India is one of the known multicultural society in the world. Rich in culture, heritage buildings, places of worship, forts and palaces of rulers has led India to be the most diverse country, in terms of people, faiths, and cultures. Some of the famous Indian monuments include The Taj Mahal, Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Jantar Mantar, and Mehrangarh Fort among many others. These are some of the most visited Heritage Sites in India. These Historical Monuments add wealth to the Indian tourism that makes it vibrant with the different structure of history and it is through these structures that we revisit history, time and again.
Let's take a look at the most spectacular structures in India and also take dive in the historical context of those magnificent buildings.
Any discussion on India's historical sites and monuments starts with the Taj Mahal, a marvelous creation of 17th century India. Standing on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in Agra, the Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his cherished wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in 1632 a year after her death. Made up of shimmering white marble, the mausoleum took more than 20 years to be built. Being one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture, the mausoleum is a confluence of Indian, Persian and Islamic influences.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it remains one of the world's most celebrated structures that attracts tourists from across the world. A stupendous symbol of India's rich historical past, the Taj Mahal is believed to change colours, depending on the time of the day.
A legend that goes with the making of Taj Mahal says that Shah Jahan had got the arms of his workers cut off after the completion of the structure. This was done to ensure that they would never build another such structure in future.
In 1779, Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh built Hawa Mahal [Palace of the Winds] that stands upright as the entrance to the City Palace, Jaipur. A beautiful blend of beauty and architectural skills the Mahal reflects the essence of Rajasthan's culture. It is an epitome of Rajputana architecture and is an important landmark in the city. A five-storey building, the Palace is pyramid shaped with a total of 953 windows. The pyramid shape of this ancient monument is a tourist attraction having 953 small windows.
Erected in pink sandstone, the legendary Hawa Mahal is an exquisite example of Rajput artistry. Hawa Mahal, a must see tourist attraction, is believed to be built for the females of the royal families to see the city from behind the windows.
The Mysore Palace, a residential place for Wodeyar Maharaja's in Karnataka, is popularly known as the Maharaja's Palace, situated at the city center at Mirza Road. Known as one of the most fascinating monuments in Mysore city, the other name of the Palace is Amba Vilas. A three-storied structure, the Mysore Palace is 245 feet high and of 156 feet in breadth. The arched square towers of the Palace is enclosed by domes.
In a strange tragedy, the original palace of Mysore that was carved out of wood was accidentally burnt in 1897. Later in 1912, the 24th Wodeyar Raja rebuilt the Mysore Palace.
Situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Sanchi, the oldest among all the above discussed, was founded by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in the honor of Lord Buddha. It lies at a distance of approximately 52 kilometers from the capital city of Bhopal. Buddhist stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars are the major attractions of Sanchi. All these structures date back to somewhere between 3rd century BC and 12th century AD. They have been included by UNESCO in its list of World Heritage Sites.
Built in the early 13th century a few kilometers south of Delhi, the foundation of the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar was laid down by Qutubuddin Aibak in 1199 AD and was completed by his son-in-law Shamsuddin Iltutmish, who added three more stories to the structure. It has 379 steps leading to its top storey. The lower three ones are made using red sandstone and the top two with marble and sandstone.
The Ajanta Caves are one of the oldest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The carvings and paintings at Ajanta date back to the beginning of the era of classical Indian art. The Ajanta caves along with the ones at Ellora are some of the most beautiful caves in India. Located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, the Ajanta caves are one of the places that travelers interested in history and culture will enjoy.
These caves take us back to 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. However, it was only in 1819, when British official Jon Smith accidentally chanced upon the horse-shoe shaped rock while hunting a tiger in the region. The entrance to the cave like structures intrigued the official enough to make them cross the Waghora River in the vicinity and reach the caves. Soon, archaeological experts excavated the sites, and the news of its discovery spread lie wildfire. The caves are now under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Konark Sun Temple was built in 13th century by King Narsimhadev and was dedicated to the sun god. Shaped like a giant chariot, the temple is known for the exquisite stone carvings that cover the entire structure. It is the most popular tourist destination in Orissa and has been a World Heritage Site since 1984 and is located in the village of Konark.
The construction of the Humayun's Tomb in Delhi was completed in 1572 AD with the patronage of Humayun's son, the great Emperor Akbar. Built in the memory of Emperor Humayun, the second Mughal ruler to ascend the throne, the Tomb stands as a magnificent testament to the style of Mughal royal mausoleums. Persian and Indian craftsmen worked together to build the garden-tomb, far grander than any tomb built before in the Islamic world. It is the first of the grand mausoleums that were to become synonyms of Mughal architecture. This tomb is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.
It is the most difficult task to put in the details about the historical monuments in India. While it is difficult to cover all, it is equally difficult to choose few of them. The video also takes us on a short stroll down the memory lane.