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About 110 kms. from the city of Aurangabad, the rock-cut caves of Ajanta nestle in a panoramic gorge, in the form of a gigantic horseshoe. Among the finest examples of some of the earliest Buddhist architecture, caves-paintings and sculptures, these caves comprise Chaitya Halls, or shrines, dedicated to Lord Buddha and Viharas, or monasteries, used by Buddhist monks for meditation and the study of Buddhist teachings.
The paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings of the caves depict incidents from the life of the Buddha and various Buddhist divinities. Among the more interesting paintings are the Jataka tales, illustrating diverse stories relating to the previous incarnations of the Buddha as Bodhisattva, a saintly being who is destined to become the Buddha.
The Ellora caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra are one of the World Heritage Sites in India. The Elora caves are one of the wonders of the time and speak volumes about the excellent craftsmanship of the Ellora artists, sculptors and painters. The structures at Ellora caves are not creation of a particular period but were built over a long period of time from the 6th century AD to 10th century. The structures at Ellora comprise of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples and monasteries. There are 34 caves at Ellora (12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves) and they demonstrate the religious tolerance prevalent during this period of Indian history.
All the caves at Ellora face west and can be seen best in the afternoon. Though the Ellora caves are not much different from the Ajanta in terms of space and time but the Chaityas and Viharas of Ellora are architecturally and sculpturally quite different.
The fort of Daulatabad is a magnificent fort located 13 km away from Aurangabad. The 12th century fort was built by king Bhillama of Yadav dynasty in the city called Devgiri. However in the subsequent years the city was conquered by Mohammad - Bin - Tughlaq, who changed the name of the city from Devgiri to Daulatabad means 'City of Fortune'. The city was also the capital of India under the reign of Tughlaq. The fort is an enchanting site for travelers and an architectural marvel of the bygone centuries.
The impregnable fort is built on a pyramid shaped hill at a height of approximately 60 ft. The massive fort was designed so cleverly that it bravely withstood many enemy attacks. The fort is engulfed by 5km long thick wall, steep slide ways and a deep trench that makes it almost indisputable.
Bibi Ka Maqbara
Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal, in Agra, in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz. His son Aurangzeb, who overthrew him, built the Bibi-Ka-Maqbara as a mausoleum to his wife Rabia-ud-Durrani.
This is the monument for which Aurangabad is best known, probably because it was obviously intended to rival the Taj Mahal, which it imitates. The comparison with the Agra monument has unfortunately somewhat denigrated the Aurangabad tomb which in itself displays a worthwhile architectural design, with much distinguished surface ornamentation in the late Mughal style.
Panchakki ( Water Mill )
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 abode 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.
Shingnapur or Sonai is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmadnagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god of the planet (graha) Saturn.
Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft is reported in the village. Villagers never keep their valuables under lock and key. Villagers believe that the temple is a "jagrut devasthan" (lit. "alive temple"), meaning that the god here is very powerful. They believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft.
Sai Baba Temple is a holy shrine that is attracting millions of devotees from many years. Located at Shirdi in Maharashtra, Sai Baba Mandir is easily accessible from anywhere in India. Shirdi is a small town in the state of Maharashtra. The nearest railway station to this temple is sited at Manmad. From Manmad, regular services of buses and Taxis are available for Shirdi. The nearest airport to Shirdi is positioned at Nasik. The city of Nasik lies at a distance of 90 kms from Shirdi and one can hire taxis to reach Shirdi.
The mystic Sai arrived at Shirdi in his childhood. Nobody knew his origin or his purpose of visit. The legend remained at Shirdi till his last breath and made a kind of bondage with the place.
Located on the banks of the consecrated Godavri River at an elevation of 565 meter above the sea level, the holiday destination of Nasik had always been the centre of spiritualism. A city of mythological temples, it assumed a high esteem from Vedic period onwards. A major pilgrim's journey center of the Hindus, Nasik is a city decorated with rich cultural heritage. A fabled city, which has got its name from the great epic, Ramayana, Nasik is conceived to be the place where Shoorppanakha, attempted to seduce Lord Ram.
From the prominent temples to the advanced wineries, Nasik awards a peculiar immingle of different realities that added the town with a slightly bewildered appearance. A city with all the features of modernity is acquiring captivated in its ancient heritage. It’s strictly a city in rustic environment.