5 Architectural cities in India not to miss


Khajuraho Dance festival

Photo of 5 Architectural cities in India not to miss by Rohan Sadadekar

1. Hampi

Hampi, located in Karnataka, was the capital of the Vijayanagara kingdom. The city was mostly built and developed in the 15th and 16th century in the reign of King Krishnadevraya. The king was a connoisseur of art and architecture and this is evident in the intricate designs you find in the temples even today. The entire city spans about a couple of kilometres across and can be explored on bicycles or motorbikes on rent. Due to repeated invasions of foreign forces, most of the city is in ruins now, however these ruins too are mesmerising to watch. So one ca only imagine what a place it would have been in its full grandeur. The entire area exhibits a whopping 1600 small and big structures, but you can visit the important ones to get a feel. Places to visit are Virupaksh Temple, Lotus Mahal, Monolithic bull, the big Narsimha, Elephant stables, Vitthala temple, Hemkuta hill, Matanga hill, Malyavanta hill to name a few.

Photo of 5 Architectural cities in India not to miss 1/5 by Rohan Sadadekar

2. Aurangabad

Aurangabad has a rich history and some really well built temples. The most famous amongst them are the cave temples of Ajantha and Ellora. The Ellora are a group of 34 cave temples belonging to the 7th and 8th century CE built by the Rashtrakutas. They also depict some traces of the Pallavan and the Chalukyan dynasty. The Ajantha caves are a group of about 30 rock cut Buddhist cave structures dating back to the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE. Filled with expressive painting and stone carved murals, they make for an interesting stroll through ancient history of man. Along with these, you can also visit the Daulatabad fort, Bibi ka maqbara, Khuldabad, Dargah of Pir Ismail, Pitalkhora caves and the Soneri Mahal.

Photo of 5 Architectural cities in India not to miss 2/5 by Rohan Sadadekar

3. Modhera

Situated about a hundred kilometres from Ahmedabad, a small town ‘Modhera’ boasts of a very beautiful Sun temple. The only sun temple apart from the one in Konark. Built on the banks of river Pushpavati, this temple dates back to the eleventh century and displays the grandeur of the Chalukyan architecture. In the third week of January, an amazing classical dance festival called as – ‘Uttarardha Mahotsav’ takes place in the temple premises. You can club the neighbouring Rani ki Vav of Patan in your visit to Modhera. It is just about thirty kilometres from there, but you will not be disappointed at all. Rani ki Vav has some of the most intricate stone carvings and most importantly, they are in very good condition even today.

Photo of 5 Architectural cities in India not to miss 3/5 by Rohan Sadadekar

4. Agra

A visit to India is incomplete without a visit to the grand mausoleum dedicated to Mumtaj – the Taj Mahal. Completely built in white marble, the Taj is considered as a symbol of love by many. It was built in 1632 and was commissioned by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his loving wife Mumtaj Mahal. Later Shah Jahan’s tomb was also built inside the same complex beside his wife’s. Apart from this wonder, there is also the historic Agra fort and the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri about thirty kilometres away.

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5. Khajuraho

Located in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh district, Khajuraho is a group of Hindu and Jain temples built by the rulers of the Chandela dynasty between 950 AD and 1050 AD. They are famous for their Nagara-style architecture and the erotic sculptures on the outside. It is very interesting to see how open the society was about a thousand years ago and the way they accepted concepts like same sex relationships and multiple partners at a time. This is definitely the epitome of erotica, some even suggest them to be tantric sexual practices of that time. One should definitely visit Khajuraho if you are interested in some ancient architecture.

Photo of 5 Architectural cities in India not to miss 5/5 by Rohan Sadadekar