India is so incredibly vast that you cannot completely cover it even after making multiple trips to the country. Of the most popular tourist attractions in India are its remarkable historical places bearing witness to its rich heritage and glorious past. But if you’re a first-timer to India, you could be left confused at the plethora of choices when it comes to marvelous historical places in the country. To make planning your itinerary easier, following is a list of some of the many historical sites in India you can start with and then move on to the rest.
There is simply no way any list about spectacular monuments in India or the world for that matter does not start with the iconic Taj Mahal!
Gracing the list of the Wonders of the World for decades now, the Taj Mahal is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in India. A mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved departed wife Mumtaz Mahal, the monument is an epic place to visit for young lovers. Head to see the Taj Mahal first and get bragging rights that you’ve been to this iconic monument.
This is a tragic but significantly defining site in India’s struggle for freedom. In 1919, a massive group of more than 10,000 unarmed civilians were cornered here and fired upon mercilessly by British troops.
Also known as the ‘Amritsar massacre,’ the Jallianwala Bagh incident spurred protests and intensified the demand for freedom across the entire nation. You can still see the bullet holes all over the site – from the walls to the well into which many jumped hoping to escape the incessant firing.
Built initially as a palace by Emperor Shah Jahan, the Red Fort has as much political significance as it does historically. The Fort was occupied by the Mughals for nearly 200 years after which they lost control of it to the British in the year 1857.
After India attained its independence, the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation from this eminent Fort and unfurled the flag of independent India from the Fort’s ramparts.
Gateway of India
Occupying a most commanding position overlooking the stunning Arabian Sea, Mumbai’s most recognized monument is an absolute must-visit. The monument was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai in the year 1911.
However, the structure wasn’t completed until the year 1924. The Gateway of India’s core historical significance lies in the fact that this is where the last of the British troops left from when India achieved its independence.
Once the glorious capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, today Hampi is a quaint, laid back village in northern Karnataka. History buffs will know that Vijayanagar Empire was one of the greatest Hindu empires in Indian history.
The spectacular city was invaded and reduced to ruins by Muslim invaders in the year 1565. You can see the spectacular ruins that stretch for almost 25 km and date as far back as the 14th century. The ruins comprise of stunning architectural monuments which include Dravidian temples and palaces.
Founded by Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1569 from the twin villages of Fatehpur and Sikri, this was once the glorious but short-lived capital of the 16th-century Mughal Empire. It was meant as a tribute to Sheikh Salim Chisti, the famous Sufi Saint who predicted accurately the birth of Emperor Akbar’s much longed for son.
The place was abandoned due to insufficient water supply but its remarkable architecture is still well-preserved. You can still see the stunning gateway, one of the largest mosques in India, and a remarkable palace complex.
Rani Ki Vav
Rani ki Vav is an incredible step well which is a fairly recent discovery in Patan, Gujarat. Dating back to the 11th century, the step well was flooded by the river Saraswati and silted over for nearly until the 1980’s. It is associated with the reign of the Solanki Dynasty and was apparently built by the widow of esteemed ruler Bhimdev I in his memory.
Cleverly designed as an inverted temple, the panels of Rani ki Vav are covered in delicately done sculptures of which there are about 500 main ones and about 1000 other minor ones. Incredibly, no stone here has been left uncarved! Like the others mentioned above, this is a spectacular historical site to visit on cheap flights to India.
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