Known as the oldest known civilizations of the world, India is an amazing country. This amazingly diverse land saw the emergence of some of the mightiest empires and dynasties of the ancient and medieval world. Over a period of several centuries, numerous rulers have come and gone, leaving behind their marks in the form of a large number of historic buildings, some of which can be said to form the seven wonders of India.
Built by Chandela dynasty, the temples exhibit stunningly explicit sexual sculptures which were created by the artist's imagination of lovemaking positions prevalent at that time, or based on the rules outlined in the Kama Sutra. Many of the sculptors have claimed artistic ownership on many sculptures. Built of sandstone in varying shades of buff, pink or pale yellow, most of the temples belong to the Shiva, Vaishnava or Jaina religious sects, which are difficult to differentiate from one another.
Jaisalmer Fort (Rajasthan) : Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. It is situated in Jaisalmer city in the state of Rajasthan. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from where it derives it name. The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, on Trikuta Hill, and has been the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the "Golden Fort".
Built in 1156, Jaisalmer of Rajasthan is the second oldest of Rajasthan’s major forts after Chittorgarh of Rajasthan. Constructed by Raja Jaisal, who was searching for a new capital as the earlier one Lodurva was too vulnerable to invasions, he built the fort and the city surrounding it.
Mounted atop Trikuta, the almost triangular triple-peaked hill, the fort rises like a sunbeam from the desert, 250 feet tall, and is reinforced by an imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high. It has as many as 99 bastions. The view of the 99 bastions of the yellow sandstone fort, the desert citadel of Raja Jaisal, is spectacular to behold. The fortifications have grown exponentially over the centuries, and wells within the confines still provide a regular source of water to the fort of Rajasthan.
Red Fort (New Delhi) : The Red Fort is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi that served as the residence of the Mughal Emperors It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.
Nalanda University (Bihar) : Nalanda whidh means "insatiable in giving." The Nalanda, is the name of an ancient center of higher learning in Bihar. The site is located in the state of Bihar, about 55 miles south east of Patna, and was a Buddhist center of learning from the fifth or sixth century CE to 1197 CE partly under the Pala Empire. It has been called "one of the first great universities in recorded history.". According to historical studies the University of Nalanda was established 450 C.E under the patronage of the Gupta emperors, notably Kumaragupta. Nalanda, considered as the world's first residential university, had dormitories for students and had accommodated over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers.
Dholavira Site (Gujrat) : Dholavira is an archaeological site in Khadirbet in Bhachau Taluka of Kachchh district of Gujarat state, which has taken its name from a modern village 1 km south of it. The site of Dholavira, locally known as Kotada timba contains ruins of an ancient Harappan city. It is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is located on the Khadir bet island in the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in Great Rann of Kutch. The site is surrounded by water in the monsoon season. The site was occupied from c.2650 BCE, declining slowly after about 2100 BCE. It was briefly abandoned and reoccupied until c.1450 BCE.
Meenakshi Temple (Tamil Nadu) : Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva named here as Sundareswarar(beautiful deity). The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 gopurams ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimana(shrine) over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE.
Taj Mahal (Agra, Uttar Pradesh) : Taj Mahal, the pinnacle of Mughal architecture, was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal. It is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Ottoman, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage." It is an integrated symmetric complex of structures that was completed around 1648. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer of the Taj Mahal.
Sun Temple, Konark (Odisha) : Konark Sun Temple also known as the Black Pagoda, was built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (1236 C.E-1264 C.E) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 13th century, the temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with 24 wheels (3.3 m diameter each) drawn by seven horses and, carrying the Sun god, Surya, across the heavens. It is a stunning monument of religious (Brahmanical) architecture.