India’s most famous buildings

By: Kasy Long

Where to visit on your travels

Humans have occupied India since the beginning of time. Because of its ancient history, there have been many iconic buildings and structures rich in culture, heritage, and traditions. When tourists visit India, they request to visit these must-see places.

But sometimes it can be intimidating to decide which places to visit. You need to know which buildings it would be shameful to miss on your travels. Here’s a look at five of the most famous buildings in India. Add them to your bucket list. You won’t regret it.

The Taj Mahal

Perhaps known as the most famous and iconic monument in India, the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It took 20 years to build the white marble structure, located in the Indian city of Agra along the Yamuna River. The building is recognized as one of the most elite examples of Mughal, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Indian architectural designs ever created.

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Visitors notice that the center of the mausoleum complex seems to change color, depending on the sunlight. Travelers come to India most often to see the building, designated as one of the eight wonders of the world. To many people, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of Indian history and culture, and no one wants to miss out on the opportunity of visiting it during their travels.

Brihadeeswarar Temple

The Brihadeeswarar Temple is one of India’s largest and most historic temples, located in Thanjavur at the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Also known as Periya Koyil, the Hindu temple is one of the earliest examples of Dravidian architecture—built out of granite, and its vimana tower is one of the tallest in South India.

The temple is one of the busiest tourist spots in Tamil Nadu.

Taking seven years to construct (from 1003 to 1010 AD), the temple was commissioned by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I to serve as a tribute to Lord Shiva. It features several shrines for many Hindu gods and goddesses, including Nandi, Kartikeya, Varahi, and others. Since its completion, the temple has witnessed many additions, renovations, and repairs, but it still looks the same as it did when it was first built.

Victoria Memorial

The Victoria Memorial is the most visited tourist attraction of Kolkata. It’s a museum with several attractions and collections of manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures. When Queen Victoria died in January 1901, the Viceroy of India suggested building a memorial for the late queen. It was proposed as a grand building with gardens and a museum for educational advancement.

The memorial officially opened in 1921, taking 20 years to complete due to many political setbacks.

Today, the memorial features 25 galleries, rare books, expansive gardens, multiple statues, and more. There is so much to explore at the historical monument. If you want to see a small piece of European history in India, you know where to visit.

Mysore Palace

The Mysore Palace, also known as the Palace of Mysore, is the tourist attraction if you want to visit the most famous historical monument in India. Located in the Indian state of Karnataka, it’s the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty. Completed in 1912, the palace features an architectural style of marble domes, courtyards, gardens, sculptures, and more.

Approximately six million tourists visit the historic palace every year.

Next to the Taj Mahal, the Mysore Palace is the most popular tourist attraction in India. Are you itching to visit it?

Harmandir Sahib

Known as the Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib is the holiest shrine in India, located in Amritsar, Punjab. Thousands of Sikhs make pilgrimages to the temple every year, making it one of the most famous places for religious gatherings.

A Holy Granth Sahib is always inside the temple, whenever someone seeks holy peace and comfort.

Completed in 1604, the temple also serves as a center for trade and activity in India. It’s impossible not to feel peaceful when visiting the Harmandir Sahib.

A deeper dive – Related reading from the 101:

Learn more about how Mohandas Gandhi’s protests for peace, including refusing to eat.

Learn more about 15 historical buildings and monuments that were damaged but later restored to their former glory.