History of Aurangabad does indeed follow a patterned and systematic way of development. As with every maturation and ripening of ancient cultural dynasties, the historical evolution of Aurangabad also began during the uncharted times, moving on towards the prehistoric age, the Classical Age and the Medieval Age, onto the era of modernity under the British Raj. Historical annals of the city states that the Mauryans were the ones to first bring this city into prominent light. The Mauryan Empire had ushered in Buddhism in this region of India, which is evident from the plethora of numerous Buddhist cave temples in and about Aurangabad. Temples built by Satvahanna and Rashtrakuta rulers are very much located and sealed here for eternal moments to come. The famous caves of Ajanta and Ellora are a part of this unique amalgamation of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions. However, leaving the Hindu majesties and rulers behind, history of Aurangabad does gain supreme authority, veneration and prowess under the Muslim invaders and consequent rulings, out-and-out tales of bloodshed, subjugations, avenge and greed.
The heritage of Aurangabad is definitely and manifestly linked with umpteen and assorted Islamic rulers and their reigns and dynasties while in India. History of Aurangabad documents that the authentic establishment of the city was performed in 1610, on the site of a village called Khirki, by Malik Ambar, local Muslim noble and the Prime Minister of Murtaza. Within a decade, Khirki escalated into a populous and imposing city. However, in 1621 the historic city of Aurangabad was scourged and burnt down by the imperial troops under Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Malik Ambar died in 1626. His son, Fateh Khan ruled it and named the city as Fatehpur in 1626. Mohammad Bin Tughlaq from the Tughlaq Dynasty had tried to switch over the capital of his Delhi Sultanate to Fatehpur in 14th century, keeping in mind the excellent placement of the town for his ruling propositions. The Aurangabad town was at the centre of India and the region was deemed as the safest from the pillaging and looting armies of the Afghan and Central Asian raiders.
In the same year (i.e. 1626, when Fateh Khan had ascended the throne), the Mughal viceroy Khan Jahan Lodi had advanced towards the city, but drew back to Burhanpur on being bribed by the Nizam Shahi Commander, Hamid Khan. With the conquering of Daulatabad by the imperial troops in 1633, the Nizam Shahi dominions including Fatehnagar came under the possession of the Mughals. Aurangzeb, the notorious last great Mughal ruler, virtually took over this city in 1653 and renamed it as `Aurangabad`. Due to its most strategical placement in peninsular India, Aurangzeb had turned Aurangabad into his capital seat. He used this city as a solid base to crush and subdue the rising power of the Marathas, precisely under Shivaji. The Mughal ruler then followed his victory up by virtually taking over the Deccan kingdoms. The name `Aurangabad`, has thus very much been derived from the Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb.
History of Aurangabad however does not abruptly come to a screeching halt after such massive overtakings and showcasing power. Shortly after the demise of Aurangzeb the city of Aurangabad ultimately slipped from the hands of the Mughals. The city was later taken over and seized by the Nizam of Hyderabad after the death of Aurangazeb in 1707. The legendary rulers possessing rich legacy, the Nizams from Hyderabad further had retained its control and supreme prowess, till it was merged with Maharashtra in 1956 post Independence. The present day Aurangabad city thus offers `a once in a lifetime` opportunity to tread back to past history. Ajanta and Ellora caves and the Bibi-Ka-Makbara bring back the visitors to the past history of the town again and again.
A most extraordinary element that can be stated in this context is that history of Aurangabad is not restricted by its research and archaeological facts only. Accompanied by its historical annals, the city is steeped and saturated with legends and various kinds of lores, also gaining much popularity down the ages. It is known that since ancient times, Aurangabad has been a place of immense magnitude due to it`s location on the legendary "Silk Route" that spanned across the breadth of Asia to reach Europe. Textiles, embellished finery and several kinds of beads chiselled in nearby Paithan were exported to the markets of Greece, Rome and Egypt. Under royal dynasties such as the Satavahanas, Vakatakas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, Aurangabad had blossomed as a nerve centre of culture and learning. It did give birth and provided inspiration for great poets, saints and philosophers like Dyaneshwar, Eknath and Ramdas, Wali and Siraj. Aurangabad`s strategic position in the Deccan earned it the name of "Khidki", implying a window, serving as it did. The then city had served as an opening, through which North India could look into the vast span of the Deccan. Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq, touted the `Mad King` by his subjects, was so struck by the topography of the Deogiri mountain that he indeed had abandoned Delhi and moved his capital down renaming it `Daulatabad`. Thus from the historic point of view, Aurangabad enjoys the rare distinction of being the only city apart from Delhi to have served as the capital of India, prior to British arrival.
With the passing time, history of Aurangabad also had advanced towards a change of hands from Indian aboriginal imperialism, into the ushering in of European colonialism. During 1853 A.D., Aurangabad was the scene of a terrible clash and disagreement between the contingent troops and a body of Arab mercenaries, belonging to Mansing Rav, the Raja of Devalgaon, the Arabs placed the Raja under unlawful restraint and jeopardised his life because their pay was in knee-depth debt. The Commander of the station, Brigadier Mayne being apprised of the situation, marched out in the first week of October, with the 5th regiment cavalry, 6th regiment infantry and a battery of artillery to Jasvantpura, just beyond the Roshangate, where the Arabs had stationed themselves. After a brief period of rigid confrontation, the Arabs were defeated and dissipated and Raja Mansing Rav was eventually set free. In the action that was battled, the contingent lost 15 of their soldiers, together with 40 men, who lay wounded.