Aurangabad is a city in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India. Aurangabad (meaning "Built by the Throne") is named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It is commonly used as a base for a visit to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora which is seeped in medieval history. The city is a tourist destination, surrounded by many historical places and monuments, including the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as Bibi Ka Maqbara. The administrative headquarters of the Aurangabad Division or Marathwada region, Aurangabad is said to be a City of Gates and the strong presence of these can be felt as one drives through the city. Recently, Aurangabad has been declared as Tourism Capital of Maharashtra. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Aurangabad has now become a thriving industrial centre with many fine academic institutions.
Bibi Ka Maqbara: Situated about 3 km from the city is Bibi Ka Maqbara, the burial place of Aurangzeb's wife, Rabia-ud-Durrani. It is an imitation of the Taj at Agra and due to its similar design, it is popularly known as the Mini Taj of the Deccan. The Maqbara stands in the middle of a spacious and formally planned Mughal garden with axial ponds, fountains, water channels, broad pathways and pavilions. Behind the mausoleum is located a small archaeological museum.
Panchakki (water mill): Is a 17th century water mill situated at a distance of 1 km from the city. An intriguing water mill, the Panchakki is famous for its underground water channel, which traverses more than 8 km. to its source away in the mountains. The channel culminates in a mesmerizing 'artificial' waterfall that powers the mill. The beauty of the mosque housed in the inner enclosure is enhanced by a series of 'dancing' water fountains.
Gates in Aurangabad: One of the things that makes Aurangabad stand out from the several other medieval cities in India are its 52 'gates' each of which have a local history or had individuals linked with them.
Aurangabad Caves: Situated at a distance of 5 km (3 mi), nestled amidst the hills are 12 Buddhist caves probably dating back to 3 A.D. Of particular interest are the Tantric influences evident in the iconography and architectural designs of the caves. One is also treated to a panoramic view of the city as well as the imposing Maqbara from this point.
Quila-E-Ark: In 1692, Aurangzeb ordered a palace to be built and named it as the Killa Arrak. The space enclosed by the Killa Arrak or citadel covered nearly the whole ground between the Mecca and Delhi gates of the city. It had four or five gateways and a nagarkhana for the musicians. The walls were battle-mented and loop-holed and had semi-circular towers at the angles, on which guns were once mounted.
Kali Masjid, Jumma Masjid: Among the mosques, the Jumma masjid and the Kali masjid built by Malik Ambar, and the Shah Ganj mosque are the most conspicuous. Malik Ambar is said to have built seven mosques which go by the general name of Kali masjid. The Kali masjid is in Juna Bazar area and was erected in 1600 A. D.
Shahganj Masjid: Occupying the great market square of Aurangabad is the large Shah Ganj mosque, one of the finest edifices of its class to be found in any put of India. It was built in about 1720 A.D.
Chowk Masjid: In 1655 was built the Chauk Masjid by Shayista Khan, the maternal uncle of Aurangzeb. Its front has five pointed arches, and is two arches in depth. These are connected with one another by eight pillars and corresponding pilasters, and support five domes. The central dome, with a metallic spire is lofty, while the others are concealed in the roof. The corners are decorated with minarets.
Salim Ali Lake and Bird Sanctuary: Salim Ali Sarovar (lake) popularly known as Salim Ali Talab is located near Delhi Gate, opposite Himayat Bagh, Aurangabad. It is located in the northern part of the city. During the Mughal period it was known as Khiziri Talab. It has been renamed after the great ornithologist and naturalist Salim Ali. It also has a bird Sanctuary and a garden maintained by the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation.
The main attractions at Aurangabad are the Ajantha and Ellora caves, which are world heritage sites. The place thus attracts a large flock of tourists across the globe. Hence accommodation facilities at Aurangabad are top-notch. The hotels range from budget hotels through mid-segment to luxury class hotels.
Aurangabad as a tourist destination is not seasonal, though the number of tourists increases during the holiday season. Hence it is recommended that your rooms are booked in advance during this time. A budget accommodation could cost less than Rs 1,500 a day while a mid-range one could charge between Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 per day. Luxury hotels that include high end facilities could charge anything more than Rs 3,000 a day. Air conditioned rooms should be preferred during the summer months of March to July, as the days could get incredibly and unbearably hot.
Generally, the budget hotels are located near the city centre and the Aurangabad railway station while the luxury hotels are found near the Aurangabad Chikalthana Airport. The mid-range hotels are located randomly throughout the city. All the good Aurangabad hotels have restaurants and in-house bars.
Vedant Nagar, Osmanpura, Aurangabad, 02402 350701.
Hotel President Park
R-7/2 Chikalthana, Airport Road, Aurangabad, 02402 486201.
8-N-12 CIDCO, Aurangabad, 02402 381106.
Hotel Windsor Castle
Jalgaon Rd, Aurangabad, 02402 484818.
The Manor Business and Luxury Hotel
Kranti Chowk Traffic Cir, Pannalal Nagar, Aurangabad, 02402 443133.
Hotel Rama International
R-3 Chikalthana Aurangabad 02406 634141.
Quality Inn The Meadows
Gate No. 135 & 136, Village Mitmita, Mumbai Nasik Highway.
Hotel Amarpreet Aurangabad
Jalna Road, Aurangabad - 431 00, Maharashtra
Aurangabad by Air: Aurangabad Airport, Chikalthana Airport, is 10 km away from the city centre and is well linked with other major cities in India. Regular air services to Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Mumbai and Delhi are available from Aurangabad.
Aurangabad by Train: Aurangabad railway station is not in the main route. Nearest Railway Station is Manmad which is 120 km away from Aurangabad. From here connecting trains running through the major cities across the country are available.
Generally Aurangabad offers moderate temperature with low humidity.
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