10 Best Monuments You Must See In India
Indian history witnessed various dynasties at different times. Imprints of different rulers and different dynasties can be seen in the kind of monuments they built and left behind. Some of those have stood the test of times to survive in good shape while many others have crumbled and are mostly in ruins.
It is an arduous task to choose 10 best monuments in India because there are so many wonderful monuments to choose from. But based on our knowledge and experience, here is a list of 10 best monuments you must see in India. You have to just ask Excursion2India to arrange your tour to cover each of these.
10. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
Built on an earlier mud fort site, Golconda Fort rose to prominence in the 16th Century when Quli Qutub Shah became independent from the Bahmani Sultanate in 1518. It flourished under Qutb Shahi rulers afterwards, and these rulers patronized art, culture and architecture.
The fort is known for its advanced acoustics, which allowed even the faintest of sounds to be heard across its sprawling courtyards. Someone clapping at a certain point below the entrance dome can be heard at the highest point in the fort almost a kilometer away. Golconda Fort is a testament to the advanced engineering skills, with its water supply system being quite advanced and innovative.
Mughal ruler Aurangzeb annexed it in 1687 after a long seize of over nine months.
Today, the Fort is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One can enjoy and learn the history of Golconda seeing the light and sound show in the evening. The complex includes various structures like the Royal Palaces, the Nagina Bagh (Garden of Pearls), and the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience). Each of these offer a glimpse into the grandeur of the bygone era.
9. Charminar, Hyderabad
The most popular landmark of Hyderabad, Charminar, was built towards the end of the 16th Century by the Qutub Shahi ruler Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah.
As per Archaeological Survey of India, the Charminar, which literally means Four Towers, was erected by the ruler to commemorate the end of plague.
The two-storied monument, as the name suggests, has indeed four arches facing all the four directions.
One can see the beautiful Mecca Masjid from its balconies on the top floor.
There is a small and quaint mosque on the top floor as well. This is supposed to be one of the oldest surviving mosques in Hyderabad.
The famous old market Lal bazaar is close by Charminar and is scene of great activity all day.
8. Vijaynagar Empire Ruins, Hampi
Regarded as the largest city of its time, Hampi was located on the banks of River Tungabhadra. It was the epitome of architectural wonders, and was regarded as a cultural and economic hub.
There were seven lines of fortification in Hampi. The seventh and the innermost fortification enclosed the main city. It is still the best preserved.
Monuments here can be divided into religious, civil and military buildings. All the monuments of Hampi together have been listed together on the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Some of the famous monuments of Hampi are Virupaksha Temple, Hazara Rama Temple Complex, and Lotus Mahal.
The city was destroyed after Vijayanagar lost in a battle despite its huge military.
7. Chandela Rulers’ Group of Temples, Khajuraho
This is a group of beautiful Hindu and Jain temples located in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. Built by the Chandela rulers in the 11th and 12th Century, Khajuraho group of temples is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
These temples are especially famous for the intricate carvings on the exterior walls. The carvings represent daily lives of human beings, and some of those are quite erotic ones – one of the significant reasons these temples have become so popular.
Historical evidences suggest there were some 85 temples in Khajuraho at one time. But only 20 of those have survived the hammers of weathering and stood firm. Most famous of these are Kendariya Mahadev Temple and Lakshmana Temple.
At present, these temples form the backdrop for the famous Khajuraho Dance Festival every year.
6. Sun Temple, Konark
It was built in the form of a giant ornamented chariot of Surya, the Sun god. The Temple has elements of the traditional style of Kalinga architecture.
Sun Temple was carefully oriented towards the east so that the first rays of sunrise fall on the principal entrance.
It was originally built at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, but the waterline has receded since then.
Due to the weight of the superstructure (vimana) (70m tall) and weak soil of the area, the main vimana is said to have fallen in 1837. Most impressive of what has remained is the audience hall (Jagamohana), which is about 39 meters tall.
One can also see various carvings on the temple walls showing different activities of life, including erotic ones.
5. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Perched atop a 410-foot (125-meter) high, construction of Mehrangarh Fort started in 1459 under Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur. The Fort was subsequently expanded and fortified by successive rulers of Marwar over the centuries.
“Mehrangarh”, whose literal meaning translates to “Fort of the Sun”, is a fusion of Rajputana and Mughal architectural styles, showcasing intricate carvings, detailed latticework, and impressive courtyards.
Mehrangarh Fort has stood as a symbol of Jodhpur’s history and grandeur and has also played a strategic role in the region’s history. It has withstood numerous battles and sieges, serving as a stronghold for the Marwar rulers against external invasions.
In present times, the fort has emerged as a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world. The fort is often used as a backdrop for cultural festivals, music performances, and even film shoots. This adds to its charm and allure.
4. Amber Fort, Jaipur
Amber or Amer Fort, located high on a hill, is the principal attraction for tourists in Jaipur. The Fort, built mainly of red sandstone and marble, is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard.
It served as the capital of the Kachwaha rulers till 1727, when the capital was shifted to Jaipur, which was built by Sawai Jai Singh II.
Special attractions of the Fort are – Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience), the Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas, where a cool climate used to be artificially created by winds that blew over water cascade within the palace.
Amber Fort (along with other hill forts of Rajasthan) is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
3. Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
Situated near Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was founded by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It served as the capital of the Mughals from 1571 to 1585.
Fatehpur Sikri was built to honour the Sufi Saint Salim Chishti. It was a planned city with mosque, harems, palaces, private quarters and other utility buildings.
The most famous of the buildings include the Buland Darwaza, Tomb of Salim Chishti and Jama Masjid.
Fatehpur Sikri was, however, abandoned almost immediately after its completion in 1585, largely due to the paucity of water in the adjoining areas.
Parts of the city still remain and become a great place to visit for tourists and those who are interested in discovering facets of Indian history.
2. Taj Mahal, Agra
Taj Mahal, one of the new seven wonders of the world, was constructed on Shah Jahan’s orders during the Mughal era.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in India, Taj Mahal, was constructed of white marble. It also houses the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan.
Taj Mahal is located in the middle of a 42-acre compound on the banks of the River Yamuna in Agra.
It was constructed as a replica of God’s Heaven on Earth. The monument’s construction, which is thought to have cost more than Rs32 million, is thought to have been finished in 1653.
1. Qutub Minar, Delhi
Qutub Minar, at a height of 72 metres, is frequently referred to as the tallest tower in India and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Qutub-ud-Din Aibak began work on the Qutub Minar in 1199.
Under two further Sultanate sultanates, Iltutmish and Firoz Shah Tughlaq, construction carried on.
Near Qutub Minar, there are several additional lesser monuments. Iron Pillar and the Tomb of Iltutmish are the two most well-known of these.
Other Monuments which could have been on the list:
Red Fort, Delhi
Red Fort, Agra
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer
Shore Temples, Mahabalipuram
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Aurangabad
Brihadeswara Temple, Thanjavur
Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi