The Aurangabad Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was initially known as Western Circle in the year 1885 covering the monuments in Bombay Presidency, Pakistan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh during the British rule. However,
after independence in 1953, the Western Circle was bifurcated and renamed as South-Western Circle with its Headquarters at Poona.
In the year 1964, the headquarters was shifted from Pune to Aurangabad as most of the important monuments were located near the Aurangabad City. In the year 1961, when the Union Territory of Goa attained the status of State,
the monuments of Goa were placed under a mini-circle and included in Aurangabad Circle for administrative purposes.
Again in the year 1975, the boundaries of the Circles were demarcated state-wise and as a result, a handful of monuments of south-western circle came under the Karnataka State. Simultaneously, a number of monuments from Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh under the control of this circle were included in Bhopal and Hyderabad Circle.
TAt present, there are 75 centrally protected monuments of different periods under jurisdiction of Aurangabad Circle which includes Marathwada and Khandesh regions of central Maharashtra and Ahemadnagar and Nashik districts of western Maharashtra. These monuments are administrated through sevan sub-circles, namely Ajanta, Ellora, Aurangabad and in district Aurangabad;
Ahmednagar and Sangamner in district Ahmednagar; Nasik in district Nasik; and Dhule in Dhule district. The Aurangabad Circle maintains six ticketed monuments including two World Heritage monuments, namely Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
Apart from these monuments, the Circle has a large number of cave monuments under its jurisdiction. The earliest among the Buddhist groups of cave are represented by the caves at Pithalkhora followed by Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad Caves. These Buddhist caves are carved between 2nd century BCE and 7th -8the centuries CE. The Hindu cave architecture is represented by examples of Ellora and Dhokeshwar Caves. The Jaina caves at Ellora also represent a unique development of Jaina cave architecture. The Daulatabad Fort presents a unique example of fort architecture. Besides these, there are a number of important excavated sites like Daimabad, Newasa, Prakash and Paithan which through valuable light on the archaeological remains of this region right from the Palaeolithic period to the modern times. There are also, temples, mosques, tombs under the protection of Aurangabad circle.
The Aurangabad circle carries out preservations, conservation and maintenance of the monuments / sites falling under its jurisdiction. Further, the officers of Science Branch at Aurangabad (Western Zone) and Ajanta (Field Laboratory) carries out chemical preservation of these monuments. The Horticulture Branch located at Aurangabad carries out environmental up-gradation of the monuments50