India is famous the world over for its rich heritage and ancient culture. The country’s cultural diversity and glorious history attracts millions of tourists each year to visit its numerous heritage sites scattered throughout its lands. India’s rich heritage is amply magnified by the numerous monuments, temples, forts and palaces that bear testimony to a glorious bygone era. The most popular heritage site that every person knows about is of course the Taj Mahal and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This huge monument is entirely made of white marble with exquisitely designed inlay work that would have required considerable craftsmanship.
With the government going all out to encourage tourism in all the states by offering numerous incentives, the foreign tourist footfall has increased to 88.9 lakh in 2016. Heritage tourism in India is a real treasure as there are numerous cultural, historical and natural resources. In some cases, some cities have become famous due to the presence of these heritage sites. Cities like Madurai is famous for temples, especially the Meenakshi temple, Mahabalipuram is famous for its carved rock-cut temples and caves while Jaipur is famous for its palaces and Agra for the Taj Mahal. Some of the most famous historical monuments of India include the following:
– Located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, it is counted as one of the Seven Wonders of the World as well as one of the most famous monuments to love in the world. It also has huge beautiful Mughal gardens as well as monumental gateways and the sister monument, Agra Fort.
– This is one of the largest minars (pillars) in India and second only to Fateh Burj and the Qutb complex in Delhi. Other surrounding historically-significant monuments include the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Humayun Tomb, Lal Mandir and the Lotus temple.
– Located in Gujarat, it is one of the important remnants of the ancient Indus valley Civilization and a treasure to archeology enthusiasts; its located near the present-day Saragwala village. Other important monuments here include heritage sites like Dholavira, Champaner as well as palaces and forts converted into heritage hotels.
Ajanta Ellora Caves
– These famous rock-cut caves make a panoramic scene located in a gorge in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. The city has many other monuments of historical significance too.
– About 60km away from Chennai is the ancient historic town of Mahabalipuram which has a series of sanctuaries carved out beautifully from rocks along the Coromandel Coast. Along with these captivating carvings are the Meenakshi Amman temple and the Brihadeeshwara temple which form the other World Heritage sites in Tamil Nadu.
Hampi Vijayanagar Empire
– The ruins of this ancient city are part of the Vijayanagar Empire and the most historically significant place in Karnataka. The state is also known as the cradle of stone architecture and includes magnificent palaces like Pattadakal, Badami, Aihole and Bijapur.
– These monuments are famous for their erotic sculptures and nagara-style architecture. These heritage temples of Khujrao are dedicated to Hinduism and Jainism.
Jaisalmer Hill Fort
– Rajasthan is famous for its stunning forts and palaces of historical significance. The Jaisalmer hill forts are nestled among the Aravalli Range amidst the sandy expanse of the great Thar Desert of India.