India is undoubtedly one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. Its diverse cultural history, inhabitants of multiple races, religions, music, foods, fashion and languages makes it a goldmine for the study of architectural evolution throughout history.
(1) The Taj Mahal
Speaking of lavish architecture, one of the Seven Wonders of the World– the Taj Mahal— lies in India as well. Built by 17th century Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is located in Agra and is believed to have been entirely completed in 1653. The famous monument was built out of love for Shah Jahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth. It is a hotspot tourist location and people from all over the world come to see the beautiful white marble mausoleum each year. Legend has it that the artisans who worked on the Taj Mahal are reputed to have their hands cut off after the building was completed to prevent them from building a comparable building.
(2) The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Since Hinduism is a predominant religion in India, there are numerous Hindu temples all around the country. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam is the largest Hindu temple compound in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. It is constructed in Dravidsian architectural style and is one of the most illustrious temples in the city. The numerous inscriptions on the temple show it as being a significant archaeological and epigraphical site, providing a historic window into the early and mid medieval South Indian society and culture
(3) Makkah Masjid
Along with Hinduism, you will also find other religions represented equally as well. The Makkah Masjid located in Hyderabad is one of the largest mosques in the south of India and can accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time for prayers. Completed in 1693, the Makkah Masjid was constructed from huge granite boulders and small red bricks believed to have come from the city of Mecca itself. The mosque uses Indo-islamic architecture characterized by pillars, domes, minarets, and red bricks.
Another beautiful mosque and one of the most famous buildings in Hyderabad, India is Charminar. Built in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shahi, the monument was created to celebrate the end of the deadly plague. Charminar was considered to be the first structure to be constructed in the newly built city of Hyderabad. This landmark too uses Indo-Islamic architecture.
(5) Lotus Temple
One of the more modern architectural buildings that has managed to achieve a status luring tourists all over the world is the Lotus Temple located in Delhi. It is a Baha’i House of worship that is open to all religions and stands for the secularism and openness of the country. Designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba, the structure is made to look like a lotus flower composed of 27 petals forming a circular periphery with nine doors. The entrance of the Lotus Temple is also very enchantingly decorated with ponds and gardens, giving it the recognition as the Taj Mahal of the 21st century.
(6) Tawang Monastery
Speaking of recognition, the Tawang Monastery located in Tawang City is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The famous monastery is 400 years old and has been an important pilgrim center for followers of Buddhism. It is situated on a picturesque location at a very high altitude providing stunning views of Tawang Town.
(7) Golden Temple
Last but not least is the Golden Temple. Also known as Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple is located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab. It is the preeminent spiritual site of Sikhism. In the past, the temple was a target of persecution and was destroyed many times. Thus, it has been reconstructed multiple times as well. The Golden Temple is now built around a man made pool and is known for its golden dome. The entire building is made up authentic of 24-karat gold.
India is definitely one of the most diverse nations full of rich history and culture. In the words of Mark Twain,
“So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.”
India encompasses multiple different types of architecture into its many monuments, making sure no religion or culture is overlooked. You can find a variety of different tourist locations that fit your interests in any city. Leave a comment to let us know which of these places you have visited or if we have missed your favorite.