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Published: February 12th 2014
The poor man's Taj Mahal - not even any water in the pool!
After an overnight flight from London, we spent a long boring afternoon in Mumbai airport waiting to catch our one hour hop to Aurangabad. Arriving at the Taj hotel the car was checked for bombs with the mirror on the stick and our bags were X rayed before we were let through the ram proof barrier. Always slightly disconcerting but this is the 21st
century in a country that has known its share of terrorism.
The “modern” Aurangabad was founded in 1610 by Malik Amber, an Ethiopian slave who rose to become the prime minister of the local Nizam. Aurangzeb, the sixth and last of the Great Mughal Emperors, made the city his capital in 1653 as he pursued his relentless campaigns in the Deccan till his death here in 1707.
Today was relatively undemanding, a city tour starting with the Aurangabad caves (not in fact caves but temples and monasteries carved out of a cliff face around the 5th
century AD). Totally deserted as it is not on the tourist trail. Next was the Bibi-ka-Maqbara, built in 1679 by Aurangzeb's son as a mausoleum for his mother and Aurangzeb's wife. It’s a poor man's imitation of the Taj Mahal.
The highpoint here was Sara being mobbed - no other word for it – by a large group of female (and male) Army cadets all keen to be photographed with the pale blonde haired foreigner. A few wanted David in the photo but he clearly did not have celebrity status.
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