Five millennia of inspired
architects have combined to create, in India some of the world's most
magnificent monuments to the building arts. Fabulous creations rise from every
corner of this nation from every period of her history. There are monuments to
the gods - be they Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or Christian; monuments to
government, be they english or Indian; monuments to maharajahs, and India's
most famous- her glorious monument to love, the Taj Mahal.
The genius of the earliest builders in this land is evidenced in
stuctures that awe us still: there is the great Stupa at Sanchi, India's finest
surviving Buddhist monument that stands silent and still on the great plains of
Sanchi. The smooth, round monument is guarded by four gateways rich with
ancient sculpture - every inch carved by master craftsmen.
There are the rock-cut caves at Ajanta, twenty eight caves carved from the basalt cliffs,
once a Buddhist sanctuary. Gorgeous murals tell visual tales of yore,
punctuated with stone Buddhas.
There beautiful sculpture in the caves at
Ellora and on the island of Elephanta, breakthtaking solid rock representations
of gods and men.
The mason's craft reached its zenith in the exquisite,
life like carvings at the love temples of Khajuraho, the soaring Jagannath
temple at Puri, the astounding sculptural decoration on the Chennakeshava
Temple at Belur.
Dilwara Jain Temple is Mount Abu's main attraction and
among the finest examples of Jain architecture in India. The Complex includes
two temples in which the art of carving marble reached unsurpassed
India's best known monument is a superb example of the Islamic
architectural tradition: the Taj Mahal's onion dome, peaked arches, and
towering minarets are typical of the Islamic architecture that swept India in
the wake of the Muslim invasion.
Taj Mahal is the best-known monument
that enshrines love styled in white marble it is consequential of a promise
taken out by dying queen from her Monarch husband. Agra, once the capital of
the Mughal Empire during the 16th and early 18th centuries, is just a while
away from New Delhi. Tourists from all over the world journey to Agra to have a
glimpse of Taj Mahal, the most famous architectural wonder.
palaces and nable havelis sport delicate carving, sheer as lace, and one of the
most remarkable sights in the land is the Palace of the Winds in
Jaipur, honeycombed with hundreds of windows.
Lively Hindu temple
architecture dominates the South, flute playing gods and beautiful goddesses
smiling from the elaborately carved gopurams (gateways). Within, devotes wash
in sacred pools before offering prayers.
European churches stand on
hill sides from Chennai to Delhi, legacy of two hundred years
of British rule. The English also left a rich repository of colonial buildings,
airy whitewashed structures fragrant
with the grandeur of Empire. There's the elaborate Victorian
post office building in Calcutta; Mumbai's imposing Gateway to India; Lutyen's
Art Nouveau government buildings in New Delhi.
But Indian architecture
is not all about history, for the nation's young architects are intent on
making history as well. Born of independent India, but child of her storied
past, they create modern structures that fuse past and present East and West.
From these builders of tomorrow comes buildings like the Bahai House of Worship
in Delhi, the 1986 wonder that rises from the ground like a giant marble