Here are 8 architectural marvels of India, other than the Taj Mahal, that you must check out

The Taj Mahal is majestic but why stop there? Check out these 8 architectural structures from ancient temples to colonial-era structures!
Here are 8 architectural marvels of India, other than the Taj Mahal, that you must check out

India's architectural heritage is a rich tapestry woven with diverse influences, from ancient temples and majestic forts to intricate stepwells and colonial-era structures.

While the Taj Mahal stands as an iconic symbol of India's architectural prowess, the country boasts numerous lesser-known but equally impressive marvels. Here are some of these hidden gems that showcase the incredible diversity and ingenuity of Indian architecture.

1. Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a vast, open-air museum of ancient architecture set amidst a surreal landscape of giant boulders and lush greenery. Once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, Hampi is home to a multitude of temples, palaces and market streets. The Virupaksha Temple, with its towering gopuram and the Vittala Temple, known for its musical pillars and the iconic stone chariot, are prime examples of Dravidian architecture. The intricacy and scale of Hampi’s ruins offer a glimpse into the grandeur of a bygone era.

Vajiram & Ravi

2. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is famous for its stunning temples adorned with intricate sculptures. Built between 950 and 1050 AD by the Chandela dynasty, these temples are a testament to India's medieval architectural and artistic brilliance. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the largest and most ornate, featuring a plethora of finely carved statues and friezes that depict various aspects of life and mythology. The exquisite craftsmanship and unique themes of these temples make Khajuraho a must-visit.

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3. Rani ki Vav, Gujarat

Rani ki Vav, or the Queen's Stepwell, in Patan, Gujarat, is a remarkable example of subterranean architecture. Built in the 11th century by Queen Udayamati in memory of her husband, this stepwell is both an engineering marvel and an artistic wonder. Descending seven levels into the earth, Rani ki Vav is adorned with over 500 principal sculptures and numerous other intricately carved motifs. The stepwell’s ornate design and the precision of its carvings reflect the zenith of craftsmanship during the Solanki dynasty.

Bernard Gagnon

4. Meenakshi Temple, Tamil Nadu

Located in the ancient city of Madurai, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is a vibrant and bustling centre of worship dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. The temple complex is renowned for its towering gopurams (gateway towers), each adorned with thousands of brightly coloured sculptures depicting gods, goddesses, demons and mythical creatures. The temple’s Hall of a Thousand Pillars, with its intricately carved columns and the Golden Lotus Tank are architectural highlights that leave visitors in awe of its grandeur and spiritual ambience.

AbhiBus

5.  Amer Fort, Rajasthan

Perched on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, Amer Fort (also known as Amber Fort) is a splendid fusion of Hindu and Mughal architectural styles. Built in the 16th century by Raja Man Singh, the fort's sprawling complex is a labyrinth of courtyards, palaces, temples, and gardens. Notable features include the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), with its intricate mirror work that creates a dazzling effect when illuminated, and the Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience). The fort’s blend of red sandstone and white marble, coupled with its strategic location, offers a majestic sight.

Jakub Halun

6. Sun Temple, Odisha

The Sun Temple at Konark, Odisha, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural marvel that dates back to the 13th century. Designed in the shape of a colossal chariot dedicated to the Sun God, Surya, the temple features 24 intricately carved wheels and is pulled by seven rearing horses. The detailed carvings on the temple walls depict various aspects of life, from mythology to everyday activities. Despite partial ruins, the grandeur and scale of the Konark Sun Temple continue to captivate visitors.

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7. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is an astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in the early 18th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses a collection of 19 architectural astronomical instruments, designed for observing celestial positions with the naked eye. The Samrat Yantra, a gigantic sundial, is the most prominent structure, capable of measuring time to an accuracy of two seconds. The ingenuity and precision of these instruments highlight the advanced understanding of astronomy and architecture in that era.

Wikipedia

8. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), formerly known as Victoria Terminus, is a stunning example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture blended with traditional Indian architectural elements. Designed by British architect Frederick William Stevens and completed in 1887, this bustling railway station is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its grand facade, with ornate stone carvings, domes, and spires, reflects the opulence and grandeur of the British Raj. The station's interior features high vaulted ceilings and detailed tile work, which continues to serve as a testament to Mumbai's colonial heritage.

Wikipedia

Exploring these architectural marvels beyond the Taj Mahal offers a deeper understanding of India's rich and diverse architectural heritage. Each site tells a unique story of the region's history, culture and artistic achievements, making them essential stops for any traveller seeking to uncover the many layers of India's architectural splendour.

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