India is one of the places on Earth that boasts of cultural diversity seen in very few other places in the world. With a rich history spanning 2,500 years, there are monuments scattered across the big nation, remnants of this rich history that give the world a glimpse of what India used to be. The allure to be in the presence of these landmarks has inspired people from all corners of the planet to visit India a must-do activity at one point in their lives. There are countless landmarks in India that date back many years and some new ones that keep popping up every year. There are, however, some that stand above the rest. These landmarks that make India such a unique attraction include the following.
Taj Mahal, Agra
A discussion about India can never be complete without the mention of the magnificent Taj Mahal. Located right in Agra city in Indian, Taj Mahal was constructed in 1632 by the emperor of Mughal Empire, Shah Jahan. The edifice was to serve as the tomb of one of his wives, Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal sits on a 17-hectare piece of land and receives about 8 million visitors every year. Its most recognizable feature is the white dome that sits atop the mausoleum peak. Legend has it that the Emperor intended to build another black marble version of the Taj Mahal across the river, but a dispute that led to war between him and his sons disrupted those plans, and they were eventually discarded.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
Fondly known as Harmandir Sahib by the locals, the Golden Temple in the city of Amritsar is considered the holiest and the most critical site for Sikhs. It was built in 1577 as an open house for worship for all people. Its magnificent architecture that has dome-shaped golden roofs and white walls is the reason the area receives a staggering 100,000 visitors in a day, mostly of the Sikh religion who flock the place for pilgrimage. Exciting details about the temple is that the golden covering enmeshing the whole temple was made from actual gold foil, which is the inspiration behind its name. Although it is holy ground for the Sikhs, it is open to members of all other religions, castes, and creeds.
City Palace, Udaipur
Nestled in the city of Udaipur, the City Palace was built in 1553 with proceeds from contributions made by various rulers of the Mewar dynasty, starting with Maharana Udai Singh II, who commissioned its construction ahead of the relocation of his capital from Chittor to Udaipur. The imposing palace stands at 100 feet high and 801 feet in length. Converted into a museum, the palace receives about a million visitors in a year.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
It is hard to miss the Gateway of India in most Bollywood movies, magazines, and postcards, and this proves how it is adored and respected. Located in Mumbai city, the gateway was constructed from 1913 to 1924 to commemorate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary of the British Empire in Mumbai. The gateway is always flocked with locals, vendors, and photographers. It has the capacity to host about 2,500 people.
Amber Fort, Amer
Located in the state of Rajasthan, Amer Fort’s construction was initiated by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and it was completed centuries later in the 18th century by Sawai Jai Singh. The fort is loved for its artistic architectural style that reflects the rich culture of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The fort offers elephant rides to visitors.
Akshardham Swaminarayan, Delhi
The name “Akshardham” translates to the divine abode of God, which explains why the Hindus highly revere the temple. The Akshardham Swaminarayan is the largest Hindu temple in India that was built from 2000, with its official opening taking place on November 6th. The temple now showcases Hinduism and has beautiful courtyards and lawns that attract visitors.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Jaipur is home to another significant landmark called the Hawa Mahal, which means The Palace of Breeze. Constructed in 1799 in the Rajput architectural style, the structure has five floors, and a total of 953 small windows with an exterior decorated by latticework honeycombed designs. The building was built for use by the royal ladies, who were not allowed to be seen in public, to watch processions in the city.
Lotus Temple, Delhi
The architectural marvel that resembles the shape of a lotus flower was built in 1986 as a Bahai House of worship that allows all outsiders from all religions. The temple has 27 marble petals in symmetrical clusters with nine sides and nine doors that lead into a hall. It has the capacity to house 2,500 people and has boosted tourist numbers in Delhi ever since it was officially opened on the December 24th, 1986. An interesting fact about the founders of the temple, the Bahai religion, that they subscribe to, is among the youngest religions on the planet that was founded in Iran in the 19th century by Baha’u’llah
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Located in Jodhpur, the fort of Mehrangarh was built in 1459 by Rao Jodha on top of a hill to provide a formidable defense for the city of Jodhpur. The fort has imposing walls and has seven gates, including the Jayapol gate, which was built to commemorate the victories that Maharaja Man Singh scored over Jaipur and Bikaner armies that had laid siege on the city. A long-running legend about the fort is that it used to be the location of prayer for a hermit, who, after being forced to move to make way for the fort, cursed the place to forever suffer from drought. To this date, the fort experiences droughts every four years.
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Formally known as Jag Niwas, the Lake Palace is built on the Jag Niwas Island that stands in Lake Pichola in Udaipur. It has a foundation that sits on four acres of land, which was built between 1743 and 1746 under the supervision of Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur. The palace has been used in the past as a residence for the royal family and later on as a Hindu temple. Currently it acts as a museum that attracts flocks of tourists from around the world. The Lake Palace is now a privately run hotel that has been voted the most romantic hotel in the world.
Other Interesting Landmarks
The Red Fort in Delhi, built by Shah Jahan, is a recognized UNESCO world heritage site that has a museum inside. Another top milestone that's frequented by visitors is the Humayun’s Tomb, which is the official final resting place of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. It has pink walls juxtaposed against a green background with fountains of water, making it a sight to behold. The Jantar Mantar was an astronomy station that was constructed in the 16th century and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Juntar Mantar is home to the largest stone sundial on earth. The Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan sits on land spanning 700 acres and stands on a hill 540 feet high. The fort is among the oldest structures in India as it dates back to the 7th century. It still stands to this day, having withstood countless battles and sieges that were frequent in that era.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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