Aurangabad Sights and Landmarks Guide, India
Aurangabad has been given the unique soubriquet of the Tourist District of India with a view to the presence of the many historical monuments. These historic sights/monuments, some of them Buddhist caves, some Hindu temples, some forts, mausoleums, gates, etc. built during different periods of time represent different rules and different cultures. Most Aurangabad sights give clear evidence of the influence of Buddhism; whereas, sights and monuments built later on were inspired by Muslim art and culture.
Aurangabad Sights Belonging To the Ancient Period
Aurangabad has some amazing cave temples. Of these, the Ajanta Caves deserve to be mentioned first. Dating back to the 2nd century B.C., the Ajanta Cave temples are World Heritage sites. Built over a period of 800 years, the rock-cut temples narrate the story of Buddha in his cycle of incarnations. Engraved and painted in mineral dye, these cave-paintings cast a spell on the beholders.
The 13 cave sanctuaries at Pithalkora belong to the same period, although some additions were made in the 5th and 6th centuries. Predominantly viharas, these caves are Hinyana Buddhist structures.
The Aurangabad Caves are a group of 12 Buddhist caves built around 1 A.D. The iconography and architectural designs of the caves clearly manifest the Tantric influence. The site offers a panoramic view of the city.
The other World Heritage Site in the city is the site of the Ellora Caves. Built between the 5th and 8th centuries A.D., the site is a meeting ground of three main faiths that existed then – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Aurangabad Sights Belonging To the Medieval Period
The 13th century-built Daulatabad Fort is another great architectural wonder of the city. Built on the site of what was once the Deogiri fortress, the fort was made the capital of Delhi Sultanate by Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq. There are some important edifices within the fort.
Bibi-ka-Maqbara, also known as the mini Taj because of its similarity to the grand Agra mausoleum, is a wonderful work of Mughal architecture. It is the tomb of Emperor Aurangzeb’s wife, Begum Rabia Durani. (Aurangzeb’s body was buried in the holy village of Khuldabad by his orders; his tomb is far too simple and is not marked by any stately grandeur.)
Built by Ahilyabai Holkar, who was the queen of Indore from 1765 to 1795, the Ghrishneshwar Temple is another attraction of the city. Built of spotted red sandstone, the temple enshrines one of the 12 jyotirlingas that manifest the luminous energy of Lord Shiva.
These are to name only a few of Aurangabad sights and places of interest, as the city is full of such sights. You cannot miss the many gates (or darwazas) in this ‘City of Gates’; and then, there is the Panchakki or water-mill built by Malik Ambar. Lonar, one of the world’s 5 largest craters, also attracts tourists; the crater was formed because of meteorite-impact about 50,000 years ago and has a diameter of 1.75 kms. The ancient city and pilgrim centre of Paithan deserves special mentioning as do its beautifully woven silk sarees, Paithanis.
Aurangabad has a number of parks and gardens built in various periods.
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