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 heights.
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.
Rajasthani 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 restrained 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 lotus.