14 Most Popular Architectural Heritage Destinations in India – Unveiled!

In cave number 10, mural paintings date back to the beginning of the Christian era. Paintings of the first and the sixteenth cave date back to the period six hundred years after the beginning of the Christian era. The life and times of Buddha have been depicted in these mural paintings.

Further, tales from the Jatakas have also been depicted in these paintings. The figures appear to stand out from the wall. The messages of these mural paintings are secular and insinuate universal brotherhood, though these were created with religious devotion in mind.

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2. Delhi:

The capital of India, this city was ruined 7 times and then rebuilt. Its total area is 1, 48,600 sq hectares. It is located in the north-western part of India and flanked by UP and Haryana. Its population is more than 1.2 crore.

It has Indira Gandhi International Airport for international flights (Terminal II) and a domestic airport (Terminal I) for domestic flights; both of these are located at Palam. It has rail and road links with all the cities of the country. Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Lodhi Gardens, Rail Museum, Shahjahanabad, Connaught Place.

Nehru Place, Bahai Temple, Jhandewalan Temple, India Gate, Boat Club, Zoo, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Chandani Chowk, Appu Ghar, Purana Quila, Palika Bazaar, Janpath and Buddha Jayanti Garden are its main attractions.

Tourists would love the nightlife of this city; for this purpose, they can go to the bars and discotheques of Greater Kailash, South Extension and Connaught Place. Liquor cannot be consumed at public places; Sightseeing tours are arranged by many travel agencies. Some of them take tourist to Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Mathura.

Hyatt Regency, Park Royal Intercontinental and Taj Palace are popular hotels. Middle-budget tourists can stay in hotels of Paharganj. There are many nice inns and hotels in Sunder Nagar (on Mathura Road). Delhi is hot during summers and very cold during winters (especially during winters (December and January). This mysterious city is a blend of ancient history and modern living.

3. Fatehpur Sikri:

Tourists visit Sikandra and Fatehpur Sikri after visiting the Taj. Akbar’s tomb is located at Sikandara. The Buland Darwaza is located at Fatehpur Sikri which is located at a distance of 37 km form Agra. The grand door was got constructed by Akbar in 1576 to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. The height of this gate is 41 m

4. Gateway of India:

A magnificent monument located at the southern tip of modern Muir the Gateway of India was built in 1911. It symbolises Mumbai as the entry Gate “India. Motor boat rides are undertaken by tourists for a period of 30 minutes at very reasonable rates.

The motorboat takes the passengers to a distance of nearly 3 km off the Gateway and then, it turns to move back to the shore. Other attraction of the area is shops, eating places and the magnificent Taj Mahal Hotel.

5. Khajuraho:

It is one of the most visited places of India. The historic temples of Khajuraho were built between 950 AD and 1050 AD. Located in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, these were got constructed by Chandela Rajput rulers of the region.

Life has been depicted in different attractive forms in stone. These can be divided into three parts-western, eastern and southern. There were 85 temples in the beginning but today, only 22 temples remain.

6. Mandu:

This historical town is located at distance of 90 km due west of Indore, in Madhya Pradesh. It is the largest, deserted and fortified city of the world. It is located in the Vindhya Hills at a height of 600 m above the MSL. Grandeur of the past can still be savoured from the remains of the fort, which is being protected by the authorities.

The Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal and the palace of Baz Bahadur are worth visiting. Baz Bahadur and Roopmati were the legendary lovers of this place. Baz Bahadur was defeated by the generals of Akbar the Great. Vagaries of time and weather have taken their toll and the fort is mostly in ruins.

7. Moti Masjid:

It is located inside the Red Fort of Delhi. Emperor Shahjahan used to offer namaz prayers in this mosque. It is a prominent example of Mughal architecture.

8. Mysore:

Located at a distance of 85 km from Bangalore (Karnataka), this beautiful city is steeped in historical grandeur. It was the main fort of Tipu Sultan’s kingdom.

He and his father, Hyder Ali, had built an empire in Mysore that was powerful, secular to the core and progressive. However; Tipu was defeated in 1799 by the British. Srirangapatnam was the capital of Tipu’s kingdom. In Mysore, the royal vodeyar family had entrenched for several centuries.

This family was the supporter of Tipu. The Mysore Palace is in the heart of the city. It has a museum that shows the lifestyle, arms and other personal effects of the Vodeyar family. Tourists would have to spend nearly two hours to witness the large halls, glass paintings, furniture, paintings and other thrilling objects placed inside the museum.

The renowned Mysore Dussehra is celebrated in the vast compound of Mysore Palace in the month of October every year. The descendents of the vodeyar family are the chief guests of this ceremony. At a distance nearly 45 km from the main bus stand of Mysore, the holy temple of Chamunda Devi is located on a hilltop.

Tourists can go there by bus or taxi. The flat top of the mountain has one of the oldest shrines dedicated to Chamunda Devi, Devotes throng this place in thousands and get the blessings of the holy goddess. The trip to the hilltop would take nearly three hours. At a distance of nearly 25 km, a dam attracts the attention of tourists.

It was got built by the renowned engineer, M Visvesraya, on river Cauvery. The reservoir is also called Krishan Raja Sagar (KRS). Adjacent to the dam reservoir, are the most beautiful gardens of southern India. These are known as Vrindavan Gardens.

The statue of goddess Cauvery is located here. The garden has an amazing variety of roses and other flowers. Fountains have been built on its slope that goes down to meet Cauvery. Every day, at 7:00 pm., a sound and light show is organised in the gardens. The intercity of water’s thrust from the fountains varies according to the rhythm of music.

At the lower end of the garden (on its right side), there are small restaurants. A fish aquarium is also located in the same area. It is located in the central area of the town, the grand palace invites tourists. They can move through the bazaars of Mysore and enjoy its nightlife too.

Good hotels and restaurants are located in the vicinity of the Bus Stand. Mysore is also connected to Bangalore through a railway line. Bus service is quite frequent. Taxis are available.

9. Orchha:

It is located quite close to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. It is a medieval city. Most of the forts, palaces and cenotaphs (chhatris) of this area were got constructed by the Bundela kings. The architecture is a connection of the Hindu, Mughal and Indo-Saracenic styles.

Tourists can arrive at Gwalior from Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata. This city has other road and rail links as well. From Gwalior, tourists can take buses, coaches or taxis to reach Orchha.

Local tour operators can take them to the fort as well as to other historical landmarks of the region. It is a place of worth visiting for those who are interested in exploring the architectural styles of the medieval age. Normally, tourist visit Gwalior first and then, they head towards Orchha.

10. Qutab Minar:

The tallest minar of India, the Qutab minar was got constructed by the fist Muslim ruler of India, Qutub-ud-din Aibak. He was the first Sultan of the Slave Dynasty. When four storeys of the minar were completed, the Sultan had died (in 1210). His successor; Altamash, got another storey added tar its top.

The present height of the minar is 72 m. There was also a canopy on the top of the minar. It was destroyed due to lightning that had struck the minar during the medieval age. The storeys have reducing diameters as one goes from the bottom to the top by an intricate system of circular stairs. No one is allowed to climb the minar due to security reasons.

11. Red Fort at Agra:

It was got constructed by Emperor Akbar in 1566 AD. Only a small portion of this va^t fort is shown to tourists. It has a mosque, Deewan-e-Aam and Deewan- e-Khas as its main attractions.

12. Red Fort at Delhi:

This grand fort is the pride of India and is naturally identified with the capital of India. It was got built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan. It is built of red stone. The world famous Jama Masjid is located at its front, but at a distance of nearly half a km from the Lahori Gate.

13. Srirangapatnam:

It was the capital of Tipu Sultan. It had a fort, which is in ruins now. The place, where Tipu had died, has been protected by the government; it has a black marble slab, with an inscription that signifies the death spot.

The jail of the fort is another place to be visited. The joint tomb of Tipu Sultan, Hyder Ali and the mother of Tipu Sultan is also in the same area. The tombs of other family members of Tipu Sultan are also located in the same premises.

The black marble pillars of the mausoleum indicated the number of years for which, Hyder Ali had stayed in power in Mysore. Each one of them has been valued at more than Rs 1 crore. The town also has a museum that shows the personal effects, horse- driven coaches and arms used by Tipu Sultan and his family.

The history of Mysore comes alive in the paintings that are large enough to cover the walls of the verandahs of the museum. The wartime dresses and armour (bakhtarband) are also on display.

14. Taj Mahal:

Probably, the greatest monument of Third World and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the magnificent Taj is located at Agra (Uttar Pradesh). This city is at a distance of 200 km due south of Delhi. The Taj is a mausoleum and is poetry in marble, literally.

It was got constructed by the Mughal emperor, Shahjahan, in the memory of his wife, Arjamand Banu Begum (better known as Mumtaz Mahal). After giving birth to her fourteenth child, the queen joined the great majority.

It is believed that the final design of the Taj was created on the pattern of the architectural details of Humayun’s tomb (which is located at Delhi). The construction of the Taj began in 1632 AD. It took Rs 22 lakh and 20 years to complete.

The emperor spent most of the wealth of his exchequer (Shahi Khazan) on the construction of the Taj. Marble was brought from Makrana (Rajasthan). The chief architect was Ustad Isa, an Iranian. Plans and estimates were prepared by Verones, an Italian.

Nearly 20,000 workers slogged to complete the monument on the bank of river Yamuna. The grave of Mumtaz Mahal was constructed in the central hall of the Taj. When it was completed, their hands were chopped off, lest they should build another monument of the same magnanimity and grandeur.

When the emperor was arrested and put in confinement in the Agra Fort (Agra), he used to watch the Taj from his cell. Shahjahan died while looking at the Taj.

He was buried alongside the queen. The mausoleum has a large dome-shaped building, which is surrounded by four identical marble minarets. The entire structure stands on an elevated marble platform. Parks and lawns have been created around the Taj to enhance the beauty of the building.

The holy scriptures from the Quran have been inlaid with black marble in white marble walls. These scriptures are in Nashq Talik script and have been inlaid with great precision and accuracy.

There are two sets of graves in the Taj. The first set has two graves, one each of the emperor and his queen, in the main hall of the mausoleum at the level of the platform. The other set, which is that of real graves, is in an underground chamber just below the platform level.

Marble of these graves is so pure that light can pierce through its thickness; the tour guide uses a torch to show this purity to visitors who must take off their shoes to enter into the mausoleum. The walls of the main mausoleum have been provided with finely crafted marble grills.

The Taj is a perfect example of Mughal architecture; in fact, it shows the zenith of Mughal art, which has many shades of Persian and Indian art forms. In the construction of the Taj, the Persian style of architecture is clearly visible. Till date, no other marble building could acquire as much beauty and fame as the Taj.

Buses, air conditioned coaches, taxis and cars are available from Delhi to visit the place. The Taj looks most beautiful in a moonlit night. There are many hotels and restaurants in and around the Taj to cater to the needs of tourists. There is no industrial activity in a specific area with the Taj at its centre (also called Taj Quadrilateral).

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