Indian history dates back to the human civilization itself. It’s no surprise with such history that the country is a treasure for architectural wonders. The length and breadth of the country are sprinkled with architectural accomplishments by various dynasties and rulers. Many of the modern influences in architecture have come from the colonial era of the country, with outsiders influencing architectural styles reflective of their ancestral and adopted homes.. Many of the inlet cities like Pondicherry, Goa and Calcutta were hugely influenced by the colonial rulers in their region. These styles are still lingering on and have been adopted by modern structures as well.
Here are our five favourite destinations in India for architectural delights.
1. Fountainhas – The little known Latin Quarter in Goa, is off the radar for the beach going, sun seeking tribe of travelers, but is a fantastic place to delve into history. The area lies in the capital of Goa, Panaji and still emulates the Portuguese style of buildings. Brightly coloured mansions with balconied windows, hanging onto the street are a typical sight here. Take a walk down the memory lane with Goa Heritage Action Group, who is working tirelessly to maintain and safeguard these buildings.
2. Taj Mahal – Though a standalone monument, Indian architecture cannot be spoken about without a mention of the Taj Mahal in Agra. A posthumous tomb built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, by her forlorn husband Shah Jahan, this one crosses all boundaries of architectural splendor. This white marble masterpiece took 20 years to complete and is constructed in Mughal style. An impressive workforce of 22000 people was put to work to finish the structure in 1631. Islamic motifs, dome shaped top, minarets on the side and stone inlays are mmesmerising.
Every Day from sunrise to sunset (barring Friday)
Night -8:30 PM to 12:30 AM (On Full moon night, two days before and two days after)
Day Fee: Rs 750 (Foreigners)
Rs 510 (Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries)
Rs 20 (Indian)
Entry Free for children below 15 years of age
Night Fee: Rs 750 (Adult, Foreign)
Rs 510 (Adult, Indian)
Rs 500 (Child 3-15 Years, Indian & Foreign)
Entry free for child below 3 years of age
3. Pondicherry – The unassuming vibe of Pondicherry, with its long simplistic windows, high roofed houses and cobble stoned streets takes you to a ‘France like’ atmosphere immediately. The French set foot here in early 1900s and changed the face of this small Tamil village to reflect the architectural style of their home. To date, the architectural style has been maintained by groups like INTACH who see this as an historic preservation of culture. Take a walk with INTACH to understand the history and the current challenges of this French influenced town.
4. Calcutta and Mumbai – Speaking of colonial, both Calcutta and Mumbai have a strong connection with the British foray into the country which is reflected in the style of buildings. A large part of the administrative building and educational institutions have retained the architecture of the pre Independence era. Stone sculptures, pillars and high roofs are seen abundantly in the buildings here. Calcutta Walks and Mumbai Heritage Walks can help you orient yourself well with these buildings if you are visiting.
5. Khajurao – A fleet of medieval Hindu and Jain Temples from the 10th to 12th century period add to the magic of central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Built about 200 years, these sets of temples had the patronage of Chandel Rajputs who ruled this region then. Though the life of those times is depicted in many sculptures of the temples, it is most popular for the very graphic erotic creations on the walls of the temples. The Khajurao set of temples is made of sandstone without the use of any mortar. A visit is bound to be exciting for photographers who are interested in architecture.
If you are interested in visiting any of these locations, or would like to put together your own tour of the best places for Indian architecture please contact our reservations team who would be happy to help you with your itinerary.