World Heritage Sites – Ellora Caves – Khuldabad
Khuldabad (200 0’ 58” N; 750 14’ 32” E) is located at a distance of around 27 km north-northwest Aurangabad and 3 km from the world famous Ellora Caves. It is at present a tehsil headquarters, located at an altitude of 2732 feet above MSL. The visitors can either opt staying at Ellora or at the State Guest House at Khultabad. Regular bus services from Aurangabad connect Khultabad.
Khultabad is an important religious centre due to its abode to two of the most revered Muhammaden saints namely, Burhan-ud-din and Zain-ud-din and also location of tombs of these Muhammaden saints and others. Its historical significance is attested by the ruins of the city wall constructed by Aurangazeb (1658-1707 A.D.). It has seven gates namely, Nagarkhana, Pangra, Langda, Mangalpeth, Kunbi Ali, Hamdadi and a wicket gate called Azam Shahi. The ruins of many ancient buildings could be even seen today. A huge tank lies to the west of the city wall which could have been a major water source for the city.
The important structures in and around Khultabad are Aurangazeb’s Tomb, Tombs of Azam Shah and his wife, Zain-ud-din’s Dargah, Burhan-ud-din’s mausoleum, Tombs of Asaf Jah and Nasir Jang, Bani Begum’s maqbara, Khan Jahan’s Lal Bagh, Dargah of Malik Ambar, Tombs of Tana Shah, Zar Zari Baksh, and other miscellaneous tombs.
The tomb of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb is located in the southeast corner of a courtyard of the Burhan-ud-din’s mausoleum. Aurangazeb chose his burial spot at Khultabad and also gave instructions regarding how it should be. The coffin of Aurangazeb was brought by his son Muhammad Azam Shah and caused his burial here. After his burial here, Aurangazeb was given a posthumous title ‘Khuld-makan’ (He whose abode is in eternity). The grave lies to the right of the southern entrance of the courtyard and is strikingly simple, according to Aurangazeb’s wish. The grave is located at the centre of an elevated stone platform from the surrounding marble floor. The otherwise simple grave is relieved by perforated marble screen on three sides, while the western wall of the Burhan-ud-din’s mausoleum is on the fourth side. The screens were erected by the Nizams of Hyderabad at the behest of Lord Curzon.
Tombs of Azam Shah and his wife
Azam Shah was the second son of Aurangazeb. The tombs of Azam Shah and his wife are located to the east of Aurangazeb’s tomb.
Mausoleum of Zain-ud-din
Zain-ud-din is a highly revered saint of the Muslims. He studied under Maulana Kamal-ud-din of Samana and accompanied him to Daulatabad. He was born at Shiraz in A.H. 701 (1301 A.D.) and came to Delhi via Mecca. In A.H. 737 he was the Kazi at Daulatabad. However, he succeeded in A.H. 741 after the death of Burhan-ud-din. Zain-ud-din expired in A.H. 771 (1370 A.D.), the date is inscribed on the east side of the mausoleum along with verses from the Holy Quran. Shaikh Husain records the teachings of Zain-ud-din in his Hidayatu-l-Kabul.
After his death, the mausoleum was erected by his disciples much later. The mausoleum enclosed by a wall and the courtyard has two mosques at two different levels. The robe of the saint is preserved in a small room of the courtyard and exhibited once in 12 years.
The mausoleum of Burhan-ud-din is located opposite to the tombs of Aurangazeb and Zain-ud-din. Burhan-ud-din studied under Nizam-ud-din Aulia, the Sultan-ul-mashaikh of Delhi. He migrated to Daulatabad during the transfer of capital of Delhi to Daulatabad by Muhammad Tughluq and later made Khuldabad as his abode. He died in A.H. 744 (1344 A.D.). The tomb is inside an enclosure. A mosque is located in front of the mausoleum. It is believed that some hair of the saint’s beard is preserved in the shrine.
Tombs of Asaf Jah and Nasir Jang
The tomb of Asaf Jah, the founder of Nizam dynasty of Hyderabad along with one of his consorts is found to the right of Burhan-ud-din’s tomb. The graves are interred in a platform inlaid with white marble. A huge screen of red stone surrounds the platform. The tomb of Nasir Jang, the second son of Asaf Jah is to the left of the above.
Bani Begum’s maqbara
The tomb of Bani Begum, the consort of one of Aurangazeb’s son is located to the west of the above group of tombs and at the centre of a large quadrangular garden. The tomb proper is again within an enclosure with four small minarets at the corners. Example of good jali work can be seen in the mausoleum.
Khan Jahan’s Lal Bagh
This garden was built by Khan Jahan, the foster son of Aurangazeb, who was the Viceroy of Deccan on two occasions. Red basalt has been used for the construction of the buildings and the tomb of Khan Jahan located inside, thus giving rise to the name Lal Bagh (Red Garden). This is a typical Mughal char-bagh garden with a cistern at the centre, which is connected to four long cisterns with the barahdaris in the middle of each of the enclosure wall. These cisterns in turn contain fountains.
Other Tombs (Malik Ambar, Tana Shah, Zar Zari Baksh, etc.)
Several other tombs are found to the northwest of Khuldabad and near to the State Guest House. The prominent among them are the tombs of Malik Ambar, Tana Shah (the last of the Golkonda Sultans), Nizam Shah (King of Ahmednagar), Zar Zari Baksh, Ganj Ravan Baksh (believed to be the earliest Muhammedan saint here).