Top 10 Most Famous India Landmarks Travelers Talk About

India is a country both of natural wonder and cultural allure. Many people travel here each and every year in order to experience the modern marvels and environmental wonder that comprise the country of India. Much historical relevance can be found in the large country, and as a result many of the tourist attractions in India have their roots firmly planted in earlier centuries. An exciting mix of structures and sights await travelers to the exotic land as well as a devoted and culturally rich people. For first time visitors, there are many landmarks worth seeing, but based on past travelers’ experiences; there are ten that are not to be missed.

1. Taj Mahal: Perhaps one of the most recognizable buildings in the entire world is also one of the most important of all India landmarks. Nearly four hundred years old and made of white marble, the building boasts stunning architectural detail and marvelous curves and towers that make it one of the most prevalent examples of Muslim art in the entire world. A long, clear pool dominating the building’s entrance enhances the grandeur of the World Heritage Site, that draws millions of visitors each and every year.

2. Red Fort Agra: Known as the sister to the aforementioned number one attraction, the Red Fort may be a structural relative, but looks little like the white marble structure. More of an ornate, walled city than anything else, the Mughal built fort covers some 94 acres and is laid out in a semi circular shape and includes four main gates and numerous buildings. Like many India landmarks, the Red Fort played host to a great many important historical events including numerous battles. It’s one of the most popular of all Agra tourist attractions thanks to both its historical significance as well as examples of both Hindu and Islamic art and architecture.

3. Himalayan Mountains: Although largely situated in the northern portion of India, the Himalayas pass through several countries including China, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Two famous peaks comprise these natural India landmarks including Mount Everest and K2. The mountain range also provides the source for three major rivers that flow across parts of Asia. Although many don’t associate this part of the world with glacial activity, some fifteen thousand glaciers can be found in the mountain range and boasts the largest one found outside of the north and south poles. While they are the largest mountains in the world, they are also the youngest, and formed from the collision of tectonic plates in India and Tibet.

4. Varanasi Ghats: Known as an incredibly photogenic city, Varanasi, particularly the portions closest to the west bank of the Ganges River, is considered both a spiritual place as well as a beautiful one. ‘Ghats’ are long stairways that lead directly to the water’s edge and there are over eighty of them found in Varanasi. At their end, bathing often takes place as well as religious activities too. These India landmarks are also home to an activity that might be considered unusual to outsiders. Funerals and cremations are held at the Ghats and funeral processions are not uncommon sites at some of the larger Ghats.

5. Red Fort Delhi: Built as a palace fort for Shah Jahan, the red sandstone structure is a part of a larger site that is known as the Red Fort Complex. It’s an impressive example of many different types of architectural styles, borrowing from Hindu, Persian, Timurid and Islamic influences. In addition to the structures’ obvious aesthetic charm and historical significance, it also curiously enough symbolizes modern advances, as new buildings were added during the period of British occupation to reflect the needs in defense. In terms of Mughal architecture, the Red Fort is considered one of the most important India landmarks and is a big draw for many visitors annually.

6. Lotus Temple: At a mere three decades or so old, constructed in 1986, this house of worship is perhaps one of the newest of all India landmarks, although possibly one of the most popular attractions. Known for its stunning and sophisticated design, the blossoming building was the recipient of many awards before it was even constructed based on design alone. Elegant petal shaped structures comprise the house of worship, and the reach upward to the sky, curving gently like the folds of the lotus flower that it’s named for. The surrounding grounds are ornately landscaped and the entire campus is a rather surreal experience for many visitors.

7. Amber Fort in Jaipur: Before Jaipur became capital, Amer held the title, and in 1592 this palace fort was constructed by Raja Man Singh. Made of red sandstone and marble, the fort is perched atop a hillside and situated near the Maotha Lake, which adds to the exterior appeal of the building Inside, however, it’s almost equally impressive, boasting pavilions and halls as well as two important temples. Like many other India landmarks, the fort boasts both Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, making it a popular tourist attraction amongst travelers to the area.

8. Elephanta Caves: Near Bombay can be found these important artistic tributes to the cult of Shiva, rock art that is amongst some of the most beautiful in the world. They’re named for the island on which they’re located, Elephanta, where numerous archeological sites have been found. These various India landmarks include many stunning reliefs carved into the rock, but perhaps the most impressive of them all is the towering twenty foot high Sadashiva, which can be found at the entrance to cave one and is said to be one of the most important tributes to Shiva in the world.

9. Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai: Although the aforementioned rock formations are one of the most well preserved and important examples of the Shiva Cult, the temple to the Hindu Deity is one of the most important of all India landmarks. It’s here that Parvati, the purported form of Shiva’s wife, worshipped the God. Numerous rituals are held here during festival and daily ceremonies take place at precise times of day. For travelers, the building itself is a sight worth seeing. The facade is one of the most ornate pieces of architecture found anywhere, boasting intricate sculpture and vivid colors, making it a magnet for both tourists and pilgrims alike.

10. Ramoji Film City Hyderabad: Hollywood, California may be known as the movie capital of the world, however in terms of sheer size, Ramoji Film City is the largest entertainment film city on the planet. It’s a popular destination for tourists and one of the most entertaining of all India landmarks including natural sights as well as some modern entertainment as well as it includes an amusement park amongst other things.