Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The tomb is the centre piece of a 17-hectare complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall. Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643, but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years.
The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2020 would be approximately 70 billion rupees. The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage
Amber Palace, India
Amer Fort or Amber Fort is a fort located in Amer, Rajasthan, India. Amer is a town with an area of 4 square kilometres located 11 kilometres from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. The town of Amer and the Amber Fort were originally built by Raja Man Singh and additions were, later, made by Sawai Jai Singh.
Amber Palace is Located high on a hill, it is the principal tourist attraction in Jaipur. Amer Fort is known for its artistic style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace.
Mughal architecture greatly influenced the architectural style of several buildings of the fort. Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard.
It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or “Hall of Public Audience”, the Diwan-e-Khas, or “Hall of Private Audience”, the Sheesh Mahal, or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the Amer Palace.
Hawa Mahal is a palace in Jaipur, India approximately 300 kilometers from the capital city of Delhi. Built from red and pink sandstone, the palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, Jaipur, and extends to the Zenana, or women’s chambers. The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, who was the founder of Jaipur.
He was so inspired by the unique structure of Khetri Mahal that he built this grand and historical palace. It was designed by Lal Chand Ustad. Its five floor exterior is akin to honeycomb with its 953 small windows called Jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework.
The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey the strict rules of “purdah”, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings. This architectural feature also allowed cool air from the Venturi effect to pass through, thus making the whole area more pleasant during the high temperatures in summer
Red Fort India
The Red Fort is a historic fort in the city of Delhi in India that served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned construction of the Red Fort on an earlier 10th century fort by Anangpal Tomar on 12 May 1638, when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi.
Originally red and white, its painting is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal. It was renovated between May 1639 and April 1648 based on an earlier fort. On 15 August 1947, the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate.
Every year on India’s Independence Day, the prime minister hoists the Indian tri colour flag at the fort’s main gate and delivers a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is a national park in Rajasthan, northern India, with an area of 1,334 km². It is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. It is named after the historic Ranthambore Fort, which lies within the park.
City Palace, Jaipur
The City Palace, Jaipur was established at the same time as the city of Jaipur, by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who moved his court to Jaipur from Amber, in 1727. Jaipur is the present-day capital of the state of Rajasthan, and until 1949 the City Palace was the ceremonial and administrative seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
The Palace was also the location of religious and cultural events, as well as a patron of arts, commerce, and industry. It now houses the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, and continues to be the home of the Jaipur royal family. The palace complex has several buildings, various courtyards, galleries, restaurants, and offices of the Museum Trust. The Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust looks after the Museum, and the royal cenotaphs.
Agra Fort, INDIA
Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. Before capture by the British, the last Indian rulers to have occupied it were the Marathas.
In 1983, the Agra fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city. It had been used by the early mughal rulers. The Fort stands on an ancient site and was traditionally known as Badalgarh.
It was captured by Ghaznavi for some time but in the 15th century A.D. the Chauhan Rajputs occupied it. Soon after, Agra assumed the status of capital when Sikandar Lodi shifted his capital from Delhi and constructed a few buildings in the pre-existing Fort at Agra.
After the first battle of Panipat Mughals captured the fort and ruled from it. In A.D. 1530, Humayun was crowned in it. The Fort got its present appearance during the reign of Akbar.
The Qutb Minar, also spelled as Qutub Minar and Qutab Minar, is a minaret and “victory tower” that forms part of the Qutb complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of New Delhi, India. The height of Qutb Minar is 72.5 meters, making it the tallest minaret in the world built of bricks.
Jantar Mantar – Jaipur
The Jantar Mantar is a collection of 19 astronomical instruments built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The monument was completed in 1734. It features the world’s largest stone sundial, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located near City Palace and Hawa Mahal.
The instruments allow the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye. The observatory is an example of the Ptolemaic positional astronomy which was shared by many civilizations. The monument features instruments operating in each of the three main classical celestial coordinate systems: the horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system, and the ecliptic system. The Kanmala Yantraprakara is one that works in two systems and allows transformation of the coordinates directly from one system to the other. The monument was damaged in the 19th century. Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District.
Humayun’s tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum, in 1558, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son, Sayyid Muhammad, Persian architects chosen by her.
It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah Citadel, also known as Purana Qila, that Humayun found in 1533. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is complete.
Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty, who fought against the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE.
Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district and Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand and was named after hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative. Corbett National Park comprises 520.8 km² area of hills, riverine belts, marshy depressions, grasslands and a large lake.
The elevation ranges from 1,300 to 4,000 ft. Winter nights are cold but the days are bright and sunny. It rains from July to September. The park has sub-Himalayan belt geographical and ecological characteristics.
Dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, peepal, rohini and mango trees. Forest covers almost 73% of the park, while 10% of the area consists of grasslands.
It houses around 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species. An ecotourism destination, the park contains 488 different species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna.
City Palace Udaipur
City Palace, Udaipur is a palace complex situated in the city of Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was built over a period of nearly 400 years, with contributions from several rulers of the Mewar dynasty. Its construction began in 1553, started by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia Rajput family as he shifted his capital from the erstwhile Chittor to the new found city of Udaipur.
The palace is located on the east bank of Lake Pichola and has several palaces built within its complex. The City Palace in Udaipur was built in a flamboyant style and is considered the largest of its type in the state of Rajasthan. It was built atop a hill, in a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles, providing a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings.
Overlooking Lake Pichola, several historic monuments like the Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Jagdish Temple, Monsoon Palace, and Neemach Mata temple, are all in the vicinity of the palace complex. Nestled within the Aravali mountain range, these landmarks are associated in popular culture with the filming of the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy.
Mehrangarh Fort and Museum
Mehrangarh, located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is one of the largest forts in India. Built in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.
A winding road leads to and from the city below. The imprints of the impact of cannonballs fired by attacking armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate. To the left of the fort is the chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda, a soldier who fell on the spot defending Mehrangarh. There are seven gates, which include Jayapol, built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. There is also a Fattehpol, which commemorates Maharaja Ajit Singhji victory over Mughals. The museum in the Mehrangarh fort is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan.
India Gate, INDIA
The India Gate is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of the “ceremonial axis” of New Delhi, formerly called Kingsway. It stands as a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in between 1914 and 1921 in the First World War, in France, Flanders, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere in the Near and the Far East, and the third Anglo-Afghan War. 13,300 servicemen’s names, including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom, are inscribed on the gate.
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the gate evokes the architectural style of the triumphal arch such as the Arch of Constantine, in Rome, and is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the Gateway of India in Mumbai.
Following the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1972, a structure consisting of a black marble plinth with a reversed rifle, capped by a war helmet and bounded by four eternal flames, was built beneath the archway. This structure, called Amar Jawan Jyoti, has since 1971 served as India’s tomb of the unknown soldier.