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Kahani Bazaar

Aurangabad - The tourism capital of Maharashtra

ABOUT AURANGABAD : The historic city of Aurangabad, on the Deccan Plateau, has many tourist attractions and could easily stand on its own charm, were it not overshadowed by the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Ajanta and Ellora caves nearby. Founded in 1610, on the site of a village called Khirki by Malik Ambar, Prime Minister of Murtuza Nizam Shah II, this city was renamed Fatehpur after the Nizam's son Fateh Khan succeeded to the throne in 1626. When Prince Aurangzeb became the Viceroy of Deccan in 1653, he made the city his capital and re-christened it Aurangabad. The rise of the Marathas as a powerful kingdom in the region prompted the governor of the city to take measures for its protection. A wall was erected around the city of Aurangabad at the order of the Mughal Emperor, who also built a magnificent palace upon his arrival in the city in 1692. The traces of the artistic and cultural influences that a number of dynasties have cast upon it are present everywhere in Aurangabad. When India became independent, Aurangabad was made a district of the Maharashtra state. The subsequent efforts of the state government led it to become a major industrial hub of the country, with cotton and silk textile-producing factories leading the way. Recently, Aurangabad has been declared the "Tourism Capital of Maharashtra'. The city has also been recognised as one of the fastest growing cities In the world. Aurangabad, which is also popular for its woven Himroo shawls, Mashru, Kimkhab weaves, Bidri metalware and the famous Paithani sarees from Paithan, continues to attract tourists from all over the world who come to discover an old world carved in stone.

AURANGABAD CULTURE 

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Aurangabad is a riveting historic city that still exudes the charm of bygone eras. Its monuments, forts, palaces, food and culture are reminiscent of its former rulers. Their influence is reflected in the language and cuisine of the locals. Although Marathi and Urdu are the principal languages of the city, they are spoken in the Dakhni - Hyderabadi Urdu dialect. The city, with its rich cultural heritage and old-world charm, is favoured by tourists from all around the world. The culture of Aurangabad city is heavily influenced by Hyderabad. Aurangabad District has always been a prominent region on the Deccan Plateau and has a long artistic and cultural history, to which several dynasties have made major contributions over the years. The cuisine of Aurangabad has been highly influenced by the North Indian method of cooking, a result of the long Mughal rule in the region. The people of Aurangabad are very friendly and amicable. Today, contemporary Aurangabad boasts of a culture that is a blend of both - the modern and the ancient worlds.

Image contains himroo shawls, aurangabad
Aurangabad is well-known for its woven Himroo shawls, Mashru and Kimkhab weaves. The famed Paithani sarees, a dream possession for every Indian woman, come from the ancient city of Paithan, also referred to as the "Kashi of the South". It is a shopping paradise for tourists, and women visiting the city are tempted to buy the fantastic Paithani sarees and jewellery crafted with semi-precious stones. Bidri, an object decorated with Indian art and made of iron, copper and other metals, is also a famous product of the city. These beautiful items can be found only in Aurangabad.

Historical Places 

Bibi ka Maqbara

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This magnificent mausoleum, situated approximately 5 kms from Aurangabad, was built in 1679 by Aurangzeb's son, Azam Shah. It was a loving tribute to his mother, Rabia-ul-Dauraní, also known as Dilras Banu Begum. The chief archítect was a Persian called Ustad Ata Ullah who, along with his chief engineer, Hanspat Rai, based the design of this monument on the Taj Mahal. The inscription on the walls of the tomb reveals that it cost precisely 665,283 and 7 annas to build this monument. The mausoleum stands within an enclosed area measuring approximately 458 x 257 metres. The main entrance is on the southern side of the outer wall, and at the centre of the three remaining walls are open pavilions, which were used as a mosque, Diwan-e-Aam, and Diwan-e-Khaas. These buildings contain beautiful paintings from the Mughal and Nizam periods. The mausoleum is built at the centre of a high platform, with four minarets at its corners. The lower body and the dome of the building are made of pure marble and decorated with beautiful carvings. The middle portion is of basaltic trap, covered with fine plaster, rendered with a marble finish and adorned with stucco work. This monument is also called the Dakkhani Taj or the Taj of the Deccan.

Panchakki (water mill) 

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Shahganj MasjidThe Panchakki (Water Mill) was built in the early part of the 17th century, by the Sufi Saint Baba Shah Musafir. The complex had been the abode of great Sufi Saints who visited India in 12th century AD. The Sufis were Muslim saints, influenced by the spiritual philosophy of the Vedanta. The Panchakki is a calm, peaceful place that reflects the life that existed in the medieval period. The water flows down through clay pipes based on the Siphon system, from a distance of 11 kms. This marvellous water mill was designed to generate energy to turn a large grinding stone, thus serving as a flour mill. The Panchakki has its own underground water channel, with its source towards the north of the city, around 8 kms away in the mountains. The construction of this water channel was started sometime in the year 1624 AD. The complete water channel is made up of earthen pipes, finely lined up. At appropriate distances, masonry pillars have been erected, which serve as natural suction pumps to make the water flow through the pipes for a distance of 8 kms. It takes its name from the mill which was used to grind grain for the pilgrims.

Jumma Masjid
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Among the seven mosques built by Malik Ambar in Aurangabad, the Jumma Masjid is one of the most famous. The Jumma Masjid has fifty polygonal pillars arranged in five rows, and connected by a system of arches, which divide the building into twenty-seven equal compartments, each covered by a domical vault of simple but elegant design. There are nine pointed arches in front, of which five were erected by Malik Ambar in 1612 AD, and the remaining were added by Aurangzeb.

Shahganj Masjid
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Occupying the great market square of Aurangabad is the large Shahganj mosque, one of the finest edifices of its kind to be found in any part of India. It was built around 1720 AD. The mosque is on a raised platform, and has shops on three of its outer sides, while the fourth or the north side is open. The facade represents an arcade of five scalloped arches, constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style and supported on stone pillars. The central portion is covered with a graceful bulbous dome, the base is adorned with crisp crinkled lotus leaves tied in a neat narrow band, and the apex bears an elegant spire. 

Pariyon ka Talab
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Pariyon ka Lalab The name, which means 'the Lake of the Fairies', comes from an ancient legend. It was believed that women taking a dip in the lake were cleansed of any unholy spirit's clutches. The lake - noted for its scenic beauty - has steps all along its western shore and a stage-like platform, which bears a striking resemblance to the ancient Roman Amphitheatre. On some occasions, women still come for a holy bath in the lake. It is situated near the tomb of Sufi Saint Sheikh Jalaluddin Ganjerawan and is visited by Hindus and Muslims alike for its healing powers.

Temples
Ghrishneshwar Temple :
This revered temple, which stands half a kilometre from the caves of Ellora, serves as the abode of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. Daulatabad town is also situated nearby. The temple, with exquisitely sculpted walls, was buit under the patronage of Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, one of the rulers of the erstwhile state of Indore.

Kachner 
Kachner is a little town that became famous after the miraculous arrival of the divine figurine of Chintamani Parshvanath nearly 250 years ago. The idol was believed to be the one that satisfies a person's sincere desires and frees him of his troubles. Kachner is today one of the important Jain religious places in India and is visited by pilgrims in great numbers. A beautiful temple dedicated to Jain Tirthankar Chintamani Parshvanath stands 37 kms from Aurangabad.

Anwa Temple 
A Shiva temple and an archaeological wonder, with beautifully carved sculptures and decorated pillars, the Anwa Temple stands in the village of Anwa, 10 kms east of Golegaon, on the main road leading from Aurangabad to the Ajanta caves.
 
Bhadra Maruti 
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This temple of Veer Hanuman is located at Khuldabad, 26 kms from Aurangabad. The idol of the God is an old one and the temple is famous for its architecture and glasswork. It is regarded as a very holy place and attracts pilgrims from all over.

Murudeshwar temple 
This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is reckoned to be 450 years old, and stands 90 kms away from Aurangabad. It is an excellent example of the architecture of both, the Hemadpanthi and the Rashtrakuta styles.

Khadkeshwar shiva Mandir
A huge temple of Lord Shiva located in Khadkeshwar is an ancient chalukyan-style temple.  It takes its name from the earlier name of Aurangabad, which was khadki. The khadkeshwar Temple is situated between the Veterinary Hospital and the Municipal Library today. The main temple is surrounded by an old geru coloured wall, and its also has an underground temple. The temple is heavily crowded on Mondays, especially during the month of Shravan. 
The white coloured khadkeahwar Temple affords the visitor instant peace of mind and inner happiness. 

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