Sightseeing

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Daultabad Fort

The area of the city includes the hill-fortress of Devagiri (Marathi) (sometimes Latinised to Deogiri). It stands on a conical hill, about 200 meters high. Much of the lower slopes of the hill has been cut away by Yadava dynasty rulers to leave 50 meter vertical sides to improve defenses. The fort is a place of extraordinary strength. The only means of access to the summit is by a narrow bridge, with passage for not more than two people abreast, and a long gallery, excavated in the rock, which has for the most part a very gradual upward slope


Ellora Caves

The Ellora caves, locally known as ‘Verul Leni’ is located on the Aurangabad-Chalisgaon road at a distance of 30 km north-northwest of Aurangabad, the district headquarters. The name Ellora itself inspires everyone as it represents one of the largest rock-hewn monastic-temple complexes in the entire world. Ellora is also world famous for the largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the great Kailasa (Cave 16). The visit to these caves is enjoyed maximum during monsoon, when every stream is filled with rainwater, and the entire environ is lush green. The monsoon is not only a season of rains in this part, the local visitors are attracted to visit these ideal locations to have a glimpse of the mother nature in full bloom.


Ajanta Caves

The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries A.D.), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence.


These magnificent caves containing carvings that depict the life of Buddha, and their carvings and sculptures are considered to be the beginning of classical Indian art. The 29 caves were excavated beginning around 200 BC, but they were abandoned in AD 650 in favour of Ellora. Five of the caves were temples and 24 were monasteries, thought to have been occupied by some 200 monks and artisans. The Ajanta Caves were gradually forgotten until their 'rediscovery' by a British tiger-hunting party in 1819.


Ghrishneshwar Temple

Ghrishneshwar Temple is a very revered temple, situated in the state of Maharashtra. It lies very near to the Buddhist caves of Ellora, only half a kilometer away, and serves as the abode of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. Even the Ajanta Caves and Dulatabad town of Maharashtra are situated nearby. The temple, with exquisitely sculpted walls, was built under the patronage of Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, one of the rulers of the erstwhile state of Indore.


Grishneshwar Temple, also known as Ghushmeshwar, has a very interesting legend attached to it. It is said that there was once a very religious woman, known as Kusuma, who used to worship Lord Shiva on a daily basis. She used to immerse His Shivalingam in a tank, as a part of her everyday prayer. Her husband had a second wife, who got jealous of the devotion of Kusuma and her resultant respect in the society. In a fit of rage and resentment, she murdered Kusuma's son.

Lonar Crater

Lonar Lake is a saline soda lake located at Lonar in Buldana district, Maharashtra, India, which was created by a meteor impact during the Pleistocene Epoch.[1] This lake, which lies in a basalt impact structure, is both saline and alkaline in nature. Geologists, ecologists, archaeologists, naturalists and astronomers have reported several studies on the various aspects of this crater lake ecosystem.[2] Lonar Lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 kilometres (3,900 ft) and is about 137 metres (449 ft) below the crater rim. The meteor crater rim is about 1.8 kilometres (5,900 ft) in diameter. The circular depression bears a saline water lake in its central portion.[3] The crater's age is usually estimated to be 52,000 ± 6,000 years (Pleistocene),[4] although a study published in 2010 gives an age of 570,000 ± 47,000 years.


Shani Shingnapur

Shani Shingnapur or Shani Shinganapur or Shingnapur or Sonai is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god associated with the planet (graha) Saturn. Shingnapur is 35 km from Ahmednagar city.


Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft was reported in the village until 2010 when cash and items worth Rs. 35000/- were stolen for a vehicle, then in 2011 when Rs. 50000/-, gold rings, mobile phone, etc. was stolen from the home of a retired official of the Shree Shanaishwar Devasthan Trust and then again in January 2012 gold ornaments were stolen in temple itself! Still some 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. The deity here is "Swayambhu" (Sanskrit: self-evolved deity) that is self emerged from earth in form of black but imposing stone. Though no one knows the exact period, it is believed that theSwayambhu Shanaishwara statue was found from times immemorial by shepherds of the then local hamlet. It is believed to be in existence at least since Kali yuga. Though there has been reports of thefts in Oct 2010 Feb 2011 and Jan 2012.

Shirdi

It is the abode of one of Maharashtra's most revered saint -- Sai Baba of Shirdi. Popularly known as the 'Child of God', 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 thedhuni 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.


Pitalkhora Caves

The Pitalkhora Caves, in the Satamala range of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, India, are an early Buddhist site consisting of 14 rock-cut cave monuments which date back to the third century BCE, making them one of the earliest examples of rock-cut architecture in India. The cliff has fallen away dramatically since antiquity, and most of the carvings that existed on the face of the cliff fell with it.[1] Because of its remoteness, Pitalkhora has few visitors..


The caves are cut in a variety of basalt rock which weathers quickly, so many of them have crumbled and are badly damaged. Out of the 14, four are chaityas (one housing votive stupas, one apsidal and single-cell) and the rest are viharas. All the caves belong to the Hinayana period, but the paintings are of the Mahayana period. The caves are in two groups, one of 10 caves and the second of four. It is believed that Pitalkhora can be identified with Ptolemy’s "Petrigala" as well as the "Pitangalya" of Mahamayuri, a Buddhist chronicle. The inscriptions date from c. 250 BCE to the 3rd and 4th centuries .


Bibi-ka-Maqbara

The 'Bibi Ka Maqbara(English:"Tomb of the Lady" )is a maqbara located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. It was commissioned by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the late 17th century in the memory of his first wife, Dilras Banu Begum (posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani).[1][2][3] It bears a striking resemblance to the famous Taj Mahal,[4] the mausoleum of his mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Aurangzeb was not very interested in architecture, though he had built the small, but elegant, Pearl Mosque at Delhi. The Bibi Ka Maqbara was the largest structure that he had to his credit.


The comparison to the Taj Mahal has often obscured its very own considerable charm.[5] Due to its strong resemblance to the Taj Mahal, it is also called the Dakkhani Taj (Taj of the Deccan).[6] Bibi Ka Maqbara is the principal monument of Aurangabad and its historic city.[2][7] An inscription found on the main entrance door mentions that this mausoleum was designed and erected by Ata-ullah, an architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer respectively.[6] Ata-ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the principal designer of the Taj Mahal.