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iXiGOers Jun 21 2013

Which are the Seven Wonders of India?

Vaishali Singh Jun 24 2013
3 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Beautiful reminders of our country’s magnificent history and lively cultures, the seven wonders of India are symbols of our country we all pride on. Check out the list of these beautiful monuments in India, which are a perfect treat for your eyes as well as your cameras:

Taj Mahal

The epitome of love and romance, Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan dedicated to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Bano Begum) and today counts amongst the most popular places to visit in Agra. It is a mausoleum of the queen, splendidly created in her memory. The very sight of Taj Mahal is a feast to not just your eyes, but all your senses. A monument that has also found place in the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is a monument that has grown to be the symbol of India.

It is rightly interpreted by the English poet Sir Edwin Arnold as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor's love wrought in living stones.” The exquisite view of the Taj under the full moon is absolutely spellbinding. Your journey as a traveller might never be complete without a visit to the gorgeous Taj Mahal, so do make sure you make a trip to this one!

Golden Temple

One of the holiest places in India for Sikhs, the Golden Temple’s actual name is Harmandir Sahib. A glorious structure decked in glittering yellow gold, the place is truly a residence befitting the almighty. Decked with glorious artwork and carpeted with amazing marble flooring, the structure is surrounded by the Lake Amrit Sarovar and speaks volumes about its rich religious and cultural heritage. The temple also contains the Akal Takht or the eternal throne for the Sikhs, and the Adi Granth, the book comprising compositions of Sikh Gurus and other sikh saints. The temple complex has a vast library from where you can get texts on Sikhism and the Punjabi culture. Do have a look, because the books are enriching and available at a very little or no cost.

Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho has held our fancy for time immemorial. Undeniable beauty, artistic perfection and splendid craftsmanship envelops the works of wonder in the city. Each temple with its own little story will enrapture you with its brilliance. Wouldn’t you want to set out on a journey so enriching? Hold that answer for a bit until you read some interesting tidbits about the myriad temples of Khajuraho.

Built between 950 to 1050 A.D during the Chandela rule, the temples primarily represent the doings of daily life. The decline of the Chandela dynasty in the 13th century lead to the abandonment of city beneath thick date palm trees. The name Khajuraho owes its existence to the ‘khajur’ or ‘date’ trees enveloping it.

Out of the original 85 temples, only 22 exist today. Grouped into three divisions according to their geographical location, the temples are divided into western, eastern and southern. The temples predominantly depict sexual art outside the temples or near the deities. It is believed that these carvings are influenced by tantric sexual practices. The human figures are portrayed as musicians, potters and as performing usual activities such as applying make up, dancing et al.

As the popular myth goes, the temples are not influenced by Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra. The figures are radically distinct and simply provide a glimpse into mundaneness of daily life. It is also believed that the rigorous tantrik practices may have influenced these statues.

Meenakshi Temple

One of the most spectacular temple complexes of India, Meenakshi Amma Temple is a wonderful mix of legends, myths and some brilliant architectural techniques. The legend and beauty of the temple lends Madurai most of its current character, include the lotus-shaped city planning which has this temple as its centre. Dedicated to Meenakshi, an incarnation of Parvati, and her husband Sundareshwar (an avatar of Shiva), the temple has Meenakshi as its central deity instead of Shiva, a marked distinction from the usual norm.

The original temple is believed to have been built by Kulasekarer Pandya, who received a boon from Goddess Parvati in the form of his daughter, Meenakshi. Meenakshi literally translates as fish-eyed, a symbol of beauty and godly grace. The credit for the current shape and form of the temple goes to the Nayakas, who ruled the region between the 16th and 18th centuries and brought the architecture of the temple to its present grandeur. Located on the southern banks of River Vaigai, the temple houses a black-stone idol of Meenakshi Amman in its main shrine and a swayambhu (self-appearing) lingam in the shrine close to it, marking Lord Shiva's presence. Meenakshi Amman's idol is depicted here with a parrot in her right hand, usually associated with the presence of the Vaishnava azhwar saint, Andal. There is also a hall named Kilikoondu Mandapam (a corridor of the parrots), which was previously used to train parrots to recite and chant Goddess Meenakshi's name.

The golden lotus tank or the Pottramarai Kulam is another fascinating element of the complex. This is believed to be the site where the golden lotus that Lord Indra used for his mahayagya had bloomed. Legend also has it that the waters of this pond were a test for good or bad literature, where good literature would stay afloat and bad literature would sink. Thiruvalluvar's 'Tirrukural', an important work in Tamil Literature, is believed to have passed this test by staying afloat.

Mountain Railways of India

The Toy Train, being the most common train shown in the movies is not only the oldest of all mountain railway but also a World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO in 1999. Enjoying the joy ride in the toy train is one of the most popular things to do in Darjeeling. It is a 2ft narrow gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal covering a distance of around 83 kms. The Railway also crosses the village Ghum, which is India’s highest railway station.This rail journey is said by many to be the most scenic rail journey in the world. Travelling at a speed of 12kmph, the Toy Train emerges into dense forests, curving around tea plantations and bringing you as close as possible to the tea-pickers with baskets strapped on their heads. The railway follows the road, sharing the same bed and uses an interesting system of reverses and loops to navigate the steep climb. Batasia Loop is one such loop which offers you a stunning view of Darjeeling town and snow capped Mt. Kanchenjunga on a clear day. So, board this joy ride to experience the beauty of nature in its raw form and you'll find yourself humming your favorite tunes on the journey.

Ajanta Caves

The majestic Ajanta Caves, in Aurangabad District, are 29 rock cut caves, dating from the second century BC to about 480 or 650 CE. Excavated in horse–shoe shape, these caves derive their name from a nearby village named Ajanta located about 12 km away. A UNESCO world heritage site, it has been described as 'the finest surviving examples of Indian art, especially painting' by Archaeological Survey of India given its masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with depictions of the Jataka tales and figures of the Buddha. From Mumbai the site of the ancient caves is about 347 kms and it takes about 6 hours if you have decided to cover the distance from Mumbai to Anjanta and Ellora by car.

The caves are built around 76 m above the ground overlooking a narrow stream, which is known as Waghora. The location of these caves provided a calm and serene environment for the Buddhist monks who retreated at these secluded places, especially during the rainy seasons. There are 30 caves, including a unfinished one. The caves are numbered to for identification, among these five of them (cave no. 9, 10, 19, 26, and 29) are chaityagrihas, while the rest are viharas. According to date and style they can be divided into different groups. The earliest excavations are of the Hinayana phase of Buddhism, which are in total 5 caves, viz., 9 & 10 which are chaityagrihas and 8, 12, 13, & 15A which are viharas. These can be traced to the pre-Christian era, the earliest among them being Cave no. 10 dating from the second century BC. A stupa is worshipped here and these caves exhibit the imitation of wooden construction to the extent that the rafters and beams are also sculpted, though they are non-functional. The additions are from the period of Vakatakas, who were the contemporaries of the Imperial Guptas. The minister of Vakataka king, Varahadeva, dedicated Cave no. 16 to the Buddhist Sangha while Cave no. 17 was the gift of a prince.

Qutub Minar

Think Delhi and you’re probably thinking about Mughal emperors. However, the Pre-Mughal dynasties also left behind a mark on the scene of architecture and a the Qutub Minar complex stands tall as an evidence of this. The most outstanding structure here is the Qutub Minar, a huge brick minaret, the tallest of its kind in the world. Built by Qutub ud din Aibak and Iltutmish, it’s a pity that visitors are not allowed to climb the stairs inside the minaret, which lead right to the top of the structure to a height of some 72 metres. At the base of the minar is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid. Another curiosity-inducing piece of architecture here is the Iron Pillar. This 7 metre high pillar has withstood elements of nature over centuries and has an interesting legend behind it.

Are you're thinking who decides which monuments fit into this list? You decided for us! Participants of a poll on ixigo's fanpage voted, and the above list is compiled from the same. India's monuments, India's votes!

The list of India's beautiful monuments doesn't end here, but a trip to these places is a must to explore India's cultural and historical heritage. If the traveller in you is still desirous for more, here is a list of monuments in India to satisfy you!

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