Many agree that an India trip is a vacation you will remember forever! As one of the most ancient civilizations with such a rich history, there is no shortage of memorable sites with gorgeous architecture and wonderful photo opportunities. This guide will help you decide which attractions you wish to visit during your India trip. Make the most of your travels through the holy land by preparing in advance!
Hawa Mahal is a beautiful palace built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh and Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The “mahal” (or Castle) is a five-story pyramid-shaped monument constructed with red and pink sandstone. Lal Chand Ustad designed the architectural marvel. This beautiful castle has 953 small windows.
The Hawa Mahal was designed to allow royal ladies of the palace to observe the everyday lives of commoners and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen. The ruler built this unique monument in the shape of a crown, as he was a strong devotee of Lord Krishna – the architecture’s design is in the shape of Lord Krishna’s crown.
Many people see the Mahal from the street and think it is the palace’s front, but it is actually the back. The monument also has skillfully modeled hanging cornices. Check out PML Holidays Tour Packages to Rajasthan to see this beautiful Palace during your India trip.
Insider Tip: The grand and historical palace known as the palace of winds is one of the most popular historical monuments of Jaipur and a popular tourist spot.
In the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India, Ellora Caves is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the largest rock-cut monastery temples in the world. It features Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain monuments and artwork dating from the 600–1000 CE period. The Kailasha or Kailashanatha temple is the largest of the rock-cut Hindu temples at the Ellora Caves.
The Kailasha temple features sculptures depicting the gods, goddesses, and mythologies found in Vaishnavism, Shaktism, and panels summarizing the two major Hindu Epics. Ellora Caves are the major tourist attraction in Aurangabad and are a must-see for your India trip.
Interesting Fact: Cave 16, in particular, features the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world.
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Chitradurga Fort, known as Elusuttina Kote (fort of seven circles), is one of India’s strongest hill forts and a definite stop for your India trip. The fort initially had 38 postern gates, 35 secret entrances, 19 gateways, and 4 ‘invisible’ entrances. Most of these don’t exist anymore. The gates were made of sturdy wooden beams connected with iron plates.
The walls are cut from rock to complement the rocky landscape. The zigzagging pathways stalled enemy soldiers and hindered the use of battering rams. The main doors had iron spikes to ward off elephants.
Chitradurga fort is famous for its advanced water harvesting system. Interconnected reservoirs collected and stored the precious rainwater, which overflowed from each tank into other tanks beneath it. This sophisticated system ensured that the fort never ran out of water. After filling all these tanks, the water flowed to the canals around the fort walls. Chitradurga Fort is a fascinating place that you should visit during your India trip.
Jhansi Fort or Jhansi ka Kila is a fortress located on a prominent hilltop called Bangira in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India. It served as a fortress of the Chandela Kings in Balwant Nagar from the 11th through the 17th century. The fort of Maharani (queen) Jhansi has had strategic importance since the earliest of times. It was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo (1606-1627) of Orchha on a rocky hill called Bangra in Balwantnagar (presently known as Jhansi) and is a gorgeous, visually stunning site to visit during your India trip.
The fort has ten gates (Darwaza), including Khandero Gate, Datia Darwaza, Unnao gate, Jharna Gate, Laxmi Gate, Sagar Gate, Orcha Gate, Sainyar Gate, and Chand Gate.
The Jhansi Fort is living proof of ancient charm and bravery. It also has a fine collection of sculptures that provide an excellent inside view into the memorable history of Bundelkhand, and visitors should definitely view this magnificent fort during their India trip.
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Qutub Minar in Delhi is a tall minaret and a world heritage site. It was developed and constructed in 1192 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak and later made by his successor Iltutmish. The cone-shaped tower is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture. Before 1974, visitors were allowed to access the top of the Minar. However, on December 4, 1981, 45 people were killed in a stampede that followed an electricity malfunction that plunged the tower’s entire staircase into darkness. Since then, public access to the inside of the tower has been banned, but even the outside architecture is something amazing to observe on your India trip.
The Qutub Minar is surrounded by several monuments known as the Iron Pillar of Delhi, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Alai Darwaza, the Tomb of Iltutmish, Alai Minar, Ala-ud-din’s Madrasa and Tomb, and the Tomb of Imam Zamin. Many tourists visit the breathtaking Minar during their India trip.
Interesting Fact: Qutub Minar is 120 meters tall, making it the tallest brick minaret in the world! There are 379 stairs inside the Minar, and these stairs lead to the top of the minaret.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) is a historic railway station in Mumbai and a World Heritage Site worth visiting during your India trip. It was built in 1887 and took over 10 years to build. Designed by British architect Frederick William Stevens, it cost over $340,000 to create. It was the city’s most expensive building in 1887. The sandstone and limestone building is C-shaped with two wings extending out from a central domed structure.
This beautiful monument has ten carved stone medallions located on the front wall. Many sculptures depict men connected with establishing India’s first railway system or designing and building the terminus itself. The historic railway station is a great way to travel to Mumbai during your India trip.
Interesting Fact: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of India’s busiest railway stations, now known simply as CST, and ranked as one of the most amazing railway stations in India.
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The 30 caves at Ajanta lie to the north of Aurangabad in the Indhyadri range of Western Ghats. The caves, famous for their temple architecture and carefully drawn murals, are located in a 76-meter high, horseshoe-shaped mountain facing the Waghora (tiger) River. UNESCO lists the Ajanta Caves as a World Heritage Site, which is definitely worth visiting on your India trip.
The history of the caves is fascinating. They have been built in a set of two phases in two different centuries. The first set was built in the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE, whereas the second set of caves were built in the 5th century. The Ajanta Caves is a favorite place for tourists to visit during their India trip.
Interesting Fact: Ajanta Caves are approximately 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments that date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE.
Champaner is the capital city of Gujarat, a historical city located in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district. It’s included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites across the globe. This magnificent archaeological park set in the heart of Champaner and amidst the Pavagadh hills is one of the most enchanting places in Gujarat. Heavy tourist traffic is expected as many make this a stop on their India trip.
Champaner-Pavagadh Park holds a lot of historical and mythological significance in itself. The Park comprises many splendid architectural wonders consisting of both Hindu & Islamic styles of design. Another interesting fact regarding Champaner is that the hill of Pavagadh is believed to be a chunk of the Himalayas that Lord Hanuman originally carried to Lanka in the Ramayana story. With such harmonious history to its name, this makes up for a really intriguing place to visit during your India trip.
Interesting Fact: Champaner Pavagadh archaeological park is listed with heritage sites and cultural heritage monuments. The park’s famous monuments include Kabutarkhana Pavilion, Jami Masjid, Jain temple, and Pavagadh Kalika Mata temple.
Mughal emperor Babur referred to the Gwalior Fort as ‘the pearl amongst fortresses in India.’ Gwalior Fort is known as one of the most impenetrable strongholds in India’s entire northern and southern parts and is a definite must-visit on your India trip. Located on the top of a broad rocky mountain near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh in central India, this monumental structure overlooks the entire city of Gwalior. The fort is an integral part of the city’s identity and architecture hints that it has been around since the 6th Century.
Interesting Fact: Gwalior Fort is where the second oldest reference of the number ‘zero’ was discovered in the design of a carving inside a temple on the top of the fort.
The Gwalior Fort’s construction took place in two parts, in two different time periods, and this architectural wonder has an intriguing history. It has passed from one dynasty to the next. The entire fort collection is well preserved and includes temples, water tanks, and palaces such as Man Mandir, the Gujari, the Jahangir, the Karan, and the Shah Jahan.
On the Bay of Bengal’s shores, immersed in the sun’s rays, the temple at Konark is an extraordinary image of the Sun God Surya’s chariot. The beautiful Sun temple is the apex of Kalingan’s temple architecture, and it is one of the most striking monuments of religious architecture all over the world. King Narasimhadeva built this beautiful monument in the thirteenth century.
The whole temple was designed in the shape of an enormous chariot with seven horses and twenty-four wheels, carrying Surya (sun god) across the heavens. The Sun Temple is also known as Black Pagoda is a World Heritage Site. If you love traveling to temples, this gorgeous temple should be added to the list of must-see beauties on your India trip.
Interesting Fact: Until the early 19th century, most of the architectural figures that made the temple famous were completely covered under the sand.
Interesting Fact: Sun Temple of Konark is the must-see historical monument of Kalinga architecture in Odisha and an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. The giant adorned chariot is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya and is one of the significant landmarks in Odisha.
An India trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime voyage through one of the world’s most ancient and holy lands! Be prepared in advance by reading this guide to pick and choose the sites you wish to visit. Snap fabulous pictures of gorgeous architecture, take in the rich culture, and enjoy the deep history behind these national treasures. Your India trip will be even more enjoyable when you include these memorable sites in your traveling adventures!
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