Top 5 Tourist Attractions of India
1. Agra Fort, Agra
Built as a military structure in 1565 by Emperor Akbar with later additions by Shah Jahan, the beautiful Agra Fort (also known as the Red Fort of Agra) is an interesting mix of both Hindu and Muslim influences. Just over two kilometers from the Taj Mahal, the fort is entered by Amar Singh Gate with its low outer wall and dogleg design built to confuse attackers. Once inside you will see two large interconnected sandstone buildings, Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal, the largest private residence in the complex. Other highlights include the Khas Mahal (private palace), with its beautiful copper roof, and the Anguri Bagh (Grape Garden), a Mughal garden with jigsaw puzzles with numerous beautiful fountains and water canals and screens that were once a private site for the emperor and his entourage . What is also striking is the octagonal tower Musamman Burj, which later served as the prison of Shah Jahan until his death
2. The Ellora Caves, Aurangabad
The famous monumental Ellora caves were built by Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monks between the 5th and 10th centuries and provide an excellent excursion from Mumbai, some 300 kilometers to the west. This remarkable collection of 34 sculptured monasteries, chapels and temples, including 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and five belonging to the Jain faith, has now been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is built close together, reflecting religious tolerance existed in this period of Indian history. Of the caves of the Buddhist monastery, a number of shrines with carvings of Buddha and saints dating from the 5th to 7th centuries, as well as the beautiful Carpenter’s Cave, are considered to be among the most beautiful in India. The Hindu caves are much more complex and are carved from top to bottom, so scaffolding was not necessary. Of these, the Kailasa Temple is the best, a huge rocky temple that represents Mount Kailasa and requires the removal of 200,000 tons of rock.
3. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
The huge Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India, dominates the ancient city of Jodhpur and was built in the 15th century to protect the people of the famous “Blue City”, as Jodhpur is still called (it is so called because of houses are indigo-colored, painted blue to ward off the heat). Built on top of a towering day-to-day day, Mehrangarh is an amazing example of construction, the massive walls are almost impenetrable. Access is through one of the seven beautiful gates, including Jaya Pol and Fateh Pol (the latter still bears scars from cannon attacks). Highlights of a visit include exploring the fascinating network of courtyards and palaces of the fort, as well as a museum with a beautiful collection of art objects related to the Maharajas. Make sure you spend time in the historic center of Jodhpur itself when you are exploring India Tours, famous for its eight city gates, a beautiful old clock tower and countless bazaars selling everything from vegetables to sweets, spices and crafts.
4. Mysore Palace
The vast city of Mysore is a pleasure to explore thanks to the eclectic mix of beautiful old colonial architecture; royal Indian palaces; and lush, well-kept gardens. While those inclined to shop will enjoy spending time in the famous silk and sandalwood bazaars, the main attraction is the beautiful Mysore Palace. This beautiful three-story palace was completely rebuilt in 1897 after a devastating fire and has highlights such as the elegant square towers and domes; the many ornate ceilings and pillars in Durbar Hall; and the beautiful Wedding Pavilion, with its glazed floor tiles, beautiful stained glass, artworks and displays of jewelry (it is also true, on special occasions, the beautiful Golden throne has been exhibited). For a real treat, don’t forget to catch one of the beautiful light shows that are held every Sunday and during vacations when the palace is illuminated with more than 90,000 lights.
Hot Tip: A nice way to explore the vast grounds and gardens of the palace is as part of a bike ride, which is once free.
5. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya, considered the world’s holiest Buddhist site, attracts thousands of visitors every year, all attracted to participate with resident monks in meditation and prayer. The central point of this place of pilgrimage is the beautiful Mahabodhi Temple, built next to the place where Buddha came to the Enlightenment and formulated his philosophy about life. Built in the 6th century and since restored many times, the temple is covered with a beautiful pyramidal spire and houses a large gilt statue of Buddha. Also interesting is the pipal tree of the site, a descendant of the original bodhi tree where Buddha meditated seven days after the Enlightenment.