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It’s a 2 and half hours’ drive (130 kms approx.) to Shirdi from Aurangabad. The road condition is good with not too much of traffic. Shirdi itself is well laid out with the focal point being Shirdi Sai Baba’s temple. Devotees throng in thousands day in and day out for the two main ‘aartis’ – one at 12.30 pm and the other at 5.30 pm. Two more are held: one in the early morning to rouse the deity and the last one at night before the deity retires for the night.
You pay Rs. 300/- for a single ticket to gain entry to the sanctum sanctorum and the stand in a queue. When the main door is opened, you are ushered into a large hall where the Baba’s golden statue in a sitting position is placed. The ladies’ queue is on the right hand side and the gent’s on the left. Five or six priests perform the ‘aarti’ which last for almost 30 minutes. As usual, there is quite a lot of pushing and shoving, even amongst those who are in the VIP enclosure. The space in the middle of the hall separating the ladies’ and gent’s enclosures is kept empty.
Once the ‘aarti’ is over, you are allowed to approach the Baba’s statue, touch the foot impression kept on the left side of the statue and exit. If a lady wishes to touch the foot impression, she has to go over to the left enclosure.
There are plenty of hotels and restaurants in and around the temple. The one run by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) was neat and clean. The food was wholesome as well as adequate. Some rooms are available on the first floor for overnight stay.
No mobiles, cameras or videos are allowed inside. Plenty of touts hang around near the shops which sell ‘prasad’ items. Don’t fall into their trap for a quick ‘darshan’. The temple authorities are very strict and do not allow such shortcuts.
There is a valuable post by Eklavya at:
Written Feb 25, 2012
Daulatdabad Fort is about 16 kms from Aurangabad on the road to Ellora. This large fortress, built by the Yadavas, is surrounded by three concentric granite walls of 196 ft height. When Mahamud bin Tuglak captured this fort in 1327, he renamed it Daulatdabad or ‘City of Fortune’. He relocated the capital from Delhi to Daulatdabad and 17 years later, ordered that the capital be shifted back to Delhi. Many of his subjects perished on the way.
The 110 ft charminar, built in 1435, stands in the middle of the fort with the Jama Masjid opposite it. The mosque has 106 pillars which were taken from Hindu and Jain temples located at the spot earlier.
The view from the top of the fort is superb. Make sure you visit the lookout pass right on top where you can perch on top of an old cannon.
Good historical information and plenty of photos posted by Unny are available here:
A very engaging NDTV video is here:
Updated Feb 23, 2012
Located barely 2 kms from the Bibi-ka-Maqbara, the Aurangabad caves are not a patch on the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves. However, a few - especially cave 7 - is worth a look. They are from the first century onwards. Mounted on the spur of the Sahyadri Range, this elevated position offers a beautiful view of Aurangabad city.
Caves 1 to 5 – Western Caves
Cave 2 is a sixth century cave with a columned verandah. One panel depicts Buddha in a seated position.
Cave 3 depicts scenes from Buddha’s life.
Cave 4 dating from 1st century A.D., shows a most spartan Hinayana phase.
Caves 6 to 10 – Eastern Caves
They contain Bodhisathvas and sculptures of women. Cave 7 is the most interesting.
Updated Feb 23, 2012
Khuldabad, where Emperor Aurangzeb lies buried, is roughly 30 kms from Aurangabad and only 3 km short of the Ellora Caves. Besides the tomb of the Mughal Emperor, this town is also the final resting place for two venerated Muslim holy men, Zain-ud-din and Burhan-ud-din. It is believed that Aurangzeb chose his burial spot as well as how it was to be constructed, with special emphasis on its spartan appearance, the type of life he chose to lead. The grave itself is on a raised platform with marble screens on three sides.
Written Feb 23, 2012
This water-driven flour mill is an excellent example of medieval engineering. The source of the water is about 6 kms away. It is brought to this mill through underground pipes and then made to fall on a fan with bent blades. As each blade moves forward, the next blade of the fan is propelled forward to be hit again by the torrent of water. In this way, an unending circular motion is obtained. This motion drives a huge grinding stone, placed directly above, round and round. When maize is poured between the two stones, ‘atta’(flour) is produced.
This idea closely resembles the fan of an automobile with a fan belt. When the car engine start, the fan rotates and cools the engine. Owing to the fan belt, the armature is rotated which action, in turn, charges the car battery.
This panchakki was built in 1744 in honour of Baba Shah Musafir, a favourite religious teacher of Aurangzeb. A large banyan tree adjacent to the reserviour adds shade, charm and beauty to this ancient engineering marvel. A signboard next to the rotating blades of the fan says that almost 4 maunds of flour were produced each day for the consumption of the fakirs, orphans and devotees of the Baba.
Written Feb 22, 2012
The mosque is to the west of the maqbara and was constructed by the Nizams of Hyderabad. The arches that connect the rows of pillars are very finely carved. The entire floor is divided into squares to hold 377 persons at one time to offer namaz.
Updated Feb 22, 2012
After the Taj Mahal of Agra, this ‘poor man’s Taj’ pales into insignificance. The design, the layout, the placement are similar but there the similarity ends. Even the quality of the marble appears to be inadequate. The workmanship also leaves much to be desired. However, it is a unique labour of love by a son, Prince Azam Shyah for his mother, Rabia-ul-Durrani, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, built between 1651-61.
The mosque, the Diwan-i-Am and the Diwan-i-Khas contained beautiful paintings of the Mughal and Nizam period. Remnants of these remain. The grave is as simple as that of her husband near Daulatabad Fort but the marble screens are of marvellous design. Only the main dome and the lower portion of the mausoleum are of marble with intricate designs while the rest of the mausoleum is of plaster and marble finish.
Updated Feb 22, 2012
Address: Within city limits
Bibi-qa-Maqbara means The Tomb of the Lady and it is the mausoleum of Rabia -ud-Daurani (Dilras Banu Begum), the wife of the Emperor Aurangazeb. The mausoleum was constructed by her son prince Azam Khan in 1679. He could not use as much money as he wanted to, so the monument, is built in limestone instead of marble as he wanted to. For this it has been called the Poor man’s Taj, and also Mini Taj, as it resembles Taj Mahal in Agra.
The mausoleum stands in the middle of an enclosed garden. In the garden there are ponds, fountains, paths and pavilions and it is a nice and quiet place to walk around in.
Bibi-qa-Maqbara is open every day from early morning to 22.00. Admission for foreigners was Rs 100 (June 2010).
Written Sep 24, 2010
The tomb of the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and mother of Prince Azam Shah, Rabia Durrani, lies in the centre of the lower floor of the mausoleum. Visitors enter through the upper floor, which has an octagonal opening that overlooks the tomb below. Above the opening is the lofty dome of the shrine. Surrounding the tomb in the lower floor is a beautifully carved octagonal screen to separate visitors from the actual tomb, which is covered in a green and red fabric.
Updated Dec 10, 2009
Of exquisite beauty, Bibi-ka-Maqbara is the pride of Aurangabad. It was built in 1678 by the son of the great Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Azam Shah, as the burial place for his mother Rabia Durrani. The domed white mausoleum is frequently - and unfairly - called the "poor man's Taj" or described as a lesser copy of the Taj Mahal in Agra (which, incidentally, was built by Aurangzeb's father). True, it was modelled after the Taj Mahal, but the reality is that it is an impressive monument in its own right. The mere fact that the comparison is made to the world's greatest mausoleum, speaks volumes: Bibi-ka-Maqbara is worthy of a visit! It was also one of the last fine monuments built by the Mughal Empire, which saw a quick decline soon afterwards. The specifics of Bibi-ka-Maqbara are discussed in more detail further down on this page. And for additional detail photos, check out the travelogue: "Bibi-ka-Maqbara".
Updated Dec 10, 2009
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