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Today, Aurangabad is northern Maharashtra’s largest city and it is gaining a reputation as an IT centre. However, despite its rapid growth and large population it feels relatively uncrowded compared to other big Indian cities.

Aurangabad has a rich history with traces of settlements dating to the Stone Age. A distinctive feature of the city is its fascinating mix of cultures and the distinct Muslim aura which it still carries. In 1610, Malik Ambar, the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nigam Shah II, founded the city at the site of a village, Khirki. The city was re-named Fatehpur when Fateh Khan, son of Malik Ambar, succeeded to the throne in 1626. It was renamed Aurangabad in 1653 when Aurangzeb of the Mughal dynasty, became Viceroy of the Deccan. 

Aurangabad is the ideal place to stay when visiting the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Temples, which are known for their Buddhist murals and Hindu carvings. These spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites are utterly breathtaking and, despite their magnificent artworks and rich history going back thousands of years, it is one of those special experiences that few people have heard about.

Aurangabad itself is known as “The City of Gates” as the entire city was once fortified with huge entrance gates, thirteen of which still stand today and are a prominent characteristic of the city. It is home to many fascinating sites, such as the Bibi-ka-Maqbara (sometimes known as the ‘poor-man’s Taj Mahal’) and the Panchakki water mill, and the city is also famous for its silks, specialising in hand-woven Himroo and Paithani saris.

>> Read our blog: Aurangabad: The home of India’s ancient treasures

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