Unique natural and historical monuments are concentrated in Northern India.
When visiting the capital of the country, Delhi, first of all, you need to get acquainted with historical monuments. Among them, the famous Red Fort (Lal Kila, 1639-1648) with the vast palace complex of the Mughal era and the “multi-colored palace” Rang Mahal, the ruins of the oldest monument of Delhi – the Bhairon Temple, the highest tower of the country (72, 5 m) – the Kutb Minar ensemble (Vijay Stambh, presumably 1191-1370), the ruins of Lalkot, the “Old Fortress” Purana Qila (Din Panah, 1530-1545), the Raj Ghat Palace, the oldest in India observatory Jantar Mantar (1725), the ruins of Rai Pithora, the Jahaz Mahal complex (“palace-ship”, 1229-1230), the “block tower” Chor Minar, the memorial arch of the Indian Gate, the building of the former British Secretariat, in which now houses the University of Delhi, the House of Parliament, the Memorial of the 1857 uprising, the official residence of the President of the country – the Presidential Palace “Rashtrapati Bhavan” (1931), Ashoka’s column (250 BC, height over 12 m.) from a single piece of sandstone, one of the wonders of the world is a stainless metal column (895 BC) near the Kuvwat-ul-Islam mosque, etc.
According to Top-mba-universities, the city is literally saturated with temples of all world religions, often so close to each other that a Buddhist stupa can be seen behind the minaret of the mosque, and the dome of the Christian church contrasts with Hindu buildings. The most interesting are the Sikh temple of Gurudwara Sis Ganj, the temple of Yogmaya (Krishna’s sister), the temple of Lakshmi Narayan, the Jain temple of Digambar Jain with a unique “bird hospital”, the oldest Christian temple in the country – the Baptist church on Chandni Chowk, the Anglican Church of St. James (1836 BC), the main Tibetan temple of the capital is the Buddhist Vihara, the Baha’i Lotus Temple (1986), the temple of the goddess Kali in Kalkaji (built in 1764 on the site of an older temple) and many others. The majestic mosques of Delhi are considered the best examples of Islamic art – Jama Masjid (Friday or Cathedral, 1650-1658), Qila-Kuhna Masjid (1545), Kher-ul-Minazel (1561), Moth-ki-Masjid (One Seed Mosque, XVI century), Sonekhri (Golden), Fatehpuri (1650), Kalan Masjid (Kali Masjid, 1386), Jamat Khana (Khizri, XIV century), Moti Masjid (Pearl, 1662), the first mosque of the country – Quwwat-ul-Islam (1192-1198), Zinat-ul-Masjid and others
Delhi often called the “Mausoleum of the East” – so many memorial buildings of legendary rulers and statesmen of many eras are concentrated here. The category of religious buildings includes the mausoleum of Adkham Khan, the dargah (place of worship) of Kutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, the tomb of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmysh (1235), the dargah of the Muslim saint Nizamuddin Chishti Auliyi (1325), the architectural ensemble of the tomb of Sultan Guri (1230), the tomb of Firuzshah Tughlak, the tomb of Safdarjung, the tomb of the only female ruler of the East – Sultana Razia (1241), the masterpiece of Mughal architecture – the tomb of Gamayun (Gamayun-ka-Makbara, 1565), the mausoleums of Jahanar-Begam and Muhammad Shah (1719-1748), the mausoleum of President Zakir Hussein (1973) near the Jamia Millia Islamic University, as well as a whole complex of tombs in the Lodi Gardens.
By the abundance of museums, the city can compete with any capital of the world. It is worth visiting the National Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art, the Archaeological Museum of the Red Fort, the National Museum of Natural History, the Memorial Museum of J. Nehru “Tinmurti House” (1929-30) near the diplomatic district of Chanakyapuri, the Indira Gandhi Memorial with the famous “crystal river” (1988), the Museum of National Crafts, the International Puppet Museum, the National Children’s Museum and Aquarium at the Children’s Palace, the Tibet House Museum on Lodi Road, a good Air Force Museum at the airport. Indira Gandhi Academy of Fine Arts “Lalit Kala Academy”, Museum of Applied Crafts in the large exhibition center Pragati Maidan, Academy of Music and Dance with the original Museum of Musical Instruments,
Delhi is quite a green city. There are many landscape gardening complexes and small green areas – Mughal gardens in the Presidential Palace, Roshanar and Shalimar gardens with the Shish Mahal (Mirror) pavilion to the north-west of “old Delhi”, Coronation parks, Jainati Buddha, them. Nehru, Pancha Shila Park, Qudsiya Gardens (XVIII century), Mahatab Bagh Gardens in the Red Fort.
Agra is the capital of the Mughal Empire. It is located 204 km. from the capital. Many real “wonders of the world” are concentrated here – the famous white marble mausoleum Taj Mahal (1630-1648), the Great Fortress of Agra (Red Fort) with a whole complex of majestic palaces, squares, mosques and parks inside the double wall of the citadel, the Pearl Mosque (XVII century) and Nagina Masjid, two huge halls for audiences – Khaz Mahal and the Mirror Palace, the marble mausoleum of Jahangri Mahal, the graceful tomb of Itemad-ud-Dauly and the water park “Pavilion of fish”.
In the suburb of Agra, Sikandra, Akbar’s red sandstone mausoleum is located surrounded by a garden.
40 km. from Agra is the “ghost town” Fatihpur Sikri, the former capital of Akbar. Today, the city is completely empty due to lack of water, but the inner fortress, the “Great Gate” of Buland Darvaza, the “miraculous” mausoleum of Sheikh Salim Chishti, the Imperial Mosque, palaces, baths, the royal mint, numerous squares and parks are perfectly preserved.
In sacred Mathura, between Delhi and Agra, according to legend, Krishna was born. In Vrindavan (120 km. South of New Delhi), “the city of five thousand temples”, there is another “pearl” of the country – the temple of Krishna Balaram Mandir (Engriddi Mandir, 1975), a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people.
The quiet, friendly village of Khajuraho in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh is literally “flooded” with temples, including the world-famous temples of the goddess of love Kami, replete with erotic scenes. The temple complex was built between 950 and 1050 AD. and consisted of 85 temples. 20 of them are quite well preserved to this day.
Almost the entire northeast of the country – the states of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, is occupied by the vast mountain system of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush, which has served as the center of Buddhist monasteries and communities for many millennia. Places such as Ladakh (Ladakh), the city of ashrams Rishikesh and one of the 7 sacred cities – Haridwar, the Spiti Valley, the holy mountain Kailash (Kinner Kailash, 6050 m.) – the center of the universe, the “valley of the gods” Kullu (Kulanthapitha), the residence of the Dalai -Lamas in Dharamsala, the beautiful Parbati valley with famous hot springs, the beautiful mountain resort of Dharamsala, the sacred cave of Amarnath, in which Shiva conveyed the secret of creation to Parvati. All this attracts millions of pilgrims to these parts.
The most interesting are the Tibetan monasteries of Tabo, Dankar, Lalung, Rewalsar, Komik and Ki, the temples of Hanuman in Shimla, Bhimakali, Basheshwar Mahadeo, Bijli Mahadeo and Raghunath, as well as the most famous and high-altitude temples of Shiva and Vishnu in Kedarnath and Badrinath.
In Amritsar (Punjab) the main shrine of Sikhism is located – the Golden Temple (Darbar Sahib or Swarn Mandir, 1577), surrounded by a sacred reservoir of immortality. And the layout and most of the administrative buildings of Chandigarh were designed by the famous architect Corbusier. Not far from Naggar, where the Roerich family lived for a long time, there is the famous mountain resort of Manali, where the legendary ancestor of mankind Manu preached, and which is known not only for its center of Tibetan medicine, but also for the majestic temples of Manu and Dhungri. Excellent opportunities for recreation are created among the coniferous forests of the mountain resorts of Kullu, Simla, Nainital and Masuri. For lovers of mountain tourism, there are many interesting trekking routes, yak trips, Tibetan jeep safari, as well as visits to many national reserves.
Western India is a land of contrasts. The mountainous sections of the Ghats are interspersed here with the lowlands and forests of Gujarat, giving way to the deserts of Rajasthan, and the beautiful beaches of Goa are interspersed with the diverse architecture of the old quarters of Bombay or Jaipur.
Traveling in Western India, it is advisable to visit Mumbai (Mumbai, Bombay). This is the “gateway of India”, “Indian Hollywood” and the capital of the state of Maharashtra. Modern Mumbai famous for its diverse architecture – the colonial mansions of the old quarters are adjacent to the high-rise buildings of the southern part of the city. The most interesting are the triumphal arch “Gate of India” (1924), the Fort (1720), the churches of St. John and St. Thomas the Apostle, the Cathedral of St. Thomas (1672-1718), the Museum of the Prince of Wales (1911), the Hindu temple of Mahalakshmi, the mausoleum and mosque of Haji Ali, the building of the University of Bombay, the building of the old Mint (1828), the largest Crawford market in Bombay, the buildings of Victoria Terminus, the Supreme Court, etc. Other sights of Bombay include the best in India Aquarium Taraporewala, Museum of Western India, Victoria Gardens with a zoo, the Bombay Planetarium. Nehru, the Gallery of Modern Art in an oriental style building, as well as several temples of the 7th century.
On the hill of Malabar are the picturesque Hanging Gardens (Ferozesah Mehta) and the Park. Kamala Nehru with children’s attractions, the building of the former British government residence Raj Bhavan (currently the residence of the state governor), the temple of the sand god Valkeshwar, the Zoroastrian “towers of silence”, the planetarium. Nehru, Monplaisir, the cult springs of Banganga-Tenk, which appeared according to legend from an arrow (“ban”) of Rama hitting the hillside, as well as the caves of Jogeshvari and Basin.
The best place for walking and relaxing is the Matheran area (50 km east of the city), the Marine Drive embankment and the beaches of Chowpatty and Manori Beach, the areas of the Sassoon docks, where a live fish market opens in the morning. The city has many museums and galleries, concert halls and other cultural facilities, but due to high air pollution and high temperatures, visiting them is often not comfortable for a foreigner. In the suburbs, Elephanta Islands (10 km from the port) with rock temples of the 5th-8th centuries, the famous 109 caves of Kanheri with bas-reliefs of the 2nd-9th centuries are of interest. on the territory of the Krishnagiri Upavan National Park (Sanjay Gandhi, 42 km from Mumbai), where the picturesque lakes of Tulsi, Povari and Vihar also lie.
State of Rajasthan widely known for its military history and many ancient fortresses and forts.
The capital of the state of Rajasthan – Jaipur (250 km west of New Delhi) is one of the most interesting cities in the country. Founded in 1727, it got its second name – “Pink City”, because of the pink sandstone used in the construction of many buildings. The Chandra Mahal palace complex is located in the heart of the city among picturesque gardens. No less interesting are the palaces of Raj Mahal, Jal Mahal (Lake Palace), Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds, 1799) and Rambagh (now rebuilt into a luxury hotel).), lying 11 km. from the city, the Ember fortress (XI-XVI centuries), the Jaigarh and Nahagarh forts (XVIII century), located on sheer cliffs, the temples of Birla, Sri Govind Dev (Govind Devji), Lakshmi-Narain and Kanak-Vrindavan, the Mubarak Mahal pavilion, minaret Isvari Minar Svarga Sal (Minaret penetrating Heaven), as well as a huge open-air observatory – Jantar Mantar. Almost all palace buildings now house expositions from the collections of the Royal Museum, the Central Museum, the Museum of Indology and the City Palace Museum, each of which deserves special attention.
Close to Jaipur there are such places of worship as the city of Abu with its Dilwara Mandir temple complex – a sacred place for Jains, where you should definitely visit the temples of Adinath (1031) and Neminath (1230). 15 km from Jaipur, in Geytor, there is a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. In the Galta region (20 km from Jaipur) there is a temple of the sun god, the palace of Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh, as well as many healing mineral springs. In Udaipur, on the shores of a picturesque lake, a whole complex of palaces rises – Maharani (XVI-XVIII centuries) with beautiful mosaics, Jagmandir (XVII century) and Jagnivas (XVIII century) on Lake Pichola, as well as the huge towers of the City Palace and the gate in the old city, surrounded by a wall.
State of Goa lies to the north of Mumbai and is considered the best seaside resort area in the country. Goa is the first state of Indiaoccupied by European colonialists, therefore, along with endless white sand beaches, there are many ancient monasteries and fortresses, villas and trading posts in the colonial Portuguese style. The most attractive in historical terms is Velha Goa (Goa Velha, Old Goa), which was once called the “Lisbon of the East” – here are the Cathedral Square surrounded by majestic temples, the Basilica of Bom Jesus (XVI century) – the place of storage of the relics of St. Francis Xavier, the churches of Santa Monica and St. Augustine, the Portuguese Catholic Cathedral Se (1562), the church of St. Cajetan, the royal chapel of St. Anthony, the Cathedral of Francis of Assisi and the Cathedral of St. Catherine (1652), considered the largest Christian cathedral in Asia.
In Panaji, the capital of the state, the majestic Church of the Immaculate Conception (1541) rises, the old district of Fontainehas, the Mahalakshmi temple, the Latin Quarter and Altino hill built up with old buildings, the chapel of St. Sebastian, the statue of Abbot Faria (the prototype of the famous hero Dumas), the building of the Panaji Secretariat and the National Museum. On the way from Panaji to Pondu, there are temples of Sri Mangesh (dedicated to Shiva) and Shanta Durga. In Mapusa – the sanctuary of Hanuman, the chapel of St. Anthony and the Church of the Virgin Mary. In Margao – the Church of the Holy Spirit and Grace, the Municipal Garden and the vast market of Margao.
Ellora cave temple complex
The cave temples of Ellora are located in the state of Maharashtra, 30 km from Aurongobad. They consist of 34 individual caves carved into basalt hills between the 4th and 9th centuries AD. and represent 3 separate religions: Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The temples are home to many cultural and architectural attractions. 16 Buddhist caves are the oldest in the complex. Jain caves illustrate the non-violent and ascetic beliefs of this religion, they are covered with images such as lotus flowers. Hindu caves surpassed their neighbors in majesty. So, the Cave of Kailasa (Temple of Kailasa) occupies an area similar to the territory occupied by the Parthenon temple in Athens. multiplied by two. The cave is dedicated to the god Shiva and was built for about 100 years. Kailash Cave is the largest rock-cut cave in the world.
Traveling through South India – the most densely populated part of the country, you can see hundreds of ancient Tamil temples and colonial forts.
Chennai (Chennai, Madras) was founded in 1639 as an outpost of Britain on the peninsula, so its architecture is strongly influenced by the British colonial style. The main attractions of the city are Fort St. George (1653) in which the state government now operates, the Cathedral of St. Thomas the Apostle (1504), the first Anglican church in the country – St. Virgin Mary (XIX century), the temple of Shiva, Madras Musical Academy of Music and Dance Kalakshetra, the building of one of the oldest Madras University in the country (1857), the International Center for Theosophy. Blavatsky with a beautiful park, Madras State Museum (1846).
Not far from the city, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, there is a huge temple complex of Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) with two dozen temples of the 7th-8th centuries, as well as with the famous rock bas-reliefs “The Descent of the Ganges to Earth” (Repentance of Arjuna). To the southwest of Chennai is the famous center of pilgrimage – Madurai, with the colossal temple of the goddess Menakshi (Meenakshi mandir, 1560) and the complex of the Shiva temple (XII-XVII centuries) with the “Thousand Column Hall” (mid-XVI century). Scattered throughout the state of Tamil Nadu are such unique religious centers as Kanchipuram, Srirangam, Tirupati, Chitambaram, Thanjavur (Tanjur), Trichy, Tiruvanamalai, Rameshwaram and others. Sri Aurobindo Ashram and one of the oldest alternative settlements in the world – Auroville (1968) are located in Pondicherry. G.).
, you can visit the reserves located in the foothills of the Western Ghats. This is the Bondla Reserve, which is located 55 km north of Panaji, at the foot of the Western Ghats. On its territory there is a delightful botanical garden with wonderful roses, and a natural park where buffaloes, wild boars, leopards, bears, deer, various species of snakes and birds live. Everyone will be able to ride on elephants and take pictures for memory. Another reserve is Dudhsagar. Here, tourists transfer to jeeps, on which they continue their “safari” through the jungle to the foot of the waterfall, whose height is 603 meters. The milky white color of the water gave the name to the waterfall and the whole reserve. Dudhsagar means “Ocean of Milk” in Marathi.
A very exciting excursion – “The Jungle Book”, Goa and plunge into the specific atmosphere of Goan villages. By visiting traditional villages, you can get acquainted with the way of life of the locals. Tourists are waiting for dinner by the fire, a trip through the jungle with torches, a night in clay houses. The next day, an exciting journey will continue through the jungle, tourists will climb to the temple, get acquainted with yogis, and then make a trip on the back of an elephant.
Excursion “Gold” of Vasco da Gama includes a visit to the “Savoy” spice plantation, where you can see how many types of spices are grown and processed. Part of the journey to the plantation takes place on a boat sailing through the mangroves of the Cumbarhua Canal, which is inhabited by crocodiles. Then an exotic lunch is provided, tasting the local drink “feni” from the juice of coconuts.
In the southwest of the peninsula lies the state of Kerala, whose Malabar coast is considered one of the best beach areas in Asia. In the capital of the state – Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram), the temple of Padmanabhaswami, canals, the palace of the Maharaja of the Principality of Travankur, the Trivandrum art gallery with Roerich’s paintings and the research center of the space program of India located in the suburbs of Tumbu attract attention.. In Kochi (Cochin), the oldest synagogue in the countries of the British Commonwealth (1568), the Dutch Palace Museum, St. Francis Cathedral and the nearby Mattancherry Castle are of interest. Thousands of tourists visit the mountain resorts of Ootacamunda (Ooty) and Kodaikanal, the beautiful seaside resort center of Kovalam, as well as the Laccadive and Amindive Islands off the western coast of the state.
East India includes the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Sikkim. This is the most diverse territory of the country in terms of natural conditions, “sandwiched” between the coast of the Bay of Bengal in the south and the spurs of the Himalayas in the north, is of no less interest among tourists who are fond of the historical past of the country. The main city of the region is Kolkata (Kolkata) – the administrative center of the state of West Bengal and the largest city in the country, one of the ten largest cities in the world. Kolkata is home to India ‘s largestNational Library (1836), Memorial Museum. Queen Victoria (1921) in the huge Maidan Park, the formidable Fort William (founded in 1696), the richest Indian Museum, the oldest Calcutta University in the country (1857), the wonderful Botanical Garden (founded in the 18th century), built on the site of the legendary “black hole of Calcutta” Post Office, Kali Temple, Mother Teresa Mission and headquarters of the Ramakrishna Society, Birla Technology Museum (Kolkata is considered one of the recognized engineering centers of the country), Raj Bhavan Government House, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Botanical Garden, “the busiest bridge in the world” – the cantilever Howrah Bridge, etc.
There are many religious centers in the vicinity of the city – the Mahabodhi Mandir temple, the sacred place of the Jains – Pavapuri, the sacred place of the Hindus – Gaya, the Bo tree in the city of Bodhgaya (Bihar), Sikh temples in Patna, as well as the famous resort of Darjeeling.
For more than 2 thousand years, the “eternal city” Varanasi was the religious capital of India. Built on the banks of the sacred Ganges, this easternmost city of Uttar Pradesh has served as a place of ritual bathing in the waters of the sacred river for many centuries, and is also a place of ritual cremations for Hindus. There are many sacred places of Buddhism here – a stone column and a stupa of Dharmarajika, a stupa of Damekx on the site of the first worship of Buddha, the Jain temple of Sriyansanth, steps (“gata”) for bathing in the waters of the Ganges, the temples of Vishwanath, Annapurna and Manmandir, the Gyanvapi mosques (XVII century BC).) and Alamgir, as well as one of the best museums in India – Bhavan.
To the north, high in the mountains, is the state of Sikkim – the best trekking area of the country and the focus of Buddhist monasteries. Here it is worth visiting the capital of the state – Gangtok, which houses the unique Museum of Tibetology and the imperial chapel of Tsuk-La-Khan, or visit the birthplace of agni yoga and the burial place of Helena Roerich – Kalimpong.
The state of Orissa stretches along the western coast of the Bay of Bengal. The main attractions of the state are the three great temple cities – Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konarak. Here, one of the largest temples in India, Lingaraja (Temple of the phallus king) in Bhubaneswar, the Temple of the Sun (Surya Mandir, XIII century) in Konark and the temple of Jagannath Mandir (Temple of the Lord of the Universe) in Puri (Langaraj and Jaganath) stand out. closed to Europeans).
Of interest are the national parks of the country – Kaziranga, Jaldapara, Manas, Dachigam, Javkhar (includes Bandipur, Nagarhol, Mudumalai and Wayanad parks).