India is one of the richest countries in the world when it comes to culture and heritage. There are some of the most impressive structures in this country that have splendid architecture and design. Most of these structures have a beautiful history behind them and each one of them is different and unique in their own way. It is one of the few countries where you will find some amazing historical structures, churches, temples and mosques all in one country. There are a number of cultures and traditions that the country follows, but the best thing about all this is the history of the monument and what makes it so special even today.
If you’re planning on taking a tour around India to explore some of the best historical monuments in the country, then here’s a list of the top ten historical places in India.
10. Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi
There is a beautiful Buddhist Vihara located at Sanchi that is famously called the Great Stupa. It is considered one of the most prominent and famous Buddhist monuments in India. It is located in Sanchi town in the district of Raisen. Sanchi Stupa is considered by many as one of the best-preserved stupas across India. This ancient stupa is surrounded by four carved gateways and keeps people away from the fast pace of the outside world. It helps people inside the stupa meditate and keep their calm irrespective of what may be happening on the outside.
9. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
The Victoria Memorial Hall is a large marble structure which is located in Kolkata which is the capital of West Bengal. This hall was constructed between 1906 and 1921. The hall is named Victoria Memorial Hall in memory of Queen Victoria who passed away in 1901. It is now a museum which is also a very popular tourist destination. The entire structure of the hall is made of marble and the architecture is mesmerizing. The memorial of Queen Victoria lies on the grounds of the Hooghly River which is situated near the Nehru Road. The hall is designed by William Emerson who has designed a number of other prominent structures in India which include the famous Crawford Market in Mumbai and the All Saints Cathedral in Allahabad. William Emerson was at that time the president at the Royal Institute of British Architects.
8. Qutub Minar, Delhi
The Qutub Minar is one of the tallest brick minarets across the world. The Qutub Minar along with other medieval monuments that surround it are a part of the Qutub Complex. This has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Minaret of am in Western Afghanistan is said to have been an inspiration for the Qutub Minar. The Qutub Minar stands 240 feet tall and is made of marble and red sandstone. Inside the tower, over 379 steps have been constructed that can take you to the top. The historical monuments to surround the Qutub Minar are Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque, Iron Pillar of Delhi, the Tomb of Iltutmish, Alai Darwaza, Ala-ud-din’s Madrasa and Tomb, Alai Minar and the Tomb of Imam Zamin. The other minor monuments surrounding it include Sanderson’s Sundial and Major Smith’s Cupola.
7. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
Till recently the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was known as Victoria Terminus. It is one of the most historic railway stations of India and is said to be one of the busiest railways stations in India on a daily basis. The ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus also serves as the headquarters for the Central Railways. The building was designed by Frederick William Stevens and has influences from the Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and various traditional Mughal buildings. The building was said to have been built in 1887 to mark the Golden Jubilee anniversary of Queen Victoria. This railway station serves as a busy terminal for local commuter trains and long distance trains as well. Victoria Terminus changed its name to ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus in March 1996 and is known as CST or CSTM in short. Not many know this but ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. HawaMahal, Jaipur
The Hawa Mahal which is Jaipur is one of the main attractions of the city. This palace was built with high walls in order for the women of the royal family to witness the various street festivals without getting noticed. The construction is such that although the women would get a clear view from the inside, people on the outside could not see them. Like most palaces in Jaipur, this one too is made using Pink Sandstone. When looked at from a distance, the Palace resembles a crown. Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh who got his inspiration from the Khetri Mahal. The Hawa Mahal is designed by Lal Chand Ustad. It consists of a total of 953 rather small windows and comes with some of the most delicate work that makes it stand out. This palace was reconstructed in 2006, and cost Rs. 4568 Million.
5. Bahai Lotus Temple, Delhi
The Bahai House of Worship or the Lotus Temple came into establishment in 1986. Due to its shape like a flower, the Lotus temple serves as a Mother Temple for the Indian Subcontinent. It is one of the most prominent and popular attractions in Delhi. The Lotus Temple has been known to win many architectural awards and has already featured in many magazine and newspaper articles. The Lotus Temple is open to all people irrespective of religion. It is made of 27 free standing marble petals that are arranged in clusters of three each thus forming nine sides. There are also nine doors that open into a central hall that can accommodate over 2500 people and have a height of almost 40 meters. As per a 2001 report by CNN, it was one of the most visited buildings in the world.
4. Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur
Brihadeshwara is one of the oldest temples in India. This temple was constructed in 1010 CE and is over 1000 years old. The Brihadeshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is often known as the Raja Rajeswara Temple or the Rajarajeswaram. The temple is part of a world heritage site which is known as the “Great Living Chola Temples” The main construction of the temple is the temple tower which stands 100 feet tall. This is till date the tallest temple structure in the world. This is one of the most visited temples in India and it attracts a large number of tourists each year.
3. Mysore Palace, Mysore
The Mysore Palace was at one point in time the official residence of the rulers of Mysore who were the Wodeyars. They ruled the city from 1399 to 1950. This is a grand structure and is one of the most impressive palaces you will find in India. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and is best known for its beautiful architecture. This palace stands 145 feet and has 5 storey’s. The palace also has a total of 12 temples which you can visit with a tour to the palace. These include
- Someshvara Temple
- Lakshmiramana Temple
- ShwethaVarahaswamy Temple
- Sri Prasannakrishna Swami Temple
- Sri Bhuvaneshwari Temple
- KodiSomeshwaraswami Temple
- Sri Gayatri Temple
- Sri Trineshwara temple
2. Harmandir Sahib(Golden Temple), Amritsar
Sri Harmandir Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahib is informally called the ‘Golden Temple’. This temple is considered the holiest Gurdwara for Sikhs and is located in Amritsar in Punjab. The Harmandir Sahib complex houses the Akal Takht which is said to be the throne of the timeless one, Guru Hargobind. The Harmandir Sahib temple was intended as a place of worship for men and women irrespective of caste or creed. To display the non-sectarian universal feelings Guru Arjan invited Muslim Sufi Saint SaiMian Mir to lay the first foundation stone of the temple. Over 100,000 people visit this gurudwara every day. The upper floors of the temple have been covered with gold to protect people inside from attacks that were happening on the Punjab region in the nineteenth century.
1. Taj Mahal, Agra
The TajMahal is an amazing ivory white mausoleum that is located south of the river Yamuna. It was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 to become the tomb of his favorite wife, MumtazMahal. The TajMahal is built on a 42 acre complex and includes a guest house and a mosque as well. The tomb has been set in formal gardens and bounded on three sides by a wall. The total cost of the monument was said to be around $32 million in 1653. As of 2015, this amount would have been roughly 52.8 billion rupees. Over 20,000 artisans worked on this sculpture led by the best architects.