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Updated on April 3, 2015

I have some archeological instinct within me since childhood but didn’t realize that I would actually get an opportunity to fulfill my quest. As I always wondered to know more about Indian history and its ancient ruler, I finally landed on one of the ancient cities of India- Aurangabad which is located in Maharashtra. This historical city is truly justified me to trace the ancient monuments and caves which depict stories of its time.

There are innumerable places in India where you can get enchanted with the flavors of history. However Aurangabad can truly take you back to the Mughal eras where King Aurangzeb set his kingdom. Forts, caves and mesmerizing view can surely probe you to adore this epic historical place.

Bibi Ka Makbara
Bibi Ka Makbara | Source
Daulatabad Fort
Daulatabad Fort | Source
Panchakki | Source

Places to visit

Bibi Ka Makbara: This Holy Tomb was built by Prince Azam Shah (King Aurangzeb’s son) in memory of his loving mother. The Tomb has beautiful architecture and screen walls embraced on marbles, surrounded by turrets and a reflecting pool. He got the inspiration from the Taj Mahal and tried to construct Biwi Ka Makbara with imported marbles from Jaipur somewhere in the year between 1651 and 1661.

When I actually saw the Makbara, it seemed exactly like a replica of the Taj Mahal but of course a smaller version. Due to budgetary constraint and poor architecture, the copy of the Taj did not turn out to be alike and famous. Bibi Ka Makbara is also known as “The Taj of Deccan”. Irrespective of the shortcomings this Tomb has its own charm and beauty to manifest your visit.

Daultabad Fort: For me it was a trip to the historic war site followed by tracking and capturing the unique defense construction of the fort. Built on 200 meter high conical hills, Daulatabad fort complex apprehended around 94.83 hectares is a rare fort to attract any visitor.

The notable feature of the Fort is that it has three enclosing defence walls with lofty gates and bastions at regular an interval that is why it is considered as the most powerful forts of the medieval period. The fort truly represents as the unique combination of Military Engineering, amazing town planning with unique water management system and architectural marvels that display strong political and religious hold.

The historic details of the fort reveal that it was built- in-12th century by Raja Bhillamraj (Yadava General) on the Deogiri Hill. Later it was captured by Muhammad-bin-Tughluq, the successor of the Tughluq dynasty who renamed it at Daultabad. He moved his entire population of Delhi to Daulatabad but couldn’t convert Daulatabad as its kingdom due to scarcity of water.

Panchakki: I was amazed to gaze the Panchakki( water mill) as the scientific process of grinding grains for the pilgrims during the medieval period. Panchakki was constructed somewhere in the year between 1624AD to generate energy through water drown from a spring. The mesmerizing part of Panchakki is the surrounding which can actually make you experience the sound of the water flowing through clay pipes.

The complete water channel is made up of earthen pipes which is systematically lined up and at appropriate distances, brickwork pillars are created to act as natural suction pumps to make the water flow through the pipes with force through the distance of 8 Kms. Wonderfully, the water upswings " syhonically " to a huge raised brickwork pillar from where it falls down into the main tank to make an attractive "Water Fall".

Self | Source
Self | Source
Self | Source

Ellora Caves: My experience of analyzing Ellora caves is simply stunning and mesmerizing. Ellora is an amazing cave temple which was built at the end of the 9th century on the Sahyadri Hills. There are 34 major caves that you can gaze at and admire the sculptures endowed with the feeling of the creative instinct of the artists of that era. The caves are categorized like the Buddhist cave (Cave 1-13), the Kailash temple (Cave16), Hindu Caves (Cave 14-29) and the Jain caves (Cave 30-34). Each cave has its own story and different sculpture which can draw you to the primitive age.

Out of all the caves the most famous is the Indra Sabha (Cave 32) which portrays a two storeyed cave with one more monolithic shrine in its court and beautiful carvings on the ceiling of the Indra Sabha. Other notable Hindu caves are the Rameshvara (Cave 21), this cave depicts river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna at the entrance while the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29) has a design which is quite similar to the cave temple on Elephanta Island near Mumbai. Two other caves, the Ravan ki Khai (Cave 14) and the Nilkantha (Cave 22) also have several sculptures. The rest of the Hindu caves, which include the Kumbharvada (Cave 25) and the Gopilena (Cave 27) have no significant symbol to follow but the sheer rock-cut architecture.

Ajanta Caves
Ajanta Caves | Source
Ajanta Caves
Ajanta Caves | Source

Ajanta Caves: You will surely get enchanted with this historical cave which has got recognized by UNESCO. Each cave depicts Buddha Jataka tales which is believed to be built around 400-650 BC. The site is protected by the Archaeolicial survey of India. Ajanta caves are located105 Kms from Aurangaad.

I was spellbound to view the 30 caves of Ajanta with the finest enduring examples of Indian painting which tells some stories of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and incidents from the life of Buddha and the Jatakas.

Out of the 30 Caves only 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya-grihas and the remaining are monasteries. The incredible history of the caves is that they were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE whereas the second group of caves was built around 400–650 CE.

The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique. The paintings on the walls, illustrate the events in the life of Prince Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism and in the more popular Jatakas stories pertaining to Buddha's previous incarnation. Some pictures recall the Greek and Roman compositions and proportions whereas few late resemble to Chinese manners to some extent.

How to Reach Aurangabad?

You can explore the beautiful city which is located in Maharashtra district of India. It is 372 Kms from Mumbai city and 235 Kms from Pune city. It is well connected with road, rail and aircraft.Chikkalthana Airport of Aurangabad city has connecting flights to Hyderabad, Delhi, Udaipur, Mumbai, Jaipur, Pune and Nagpur.

Place to Stay

As Aurangabad is a historical city so most of the Five star Hotels are located here. So you can book for your accommodations through online and enjoy your stay in the epic city. The best time to visit this city is from October to March.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in this beautiful old city and can surely assure that you too will cherish your journey to this historical city of Aurangabad and carry away some tales of ancient India within your mind way back home.


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