India is home to many precious heritage sites. It is sufficiently endowed with its fair share of culture and history. These blend in to create places that are worth visiting for tourists as well as the local public. They provide a rich taste of the country’s way of life and its development over the years.
Both the hemispheres of the subcontinent have their own appeal. Additionally, the nation continues to be home to a number of historic structures, monuments, and locations that enhance and contribute to India’s charm, drawing visitors, historians, and travellers from around the world.
Though north India has the capital city and many other palaces, tombs and monuments as attractions, the attractiveness of south India is unique in its own way. The historical and cultural treasures of south India are unmatched. The many locations that are part of India’s cultural heritage speak volumes about it.
Heritage Sites To Visit
Cultural tourism in India brings visitors beyond exotic beaches, hills and extravagant spending. It guides you through India’s well-known historical sites, various art forms and traditional cuisine trails.
Not only is this country one of the world’s oldest civilizations but it is also one of the most culturally varied regions. All of these elements combine to make a heritage trip to India a must. Here are just a few of the heritage sites which you must visit at least once.
- Khajuraho Temples
The Khajuraho temples are a collection of temples in Madhya Pradesh, the town of Khajuraho that are renowned for embodying human creativity, civilization, engineering, heritage, love and passion. It consists of 85 temples dispersed throughout a 20-square-kilometre area. It is organised into three parts, with temples in the west, east and south.
Two different religions, Jainism and Hinduism, are honoured in these temples. They were built by Chandelas and represented understanding and respect for other faiths at the time. They are well-known for their Nagara-style symbolism, sensual figures and sculptures. The statues have been carved here and some of which date back to the Kama Sutra tradition.
Sandstone of various colours was used to construct the entire monument, giving it a beautiful appearance. One may always catch a direct or linking train to this location because of the well-connected railway network in this area.
A train station and an airport are located in Khajuraho, and both are well-accessible to major cities. The greatest time to go is from October to February because of the weather and breeze.
- Taj Mahal
1983 was the year when this incredible place was declared a heritage site in India. An exquisite landscape surrounds this magnificent white marble tomb on the Yamuna river’s banks. It was constructed in the 17th century in honour of the emperor’s adored wife, Mumtaj Mahal, by the Mughal ruler of the time.
The monument’s structure combines aspects of Indian, Persian and Islamic artistic styles. The tall minarets, arch-shaped entryways, and thousands of valuable and semi-precious jewels on the walls, as well as the drinking fountain and ornamental gardens, all contribute to the splendour of this memorial. There is a tiny museum within the Taj Mahal building that features numerous genuine Mughal paintings.
- Humayun’s Tomb
Individuals seeking classic Mughal architecture should visit Delhi’s Humayun tomb, one of India’s most visited cultural sites. Humayun was the son of Babur, India’s first Mughal Emperor. The building, which started in 1569, was overseen by Haji Begum, the Persian husband of Humayun.
The tomb is located in the centre of a square garden, and causeways (Charbagh) divide this Mughal tomb into four main gardens. Water canals are also present in the centre. Two grand double-story entrances on the west and south sides of the perimeter allow access.
Large-scale gardens were afterwards constructed in front of several Mughal structures, modelled after Humayun’s tomb. Water fountains and waterways accentuate the splendour of the tomb, which is stretched across 30 acres. Its distinct beauty can be attributed to numerous important architectural innovations that led to the Taj Mahal’s creation.
- Ellora Caves
Ellora Caves and its series of monuments originate from 600-100 CE and are spread across a broad region. The vast rock-cut cave formations here are famed for holding numerous Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples and sculptures. Visit Cave 16, where the 32-metre-tall Kailash temple, the largest single rock excavation in the world, is located. It is 32 kilometres separate from Aurangabad and Ellora Caves.
The property contains approximately 100 caves but only 34 are accessible to the public. 12 Buddhist caves (1–12), 17 Hindu caves (13–29) and 5 Jain caves are included (30-34). While the Hindu and Buddhist structures were built during the Rashtrakuta era, the Jain caves were built during the Yadava dynasty.
The Ellora Complex is known for its distinctive creative works as well as the attitude of religious tolerance that was prevalent in ancient India. In ancient times, devotees of Hinduism, Jain and Buddhism coexisted happily and produced several architectural and sculptural wonders in the same area. In 1983, Ellora Caves were included in India’s list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city of ruins, as we refer to it, is a city found in the hills and valleys of the lovely state of Karnataka. This royal capital, Hampi, was located near the Tungabhadra river. Hampi is known as the backpacker’s paradise because the city is loaded with various historical monuments, gorgeous temples, ruins of the royal palace, mountains with stunning dawn and sunset views, and local shops filled with the tumultuous activity of people.
It’s an open museum if you think of it as such, giving you 100+ spots to explore. The beautiful architecture of the buildings and monuments is what draws the most visitors.
The most prominent time to visit this location is often between October and March since the cool, comfortable weather at that time makes it simple to tour the city. The best time to visit this site is October to March when the weather is mild and excellent for sightseeing outside.
- Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple is a superb example of Kalinga architecture. It is also famously known as Black Pagoda. It is located on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal, only 35 kilometres from Puri. This Surya or Sun God temple, built in the 13th century, is renowned for its unusual design. It is fashioned after a sizable stone chariot for Surya and drawn by seven horses.
It is situated on the seashore in the state of Odisha, around 35 kilometres northeast of Puri. The Sanskrit terms Kona (corner or angle) and Arka combine to form the word ‘Konark’ (the sun). Thus, it suggests that the principal deity was the sun god and that the temple was constructed in an angular style.
Three Sun God statues are located on three distinct sides of the temple. In order to receive direct sunlight in the morning, afternoon and nighttime, the deities are positioned.
It is famously known as the Pink City. This was added to the list of heritage sites in the year 2019. This lovely city is steeped in regal history, great architecture and diverse culture. There are some of the most incredible palaces, forts and Havelis scattered around that will transport you back in time.
Impressive fusions of Rajput, Mughal and Deccan architectural traditions with European influences can be seen in the buildings. These include City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort, and Nahargarh Fort, to name a few.
Pink City is renowned for its colourful bazaars like Johri Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar and Badi Chaupar. These regional bazaars are a shopper’s dream, offering exquisite Rajasthani jewellery, handicrafts, fabrics and a wide variety of other goods.
The diverse regions of the nation were home to numerous religious founders and spiritual leaders of the modern age. Travellers, academics and history fans from all over the world have long been drawn to India because of its authentically rich heritage in literature, arts, religion, art, philosophy, tradition, music, and architecture.
Enjoy discovering the country’s historical artefacts and architectural ruins that tower over bustling cities and roadways. This is a place of stark contrasts where ritual and modernity coexist to create mind-blowing moments that last a lifetime.