India is one of the most culturally rich and diverse countries in the entire world and showcases a plethora of beautiful and historical monuments that take you back in time, tourists from all over the world visit India to experience the grandeur of these magnificent monuments of historical importance. Following is a list of monuments in India you should definitely visit in India:
1) Humayun’s Tomb
Having great cultural significance, Humayun's Tomb constructed in 1570 is the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent. The beautiful tomb surrounded by magnificent gardens is also called the 'Dormitory of the Mughals’ as more than 150 members of the royal Mughal family members are buried here. It is a splendid example of the Charbagh style of garden. The tomb is one of the best-preserved Mughal monuments and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.
Makbara-e-Humayun or Humayun’s tomb was commissioned by Bega Begum as she vowed to build a glorious mausoleum in his memory. After years of construction, Humayun’s tomb stands inspired from famous Taj Mahal. The architecture of tomb is influenced by Persian architecture. The building stands on a massive platform of height up to 7 meters. It is constructed from red sandstone.
2) Hampi Monuments
Located in the south Indian state of Karnataka, Hampi monuments are the biggest allure of the city. It comprises mainly the residue of the Capital City of Vijayanagara Empire, the last great Hindu Kingdom. Hampi harbours Tungabhadra river, jagged hilly ranges and open plains, with widespread physical remains. Hampi monuments were given the status of UNESCO World Heritage site because of their picturesque architecture.
The Hampi monuments got its name as Kishkinda in the epic Ramayana. One visiting there must witness the melange of Hindu religion art, architecture in an unmatched scale. The monuments of fading glory Hampi are Achyuta Raya’s temple, Vithala temple, Virupaksha temple, Hampi Bazaar, Krishna Temple, Lakshmi Narsimha, Lotus mahal, Elephant stabales, Hazara Rama temple, Stepped tank, Badavilinga temple, Queen’s bath, Monolith Bull making it heaven for all the photographer and travellers.
Check Out: Hampi Tour from Bangalore
3) Hawa Mahal
Palace of winds or Hawa Mahal is located in the aesthetic Pink City- Jaipur, Rajasthan. Hawa Mahal moulded as delicate honeycomb hive is five storeys building. Carved with 953 windows, it is a perfect summer palace due to cool breeze that blows. Established in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh of the Kachhwaha Rajput dynasty, it is a blend of Hindu Rajput architecture with that of the Islamic Mughal architecture. It was brilliantly designed to enable the ladies of Royal household to witness the life and possessions of the city without appearing in public.
Hawa Mahal was constructed as an extension to the Royal City Palace, it is built in the form of Krishna’s crown as Sarai Pratap was a Krishna devotee. Palace of winds justifies the location in the pink city as it is made up of red and pink sandstones. Hawa Mahal’s courtyard currently houses an archaeological museum.
4) Jama Masjid
Standing in Old Delhi, Jama Masjid is the final architectural embellishment of Shah Jahan. It is largest mosque in India, maintained by Delhi Wakf Board and Jama Masjid committee under the directives from the Shahi Imam. The popular name, Jama Masjid is derived from the word ‘Jummah’, referring to the adherent prayer observed by Muslims on Friday.
Mughal Emperor decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi after the death of his wife and founded the walled city of Shahajahanabad. And later Jama masjid was ordered to be the central mosque of the new city. Finally, the mosque was inaugurated on 23 July 1656 by Sayed Abdul Ghafoor. The mosque domiciles several relics of Islamic religion like an age-old transcript of the Quran printed on deer skin, the footmarks, sandals, and a red beard-hair of the Holt Prophet Mohammad.
5) Victoria Memorial
The white beauty, Victoria Memorial, is located in Queen’s way, Kolkata. Established in January 4, 1906, this enormous and exquisite monument was dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. The memorial not only perched as reminiscence to the rule of British Crown in the Indian subcontinent but also stands out as an outstanding architectural gem in Indo-Saracenic revivalist style.
Victoria Memorial has 25 galleries with most prominent ones - Royal gallery & Calcutta gallery. Not only it includes gallery but also have alluring gardens, covering 64 acres of land. Overall all the things make it a must visit tourist destination for first time visitors to experience the essence of Victorian era in the midst of the bustling metro city of Kolkata.
6) Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, in Mumbai, formerly known as Victoria Terminus is a historic railway station. It’s an elegant example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India combined with the themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. Built over a period of 10 years starting in 1878, it is first terminus station in the subcontinent. Later it became commercialised representing the economic wealth of the nation.
The terminal portrays the heart of the mercantile facet of the city and also symbolizes the British Commonwealth. CST entrance gates carry two columns, which are crowned- one with lion (representing Great Britain) and other one with a tiger (representingIndia).
7) Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Another monument in the list of World Heritage Site is Jantar Mantar, built in 1724-35, is situated in Jaipur, Rajasthan. As early as 18th century Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur commissioned five Jantar Mantar at various cities- Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura & Varanasi. Literal meaning of Jantar Mantar is ‘instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens.’ It has various architectural and astronomical instruments that is of the interest of astronomers, historians and architects around the world.
Jantar Mantar is an observatory built for the study of space and time, also considered as one of the largest ever built. It consists 19 instruments one such being Jaipur sundial.
8) Lotus Temple
Built as a Baha’i House of Worship, Lotus Temple follows Bahai religion and therefore doesn’t have any idols, statues or pictures to worship. It is the only one located in India whereas rest are in other parts of the world. Located in Delhi, Lotus temple’s foundation stone was laid on December 1986.
Creating the replica of the lotus flower, the design for temple is composed of free-standing marble-clad ‘petals’ arranged in clusters of three to form nine petals. All around the petal structure are 9 water pools. Lotus temple allows entry of every individual irrespective of caste, religion as Lotus is also a common sign to diverse religions. It was referred as most visited building by 2001 CNN Report.
9) City Palace, Udaipur
City Palace situated on the bank of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, is a palace complex dating 400 years back. It is a conglomeration of rich Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European and Chinese styles. It was established by Maharaja Uday Singh and his successors in 1559. Complex includes palaces, halls, gateways and a museum.
The beauty of City palace is magnificent as the palace stands atop a hill and has a breath-taking view of the city. Interiors of the palace includes balconies, cupolas and towers which an agglomeration of impressive mirror and marble work, wall paintings, silver works, decorative work and leftover of coloured glass. Also, The City palace is considered the largest of its type in Rajasthan.
10) Fatehpur Sikri
Dating back to the Mughal era in the 16th century, Fatehpur Sikri is a scenic town founded by emperor Akbar adorned with beautiful monuments and temples all in a uniform architectural style. The city served as the capital of the Mughal Empire for over 10 years.
Fatehpur Sikri is believed to be mainly made for the leisure and luxury of the royals, the place features majestic forts with both Hindu and Muslim form of domestic architecture with compact lush gardens, the gigantic Buland Darwaza standing 55 meters high, the marble embellished tomb of Salim Chishti, and one of the largest mosques in India the Jama Masjid.
Check Out: Fatehpur Sikri Tours
11) Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Showcasing monuments with intricately crafted paintings and beautiful rock-cut sculptures, Ajanta and Ellora caves are an amalgamation of over 64 caves that portray the finest surviving example of ancient Indian art and culture.
The Ajanta caves date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE and are astonishing rock-cut Buddhist monuments whereas the Ellora caves date from 600 - 1000 CE period and portray Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain monuments, and artwork collectively. Both the caves are embellished with fine paintings, eye-catching relics, sculptures depicting gods, and have a significant cultural and historical value.
The caves are located in a calm and serene environment surrounded by lush green forests that induces a sense of discovery and adventure in oneself.
Check Out: Ajanta and Elorra Caves Tours
12) Mahabalipuram Group of Monuments
An amalgamation of more than 400 ancient temples and monuments, including one of the largest open-air rock relief in the entire world: Arjuna's Penance, The Mahabalipuram Groups of Monuments were built during the Pallava dynasty in the southeastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The premises showcase a variety of Ratha temples with monolithic chariots, mystic cave temples carved with inscriptions from the Mahabharata and Shaivic in a number of Indian languages and scripts, and gigantic stone cut temples. The remarkable monuments include the PanchaRathas of DharmarajaRatha, Arjuna Ratha, DraupadiRatha, Bhima Ratha, NakulaSahadevaRatha, Ganesh Ratha, and the shore temple.
See: Mahabalipuram Tours
13) Rani Ki Vav
Built during the rule of the Chaulukya dynasty by the banks of the dried up Saraswati river in the town of patan, Rani Ki Vav or Patan Stepwell is a beautiful intricately crafted stepwell constructed by widowed queen Udayamati to honour her husband Bhima I. it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and also holds the title of "cleanest iconic place" in India.
The astonishing step well is 64 m long, 20 m wide & 27 m deep featuring Maru-Gurjara architectural style and is covered with fine and excuisite carving which is one of a kind. The place also has an inverted temple, seven level of stairs, more than 800 elaborate eye-catching sculptures and even a 30 km secret tunnel which was used as an escape gateway for the king in times of defeat.
14) Sanchi Stupa
Established by the emperor Ashoka in the 2nd century BCE on a picturesque hilltop at Sanchi town of Madhya Pradesh, Sanchi Stupa is one of the oldest breath-taking stone structure in India and also an important specimen of fine Buddhist art and architecture. It's a world-famous tourist attraction recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.
You can experience your excitement multiply manifolds as you enter this divine structure, the stupa features a majestic hemispherical brick structure which houses the relics of Lord Buddha, four engaging doorways each representing peace, trust, courage, and love, and beautiful lush green gardens. Every brick of this monument is finely sculpted and crafted each telling a different story or narrative associated with them.
15) Taj Mahal
Located on the south of Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, is an exquisite monument made of ivory white marble. Commissioned in 1632, by the then Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal houses the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It includes a mosque, a guest house, spectacular gardens and beautiful carved out walls. It is regarded as the best of Mughal architecture and has splendid artistic work done in its interior. The tomb is laid out in a rectangular shape and can be approached through a massive and huge entranceway which has an arch and alcoves on either aspect of it. There are water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular and spellbounding. It is a must to visit place.
16) India Gate
Known as Kingsway during the British rule, The India Gate is a war memorial located in Rajpath, New Delhi. Designed by Edwin Lutyens, India Gate is a memorial to about 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War and Third Anglo Afgan War. This memorial evokes the architectural style of the Arch of Constantine in Rome, Arc de Triomphe in Paris and Gateway of India in Mumbai. Following the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1972, Amar Jyoti Jawan or the Flame of the Immortal Soldier was created and The eternal flame burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their live in the war. During night, India Gate is dramatically floodlit while the fountains nearby make a lovely and spectacular display with coloured lights.
17) Agra Fort
A historical fort in the city of Agra, Agra Fort was the main residence of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638 when the capital of Mughal Empire was shifted from Agra to Delhi. It took more than 4000 workers and eight years of hardship to complete the grand and exquisite fort. The fort houses various spectacular and ravishing structures just like the Jahangir Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khass, Diwan-i-Am, Machchhi Bhawan and Moti Masjid. The mighty towers and overwhelming facades instilling the fort are the its attractions.
Agra fort has a semicircular shape and the base of the fort faces the bank of the river Yamuna. It has four gates, the Delhi gate and Lahore gate. The Lahore gate was later renamed as Amar Singh Gate. Akbar used the Delhi gate as his main entrance and the gate also served as a security against the invaders. Other attractions of the fort embrace a grape garden, a jasmine tower, a mirror palace (Shish Mahal), courtrooms and also the ruins of Akbar’s once glorious palace.
Also See: Agra Tours
18) Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar, located in Mehrauli in Delhi, is a minaret that forms part of the Qutub complex. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Qutub Minar is 73 m tall tower and has five stories and has spiral staircase that leads to its top. The construction of the Minar was started by Qutab-Ud-Din-Aibak, the founder of Delhi Sultanate and was completed by Aibak's successor and son-in-law Shamsuddin Iltutmish. Firoz Shah Tuqluq added the last floor of the Minaret. The magnificent and grand Minar is surrounded by several historically significant monuments of the Qutab complex, including Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque and the most famous curious antique, Iron Pillar of Delhi. The design of the Tall Qutub Minar is based on the Minaret of Jam, located in Afghanistan.
19) Mysore Palace
A royal residence at Mysore in the Indian State of Karnataka, Mysore Place is a historical grand palace and the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty and therefore the seat of the Kingdom of Mysore. Commonly described as the 'City of Palaces', the palace was constructed between 1897 and 1912, after the Old Palace was burnt ablaze. An incredibly breathtaking example of Indo - Saracenic style of architecture, it was built in the year 1912 by the 24th Ruler of the Wodeyar Dynasty and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in India. The facade of the palace is a harmonious mix of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles which imparts it a regal quality. Mysore Palace is notable for its light & sound show and vivacious Dussehra celebrations. Mysore is about 140 kilometers from Bangalore.
20) Red Fort
Located in the center of Delhi and having number of museums, Red Fort is a historic fort and was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years. It was the ceremonial as well as political center of the Mughal state. Constructed in 1639 by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is made of enclosing walls of red sandstone. The fort is octagonal in shape and many regions of the fort are decorated with spectacular marble works. Kohinoor diamond is said to be a part of the exquisite decoration.
There are three gates to the Red Fort. The royals used to enter into the fort via the specially designed gate, Khizrabad Gate which it is now closed for public. The Lahore Gate and Delhi Gates are open to public. The shopping complex is also present here which is famous for household objects, silk, jewelry and others. Every year on the Independence day of India, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian "tricolour flag" at the main gate of the fort and delivers a speech.
21) Hemkund Sahib
Located in chamoli district, Uttarakhand, Hemkund Sahib is a highly revered pilgrimage site amongst Sikhs. It is debited to the 10th guru, Guru Gobind ji and finds mention in Dasam Granth, a holy book written by the guru himself. A star shaped pentagon structure, it is crafted out of white marble. The roof the the gurudwara is made up of crests and troughs which enables the accumulated snow to fall down it's roof area. The giant hall is exquisitely and spendidly decorated with lights and tapestry and the pictures of various Sikhs gurus adorns this hall. There is a langar hall situated where pilgrims are given food free of cost. There are four doors to the gurudwara at the four corners. Situated in the dizzying height of 4636 m makes this pilgrimage a very popular destination amongst tourists. This pilgrimage site is closed during the winter season due to snowfall and the best time to visit this sacred site is between the months of May and October.
Designed by Architect Siali and constructed by Major General Harkirat Singh, Engineer-in-Chief, Indian Army , this site was build keeping in mind the environment and climatic conditions of the region. Hemkund Lake is pristine little water body near the shrine where devotess take a dip to atone their sins. Known for it's rich diversity of Flora , the famed valley of flower is situated in close proximity to the shrine. This place has various hotels and a big gurudwara which accommodates the devotees. A prototype of the gurudwara is also made in Delhi.
22) Bara Imambara
Bara Imambra or is populary known as Asafi Imambara is a large sacred mosque build in Lucknow, India by its ruler Nawab Asaf-ud Dhaula. 'Bara' means 'big' and 'imambara' implies 'sacred hall' where Muslims perform their rituals around the time of Muharram, the major festival of mourning for the death of Hussein in the battle of Karbala. The building includes the mosque, the labyrinth (bhul bhulaiya) and a stepping well with running water (bowli). There are two gateways that lead to the main hall. It is said that there are 1024 ways to reach the terrace but only one way to come back. The ravishing architecture of the complex reflects the grandeur of the ornamental Mughal design. The main feature of this building is that iron and European architecture has not been used anywhere. The interior of the building is also picturesque that it will leave you amazed.
23) Gateway of India
Located in Mumbai, Gateway of India is an arch monument build in 15th century to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary on their visit to India in 1911. Build in Indo-Sarcenic style, the monument is built in yellow basalt and indissoluble concrete. One can also find traces of Muslim architectural styles within the structure of the grandiose construction. A combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles, the exquisite monument was designed by Scottish architect George Wittet. The Gateway of India is a major tourist destination in the metropolis and a preferred gathering spot for locals, street vendors and photographers.
Constructed in 1591, Charminar is an exquisite monument and sacred mosque located in Hyderabad, Telangana. Recognised as one of the most visited and beautiful place in India, Charminar is a historical place that has a beautiful mosque in it and is surrounded by markets. After shifting his capital from Golkonda to the newly formed city of Hyderabad, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, build the ravishing monument in sixteenth century. At the base of Charminar, a Beautifully carved out Hindu Temple, Bhagyalakshmi Temple is present. The famous Charminar is also included in the one of the World UNESCO Heritage Site.
25) Gol Gumbaz
Located in Vijayapura (formerly Bijapur), Karnataka, Gol Gumbaz is the mausoleum of King Mohammed Adil Shah, Sultan of Bijapur. It was started in 1626 and completed in 1656. The name is based on Gola gummata derived from Gol Gombadh meaning "circular dome" and it follows the style of Deccan architecture. Build in the style of Deccan architecture, it was designed by architect named Yaqut of Dabul. The burial chamber has been built in dark grey Basalt stone and the facade is embellished with plaster. The tomb is a large cube topped with a hemispherical dome. One of the most magnificent royal tombs to be built in India, it is aptly known as the Taj Mahal of South India.
26) Kumbhalgarh Fort
Located in the Rajsamand district in the culture rich town of Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh Fort is not just a sagas in stone but reflects a testament to the valour and might of warrior clan, Rajputs. Maharana Kumbha, undertook the construction of this grandeur architectural marvel in the 15th century under the expert supervision of the famed architect Mandan. The round bastions of the fort, well thought of architectural features, the cleaverly manouvered sharp-turned ramp which prevented the enemys horses and elephants to proceed further, seven gates imposing entry to the fort are features that makes this fort impregnable and unique. Many Brahmanical and Jain temples dotts the inside of the fort. The fort is now included in the World Heritage Site. Being the birthplace of the legendary Maharana Pratap, the Kumbhalgarh fort holds a very special place in history and in the hearts of the Rajputs.
27) Amer Fort
Located in Amber, Rajasthan, Amer Fort was build by Meenas and later ruled by Maan Singh I. Known for its artistic style elements, the fort is constructed of red sandstone and marble. The magnificent fort overlooks Maota Lake which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace. The fort is dotted with number of temples and it is believed that the city, Amber got its name from Amba, Goddess Durga who was the main deity worshipped by Maanas. The Sheesh Mahal in Amber Fort is the heartthrob of Bollywood Films and has beautifully engraved artistic designs. At the basement of the fort, there is a secret passage that connects the famous fort of Cheel Ka Teela. It took 100 years for the this exquisite, ravishing fort to build up and this fort reflect the grandeur of the mighty rulers of the time.
28) Mehrangarh Fort
Located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. Build in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the 15th century Mehrangarh Fort has now been converted into a museum that displays weapons, palanquins, relics, antique artifacts, costumes and beautifully sculptued paintings. Situated 410 feet above the main city and imposed by thick impregnable walls, the magnificent fort has various palaces which have their separate, distinct identities with intricate and spectacular Rajasthani carvings and design etched on them. The fort is dotted with two exquisite temples, Chamunda mataji Temple and Nagnechiji Temple that bears the work of over 500 centuries of different artists. The fort looks so spectacular and stunning from the city and reflects the grandeaur of the mighty Kings ruling that time.
29) Khajuraho Temples
Located in Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh, India, Khajuraho temples are famous for their exquisite nagara-style architectural symbolism and their beautifully carved out sculptures. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khajuraho temples were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty. Overtime the are became dotted with numerous temples and it was believed that there were 85 temples by the 12th century and only 25 temples survive now. The famous temple left is Kandariya Mahadeva Temple which is decorated with exotic and spectacular sculptures. The temple is dedicated to both Hinduism and Jainism. It is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
30) Konark Sun Temple
Attributed to mighty king Narasingha deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century temple located in Puri, Odisa. 'Konark' means the sun and the four corners. The temple being a vital landmark amongst the coastal voyage of European sailors was named 'The Black Pagoda' by them. Similarly, the Jagannath Temple in Puri was called the "White Pagoda". Known for its famous Kalinga architecture, it remains a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. One of the World UNESCO Heritage Site, this temple is built from stone in the form of a giant ornamented chariot dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. The walls of the temple has exquisite carvings on it.