Since ancient days, India has been celebrated for its broad mindedness. This flexibility has helped in the mixture of varied thoughts and ideologies of different cultures. It has resulted into the present diversity across the nation. Indians have been ruled by diverse leaders including the Aryans, Mughals, Britishers, Mauryans, Guptas, Marathas etc. During their reign, they contributed in enriching the Indian culture with their great works in literature, art and monuments. Hence, India is an adobe to some great heritage sites ranging from tantalising temples to enchanting towers. On this International Day of Monuments and Sites, we bring to you a few of the legendary historical places of this country.
1. Taj Mahal
The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan constructed this jewel of Muslim art in India to accommodate the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, his dearest wife. Ustad Isa, the master architect of this structure had efficiently captured varied moods of Mumtaz in this ivory white marble mausoleum. Amongst the varied shades of colour that Taj reveals daily, the best are the shades of the blush in the morning and shinning gold in the moonlight. It took approximately 20 years and 20,000 labourers and artists to create this renowned beauty.
2. Hawa Mahal
The crown shaped palace, located in the heart of the Pink City of India – Jaipur, is an epitome of the Rajputana architecture. It is believed that the source of the palace’s form is the crown of Krishna, the Hindu God.
Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 created the Palace of Winds to keep the women of the royal household unseen from the outside. Along with having a free circulation of air, it’s 953 decorated windows (Jharokhas) enabled the ladies to observe the streets. The front of the premises of red and pink sandstone resembles a beehive castle. Amongst every highlight, its pyramid shape has managed to occupy the prime position. Owing to this shape, despite of lacking a solid foundation, this leaning curved five storey heritage site stands upright.
3. Bara Imambara
The fourth Nawab of Awadh in the year 1784 built it. Bara Imambara consists of a mosque, a labyrinth (bhul-bhulaiya) and a step well (bowli). Folk stories about the treasures hidden in the secret tunnel of this maze, is widely prevalent. What makes this historic structure obtain its mark on this globe is its construction. It was built using interlocking system of bricks. There was no use of grinders and beams, even the roof which stands steady till date is not supported by any pillars.
4. The Gateway of India
This mesmerising monument stands on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder overlooking the Arabian Sea in the City of Seven Islands – Mumbai. This place was used by the British viceroys and governors to land in India upon their arrival.
George Witter built this triumphal arch in 1924 to honour the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai. It is built in the Indo-Saracenic style which was widely prevalent in 19th century. Despite this, the structure contains the essence of the Muslim architectural styles of 16th century Gujarat. Moreover, this place bid farewell to the last ship of Britishers.
5. Jhulta Minar
An integral part of the mosque Sidi Bashir, Jhulta Minar – the oscillating minarets is a prominent architecture of the Manchester of India – Ahmedabad. There has been a conflicting story about who constructed this two well-known pairs of enigmatic monument – Sidi Bashir vs Malik Sarang.
Since its inception, the mechanism behind its vibration has baffled the best of architects and engineers of the world. It is constructed in such a way that when one minaret shakes, the other also sways. Despite this quivering, the connecting passage between the two remains mysteriously stagnant.
The Charminar has been the centre of attraction of the City of Pearls – Hyderabad. In 1591, Quli Qutb Shah erected it. Four level minarets at each corner surrounds this square monument. Granite and lime mortar were used to build this spellbinding monument in Cazia style of architecture. The Charminar is a symbol of India’s architectural background and the cultural and religious harmony of the country.
7. Vidhan Soudha
Inspired by The House of Commons in London, Sri Kengal Hanumanthaiah, the Chief Minister of Mysore proposed the idea of Vidhan Soudha. This majestic white edifice in the IT park of India – Bengaluru, is the largest Legislative building of India. It accommodates the State Legislature and the Secretariat of Karnataka. It demonstrates a mixture of Mysore Neo-Dravidian, Indo-Saracenic and Dravidian styles in its architecture.
8. Victoria Memorial
This bleached marble memorial in the Cultural Capital of India – Kolkata is a widely known tourist destination. George Curzon, the viceroy of India built it in the remembrance of Queen Victoria in between 1906 and 1921. The style used to design this structure is Indo-Saracenic, the combination of the British and Mughal architecture.
9. Chennai Railway Station
During the British Era, this George Harding’s creation served as the main gateway for those travelling to South India.
World Heritage Sites by UNESCO
In addition to the above, India provides shelter to a wide range of its heritage sites. Some of the world heritage by UNESCO are https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_India
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Also published on Medium.