The city of Awrangabad was the heir to a long tradition of urban immigration and cosmopolitanism in the southern region of India known as the Deccan. In 1019/1610 the city was founded in the name of the Nizmm Shmh rulers of nearby Ahmadnagar by a former Ethiopian slave, Malik ‘Anbar.2 In this first incarnation, under the name Khirki, Awrangabad stood as the last major city to be founded by the independent sultanates of the Deccan prior to the region’s conquest by the Mughal empire of Hindustan (in precolonial usage, North India as opposed to the Deccan). But in spite of this early history, Awrangabad would owe its fame, name and subsequent architectural as well as broader cultural and religious character to the period beginning with the Mughal defeat of the Nizmm Shmhs in 1047/1637.3 After the initial Deccan conquests of Shah Jahan (commanded by the youthful Awrangzeb), following his own accession to the Mughal throne Awrangzeb moved his court to the Deccan and refounded the city in 1092/1681.4 His choice of the city as the centre for his wider conquests of the independent Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan was perhaps fitting, for the migrant Persian geographer Smdiq Isfahmnl (fl.1045/1635) had earlier interpreted its name of Khirki as signifying the ‘gateway’ opening onto the Deccan.5