Khuldabad is a small town located around 13 km from Aurangabad and 3 km from the world heritage site of Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Formerly known as 'Rauzaa', which means the garden of paradise, Khuldabad is popular as the "Valley of Saints", because the city was resided by several Sufi saints in the 14th century. This holy city is home to several important historic monuments like Aurangzeb's Tomb, Dargah of Zar Zari Zar Baksh, Shaikh Burhan ud-din Gharib Chisti and Shaikh Zain-ud-din Shirazi. Khuldabad also houses the famous Bhadra Maruti Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
Near Khuldabad is a place called "the Valley of Saints" which is believed to have the graves of 1500 Sufi saints. In the early 17th century, the city was captured by Aurangzeb who built a strong wall as a protection around the town with seven entrances inside the city Nagarkhana, Pangra, Langda, Mangalpeth, Kunbi Ali, Hamdadi and a wicket gate called Azam Shahi. The ruins of the monument from the Mughal era can still be seen here. Khuldabad is an important city owing to its religious and historic significance.
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Historical Structures at Khuldabad
Aurangzeb’s Tomb- Located in the south-eastern corner of the Khuldabad complex, Aurangzeb’s Tomb is remarkably simple, as compared to other tombs which are large monuments of Mughal architecture. The grave lies in the middle of a raised stone platform and the tomb is covered with soil. Lord Curzon later covered the site with marble and surrounded it with a pierced marble screen. It is believed that Aurangzeb paid for his burial place by knitting caps and selling them anonymously. His full name is written on a marble plate in one corner of the tomb. After his burial, he was given the posthumous title of ‘Khuld-Makan’ which means ‘He whose abode is in eternity.’
Tombs of Azam Shah and his Wife- Close to Aurangzeb’s tomb is the grave of his second son, Azam Shah and his wife. The marble screen has 18 panels, each 6 feet in height. The sides and corners are covered with small minarets of marble. Marble is used to adorn the interior too and Azam Shah's grave has a small marble headstone ornamented with carved floral designs.
Zainuddin Shirazi Dargah- Sayyed Zain ud din was highly revered by Muslims and the mausoleum was built by his disciples. Enclosed by a large quadrangular courtyard, it has two gates made of brass and silver. There are two mosques and a nagarkhana or music chamber. The grave is veiled with richly embroidered pall and a string of ostrich eggs suspended over it. A small room in the courtyard contains the robe of the prophet which is displayed once every year.
Burhan ud din Mausoleum- It lies opposite the building which has the tombs of Aurangzeb and Zain-ud-Din. Similar to Zainuddin’s mausoleum, it also has a courtyard, a nagarkhana and open-fronted buildings on all sides. The west end of the courtyard is used as a school and a door here gives access to an inner courtyard containing several graves. Within the shrine, some of the hair of the prophet’s beard is preserved. The doors are plated with metal shaped into beautiful trees and flowers.
Asaf Jah’s Tomb- To the right of Burhan ud din’s tomb, are the resting places of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah I, the founder of the Hyderabad dynasty and his son Nasir Jang. The graves lie on a white marble covered with a white cloth.
Bani Begum Maqbara- Bani Begum was the consort of one of Aurangzeb’s sons. The tomb is flanked by a huge quadrangular garden which has fountains and cisterns. The main entrance is in the centre of the north wall and a mosque in the south wall. The tomb is located in the middle of the garden enclosed within another walled structure and has four small minarets around it.
Khan Jahan Lal Bagh- Similar to Bani Begum’s maqbara, Lal Bagh was built by Khan Jahan, Aurangzeb’s foster brother. The centre of each side wall has a building, one of which forms the gate, and contains a large dome in the centre, with a smaller dome on either side and three minarets. The maqbara of Khan Jahan is just above the garden and tombs of his relations are on the western side. The name Lal Bagh is given due to the red coloured cement used in the buildings.
Malik Ambar Tomb- Located in the north-west direction, Malik Ambar’s tomb is in the Parther style of architecture and stands on a raised platform. Close to it is the open tomb of his wife, Bibi Karima and Tana Shah, the last of the Golkonda kings. The impressive domed monument was built by Malik Ambar himself. Each corner of the room has arched recess. On each side of the monument, you will find three-lobed arches. The central arch on each side has a screen with finely cut geometric patterns. Nearby stands various other tombs which have not been identified till date.
Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah- Zar Zari Zar Baksh or Shah Muntajab ud din was one of the earliest Sufis of the Chishti Order, the most dominant of all the Sufi orders in India. The tomb contains many ornaments and relics of which the most stunning is a circular steel looking glass mounted on a steel pedestal of four feet in height.
Significance of Khuldabad
Khuldabad, also known as the abode of saints, has a well-defended fort wall. Just before entering the city is the Nagarkhana Gate which was built by Sultan Muzzam Shah, the son of Aurangzeb during 1698-1710 AD. Due to the location of tombs of several Sufi saints, Khuldabad has huge religious importance. It is believed that the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb spent his last days here. Besides Aurangzeb, Azam Shah, Aurangzeb’s son, Asaf Jah, the founder of the Hyderabad dynasty, his second son Nasir Jang, Nizar Shah, king of Ahemadnagar and Tana Shah, last of the Golkonda kings are also buried here.
Bhadra Maruti Temple
Dedicated to Hindu deity, Hanuman, Bhadra Maruti Temple is located in Khuldabad near Aurangabad. The idol of Lord Hanuman is in sleeping posture. There are only three temples which have the deity in sleeping posture. Other two temples are located in Allahabad and Madhya Pradesh. The temple is considered highly pious for Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman devotees who visit the place in huge numbers on auspicious occasions like Hanuman Jayanti and Ram Navami.
According to a legend, Khuldabad was earlier known as Bhadravati and was ruled by Bhadrasena, an ardent follower of Lord Rama. One day when Bhadrasena was singing songs in praise of Lord Rama, Hanuman descended his place and was so mesmerized by his singing that he took a reclining posture called Bhavya Samadhi. After finishing the song, when Bhadrasena saw the Lord in resting posture, he asked him to bless the site with his presence.
1. Book a taxi for a round trip if you are visiting Kuldhara for a day. 2. You can make your stay at the guest houses in Kuldhara or in the hotels near Ellora caves.
How To Reach Khuldabad
Khuldabad is situated 27 km away from Aurangabad, there are direct public buses available from Aurangabad to Khuldabad. You can also hire your own taxi for a round trip.