India is a land of rich cultural diversity making it one of the world’s greatest democracies. Home to a diversified canvas of ethnicity, religion and languages, India is a major tourist hub around the world. Indian Architecture is one of the unique examples of fusion of Indian culture as it depicts some of the best testimony of different styles of architecture. These architectural landmarks are now synonymous with India which combined elements from numerous of the country and abroad. Forts, palaces, temples, tombs and cities developed by several dynasties are the living lessons about the culture and architecture of the bygone era.
Following are the top 10 of the Most Important Landmarks of India:
Taj Mahal is synonymous to India, a major landmark and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the fine examples of Islamic architecture incorporating elements from Persian, Turkish, Indian, and other Mughal architectural styles. It was declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO in 1983. Built of white marble, Taj Mahal in Agra is one of the most snapped monuments of the world.
Gateway of India
One of the most prized possessions of the country, the Gateway of India is situated on the waterfront in South Mumbai. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Darbar in Delhi in December 1911. Tourist coming to India is greeted by this huge monument of Maharashtra which stands as a testimony to the imperial bygone era. The monument is built from yellow Kharodi basalt and reinforced concrete. The central dome is 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet above ground at its highest point. The construction was completed in 1924, and the Gateway was opened by the Viceroy on December 4, 1924.
The India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. This 42 metre-high triumphal arch is dedicated to the memory of the soldiers of Indian Army who sacrificed their lives in the campaigns of the First World World, the North-West Frontier operations and the 1919 Afghan War. Names of 85,000 soldiers are inscribed in it. A flame, known as the Amar Jawan Jyoti, is kept continuously alive here in the memory of these unknown soldiers. Important roads spread out in all directions from India Gate.
A soaring tower of the early Muslim vintage, the Qutub Minar was built by Qutab-ud-din Aibak, founder of the first of the five dynasties known as the Delhi Sultanate. The tower was located about 9 miles south of Connaught Place in Delhi and the construction begun in 1199. Later it was completed by another Muslim king, Iltutmish. Made of sandstone, his tower is 238 feet tall and consists of five shorter stories separated by balconies. Inscriptions from Quran are inlaid in the stone to form bands of complicated designs. There is an iron pillar in front of the structure and beside is a mosque. It is commonly believed that Qutab Minar set the tone for Islamic architecture in India.
The Bahai House of Worship in Delhi, India is popularly known as the Lotus Temple due to its flower like shape. It was completed in 1986 and serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent. It has won several architectural awards and been featured in many magazines and newspaper articles. The temple is a symbol of the spiritual unity of mankind. Located in South Delhi near Kalkaji, the temple has the capacity to accommodate nearly 2500 people and has nine doors that open in a central hall. It is also surrounded by acres of garden.
One of the major landmarks of Hyderabad and India, Char Minar is located at the center of the old city. It was built by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 in honour of his wife Bhagmati. It is also popularly known as the Arc de Triomphe of the East and considered as the legendary masterpiece of Qutub Shahi. The Char Minar is made of granite and lime-mortal which is a unique example of Cazia style of architecture. As the name suggests it has four elaborately carved graceful minarets called ‘Four MInars’.
Lal Qila, also known as Red fort is situated along the river Yamuna as an irregular octagon. It is built of red stone and surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 km. After the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi, 9 years later the fort was completed in 1648. The fort has two main entrances, the Delhi Gate and the Lahori Gate. The latter faces Chandni Chowk, the city’s most crowded and diverse market. The fort has the Diwa-e-am, where the king would grant access to the public to listen to their grievances. The other feature is the Diwan-e-Khas where the king would grant audience to important people.
The Golden Temple also known as Darbar Sahib or Hari Mandir Sahibwas was first built by the fifth guru, Guru Arjun Singhji to house ‘Granth Sahib’, the the holy book of the Sikhs. Later it was rebuilt in 1803 by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Located in Amritsar in the state of Punjab, Golden Temple is the holiest place of the Sikh faith. The dome of the temple is covered by a gold leaf. The interior decoration consists of inlay work done with semi-precious stones in a delicate floral design.
Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India. It is located at Raisina Hill near Parliament House in New Delhi, India. Until 1950 it was known as “Viceroy’s House” and served as the residence of the Viceroy and Governor General of India. At present, it is the largest residence of any Chief of the State in the world. Built on 330 acres, it resembles a beautiful Mughal garden and sits on one end of Rajpath, the site of Republic Day parades. The bhavan has 340 rooms, 74 lobbies, 18 staircases and 37 fountains. There is Durbar Hall and the Ashoka Hall within the complex where the president hosts visiting dignitaries and swears.
Hawa Mahal, also known as ‘The Palace of Winds’ is the most recognizable monument of Jaipur. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singhand designed by Lal Chand Usta in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu God. The five-story pyramidal building with overhanging latticed balconies is designed to get the cool breeze on summer days. Unique in conception, the Palace is situated on the busiest streets of Jaipur’s business centre. It was built for the ladies of the royal household to observe the activities of the market-place from the privacy of their balconies.