India is the world’s seventh largest nation by area and the second largest in terms of population, India boasts a rich heritage that’s the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark.

Things to do in India include the opportunity to experience an array of sacred sites and spiritual encounters and here are top 4 places you should visit in India.

1.Taj Mahal

India’s most recognizable building, the Taj Mahal is also the world’s most famous testimony to the power of love. Named after Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, this most beautiful of mausoleums was begun upon her death in 1631 and took 20,000 workmen until 1648 to complete.

Incorporating many elements of Islamic design including arches, minarets, an onion-shaped dome, and black calligraphy inlaid around the entrance, the Taj Mahal is largely constructed of white marble. Adding to its splendor are delicate inlaid floral patterns and precious and semi-precious stones such as jade, lapis lazuli, diamonds, and mother of pearl.

The best time to visit is either at dawn or dusk when the atmosphere is brilliantly altered by the change in lighting. If possible, try to catch a view of the Taj Mahal’s reflection from the far bank of the Yamuna River-it makes for a memorable (and safe) selfie.

2.Agra Fort

Built as a military structure in 1565 by Emperor Akbar with later additions by Shah Jahan, the stunning Agra Fort (also known as Agra’s Red Fort) is an interesting mix of both Hindu and Muslim influences.

Located a little more than two kilometers from the Taj Mahal, the fort is entered through Amar Singh Gate with its low outer wall and dogleg design built to confuse attackers. Once inside, you’ll see two large interlinked sandstone buildings, Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal, the largest private residence in the complex.

Other highlights include the Khas Mahal (Private Palace), with its splendid copper roof, and the Anguri Bagh (Grape Garden), a jigsaw-patterned Mughal garden with numerous wonderful fountains and water channels as well as screens that once offered a private area for the emperor and his entourage. Also of note is the octagonal Musamman Burj tower, which later served as Shah Jahan’s prison until his death.

3.Varanasi

Dating back to the 8th century BC, Varanasi is one of the oldest still inhabited cities in the world. A major pilgrimage center for Hindus, this holy city has long been associated with the mighty Ganges River, one of the faith’s most important religious symbols.

Varanasi offers many reasons to visit, not least of them the chance to explore the Old Quarter adjacent to the Ganges where you’ll find the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, built in 1780. The New Vishwanath Temple with its seven separate temples is also of interest.

Bathing in the Ganges is of great importance to Hindus, and numerous locations known as “ghats” feature stairways leading to the water where the faithful bathe before prayers. The largest are Dasashvamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat. The latter, at the confluence of the Ganges and Asi rivers, is considered particularly holy.

4.Red Fort, New Delhi

Built by Shah Jahan in 1648 as the seat of Mughal power – a role it maintained until 1857 – the magnificent crescent-shaped Red Fort in New Delhi, named after the stunning red sandstone used in its construction, covers a vast area of more than two square kilometers, all of it surrounded by a large moat.

Highlights include its two largest gates: the impressive Lahore Gate (the fort’s main entrance) and the elaborately decorated Delhi Gate, once used by the emperor for ceremonial processions.

A fun part of a visit is exploring Chatta Chowk, a 17th-century covered bazaar selling everything from jewelry to silk garments, as well as souvenirs and food items. While you can explore the fort yourself, guided tours are offered and provide a fascinating insight into the life and times of the Shah, including a peek into the stunning white marble Hall of Public Audiences (Diwan-i-Am) where he received his subjects.

16 thought on “Top 4 places to explore in India”
  1. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I just wish to visit and see Buddha’s historical sites in India.

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