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Aurangabad

Aurangabad was an important seat of the Mughal Empire during the Mughal rule in India. The town holds a good number of Mughal architectural marvels making it an important historical destination of Maharashtra. The town is situated on the banks of the Kham River. The medieval monuments and cultural heritage, the silk and cotton textiles and its proximity to the famous world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora attract a good number of tourists towards it every year. Though the city looks calm and quiet with not much hum drum on the streets, it is an industrialised, competitive city making its own mark on the tourist and industrial map of India. It is also interesting to note that Aurangabad was formerly known as Khirki (meaning window) because of its strategic position that provided a window view of the Deccan plateau.

Sightseeing:

Aurangabad Caves:

The Aurangabad caves are an important tourist spot in Aurangabad. Built during the 6th and 7th century AD, these caves have been divided in two groups namely the Eastern Group (Caves 1 to 5) and the Western Group (Caves 6 to 10). Both these groups have a distance of about half a kilometre between them. These Caves have interesting illustrations from the Jataka stories that belong to the Buddhist religion.

Bibi Ka Maqbara:

Bibi-ka-Maqbara is a tomb that bears some resemblance with the Taj Mahal. This Maqbara attracts the tourists due to its wonderful architecture and historical importance. It is a mausoleum built in memory of Aurangzeb’s wife Rabia-ud-Daurani Begum. Built at the centre of the garden, the marble used here is not as fine as that of Taj Mahal. Besides Bibi-ka-Maqbara, there are some other monuments of related historical importance. The entry into the Maqbara may cost you an entry ticket of a negligible amount.

Panchakki:

The word Panchakki literally means water mill. It is another major attraction of Aurangabad. The mill gets its share of water that travels through an underground channel from a source which is 6 km away in the mountains. The water is released on to the wheel creating an enthralling waterfall. The place also has a garden and fountains with fish-filled tanks enhancing the beauty of the entire area. Panchakki also has a tomb of Baba Shah Muzaffar, a Sufi Saint who was spiritual adviser to Aurangzeb.

Himroo Factory:

The Himroo Factory is another tourist attraction of Aurangabad. The traditional Himroo fabric which is a blend of cotton and silk is famous for its 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.

Excursions From Aurangabad:

Ajanta:
Famous for its caves, Ajanta is one of the few historical and architectural marvels of India. Recognised as the World Heritage site today, it was discovered during the 19th century by a group of British officers who were on a tiger hunt. The Ajanta group of caves, located deep within the Sahyadri hills above the Waghora, depict the story of Buddhism that prevailed here during 200 BC to 650 AD.

Daulatabad Fort:
Daulatabad fort is located just 13 kilometres from Aurangabad en route Ellora. Easily accessible from the major towns nearby, the fort was built during the 12th century. Due to its uncommon location on a pyramid shaped hill, this impressive fortress attracts the attention of all. According to the locals here, the Daulatabad fortress was earlier known as ’Devgiri’. It was built by king Bhillama of Yadav dynasty. Later the name of the entire place was changed to Daulatabad by Mohammed Bin Tughlaq, Sultan of Delhi. Apart from this, a 5 km massive wall surrounding the fort, spiked gates of the fortress and the 30 metre high Chand Minar built by the Bahmani rulers also attract a number of tourists to this place every year.

Ellora:
Located at a distance of 200 kilometres from Amritsar in the state of Himachal Pradesh is Dharamsala, a popular hill station. It is also famous as the present home of Dalai Lama. This wonderful and picturesque hill station is characterised by magnificent deodar and pine forests, tea gardens and beautiful hills. Situated at an altitude of 1250 metres to 1982 metres, there are many spots to visit in and around the town. Mc Leodganj (10 km), the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute, Bhagsunath (11 km), St. John's Church (8 km),the Kunal Pathri (3 km) and the War Memorial (2 km from the town centre) are some of the major places to visit in Dharamsala. Dharamsala also provides access for a visit to some of the other nearby exotic destinations.

Shirdi:
Approximately 144 kilometres from Aurangabad, Shirdi is a tourist destination considered holy by the Hindus. A large number of tourists come here all through the year to visit the shrine of Sidhi Sai Baba. Moreover, there are some more holy shrines closely related to Sai Baba here. Easily accessible from the nearby towns, Shirdi is an important excursion destination from Aurangabad.

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