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Sightseeing in Aurangabad

There are many sightseeing places in Aurangabad. The most famous monument in Aurangabad is the Bibi ka Maqbara, the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s queen. Inspired the Taj Mahal, it was built as the final resting place of Begum Rabi’a Daurani. Close to the begum’s tomb is the unmarked grave of her devoted nurse. A poor replica of the Taj, it was designed and built by Ata Ullah whose name is engraved on its door. But some questions remain unanswered - was it built for the Emperor’s first wife or his second?

A couple of km north of the Bibi ka Maqbara is a cluster of nine rock cut Buddhist caves which date back to the 4th - 8th century when the Vakatakas and Chalukyas ruled over the region. They are categorized into eastern and western caves but all belong to the Mahayana Vihara type except the 4th one, which is a chaitya or prayer hall of the Hinayana sect of Buddhism. The 6th is the most intriguing as it has a Ganesha (a Hindu god). They have their own story to tell and are certainly worth a visit.

The Panchakki is an interesting water-powered flour mill built in the 17th century, an engineering masterpiece of its day. The water is pumped from a reservoir 6 km away into a tank, that today houses entire shoals of khol fish. It lies in the same complex as a memorial to the Sufi saint Baba Shah Muzaffar, Aurangzeb’s spiritual guide.

There are a number of important tourist spots just beyond the city limits of Aurangabad - the Buddhist Caves at Ajanta, the rock temples of Ellora, the caves at Pithalkhora, the fortress of Daulatabad, Paithan, famed for its woven masterpieces, the pilgrim centre of Grishneshwar and Khuldabad, the final resting place of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Without a doubt, the rock-cut monuments at Ajanta and Ellora are the prime attraction for people visiting Aurangabad. Both these architectural marvels figure on the World Heritage list. Ajanta lies 99 km northeast, about two hours away by road, while Ellora is much closer, just 30 km to the northwest. Both places have dining and boarding facilities for overnight stops.

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