The interest and love for heritage monuments has grown in us as we gradually explore one after another. There is a distinctive charm at heritage locations. These monuments built by our ancestors have seen abundant changes in eras and cultures. They are like “time stoppers”, they are exactly as they were since the day they were built. Even in today’s chaotic environment, they calmly witness the ongoings – the journey of our planet, towards the unfortunate end, we are taking it to.
Today, we are celebrating the World Heritage Week by posting seven of our favourite Indian UNESCO World Heritage sites. Each visit is treasured in a special memory-box wrapped in awe.
Hampi – the capital city of Vijaynagara Empire is like a living tale of history. Today, one can go and witness a group of monuments which stand tall against the test of time to show us the grandeur and valour of the empire. Dravidian style of architecture which is highlighted by enormous dimensions, sheltered enclosures, and magnificent towers at the entrances with an array of decorated pillars is seen all over Hampi. The distinguished Stone Chariot, the monolithic Narsimha, the royal enclosures amongst many others along with the oldest temple in Hampi – Virupaksha Temple, would leave any history lover stunned. A visit to this mesmerizing place is sure to enthral you.
The group of caves which host the world’s largest monolithic structure is a world’s mystery even today. The age old paintings at Ajantha and the Kailasa Temple at Ellora are the highlights of a multitude of structures present here to stun you. These monastries and temples dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff date back to around A.D. 600 to 1000. Not only are these caves a living example of a complex artistic and architectural creation, they are also an excellent depiction of rich and ancient India.
Another marvellous feat of ancient India’s glory are the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram. The temples and rathas (chariots in the form of temples) are outstanding examples of monolithic architecture. The present town of Mahabalipuram was a sea port since 1st Century A. D. The renowned two-towered shore temple is the highlight of this visit.
4. Hill Forts at Rajasthan
The state of Rajasthan is like a story teller in itself. There is an abundance of beautiful heritage structures in Rajasthan. Enclosed within the fortified walls of the forts, were vibrant cities drenched in rich culture and art. The excellent water harvesting techniques used on these forts are prevalent till date. We still cannot forget the stroll through the only living fort in the world, in Jaisalmer during our Road Trip to Rajasthan. The Amer Palace Fort is also a first class experience through history.
Goa is not only about cheap liquor and parties. For people with unique travelling interests like ours would not fail to appreciate the heritage of churches situated in Old Goa. Goa, being the capital of Portuguese Indies, has a rich heritage of churches and convents. The portuguese art, sculpture, royalty and can be experienced when you visit the Old Goa churches of The Bascilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, the Church of Lady of Rosary and a few others in the complex.
Jantar Mantar is an extremely unique site of astronomical observation built in the early 18th Century. Architectural innovations are used to study astronomical observations with the naked eye. In the era where the society was inclined to believing in magic and age of rituals, building such astounding pieces of science observatory monuments was indeed an act of valour and intelligence shown by Prince Jai Singh II.
The symbol of love, one of the most photographed monuments in the world, this is a glory to be witnessed in person. Taj Mahal is a universally appreciated masterpiece amongst the world heritage monuments.
History is not a burden on memory but an illumination for our souls. Structures like these are holding ground since centuries, a time frame, we just know on paper and in numbers. These monuments are still standing tall to pass on the ancient glory, grandeur, morals and honour, for there is a fair amount of chance, we might forget them in today’s disarray. As travellers, it is a privilege to witness such monuments preserved with care by ASI (Archeological Survey of India) and also our duty to pass on the moral responsibility of every citizen to protect them in our own way.
P.S. India is a magnificent country and we live on a beautiful planet. Please do not litter. Be a responsible traveller.