Panchakki,(Devanagari: पानचक्की) also known as the water mill, takes its name from the mill which used to grind grain for the pilgrims. This monument is a typical example of genius medieval architecture. It was designed to generate energy via water brought down form a spring on a mountain.
Malik Ambar himself built it in 1695. It has also the tomb of Baba Shah Muzaffar, a Sufi saint. Dating back to the 17th century, this ingenious water mill was designed to use the energy generated by flowing water from a nearby spring to turn the large grinding stones of the flourmill. In 1624, a Sufi saint who was much revered by Aurangzeb was buried here; the gardens and the fish tanks serve as his memorial. This water mill was used to grind grain for the pilgrims and disciples of saints as well as for the troops of the garrison. Operation
A mountain spring, about eight kilometers away, is the water source for the running of the mill; a maze of underground earthen pipes cleverly channeled the water to move the blades of the grinding wheel. The water is made to enter the final reservoir through a series of earthen pipes. It is then raised by a siphon to the top of the rectangular masonry pillar. This channel is called ‘naher’. Underneath the reservoir of Panchakki there are spacious, cool chambers which are used during the summers by pilgrims. The water distribution system is a marvel of hydrology and was the engineering feat of Malik Ambar, then chief architect of Aurangabad city. A huge banyan tree on the southern margin of the reservoir provides shade and adds beauty to the whole scene. In the North-West corner, adjacent to the cistern is the water mill driven entirely by water power. It is said that in the olden days, grain could be ground by zero physical effort.