India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and with its diverse range of landscapes, religions and cultures, it is a country rich in history and heritage. Examples of its rich and deep history are evident in its majestic monuments. Some of these are thousands of years old. Curious to know more? Here are some of the most famous monuments in India, from temples to tombs.
7 of the Most Famous Monuments in India
1. Taj Mahal – Agra
You’ll find the Taj Mahal on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the city of Agra. Not only is it the most famous monument in India, but it is also one of the most famous in the world. The perfect symmetrical, ivory-white marble building is a mausoleum. In 1632, when his wife died, emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the monument in her memory. It is a resting place for her tomb. When Shah Jahan died, his tomb was also placed here. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Many consider it one of the most beautiful buildings ever built.
2. Qutub Minar – New Delhi
The Qutub Minar forms part of the Qutub complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Delhi. Built around 1192, the Qutub Minar is a made from red and buff sandstone and at 73 metres is the tallest brick minaret in the world. Qutub Minar is a victory tower and was built to celebrate the victory of Muslim dominance over Delhi after the defeat of the Prithviraj Chauhan, the last Hindu ruler. For those who want to delve a little deeper into its history, you can rent an audio guide at the entrance of the monument.
3. Charminar – Hyderabad
The Charminar is a historic monument located at the heart of Hyderabad. Construction was completed in 1591 and today it is one of the most recognisable monuments in India. Charminar means ‘four minarets’ and when you look up you’ll see four minarets, one on top of each of the four columns. When you visit Charminar you can climb to the first floor and take in the views and on the second floor, you’ll find Hyderabad’s oldest mosque. Unfortunately, the upper columns are not open to the public.
4. Gateway of India – Mumbai
Constructed in 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay (Mumbai), this colossal arch-monument is Mumbai’s top tourist attraction. The Gateway of India is located at the tip of Apollo Bunder (Wellington Pier) and overlooks Mumbai harbour and the Arabian Sea. The structure is carved out from a mixture of indissoluble concrete and yellow basalt, and the colour really pops during sunrise and golden hour. So, set your alarm if you want to get the best photos.
5. Konark Sun Temple – Odisha
This 13th-century Sun Temple at Konark, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya. The monument is a representation of the sun god Surya’s chariot. It depicts twelve pairs of wheels drawn by seven horses. Symbolic designs decorate the wheels, some of which refer to the cycle of the seasons. It is an incredible piece of architecture in both design and execution. The temple is spread across 12 acres and it took 1,200 workers 12 years to complete.
6. India Gate – New Delhi
The India Gate is a monumental sandstone arch in New Delhi. Originally called the All-India War Memorial, its official name is the Delhi Memorial. It commemorates the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting in World War One, some 74,000 troops. Inscribed in smaller letters on the monument are the names of more than 13,000 individual Indian soldiers.
7. The Golden Temple – Punjab
The Sri Harmandir Sahib, commonly known as the Golden Temple, is a gurdwara, a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs. Guru Ramdas Sahib, the 4th of 10 Sikh gurus, constructed the Golden Temple and its pool in the 1500s. Sikhs consider the pool holy and purifying, and Sikhs can bathe in it from the outer platform. When you visit you can see temple workers filling buckets of water for the worshippers. 750 kilos of pure gold covers the upper floors. It looks resplendent especially when the sun rays bounce off it.