Aurangabad, commonly used as a base for a visit to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora is seeped in medieval history. Named for Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughal Emperors, Aurangabad acquired plenty of monuments and a rich culture as its heritage from the middle ages. The one single factor that determined Aurangabad's role in the history of medieval India is its location. So strategic is its location at the cross roads of north and south India, that Mohammed-bin-Tughlak and Aurangzeb, two powerful kings attempted to translocate their capital from Delhi to Aurangabad. Their vision was clear, from Aurangabad, they would be better able to control both northern and southern regions of their empires. The fact they failed should not be attributed to the inherent flaws in their scheme as it should on the less evident fact that their empires were crumbling.
Aurangzeb, Aurangabad became the seat of the powerful Mughal Empire
for a short while. His predecessors prefered Agra, Delhi or Lahore -
all in the north, and Aurangzeb's move was not unopposed. But the
autocratic Emperor's will prevailed. The Mughal court moved to
Aurangabad and remained there till the his death. Built during his
years in Aurangabad were such architectural gems as the
Bibi-ka-Maqbara, a mausoleum with a marked resemblance to the Taj
Mahal and a medieval watermill. Aurangabad became a thriving
industrial centre with many fine academic institutions. Its textiles
became much sought after and even today, the weavers of Aurangabad
produce fine textiles like pathani, himroo and kimkhwab.
Aurangabad's crowning glory is undoubtedly the famous Buddhist caves
at Ajanta & the magnificent rock temples of Ellora. Built
between 200 BC and 650 AD, the viharas and chaityas at Ajanta are
masterpieces as are the incredibly ornate temples carved out of hard
rock at Ellora.
outside the city, lie the Aurangabad caves, excavated between the
2nd and 6th century AD. Tantric influences can be discerned in their
architecture and iconography.There are twelve caves in all, a major
chunk of which are viharas, of which Caves 3 and 7, are the most
fascinating. Cave 3 stands supported by 12 finely carved columns,
and sports sculptures portraying scenes from the Jataka tales.
Aurangzeb's TombCave 7 houses an imposing sculpture of a
Boddhisattva, praying for deliverance.
can visit Aurangzeb's Tomb at Khula-dabad, 25 km distance on the
road to Ellora. Its simplicity has tourist appeal. After Aurangzeb's
death in 1707 it was raised at the expense of late emperor's
self-earned money by copying from Koran. His son Ajam decorated this
tomb without edifice with stone lattice. Malik Ambar and other
historic figures were buried in adjoining Karbala. The Angrakha (a
loose and long robe) used by prophet Mahammad is also carefully
preserved here. There is a Mughal garden nearby- Rani Begam ka Bag.
Another 14 km from Khuladabad lies Mabishmal, a lovely picnic spot.
You can stay at MTDC's Holiday Resort.