Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 25th November 2008, 16:52   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: mumbai
Posts: 237
Thanked: 92 Times
Default Around Aurangabad - Part 1

A long-standing dream was being realized. The time to visit the famed Ellora Ajanta caves had arrived. Had booked a room in MTDC at Aurangabad, obtained all the relevant route and destination information, done all the pre long drive checks and was ready to go. The mood was upbeat as we set out at 0500hrs. Setting out early has two advantages – one is that you miss out on all the traffic and two, you reach your destination early. So you enjoy the journey and the destination, both thoroughly. Our route was via Pune and by the time we got on to the Mumbai Pune Expressway it was enveloped in a thick mist, reducing visibility to a few metres. Fortunately the traffic was minimal and the fog lamps ensured that we did not have to crawl along. Could maintain a safe cruising speed of around 60-70kmph. This continued till we passed the Karla exit. Then the visibility improved and so did our speed. We had carried idlis and chutney for breakfast that we had as soon as we crossed Chakan on the way to Ahmednagar. The roads all along, even after the Expressway were pretty good except for a few bad patches. It was this that led to a badly bent rim. The bad patches were unexpected, and the pothole would just crop out of nowhere, and bang, our wheel rim was hammered out of shape. Replaced it with the spare wheel to ensure no further mishaps and reached Aurangabad at 1130hrs. The room that we checked into was real huge – characteristic of MTDC and clean.
Since it was a Tuesday, Ellora caves were closed to the public, so decided to visit the Grishneshwar Temple and Bibi-ka-Maqbara in the afternoon. It also happened to be Diwali and we were reminded of it by the restaurant at MTDC. Apparently all their staff had taken leave and we were politely told to have lunch elsewhere! They even pointed out a good restaurant just across the street.
There seems to be a lot of ‘Andhra’ influence out there. The food was typically spicy, as the Andhraites would like it. We enjoyed the fusion of Maharashtrian food spiced with Andhra spice followed by masala buttermilk and Shrikhand for dessert.

Name:  IMG_1888 Large.JPG
Views: 3052
Size:  85.7 KB

Grishneshwar Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and a must visit for all Lord Shiva devotees.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1873-large.jpg

It is located just ½ km from Ellora Caves and has some interesting <a href="http://hinduism.suite101.com/article.cfm/grishneshwar_jyotirlinga">legends</a>
As per the ‘Archaeological Survey of India’, Quote, “The Ellora caves are hewn out of the volcanic basaltic formation of Maharashtra, known as ‘Deccan Trap’, the term trap being of Scandinavian origin representing the step like formation of the volcanic deposits. These channels, due to overheating, have a characteristic brownish red colour. Similar rock was used in the construction of the Grishneshwar Temple nearby and also utilised for the flooring of the pathways at Bibi-ka-Maqbara.” Unquote.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1877-large.jpg

Hence the temple looks as if it is built with redstone.
Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1874-large.jpg

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1881-large.jpg

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1882-large.jpg

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1875-large.jpg

There are carvings all over the temple and the pillars within. To enter the sanctum sanctorum the males have to be topless. Photography in the sanctum is prohibited.
Fortunately, we had a leisurely darshan, as there were not very many visitors as generally this visit is combined with the Ellora.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1891-large.jpg

The langurs have a free run outside the temple.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1894-large.jpg

Was fun watching and clicking them.

Now it was time to move on to see the poor man’s Taj Mahal – called Bibi-ka-Maqbara.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1906cpy-large.jpg

This is just about 5kms from Aurangabad railway station. Taj Mahal, the pinnacle of Mughal architecture, was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658), in the memory of his queen Arjumand Bano Begum.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-bkm-large.jpg

Inspired by this wonder, Emperor Shah Jahan’s grandson Prince Azam Shah, built a similar mausoleum near Aurangabad, in memory of his mother, between 1651 and 1661 A.D. Bibi-ka-maqbara, as it is called, is a beautiful mausoleum of Rabia-ul-Daurani alias Dilras Banu Begum, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707 A.D.). An inscription on the main entrance door states that it was designed and erected by Ata-ullah, an architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer. Though Azam Shah wanted to construct the monument wholly in marble, it was not to be as his father Aurangzeb was not in favor of building a monument as lavish as the Taj and even blocked the transportation of marble that was being procured from the mines near Jaipur.
Somehow, Azam Shah prevailed upon his father who eventually relented and ultimately the "Taj of Deccan" was constructed, though a poor imitation, hence also known as the poor man’s Taj!

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-bkm1-large.jpg

It is built on a high square platform with four minarets at its corners, and is encased with marble up to the dado level. Above the dado level, it is constructed of basaltic trap up to the base of dome, which is built of marble. A fine plaster covers the basaltic trap, given a fine polished finish, and adorned with fine stucco decorations.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-bkm4-large.jpg

The mortal remains of Rabia-ul-Daurani are placed below the ground level surrounded by an octagonal marble screen with exquisite designs, which can be approached by descending a flight of steps. The mausoleum is crowned by a dome pierced with trellis works and accompanying panels decorated with floral designs.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-bkm2-large.jpg

One enters the mausoleum through the main entrance gate on its south, which has excellent foliage designs on brass plates that cover the wooden doors.

Name:  bkm3 Large.jpg
Views: 2276
Size:  98.5 KB

A screened pathway that leads to the mausoleum from the entrance has a series of fountains at its centre, which adds to the serene ambiance.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1911-large.jpg

As you approach the monument, you notice that there is only one mosque on the main plinth of the Maqbara as against the two mosques on either side of the Taj, giving it symmetry. Apparently, this mosque was a later addition. Legend has it that in 1803, Nizam Sikander Jahan was so captivated by the Maqbara that when Aurangabad and the Marathwada area were annexed to his kingdom he had planned to shift the Maqbara to his capital, Hyderabad. He even ordered the dismantling of the monument, slab by slab, to facilitate the smooth transfer. But then, he had a premonition of some disaster, which would befall him, were he to harm the existing structure. Hence, he stopped the work and got the mosque built as penance.
According to the "Tawarikh Namah" of Ghulam Mustafa, the cost of construction of the mausoleum was Rs.6,68,203-7 (Rupees Six Lakh, Sixty Eight Thousand, Two Hundred and Three & Seven Annas) in 1651-1661 A.D.
It is now a protected monument under The Archaeological Survey of India and a must see when in Aurangabad.

Around Aurangabad - Part 1-img_1925copy-large.jpg

The sun had set and it was time to head back to our room.
Ajanta and Ellora was on the cards for the next day. For the record, Ajanta caves face east and Ellora caves are west facing so it would be prudent to do Ajanta in the morning and Ellora in the afternoon session for flash free photography.
Retired early for the day to ensure an early start on the morrow.

Last edited by magiceye : 25th November 2008 at 16:56.
magiceye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th November 2008, 17:16   #2
Distinguished - BHPian
sudev's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,337
Thanked: 1,734 Times

Wow...in so many years have not come across the mention of poor man's Taj.
Just goes to show how many wonders are in our land waiting to be savoured and visited.
Lovely narrative and pictures.
sudev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th November 2008, 17:32   #3
Senior - BHPian
Lukeskywalker's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,395
Thanked: 1,141 Times

Lovely description and pictures, just in time as I was planning on a trip to Aurangabad and Shirdi.
Lukeskywalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th November 2008, 17:38   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: mumbai
Posts: 237
Thanked: 92 Times

Thank you Sudev and Lukeskywalker. Glad you liked it.
magiceye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th November 2008, 17:56   #5
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Bangalore / Madras
Posts: 1,980
Thanked: 14 Times

Very nice, and each photograph is described so well.
hrag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th November 2008, 18:07   #6
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: mumbai
Posts: 237
Thanked: 92 Times

Thank you hrag. Your Tagline reminded me that had forgotten to mention that we did this trip in our Indica DLS V2TC and she returned a mileage of around 18-19kmpl with 100% AC.
magiceye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th November 2008, 18:10   #7
Senior - BHPian
mjothi's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3,252
Thanked: 215 Times

Excellent pics. Btw, first time I am hearing about this poor-man's version of Taj. Looks less wider (or more taller!!!) than the Taj, but it seems to be almost similar. Good to see though.
mjothi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2008, 15:03   #8
Posts: n/a
Arrow Nice write-up!! Awiting part-2!!

Very neatly written. While visiting the "Ulhasnagar" version (!! no offence)of the Tajmahal, had you been to the "Panchakki" (Water-driven floor mill)?

The water from the hills where Aurangabad caves are situated - (some 6-7 kms from Panchakki &some 2-3 Kms from the Maqbara), flows through underground "nahari", which is brought to some 10 ft height & then dropped down. With the energy of the waterfalling down, the floor mill is run. Though not a very neat & cleanplace, but the concept developed some 300 yrs back gives you fair idea about the vision and scientific development.

Eagerly awaiting part 2. Do post it ASAP.
  Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2008, 15:56   #9
Rajesh Rawal's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 333
Thanked: 98 Times

Not sure if any one noticed this ,but the bibi ka maqara( poor man's taj) and the taj mahal @ agra both are losing the whiteness of their marbles stones ,which also adds to the similarities of the 2 structures here...

Read somewhere the traditional multani mitti will be used to scrub on the marbles stones of the taj @ agra to help it regain the white colour ...

hey just a little bit of info ,off topic though ,in my recent visit to the taj @ agra ,incase u want to use the restroom and you are an indian you need to pay to use it ,where as for the foreigners its free!

Funny isnt it!
Rajesh Rawal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2008, 16:21   #10
Distinguished - BHPian
sudev's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,337
Thanked: 1,734 Times

Originally Posted by Rajesh Rawal View Post
hey just a little bit of info ,off topic though ,in my recent visit to the taj @ agra ,incase u want to use the restroom and you are an indian you need to pay to use it ,where as for the foreigners its free!
"Bhai they pay much higher entry fee and waise bhi toilet ki zaroorat gore logoon ko hoti hai. hum to kahin bhi....."
sudev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2008, 18:12   #11
Senior - BHPian
ramkya1's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ahmedabad
Posts: 1,815
Thanked: 355 Times

Magic eye,

The mention of "idlis and chutney" is cruel; I'm sitting here at the fag end of a working day hungry and you have to mention my favorite b'kfast

Loved your photos, and a gr8 account.

I did that circut in June, 08 on my way back from Hyderabad to Ahemdabad, gret place to have a look see.

More pictures and story coming?

ramkya1 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Polaris Slingshot: Part car, part motorcycle, all excitement ashkamath The International Automotive Scene 0 2nd September 2014 17:12
Around Aurangabad - Part 2 magiceye Travelogues 4 16th December 2008 15:36
Mumbai Aurangabad typeOnegative Route / Travel Queries 8 13th January 2006 10:18

All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 20:43.

Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks