10 Most Famous Historical Monuments Of India
1 – Taj Mahal, Agra
Taj Mahal, the pride of India and one of the seven wonders of the world, is the absolute highpoint of Mughal architecture, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz. This beautiful white marble monument is located in the city of Agra, on the banks of the holy river Yamuna, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It combines elements of Mughal, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles. Agra city also became the most visited place in India by foreigners because of this historic love monument.
It took 20 years for the completion of Taj Mahal starting from the year 1632 and around 20,000 artisans were employed for the construction of this masterpiece. The four sides of Taj Mahal are perfectly identical but the monument takes on different colours at different times of the day….. a pinkish hue in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night. It is also possible to see a calligraphy of Persian poems within the walls of Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.
How to Reach Agra :
One can travel to Agra by train, air or road. Bus tickets to Agra can be booked online at abhibus.com from Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Haridwar and Kanpur.
2 – Red Fort, Delhi
Red Fort is amongst the most famous historical monuments in India and one of the most visited monuments in Old Delhi. This historical fort was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Red Fort Complex. Constructed in 1639 by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the palace of his fortified capital Shahjahanabad, it remained the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, until 1857. In addition to accommodating the emperors and their households, it was the ceremonial and political centre of the Mughal state and the setting for events critically impacting the region.
The Red Fort is named because of it’s red sandstone structure and is octagonal, with the north-south axis longer than the east-west axis. The marble, floral decorations and double domes in the fort’s buildings showcase later Mughal architecture. It exhibits a high level of ornamentation, and the Kohinoor diamond was reportedly part of the furnishings. The fort’s artwork was a combination of Persian, European and Indian art, resulting in a unique Shahjahani style rich in form, expression and colour.
It is located in the center of Delhi and houses a number of museums. A sound and light show describing Mughal history is a tourist attraction in the evenings. The Lahore Gate entrance leads to a mall with jewellery and craft stores. There is also a museum of “blood paintings”, depicting young 20th-century Indian martyrs and their stories, an archaeological museum and an Indian war-memorial museum. The Red fort appears on the back of the ₹500 note of the Mahatma Gandhi New Series of the Indian rupee currently.
How to Reach Delhi :
Delhi is very easily accessible by air and train. It is also well connected to several cities by a strong network of highways and you can enjoy a comfortable drive to Delhi with fun stops along the way.
Abhibus offers bus services from cities like Jaipur, Alwar, Amritsar, Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala and Dehradun to Delhi.
3 – Qutub Minar, Delhi
Qutub Minar is a minaret that forms part of the Qutub complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of Delhi, India. Made of red sandstone and marble, Qutub Minar is a 240 feet tall tapering tower of five storeys, with a 47 feet base diameter, reducing to 9 feet at the peak. It contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps. Qutab Minar was established along with Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque which is at the foot of the tower around 1192, by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. The Minar is surrounded by several historically significant monuments of the Qutb complex. Besides the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which is believed to be the first mosque to be built in India and was constructed at the same time as the Minar, there is also the much older Iron Pillar of Delhi.
The minar tilts just over 65 cm from the vertical, which is considered to be within safe limits, although experts have stated that monitoring is needed.
4 – Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Hawa Mahal or “Palace of winds” is a palace in Jaipur, India, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside.
Constructed of red and pink sandstone, Hawa Mahal or the Palace Of Wind sits on the edge of the City Palace, and extends to the zenana, or women’s chambers. The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It was designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework. The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey strict “purdah” (face cover).
The lattice also allows cool air from the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) through the intricate pattern, air conditioning the whole area during the high temperatures in summers. Many people see the hawa mahal from the street view and thought that it is front of the palace but in reality it is the back of that structure. It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise. The corporate sector lent a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and the Unit Trust of India has adopted Hawa Mahal to maintain it.
How To Reach Jaipur :
Jaipur city is well connected by road, rail and air links with the rest of the country. Surat, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Mount Abu are some of the places which have bus services to Jaipiur and bus tickets can be booked online at abhibus.com.
5 – Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the most mesmerizing cave temples of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India, the Ajanta Caves is also a protected monument under the Archeological Survey of India. These caves are a string of 30 caves, which were built in two phases between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior.
The ancient paintings and sculptures, which are considered masterpieces around the globe are the main attraction within these caves. These paintings illustrate various events of from the life of Buddha and are particularly expressive paintings that present emotion through gesture, pose and form. Textual records suggest that these caves served as a monsoon retreat for monks, as well as a resting site for merchants and pilgrims in ancient India. With the Ellora Caves, Ajanta is the major tourist attraction of Maharashtra.
How To Reach Aurangabad :
One can reach Aurangabad by air or by rail. Abhibus offers bus services from Goa, Bengaluru, Surat, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Mumbai to Aurangabad.
6 – Gateway Of India, Mumbai
Built during the 20th century in Mumbai, the Gateway of India is another most visited monument in India. It was erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India in 1911 and has remained an inseparable historic symbol for the city of Mumbai and the country. This bold basalt arch that symbolizes colonial triumph is now amongst the popular tourist places to visit in Mumbai. The Gateway was later used as a symbolic ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay.
The Gateway of India is located on the waterfront at Apollo Bunder area at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg in South Mumbai and overlooks the Arabian Sea. The monument’s design is a combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles The arch is of Muslim style while the decorations are of Hindu style. The construction of this beautiful monument started in 1911 and took 13 years to complete. This 85 feet high structure is built from yellow basalt and reinforced concrete and faces out to Mumbai Harbour from the tip of Apollo Bunder.
Overlooking the majestic Arabian Sea, this historical monument is located in a perfect scenic spot. The main gate of this monument is located on Apollo Bunder road and the view from here towards the sea is breathtaking. The Gateway of India has total five jetties which will take you to Elephanta caves or to Alibaug. A ride in any of these jetties is a must as when the jetty rides away from Gateway, one can actually experience the grandeur of this structure that overlooks the sea.
How To Reach Mumbai : Mumbai is easily accessible from all major cities via air, rail or road. You can log onto abhibus.com and book your bus tickets to Mumbai from Pune, Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Surat, Ahmedabad, Baroda and many more places.
7 – Mysore Palace, Mysore
Mysore Palace, a historical palace in the city of Mysore in Karnataka, is one of the most magnificent buildings in South India. It is definitely a must-see when it is illuminated on Sundays, public holidays and occasions like Dussehra. The interior of the palace is equally exquisite with spacious halls, lovely paintings and architectural magnificence. Greatly inspired from the Indo-Saracenic style, the architecture is a combination of Hindu, Muslim, Gothic and also Rajput architecture. The regent of Mysore, Her Majesty Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, and her son, the Maharaja of Mysore His Highness Rajarshi Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, commissioned the British architect Lord Henry Irwin to build a new palace to replace the old one which had been turned into ashes by fire.
The three-story stone building of fine gray granite with deep pink marble domes has a facade with several expansive arches and two smaller ones flanking the central arch, which is supported by tall pillars. Above the central arch is a sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck and abundance with her elephants which is very impressive. The 14th century weapons and armory used by royal families are also kept within this palace. The public darbar and royal wedding hall inside the palace is one of the main attraction for the visitors. The Palace of Mysore, after the Taj Mahal in Agra, is the biggest tourist attraction that attracts almost 6 million visitors every year.
The Palace looks all lit up and ten times more beautiful during the festival of Dussehra. It is said that almost 96,000 lights are used to illuminate this majestic palace. In fact, every autumn it also hosts the Mysore Dasara festival that sees many artists performing on the palace grounds. On the last day, you can see elephants all decorated walking in this ground.
How to reach Mysore :
The nearest airport to Mysore is in Bengaluru. Mysore can be accessed directly by train or road. There are several options of state transport buses as well as private tour operators.
If you want to travel to Mysore from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ernakulum, Chennai or Coorg, you can book your bus tickets online at abhibus.com.
8 – Charminar, Hyderabad
The Charminar (“Four Minarets”), constructed in 1591, is a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. The landmark has become a global icon of Hyderabad, listed among the most recognized structures of India. It is situated on the east bank of Musi river. It is listed as an archaeological and architectural treasure on the official “List of Monuments” prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India. The English name is a translation and combination of the Urdu words Chār and Minar or meenar, translating to “Four Pillars”; the towers are ornate minarets attached and supported by four grand arches.
There have been numerous theories regarding the reason for building the Charminar, but according to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the current caretaker of the structure, it is widely accepted that Charminar was built at the center of the city, to commemorate the eradication of plague, a deadly disease which was wide spread at that time. It was believed that Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah had prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a Mosque at the very place where he prayed.
The structure is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverized marble and it weighs approximately 14000 tones. Initially the monument with its four arches was so proportionately planned that when the fort was opened one could catch a glimpse of the bustling Hyderabad city, as these Charminar arches were facing the most active royal ancestral streets.
Built as per Islamic Architecture, the Charminar like the name truly suggests has four arches which faces all the four directions. A two-storied building, the balconies overlook the stunning Mecca Masjid and the minarets are a part of the breathtaking city landscape. On the top floor it has a small and quaint mosque which is one of the oldest surviving mosques in Hyderabad.
Standing tall in Old Hyderabad, Charminar looks absolutely stunning when lit in the evening. There are winding 149 steps that lead to the top of building from where the view is spectacular. Charminar is indeed a gift to the City of Nizams by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah.
How To Reach Hyderabad :
Hyderabad is well connected to all major cities by air, rail and road. The roads in Hyderabad are good and are well-connected with national highways and flyovers. Nearby cities like Nagpur, Pune, Mumbai, Warangal and Bangalore can be easily accessed by road. Abhibus also offers bus services from Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai etc. to Hyderabad.
9 – Basilica Of Bom Jesus, Goa
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is located in Goa, India, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The church is located in Old Goa, which was the capital of Goa in the early days of Portuguese rule. The Jesuit church is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India. This world heritage monument has emerged as a landmark in the history of Christianity.
Francis Xavier died on Sancian Island while en route to continental China on (December 2, 1552). The body of Francis Xavier was first taken to Portuguese Malacca and two years later shipped back to Goa. It is said that the saint’s body was as fresh as the day it was buried. The remains of the saint still attract a huge number of tourists (Christian and non-Christian alike) from all over the world, especially during the public viewing of his body every ten years (last held in 2014). The saint is said to have miraculous powers of healing.
This is one of the oldest churches in Goa and in India. The floor is of marble inlaid with precious stones. Apart from the elaborate gilded altars, the interior of the church is simple. The church also holds paintings of scenes taken from the life of St. Francis Xavier. The tomb, on the top of which is placed the silver casket with the body of St. Francis Xavier was designed by the 17th-century Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini. It took ten years to complete. The casket containing his body is made of silver. The holy relics of the saint are displayed every ten years during the anniversary of the saint’s death. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is more than 408 years old and is open to the public every day.
How to reach Goa :
One can reach Goa by air, rail or road. AbhiBus offers bus services to Goa from various destinations like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai etc.
10 – Cellular Jail, Andaman And Nicobar Islands
The Cellular Jail, also known as Kālā Pānī (derived from Sanskrit words ‘Kal’ which means Time or Death and ‘Pani’ which means Water), was a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago. The Cellular Jail or the ‘Kala Pani’ bears testimony to the inhuman torture meted out to our brave fighters.
The construction of the prison started in 1896 and was completed in 1906. The original building was a puce-colored brick building. The bricks used to build the building were brought from Burma. The building had seven wings, at the centre of which a tower served as the intersection and was used by guards to keep a watch on the inmates. The standard design found in the British jails was used for the Cellular Jail as well. Believe it or not, the Cellular Jail was able to keep 698 prisoners into confinement. The wings radiated from the tower in straight lines, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. A large bell was kept in the tower to raise an alarm.
The Cellular Jail is now considered a landmark for the entire Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is often the first place to be visited by innumerable tourists and even the foreign dignitaries. The Martyrs Memorial inside the jail will transport you back to the torturous days. The flogging stand, oil mill, gallows and other instruments of punishment are displayed there.
How To Reach Andaman And Nicobar Islands :
Andaman Islands are accessible only by air or by boat as the islands are located far off the Southern coast of India. Regular flights to Andaman Islands are available from Chennai and Kolkata. However the popular mode of transport remain the ship. Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Calcutta and Vishakhapatnam and back.
PICTURE CREDITS : TAJ MAHAL – Webneel, RED FORT – India.com, QUTUB MINAR – Events High, HAWA MAHAL – Beautiful Jaipur, AJANTA CAVES – Quora, GATEWAY OF INDIA – indian-gk.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Gateway_of_India.jpg (Cultural India), MYSORE PALACE – Maps Of India, CHARMINAR – Omtex Classes, BASILICA OF BOM JESUS – Holiday IQ, CELLULAR JAIL – TripAdvisor