Aurangabad is a historic city in the state of Maharashtra which derives its name from the last of the great mughuls, Aurangzeb, who was the governor of the Deccan province in his youth and went on to become the emperor of India. The city is famous for being the entry point to the world famous caves of Ajanta and Ellora, which have been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. However, there are many tourist attractions in Aurangabad as well which feature prominently in brochures about tourism in Maharashtra. The places to visit in Aurangabad include the Aurangabad caves, the Bibi ka Maqbara, Panchakki , and museums.
The Aurangabad caves are quite similar to their more famous counterparts in Ajanta and Ellora. These caves are located 3 kilometers from the city. The ten caves are divided into two sections, the east and the west, each having a group of five caves in them. Beautiful Buddhist statues in different postures and elegantly carved pillars are the chief attractions in these caves.
The Panchakki is another tourist attraction in Aurangabad. This is a marvelous example of the engineering achievements in the later mughal period. The machine was used to grind grain for the pilgrims to the shrine of Baba Shah Muzaffar, a Sufi saint revered by Aurangzeb. It is powered by water from a nearby spring flowing through the mill. The mill is still operational and entertains scores of tourists every day. The nearby shrine of Baba Shah Muzaffar is also among the prominent tourist spots in Aurangabad.
The Bibi ka Maqbara is a mausoleum built in the memory of Rabia Durrani , the beloved wife of emperor Aurangzeb. The structure is strikingly similar to the world famous Taj Mahal in Agra, but devoid of the grandeur usually associated with mughal buildings. Due to the simple design and resemblance to the Taj, it is also called the duplicate Taj Mahal. After sunset the structure is floodlit and looks very attractive.
The History Museum of Marathwada University stores many interesting exhibits including the excavated artifacts from the Satavahana period and 17th century Arabic and Persian manuscripts. Many paintings belonging to the Rajput, mughal and company school, and decorative items made of China clay are also on display here. The timings are 10.30 to 17.30 on weekdays. The museum remains closed on sundays.
The State Archaeological museum in Sonehri Mahal houses the wall panels from the ruins of Paithan, a medieval city near Aurangabad. It is open from 10.30 to 17.30 on weekdays and closed on Sundays.
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