Taj Mahal, Agra
Explore the ultimate epitome of love, the Taj Mahal, whose grandeur remains unmatched in history and today this is one of the best weekend getaways from Delhi. This opulent white marble structure was commissioned to be built in 1632 by Shah Jahan for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took around 22 years to complete this magnificent structure that is considered one of the most famous historical places in India.
According to local legend, it was believed that Shah jahan cut off the hands of all the workers who built the Taj Mahal so that a similar monument could not be built.
Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh
To get a sense of the rich history of the Mughal era, visit the walled palatial Agra Fort that is built entirely of red sandstone. Built in 1565 by Akbar, this historical tourist place in India has two ornately designed gates: the Amar Singh Gate and the Delhi Gate. You can only enter through the Amar Singh Gate to uncover an ancient city filled with gateways, courts, passages, palaces and mosques.
Red Fort, Delhi
One of the historical tourist places in India, the Red Fort was constructed over ten years from 1638 to 1648. This fort was constructed when Shah Jahan shifted the capital from Agra to Delhi and it was then known as the Qila-e-Mubarak. This octagonal fort is one of the most famous historical places in north India and is also the site where the President gives his speech on Independence Day.
Qutub Minar, Delhi
Regarded as the site of the first Muslim kingdom in northern India, the Qutub Minar is definitely one of the most historical places in India. It is one of the finest examples of Indo-Muslim architecture with its intricate red sandstone storeys. These are dotted with carvings and verses from the Quran and are mostly in Arabic and Nagari.
Qutub Minar is one of the famous historical places in India and is said to have got its name from Qutb-ud-din Aibak who was the first Muslim ruler of North India. The first mosque in India Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid is also located at the foot of the Qutub Minar.
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
A beautiful synthesis of Indian and Persian architecture, Humayun’s Tomb is one of the most famous historical places in India. Humayun’s wife Hamida Banu Begum commissioned the building of this tomb for her husband in the 15th century. Arched alcoves, beautiful domes, elaborate corridors and kiosks – all make this monument a grandeur of Indian architecture. There is also a barber’s tomb at the southwestern side of the main tomb.
Fatehpuri Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
The royal city of Fatehpur Sikri was once the capital of the Mughal era during Akbar’s reign. This royal city is one of the historical tourist places in India and once had palaces, public buildings, mosques, quarters for the king, the army as well as the servants. Further, the well planned royal city with carved columns and decorated pillars was built between 1571-1573 AD and abandoned due to a shortage of water.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
The ‘Palace of Winds’ or Hawa Mahal gets its name due to the fact that it looks like a honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 intricate windows. It is also shaped like a crown as the ruler who built it, Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, was a major devotee of Lord Krishna. One of the popular tourist places in Jaipur, this palace is known as the tallest building in the world that doesn’t have any foundation. The palace is curved but still stands firm due to its pyramidal shape.
Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya
Visit the Mahabodhi temples that are one of the four holy grounds of Buddhism. This is the spot where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment while meditating under a fig tree. The Bodhi tree is the descendant of the Fig tree and lies just near the temple. The earliest temple was built by Asoka in the 3rd century BC. The temple has a massive statue of Buddha touching the earth with this right hand.
Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho has always been thought of as the place that exemplifies sensuality and eroticism at its best. However this is a misrepresentation as only about 10 percent of the sculptures are sensual and the rest are common depictions. Countless sculptures depicting love, eternal grace, beauty, delicacy and the creative arts can be seen in one of the most historical places in India. A perfect amalgamation of Hinduism and Jainism, these temples have carvings of cult icons, demi gods and Apsaras.
Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
Unearth one of the most religious centers of Buddhism at the Sanchi Stupa that houses relics of the Buddha. This famous historical place in India was built by Lord Asoka in the 3rd century B.C for Emperor Asoka. The Dome of the Stupa signifies the wheel of law and this stupa is actually considered as a symbol of Buddha’s freedom the circle of life and death (Moksha). The four gateways of the Stupa have various scenes from the Jataka tales and stories of Buddha’s life.
Konark Temple, Odisha
Built by the great ruler of the Ganga dynasty – King Narasimhadeva I, along with 1200 artisans, the Konark Temple is magic set in stone. Located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, this temple signifies the exquisite detailing of ancient architecture and is one of the famous historical places in India. A particularly interesting feat is at the entrance of the temple where two lions are shown crushing elephants and a human body lies at the foot of the elephant.
Rani ki Vav, Gujarat
You will feel like an ant climbing down an anthill when you explore the Rani ki Vav stepwell as it is a massive structure that is around 24 meters deep. One of the most unexplored historical places in India, this stepwell was built in the 11th century AD, as a memoriam for King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty by his wife Queen Udayamati. The lowest level of the stepwell was earlier used as a route to escape to neighbouring villages.
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is one of the most historical tourist places in India and was built during the peak of the British era in India. The then Viceroy Lord Curzon laid down the idea of this monument but its actual design was done by Sir William Emerson.
Multitudes of lush gardens, a museum filled with British memorabilia including weapons, paintings, sculptors, artifacts etc and royal portrait of the Queen are what you will find in this beautiful monument. One of the best paintings you will find here is the one by Russian artist Vasili Verestchagin. This painting depicts the Prince of Wales in Jaipur in 1876.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
Built as an access point for the entry and exit during the British period, the Gateway of India is one of the best historical places in India. This ancient gateway was completed in 1924 and was inaugurated by The Viceroy, the Earl of Reading. It has been reinforced over time using yellow basalt and concrete and has delicate latticework all over the turrets. The statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Swami Vivekananda were also installed at the Gateway later on.
Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Aurangabad
The Ajanta and Ellora caves depict true craftsmanship skills where each rock carving was done by hand. When British officer John Smith set out to chase a tiger in 1819, he would never have thought that he would uncover the majestic Ajanta caves. These 29 caves are full of sculptures and paintings that epitomise Buddha and various Jataka tales.
Blending three different religions: Buddhism, Jainism and Brahmanism, the 34 caves at Ellora have been carved on the walls of a basaltic hill. There are 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves. Most of these caves are monasteries that were used for praying and studying.
It was believed that Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah built the Charminar in 1591 to honor Allah. However in reality this historical tourist place in India was built to signify the end of plague in the city. Legend has it that there is a secret tunnel from the monument to Golconda fort but it hasn’t been discovered till date. Each minaret of this monument has four stories and every arch has one clock.
Mysore Palace, Karnataka
Once the royal abode of a number of rulers, the Mysore Palace is now a museum that has all the royal pictures, clothing and artefacts of the Wodeyar dynasty. This palace is one of the most historical places in India and is frequently visited by several tourists. The palace was built and refined by several emperors throughout the years and is thus an amalgamation of Hindu, Rajput, and Mughal styles making it one of the heritage destinations in India. Glazed tiles, chandeliers, and iron pillars adorn the pavilion inside the temple that is used to host royal weddings.
Hampi’s rocky outcrops, chariot structures, gopurams, elephant stables, ornate halls – all depict the tale of one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms. It is believed that Lord Rama and his brother visited this historical place to search for Sita. They took the help of the two brothers Bali and Sugriv who ruled this region then. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most famous historical places in South India and was also the region where Vijayanagara’s main coin mint was situated.
Chola temples, Tamil Nadu
Get set to undertake an adventurous journey back in time by visiting the trio of three great Chola temples: Brihadeshwara Temple at Tanjore, Airavateshwara Temple in Darasuram, and Brihadeeshwara Temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram. The three temples were built by the kings of Chola dynasty which was one of the greatest kingdoms of South India. The ones at Tanjore and Cholapuram were built in the 11th century while the one at Darasuram was built in the 12th century.
Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Dravidian-style temples dotted with innumerable sculptures are the major attractions of Mahabalipuram. The stone carvings display Pallava art and took over 200 years to create making this one of the most ancient historical places in India.
11 temples called Mandapas lie on both sides of the hills at Mahabalipuram and these have both Dravidian style architecture as well as several Buddhist elements. The Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance and the Cave temples are some of the most popular tourist attractions of this region.
Interesting fact: The “Descent of the Ganges” that has been carved from pink granite and displays how Lord Shiva made the water of the Ganges descend from the heavens onto the earth.