India's Impressive Architecture Captured in 20 Photos
Buddha mural at Ajanta Caves
Home to 36 World Heritage sites, India is recognised for its brilliant architectural craftsmanship. The country has successfully borrowed elements from diverse cultures, traditions, and religions to show that the purpose of architecture is to cement the essence of an era into a timeless spectacle. A shout out to art and history travel geeks, start taking notes!
An extraordinary example of Kalinga architecture, Konark sun temple is dedicated to the Sun God Surya.
Konark Sun Temple on a busy day | @Wikipedia
Erected by the French missionaries in the 1860s, the church stands tall in all its glory as an emblem of Gothic architecture.
Rosary Temple | @Wikipedia
Carved and erected as a stupendous example of Dravidian architecture, Meenakshi temple frames the skyline of the 2,500-year- old city of Madhurai.
The colours of Meenakshi Temple
This surreal marvel in Gujarat is also a beautifully kept iconic place in India. Rani ki Vav is a Maru-Gurjara architectural style step-well with an inverted temple and seven layers of stairs that holds over 500 principal sculptures.
Mysore Palace is situated within an old fort in the city of palaces. The Palace showcases a unique blend of Indo-Saracenic architecture that captures the amalgamation of Hindu, Gothic, Muslim and Rajput design.
The world’s tallest monolith of Gautama Buddha is located in Hyderabad, floating in the middle of Hussain Sagar Lake. Entirely made out of white granite rock, the monolith stands tall at the height of 58 feet.
Monolith of Gautama Buddha
This memorial was dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria under the British Raj. A quintessential mark of the Indo-Saracenic architecture with multiple influences, the building is entirely made of and carved from white marble.
Emperor Ashoka commissioned one of the oldest stone structures in India, Stupa over the relics of Buddha. The architecture of the Stupa has classical Greek influences.
Translating to mirror of the sky, Falaknuma Palace is to India what Buckingham Palace is to England. It was once owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Palace’s architecture highlights Italian and Tudor influences.
India’s finest and most expressive work of art is found at Khajuraho’s three temples. The meticulously carved sculptures represent more than just erotic art – which is only 10% of the total art displayed. The temple underlines Nagara-style architectural symbolism.
Erotic Art at Khajuraho Temple
Overlooking the Arabian Sea, this architectural sparkler marked the beginning of new India in 1924. The arch monument was erected in classic Indo-Saracenic style to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder. The design combines both elements of the Muslim style in arches and the Hindu style of ornamentation.
Yet another crown jewel in the long list of India’s Mughal architecture, Taj Mahal is a mausoleum made entirely of ivory-white marble. It is a symbol of love but people often forget the brutality bestowed upon the artisans.
Taj Mahal | @sergiorey/Flickr
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
As one of world’s largest luxury private residences, Umaid Bhawan represents the perfect marriage between modern technology and a royal palace. The architecture of the palace is a mix of Art Deco, classical revival and the Indo-Saracenic style.
Golden Temple is the holiest shrine of Sikhism and it gloriously flaunts a beautiful blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The top half of the temple is encased with shimmering gold while the lower half is adorned with intricate marble work.
Golden Temple | @ErikGrootscholte/Flickr
Translating to a step-well in English, Chand Baori is one of the deepest step-wells in the world, descending over 100 feet into the ground with 3,500 narrow steps. It’s geometric structure and unique architectural style qualifies it as one of the most trippy places in India.
Known as the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world, Tawang Gompa dominates at an elevation of about 10,000 feet above sea level. It represents Buddhist architecture at its finest.
Hampi is a fantasy temple town that still manages to bag the title of a top religious destination for many Hindu worshippers. The town’s architectural design encompasses several fortresses and gates, and it houses more than 10 distinguished temples.
Founded in 5th century AD under the Gupta Dynasty, Nalanda was one of ancient world’s universities and India’s first residential university. Its campus encompassed huge classrooms and several meditation centers and it is also said that the huge library of Nalanda held hundreds of thousands of volumes.
Wedged amid the hustle-bustle of Old Delhi, Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. Its architectural brilliance lies in the perfect use of red sandstones and white marble that crowns the mosque with distinguished fame.
Before graffiti and modern murals came along, Ajanta caves had already painted a neat picture of exemplary Indian art in 29 rock-cut Buddhist caves. The caves architectural style is basically a large chunk of the Deccan plateau. With vivid colours and ornate murals, some of these caves form the largest corpus of surviving ancient Indian wall-painting.
Buddha mural at Ajanta Caves