I am now in the final few weeks of this stage of the The Idea Of India project and focusing on key sites and stories from the state of Maharashtra.
Specifically, I have just arrived in the city of Aurangabad. My journey in Maharashtra so far, which began some weeks ago, began in Pune and took me through Junnar, Godhegaon, Ahmednagar, and Paithan. I will update this site with some new posts in the coming days. For those who are curious about where specifically in Aurangabad I intend to go, you can see that in the map below (click on map to go to Google maps page)
There are a number of important shrines in this town which was once the seat of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. However, the city is also close to the famous Ellora and Ajanta Caves – the two historical and heritage site that are the principal reason why tourists visit this town. I will be visiting Ellora for an essay about how the earliest Muslim writers, travelers and administrators experienced and appreciated these remarkable temples. Contrary to popular belief, an aesthetic appreciation of these Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples was not uncommon and many Muslims wrote extensively about their beauty and power. The belief in a knee-jerk iconoclasm of the Muslim is yet another myth that has to be confronted. More updates soon.