X
X
Top
ADVERTISEMENT

A Visit to Aurangabad

A Visit to Aurangabad
x
Highlights

Most of the tourist attractions near Aurangabad seriously test the fitness levels of the visitors. The Ajanta caves were carved in a horseshoe-shaped mountain. One has to climb hundreds of steps and walk hundreds of metres to view all the caves. Ellora caves are spread over a wider stretch!

I like maxims that don't encourage behavior modification.- Calvin


I like tourist destinations that don't test one's fitness levels.- Me

Most of the tourist attractions near Aurangabad seriously test the fitness levels of the visitors. The Ajanta caves were carved in a horseshoe-shaped mountain. One has to climb hundreds of steps and walk hundreds of metres to view all the caves. Ellora caves are spread over a wider stretch!



The nearby Daulatabad fort was not thought impregnable for nothing. It is hard enough to climb it while taking rest and refreshments in between. Imagine trying to go up and inside with a fort full of hostile army, pounding you with cannons and waiting to drown you in hot oil if you reach anywhere near!



However, all that effort invested to visit the places is very well worth it. Most of the paintings have faded and most of the sculpture is broken, but the places are too important historically and provide too good a view to think twice about the physical effort involved or the current state of the art on display.


Some of the caves in Ajanta pre-date Christ! Ellora caves track the changing fortunes of Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism over the medieval period. It was because of his shifting of capital city from Delhi to Daulatabad that Tughlak became such a laughing stock!




Aurangzeb, one of the most powerful men on earth during his time, lies buried in a humble grave, in a nearby village called Khuldabad. On the other hand, Bibi ka Maqabra, the monument that houses the tomb of Aurangzeb’s wife and built by their son Azam Shah, was intended to be another Taj Mahal. However, it could only be a poor replica because of budgetary constraints! It provides proof of some practical thinking on the part of the emperor who ordered it to be built, and maybe also the emptying coffers and declining architectural skills.

The city has many gates and aptly called the city of gates. However, out of the 52 gates, only four main and nine subordinate gates have survived. Bhadkal gate and Delhi gate are amongst the more important gates. The city has something not only for history buffs, but also for Hindu pilgrims. Grishneshwar, the last jyotirlinga on earth, lies on the outskirts of the city.

The local culture is supposed to be close to that of Hyderabad. Many areas of Aurangabad reminded me of the old city. Dakhni, the Hyderabadi Urdu dialect, is dominant here too. Akin to the river Musi of Hyderabad, river Kham flows through the city. What’s more, it looked equally thin and dirty! On the whole, the city looked like a poor cousin of Hyderabad. It appears to lag behind Hyderabad by at least a decade-and-a-half. There is very less of the hitec part. Public transportation is rickety. The city starts shutting down by 10 pm. Street lighting is poor in many areas. The lakes are not well maintained.

The local cafes remind you of Hyderabadi Irani cafes. In restaurants, Mughlai and Puneri cuisines co-exist peacefully here. Naan Qalia is a dish that is associated with Aurangabad. It is a concoction of mutton and a variety of spices. Naan is the bread made in tandoor (hot furnace) while Qalia is a mixture of mutton and various spices. Tahri is similar to pulao–biryani and is very popular here. Tahri is prepared by adding the meat to the rice, as opposed to traditional Biryani where the rice is added to the meat. This reminded me of the dispute between the kingdoms of Lilliput and Blefescu, in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The dispute was over which side of the egg should be broken, the smaller end or the bigger. Thankfully, there is no such quarrel between Hyderabadis and Aurangabadis!

I tried the most famous thali restaurant in the city, Bhoj. It seems to be locally very popular. Their Rajasthani food is good and the ambiance is great. I saw people waiting for their turn, like for our Bawarchi. But my favorite thali restaurant still remains Gopi's of Ahmedabad, for their hospitality is as good as their food. Bhoj reminded me more of Pratikashram of Gandhinagar.

Prozone mall, in Aurangabad, is one of India's biggest malls. Its miniature model, situated in one of the corners of the actual mall, is a treat to the eyes. Kareem's, famous for Kathi rolls, have an outlet in the mall. I had their chicken Kathi roll. Now I know why they are famous! To my disappointment, even the mall started shutting down around 10pm!



I went to the famous Tara Paan Center, with the help of Google maps. On asking, the guy told me about the three varieties on offer. I went for their special. It was yummy. But then how can I leave out the usual, so I had that one too. And then I took a few steps, content having tasted what I wanted to. To my shock, on the other side of the road I saw another Tara Paan Center. Now, I was not sure which one between them was the real deal. I looked back at the old shop and it had a small post fix "old" on its board. Still not convinced, I set out to try a paan at the second outlet. There was far more variety there. I chose an attractively-named variety, munched it and went on my way, happy.
Amarendra Sagila
Show Full Article
Print Article
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
Next Story
More Stories