The pristine white Taj Mahal and the amazing Khajuraho temples are almost synonymous with India for tourists. But India has much more to offer the discerning traveler if he has just a little bit time and patience to explore the breathtaking country at leisure. Here are a few beautiful buildings in India that are a tribute to the astonishing and vibrant architectural talent that belongs to India. Take a look!
1. Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
One of the ancient temples of India, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is mentioned a number of times in many epics and puranas. A blend of traditional Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture mark this historic temple which has been renovated a number of times after a fire almost destroyed it completely in the 17th century. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, reclining on his favorite friend and companion, the serpent Anantha. The Kulasekhara Mandapam, which was constructed in 1758, is an architectural marvel which produces musical notes when tapped.
2. Akshardham Temple
The Akshardham Temple in Delhi stands tall on the banks of the Yamuna river as a testament to more than 10,000 years of Indian culture and traditions. Inaugarated on NOvember 6th, 2005, the massive temple complex contains more than 100 acres of lawn, a musical water fountain, an IMAX theatre, a holy lake called the Narayan Sarovar and thousands of exquisite statues including a grand depiction of Lord Swaminarayan.
3. Gwalior Fort
One of the biggest forts in India, the Gwalior fort has had several rulers ranging from the Rajputs to the Turks to the Tomars and then the Mughals. The control finally passed down to the erstwhile Scindia clan. There are a number of palaces and temples inside the fort complex dating back to the 8th century which are a must-see for any visitor.
The Neermahal is one of the two water palaces in India. Located in the picturesque Rudrasagar Lake, the Neermahal was built in 1930 as a summer palace for Maharaja Birbikram Kishore of the Manikya dynasty and has 24 rooms.
5. Lotus Temple
The Lotus temple in New Delhi is dedicated to the Bahai faith and was constructed over a period of ten long years from 1976 – 1986. Made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand, the structure resembles a half-opened lotus flower with 27 petals and has nine reflecting ponds surrounding it.
The central hall (above) which is more than 40 metres tall can seat up to 2500 people. An Iranian architect called Fariborz Sahba played a major role in its construction.
6. Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
The Shore temple in Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) with Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu as the presiding deities dates back to the 7th century and has the typical Dravidian architecture common to many of the South Indian temples. The Pallava dynasty is credited with the construction of this magnificent temple carved out of stones and granite on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
7. St.Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata
One of the most beautiful buildings in India, the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata took almost eight years to be constructed (1839 – 1847). It is said to be inspired by the Norwich Cathedral in England and reflects strong traits of the Indo-Gothic style of architecture.
8. Lingaraj Temple
Orissa’s Konark Sun Temple and the Puri Jagannath Temple are more famous, but the Lingaraj temple which dates back to the 7th century is a lesser-known tourist destination where Shiva devotees flock to in abundance.
9. Jahaz Mahal, Mandu
Another one of India’s unique palaces, the Jahaz Mahal in the ruins of Mandu was built by Ghiyas al-Din in the 15th century. The palace is in the shape of a floating ship on a narrow stretch of land between the twin lakes of Kapur Talao and Munj Talao. It is believed that al-Din had the double-storied palace in Tughlaid style of architecture constructed for his harem of ladies.
10. Murudeshwara Temple
The Murudeshwara temple which is one of the Panchakshetras worshiped by Shaivites is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides and has the second-tallest Shiva statue in the world in its complex. The two huge stone elephants at the gate and the 20-story Gopura are recent additions to the temple complex.
Bonus: Humayun’s Tomb
Delhi has a number of historical monuments for the fascinated tourist and it is quite possible that you may have missed visiting one of the most beautiful examples of Persian architecture, Humayun’s Tomb. The double-storied structure made of red sandstone is believed to be commissioned by Humayun’s wife Hamida Begum after his death in 1556.
We would love to hear which is your favourite one out of the list? Leave an answer in the comment box below.