Shirdi :- (110 kms from aurangabad is the abode of one of Maharashtra's most revered saint -- Sai Baba of Shirdi. Sai Baba preached tolerance towards all religions and the message of universal brotherhood. Every activity at Shirdi revolves around the vast temple complex dedicated to Sai Baba. Devotees start queuing up in the early hours of dawn to catch a glimpse and seek the blessings of the life-size statue of Sai Baba. Thursday is marked by special pujas and darshan of the Sai Baba statue. There are other places of interest that devotees can visit as well including Dwarkamani Mosque where the Baba meditated and slept on alternate nights. Near the mosque, in a corridor is the dhani or eternal flame that burns day and night. Other places of importance are the Gurusthan, the Kandoba Temple, Shani Mandir, Narsimha Mandir, Changdev Maharaj Samadhi and the Sakori Ashram).  
Ajanta Caves :- In contrast to the Hinayana excavations at Ajanta, which are virtually devoid of carvings, are the ornate sculptures of the Mahayana period. These carvings are remarkable for their classic qualities and display a graceful elegance, restraint and serenity. The sculptural themes, mostly related to the life of the Buddha and the Buddhist divinities, are adorned with decorative columns and medallions. In the shrines are huge figures of the Buddha in the meditation and teaching pose. Their benign expression and grace of form evoke a sense of awe and reverence.

The paintings in the caves enthrall the spectator with their rich beauty, expressiveness, radiant color schemes, balanced composition and fine shading which highlight the delicate artistry and idealized physical features. The color scale of the paintings is extremely simple, there being only red, blue, yellow ochre and lamp black.
 
Ellora Caves:- The ancient village of Ellora, known for centuries to the world as verul, featured prominently in the travelogues of Arab and European travelers, as it lay at the crossroads of ancient trade routes. Tucked away in the lap of a crescent-shaped hill, the caves of Ellora have been carved, in a north-south line, looking across the vast Deccan plain. The Ellora caves comprise the Buddhist caves: Nos. 1-12. from the 5th century to the 7th century AD; the Hindu caves : Nos. 13-29, from the 8th to 9th century AD ; and, the Jain caves: Nos. 30-34 from the 9th century to the 11th century AD.  

Bibi-ka-Maqbara:- Built by Azam Shah  in 1678,the Bibi ka Maqbara is   a Son's Loving tribute to the memory of his mother, Begum Rabia Durrani, the queen of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. Standing spectacularly on the lawns of a landscaped garden with-marbled monuments rises majestically in an intentional bid to rival the world famous Taj Mahal of Agra. The central tomb, distinguishes by elaborate surface ornamentation and intricately perforated marbles screens, is framed by four towering minarets.


 

Panchakki:- In a substantially arid region of the State, this mill has a water source in the hills about six kilometers away. The source provides water to the mill almost all year round and is used to drive the grinding wheels which produced flour for the residents of the Madrasa meaning seminary or religious university where the mill is located. The Madarasa was built by a Sufi saint Baba Shah Muzzafar in 1624. The saint was the spiritual guardian of Emperor Aurangzeb. His grave lies within the compound. The gardens are well maintained and the tea shops provide a mean sweet creamy tea locally known as special chai!
 

Aurangabad Caves: Situated 3 Km. from Aurangabad city, these caves were excavated between the 1st and 6th century AD. Though predominantly Buddhist in dedication, they reflect tantric influences in their iconography. These nine caves, comprises mainly Viharas. The sculptures and paintings inside the caves consist of Buddha Images, the Jataka tales and various Buddhist divinities.

 

   

Khuldabad :- Situated 25 kms from Aurangabad city Khuldabad may be a small town in Aurangabad district, but it is worth including it in the list of must see places when you visit Aurangabad. The Bhadra Maruti temple here has made the place an important pilgrimage center. The view of this marble white painted temple from a distance is very inviting. The temple is crowded on Saturdays with long serpentine queues for darshan, as it is considered to be an auspicious day to worship Lord Maruti (also called Hanuman). Devotees throng this place in thousands in the month of March, to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti. This temple is one of the two places where Lord Hanuman is in sleeping position. The other one is in Allahabad. 
The temple was built by Rajarshi Bhadrsen. And the legend goes like this: 
“Khuldabad previously known by the name of Badravati Nagar was ruled by King Bhadrasen, a kind and pious man. King Bhadrasen used to sit singing bhajans in praise of Lord Hanuman on the banks of       Bhadrakund Talab.

One day while the King was singing the devotional songs, Lord Hanuman appeared in front of him. Listening to the captivating music, he fell asleep on the ground. Later, Lord Hanuman pleased by the astute devotion of King Bhadrasen, granted him a wish. 
The good King desired that the Lord would stay there forever and fulfill the desires of all his devotees. Lord Hanuman granted the wish and disappeared. Much later, an idol of Lord Hanuman in a sleeping posture was found where he had stood. That’s how the name Bhadra Maruti or ‘Sleeping Hanuman’.” 
Bhadravati Nagar was later called Ramapur and during the reign of Emperor Aurangazeb the town got its name Khuldabad. 

 

Daulatabad Fort:- Rising dramatically over 600 ft. above the Deccan plain is Daulatabad. Once known as Devgiri, this fort served as the headquarters of the powerful yadava rulers. In the 13th century, Mohammed bin Tughlak, the sultan of Delhi, made its capital and renamed it Daulatabad, meaning the city of fortune. Its defense systems comprised fortifications of double and even triple rows of massive walls. Additional protection was provided by ingenious mazes with complicated entryways and by deep, rock-cut trenches and moats, which could only be crossed over the drawbridge. The most notable structures at Daulatabad are the Chand Minar, Jami Masjid and the royal palaces. The tapering, 30 meter high tower of the Chand Minar is divided into four storeys, and was faced with glazed ti9les and carved motifs. The Minar probably served as a prayer hall or a victory monument in its time. the Jami Masjid was a mosque built in 1318 by Qutubuddinh Mubarak, the Khilji ruler of Delhi. The places consist of spacious halls, pavilions and courtyards embellished with stucco decorations, medallions and geometric motifs.

 

   

Paithan:- 51 Km south of Aurangabad, the looms of Paithan still weave the beautiful Paithani saris that are prized by women. The town is also famous for the Dnyaneshwar Udyan, which is the largest garden in Maharashtra, and a museum which treasures a fascinating collection of art. The Jaikwadi Dam nearby is a bird watcher's delight. The garden is on the lines of Vrindavan Garden of Mysore with channels of flowing water, musical fountain, varied trees, plants, shrubs, and flowers. It is one of the best maintained garden. The lighting arrangement is also very charming. The entire garden creates the most picturesque and enchanting environment.

 

   

Lonar Crater :- 170 Km from Aurangabad, is the village of Lonar. Over 30,000 years ago, a falling meteorite struck the area creating the world's largest impact crater in basaltic rock. Botanists have recently discovered vegetation life forms, not found anywhere else on this planet, in the lake of crater. There are small temples along the lake shore.

 

   
Grishneshwar Temple :- Half a kilometer from the Ellora Caves, 30 kms. from Aurangabad lies this 18th century temple with its beautiful architecture and carving, one of the five 'Jyotirlingas' in Maharashtra where Lord Shiva is worshipped. While you are here, another place worth visiting is the Holkar Temple nearby.    
     
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