In the heart of the Aravallis, Jaipur—fondly called the “Pink City” and now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is the ideal royal retreat thanks to its storied forts, opulent palaces, and antiquated temples. The honeycomb-shaped palace, Hawa Mahal, a municipal landmark, contains exquisite windows and jharokhas. The five-story structure, Hawa Mahal, means “Palace of the Winds” in literal translation. It was constructed without a foundation and is renowned for its outstanding ventilation. The palace was largely created to enable the ladies of the royal family to watch the busy streets from the palace jharokhas. The captivating lodging options here, which have stunning views of the glistening Sambhar Lake, include Swiss Tents, Kothi, and Heritage Suites. Perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors, you can also go on village tours and bird viewing here.
The Holy City of Varanasi
One of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited towns, Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, has a largely unknown role in Hindu mythology. Hindus hold that achieving moksha, or salvation, and breaking free from the cycle of life and death can be achieved by travelling to the sacred city of Varanasi. The city is well known for its Hindu Renaissance, Indian arts and crafts, culture, knowledge, and—above all—its devotion to the gods. There are a number of other locations in Varanasi that are less visited, but the city is well renowned for its religious attractions, such as Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat, etc. Therefore, don’t forget to visit the locations linked to the martyrs and independence movements during your next vacation to Varanasi. Make thoughtful plans and prepare to learn about the hidden history of Ghazipur, Sarnath, Bhadohi (Carpet Town), Kashiraj, and to see the Panorama of Banaras, which depicts Varanasi’s true nature.
The austere and grandiose site of Hampi comprise mainly the remnants of the Capital City of Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th Cent CE), the last great Hindu Kingdom. The property encompasses an area of 4187, 24 hectares, located in the Tungabhadra basin in Central Karnataka, Bellary District. Vijayanagar, the final great Hindu kingdom, had its capital at Hampi, a beautiful and austere site. Between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, visitors were enthralled with the Dravidian temples and palaces constructed by its extraordinarily wealthy lords. After being captured in 1565 by the Deccan Muslim confederacy, the city was looted for six months before being abandoned.
The stunning landscape of Hampi is dominated by the Tungabhadra River, rocky hill ranges, wide-open plains, and numerous physical remnants. The more than 1600 surviving remnants, which include forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, Mandapas, memorial structures, gateways, defence check posts, stables, water structures, etc., demonstrate the sophistication of the various urban, royal, and sacred systems.
Agra, Uttar Pradesh
One of the most visited places in India for tourists is Agra. It is also known for housing the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Both Indians and foreign visitors, who come in droves to take in its splendour. Agra is a part of India’s Golden Triangle of tourism, together with Delhi and Jaipur. It is most known for the Taj Mahal, but there is much more to the city than this iconic structure. Right from the epic Mahabharata to the Mughal Dynasty, Agra has been monumental and has played a crucial part in defining India’s history.
Agra is home to several significant monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri. This is because the city has been ruled by numerous notable figures. Without visiting these, you won’t be able to fully experience Agra’s beautiful past on your trip.
The capital city is full of historical landmarks; in fact, there is an abundance of them, which might make selecting a few to see a little challenging. Visitors and art enthusiasts alike can enjoy a visual feast and an enlightening experience visiting Delhi’s ancient sites. Even better, some of these places have made it to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar are some of the main historical landmarks in Delhi.
Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
The renowned rock-hewn seaside temples of the formerly port city date back to the 7th century. A lone lighthouse atop a hill glances over a group of temples below. Numerous excellent cafes in Mahabalipuram provide delicious seafood. It is a backpacker’s paradise with lots of activities and affordable lodging.
Built by the Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar in honour of the great Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri is a city primarily composed of red sandstone and is located 37 km away from Agra. Its magnificence and uniqueness provide a fine example of the emperor’s architectural finesse. Because of Akbar’s liberal religious beliefs and passion for literature, fine arts, and architecture, the palaces at Fatehpur Sikri have a captivating blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural characteristics.
By: Gursharan Kaur