India, has forever been known for the wealth of its diverse cultural heritage, with over 35 UNESCO world heritage sites among other centres of archaeological significance, be it the palaces and fortresses of Rajasthan, the Ghats of the Ganges in Varanasi, the temples of Khajuraho or one of the seven wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal in all its glory, each one weaving a story of its own. Take up an archaeological tour to ignite the explorer in you, travelling solo or group, unearthing the mysterious of India’s glorious past:
(1) AMBER PALACE
Rising amidst the ancient Aravallis, built of red sandstone & white marble with spectacularpaintings & stone carving work, the Amber palace holds its majestic place, a sumptuous blend of Hindu & Mughal architectural styles, located about 11 kilometres from the Pink city of Jaipur. With a breath-taking view of the Maota Lake Front, this glorious structure houses attractions like the Sheesh Mahal, Sukh Mandir, the Diwan-e-Aam & Diwan-e-Khaas & a temple devoted to Shila Mata among others. The best ways to get there are either by the newly constructed walk-way, private vehicles reaching atop the hill fort or an elephant safari gives the royalty feels.
The temples of Khajuraho well known for their ornate erotic sculptures are one of a kind, the withstanding twenty of the original eighty-five, reflecting the exemplary artistic & architectural genius of the Chandelas, an exquisite union of spirituality &eroticism depicting the life & society of 11th Century. The largest group of Hindu &Jaina templesfamous for their Nagara style architecture, the major attraction being the magnificent Kandariya Mahadev temple, & the Vishwanatha Temple, Adinatha Temple etc. along with manifestations of Shiva & Shakti defining the balance of nature in the male & female entities. What you’d not want to miss is the Light & Sound show in the temple complex screening the making of these temples & their history.
(3) THE GHATS OF GANGES
It is the holy city of Kashi, considered to be even older than history & tradition itself, known for its eighty-four Ghats – washing away one’s since & paving the path to Moksha, that offers the most spectacular Boat rides & Heritage walks, a rare experience of spiritual awakening with every moment. With the first light of the sun, commences the Subah-e-Banaras boat ride from the Assighat to the Manikarnaghat & back, following similar rides to the Ramnagar Fort or Kashi Darshan or the awe-inspiring Ganga aarti, discovering the cultures of North India on the Ghats of the Ganges in Varanasi.
(4) LAKE PALACE
Also known as the “Venice of the East”, Udaipur engulfs one in its luring charms with its magnificent gardens, palaces & exotic locations, one of which is the grand Lake Palace adorned in white marble on the Jag Niwas Island. A palace of fantasies with the Aravallis in the background, the sprawling castle comprises of fountains, gardens, pillared terrace, cusped arches & other spectacular architectural marvels like the Khush Mahal, Ajjan Niwas, Phool Mahal etc. – now a heritage hotel.
(5) MEHRANGARH FORT
“The fort of the Sun” in Jodhpur, resting upon the hilltop like a crown jewel, one of the largest hill fortresses in Rajasthan, bears testimony to the opulence & might of the Rathore rulers, its main attractions being the fort museum – telling tales of adventure & glory, of strength & sacrifice, Phool Mahal, Sukh Mahal, Moti Mahal etc. This impregnable structure not only with stood many a battles but also blossomed as a centre of culture, arts, music etc., thus a true architectural treasure.
(6) JUNAGARH MAHABAT & BAHAUDDIN MAQBARA
This beautiful mausoleum lost in the pages of history; with its imposing arches, towering minarets & magnificent domes is an example of striking architecture – a blend of Islamic, European & Hindu styles in the city once home to the Nawabs of Junagarh in Gujarat. Set amidst the sacred hills of Girnar, a true masterpiece, the Mahabat Maqbara is a sight to behold – its elaborate carvings, silver doorways, French windows & columns, with the Jammi Masjid on one side while the Vazir’s tomb – Bahauddin Maqbara on the other. Anyone looking for an archaeological or architectural tour should definitely give this place a visit, along with other attractions in the city of Junagarh.
In a land where there is never enough time to explore it all, these are some of the major heritage sites with a glimpse of the best of the history of Indian art & architecture, discovering various cultures across the ages tracing the evolution of human civilisations. Take your pick with Heritage walks, Archaeological tours, sightseeing, boating, elephant or horse ride whatever you may, with Shikhar travels, with customised client services for all your needs. So pack your bags, pick your destination & unleash the adventurer in you!