India’s most visited monuments are spread across the country, built by emperors, the government and, in some cases, religious institutions. While some were destroyed and rebuilt, there are others that have stood the test of time and natural calamities to live on. The ones mentioned below are the top 13 to see in India for any tourists who is visiting this beautiful land.
Famous Monuments in North India
1. Taj Mahal
The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built this mausoleum for his darling wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away while giving birth to their 14th child. A testimony to love, this monument looks stunning even from afar.
Entry to the tombs are restricted, but many tourists walk around the garden and the mausoleum to bask in the bedazzling artwork and sheen of the marbles from across the world and 28 types of semi-precious stones.
- Location: Agra
2. Red Fort
The Red Fort is the most popular and important of the forts in India. It was constructed under the leadership of Shah Jahan and since then has been home to various nobles and kings.
Once, the fort’s facade was graciously decorated with diamonds, but over the years the diamonds were stripped off as kings lost their wealth. Today, the Red Fort is an important landmark and is used for the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Independence Day.
- Location: Delhi
3. Qutub Minar
This 240-foot monument is Delhi’s crown jewel. Standing tall, the tower was built by Qutb-ud-din Aibak and his heirs. The magnificent tower has balconies jutting out on all sides.
The structure is made using red sandstone, marble and a unique Indo-Islamic architectural style. It is located in the Qutub complex and is surrounded by plenty of other attractions that include the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque.
- Location: Delhi
4. Humayun’s Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb was one of the earliest constructions of the Mughal Empire. It was commissioned by the then Mughal ruler King Akbar.
A majestic piece of architecture, the Humayun’s Tomb is sheer magnificent beauty. The tomb is famous for its exquisite red sandstone structure and impeccable geometric shape.
- Location: Delhi
5. Agra Fort
The Agra Fort was originally built in 1080 AD. However, its red sandstone façade came to life in 1573 AD when Akbar re-built the fort. Since then, the Agra Fort has gained immense popularity and is one of the best monuments to visit in India.
The structure of the Agra Fort is fabulous with intricate artwork on its sandstone and marble walls. Tours to the fort are available in English and Hindi at a nominal fee.
- Location: Agra
6. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri has the tag of being the first planned city of the Mughal Empire. The city is home to some very beautiful mosques and palaces. These are not just magnificent to see, they are also marvellous pieces of architecture.
- Location: Fatehpur Sikri
7. Golden Temple
The Golden Temple is the main holy place for the Sikhs in India who call the temple the Harmandir Sahib. The temple is built around the Amritsar Sarovar, the holy river for the Sikhs.
The Golden Temple is a blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture and this is what makes the structure marvellous. The lower level of the temple has gorgeous marble floors and walls with animal and flower prints on them.
- Location: Punjab
8. Mamleshwar Temple
The historic Mamal Temple was built in the 12th century. It is located in the picturesque hills of Pahalgam. The temple is believed to have been guarded by Lord Ganesha who would not allow any trespassers to enter the sanctum of the temple.
The temple is made entirely of stone is a must-visit to get yourself acquainted with the culture of the Pahalgam region.
- Location: Pahalgam
9. Jama Masjid
Located in the heart of Old Delhi, the Jama Masjid is one of the few places that is a haven of serenity and calm. Dressed in white and pink the mosque stands stall. The highlight of this mosque is the tall minarets from where you can gaze at the beautiful city of Delhi.
- Location: Old Delhi
Famous Monuments in India: East & Central Region
10. Konark Sun Temple
The Konark Sun Temple was built in the 13th century and is also called the Black Pagoda. Besides being a spiritual abode, the temple is famous for its architecture.
Its most notable feature is the chariot-like exterior that is remarkable and unique. You might also want to gaze at the gorgeous drawings and paintings.
- Location: Odisha
11. Khajuraho Group of Monuments
The Khajuraho Temples are wonderful and beautifully constructed with red sandstone and without any mortar. The temples were the gem of the Chandela Rajput dynasty.
The architecture and structure of each temple was inspired by the Tantric school of thought. On certain parts of the temple you can find erotic depictions and other sides you can see images depicting spirituality and secularism.
- Location: Madhya Pradesh
12. Sanchi Stupa
This ancient complex was built in the 3rd century BC by the great Mauryan King Ashoka. The complex is known for having the oldest stone structures in India.
At the complex you will find many stupas of Buddha made from stone. The Great Stupa of Sanchi is a site that you have to visit at the Sanchi Stupa.
- Location: Madhya Pradesh
Famous Monuments in India: Western Region
13. Amber Fort
Dressed in a bright mustard colour, the Amber stands tall in the town of Amber, a little away from Jaipur. The fort is divided into four sections and each has its own courtyard, that today serve as resting places for tourists who visit the fort.
You can get to the fort by elephant or by jeep for a nominal fee. There are many blind alleys at the fort, the best way to see them is to book a guided tour for around Rs. 200.
- Location: Amber
14. Gateway of India
Located at the tip of Apollo Bunder in southern Mumbai, the Gateway of India was built by the British Empire that once ruled India. The arched gateway was built to welcome King George V to India.
The structure uses a combination of Indian and Islamic architecture that is awesome to see. The Gateway of India offers excellent views of the neighbouring Taj Mahal and the Arabian Sea. It is also a great spot for people watching.
- Location: Mumbai
Famous Monuments in India: South
15. Jantar Mantar
The Jantar Mantar was constructed by the Jaipur king, Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II. The complex has a large collection of instruments among which is the largest sundial.
Visit the place and browse through astrology measuring equipment. It is located close to the City Palace and is conveniently located from Jaipur’s city centre.
- Location: Jaipur
16. Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the most famous of Roman Catholic structures in India. It is well known for housing the mortal remains of Goa’s patron the saint St. Francis Xavier.
The church is built in the beautiful baroque style and is the only church in Goa not to have a plastered exterior. Inside the church, browse the beautiful art on the wall and spend a few moments in the serene ambience.
- Location: Goa
17. Monuments of Hampi
Hampi was one a wealthy kingdom, but what remains today is a magnificent site of beautiful ruins. Captivating and stunning, the ruins will thrill any traveller who visits this lofty site.
From temples to rocks inscribed with text and drawings, you can see it all in Hampi. The best about a trip here is that you can finish visiting all the sites in one day.
- Location: Hampi
18. Bibi Ka Maqbara
The Bibi Ka Maqbara has a striking resemblance the Taj Mahal but it isn’t as grand as the Taj. It was built by Aurangzeb’s son Azam Khan as a mausoleum for Rabia-ud-Daurani, his mother. The main mausoleum is flanked on all sides by minarets.
The plinth and the dome of the Bibi Ka Maqbara is made entirely of marble, lend the tombstone a respectable look. The Bibi Ka Maqbara is surrounded by a beautiful garden that has the gorgeous Deccan Hills in the background.
- Location: Aurangabad
Built by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the Charminar is the landmark monument in Hyderabad. A symbol of brilliance, the Charminar is decorated with minarets and four cardinal points.
Visit the monument and book a guided tour to know all about the history. Later, go on shopping trip in the alley nearby where you will find the Charminar Bazaar.
- Location: Hyderabad
The Golgumbaz is the most eye-catching monument in Bijapur. The structure is actually a tomb where the mortal remains of Mohammed Adil Shah, his wife, mistress, daughter and grandson lie.
The tomb is flanked on the corners by beautiful seven-storey towers and is joined together by an enormous dome. If you are going with children take them to the whispering gallery from where you can test the amazing acoustics of the place.
- Location: Bijapur, Karnataka
If you are visiting India or a planning a country tour, these are the best monuments to visit in India. Which ones do you plan to visit? Let us know in the comments below.