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Aurangabad History, India

There is a long story associated with its name. The area was originally named ‘Khidki’ (meaning window).The unique name lasted for a pretty long period and then it was changed to Fatehpura. Ultimately, the city was christened Aurangabad after the last of the great Mughals, Aurangzeb, used the city as a base for his conquest of the Deccan sultanates following his ascension to the throne.

In ancient times the region was governed by various tribal groups. The ‘Satavahanas’ first united these small tribal territories and brought them under their rule. Their reign resulted in an era of peace and prosperity in every sphere – trade and commerce flourished and the area became the hub of socio-cultural activities. (A key reason for this prosperity has been the co-existence of Buddhism and Hinduism).

Beside the Satavahanas, the region also saw the rules of other dynasties such as the Chalukyas, Vakatakas and Rashtrakutas. The invasion of Allauddin Khilaji became a turning point in the history of the region (in fact, of the entire Deccan) for it marked the end of Hindu and Buddhist influences and thereafter the Deccan region only saw Muslim rulers. Allauddin Khilaji appointed his general Malik Kafur to rule the region on his behalf but when the Delhi Sultanate was captured by Mohammad bin Tughluq, he took control over the region. Mohammad bin Tughluq’s reign is tarnished by his botched attempt at shifting his capital from Delhi to Deogiri (which he named Daulatabad).

Thereafter, the control of the region passed on to local Muslim rulers. It is widely believed that the foundation of the modern city was laid during this period (around 1610) by Malik Ambar, who was the Prime Minister of the then Deccan ruler, Murtaza Nizam Shah II of Ahmednagar. Ambar named the city Fatehpura after his son Fateh Khan.

Around 1634, Aurangzeb was given the Subhedari (Governorship) of the Deccan by his father Shah Jahan. The local rulers were ousted by Aurangzeb and the region was annexed to the Mughal Empire. Although Aurangzeb went back to Agra in 1644, he came back again in 1681 and then onwards Aurangabad became the abode of the Emperor, who made every attempt to restructure the city modeling Delhi. (He even had a replica of the Taj Mahal constructed in Aurangabad – the structure is known as the Bibi-Ka-Maqbara).

Following Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, Chinkilizakhan, the Nizam, took control over the region. Although he made Aurangabad his first capital, he soon shifted the capital to Hyderabad. Aurangabad remained under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad till 1956, when it was merged in the state of Maharashtra.

Aurangabad was taken over by the Nizam of Hyderabad after the death of Aurangazeb in 1707 that retained control till it was merged with Maharashtra in 1956.

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