By Rida Abbasi | AURANGABAD | A GUIDE THROUGH THE CITY OF GATEWAYS
Aurangabad is referred to by its moniker “City of Gates”. The fifty-two gates built during the Mughal period over its expanse. Its official name was coined by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in sixteen’s. Aurangabad is no stranger to travellers. It is the springboard for excursions to the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora. It is from here that one usually sets off to explore the one-of-its-kind Lonar Crater Lake, a National Geo-Heritage Monument. Within the city, itself are numerous edifices which bookmark key characters and events in India’s colourful history.
Aurangabad | District
Aurangabad District is one of the thirty-six districts of the state of Maharashtra in India. Its traffic-free streets breathe at a leisurely pace. Also, It borders the districts of Nashik to the west, Jalna to the east, Jalgaon to the north, and Ahmednagar to the south. The city Aurangabad houses the district’s administrative headquarters. The district has an area of ten hundred square kilometres, of which thirty-seven point fifty-five per cent in urban and the rest is rural. Aurangabad is located mainly in the part in the Tapti River Basin and Godavari River Basin. This district comprises nine tehsils.
Substantially, There are nine Maharashtra Vidhan sabha constituencies located in Aurangabad district: Aurangabad, WestSillod, Phulambi, Gangapur, Kannad, Paithan, Vaijapur, Aurangabad Central, and Aurangabad East.
Additionally, These Vidhan Sabha constituencies combine into two Lok Sabha constituencies: Jalna and Aurangabad.
Doubtlessly, Aurangabad district has the following major Rivers: The Narangi, the Godavari, Shivana, Purna and Kham River.
1. Rock-cut caves: The major attractions Aurangabad offers is rock-cut architecture. Also known as excavated caves. Also, There are over fifteen hundred such caves in India, of which the largest number is in Maharashtra; most are Buddhist. The finest of the entire lot, the crème de la crème, are around Aurangabad.
2. Bibi ka Maqbara: The Taj Mahal at Agra needs no introduction. But did you know there is another Taj Mahal built by a Mughal emperor for his beloved wife in India? Referred to as the Taj of the Deccan, Bibi ka Maqbara was meant to rival Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal when commissioned in 1660, twelve years later. Synonymous with Aurangabad.
Furthermore, The Bibi or Lady in question here was Aurangzeb’s Iranian wife, Dilras Banu Begum. Aurangzeb loved Dilras to the extent that he was willing to go against his miserly, fanatic ways for her. He spent 7,00,000 INR on the edifice and commissioned Ata-Ullah, son of Taj Mahal’s chief architect as its designer. In addition to this, Bibi ka Maqbara may not have succeeded in rivalling the Taj Mahal but has charms aplenty of its own. Bibi ka Maqbara is located inside Aurangabad city.
3. Lonar Crater Lake
Hike through a 52,000-year-old crater lake at Like Aurangabad’s other trump cards, Lonar is one of its kind. Steeped in both mythology and science, it is the only hyper-velocity impact crater in the basaltic rock on our earth. 52,000 years ago, a meteor weighing 2 million tonnes hurtling at a speed of 90,000 kilometres per hour smashed into the earth’s surface at this point. Also, That’s the science part. According to Hindu mythology, Vishnu, one of its principal deities, destroyed the demon Lonasur at Lonar. Temples in honour of various gods pepper the inner slopes and rim. Apparently, Whatever be your inspiration, Lonar offers one the experience to hike a wee bit into the bowels of the earth and back up to ground level.
4. Ajanta Caves
Ajanta caves have such paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of both Buddhist religious art which depict the Jataka tales as well as frescos which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka. Moreover, Described as, among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art, The Ajanta Caves are approximately thirty rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the second century BCE to about four hundred eighty CE in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.
5.Ellora caves: These caves are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Aurangabad. It is the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, featuring Jain, Hindu and Buddhist monuments, and artwork, dating from the six hundred to one thousand CE period. However, There are a hundred caves at the site, all excavated from the basalt cliffs in the Charanandri Hills, thirty-four of which are open to the public.
In addition to these, These consist of twelve Buddhist (caves one–twelve), seventeen Hindu (caves thirteen–twenty-nine) and five Jain (caves thirty to thirty-four) caves, each group representing mythologies and deities prevalent in the first millennium CE, and monasteries of each respective religion. Furthermore, It is twenty-nine kilometres (eighteen miles) north-west of Aurangabad and about three hundred kilometres east-northeast of Mumbai. Now, the Ellora Caves, along with the nearby Ajanta Caves, are a major tourist attraction in the Aurangabad in Maharashtra and it is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
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