India is a land of rich cultural diversity and is home to some of the finest pieces of architectural brilliance – the monuments. These stand testimony to bygone eras and helps tourists from all over the world to get a glimpse into the history of this mesmerizing country.
The unique characteristic of each and every monument has a story of its own, beckoning the global traveller to fall in love with its rich tradition and history. India is one of those countries that have been invaded by a number of foreign rulers and have been under the rule of kings from various provinces.
During each of these rules, efforts were made to build some monument or the other. As a result, when you travel across the length and breadth of this wonderful country, you’ll be awestruck with the beauty of the marvellous pieces of architecture adorning every part of the country.
Let’s take a look at the top seven monuments of India.
Taj Mahal at Agra
The Taj Mahal has almost become synonymous with eternal love. Lovers all over the world dote on this world heritage site that has also been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Made in the memory of Emperor Shahjahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the marble structure of the Taj was built over a period of 22 years by some of the finest architects of the Mughal era.
It was believed that Emperor Shahjahan had hand picked the artisans to create one of the greatest splendours of the Mughal period. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna, the Taj Mahal would mesmerize your senses on your first visit. As you look at the huge, white structure looming above you, it seems to be oozing with majestic elegance and sophistication. The Taj Mahal has drawn travellers from all over the world and remains one of the most visited places in the world.
The Red Fort or Lal Quila at Delhi
Photo Credit: Yogeshsarkar.com
The Red Fort or Lal Quila stands as a brilliant testimony to Mughal supremacy. This awesome red sandstone structure was completed in nine years and served the dual purpose of being a fortress as well as a palace. The octagonal shape of the fort and its strategic placement near the river was considered to be a masterstroke.
The Red Fort has two main entry points, namely the Delhi Gate and the Lahori Gate. And in order to provide maximum protection to the fort, it was surrounded by a moat that was connected to the river and was always filled with water. Therefore, the fort was secured with a narrow river running along its perimeter. When you visit the Red Fort, you’ll be surprised with the brilliance of its architectural planning, the exquisite palaces within the fort and the keen attention to detail.
Charminar at Hyderabad
Photo Credit: Hyd.co.in
The landmark structure of Hyderabad, the Charminar was built in 1591 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah. Constructed with four elaborately carved and decorated minarets, the Charminar derived its name from the four hefty minarets. Devoted to the memory of Qutub Shah’s wife, this structure was built when the ruler shifted his capital to the city of Hyderabad. At present, it stands in a busy market of Hyderabad and is frequented by travellers from across the world.
Gateway of India at Mumbai
Photo Credit: Destination360.com
One of the most famous remnants of the British rule is the Gateway of India. Located at Apollo Bunder in South Mumbai, the area where this monument has been constructed was initially used by the local fishermen. Later it was renovated to construct a monument that could welcome the British governors to Indian ports as they alighted from English ships.
Eventually it was constructed to honour the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. The yellow basalt façade of the Gateway of India attracts a lot of visitors on a daily basis and is one of the top attractions in India. Visitors willing to travel to the Elephanta caves also use this gateway.
Jantar Mantar at New Delhi
Constructed in 1725, the Jantar Mantar reflects the scientific spirit of ancient India. It is one of those structures that stand testimony to India’s technological brilliance and supremacy in the field of astronomy. The Jantar Mantar was made by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and was mainly responsible for making astronomical calculations.
This observatory was largely used for understanding the movement of the planets, stars and the moon. A huge sun dial at the Jantar Mantar remains one of the most fascinating instruments of times gone by. In order to correctly predict the astronomical movements, Jantar Mantars were built in other parts of the country as well. Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura too have these structures. But, the one at New Delhi is the best known monument.
Hawa Mahal at Jaipur
Literally meaning the Palace of Winds, the Hawa Mahal at Jaipur is one of the best known landmarks of the Pink City. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the Hawa Mahal is a brilliant example of Rajputana architecture and Mughal designing. The palace got its name from the 953 tiny windows that resemble the structure of a honeycomb and allow a lot of air circulation, thus, acting as a natural air conditioner for the palace. It was also the perfect retreat for the queens who could enjoy the processions on the streets from their cool comfortable rooms of the Hawa Mahal.
Victoria Memorial at Kolkata
Photo Credit: Ghumakkar.com
One of the most beautiful and captivating monuments of India, the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata was made with the purpose of paying tribute to the glorifying success of British rule in India. It was dedicated to the Empress of India and Queen of United Kingdom, Queen Victoria. It has now been developed into a museum that showcases several artefacts from the British regime and is a top pick among tourists visiting Kolkata.
Though, the above seven feature prominently in the list of monuments in India, there is an abundance of monuments and historical structures in all parts of the country. And only a region wise tour would let you enjoy the fine monuments of this colourful country.