This guidebook focuses on four cities and sites in Maharashtra of exceptional historical importance and architectural interest. While Aurangabad is well known as a convenient base from which to reach the celebrated cave-temples at Ajanta and Ellora, the city's tombs and mosques are hardly ever visited. Many of these were built during the 17th century, when the city served as the second capital of the Mughal Empire, taking its name from the emperor Aurangzeb who spent many years here.
A short distance from Aurangabad is Daulatabad. This citadel is dominated by a rugged basalt hill, the sides of which have been artificially scooped into vertical faces, beneath which are situated a number of palaces and mosques dating back to the 13th-14th centuries. The nearby small walled town of Khuldabad is celebrated for its holy Sufi shrines, inside one of which Aurangzeb himself is buried.
The city of Ahmadnagar, a day trip from Aurangabad, was capital of the Nizam Shahi sultans in the 16th century. From their era date a number of impressive mosques, tombs and palaces, also well worth visiting.
All these buildings and more are described and profusely illustrated in this guidebook, the first ever published for this region.
Pushkar Sohoni studied architecture at the University of Pune, and then Indian architectural history at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, obtaining his PhD in 2010 with a survey of the Nizam Shahi monuments in and around Ahmadnagar. Among his published articles is his contribution on Nizam Shahi architecture in Silent Splendour: Palaces of the Deccan (14th-19th Centuries), Mumbai: Marg Foundation, 2010. Currently the South Asia Studies Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania, he continues to pursue his interest in Indian medieval archaeology and numismatics. Clare Arni is a photographer based in Bengaluru, whose work encompasses architecture, social documentary and culturalheritage. She has exhibited throughout India and internationally. Her photographs have been widely published, most recently in Silent Splendour: Palaces of the Deccan (14th-19th Centuries), and Kanara, A Land Apart: The Artistic Heritage of Coastal Karnataka, Mumbai: Marg Foundation, 2010 and 2012, and Gulbarga, Bidar, Bijapur, Mumbai: Pictor, 2012. Selvaprakash Lakshmanan has a Masters in Mass Communication, and works as a photographer and visual journalist based in Bengaluru. His photographs have been published in Timeout and Asia Geo, and exhibited throughout India and internationally.