Titled as the “The City of Gates” and named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Aurangabad is a city in Maharashtra state in India.
The history of this city dates back to Khadki, a village that was made the capital city by Malik Ambar, the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam, Shah of Ahmadnagar. Gradually, Khadki grew into a populous and impressive city. Malik Ambar was succeeded by his son Fateh Khan in 1626, who changed the name of Khadki to Fatehnagar which was further renamed to Aurangabad in 1653 by the Mughal Prince Aurangzeb when he was appointed as the viceroy of the Deccan for the second time and made Aurangabad his capital, which is sometimes referred to as Khujista Bunyad by the Chroniclers of Aurangzeb’s reign.
Thereafter in 1724, with the intention of founding his own dynasty, Asif Jah, a Turkic general and Nizam-al-Mulk of the Mughals in the Deccan region, decided to withdraw from the crumbling Mughal Empire and decided to make Aurangabad his capital.
Later, in 1763, the capital from Aurangabad was transferred to Hyderabad by Asif Jah’s son and successor Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah II, Nizam of Hyderabad who eventually was made to pay an indemnity of 30 million rupees to the Marathas when the city came under the Maratha rule, following the victory of Maratha’s in the Battle of Kharda in 1795. However, the rule of the Marathas lasted for only eight years.
Following the victory of the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War, the city came under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad, under the protection of the British East India Company. The city was acknowledged as Aurangabad and became a part of the Princely State of Hyderabad during the period of the British Raj. After India got independence in1947, the city was annexed into the Indian Union and remained a part of Hyderabad State until 1956. Thereafter, it became a part of the newly formed bilingual Bombay state and in 1960 it became a part of the Maharashtra state.
Aurangabad is a tourism hub and surrounded by many historical monuments, which include the famous – Bibi Ka Maqbara, the burial place of Emperor Aurangzeb’s wife, Dilras Banu Begum, also known as Rabia-ud-Daurani. Bibi Ka Maqbara is situated about 3 km (2 mi) from the city and is popularly known as “Taj of the Deccan”, because of its resemblance to the Taj Mahal at Agra.
The Water Mill (Panchakki): Situated at a distance of 1km from the city, this 17th century Water Mill is known for its underground water channel culminating an artificial waterfall that powers the mill.
52 gates: These 52 gates were built during the Mughal era and give it a name as the “City of Gates”.
Buddhist Caves: set amid this magnificent city are the 12 Buddhist caves which dates back to the 3rd Century. Situated at a distance of 5 km (3 mi) from the city, these caves are believed to have the Tantric influences evident in the iconography and architectural designs of the caves.
Salim Ali Lake & Bird Sanctuary: The Salim Ali Lake & Bird Sanctuary, renamed after the great ornithologist and naturalist Salim Ali and popularly known as Salim Ali Talab, is located near Delhi Gate, opposite Himayat Bagh. During the Mughal period it was known as Khiziri Talab. It also has a bird Sancuary and a Garden and it is located in the northern part of the city.