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Essay On Historical Monuments Of India

 

Historical Monuments of India

Indian History is full of the rise and fall of many kingdoms and empires. Monuments, built y the kings and they perform of every period throw light on the past history of India. these monuments exhibit the glory of India and are part of our cultural heritage. Almost all states of India boast of some or the other important historical monuments. Thousands of tourists visit India to have a glimpse of its important historical places.

Taj Mahal is one of the most famous and beautiful buildings of the world. Taj Mahal was build by Emperor Shah Jahan as the tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It matchless beauty draws visitors from all parts of the world. The taj mahal got the highest ranking among the Seven Wonders of the World after the biggest online poll at www.new7wonders.com. Part forms Taj Mahal there are other historical monuments in Agra.

Red fort is one of those monuments which enhance the grace of Delhi. Red fort was also built by shah Jahan the Mughal emperor. The architecture of this building has a splendid impact of red stone and marble works. it has delicate carving on every possible surface.

Qutub Miner’s also a significant historical monument. The construction of Qutub Minar was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibek in twelfth century. But it was completed by his successor Iltutmnish. the Minar rises over 230 feet. The walls of the Minar are intricately carved and inscribed with verses from the Holly Quram. It is often viewed as a symbol of the military might of the Turko Afghan dynasty. Delhi also boasts of historical monument like Purana Qila, humayun’s tomb Jantar Mantar and many more.

Hyderabad is famous for its charming minarets Charminar. The city is often identified with the majestic Charminaar which stands at the center of the old city. It was built by Muhammad quil Shah. Charminar with its enormous size and majestic splendor attracts a number of visitors. Hyderabad has many other famous monuments like Golkunda Fort, Purani Haveli Tombs of Qutub Shahi kings etc.

There are a number of such monuments that are not only historically famous but also have religious significance. Puri is well known for a twelfth century temple called Jagannath erected in honour of the Hindu god Vishnu. It begun by king chodagangaeva and completed by king Ananga Bhima Deva iii. it is very vast temple.

Golden Temple of Amritsar is also known as Darbar Sahib. It is a great pilgrimage center of the Sikhs. The holy temple was completed under the direct control and supervision of Guru Arjan Dev. It’s foundation stone was laid by a renowned Muslim divine Main Mir. The Guru intended to keep the temple open to people of all castes creeds and faith a. so it was given four door women each direction. it has a lire pool around it. During Maharaja Ranjit Singh reign the lower half of the temple was decorated with marble while the entire upper half was in laid with copper converted over by gold plate. Hence it is known as golden temple. Some other religious monuments are Badrinath temple, Dilwara temple Dakshineshwara temple,  Kailashnath temple ,Seven pagoda , Lotus temple Rameshwaram temple.

In British era too some important monuments were constructed. These monuments have their own important place in Indian history. India gate was constructed in the memory of those Indian soldiers who were killed in world war i. gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of the first ever British Monarch King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. There are a number of other monuments built by the British. These are Rashtrapati Bhawan Parliament House Victoria Memorial.

Al these monuments are visited by millions of tourists actors the globe throughout the year. These monuments are among the best a in the world for their archaeological value design and historical significance but it is a disturbing fact that we have no looked after these monuments properly.

The majority of them are in a bad shape. Even the most famous monuments like Taj Mahal , Qutub Minar ,  Lal Qila have been belated. Nearby industrial areas and markets create pollution which is harmful for these monuments. The government must a take initiative to protect these monuments. Proper care of these monuments enhances their life. A committee of experts should be formed to study the present condition of the monuments and the steps needed to be taken to protect them. Proper attention and initiatives of the government can only save these historical monuments from ruining away.

 

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India is a nation that is rich in history and heritage. From the Khajuraho monuments to the most beautiful Taj Mahal, there is no dearth of historical monuments. The architectural marvels of this nation are worth watching and are among India’s most treasured. Every monument has an intriguing story and a fascinating history to it that makes these beautiful monuments even more striking. Let us take you through the ten best historical monuments in India that you must visit for their beauty, charm and architectural finesse.

ALSO READ 10 historical monuments in Delhi that are a must-visit!

1. Taj Mahal, Agra

One of the most beautiful monuments in the whole of India is definitely the most preferred Taj Mahal that was built by Shah Jahan as an expression of love and in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. In 2007 Taj Mahal even made it to the list of the Seven Wonders of the World.The beauty and charm of this monument remains intact and even today manages to attract people in large numbers. The Taj Mahal attracts tourists from all across the world every year. The architecture of this beauty remains unparalleled and the history of Taj Mahal is even more intriguing.

Located on the bank of Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal has been a fascination point for many architects and tourists alike. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife’s tomb, the Taj Mahal stands amidst a 42-acre complex with a guest house and a mosque. The work was completed in 1643 but there were minor elements that took about ten more years to complete. It is believed that the Taj Mahal was completed 1653 and cost around 32 million rupees. Currently, Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 since it is the jewel of Muslim art in India it is admired all across the universe. For those who want to draw some inspiration from Mughal architecture, Taj Mahal is something you shouldn’t miss out on.

And since the world recognized Taj Mahal as an epitome of true love, let us also take you through a little history. This is one love story that has been heard and felt by millions and melted many hearts. Though this love story is dated back to 1631, people still are in awe of this beautiful story. And this is how it goes: Shah Jahan was the son of Jahangir and the fourth Mughal emperor. It is said that that in 1607, when Shah Jahan stepped out in Meena Bazaar for leisure walk, he noticed a girl and it was instantly love at first sight. The girl obviously was none other than Mumtaz Mahal who had another name at that time – Arjumand Banu Begum. She was a Persian princess. The two were married in 1612.

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Shah Jahan named her as Mumtaz Mahal. Yes, this Mughal emperor did have many wives, but Mumtaz was his favorite and while giving birth to their 14th child, she passed away. It is believed that Shah Jahan was so grief stricken that after her demise, he ordered mourning in the court for two long years. While Mumtaz was breathing her last, Shaha Jahan had promised to her that he wouldn’t marry again and would build a beautiful mausoleum right over her grave; which is now the Taj Mahal. This magnificent monument is now one of the most important places and tourist attractions of India.

2. Qutub Minar, Delhi

The highest stone tower in India and the tallest brick minaret in the world is the Qutub Minar which was started in 1199 by Qutb-ud-Din Aibak. This monument was named after the Sufi master Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. It stands tall at 72 m and is made of red sandstone and marble. Though the construction was started by Aibak, it was also done by two other rulers and hence you will get to witness different architectural styles here.

The Qutub Minar is not just a building, but with so many small and beautiful monuments around it, it makes it a complex. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Qutub Minar is located in Mehrauli, Delhi. If you have ever visited Qutub Minar, you will know that there is a staircase in circular style that will lead you till the top. This staircase has a total of 379 steps. When Qutub al-Din Aibak who also founded the Delhi Sultanate, started constructing the Qutub Minar, it was taken ahead by his successor and his son-in law Iltutmish who added tree additional stories to the tower. However in an unfortunate incident, lightning struck the top floor and damaged it. Hence, Firoz Shah Tughlaq, took it upon himself to do all the repair work. Not only did he repair the damage but also kept adding new floors each year. The Minar also consists of carvings of verses from the holy book- Quran.

And this is how Qutub Minar was finally built. The surrounding small, significant monuments are the Iron Pillar of Delhi, The Tomb of Iltutmish, Alai Minar and many others.

3. Gateway of India, Mumbai

Built during the 20th century in Mumbai, the Gateway of India is another most visited monument in India. Overlooking the majestic Arabian Sea, this historical monument is located in a perfect scenic spot. Standing tall at 85 feet, the Gateway of India is one of Mumbai’s most iconic monuments and also an important landmark. The construction of this beautiful monument started in 1911 and took 13 years to complete. In 1924, the construction was completed and the Gateway of India was set up to commemorate the very first visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. In fact the monument also has writing that reads, ‘Erected to commemorate the landing in India of their Imperial Majesties King George V and Queen Mary on the second December MCMXI.’

The main gate of this monument is located on Apollo Bunder road and the view from here towards the sea is breathtaking. The Gateway of India has total five jetties which will take you to Elephanta caves or to Alibaug. A ride in any of these jetties is a must. As the jetty rides away from Gateway, that is when you can actually experience the grandeur of this structure that overlooks the sea. Gateway sees many tourists and locals visiting throughout the year. While some take these jetty rides to reach other attractions, while others prefer standing by the boundary wall of this monument to enjoy the breath taking views of the majestic sea. To spend an ideal evening, all you need to do is walk through the entire stretch of this monument, sip hot tea that vendors sell on the street and marvel at the beauty of iconic buildings around. You could also get a photograph or two clicked.

4. Charminar, Hyderabad

Another well known and recognized monument is the Charminar in Hyderabad, Telangana. From the time it was constructed in 1591 CE, it has become the most popular landmark for Hyderabadis. For every budding architect, Charminar is a pure delight to the eyes. Listed as an archaeological treasure according to the Archaeological Survey of India, the literal meaning of Charminar means Four Towers. Now, the interesting part about Charminar is that the history of this monument has many theories to it. And if we have to go by the records of the Archaeological Survey of India, it has stated that the Charminar may have been constructed to commemorate the complete eradication of plague. In those times, the city was dealing with a very deadly disease that spread all over the city. It was then when Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah prayed for the plague to end and promised that he would build a mosque right where he was praying if his prayers are heard. And that’s how this monument was erected.

Another theory according to the locals is that the Charminar was erected in1592 and not 1591. They say that it was Hyderabad that was founded as a city in 1591. And if the theories are anything to go by, it is also believed that Charminar was built on the spot where Qutb first saw Bhagmati who went on to later become his queen. Though Bhagmati was Hindu, she converted to Islam for her love. This story had been denied by historians, yet it still remains as a popular folklore.

Whatever the stories surrounding its construction may have been, till this date Charminar remains one of the most popular tourist attractions. Situated very close to Laad Bazaars, it is hustling of bazaars and vibrant vibes that attract most people to the biggest and popular global icon of Hyderabad. Hyderabad is probably one of those very few cities that have a perfect blend of modernity and tradition.
Built as per Islamic Architecture, the Charminar like the name truly suggests has four arches which faces all the four directions. A two-storied building, the balconies overlook the stunning Mecca Masjid and the minarets are a part of the breathtaking city landscape. On the top floor it has a small and quaint mosque which is one of the oldest surviving mosques in Hyderabad. Fascinating, right?

5. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. Situated in the city of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, this fort is a World Heritage Site and is also one of the biggest tourist attractions. Built in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal who was Rajput ruler, this fort is also known as the Sonar Quila or the Golden Fort. A true architectural wonder, it overlooks a beautiful township that houses many beautiful havelis and temples.
Nestled beautifully in the middle of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer fort has been a ground to many battles. The beauty of this fort is best experienced during sunrise and sun set. The sun rays shining bright on the fort makes it look even more golden and shiny. Standing tall at 1,500 feet and 750 feet wide, this fort was constructed on hill with a basement that has a tall 15 feet wall which serves as a line of defense.

The fort also has an excellent drainage system also known as the ghut nali that allows rainwater to drain away easily. Apart from these facts, the interesting part is that this fort has a distinct charm also because it has survived so many battles and even today manages to look as beautiful as ever. People who are instantly attracted to good looking buildings and historic monuments with a good architecture, the Jaisalmer fort is truly a delight. The fort also has many eateries inside. Serving everything from Indian to Italian, there is a myriad of option for tourists to relish. In fact, one of the most noted directors Satyajit Ray also wrote a novel based on this beautiful fort later filmed it in this location. It is after this movie that people from Bengal flocked in large numbers to get a first-hand experience of the Jaislamer fort that Ray showed to them. The Jawahar Palace in the fort is the most beautiful of them all which used to be a place of residence of the royal family. The ornate designs and pristine sculptures is what makes this place so popular and one of the best historical monuments of India. With many 100- year old havelis, majestic palaces, beautiful windows, archways and balconies that offer stunning views, Jaisalamer Fort which is a great example of the Rajput military architecture, should be visited at least once in a lifetime.

6. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Hawa Mahal, also known as Palace of Winds, is one of the most unique landmarks of the pink city- Jaipur. The palace looks nothing less than paradise with its fairytale like structure. Constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh , this palace was made with an intention to ensure that the ladies of the royal family get to witness and experience city life. And if you go up go the top; you will be stunned at the breath taking views of the City Palace and Siredeori Bazaar that it offers. Made of pink and red sandstone, the structure of the Hawa Mahal is inspired by Khetri Mahal, which is considered as one of the finest architecture around. If you have noticed, the shape of this Mahal resembles to the crown of Krishna which was exactly the idea. The honeycomb of a beehive is another word used to describe the palace. With a total of 935 quant windows also called as jharokas, ladies of the royal families used to witness the city life and its festivities without being seen by the outside world. In those times, women covering their faces with purdah were a compulsion. Each window has a beautifully done lattice that allows cool air to pass through to keep temperatures low during summers.

It was only recently in 2006 that major restoration works were done on the Mahal. This was done after a good gap of 50 years and it cost about Rs 4568 million to get the renovation work done. It is now under the maintenance of the Unit Trust of India. The man behind this architectural marvel is the great Lal Chand Ustad who made sure that Hawa Mahal symbolizes the fusion of both Hindu and Islamic Mughal architecture. The dome, pillars and floral patterns all have a Rajput style to it. Each chamber in this Mahal as a fountain that only adds to the already appealing monument and hence it is not surprising that this place was the Maharaja’s favorite resort. A visit to Jaipur will remain incomplete until you visit this beauty. The night view of the Mahal with perfect lightings is sure to leave a lasting impression on you. So the next time you are on a trip to this beautiful city, make sure to explore the Mahal and to understand the earlier life of royal families.

You have to pay an entry fee to visit Hawa Mahal. For Indians, it will cost Rs 10 for adults and Rs 5 for students; whereas for foreigners it will cost Rs 50 for adults and 25 for student.

ALSO READ 8 Pictures of Hawa Mahal That Will Make You Want To Go There Soon!

7. Mysore Palace, Mysore

Situated in the heart of Mysore is the country’s largest palace that is also known as Mysore Palace. One of the best and the most visited monuments in India; the historical significance of this palace is a big attraction. This palace was once a residence of Wodeyar Maharaja of this state which was also famously known as the Ambas Vilas Palace. In 1897, the palace that was originally made of wood got burned and was completely destroyed. This unfortunate incident took place during the wedding of the eldest daughter of Wodeyar. However in 1912, this palace was rebuilt and it cost approximately Rs 42 lakhs. The architecture is greatly inspired from the Indo-Saracenic style which has a combination of Hindu, Muslim, Gothic and also Rajput architecture. A three-storied structure, the sculpture of Gajalakshmi who is the goddess of prosperity and wealth is pretty attractive and impressive. Built by Rajarshi Wadiyar IV , after the Taj Mahal, the Palace of Mysore is the biggest tourist attraction that attracts almost 6 million visitors every year.

Mysore is a city that celebrates many major festivals with much pomp and joy. Out of all the festivals celebrated here, Dussera is celebrated with most extravagance. This festival celebrates Durga who slew Mahishasura, a demon, which also meant the victory of good over bad. The Wodeyars celebrated this since 1799 in Mysore which is still carried out. The Palace looks all lit up and ten times more beautiful during this festival. It is said that almost 96,000 lights are used to illuminate this majestic palace. In fact, it is not just Dussera that brings out the charm of this palace, every autumn it also hosts the Mysore Dasara festival that sees many artists performing on the palace grounds. On the last day, you can see elephants all decorated walking in this ground.

THE MANY ROOMS OF MYSORE PALACE THAT MUST BE EXPLORED:

Ambavilasa is one of the most famous and unique rooms of the palace. This room was mostly used by the King with only private audiences for conferences with his ministers. The opulence of the hall and the intricate doorway is a must see. This room also has a quaint shrine in dedication to Ganesha. As you walk inside the hall, the chandeliers and beautiful floral decorations with glass ceilings will give you a glimpse of the royal life and luxurious lifestyle.

The other important rooms of the palace are the Diwan-e-aam which was made for the public to meet the King and voice their grievances and petitions. And another room, which was meant only to store and preserve the armory used by the royal family members.
Apart from the many rooms this palace has, it also has many temples- from the oldest to the latest. Someshvara temple, the Lakshmiramana temple and Shweta Varahaswamy templs are some of the many in the palace. Today the Mysore Palace grounds hosts many events, weddings and also sound and light programs. If you want to witness these, just visit the Palace on weekdays between 7 to 7.45 pm. The beautiful old fort of the palace is open from 10 am to 8 pm and you do not have to pay any entry fee for the same. Adults have to pay a ticket fee of Rs 40 to enter the palace, while children aged between 7 and 12 will have to pay Rs 25. For foreign tourists, the fee is Rs 200. Since the palace was home to a royal family who believed strongly in traditions and cultures, please ensure that you respect this and remove your footwear before entering the palace temples or the complex.

With so much to offer in just one complex, it is no surprise that the Mysore Palace is one of the best historical monuments of India. Plan a visit soon!

8. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Built between 1906 and 1921, the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, West Bengal was constructed in the memory of Queen Victoria. This is one of the many traces of the British ruling in India. This memorial is situated in the banks of Hooghly River on the Maidan ground. The memorial was built by Sir William Emerson , in spite of Lord Curzon laying down some specifications about the style. The memorial was inaugurated in 1921 and today it has a museum and serves as a tourist attraction. With many paintings from the British Era and Victorian art work, this building looks the best at night when it is illuminated. It does look like a fairyland. The most attractive part about the Victoria Memorial is the beautiful and vibrant gardens surrounded on all sides. It is believed that it cost approximately 10 million to build this whole thing without the use of British government funds. The British Indian states and people who favored the British government contributed the money required to construct this memorial. The 16 feet tall statue of victory on the top of this memorial is another attraction which symbolizes victory and this statue rotates with the wind.

Lord Curzon in a statement to build the memorial for Queen Victoria had told that this memorial will serve as a revival to the past for every newcomer to the city. And the architecture is such that it does take you back to the British days in India and reminds of the days when they ruled us.

The memorial has 25 galleries in all that are the royal gallery, portrait gallery, sculpture gallery, arms gallery, Calcutta gallery and several others. Illustrated works of William Shakespeare, Arabian Nights and many other books are a part of these galleries. The National leader’s gallery is what you must visit. It has the portraits of many freedom fighters. The next time you visit Kolkata, you know which historical monument you must not miss exploring.

9. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

If you want to witness the beauty of Buddhist art and architecture, Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh is where you should be. The Great Stupa is what this town is known for the most. One of the oldest structures made of stone, this was originally initiated by Ashoka , the great emperor of India. Out of all the renowned Sanchi monuments, the Great Stupa stands out for its grandeur and exquisiteness. It was built in the third century BC with four main gateways. The huge domes with a hemispherical structure and the chatra which signifies a high rank was built to honor the relic of those times. It is said that Devi who was also Ashoka’s wife and the daughter of an ordinary merchant Vidisha, looked after the works of this beautiful monument and supervised it. Sanchi is said to be Devi’s birth place and also her wedding venue. It is truly commendable that the Sanchi Stupa which is also one of the earliest built ones has been preserved so well. The gateways with a strong railing has kept this place protected and has also added to the beauty. Most of the credit goes to Sir John Marshall under whose supervision this splendid monument was restored to its present state in 1912.

Another very interesting fact about the Sanchi Stupa is that Lord Buddha has been shown here through his footprints and thrones and not by an image of his own. As you enter the Stupa, you will also see beautifully carved depictions of Buddha and his early life. And they carved it such a way that the common man can easily relate to it. One of the most beautiful structures of those times, this historical monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and today there are a total of 50 monuments in Sanchi inclusive of this Stupa.

A visit to Sanchi will make you privy to Buddhist architecture and the life of Buddha. If you love history, beautiful monuments displaying world’s finest architecture, then the Sanchi Stupa is sure to impress you.

10. Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

Like the name says, the Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of beautiful Hindu and Jain temples located all in Madhya Pradesh. Also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, they are one of the most popular monuments of India. The reason for their popularity is the architectural beauty and symbolism especially their erotic sculptures.

Most of these temples were built by the Chandela reign. A true architectural marvel, this place is a treat to the eyes with so many stunning temples amidst picturesque landscapes. The records maintained by historians, state that Khajuraho had almost 85 temples that spread over a massive 20 sq km. But over the years, owing to many factors, only 20 temples survived. In spite of this, the Khajuraho monuments are a treasure to our Indian heritage. Dated back to the 11th century, these monuments with their exotic carvings and sculptures have managed to capture everybody’s attention. For those who have a brief idea of architecture, you will be in awe with the perfection and flair with which the artisans worked. No wonder, in today’s time, it still attracts so many tourists each year from all across the world.

ALSO READ Khajuraho: Feast for the senses

And for a little bit of history, it is believed that the complex was closed and secured with a big wall and had eight gates flanked with date (khajura) trees and that is how it got its name. There was a period, somewhere between the 9th and 11th century when this complex was taken over by the Muslim dynasties, during which many temples were damaged and destroyed. However, thanks to a British surveyor named TS Burt, he rediscovered the monuments and took efforts to bring back its lost glory.

The Khajuraho monuments are built of sandstone and the construction of this complex till this date remains unparalleled. Among the many temples that still stand strong, six of them are in dedication to Shiva, eight to Vishnu and one to Ganesha, the Sun God and three to Jain Tirthanks. The numerous sculptures of Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu religion are an attraction point for many and the only temple that is still a worship place is the Matangeshvara temple.

Apart from these holy sculptures, there are also these well known carvings that depict life and eroticism. There is a general belief that these carvings are those of gods, but the fact is they are carvings of humans in different life stages. And apart from these numerous sculptures and carvings, another major factor that makes this place a tourist attraction spot is the dance festival that is hosted every year in February. Artists from all over perform and showcase the various forms of dance and music. They also offer light and sound show every evening, the first show being in English and the second one in Hindi.

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Published: August 22, 2016 11:00 AM IST | Updated: August 21, 2016 11:14 PM IST

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