5000 years of civilization and more have given India some fantastic historical places, monuments, legends, and experiences. They are evident in the magnificent palaces, forts, minarets, temples, and churches that pepper the length and breadth of this country. These architectural marvels speak volumes about India’s past, culture, beliefs, and, of course, artistry. From the Taj Mahal to the ruins of Hampi, every fort, palace, or temple is an example of outstanding aesthetics and elegance. 

 If you are a travel buff who wants to peek into the cultural and architectural history of our diverse subcontinent, you must visit these 25 monuments of India at least once in your lifetime.

So, how many have you visited already, and how many are you still dying to see? The next time you plan a vacation with your loved ones, make sure you visit some of these monuments to make your trip an amazing one.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal

Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, this intricately carved 17th-century white marble mausoleum grace the southern bank of the Yamuna River and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 

2. Agra Fort, Agra

Agra Fort

This 16th-century historical fort was essentially a walled city that was built during the reign of Emperor Akbar. It boasts intricate artwork on marble and sandstone walls and is a medley of different architectural styles.

3. Fatehpur Sikri Fort, Agra

Fatehpur Sikri Fort

An architectural gem in red sandstone, Fatehpur Sikri Fort’s credit goes to the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. Some popular things to see within its walled premises include Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Akbar’s residence, Panch Mahal, Ibadat Khana, and the famous courtier Birbal’s house. 

4. Qutub Minar, Delhi

Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar, also known as Victory Tower, is one of the tallest monuments in Asia and the tallest brick minaret in the world, at 72.5m. Featuring beautiful carvings and intricate designs on marble and red sandstone, this architectural wonder is a photographer’s delight.

5. Jama Masjid, Delhi

Jama Masjid

This architectural extravagance by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is constructed with red sandstone and white marble. The focal points of the monument are its tall minarets, arched gateways, wide staircases, and a huge courtyard for prayers.

6. Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort

Constructed during the reign of Shah Jahan in the 17th century, Red Fort or Lal Qila, is one of the most popular historical buildings in India. The main highlights are its massive red sandstone walls, Mughal-style architecture, geometrical gardens, projecting balconies, and grand palaces and entertainment halls.

7. Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

Ajanta and Ellora caves are among the most important monuments of India owing to the magnificent paintings of Ajanta and well-carved sculptures of Ellora. The rock-cut caves containing carvings are the finest examples of Indian paintings and sculptures. 

8. India Gate, Delhi

India Gate

This iconic sandstone-granite arch gate is among the largest war memorials in the country. The beauty of this important monument is accentuated by the verdant lawns that surround it. 

9. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb

Popularly known as the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent, this 16th-century monument was built by Emperor Humayun’s wife in memory of her husband. Its slavish double-storied gateway and 4 gardens with “Humayun ka Maqbara” in the centre make for an elegant statement.

10. Golden Temple, Amritsar

Golden Temple

Also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, this beautiful religious place of the Sikh community is all about tranquillity, humanity, and brotherhood. The two-storied structure has a unique domed architecture, with its top half clad in pure gold and the other half built with white marble. 

11. Amer Fort, Jaipur

Amer Fort

Built in the 16th century by Maharaja Man Singh, Amer Fort is one of the most ancient monuments in India. The intricately carved walls and ceilings, four courtyards, beautifully designed entry gates in the palace, and vibrant paintings of Rajput rulers on the palace walls are the chief attractions here.

12. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort

Standing tall and proud in northwest Rajasthan, Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. The main attraction of the fort is its sprawling yellow sandstone walls that shine bright like gold during daytime. 

13. City Palace, Udaipur

City Palace

An enchanting blend of European, Medieval and Chinese architectural styles, City Palace has beautiful courtyards, pavilions, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. The 11 palaces with antique furniture, unique paintings, dazzling mirrors and ornamental tilework will leave you amazed.

14. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Hawa Mahal

This 18th-century 5-storey building is a wonderful blend of Rajput, Islamic and Mughal architectural styles, which makes it totally Insta-worthy. Hawa Mahal offers stunning views of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar from the top, too.

15. Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Chhatarpur

Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Khajuraho is popular for its spectacular Hindu and Jain temples depicting intricate Indian architecture. There are a total of 85 temples in three complexes. The exotic rock carvings portraying passion, dance, music, and eroticism are the focal points here. The temples date back to the 12th century.

16. Gateway of India, Mumbai

Gateway of India

This unique landmark is one of the most important monuments of India. It was constructed in the 20th century and has an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Apart from photographing the majestic gateway, you can enjoy the cool sea breeze, relish some delectable street foods, or go for a leisurely ferry ride. 

17. Charminar, Hyderabad

Charminar

Built-in the 16th century, this popular mosque is a brilliant combination of Indo-Islamic architecture and subtle Persian elements. The arches, minarets and domes with stucco decorations lend a distinctive look to the monument and make it a major tourist attraction in the city.

18. Group of Monuments, Hampi

Hampi

This 14th-century monument lies in the Deccan heartland and has about 500 monuments and other attractions, including Hindu and Jain temples, an archaeological museum, the Hampi Bazaar, Queen’s Bath and Lotus Mahal.

19. Brihadishwara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadishwara Temple

Also known as Periya Kovil, this ancient Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This all-granite temple, depicting Dravidian architecture, is one of the largest temples in the country. The 66m high temple tower, or Vimana, is among the tallest in the world.

20. Mysore Palace, Mysore

Mysore Palace

This popular palace steals the show with its grand Indo-Saracenic architecture, complete with turrets, domes, arches, and colonnades. It has now been converted into a museum, so you will find many paintings, souvenirs, royal costumes, jewellery and more here. 

21. Sun Temple, Konark

Sun Temple

 Konark Sun Temple was built in the 13th century and is shaped like a massive chariot with stone wheels, walls, and pillars. The shrine has a beautifully carved statue of the Sun God, and the walls have images of giraffes, elephants and other animals.

22. Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi

Sanchi Stupa

Dating back to the 3rd century BCE, this Buddhist monument is one of the oldest in the country. The simple yet unique Buddhist style of architecture is its main highlight.

23. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Victoria Memorial

Constructed in honour of Queen Victoria, this iconic white marble structure is the most popular attraction in Kolkata. It is surrounded by a beautifully maintained garden with many statues and sculptures. 

24. Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ajanta Caves proudly bears testimony of the earliest Buddhist architecture, paintings and sculptures, while Ellora Caves contain rock carvings, Buddhist monasteries, and Hindu and Jain temples. 

25. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Constructed in the 17th century, this Roman Catholic Church holds the mortal relics of St. Francis Xavier. Apart from the beautiful Baroque architecture, the church boasts some of the largest art galleries in Asia.

FAQ

What criteria were used to select the “must-visit” historical places in India?

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Are these historical places suitable for all age groups and interests?

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How can travellers best plan their itinerary to cover these 25 must-visit historical places efficiently?

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Are there any lesser-known historical gems included in the list?

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