100 wonders of India
In this video, we present 100 of the best wonders of India, though not in the order of ranking. Please share your top 5 in the comments section. The wheel of chariot of Konark Sun Temple was made and established in such a way that it works as a sun dial. It can tell you the time. When you see the temple from outside during dawn or sunrise, you will notice that the chariot-shaped temple appears to be emerging from the depths of the blue sea carrying the sun. One of the most intriguing sculpture is that of a Giraffe, an animal that is not native of India. It indicates the awareness of the animal if not its real presence in the region. Does it indicate trade links with Africa? Hampi was originally called Pampa-Kshetra after Hindu Deity Pampa which is another name of Goddess Parvati.
The stone chariot of the Vijaya Vittala temple of north Hampi may be the icon of Hampi, but there are more surprises inside. Enter the gates of the Vittala temple complex and step into the temple with musical pillars. You heard it right. When tapped softly at the right place music emanates from these pillars. They are also known as the SAREGAMA pillars for the same reason. At the shores of the river Thungabadra, there is a naturally formed caved which is said to be the place where Sugreeva, the legendary monkey warrior from Ramayana is believed to have lived. The Kailasa Temple is notable for its vertical
excavation, the work started at the top and progressed along the slope of the mountain, rolling down the large boulders split from the mountain using steel rod drills. The drill marks are still visible on the surrounding walls. There are several theories that aliens have carved this temple as vertical excavation of such a huge monolith seems impossible with the technology available at that time. Adding to that the waste particles from the temple which should be thousands of tons of rock are not seen at least in a 50km radius. The other mysterious aspect of the temple is the underground tunnels which are very narrow, at least 3 feet deep. It's impossible for humans to dig those tunnels. So, the question remains unanswered, who dug them and what was their purpose? The Hoysaleswara Temple is full of intricately carved stone sculptures, inscriptions and works of art. The temple has about thousand figures on the
walls which depict scenes of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It is a soapstone reflection of the Hoysala architecture. The pillars inside the temple are perfectly carved as if they were lathe turned. The outer
walls of this temple have intricate carvings. The temple has been described as an outstanding example of Hindu architecture. Rani ki Vav, is one of the most popular stepwells in India. It is designed like an inverted temple, with seven levels of stairs that are beautifully carved and sculpted with mythological and religious images.
There are close to 800 sculptures carved on the inner walls of the stepwell. Beneath the last step of the well, there is a gate that leads to a 30m tunnel that opens to Sidhpur, a town close to Patan. Chittorgarh Fort is known to be the largest fort of India. It extends an area of 3km in length and a peripheral length of 13km, summing up to 700 acres of land. The fort covers 65 historic structures, which include four palaces, 19 large temples, 20 large water bodies, 4 memorials and a few victory towers.
The two towers of the fort depict the glorious past of the Rajpur royals. These towers are named Vijay Stambh meaning Tower of Victory and Kirti Stambh meaning Tower of Fame. Marco Polo, during his visit to the Kakatiya Empire, called the temple "the brightest star in the galaxy of temples". The top of the Ramappa temple is made up of bricks that can float in water. Sweet musicals sound can be heard if you tap the metal carvings with your fingers or hands. The Iron Pillar is an unbelievable piece of metallurgy known for its amazing resistance to corrosion. It has been rust-free for over 1600 years.
The Pillar is 7.5 meter tall and weighing around 6.5 tonnes and is made up of 98% wrought iron of pure quality. The Brahmi inscriptions carved in the pillar credits Gupta king Chandragupta II Vikramaditya. The engravings mention that the pillar was originally situated at a place called Vishnupadagiri and historians have known this place as modern-day Udayagiri. The Brihadisvara temple is a mejestic piece of architecture which has no shadow in any season. It is the first complete granite temple in the world. The temple has the world’s tallest tower or Vimanum. Its capstone, the kumbham is a
single rock that weighs 81 tons. How could the builders of 11th Century place the kumbham? The tall Vimana is built using interlocking bricks, which means there was no binding material used, and yet it has survived the test of time, and many earthquakes and floods. The famous bull and elephant illusion at Airavatesvara temple, Darasuram is said to be the world’s oldest optical illusion. A major attraction at the temple is the Singing stairs or Musical staircase of the temple.
Tapping on these seven steps produces seven musical notes . The temple also contains several micro carvings which are 2 to 3 inches in size. Dilwara near Mount Abu Rajasthan, is a congregation of 5 Jain temples dedicated to 5 different Jain Gurus.
The temples were carved entirely out of white marble stone. The ceiling designs in the temple are some of finest in the world. In order to get the finest carvings, the King paid artisans based on the quantity of dust collected from the stone carvings. The Chennakesava temple at Belur is one of the grandest examples of the Hoysala architecture. A famous attraction is the gravity pillar, a 42m high lamp post or a pillar that stands on its own without any foundation. At regular intervals at the temple, one will notice several dancing madanikas or nymphs carved onto brackets on the wall. The most popular amongst these is the Darpan Sundari.
Once you enter the temple, the one thing that will amaze you are the numerous pillars of various designs. Most popular and intrinsic in terms of art, is the Narasimha Pillar. Adalaj Stepwell or Rudabai Stepwell is a stepwell located in the village of Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad city. Built in sandstone in the Solanki architectural style, the Adalaj stepwell is five stories deep.
It is octagonal in plan at the top, built on intricately carved large number of pillars. Mehrangarh Fort is a spectacle of Magnificence and Grandeur. Rudyard Kipling has aptly said that the fort is “a palace that might have been built by Titans and colored by the morning sun”. Mehrangarh is a name which was derived from two words, ‘Mihir’, that stands for Sun and ‘Garh’ implicating Fort. The Golconda fort is famous for its acoustic effect - a hand clap at Fateh Darwaza dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the 'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away. The Golconda Kings were the first to export Diamonds to the rest of the world as early as 13th Century CE.
The diamond mines owned by the Golconda kings were the source of many legendary gems, including the Koh-i-Noor, Nizam, Hope Diamond. The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in Madhya Pradesh. It consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 6 miles. Some of the shelters were inhabited more than 100,000 years ago.
Some of them feature prehistoric cave paintings and the earliest are about 10,000 years old. The Nandi idol located in the Balwan temple at Lepakshi is one of the largest unbroken statues in India with a length of 27 feet and a height of 15 feet. The Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi is known for its mysterious hanging pillar. The pillar is attached to the ceiling but not to the floor. A paper or cloth can easily pass below the pillar. The Meenakshi Amman temple is one of the largest temple complexes in South India. The temple
contains a total of 33,000 sculptures. The most attractive part of the temple is Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam. A lesser-known fact about Meenkashi temple is the existence of a musical pillar in the temple. The Taj Mahal is considered the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. A total of 28 types of precious and semiprecious jewels are set in the marble. Legend has it that Taj Mahal was once a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and known by the name of 'Tejo Mahalya'. It was seized by Shah Jahan and was later modified as Taj
Mahal. The Amer Palace was created in the late 16th century, as a larger palace to the already existing home of the rulers. The older palace, known as Kadimi Mahal (“Ancient Palace” in Persian) is known to be the oldest surviving palace in India. This ancient palace remains in the valley just behind the Amer Palace.
Qutub Minar is the world’s tallest brick minaret till date. It is 239 feet or simply 72.8 meters in height. The Qutub Complex was originally a site of 27 ancient Hindu and Jain Temples which were destroyed to construct The Qutub Minar. The name Khajuraho is derived from ‘khajur’, which means ‘date palm’. One Myth regarding the Khajuraho temples is that they are filled with erotic sculptures.
Rather it is a very small part. Yes, it does contain sensuous sculptures. Ajanta is one of the finest jewels of art and culture in India. It is one of the first sites in India to be recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.
There are 30 caves carved out of the hill that is shaped like a horse shoe. Each cave has spectacular sculptures and striking ceiling paintings. These monuments at Mahabalipuram were built by three generations of the Pallava Kings. It took 200 years to plan and create the site. The shore temple is the most prominent of them all. Mysore is commonly described as the city of palaces. There are seven palaces in the city including
the one in the old fort called 'Mysore Palace'. A major attraction is the “Durbar Halls” which functioned as the ceremonial meeting halls of the royal court. The king who ruled Gwalior was suffering from leprosy, a disease with no cure during those times. A sage, Gwalipa visited the palace and cured him. The king renamed his city after the sage. The second oldest record of Number “zero” was found in one of the temples inside the fort.
Inside the Fort, there is a temple which is known as Sas Bahu Temple. The island on which Elephanta Caves are sited was originally called Gharapuri. It was the Portuguese who renamed it as Elephanta. Elephanta Caves are made from solid rock.
Trimurti Sadasiva, is the main sculpture inside the Elephanta Caves. The image, 20 ft in height, is that of the three headed-Lord Shiva. Did you know Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five Jantar Mantars in total? In New Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura and Varanasi. Jantar Mantar was originally named Jantra Mantra. Jantra or Yantra means Instrument and Mantrana means calculation therefore Jantra Mantra means calculation instrument.
Apart from its temple architecture, Bishnupur is also well-known for the craftsmanship of its terracotta figurines, pottery, jewellery, and other decorative artefacts. Some inscriptions in the caves indicate they have been there for at least 2200 years. The carvings here prove that Tabla (a musical instrument) was used in India, at least 2300 years ago. The Badami Caves have been designed in the Chalukya Art and Architecture style. They are truly majestic and gorgeous in appearance.
A colossal and imposing structure, the' Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Kanyakumari. It was built in 1970 in honour of the great spiritual Leader Swami Vivekananda, who is said be enlightened on the rock. A mix of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal style of architecture is observed from the design of the memorial. Overlooking the Lake Pichola and Nestled within the Aravali mountain range, the City Palace of Udaipur is a huge complex of palaces built over 400 years. The palace caught western attention with the filming of the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy. The Red Fort is white in color. Yes, you heard it right! Red fort was made up of lime stones.
When the white stone started chipping off, the Britishers who were then ruling India, painted it red. The fort was plundered of its artwork and jewels, during Nadir Shah's invasion of the Mughal Empire, in 1739. The city came to be known as Fatehpur Sikri, the "City of Victory", after Akbar's victorious Gujarat campaign in 1573. Buland Darwaza is a 54-meter-high gate is said to be the world’s highest gateway.
The imperial complex of Fatehpur Sikri is really huge and mesmerizing. Aihole, a small village in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, has around 125 stone temples dating back to the 5th to 8th century CE. Over one hundred Aihole temples are Hindu, a few are Jain and one is Buddhist. The Great Sanchi Stupa was commissioned by emperor Ashoka in 3rd Century BCE during the Mauryan Empire. A finely polished Ashoka pillar was erected on the side of main gateway. The National emblem of India was derived from Ashoka pillar.
Basilica of Bom Jesus is India’s first Minor Basilica. It is considered as one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India. The basilica also has a rich collection of paintings, related to the life of St. Francis Xavier. The Jaisalmer fort is built, on the hill called Trikura of the desert region of Thar. This
fort is made of yellow stones and gives a radiant look from a distance. The Golden Fortress is the largest living desert Fort in the world. The Lotus Temple, is a Bahá'í House of Worship. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it has become
a prominent attraction in the city. The building is composed of 27 free-standing, marble-clad "petals". These are arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides .
Thanumalayan a temple in Suchindram, Tamil Nadu is famous for its huge Hanuman idol. In the alankara mandapam, there are four huge pillars, each contain a group of small pillars, all carved out of a single rock. These are the musical pillars. A tap on them produces musical sounds. “Hawa Mahal”, means the Palace of wind. There are 953 windows in this palace. They were made so that winds can easily come inside
the palace. The Palace was made only for Royal Ladies and their female servants. Woman at that time were not allowed to take part in social celebrations. So, the palace was made for Royal Ladies to enjoy such occasions by looking down from the windows.
The mahal does not have a foundation. It is one of tallest buildings in the world without a foundation. The temples of Pattadakal display the blending of the Rekha Nagara Prasada and the Dravida Vimana styles of architecture. The Virupaksha Temple of the Chalukyan period served as a model for the Rashtrakuta ruler to carve out the great Kailash at Ellora.
UNESCO has described Pattadakal as "a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India" The Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, caught everyone's attention, when a trillion-dollar treasure was discovered in 2011. The five vaults that were opened, contained 769 Gold pots. There was a three and half feet pure gold statue of the deity, studded with, flawless shimmering gems. The Kamakhya Temple is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas and is dedicated to the Hindu mother goddess Kamakhya. The Kamakhya Temple is the center for Tantric worshippers. The annual Ambubasi festival
attracts lots of devotees for tantric worship. The famous Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the most divine places for the Hindus. As per the ancient records, this temple was established in the year 1490 CE. The Amarnath Cave Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. The cave is situated at an
altitude of 3,888 meters above sea level. Inside the 130 feet high cave, a stalagmite is formed due to the freezing of water drops that fall from the roof. This is considered to be a Shiva Linga by Hindus. In the peak season of July, August months, as many as 600 thousand pilgirms visit Amarnath temple. The Mahabodhi Temple which mean "Great Awakening Temple" is the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.
Though the temple was rebuilt many times, the original temple was said to be built in 3rd century BCE by Emperor Ashoka. The Rameswaram Temple is located on the Pamban Island. The temple's corridors are a major attraction. The third corridor of the Rameshwaram Temple is considered as the world’s largest temple corridor with 1212 pillars. The city of Kanchipuram has many temples. Hence, the foreign travelers have named it as the 'Land of Thousand Temples' The Kailsanathar temple is famous for its magnificent Vimana. The temple is an architectural
beauty made of sand stone. The Modhera Sun temple is pillared on a lotus-shaped structure and every inch of its walls showcase edgy, detailed carvings. And those carvings represent every bit of Hindu culture. The temple is designed in such a way that during every equinox, the first ray of the rising sun would fall on a diamond placed on the head of the Sun God. This would also light up the shrine with a golden glow.
Lake Palace formally known as Jag Niwas is a former summer palace of the royal dynasty of Mewar. It is now turned into a hotel. The walls of the palace are made of black and white marbles and are adorned by semi-precious stones. Also Known as Rat Temple, Karni Mata temple is considered as home to as many as 20,000 sacred rats, which live and are protected here. It is believed that the Karni Mata was a sage lady, who lived in the 15th Century CE.
The Chand Baori at Abaneri consists of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 stories. It is India’s largest step-well. The mesmerizing symmetrical steps makes it the most photogenic step well of India.
Mandu, the fortress town on a rocky terrain, is at a distance of about 62 miles from Indore. It is celebrated for its fine architecture. Shravanabelgola, in Hassan district Karnataka is famous for the statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali.
Standing at 57 feet, the Gommateshwara statue is the tallest monolithic statue in the world, carved out of a single block of granite. The unique feature of the temple is the Mani Mandapam. It has two giant pillars carved out of a single stone. Each one has 48 sub-pillars. The pillars can produce seven basic notes of music. Some pillars can produce a bell like sound.
Another interesting carving is that of a male dancer. A twig can easily pass from one ear to the other of the sculpture. The lathe turned pillars of Mahadeva temple at Koppal are astonishing pieces of art. The wall decors of the temple are amazing. The Yogini temples of India are 9th to 12th
century roofless shrines to the yoginis who are female yoga masters. Yoginis are broadly equated to Parvati devi. The devotees believe that the Nandi idol in front of the temple is continuously increasing its size. Scientists have determined that the nandi is made out of a rock that has a growing or enlarging property. Ranakpur Jain Temple near Kumbalgarh Rajasthan has stunning carvings. It is a visual treat. The temple has 1444 pillars which are intricately carved. No two pillars are identical in design.
The temple is also known as the Khajuraho of Rajasthan. There are many fine sculptures in the temple which have been excellently preserved. Sarangapani temple at Kumbakonam Tamil Nadu, is designed in the form of a Chariot being pulled by horses and Elephants. The temple contains several intricately carved idols. At the Nindra Nambi Temple, Thirukurungudi, we find this popular carving, an elephant made of 9 women.
At the Sundara Kamakshi temple, Siru Karumbur, Tamil Nadu, there is a sculpture of a baby in mother's womb. Interesting how this was known 800 years ago when there were no scanning machines. One of the hidden treasures of Varanasi is the Kasiraj Kali Mandir. One of the beauties of Assam is the Parvati temple at Boko.
Lesser-known wonders from Chattisgarh are the Mahakal temple that was built without beams and the Onakona temple at Balod.