by the last Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, for his wife named Rabia Durrani. Panchakki is an impressive pre-Mughal watermill harnessed to operate large grain-grinding stones. It was built in 1624 to commemorate the memory of the Sufi saint Baba Shah Musafir, whose tomb lies nearby. Panchakki takes its name from the mill which was considered a marvel of engineering at that time. Aurangabad Caves are situated 3 km north of Aurangabad. They were excavated out of a south facing hill side overlooking the town. These caves fall into two groups about 1.5km apart. These are ten caves belong to Buddhist era, built around 3-11th century.

Travel Information: Aurangabad is the gateway to the region, and is generally where you would arrive or depart from. Aurangabad airport is conveniently located, around 10 kms east of the town, and is directly air-linked to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur

It has several excellent hotels and a number of good restaurants, making a convenient base for visits to the famous rock cut temples of Ajanta and Ellora. Although this historical city can be visited throughout the year, days between July to March are the best to visit it.

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