Top 10 historical places of India


Top 10 historical places of India

India has a rich history which is shown by forts, palaces, monuments, temples, caves, structures. Indian has around 1000 forts now-a-days. These forts hold the history of its culture, enemy fighting, its rulers and their descendants. Normally forts were built to protect from enemies. Indian have developed and maintained these forts beautifully. The purpose of the top 10 historical places of India is to pen down the details of our history.

Some forts are developed on plateau while others are developed on hill tops. The sculpture shows the architecture type of that era. Moreover, there are different architecture types like Jain architecture, Indo-Islamic architecture, Maratha architecture, Bengal architecture, European architecture, Dravidian Architecture, Kalinga Architecture, Sikh Architecture, Vesara Architecture, Cave Architecture, Rock-Cut Architecture, Buddhist Architecture.

The architecture of buildings, monuments were depending upon the era, builder’s dynasty, raw material available nearby and many more. The overall effect was fabulous. While going through different famous places in India, I have shortlisted top 10 historical places of India. I personally feel that all these monuments are excellent pieces of art. Hence, it's impossible to give positions to these places. The numbers are given for readability purposes.

Here are the top 10 historical places of India... 

Gwalior Fort

Place: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

Built By: Rana Mansingh Tomar

Built In: 3rd Century BCE (later developed into the fort it is today)

Area: Gwalior fort has an area of 3 square kilometres and rises 1033 meters or 3389 feet above sea level.

Gwalior Fort Information

Gwalior Fort is located in North and Central India. Moreover, Gwalior Fort was called as 'Gibraltar of India' by the Mughal Emperor Babur who reigned in the fifteenth century. It was called so in light of the fact that it gives all encompassing sights of the old Gwalior town. It is also said that the Mughal Emperor Babur (1483–1531) described it as, "The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind". 

Gwalior Fort

Fascinating Truth 

As a matter of fact, the second most established record of "zero" on the planet was found in a small temple, which is situated on route to the top. The engraving is around 1500 years old.

Famous Buildings 

  • The sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras
  • Teli Ka Mandir
  • Sas Bahu Temple
  • Man Singh Palace
  • Karan Mahal
  • Vikram Mahal
  • Gujari Mahal
  • Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhor

Additionally, there is light and sound show at Gwalior Fort hosted every evening which shows Gwalior Fort History

Best Time to Visit: October to March and December and January

I included Gwalior Fort in my list of top 10 historical places in India due its beauty. So, this fort is called, "The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind".

Gwalior Fort2

Sun Temple

Place: Konark, Odisha

Built By: Raja Narasinghs Deva I

Built In: 13th century BCE

Area: Konark Sun Temple has an area of 10.62 ha i.e. 26.2 acres

Description 

It is in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition, the Konark Sun Temple is dedicated to Sun i.e. god Surya. This temple has appeared as a big Chariot with 12 wheels and horses. Likewise, all carved in the stones. The temple was destroyed by muslim emperors between 15th and 17th century. However, today’s temple is restored by archaeologists. It is a major pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees. Above all, every year there is Chandrabhaga mela around the month of February.

Sun Temple

Fascinating Truth

Konark sun temple facts are the wheels at Konark Sun Temple served as accurate Sundials and are inspiration for the modern day watches.

Famous Buildings

  • Surya Temple
  • Black Pagoda
  • Mayadevi Temple
  • Vaishnava Temple
  • Kitchen
  • Well 1 and 2

Best Time to Visit: September to March

I included Konark Sun Temple in my top 10 historical places in India list due to its huge chariot-like sculpture. It's a treat exploring it.

Sun Temple

Khajuraho Monuments

Place: Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Built By: Chandela dynasty

Built In: Between 950 AD and 1050 AD

Area: The group of Khajuraho temples are spread over 20 sq.Kilometers

Description 

It is in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Moreover, Khajuraho is famous for its erotic and sensual sculptures. But, it's the misinterpretation as erotic and sensual sculptures occupied only 10% of total sculptures and others depicts our daily life . Comparatively, People all over the World visit Khajuraho temples to view its architecture and sculptures.

Additionally, the Khajuraho Dance Festival is held every year in February. It features various classical Indian dances. However, the Khajuraho Dance Festival is famous due to Indian classical dance.

Khajuraho Monuments

Fascinating Truth

The Khajuraho temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures.

Famous Buildings

  • Shiva temple i.e. Khandarya Mahadeva
  • Chausath Yogini
  • Lalgun Mahadev
  • Brahma Temple
  • Lakshmana
  • Varaha
  • Parshvanatha
  • Ghantai
  • Vishvanatha
  • Matangeshwar
  • Jagadambi
  • Chitragupta
  • Adinath Temple
  • Shantinatha temple
  • Vamana
  • Javeri
  • Chaturbhuja
  • Duladeo (Duladeva)
Khajuraho Monuments

Best Time to Visit: October to February and March to June

I included Khajuraho monuments in my list of top 10 historical places in india due to its eye-catching architecture and sculptures.

Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Place: Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Built By 
  • Ajanta Caves were built by Upendragupta
  • Ellora Caves were built by Krishna I who was uncle of Dantidurga
Built In 

The Ajanta Caves were carved during two distinct periods, the first from 200 B.C to 100 A.D and the second from around the fifth century A.D.
Ellora Caves were built during the 6th to 8th century in the Kalachuris period, the Hindu Caves were built in two phases. Caves 14, 15 , 16 were built in the Rashtrakuta period.

Area 
  • Ajanta caves area is 8242 ha
  • Ellora caves area is more than 2 Km
Ajanta Caves


Description

Ajanta Caves

It comes under UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, Ajanta Caves are carved in the shape of horse-shoe rock. There are 30 caves, dedicated to life of Gautam Buddha. Ajanta Caves have major chaityas which are prayer balls. Other caves are Viharas which are monasteries . Moreover, these caves were discovered in 1819 by British Jon Smith. Inside the caves, there are paintings showing Gautam Buddha’s life. Meanwhile, these caves were built during Vekataka dynasty.

Ellora Caves

It comes under UNESCO World Heritage Site. Furthermore, Ellora caves are the largest rock-cut caves complex in the World. The Kailasa Temple is the largest rock-cut temple in the World which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The rock was cut from top to bottom in the Kailasa temple. However, there are 34 caves in the Ellora Caves. Comparatively, the Ellora Caves has 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves, and 5 Jain caves.

Fascinating Truth 

Ellora Caves
  • Ajanta Caves are cut into mountains in the shape of Horse-shoe around Wangorah river.
  • Ellora Caves has the great Kailasa Temple which is the largest single monolithic excavation in the World.

Famous Buildings

Ajanta Caves

  • Cave 1
  • Cave 2
  • Cave 3
  • Cave 4
  • Cave 5
  • Cave 6
  • Cave 7
  • Cave 8
  • Cave 9
  • Cave 10
  • Cave 11
  • Cave 12
  • Cave 13, 14, 15, 15A
  • Cave 16
  • Cave 17
  • Cave 18
  • Cave 19 (5th century CE)
  • Cave 20
  • Caves 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25
  • Cave 26 (5th century CE)
  • Caves 27, 28 and 29
  • Cave 30

Ellora Caves

  • The Buddhist monuments: Caves 1–12
  • The Vishvakarma Cave in cave 10
  • The Hindu monuments: Caves 13–29
  • The Dashavatara: Cave 15
  • The Kailāśa temple: Cave 16
  • Rameshwar temple, Cave 21
  • Early Hindu temples: Dhumar Lena, Cave 29
  • The Jain monuments: Caves 30–34
  • Chotta Kailasha: Cave 30
  • Cave 31
  • The Indra Sabha: Cave 32
  • The Jagannatha Sabha: Cave 33
  • Cave 34
  • Rock carved image of Lord Parshvanath
Ellora Caves

Best Time to Visit: June to March

These are my personal favorites as I have visited Ajanta and Ellora Caves multiple times. Hence, I included Ajanta and Ellora Caves in my list of top 10 historical places in India.

The Great Living Chola Temples

Place: Tamil Nadu

The Brihadisvara Temple Complex, Thanjavur

The Brihadisvara Temple Complex, Gangaikondacholapuram

The Airavatesvara Temple Complex, Darasuram

Built By: Emperor Rajaraja

Built In

The Brihadisvara Temple (Thanjavur) was built between 1003 and 1010 AD by Rajaraja Chola I.
The Brihadisvara Temple Complex (Gangaikondacholapuram) was constructed by Rajendra Chola I in 1035 AD
Airavatesvara Temple (Darasuram) was built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century.

Area: 21.88 ha (54.1 acres)

Chola Temples

Description

Chola Temples comes under UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, Chola Temples are groups of three temples: The Brihadisvara Temple Complex (Thanjavur), The Brihadisvara Temple Complex (Gangaikondacholapuram), The Airavatesvara Temple Complex (Darasuram). However, these temples were built by The kings of Chola dynasty which was a great kingdom in South India. Moreover, these temples show the examples of greatest architecture which depicts Chola Ideology.

The Brihadisvara Temple (Thanjavur)

This temple completed 1000 years of existence in 2010. The tower in the temple is 216 feet tall. The shadow of the Cupola does not fall on the ground. There is 12 and half feet tall, 8 feet long and 5 feet wide Nandi made up of single rock whose weight is around 25 tons. The ligam is 13 feet with circumference of 54 feet.

The Brihadisvara Temple Complex (Gangaikondacholapuram)

Gangaikondacholapuram was capital Rajendra Chola(1012-1044 AD), son of Rajaraja Chola. Rajendra Chola conquered several northern kingdoms to bring water from river Ganga to his kingdom. To celebrate victory, he created a "liquid pillar of victory'' (JalamayaSthambha) was a tank where water of Ganga poured. Hence he was called Gangaikondachola i.e. the Chola king who brought the Ganga and the town was named after him.

Airavatesvara Temple (Darasuram)

Darasuram has many ancient temples which are examples of great architecture. The Airavatesvara temple is the important temple where lord Shiva appears in the form of a "Rudraksha" tree.

Fascinating Truth

  • All temples are built in Dravidian style architecture
  • The main deity of these temples are Lord Shiva

Famous Buildings

  • Airavatesvara Temple
  • Brihadisvara Temple
  • Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple

Best Time to Visit: October to March

I have included The Great Living Chola Temples in my list of top 10 historical places in India as its fascinating architecture style.

Chola Temples Nandi

Sanchi Stupa

Place: Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Built By: Emperor Ashoka

Built In: 3rd century BCE

Area: Sanchi is the center of a number of Stupas which are a few miles of Sanchi. To add this , Satdhara (9 km to the West of Sanchi), Bhojpur ( 11 km South East of Sanchi) and Andher ( 17 km South East of Sanchi), Sonari (10 km South West of Sanchi), Saru Maru (100 km South of Sanchi), Bharhut (300 km North East of Sanchi). 

Description

Sanchi Stupa comes under UNESCO World Heritage Site. Furthermore, there are a number of Stupas whereas the Great Stupa which is also called as Stupa no.1 is believed to have the ashes of Buddha. Equally important, the grand structure is located on top of the hill surrounded by small stupas, monasteries and temples. The Great Stupa saw numerous modifications since its inception to the present day. As a matter of fact, the Stupa has many chambers which contain relics of Buddha.

Sanchi Stupa

Fascinating Truth

The Ashoka pillar which is located on the side of the main Torana gateway, has four lions and is designed in a Greco-Buddhist style. It is also the national emblem of India.

Famous Buildings

  • Ashoka pillar
  • Temple 40
  • Great Stupa (No 1)
  • Stupa No. 2: the first Buddhist reliefs
  • Stupa No. 3
  • Sunga Pillar

Best Time to Visit: November to March

Sanchi Stupa has relics of Buddha. Hence, it has gained a special place in my top 10 historical places in India list.

Sanchi Stupa

Mahabodhi Temple

Place: BodhGaya, Bihar

Built By: Emperor Ashoka

Built In: 3rd century BCE

Area: 4.86 ha

Description

Mahabodhi temple Bodhgaya comes under UNESCO World Heritage Site. Likewise, Mahabodhi temple is one of the holy sites of Buddhism. As well as it is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. Mahabodhi temple is located in Bodh Gaya on the banks of the Niranjana River. However, Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya is one of the oldest brick temples in India. The temple is 180 feet in height. Mahabodhi tree is the Peepal tree where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. Additionally, the Mahabodhi Temple was built to the east of Bodhi tree.

Mahabodhi Temple

Fascinating Truth

Mahabodhi temple Bodhgaya is believed to be the place where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment.

Famous Buildings

  • Mahabodhi Temple
  • Mahabodhi Tree
  • Lotus Pond
  • Several Ancient Stupas

Best Time to Visit: November to February

I have included this Mahabodhi Temple in the list of top 10 historical places of India because of its holiness. It is the place where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment.

Mahabodhi Temple

Shore Temple

Place: Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Built By: king Rajasimha/Narasimhavarman II

Built In: 700–728 AD

Description

This is under UNESCO World Heritage site. Equally important, it is one of the oldest structural stone temples in India. Mahabalipuram is located on the bay of bengal. In the Pallava dynasty, Mahabalipuram was a popular trading port. Moreover, it is said that Shore Temple worked as a landmark for the navigation of ships. Additionally, Shore temple is a group of three temples. Comparatively, there is one big temple and two small temples.

Fascinating Truth

Shore Temple was named as ‘Seven Pagodas’ due to its pyramidal structure. ‘Seven Pagodas’ name indicates the existence of 7 temples in the past.

Famous Buildings

  • Kshatriyasimha Pallaveshwara - griham 
  • Rajasimha Pallaveshwar - griham 
  • Pllikondaruliya - devar

I have included Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram in the list of top 10 historical places of India because of its scenic view and picturesque architecture.

Shore Temple
Shore Temple

Chittorgarh Fort

Place: Chittor, Rajasthan

Built By: Chitrangada Maurya

Built In: 7th century AD

Area: length is 3 kms and 400 acres and the highest elevation in the fort is at about 1075 metres.

Description

Chittorgarh Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Chittorgarh Fort is one of the largest forts and famous ancient forts in India. However, the name of the fort is derived from its builder. Furthermore, this fort is famous for battle between Alauddin Khilji and Rawal Ratan Singh. Similarly, it is also remembered for the beauty of Rani Padmini and her self-sacrificing Jauhar.

Fascinating Truth

It was the place where Rani Padmini sacrificed her life by doing Jauhar.

Chittorgarh Fort

Famous Buildings

  • Palace Complex
  • Gates (fort has 7 gates)
  • Vijaya Stambh
  • Kirti Stambh
  • Rana Kumbha Palace
  • Fateh Prakash Palace
  • Gaumukh Reservoir
  • Padmini's Palace
  • Meera Temple
  • Kalika Mata Temple

Best Time to Visit: October to March

I have included Chittorgarh Fort in my top 10 historical places of India list due to its glorifying history, life-sacrifices, battles and many more.

Chittorgarh Fort

Nalanda University

Place: Nalanda, Bihar

Built By: Gupta Dynasty

Built In: 5th Century BC

Area: 12 ha (30 acres)

Description

Nalanda University is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nalanda University was built by Narsimha Deva in the 6th century B.C. and remained the best without any hindrance for over 800 years with around 10,000 students and nearly 2700 faculties who came from all over the world.

Comparatively, the Nalanda University had 10 temples, meditation centers and the famous library of the world divided into three building-Ratnasagara (nine storeyed building), Ratnadadhi and Ratnaranjaka; which contained religious manuscripts as well as had a huge collection of books on literature, economics, law,architecture, science, warfare,astrology, history, philosophy, geology, metallurgy, maths,linguistics, astronomy, medicine and many more.

Nalanda University

Fascinating Truth

Nalanda University was the biggest residential University and had a prestigious treasury of Buddhist knowledge.

Famous Buildings

  • Monastery 1
  • Temple no. 3 (also termed Sariputta Stupa)
  • Temple no. 2
  • Temple no. 14
  • Black Buddha temple

Best Time to Visit: October to March

I have included Nalanda University in my list of top 10 historical places of India because of its history. Nalanda University was a knowledge hub in ancient India.

Nalanda University

FAQ

Why is Gwalior Fort called Gibraltar of india?

Where are Ajanta and Ellora Caves?

What were the Chola Temples known for?

Why Bodh Gaya is famous?

Which is the largest fort in India?

What is the importance of Sanchi Stupa?

Who built Sanchi Stupa? 

Where is Sanchi Stupa located?

Who founded Nalanda University?

Conclusion


India is famous for its ancient monuments, buildings, structures. However, there are many historical places in India. In this article I tried to pick out the top 10 historical places of India as per my research. It was difficult to pen down about only 10 places as India has many best places with different importance. I would suggest you to visit these ancient structures and go through the rich culture of India.

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