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 everyday life 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 and the architecture’s design is in the shape of Lord Krishna’s crown.
Many people see the Hawa Mahal from the street view and think it is the front of the palace, but it is the back. The monument also has delicately 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.
Ellora Caves is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India. It is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, featuring 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 excavation 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 is locally known as Elusuttina Kote (meaning the fort of seven circles) and is one of the country’s strongest hill forts and a definite stop for your India trip. The fort originally had 19 gateways, 38 postern-gates, 35 secret entrances, and 4 ‘invisible’ entrances. Many of these have gone out of existence now. The doors were made of strong and thick wooden beams fastened with iron plates.
The soaring ramparts are hewn from rock to complement the craggy landscape and were designed so that each line of fortification overlooks others below. The zigzagging pathways slowed down enemy soldiers and prevented the use of battering rams. The doors of the main gateways were also bristling with iron spikes to ward off elephants.
Chitradurga fort is famed for its sophisticated water harvesting system. Interconnected reservoirs collected and stored rainwater, which overflew from each tank flowing into other tanks below it. Such an effective system ensured that the fort never ran out of water. After filling all these tanks, the water used to flow to the moats around the fort-walls. This efficient fort is a beautiful place that you must visit during your India trip.
Jhansi Fort or Jhansi ka Kila is a fortress situated on a large hilltop called Bangira in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India. It served as a stronghold of the Chandela Kings in Balwant Nagar from the 11th through the 17th century. The fort of Maharani (queen) Jhansi has 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): Khandero Gate, Datia Darwaza, Unnao gate, Jharna Gate, Laxmi Gate, Sagar Gate, Orcha Gate, Sainyar Gate, and Chand Gate.
The Jhansi Fort is a living testimony of ancient glamour and valor. It also has a fine collection of sculptures that provide an excellent inside view into the eventful 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 world heritage site. The tall minaret was constructed in 1192 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak and later completed by his successor Iltutmish. The soaring conical tower is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture. Before 1974, the general public was allowed to access the top of the Minar. On December 4, 1981, 45 people were killed in a stampede that followed an electricity failure that plunged the tower’s 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 behold on your India trip.
The Qutub Minar is surrounded by several historically significant 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 people 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 tower, which lead to the marble 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 of the sculptures depict men either associated 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 many delicately drawn murals, are located in a 76 m high, horseshoe-shaped escarpment overlooking 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 rather interesting. The caves have been built in a set of two phases in two different centuries. The first set belongs to the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE, whereas the second set of the 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.
The Capital of the Sultanate of Gujarat, Champaner is a historical city located in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district. Being included in the elite list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites across the globe, this marvelous archaeological park set in the heart of Champaner and amidst the Pavagadh hills is one of the most sought after places in Gujarat. Heavy tourist traffic is expected as many make this a stop on their India trip.
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park holds a lot of historical as well as 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 was originally carried by Lord Hanuman to Lanka in the Ramayana epic. With such rich 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 dotted with heritage sites and a list of cultural heritage monuments. The park’s famous monuments include Kabutarkhana Pavilion, Jami Masjid, Jain temple, and Pavagadh Kalika Mata temple.
The Gwalior Fort is referred to as ‘the pearl amongst fortresses in India’ by Mughal emperor Babur. The Gwalior Fort is one of the most impenetrable fortresses located in India’s entire northern and southern parts and is a definite must-visit on your India trip. Situated on the top of a vast rocky mountain near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh in central India, this imposing structure dominates the entire city of Gwalior. An inseparable part of the city’s identity and architecture suggests that it has been around since the 6th Century.
Interesting Fact: Gwalior Fort is the place where the second oldest reference of the number ‘zero’ has been found in the form 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 marvel has an intriguing history attached to it. It has passed from the possession of one dynasty to another multiple time. The entire fort complex is well maintained 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 rays of the sunshine, the temple at Konark is an impressive representation 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 spectacular memorials of religious architecture all over the world. King Narasimhadeva built this monument in the thirteenth century.
The entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twenty-four wheels, carrying the sun god, Surya, across the heavens. The temple is a World Heritage Site and it is also known as The Black Pagoda. It is a masterpiece of temple art and architecture. 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 a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. The giant ornamented chariot is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya and one of the important 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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