Forts and monuments in India

20 Best Forts and monuments in India

India is a vast land with its enormous history and tradition branching out from every nook and corner. The country is a platform to display its rich and amazing specimens in the form of architectural magnificence and structural magic. These monuments are either the result of a long period of invasions or the interest of the Indian kings and countrymen in building structures that can be remembered for long.

Here are some of the must-visit monuments and architectures of India.

1. Taj Mahal – Agra, Uttar Pradesh:


Talk about India and its tourism, Taj Mahal is the front face of the story. Reckoned as the epitome of love, this architecture built in white marble is a masterpiece attracting tourists from all over the world. Built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, Taj Mahal has remained an important historic monument for India. The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenelated wall. 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”.

  • USP: One of the Seven Wonders of the World

2. Gateway of India – Mumbai, Maharashtra:


The Gateway of India is an arch monument built during the 20th century in Mumbai, India. The monument was erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India in 1911. The structure is an arch made of basalt, 26 meters (85 feet) high, and is amongst the most popular tourist places to visit in Mumbai. Completed in 1924 and done in Islamic styles of 16th-century Gujarat architecture, this piece of art was also the witness to India’s march towards independence and the terrorist attack of 26/11.

  • USP: The last horde of British troops left India through this Gateway.

3. India Gate – New Delhi:


One of the most recognizable and most visited places, India Gate is located in New Delhi. Often referred as the replica of Arc de Triomphe in Paris, this majestic monument is dedicated to those 70,000 soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. 13,300 servicemen’s names, including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom, are inscribed on the gate. In 1972, post the Bangladesh Liberation War a structure called Amar Jawan Jyoti was erected beneath the Memorial Archway to serve as India’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The structure depicts a reversed rifle capped by a war helmet and is built of black marble plinth.

  • USP: Parades on Independence Day and Republic Day.

4. The Golden Temple – Amritsar, Punjab:


The Golden Temple is the holiest Gurdwara and the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhs. The temple is built around a man-made pool (Sarovar) that supposedly has healing powers. The main highlights of the temple are its rich history and gold gilded exterior. Built by Arjan Sahib with help of Baba Budha Ji, this Sikh shrine is done in Indo-Islamic architecture style. The temple is actually a small part of a religious complex. The lower level of the temple is adorned with motifs of flowers and animal like that of Taj Mahal and the upper level is gilded with sheets of gold, giving it a look that earned it a name as Golden temple Amritsar, Punjab.

  • USP: The surrounding pond with healing power.

5. Hawa Mahal – Jaipur, Rajasthan:


One of the most prominent landmarks of the Pink City is Hawa Mahal. It is a five-story pyramidal building that stands 15m tall and overlooks the busy streets of the city. The monument was built Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. He was so inspired by the unique structure of Khetri Mahal that he built this grand and historical palace to offer convenience to women to see the outside world without having to be seen by the other as Purdah System was prevalent at that time. From the top of the palace are the stunning views of Jantar Mantar, City Palace, and Siredeori Bazaar. Jaipur, RajasthanUSP: One of its kind ventilation system.

  • USP: One of its kind ventilation system.

6. Charminar – Hyderabad, Telengana:

The Charminar (“Four Minarets”) was constructed in 1591 and is a global icon with a Mosque on the top floor for over 400 years. It is one of the main attractions of Hyderabad popular for its surrounding markets too. Standing tall in the 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.

  • USP: View of the city from the top.
Also Check:- Rajasthan Travel – Places to visit in Rajasthan

7. Agra Fort – Agra, Uttar Pradesh:


Agra Fort, built by Emperor Akbar, is the second most popular monument in Agra after Taj Mahal and is built 2.5 km northwest of the famous sister monument. It attracts the tourists with its red sandstone fortifying wall. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638. It was during the time of Shah Jahan that this fort was converted to a palace and later in the reign of Aurangzeb the fort turned into a gilded prison. The fort is like the city inside a city and has some fine architectural specimen to observe. This fort is said to be the symbol of power, strength, and resilience. Standing in its full glory, Agra Fort boasts of a rich historic period and uncountable events that are important in Indian history.

  • USP: UNESCO World Heritage Site for its architectural magnificence.

8. City Palace – Udaipur, Rajasthan:


City Palace is one of the most prominent buildings of Udaipur that was built over a period of nearly 400 years with contributions from several rulers of the Mewar dynasty. Its construction began in 1553 and was built in a flamboyant style atop a hill, in a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. The palace sits on the bank of Lake Pichola overlooking the vista of the city. The palace is a complex with 11 other palaces built inside it. It is the perfect place to appreciate Rajput’s taste of architecture. From intricate designs to the choice of mirror and marble-work, each has a distinct taste which definitely sets this place class apart.

  • USP: Hanging gardens and Rajasthani-Mughal fusion architectural styles.

9. Victoria Memorial – Kolkata, West Bengal:


Victoria Memorial is undoubtedly one of the most famous buildings in the City of Joy that was built to commemorate Queen Victoria between 1906 and 1921. It now serves the purpose of an acknowledged museum under the Ministry of Culture. The design is in the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style and is built of white Makrana marble. The building is 338 feet (103 m) by 228 feet (69 m) and rises to a height of 184 feet (56 m). The fairy at the top with a bugle in her hand is a black bronze angel which is fixed to its pedestal and rotates with strong wind. Exhibiting an extensive collection of colonial-era remnants in it is even-handed done up halls, this place holds a decent place in the history as well as the beauty of Kolkata West Bengal.

  • USP: Essence of Victorian Era; the Angel of Victory at the top

10. Khajuraho Group of Monuments – Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh:


Most widely known for their erotic sculptures, the Khajuraho ( Madhya Pradesh ) Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples spread over 20 sq km. This is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, and was built by the Chandelas in 10th and 11th century AD. These widely acclaimed temples demonstrate a wide range of sculptures including the erotic ones. These temples were built together but were dedicated to two religions, Hinduism and Jainism, suggesting a tradition of acceptance and respect for diverse religious views among Hindus and Jains in the region.

  • USP: Erotic structure on nagara-style architecture.

11. Ajanta and Ellora Caves – Aurangabad, Maharashtra:


One of the most attention-grabbing places in India is Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Dating back to 2nd century BC, these caves are the reflection of the lifestyle of early man in the country. These rock-cut caves boast rich sculptures and wall paintings and are declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ajanta Caves can mostly be referred to as the Buddhist caves whereas Ellora Caves can be called Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist caves. Ajanta & Ellora Caves are amongst one of the most well-preserved monuments in India.

  • USP: Reclining Buddha (Ajanta cave no.26), Kailasanatha Temple (Ellora Cave no. 19).

12. Qutub Minar – Delhi:


This 73m high minaret is majestic is size and magnificent in view. Built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, Qutub Minar is not only an important landmark of Delhi but it represents the rich architecture of India as well. The tower was built by Aibak after the last Hindu ruler was defeated and is reckoned to be built to celebrate the beginning of the Mughal rule in India. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which is believed to be the first mosque to be built in India. The main mosque comprises of an inner and outer courtyard, which is decorated with shafts and surrounded by pillars.

  • USP: The height of the minaret.

13. Basilica of Bom Jesus – Goa:


Basilica of Bom Jesus is the most famous structure in Goa that holds the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier. This 17th century Church is the reminiscence of the Portuguese era in the country and boasts fine Baroque architecture. This is said to be one of the oldest churches in Goa and the most popular one too. The Church sees a large number of visitors swarming up when the body of St.Francis Xavier is kept for public viewing once in 10 years.

  • USP: St. Francis Xavier mortal remains.

14. Elephanta Caves – Mumbai, Maharashtra:


There are seven caves in the Elephanta group which date back to 6th-7th centuries AD. Among the cave excavations, Cave 1 is the most imposing one with the representation of the evolved Brahmanical rock-cut architecture. The cave is also famous for exquisite sculptures. The Elephanta Caves are located on island hills about 11 km north-east of the Apollo Bandar, Mumbai and 7 km from the shore of the mainland, approximately covering an area of 7 km. The island is named after a colossal elephant found in the island, which is popularly known as ‘Gharapuri’.

  • USP: Ardhanarisvara, Mahesh Murti.

15. Golkonda Fort – Hyderabad, Telengana:


One of the biggest fortresses in India, Golkonda Fort was built on a 400 ft high hill, the fort has three lines of massive fortification walls one within the other and rising to a height of over 12 meters. Built in 13th century by the Kakatiya dynasty, initially, it was a mud fort. It was in the 16th century under the Qutb Shahi dynasty it got fortified and also a 7 km long outer wall made of granite was built. It was from here that the biggest diamonds in the world came from including the Kohinoor, Darya-e-poor, Regent ‘n Hope diamonds. The fort is famous for its engineering marvels – a hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the Ball Hissar, the highest point almost a kilometer away.

  • USP: Engineering marvels.

16. Jaisalmer Fort – Jaisalmer, Rajasthan:


Jaisalmer Fort is a monument worth visiting fort in India. Like various other cities of Rajasthan, in Jaisalmer to you will find different facets of its own glorious heritage and the best that you can find is in Jaisalmer Fort which is still inhabited. Though you can find historical monuments scattered all over the city, made of sandstone, this fort is one of its kind. When witnessed in the daylight, the fort appears golden and that what attracts the people.

  • USP: Only fort in India that is still inhabited.

17. Sun Temple – Konark, Odisha:


Konark Sun Temple (Odisha-) dates back to a 13th century AD. Believed to have been built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty, the temple is in the shape of a gigantic chariot with Khondalite rock wheels, pillars, and walls. Unfortunately, a major part of the structure is now in ruins but the majesty of this temple still remains unaffected. The temple was originally built at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga in the traditional style of Kalinga architecture. It is meticulously oriented towards the east so that first rays of the sun strike the principal entrance only.

  • USP: Stone sculptures and erotic figures.

18. Jantar Mantar – Jaipur, Rajasthan:


One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Jantar Mantar is one of the most precise astronomical instruments of its time. It is so accurate that it is still used today for astronomical observations and calculations and is visited by many tourists. Built by Raja Jai Singh, the observatory is situated in was constructed between 1728 and 1734. Jai Singh also built similar observatories in Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura. However, the observatory in Mathura has almost disappeared today. The Jaipur Jantar Mantar remains the largest and best preserved of the five.

  • USP: Most precise astronomical instruments of all time.

19. Key Monastery – Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh:


The biggest center of Buddhist learning in Spiti, Key Monastery is said to be about 1000-year-old. It is the oldest training center for monks, founded by Dromton, a famous disciple of teacher Atisha in the 11th century AD. The monastery used to house about 350 monks and was spread over three floors – underground, ground and first floor. Underground was utilized for storage; ground floor was used as an assembly hall, called Du-Khang and the ground floor had small rooms for monks.

  • USP: Pasada style architecture.

20. Mysore Palace – Mysore, Karnataka:


Mysore Palace is one of the most magnificent buildings and indeed a sight to cherish on occasions like Dussera. The interior of the palace is equally exquisite with spacious halls, lovely paintings, and architectural magnificence. The palace offers an excellent combination of Indo-Saracenic architecture. It was Queen Regent Kempananjammanni Vanivilasa Sannidhana who commissioned famous British architect Henry Irwin to build a palace that would stand as a tribute to the legacy of Mysuru Karnataka and the Wodeyars.

  • USP: Illuminated palace on Dussera and Diwali.

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1 Response

  1. Dennis Wet says:

    best cultural destinations in South India.