India is famous for its rich stone carved temples and monuments. The country boasts a phenomenal number of ornately carved structures, most of which are world heritage sites. If you are the kind of a person who could get lost in the beauty of exquisite sculptures depicting not just the Gods but also those intricately carved architectural marvels frozen in time, then we have the right list of five must visit places in India. Go ahead and check them all off your list.
Elephanta Caves, Gharapuri Island, Maharashtra
Elephanta Island or Gharapuri is about 11 kms from the coast of Mumbai and you can take a ferry to reach the island from Apollo Bunder. There are about seven rock-cut caves in the island; five on the western mountains and two on the eastern side of which one is incomplete and the other houses a Stupa. The caves hold no inscriptions and so the attributions are unknown but the locals believe that these sculptures are not man-made. The cave has brilliant stone carvings of lord Shiva and other Hindu deities and some of the notable sculptures include the 20 ft. high Trimurthi sculpture, Ravana lifting Mount Kailash also called as the Ravanugraha, different forms of Lord Shiva including Nataraja- the cosmic dancer and Arthananishwara. A truly brilliant marvel, this place is one among the seven wonders of India.
Toranas, Sanchi, India
This small village in the state of Madhya Pradesh holds the world famous “Great Stupa of Sanchi” commissioned by King Ashoka during the third century B.C. ‘Torana’ meaning ‘gateway’ reflects great beauty and detailing and represents some of the finest examples of Buddhist Architecture. These Thoranas are placed strategically around the SanchiStupa and are intricately carved leaving no space free. This places is a must visit for all those who would like to experience the exquisiteness of Buddhist architecture.
Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Also known as Mamallapuram, this small coastal town in the district of Kancheepuram is a wonder by its own standards. The 96 ft. high and 43 ft. long monolithic marvel called as “Arjuna’s Penance” or “Descent of the Ganges” is enough to take your breath away. This excellent stone relic is also the largest preserved open-air relief in the World. Built by the Pallavas between the seventh and the ninth century A.D. this historic port town also contains brilliantly carved rathas, mandapas and an exquisite shore Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Wall carvings at Sun Temple, Konark
This 13th Century Sun temple is located at Konark in the state of Odisha built by king Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty. Listed one among the seven wonders of India, this architectural delight is in the form of a chariot with elaborately carved twelve pairs of wheels which as serve as sundials that can be used to calculate the time accurately and seven horses to pull the chariot. Built using the traditional style of KalingaArchicture, it is carefully oriented towards east so that the Sun’s first rays falls on the principal entrance.
Jami Masjid, Champaranand Adalaj Step-wel, Gujarat
The construction of Jami Masjid dates back to the 16th Century and was done over a period of 125 years. It has a blend of both Muslim and Hindu Architecture and is a must visit for all those who love the exquisite beauty of intricately carved walls and domes. The Adalajstepwell is a Hindu ‘water building’ in the village of Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad. Built using Sholanki architectural style, one has to be there to experience the true marvel of the chiseled circular structure.
India’s architectural marvels do not stop with these exquisite places. If your thirst for sculptural beauty is not quenched completely, you can also visit other wonders like Khajuraho temple, Ajanta and Ellora caves, Badami caves, Hoysaleswara Temple located atHalebid, Karnataka, Dilwara Temple at Mount Abu, Rajasthan and so on to list a few.