Part 1 – History, Overview
Discovered in 1610 by Malik Ambar, originally named Kharki, Aurangabad is surrounded by several historical places, most of which are much older than the city itself. It is one of the rare districts hosting two important UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Capital of Marathwada region, Aurangabad provides a perfect base to stay and explore the tourist as well as religious attractions around.
Nearing its 400 years of history, Aurangabad has seen some interesting historical incidents. Owing to Malik Ambar’s love for architecture, the city was a beautiful place during its early days. It grew rapidly to become an important place of trade, which later witnessed a violent act of war by Mughal emperor Jahangir, who burnt it down. But the city grew again. After Malik Ambar’s demise in 1626, his son took the charge and named the city after himself as Fatehnagar. But that did not last long as Aurangzeb, then Prince of the Mughals appointed as Viceroy, took charge of the city and named it Aurangabad. A fortified wall was erected around the city later.
Often called the city of gates, Aurangabad itself hosts several small historical structures within it, most of which are the gates from Mughal period. Though the original number of these has reduced from 52, there are still several prominent gates present throughout the city. Bibi-ka-Maqbara, Panchakki and Aurangabad Caves are another historical places, amongst which Bibi-ka-Maqbara is the only place that still reminds of its old beauty. Panchakki, a watermill that provided free flour to the poor, can be visited on the way to Bibi-ka-Maqbara.
Aurangabad caves, considered unfinished as they were abandoned half way through due to the unsupportive nature of the hill, are worth a visit if you are coming for a longer stay than two days. In the same case, you can also stroll through the old town area and observe the remnants of Nahar-e-Ambari, a marvelous water circulation system based on siphon method that provided water through the pipelines to the whole town.
A perfect place to spend leisurely time, internal transport of the city is efficient and comfortable. After a day full of site seeing, Aurangabad provides various options to relax during the evening. Just a few years ago named fastest growing city of Asia, the city’s rate of development has rocketed once more over the last five years, resulting in a newly developed international airport, several huge shopping complexes and malls, multiplex cinema halls, five star hotels and a wide range of specialty restaurants throughout the city.
With its warm and hospitable nature, the city of Aurangabad invites you to spend a perfect holiday.