The cities of India hold within them many hidden nuggets often lost in the pages of time. Here we bring you some tales from Aurangabad which are oft forgotten in popular retelling.
The City of Many Names
Malik Ambar, an Abyssinian slave who rose to the post of Prime minister of the Muslim Kingdom of Ahmednagar, established a town in Khirki, which was later named Fatehpur by his son Fateh Khan. When Aurangazeb took over the Deccan kingdoms, he changed the name of the town to Aurangabad in 1653.
A Short Lived Capital
It’s commonly remembered in history as Fatehpur, the town which became the capital of the Tughlaq Sultanate for a short period of time until Mohammad Bin Tughlaq was forced to shift the capital back to Delhi due to problems such a water shortage.
The Emperor Who Knitted Caps
The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is buried in a simple tomb, close to his spiritual guru Saint Sayyad Zain-ud-din Shiraz, according to his wishes. It is said that this austere tomb was built using only fourteen rupees and twelve annas which the emperor raised by knitting caps during the last years of his life.
A Gift to Marco Polo
Aurangabad’s conventional hand woven fabric known as Himroo, is now considered a dying art. It’s said that these fabrics made of silk and cotton with real gold threads were one of the items gifted to Marco Polo when he came to India.
The Tale of the Lost Caves
The Ajanta caves situated just outside Aurangabad were excavated and painted in two phases. The first set of caves with their primarily Buddhist painting were at some point completely abandoned when the population of the area become predominantly Hindu and the excavation and painting of the second set of caves was encouraged by the then ruler and commissioned by individuals. These caves were eventually forgotten and remained lost to world until 1819 when John Smith, a British officer, stumbled across the entrance to one during a hunting expedition.