Historical Monuments of India

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Monuments of India

Monuments are living testimonies to any place's history and culture. India is home to many of these structures and draw many tourists in the country.

A lot of said structures have been recognized around the world and became heritage sites.

Ajanta Ellora Caves
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Ajanta Ellora's 30 caves hold masterpieces of Buddhist religious art. The manmade caves are considered the finest examples of architecture that contain wall and ceiling paintings, depicting the life of Buddha prior to his enlightenment.

The caves are cut from the steep face of a horseshoe-shaped hillside.  Sculptures cover the outer walls while the artworks inside show elegant timber-built interiors of palaces, royalties market places and many others that somehow tell a story.

Artists consider the paintings here as tempera since they are on a dry surface, carried out after the rock walls were covered with 1 centimeter thick mixture of cow dung, clay and rice husks. The final surface is coated with lime that contributes to the continued existence of the paintings over the years.

Elephanta Caves
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the Elephanta Caves is a complex of six rock-cut temples on the island of Elephanta, also known as Gharapuri in the Mumbai harbor.

Built in the middle of the 6th century, it is not determinded whether the Traikutaka or the Kalachuri dynasty started the construction. What's known is that the Rastrakuta dynasty administered additional work on the structure around the 8th and 10th centuries.

 

A large temple of Shiva serves as the centerpiece of the group and rows of pillars, originally decorated with frescoes, support the ceiling. The many aspects of Shiva are reflected on the walls such as Shiva as Nataraja, Yageshvara and more. A three-headed bust of representing Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva is the structure's main feature.

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun’s tomb is not only an excellent example of early Mughal architecture, but in many ways, it is the predecessor of the magnificent Taj Mahal. This quiet but splendid edifice was the last resting place of the second Mughal emperor, who strived all his life to be in Delhi, the city he loved.

Khajuraho Temples
Khajuraho is a group of ancient temples found in Madhya Pradesh. Boasting some of the finest examples of religious art in India, it is one of the most popular sites among foreign and Indian tourists. Khajuraho's 80 temples are built between 950 and 1050 AD, of which 22 are still standing.

Divided into three main groups namely The Eastern, which houses the Jain temples and the Hindu buildings; the Southern Group, which has two temples and The Western Group, which is surrounded by gardens and the location of the Kandariya Mahadev Temple. The last group is also the largest collection of buildings within the complex.

It is also the most richly decorated and in it rises seven stages of prolific carvings that portray animals, deities, warriors and dancers engaging in sexual activities, which probably symbolizes the Tantrism religious ideas. The complex became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Konark
Situated in the northeastern corner of Puri, Konark is home to the colossal temple dedicated to the Sun God. Konark also forms part of the Golden Triangle of Orissa. A well known tourist attraction, the temple was built by Narasimha Deva, the Ganga King.

Formerly referred to as the Black Pagoda, the temple is one of the grandest in India. Its ruins were excavated during the late 19th century and are still breathtaking even if the tower over the Garbagriha is already missing.

The Konark Temple is conceived as a chariot of the Sun god with 24 wheels with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. The wheels are said to be 10 feet in diameter each. The chariot is dragged by seven horses while two lions guard the entrance.

According to the legend, Samba, the king of Krishna and Jambayati entered the bathing chamber of Krishna's wife. The woman cursed Samba with leprosy and was told that he would only be cured if he worships the sun god on the sea coast, northeast of Puri. Samba reached Konaditya Kshetra and discovered the image of Surya seated on the lotus. Samba then worshipped the god and was healed.

Mysore Palace
Situated in Karnataka, the Maharaja's or Mysore Palace is probably the most intriguing historic architecture in India. The majestic walled structure was designed with Indo-Saracenic domes, turrets, arches and colonnades. Stained glass, dazzling colors, mosaic floors, carved wooden doors and mirrors adorn the interior of the palace. The structure was built in 1897 by a famous British architect.

Qutb Minar
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a minaret similar in form to the minarets of the Ghurids in Afghanistan. Envisioned as a tower of victory by Qutb ud-Din Aybak, who is also the inspiration of the structure's name, the minaret also serves as a commemoration of the capture of Delhi by the Ghurids in 1192. Close to the Quwaat al-Islam, construction began in 1199 and has 5 storeys. The first two was built by Qutb-ud-Din while the remaining three was completed by his successor, Iltutmish.

Taj Mahal
Undeniably the most famous of India's ancient buildings and a major monument of Mughal art, the Taj Mahal remains breathtaking throughout the years. One of Shah Jahan's five promises to his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Elect of the Palace, the mausoleum took two decades to be completed and involved 20,000 men.
The 73-meter high tomb is lavishly decorated with Koranic inscriptions and is raised on a square podium with minarets at each corner. The tomb is flanked by a mosque and the jawab, a building with no clear function. Fronting the tomb is a vast garden with a huge pool at the center. Gathered nearby are mosques and tombs of less favored wives.

Agra Fort
Agra Fort is a luxurious monument of red sandstone situated at a bend in the Yamuna River, just two kilometers northwest of the Taj Mahal. Also a structure erected by the Mughals, it was Emperor Akbar who laid the foundation of the majestic fortress in 1565. The structure was completed by 1571 during Shah Janahn's reign, Akbar's grandson.

The crescent-shaped building is flattened on the east with an almost straight wall that faces the river. The fort's massive double walls are 69 feet in height and 2.5 kilometers in circumference. Inside the fort's premises are mosques and palaces, making it a small city within a city. Among the buildings found here are the Jehangiri Mahal palace, the Khas Mahal palace, the Mussamman Burj, which was also built by Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Agra Fort has two gates, the Delhi and Amar Singh Gates.

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