AJANTA is world's greatest historical monument recognised by UNESCO located just 40kms from Jalgaon city of Maharashtra, India. There are 30 caves in Ajanta of which 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya-grihas and the rest are monasteries. These caves were discovered in AD 1819 and were built up in the earlier 2nd century BC-AD. Most of the paintings in Ajanta are right from 2nd century BC-AD and some of them about the fifth century AD and continued for the next two centuries. All paintings shows heavy religious influence and centre around Buddha, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha and the Jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique.
The caves at Ellora were carved out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills between the 6th and 10th centuries. The carving work began around 550 AD, about the same time the Ajanta Caves (100km northeast) were abandoned.
The Ellora Caves were built at time when Buddhism was declining in India and Hinduism was beginning to reassert itself. The Brahmanical movement was especially powerful under the patronage of the Chalukya and Rashtrakuta kings, who oversaw most of the work at Ellora - including the magnificent Kailasa Temple built in the 700s.
The last period of building activity took place in the 10th century, when the local rulers switched allegiance from Shaivism (Hinduism devoted to Shiva) to the Digambara sect of Jainism.
Daulatabad is situated around 13 kms away from Aurangabad. This place is known for its majestic fortress which was build in 12th century on top of a hill. The Daulatabad fort emerges dramatically over 600 ft above the Deccan plain. It is one of the world's best preserved forts of medieval times and also one of the few impregnable forts in Maharashtra with excellent architecture. The city was named Daulatabad 'The city of fortune', by Mohammed bin Tughluq, the sultan of Delhi.
History of The Fort
Almost 800 years ago, Daulatabad, then called 'Devigiri' was a thriving city. It was founded by Bhillamraja of the Yadava dynasty in 1187 AD. Later, the fort of Daulatabad passed through the hands of several dynasties in the Deccan. Less than 150 years after the Yadava dynasty, Daulatabad also became the capital of India for a short period during the reign of Sultan Muhammad-bin-Tughluq, who gave the city its present name. But very soon the charm of this ancient city faded.
Khuldabad is located at a distance of around 27 km north-northwest Aurangabad and 3 km from the world famous Ellora Caves. It is at present a tehsil headquarters, located at an altitude of 2732 feet above MSL. The visitors can either opt staying at Ellora or at the State Guest House at Khultabad. Regular bus services from Aurangabad connect Khultabad.
Khultabad is an important religious centre due to its abode to two of the most revered Muhammaden saints namely, Burhan-ud-din and Zain-ud-din and also location of tombs of these Muhammaden saints and others. Its historical significance is attested by the ruins of the city wall constructed by Aurangazeb (1658-1707 A.D.). It has seven gates namely, Nagarkhana, Pangra, Langda, Mangalpeth, Kunbi Ali, Hamdadi and a wicket gate called Azam Shahi. The ruins of many ancient buildings could be even seen today. A huge tank lies to the west of the city wall which could have been a major water source for the city.
Ghrishneshwar Temple is a very revered temple, situated in the state of Maharashtra. It lies very near to the Buddhist caves of Ellora, only half a kilometer away, and serves as the abode of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. Even the Ajanta Caves and Dulatabad town of Maharashtra are situated nearby. The temple, with exquisitely sculpted walls, was built under the patronage of Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, one of the rulers of the erstwhile state of Indore.
Grishneshwar Temple, also known as Ghushmeshwar, has a very interesting legend attached to it. It is said that there was once a very religious woman, known as Kusuma, who used to worship Lord Shiva on a daily basis. She used to immerse His Shivalingam in a tank, as a part of her everyday prayer. Her husband had a second wife, who got jealous of the devotion of Kusuma and her resultant respect in the society. In a fit of rage and resentment, she murdered Kusuma's son.
Kusuma became extremely depressed when she came to know that her son had been killed. However, she continued worshipping the Lord.
Bibi Ka Maqbara
Bibi Ka Maqbara is a magnificent mausoleum, situated at a distance of approximately 5 km from the Aurangabad city of India. It entombs Rabia-ul-Daurani, alias Dilras Banu Begum, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The construction work on the mausoleum was started in the year 1651 and it took approximately 10 years to complete it. Prince Azam Shah, the son of Aurangzeb, got the tomb built in the memory of his mother. The main entrance door of Bibi ka Makbara is adorned with an inscription.
This inscription tells us that the tomb was designed by Ata-ullah, an architect, and constructed by Hanspat Rai, an engineer. The marble used in its construction is said to have been brought from the mines situated near the 'Pink City'. The design of the Bibi Ka Maqbara has largely been based on the Taj Mahal of Agra. However, it could not rival the magnificent 'Monument of Love' and was reduced to a poor imitation. Still, the mausoleum is today known as the 'Taj of Deccan'.
The Panchakki (Water Mill) was built in the early years of the 17th century, by the Muslim Sufi Saint Baba Shah Musafir. The complex of Panchakki had been a place of external panchakkiabode of the great Sufi Saints who gathered to India in 12th Cent A.D. The sufi's were the Muslim saints, influenced by the spiritual philosophy of the Vedanta, the Sufi movement in India is reminiscence of secularism. The Panchakki, is a calm and peaceful place that visualizes the life that existed in the medieval period. Visitors having sensitive imagination may hear the beats of drum and the humming noise of the people moving around the complex.
The water flows down through clay pipes based on the Siphon system from the distance of 11 km. This marvelous water mill wax designated to generate energy to turn the large grinding stone, serving as a flour mill.panchakki
Situated on the outskirts of Loanar town in Buldhana District, the Lonar Crater was first discovered in 1823 by British officer, J.E. Alexander. It is also written about in ancient scripts like the Skanda Puran, the Padma Puran and the Aaina-i-Akbari.
Lonar is distinguished by the fact that it is the world's third largest crater. It has its genesis nearly 50,000 years ago, when a 2 million-ton meteorite impacted the earth to create a depression 1.83 kilometers in diameter and 150 meters deep.
Since that cataclysmic event, Lonar has evolved into an idyllic expanse of sky blue water amidst a sprawling emerald forest that stretches around it as far as the eye can see.
Shinganapur is a village situated at a distance of 6 kms from Ghodegaon on Aurangabad Ahmedanagar road in Maharashtra. It is 84 Kms from Aurangabad and 35kms from Ahmednagar. From Ghodegaon, there is a motorable tar road leading to the Shri Shaneshwar and is open in all the seasons. The population of this village is about 3000.
State Transport buses ply regularly to Shinganapur from Ahmednagar, Aurangabad. Another well known pilgrim centre Shirdi is at a distance of 70kms from Shinganapur.
Shirdi is a town in the Ahmednagar district of the state Maharashtra in India. It is located at 19° 45' N, 74° 25' E, 83 km north of the city of Ahmednagar and at a distance of 15 km from the town Kopargaon. It has acquired fame as a place of pilgrimage because the Shirdi Sai Baba lived there and is buried there
Shri Sai Baba, a personification of spiritual perfection and an epitome of compassion, lived in the little village of Shirdi in the state of Maharashtra (India) for sixty years. Like most of the perfect saints he left no authentic record of his birth and early life before arriving at Shirdi. In fact, in the face of his spiritual brilliance such queries do not have much relevance.