The monuments of Vijaynagar city, was built between 1336-1570 A.D., from the times of Harihara-I to Sadasiva Raya.
A large number of royal buildings were raised by Krishnadeva Raya the greatest ruler of the dynasty.
Temples of Hampi are noted for their large dimensions, florid ornamentation, bold and delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions, which include subjects from the ‘Ramayana’ and ‘the Mahabharata’.
The Vitthala temple in Hampi is an excellent example of Vijayanagar style. The monolithic statues of Lakshmi, Narasimha and Ganesha are noted for their massiveness and grace.
The Krishna temple, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra and Chandrasekhara temple as also the Jain temples, are other examples. Majority of these temples in Hampi were provided with widespread bazaars flanked on either side by storied Mandapas.
Among secular edifices, mention may be made of the Zenana enclosure wherein a massive stone basement of the Queen’s palace and ornate pavilion called ‘Lotus-Mahal’ are the only remnants of a luxurious ‘Antahpura’.
The corner towers of arresting elevation, the Dhananayaka’s enclosure (treasury), the Mahanavami Dibba carrying beautifully sculptured panels, a variety of ponds and tanks, Mandapas, the elephant’s stables and the row of pillared Mandapas are some of the important architectural remains of Hampi.
Recent excavations at the Hampi have brought to light a large number of palatial complexes and basements of several platforms. Interesting finds include a large number of stone images, beautiful terra cotta objects and stucco figures that once embellished the palaces at Hampi.
Hawa Mahal :
Hawa Mahal, a multi layered palace, was built by Sawai Pratap Singh (grand son of Sawai Jai Singh and son of Sawai Madho Singh) in 1799 CE. Lai Chand Usta was the architect.
Famous for its beehive like structure, the Hawa Mahal is an interplay of red and pink sand stone, carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs.
This five storey building, which looks out over the main street of the old city, is a stunning example of Rajput artistry, with its pink semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed sandstone windows.
It was originally built to enable ladies of the royal household, to watch the everyday life and processions of the city.
The Hill Palace Museum :
The Hill Palace, the official residence of the Kochi royal family, is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala.
Built in 1865, the palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style of Kerala, sprawled over 52 acres of beautifully landscaped terraced land which houses a deer park and facilities for horse riding.
Numerous species of flora including rare medicinal plants grow here. On display in the full-fledged Ethno-archaeological museum are oil-paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the Kochi royal family and royal furniture including the sinhasan (throne).
Also exhibited are over 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from Japan and China, Kudakkallu (tomb stone), Thoppikkallu (hood stone), menhirs, granite, laterite memorials, rock cut weapons from the stone ages, wooden temple models, plaster cast models of objects from Mohenjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilization. The museum also houses a gallery of contemporary art.
India Gate :
India Gate, an important monument of the New Delhi, is a memorial built in commemoration of Indian soldiers who were killed during World War I.
The monument is an imposing 42 meters high arch and was designed by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens. India Gate was earlier named All India War Memorial.
The design of India Gate is almost similar to its French counterpart war memorial, the Arc-de-Triomphe.
The building is made of red stone that rises in stages into a huge moulding. On top of the arch, INDIA is written on both sides.
There is a shallow domed bowl at the top, which was intended to be filled with burning oil at special occasions.
At the base of the India gate there is another memorial, the Amar Jawan Jyoti’ that was added after independence.
This eternal flame was lighted in commemoration of the unknown soldiers who laid their lives for the country.
Jaisalmer Fort :
Jaisalmer Fort was built in 1156 CE. is two hundred and fifty feet tall and reinforced by an imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high, the fort has 99 bastion, 92 of which were built between 1633 and 1647.
Wells within the fort still provide a regular source of water. The fort, built by Rawal Jaisal, which crowns the 80m highTrikuta hill, has its outer wall of palaces, houses and temples of soft yellow sandstone.
It has narrow winding lanes and four huge gateways, the last one leading to main chowk dominated by the old palace of the Maharwal.
Almost one quarter of the town’s population resides inside the fort. It is approached through Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Bhoot Pol and Hawa Pol.
Also, within it are many beautiful havelies and a group of Jain temples dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries.
Jama Masjid :
Jama Masjid (the mosque of Friday), Delhi is the country’s largest and perhaps its most magnificent mosque.
It is the final architectural extravagance of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (built is 1656) with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. The mosque measures 65m by 35m, and its court forms a square of 100m.
It’s also known as ‘Masjid-i-Jahanuma’ or ‘Mosque commanding view of the world’.
On the east, this monument faces the Lai Quila (Red Fort) and has three gateways, four towers and two minarets.
It is constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. In the three domes white marble has been used extensively and they have been inlaid with stripes of black.
The structure was placed on a high platform so that its magnificent facade would be visible from all the adjoining areas. Broad flights of steps lead up to the imposing gateways in the north and the south.
Wide staircases and arched gateways are the hallmark of this popular mosque. The main eastern entrance was probably used by the emperors.
The main prayer hall on the west side is adorned by a series of high cusped arches, standing on 260 pillars which support about 15 marble domes at various elevations.
It is said that Emperor Shah Jahan built Jama Masjid at the cost of Rs. 10 crore and it can be called as the replica of Moti Masjid in Agra. It combines the best of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture.
Jantar Mantar :
Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743), a keen astronomer and a noble in the Mughal Court, was dissatisfied by the errors of brass and metal astronomical instruments.
Constructed observatories known as Jantar Mantar. One of the observatory was built at Delhi and is known as Jantar Mantar, Delhi.
The observatory has the Samrat Yantra, a simple equal hour sun dial, the Ram yantra for reading altitudinal angles; Jai Prakash for ascertaining the position of the sun and other celestial bodies, and the Misra Yantra which is a combination of four scientific gadgets.
Kamakhya Temple :
The Kamakhya Temple, which is situated high aloft a hill called Neelachal Parbat or Kamagiri in the city of Guwahati is one of its several religious landmarks, which speaks volumes about the rich historical treasure over which the state of Assam is seated.
The Kamakhya Temple had been built in reverence to Goddess Kamakhya or Sati, who was one of the numerous incarnations of Goddess Durga or Goddess Shakti.
There is a legend attached to the history of the temple, which goes way back to the mythological age.
According to the legend, Sati the wife of Lord Shiva (one of the holy Trinities in Hindu mythology) took her life at a Yagna’ ceremony that had been organized by her father Daksha, because she could not bear the insults hurled at her husband by her father.
On hearing the news of his wife’s death, Shiva, the destroyer of all that was evil flew into a rage and punished Daksha by replacing his head with that of a goat.
Torn between misery and blind fury, Shiva picked up the corpse of his beloved wife Sati and performed a dance of destruction called the ‘Tandava’.
The intensity of the destroyer’s fury was so overwhelming that it took several Gods to pacify his anger.
In the midst of this struggle, Sati’s corpse accidentally got cut into 51 parts by the disc in the hands of Lord Vishnu (also one of the Trinities in Hindu mythology), and her female ‘Genitalia’ or ‘Yoni’ fell on the spot where the Kamakhya temple stands today, forming one of the many Shakti ‘Peethas’ embellishing the rest of her body parts.
King Nara Narayana of Cooch Behar rebuilt the temple in 1665 after it had suffered destruction at the hands of foreign invaders.
The temple consists of seven oval spires, each topped by three golden pitchers, and the entrance spirals down to a curvy path of some distance, which specially links the main road to the temple.
Some of the sculptured panels of the temple carry depictions of Gods and Goddesses of Hindu pantheon carved in a delightful pattern.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple :
Varanasi is home to Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It enshrines one of the twelve Jyotirlingams of Shiva. It is said that this temple was rebuilt several times.
Beside its religious significance, the temple is also an architectural marvel. The magnificent edifice offers a breathtaking view to the onlooker.
It is said that once Lord Shiva came in the dream of Rani Ahalya Bai Holkar of Indore. She, being a devotee of Lord Shiva, got the current temple built in 1777.
The temple complex of Vishwanath or Visheshwara, the ‘Lord of All’, is also popularly known as the Golden Temple, due to the massive gold plating on its shikhara (spire).
Kye Monastery :
Kye Monastery is situated 12 kms north of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti in the Lahaul & Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh.
It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at (4116 m) above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Buddha and other goddesses.
Lamas practice dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. Many Lamas get religious training here. It has murals and books of high aesthetic value.
This monastery is an outstanding example of the monastic architecture, which developed during the 14th century in the wake of the Chinese influence.
The Mongols plundered the monastery in the middle of the 17th century. In the 19th century, it again suffered three brutal attacks.
The successive trails of destruction and patch-up jobs have resulted in a haphazard growth of box-like structures, and the complex now resembles a defensive fort.
Humayun’s Tomb :
Humayun’s tomb, Delhi is a fine specimen of the great Mughal architecture. Built in 1570, the tomb is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.
Its unique beauty is said to have inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the unparalleled Taj Mahal.
It was erected by Humayun’s queen Hamida Banu Begam (Haji Begam). It is believed that she designed the tomb.
The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II had taken refuge in this tomb during the Revolt of 1857. Several members of the Mughal dynasty lie buried here. Humayun’s wife is buried here too.
The main sarcophagus stands in the central hall, oriented – in accordance with Muslim practice – on the north-south axis.
Traditionally, the body is placed with the head to the north, the face turned sideways towards Mecca.
The dome is what is called a full dome, a complete semi-circle which is a special feature of Mughal architecture.
The structure is built with red sandstone, but white and black marble has been used in the borders. UNESCO has declared this magnificent masterpiece a world heritage.