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Aurangabad (Built by the Throne)

posted Jun 26, 2011, 11:36 AM by Jayashree Mishra   [ updated Jun 28, 2011, 9:14 AM by sandip mishra ]

Declared as the Tourist capital of Maharashtra, Aurangabad (named after Emperor Aurungzeb) is also known as the city of gates. I did a weekend trip to Aurangabad and have kind of fallen in love with the place…wish I had lived in a place like that.

From Mumbai took the Devagiri express at 9 PM on a Friday evening. After a long time traveled in a long distance train-the journey was uneventful-the train left on time and reached around 4:30 AM.

People had been scaring and discouraging me not to go there in the peak of summer- but reached there to find that it was surprisingly cool- it had rained the previous day. What struck me most was the cleanliness and absence of crowd (I guess any place after Mumbai would feel the same way).

Left for Ajanta after breakfast- took us around 2 hrs by road…the scenery and landscape isn’t much during the summers-people say it looks beautiful after the rains. Ajanta has around 26 caves- but 4-5 of them have paintings- the rest have carvings. The paintings are amazing considering the fact that they are so old- they are 3 dimensional and based on the Jataka tales…the caves are lined in the form of a horse shoe. In earlier times there was a river/spring flowing by and water used to cover the floors of the caves and sunlight would reflect from them and light up the painting and the walls ….To preserve the paintings, photography is not allowed inside. After wandering around the caves for a long time…Spent some time at the local shop that sells semi precious stones…then went back

The second day turned out to be pretty hectic…went early morning to Ellora. Ellora consists of 34 Hindu and Buddhist caves. Was awed by the main cave- cave 16-the Kailashnath temple – a free standing monolith carved topdown from a single mountain rock. It depicts scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The statues look so full of life! The Buddhist caves are beautiful- I could have spent an entire day there…but didn’t have the time…After a couple of hours went visiting temples….there’s a jyotirlinga  temple- and then went to a hanuman temple- where the idol of hanuman is in a sleeping position.

En route stopped at the Daulatabad Fort- another lovely place…loved the defense mechanisms they have- the mazes…the trenches, moats, watch towers- imagine the amount of thinking that must have gone into it. It was an amazing trip into history.

In the evening went to Bibi ka Maqbara- the grave of Aurungzebs 4th wife…it is an imitation of Taj Mahal.It is built on the same line but of half marble and the rest of seashell powder  .Owing  to its similarity its called the Mini Taj of the Deccan. Due to lack of water, maintenance of the gardens isn’t what is should be.

After that went to a place called Panchakki- at first glance it looks like a mere pond- and you wonder what’s so great about it- its actually a reservoir which is fed by water from a source that is about 5-6 kms away….water comes in through earthen pipes…its a great engineering feat considering that it was built in the 17th century ….And a question crossed my mind- if problems like these had a solution then …..whats stops the govt now..to take measures to solve people’s problems…There’s a small place near Aurangabad called Jalgaon (the name seems ironic!!)- where water supply is there only once a week.

The day was almost coming to an end- had to catch the 11:30 Devagiri express back- but stopped by for a short time to see how weaving of saris and shawls is done (paithani and himroo are the famous saris of the place). Left the place with lovely memories and a resolve to revisit. 2 days definitely isn’t enough to see Aurangabad.

For those who want to visit, Aurangabad is well connected by road and rail. There are connecting flights to the metros. Good time to visit is October to February

Ajanta Caves
Bibi Ka Maqbara

One of the caves in Ellora

Ellora

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