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10 Incredibly Ancient Indian Monuments You Probably Didn't Know Existed

The rich history of India is a testimony to the nation's openness to different cultures. From the Indus Valley civilisation to the British rule, the country's architectural heritage spans centuries, transcending time and geography.

While many monuments of India, such as Taj Mahal, India Gate, Charminar and Victoria Memorial attract millions of travellers every year, there are some Indian monuments that are away from the usual tourist trail.

Get ready to uncover some monuments of India that you probably haven't heard of before.

Photos of Bidar Fort, Old City Fort Area, Bidar, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

The Bidar Fort, along with other Islamic monuments, was built in 1427, when Sultan Alla-Ud Din Bahman shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar. The striking architecture of the fort, including its royal baths, audience halls and pavilions reflect greatly upon the the glorious past of the town.

The fort may not be on the list of famous monuments in India, but it has been a favourite among movie directors as a potential filming location. Anant Nag-starrer Bara, Duniya Vijay-starrer Jarasandha and a song sequence from Vidya Balan-starrer The Dirty Picture was shot here.

Photos of Kanch Mahal, Sikandra, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

Demonstrating the domestic architecture of the Mughal period – with jharokhas and gaukhs (balconies) – the Kanch Mahal is a memorial located near Akbar's tomb at Sikandra in Agra. The propinquity of Kanch Mahal to the tomb of Akbar suggests that the structure was built for female members of the royal household. However, the Kanch Mahal was later turned into a shikargah (hunting lodge) for emperor Jahangir.

Photos of Bada bagh, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

Bada Bagh (literally meaning big garden) is a garden complex, which lies about 6km north of Jaisalmer on the way to Ramgarh. Commissioned by Maharawal Jait Singh in the early 16th century and completed by his son Lunakaran, Bada Bagh was built as a valedictory memorial dedicated to the members of the royal family.

To throughly enjoy the beauty of this place, visit Bada Bagh during sunrise or sunset – a time when you can also get stunning pictures. You can take a local taxi till here, but make sure you have it wait for you, as return rides to Jaisalmer are infrequent and rare.

Photos of Shettihalli Church, Settihalli, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

Assumed to be built by French Missionaries in the 1860s, the Rosary Church is a magnificent example of gothic architecture.

The church, located on the banks of Hemavathi River near Hassan faced severe repercussions when the government decided to build the Gorur Dam. Since the construction of the dam 25 years go, the Rosary Church is submerged every year during the monsoon. Yet the structure stands unshaken with an understated charm.

If you wish to enjoy the beauty of Rosary Church, you will have to visit this place twice. Once when it is partially submerged, during the months of July to October, and then in months of December to May, when it emerges in its full glorious form.

Chiktan Fort

Photos of  1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

Nothing short of a Disney movie castle, the Chiktan Fort is located inside a valley by the Indus river, in the Kargil district. Built in 16th century, the fort served as a royal residence for many years and is one the finest examples of Balti craftsmen. Unfortunately, today, the neglect and natural forces have reduced the fort to rubble. Visit Chiktan Fort before it disappears forever.

Photos of Mahabat Maqbara, Mullawada, Junagadh, Gujarat, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

If you think Taj Mahal appears to bubble up into the sky, visit Mahabat Maqbara in Junagadh. The beautiful mausoleum of Nawab Mahabat Khan II is one of Gujarat’s most celebrated examples of Euro-Indo-Islamic architecture.

Visit the place to spot various cultural influences on the building, such as Islamic domes and arches with French-style windows, columns and shining silver doorways.

Access to the area is free, and the grandeur of the mosque is open to all. Nawab Mahabat Khan II’s palace-mausoleum complex is the stuff eternal dreams are made of!

Photos of Bekal Fort, Bekal, Kerala, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

While a lot of forts in India have been administrative centres, Bekal Fort was built especially for defence reasons. Surrounded by a beach and shaped like a giant key-hole, the Bekal Fort offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea from its tall observation towers.

The famous song, Tu hi re from the movie Bombay, was shot at Bekal Fort. So this time around, don't confine your Kerala visit to beaches and houseboat rides, add Bekal Fort to your itinerary.

Photos of Murud-Janjira Fort, Maharashtra, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

If a fort has withstood 13 attacks from a great king like Shivaji, there has to be something extraordinary about it. The Murud-Janjira Fort was built in the 15th century by a Koli chief for protection from sea robbers and thieves.

Janjira is a Marathi adaptation of the Arabic word Jazeera, which means island. This unassailable 40-foot-high granite structure is situated on an island just off the coastal village of Murud, in Raigad district, Maharashtra.

Photos of Orchha Fort, Orachha, Madhya Pradesh, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

Located within an island formed by the confluence of the Betwa River and Jamni River in Orchha town, the Orchha Fort is an architectural marvel in this small town.

Built by Rudra Pratap Singh, a Bundela Rajput, the fort complex houses palaces, temples and other edifices.

The light and sound show at the Orchha Fort takes you on a journey through history and reveals anecdotes on the lives of the Bundela kings. Timings: English, 6:30 PM, Hindi, 7:30 PM

Photos of Kumbhalgarh Fort, Qila Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, India 1/1 by Gunjan Upreti

Rightly known as the great wall of India, Kumbhalgarh Fort is a Mewar fortress located 84km north of Udaipur in the wilderness. Sheltered in the Aravali Range, the fort was built in the 15th century AD by Rana Kumbha and has served as a refuge for the rulers of Mewar in difficult times. The fort's massive wall stretches some 36km with a width big enough to fit eight horses abreast. Kumbhalgarh Fort is also a great spot to get a superb bird’s eye view of the surroundings.

More often than not, the lesser a destination is spoken about, the more fascinating it turns out to be. So, don't delay putting these lesser-known monuments on your itinerary anymore!

Have you been fascinated by a monument in India? Share your experience with the travel community on Tripoto.

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