When we think of India, there are a lot of different things that come to our mind. First there are green jungle, wonderful beaches and palm-trees. At the same time we think of poverty its outcome. We think of shanty towns at the outer circles of big cities and people living in shabby houses in the countryside without having electricity or water. The flooding because of monsoon rain in summer and the dry and hot winters make it difficult to make money with agriculture.
During a trip to India one should not only visit temples and gorgeous buildings of former monarchs or having a nice day at the beach but also visit one of the poor villages. With organizations that help those people one can drive to the isolated places and get to know the people and their problems. Even if they live in hard conditions and poverty the people seem to be lucky and happy in a totally different kind of way. They are open-minded, friendly and welcome all kind of visitors.
Top 1: Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal, also called crown of palaces, maybe is the most popular sight in India. The mausoleum was built 1631 by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his dead wife. The white marble building is shining and has a unique appearance full of beauty and magic. Besides the marble the building is also lined with jewels. More than 20.000 builders have been working on the construction of the Taj Mahal.
There are numerous legends telling that after the building was finished Sha Jahan ordered to kill all architects and cut of the hands of all workers so nobody could ever build a similar building. The Mughal emperor himself was buried next to his wife although other legends say he wanted to have another mausoleum at the other side of the river. This one should have looked exactly the same as the Taj Mahal only difference would be the color black.
Today the Taj Mahal can be visited. It is regarded as the finest example of Mughal architecture because of its beauty and symmetry. It is furthermore UNESCO world cultural heritage since 2007.
Top 2: Jama Masjid
The World-reflecting Mosque called Jama Masjid in Delhi is the biggest mosque in India and one of the biggest in the whole world. The building is made of red sandstone and white marble. The dome for example was made of marble. The combination of red and white looks really beautiful.
In this mosque the Hindu pray at Fridays. The square in front of the mosque can shelter 20.000 believers. Some parts of the mosque can be visited for a small amount by tourists. Even from the outside the building is gorgeous. It was built by Shajahan, the same Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
Top 3: The Red Fort
In Delhi there can be found another important Indian sight called the Red Fort. This Fort is a palace and war building at the same time built by Shajahan. The name Red Fort is based on the used material red sandstone. The red color is a great contrast to the surrounding. The Fort is enclosed by huge walls which follow exactly the four cardinal directions. On the inside there are great gardens and magnificent palaces. Some of the buildings can be visited and seen from inside. The palace buildings are made of white marble and therefore they look especially beautiful and there importance is shown. Inside of the red walls one can see a small piece of the world of the ancient Indian rulers.
The Red Fort is one of the most visited sights in India and since 2007 it is part of the UNESCO world cultural heritage.
When visiting the Fort one can learn something about the history of India. Numerous conquests and attacks did not pass the Fort unseen.
Top 4: Humayun’s Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb is another sight located in Delhi. It is the tomb of Mughal emperor Nasiruddin Muhammad Humayun. He was the second Mughal in India. The tomb is regarded as the first representative building of Mughal architecture, which became important for the country later. The building was erected after Humayun’s dead by his wife. She was very critical and even slept at the building lot.
The tomb is the center of a gorgeous garden, drawn by four water channels. The garden is meant to be a Persian Style Paradise Garden.
To get to the tomb one has to pass an archway which is different from the archways of other Mughal tombs. The tomb itself shows more different aspects to other Mughal tombs. It has for example no minaret towers surrounding it.
The main part of the building is a dome covering the tomb’s room. Humayun’s Tomb was made UNESCO world cultural heritage in 1993 and restoration work took until 2003. Today the ancient strength can be seen again.
Top 5: Pushkar
The city of Pushkar is a small town located in the north-west of India. Even if the town is very small it has an important role for the state of Rajasthan. It is located at Pushkar Lake, a holy water. Many Hindu go there every year to get blessed or to bless their families. The blessing is hold by Brahmans and the sign for the blessed is a red spot on the forehead.
Beisdes the Pushkar Lake Pushkar has a lot of temples. The most famous one is the Brahma temple. It is a unique temple form the 14th century. The town also has typical Ghats and about 400 small temples.
Those visiting India in November should definitely go to Pushkar. In this month there is the famous camel market. One of the biggest camel markets in the world visited by hundred thousands of people.
Top 6: The Golden Temple
The Golden Temple called Harmandir Sahib is an important Sikh Gurdwara. It is located in Amritsar in the north of India. The temple is covered with gold which is responsible for the name. Surrounding the temple there is a huge palace building. The Harmandir Sahib was built by the fifth Sikh Guru in the 16th century. There are read lines from the Holy Book of the Sikh every day. Combined with music they are broadcasted on the whole area.
The temple is visited by thousand pilgrims who are allowed to sleep there up to three days. But the he temple is not only a place of shelter and prayers, it owns an important role in the tale of woe of the Sikh in India. The temple was attacked many times to abolish the Sikh, it is therefore a sign for the discrimination of minorities in India.
There is a museum at the main entrance that shows the happenings in history. Visiting the temple in the evening is even more impressive. The building is located next to water and the golden lights are reflected in the water.
Top 7: Goa
Goa is a state in the southwest of India. It is popular for its beautiful beaches and big palm-tree forests. Besides the wonderful nature Goa is known for its open-hearted people. The state was a Portuguese colony for a long time and there are still some buildings that bring this time back to mind. Goa is the perfect place to spend some days at the beach and see a different part of India.
Top 8: Mumbai
Mumbai is the capital city of India and is located in the west of the country. Till 1996 it was called Bombay officially. Mumbai is the most important harbor city of India. Instead of just using the airport one should stay some days in this vivid city. Besides modern Shopping centers there are ancient sights, too. For example one can visit the island Colava with the Gateway of India, the Rajabai Tower, the Elephanta caves and many more. The parks and museums of the city are great, too. On Malabar Hill there are the Hanging Gardens of Mumbai, with their great animal statues made of plants.
In Mumbai one can also visit important events and festivals for example the Banganga Music Festival in January, the Mumbai Marathon, the Mumbai International Film Festival, The Ganesh Charturi, Horse Racing and others.
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