What’s the first thing you thought of when you saw the title? Let me guess – the Taj Mahal, of course. It’s because the Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in India. But what if I told you that India itself has its own Seven Wonders? Don’t believe me? Then keep on reading!
This 17-metre high monolith is located in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka, in Shravanabelagola city. There are several similar statues around the state, but this one is the largest. Dedicated to the Jain god Bahubali, it was carved out of a single block of rock back in 983 AD. The statue sits in a temple on top of a hill, so you get to enjoy the breathtaking view from the hill as well. A Jain festival that occurs once every 12 years – Mahamastakabhisheka – draws devotees to the site. It is a festival where the Gommateshwara is anointed with saffron, milk, ghee, etc. The next one will be in February 2018, so make sure not to miss this rare chance to witness the festival!
Also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, or the abode of God, you can find the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. It is the holiest place of worship of Sikhism. It also represents brotherhood and equality. The four entrances, which face the four different directions, symbolises the acceptance of people from all walks of life. Anyone, regardless of religion or beliefs, is free to seek religious guidance here.
Also located in Karnataka, Hampi is a village and temple town lying in the ruins of Vijayanagara. It is officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hampi houses several Hindu temples, some of which are still used as places of worship. Some temples you should not miss are Virupaksha, Vithala and Achyut Raya temples. So take a break from city life and city tours – immerse yourself in Indian culture and heritage at Hampi.
Taken from two Sanskrit words – Kona (corner or angle) and Ark (the sun) – the Konark Sun Temple was built in honour of the Sun God, Surya. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can find it in Konark, Odisha. The temple was initially built at the riverbank, but the waterline has receded and the temple is some distance away from the river. It is in the shape of a massive chariot, with beautiful stone carvings that include 24 wheels and 7 horses. Fun fact: the spokes on the wheels function as sundials which can tell the time very accurately.
In Nalanda, Bihar, lie the ruins of Nalanda University, which was a Buddhist monastery. Constructed in 450CE, Nalanda is believed to have housed the Buddha himself. When in Nalanda, you can experience riding a horse-drawn cart as a means of transport. The Great Stupa is a must-see, and there are museums you can visit to learn more about Nalanda’s history. Also, like the previous two places, this is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This site is a group of Jain and Hindu temples located in Madhya Pradesh, India. These temples are UNESCO World Heritage Sites famous for the architectural symbolism. As the group of temples is for both Jainism and Hinduism, it shows that people accepted each other’s differing religions. Built during the Chandela dynasty, only about 25 out of 85 temples survived the ravages of time. The exquisite sculptures showcase brilliant masterpieces of Indian art that will take your breath away.
I saved the most well-known for last: the Taj Mahal is located in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is a white marble mausoleum that Shah Jahan dedicated to his wife, who died in childbirth. The name translates to Crown of the Palace, which shows the emperor’s love for his wife. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – it perfectly exemplifies Mughal architecture and is a symbol of India’s rich history.
And there you have it. Are you starting to feel the wanderlust kicking in? Let us know which site you want to see the most!