Maharashtra Yatra: Aurangabad- Panchakki and Bibi ka Maqbara

In the last post we visited Daulatabad Fort. After that we took one shared taxi for Aurangabad. Today was our last day of this mega tour. At midnight we have to catch a train from Manmad for Ambala. To reach Manmad, there was an express train from Aurangabad at 20:30, so we have enough time to roam in Aurangabad to visit its famous places like Bibi ka Maqbara and Panchakki. At Aurangabad bus stand all other passengers of shared taxi get down. We ask the driver to take us to Panchakki and Bibi ka Maqbara. He agreed on for some extra bucks (Rs.150) and one condition that after Panchakki he will drop us at Bibi ka Maqbara. He was not ready to wait for one hour at Bibi ka Maqbara; which is at least required to visit the monument. We have to look for another option to reach railway station.

Aurangabad City

Aurangabad City


Aurangabad City

Aurangabad City

Aurangabad City

Aurangabad City

First he took us to Panchakki .There was entry ticket of Rs.5 per person. We spend around 20 minutes there and after that driver took us to Bibi ka Maqbara.
Here entry ticket was of Rs.10. This place is maintained by ASI. Let’s have some brief introduction of these places.

Panchakki
Panchakki (water mill) takes its name from the mill which used to grind grain for the pilgrims. This monument located in Aurangabad, displays the scientific thought process put in medieval Indian architecture. The complex of Panchakki had been a place of external abode of the great Sufi Saints who gathered to India in 12th Cent A.D. The Panchakki, is a calm and peaceful place that visualizes the life that existed in the medieval period. Visitors having sensitive imagination may hear the beats of drum and the humming noise of the people moving around the complex.

Panchakki (water mill)

Panchakki (water mill)

Panchakki (water mill)

Panchakki (water mill)

The water flows down through clay pipes based on the Siphon System from the distance of 11 km. This marvelous water mill wax designated to generate energy to turn the large grinding stone, serving as a flour mill.

A craft shop in Panchakki

A craft shop in Panchakki

A craft shop in Panchakki

A craft shop in Panchakki

The Panchakki with all its glories and enchantments has a unique place in the history. In fact it was the residence of popular saint “Baba Shah Musafir “. The Panchakki has its own underground water channel, having the source somewhere towards the North of the city about 8 Kms. away in the mountains. The construction of this water channel from the main source to the Panchakki was started during the life time of saint “Baba Shah Musafir ” sometime in the year 1624 A.D.

The water fall and fountain in Panchakki

The water fall and fountain in Panchakki

The complete water channel is made up of earthen pipes finely lined up and at appropriate distances, masonry pillars are erected which serve as natural suction pumps to make the water flow through the pipes with force through the distance of 8 Kms. Finely, the water rises ” sonically ” to a huge elevated masonry pillar from where it falls down into the main tank to make an attractive “Water Fall”.

Shrine of Baba Shah Musafir seen from Panchakki

Shrine of Baba Shah Musafir seen from Panchakki

Shrine of Baba Shah Musafir seen from Panchakki

Shrine of Baba Shah Musafir seen from Panchakki

How to reach Panchakki by Road
You can hire a private car, an auto rickshaw or you can use the public transportation like city buses to reach there. The drive is an approximate 4-5 kms from Central Bus Stand and 8-10 kms from Railway Station.

Bibi ka Maqbara
Bibi Ka Maqbara is situated about 5 kms from the Aurangabad city, the burial place of Aurangzeb wife, Rabia-Durrani. It is an imitation of the Taj Mahal at Agra; it is also called as “poor man’s Taj Mahal” owing to it being a poor replica of the Taj. Behind the tomb is located a small archeological museum.

Entrance gate

Entrance gate

About Bibi Ka Maqbara

About Bibi Ka Maqbara

The comparison with the Agra monument has unfortunately somewhat degraded the Aurangabad tomb which in itself displays a worthwhile architectural design, with much distinguished surface ornamentation in the late Mughal style.

The tomb dates from 1678 and it was erected by Prince Azam Shah, one of Aurangzeb’s sons, in memory of Begum Rabia Durani, his mother. It stands in the middle of a spacious and formally planned garden, some 457 by 274 meters, with axial ponds, fountains, and water channels, many defined by stone screens and lined with broad pathways. The garden is enclosed by high crenellated walls with fortress set at intervals, and open pavilions on three sides.

In the middle of the south wall is an imposing gateway with brass-inlaid doors; these are inscribed with the name of the architect, Atam Aula. The central focus of this vast enclosure is the tomb itself. This is raised on a high terrace to look out over the garden plots and waterways. Access to the octagonal chamber containing the unadorned grave at the lower level is from a flight of steps that descends from the terrace. The grave is enclosed by an octagon of perforated marble screens. The chamber above is a high square structure presenting identical facades on four sides. Each is dominated by a lofty portal with a pointed arch, flanked by smaller arched niches of similar design. A great dome, with a pronounced bulbous profile and a brass pot finial, crowns the whole composition while four lesser domes mark the corners.

Bibi Ka Maqbara, the mini Taj Mahal

Bibi Ka Maqbara, the mini Taj Mahal

Carving on marbles

Carving on marbles

Carving on marbles

Carving on marbles

Doorways lead to an inner octagonal gallery, defined by stone screens, that overlooks the grave from an upper level, an architectural innovation uniface, to this monument. Corner quenches carry the lofty dome that roofs the chamber. White marble is used throughout, interspersed with delicately molded stucco. There is, however, no use of semiprecious stones. Exactly like the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum is framed by four lofty minarets that stand freely at the corners of the terrace, their part-octagonal bases continuing down to ground level.

The grave

The grave

Peoples looking at the grave

People looking at the grave

They have diminutive square pavilions in red sandstone at their summits. To the west of the tomb is a small mosque with finely worked cusped arches and corner minarets. Small recesses, rosettes, and arabesques embellish the facade. Mention may also be made here of the Sunheri Mahal, situated to the north of Bibi ka Maqbara, which is a notable building in the late Mughal style. It is of interest for the patches of old painting and gold work that adorn the walls.

From the garden behind the Maqbara

From the garden behind the Maqbara

How to reach Bibi ka Maqbara by Road
You can take a public transport like city bus or alternative you can hire private car, there are plenty of tour operator you can avail service from. The other mean of transport is using auto rickshaw, driving in is fun and cheap (not cheapest one but instead of going by private car etc) way to reach there. It’s advisable to fix the tariff prior to hiring the auto rickshaw.”

Bibi Ka Maqbara, one more view

Bibi Ka Maqbara, one more view

At the time of Sunset (Around 6:30 PM) Bibi ka Maqbara gets closed. We came out of monument, hired an auto-rickshaw for railway station. It took us around half an hour to reach there due to heavy traffic. Before entering the Railway station premises we searched for a good restaurant for Dinner and found one named “Balaji Restaurant”. Quality of food was just awesome or best in this tour for us.
After dinner we took train and reached Manmad junction and boarded mid night train for Ambala and after 30 hrs of continuous and exhausting journey reached home with some sweet and unforgettable memories.

The route we followed in this Yatra

The route we followed in this Yatra

In the end I would like to thanks all friends and readers who encourage me by their valuable comments throughout this series and special thanks to Smita Dhall, the editor, for the support provided to me.

18 Comments

  • Uday Baxi says:

    Dear Sehgal Bhai

    A very good and very informative post. The Panchakki was great and so was Bibi ka Makbara.

    Hope we will be able to read more posts from you, especially on Varanasi which you had visited last.

    Regards

    • Thanks Uday Jee for your kind words.
      It is sure that I will write on Varanasi , my latest journey but few others are still pending to pen down. I will try to write first on Gangotri/Yamonotri or Manimahesh Yatra before these annual yatras starts.

  • Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Nice post on Aurangabad. Ellora caves and Bibi ka Maqbara are in my wish list for long. Anyways, your this post will certainly help the Ghumakkars who plan to visit there.

  • Arun says:

    Finally your tour has come to its end……. but the journey was amazing for all the ghumakkars……Good job Naresh Ji.

  • MUNESH MISHRA says:

    Nice series Naresh ji

    I enjoyed all your post on diversity of Maharashtra.

  • Ajay Kumar says:

    Finally this mighty yatra comes to an end. Enjoyed it through out the series. Whole series was full of informatiom. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Naresh ji,

    The beautiful end of a grand series. Bibi ka maqbara and Panchakki are really beautiful places to visit in Aurangabad. Interesting write up and beautiful pictures….. Where are you taking us next ???

    Thanks,

  • Thanks Mukesh ji for your continuous encouragement through your valuable comments.

  • Nice post Naresh. I have always wanted to visit Aurangabad. May be this series will guide me and help me plan a trip soon.
    Very informative post with a bunch of good pics!

    Thank you for the post, Naresh.

    Best,
    Archana

  • Thanks Archana. Glad to know you liked the post.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    And the grand tour comes to an end. Panchakki and Bibi Ka Maqbara are on my list as well, possibly as part of some long road-trip (may be 20 years from now, who knows).

    Thank you Naresh for taking us along. The map at the end is very inspiring for fellow Ghumakkars. Look forward to read about ManiMahesh Yatra.

  • Naresh Sehgal says:

    Thanks Nandan for liking the post. Maharashtra is good to watch through road journey specially during/after rainy season. Will wait for your trip report even after 20 years.

  • Hemant says:

    How to reach Shani Shingnapur from Aurangabad any roadways buses available from Aurangabad to Shani Shignapur & how much time this journey will take. Accommodation facility @ Shani Shignapur.

  • from Aurangabad take bus of ahmednagar. Drop at Gorhegavn. (Ask bus conductor, that you want to visit Shignapur. Take a auto ricksaw from Gorhegavn to Shignapur. Accommodation facility @ Shani Shignapur os available by trust.

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