The Taj Mahal. Photo courtesy of mapsofworld.com.

Discover India’s best-loved buildings

Taking a tour of India? First, let me congratulate you on an excellent choice – India’s packed with amazing things to see, so this is bound to be one trip you won’t forget in a hurry. But, as with any travel plans, it’s worth doing a bit of research to work out exactly what it is you want to do while you’re there. You can’t pass up the chance to check out some of the country’s famous buildings, so you can get a little inspiration of which to include on your itinerary below.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal. Photo courtesy of mapsofworld.com.

The Taj Mahal is one of those buildings that gives meaning to the word ‘breathtaking’. It’s the most famous landmark in the country, so naturally it tops the list of buildings to see during your tour.

A gleaming white marble mausoleum, it’s best known for its impressively symmetrical structure, unique design and beauty. In fact, you probably already know exactly what it looks like, since it’s such an iconic structure. To give you a bit of information about its background, it was built between 1631 and 1648 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of Mumtaz Mahal (his favourite wife).

While you’re bound to be awestruck by the mausoleum itself, it’s also well worth checking out the grounds it’s situated in; the gardens have been arranged symmetrically to complement the building.

Agra Fort

While you’re in Agra admiring the Taj Mahal, it’d be a real waste not to visit the Agra Fort too. Once upon a time, this was the capital of the Mogul empire and, within the 2.5 km long walls that encircle it, you’ll find a whole city to explore.

There’s everything from white marble mosques to fairytale-like palaces inside, so make sure you give yourself a fair amount of time to explore. Plus, bear in mind that while there are two entrances (the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate), you can only enter through the Amar Singh Gate.

Hawa Mahal

Our next top building to see is Hawa Mahal – which is also often referred to as the Palace of the Winds – in Jaipur. This is the city’s most striking building, known the world over for its honeycomb structure.

Spanning five storeys, it dates back to 1799 and acts as an entrance to the City Palace. While you might think it’s simply decorative, in actual fact it was created to serve a very practical purpose – allowing royal ladies to remain in purdah. What this means is that they could sit at the building’s famous tiny windows and watch life below without being seen themselves.

Today, you can have a go at doing the same thing. While you might not much care about people in the city being able to see you, it’s still a great spot for people watching and an amazing slice of local heritage.

Udaipur Lake Palace

Ok, so it might seem a little strange to include a hotel on a list of must-see buildings – but this is no ordinary hotel. Sitting on an island in the middle of Pichola Lake, Udaipur Lake Palace was built back in the 18th century and was originally meant to be a royal summer home.

These days it’s a seriously luxurious hotel, but it’s also one of Udaipur’s most spectacular sights, so make sure you take a few minutes to head to the banks of the lake and admire it.

The Red Fort

New Delhi – and Old Delhi, for that matter – is bound to feature on your itinerary, and one sight you can’t miss while you’re there is the Red Fort Complex. This isn’t as grand as it was in its heyday, but it’s still hugely impressive. Head through the series of pavilions and you’ll get a feel for typical Mughal building, alongside Hindu and Persian traditions.

 

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