India is a land of rich cultural heritage. The country has a variety of monuments that show the architectural splendour of its vast history. Many Indian monuments have an aura of romance, mystery and charm around them. Be it forts, mausoleums or religious monuments, each one has a fascinating architecture and intriguing story attached.
Although most of these places are open for all to visit, there are some sites where entry is partially restricted; photography in most of these places may also be partially restricted. We have listed a few of these historical marvels of India.
- Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar is one of the oldest monuments in Delhi and one of the tallest stone towers in India. The foundation of the tower was laid in 1199 by the then ruler Qutub-ud-din Aibak, which was later completed by his successor Shams-ud-din Iltutmish. The minaret housing 379 stairs is 72.5 meters in height and with a base diameter of 14.3 meters and a top diameter of is 2.7 meters the monument is still in very good shape.
Charminar built in 1591 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah is Hyderabad’s best known landmark. It is said that this monument was built to save the new city from epidemic and plague. The structure with its four minars stands in the heart of the old city. The arch houses a small mosque that is Hyderabad’s oldest. One of the finest examples of the Islamic architecture, the structure is made from marbles, granites and limestone.
- Taj Mahal
Well, who doesn’t know about the Taj Mahal. Built in the memory of his wife by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, Taj Mahal in Agra is considered one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. The construction of the Taj Mahal started in 1631 and was ended in 1653. The epitome of love is the mausoleum of both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. The Taj was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983. The white marble structure with four minarets and a dome stands on a raised platform, with the river Yamuna flowing in the back.
- Mysore Palace
The Mysore Palace in Karnataka is one of the largest palaces of India. Wodeyar Mahararajas resided in this palace that has three stories with a length of 245 feet and breadth of 156 feet. The Original Mysore Palace was accidentally burnt in 1897, and was rebuilt by the 24th Wodeyar Raja in 1912. The Mysore Palace is based on the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture developed by British architects. The place is illuminated for 45 minutes by approximately 1,00,000 bulbs on Sundays and national holidays giving this majestic monument a more grand affect against the night sky.
- Red Fort
The Red Fort in Delhi was built by Shah Jahan from 1638 to 1648 to protect his capital Shahjahanabad. The place was later converted into barracks by the British after the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was exiled to Burma in 1857. Built in sandstone, the fort is surrounded by an 18 meter high wall. Most of the buildings inside the fortress walls were replaced by barrack blocks for the colonial army.
- Humayun’s Tomb
As the name suggests, this is where the Mughal ruler Humanyun was buried. Built by Haji Begum, the wife of the Mughal ruler Humayun, the tomb unites Persian and Mughal components. In 1993, it was announced a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most spellbinding of Delhi’s tombs, Humayan’s tomb appears to be floating above the ground, making it similar to the architecture of Taj Mahal. The red and white building is a fine example of Persian influence on Indian architecture. Humayun was the first of the Mughals to be buried in the Tomb when he died in 1556 but the tomb now houses over 100 graves, thus it earned the name, ‘Dormitory of The Mughals’.
- Purana Qila
The Purana Qila or Old Fort hides maybe the remains of the city of Indraprastha of Mahabharata. Sher Shah Suri obliterated the city of Dinpanah constructed by Humayun and on the same site raised the Purana Qila. The entryways are two-storeyed, assembled with red sandstone and surmounted by chhatris. The fantastic gatehouse opens onto a quiet garden studded with old landmarks. The Sher Mandal was utilized by Humayun as a library; it was a fall down its stairs that ended his rule, and life, in 1556.