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Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (Buddha Gaya), spread over an area of 4.86 hectares (12.0 acres). The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC (260 BC) around the Bodhi Tree Ficus religiosa (to the west of the temple). However, the temples seen now are dated between 5th and 6th centuries AD. The structures have been built in bricks. Revered and sanctified as the place where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was enlightened in 531 BC at age 35, and then propagated his divine knowledge of Buddhism to the world, it has been the ultimate temple for reverential worship, over the last several centuries, by Buddhists of all denominations, from all over the world who visit on pilgrimage. The main temple is 50 m in height, built in Indian architectural style, dated between 5th and 6th centuries, and it is the oldest temple in the Indian sub-continent built during the "Golden Age" of Indian culture credited to the Gupta period. Sculpted balustrades of the Ashokan times (3rd century BC) are preserved in the Archaeological Museum located within the temple complex.

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, the first tomb built with several innovations, set at the centre of luxurious gardens with water channels, was the precursor monument to the Taj Mahal (built a century later). It was built in 1569-1570 by the second Mughal Emperor Humayun's 'widow Biga Begum (Hajji Begum). Its architecture is credited to Mirza Ghiyath and its Mughal architectural style has been acclaimed as the "necropolis of the Mughal dynasty" for its double domed elevation provided with Chhatris. Apart from the tomb of Humayun, the funerary also has 150 tombs of various members of the royal family. The tomb is built with a char-bagh (fourfold) layout with two gates, one on the south and the other on the west. It has a number of water channels, a pavilion and a bath. The tomb set on an irregular octagonal plinth has a raised dome of 42.5 m height, covered by marble slabs and decorated with chhatris


Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi

Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi, located to the south of Delhi, is a complex with the Qutb Minar as the centre piece, which is a red sandstone tower of 72.5 metres (238 ft) height with a base of 14.32 metres (47.0 ft) reducing to 2.75 metres (9.0 ft) diameter at the top. Built in the beginning of the 13th century, the complex of structures comprises itineraries, the Alai Darwaza Gate (1311), the Alai Minar (an incomplete mound of the intended Minar or tower), the Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque (the earliest existing mosque in India), the tomb of Iltumish, and an Iron Pillar. The complex is a testimony to the Islamic depredations during the period as seen from the materials used for building the complex which are those that were removed after destroying Hindu and Jain temples; a shining iron pillar of 7.02 metres (23.0 ft) height (without any trace of rusting) erected at the centre of the complex, with inscriptions in Sanskrit, of the Chandra Gupta II period is a moot witness. History records its construction, initially by Qutubuddin Aibak in 1192, its completion by Iltumish (1211-36) and again by Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316). It underwent several renovations by subsequent rulers, following damage to the structures due to lightning.

Red Fort Complex

Red Fort Complex, also known as Lal Qila is a palace fort built in the 17th century by Shahjahan (1628-58), the fifth Mughal emperor as part of his new capital city of Shahjahanabad. located to the north of Delhi. It represents the glory of the Mughal rule and is considered the Highpoint of Mughal architectural, artistic aesthetic creativity. The architectural design of the structures built within the fort represents a blend of Persian, Timuri and Indian architectural styles; Isfahan, the Persian Capital is said to have provided the inspiration to build the Red Fort Complex. The planning and design of this complex, in a geometrical grid plan with pavilion structures, was the precursor of several monuments which were built later in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and other places. The palace complex has been fortified by an enclosure wall built with red sand stone (hence the name Red Fort). It is adjacent to the Salimgarh Fort on its north built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546 and is now part of the Red Fort Complex (area covered 120 acres) . Built between 1639 and 1648, enclosing an area of size 656 metres (2,152 ft)x328 metres (1,076 ft) and raising to a height of 23 metres (75 ft) on the right bank of the Yamuna River, it is linked to the Salimgarh Fort through a bridge over an old river channel, now a city road. The palace within the fort complex, located behind the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), comprises a series of richly engraved marble palace pavilions, interconnected by water channels called the 'Nehr-i-Behishit' meaning the "Stream of Paradise", the Diwane-i-khas (Private audience hall), several other essential private structures, and also the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque built by Emperor Aurangzeb)


Churches and Convents of Goa

Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments are mainly in the former capital of Velha Goa. Velha Goa is also known Goem, Pornem Goy, Adlem Goi, Old Goa or Saibachem Goi, where Saib or Goencho Saib refers to Saint Francis Xavier. The most significant of these monuments is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which enshrines the tomb containing the relics of St. Francis Xavier. These monuments of Goa, known as the "Rome of the Orient" were established by different Catholic religious orders, from 25 November 1510 onwards. There were originally 60 churches of which some of the surviving monuments in the city of Velha Goa are the Saint Catherine's Chapel (where one of the first, probably only besides the Angediva Island, Latin rite mass in Asia, was held on Saint Catherine's feast day- i.e. 25 November 1510), the Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Se Catedral de Santa Catarina dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the Jesuit Borea Jezuchi Bajilika or Basílica do Bom Jesus, Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis (also known as Asisachea Sanv Fransiskachi Igorz), the Theatine Igreja da Divina Providencia (São Caetano) (also known as San Kaitanachi Igorz or the church of Saint Cajetan and its seminary (resembles Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario (also known as Ruzai Saibinnichi Igorz (Church of Our Lady of the Rosary)) and Igreja de Santo Agostinho (also known as Sanv Agustineachi Igorz (Church of Saint Augustine) (only the belfry stands today and some graves, including the Georgian Orthodox Church Saint, Saint Ketevan, who was also a queen). These monuments were forerunners in establishing an ensemble of the Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art forms in the Asian region. The monuments are built in laterites and walls plastered with limestone mortar mixed with broken shells. For this reason, the monuments need constant maintenance to prevent deterioration due to monsoon climatic conditions, and thus keep them in good shape

Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is a mausoleum - a funerary mosque. It was built by Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his third wife Begum Mumtaz Mahal who had died in 1631. It is a large edifice made in white marble in typical Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Islamic and Indian architectural styles. This much acclaimed masterpiece was built over a 16 year period between 1631 and 1648 under the Chief Architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri supported by several thousand artisans under the guidance of an Imperial Committee. It is set amidst vast Mughal Gardens, which cover 17 hectares (42 acres) of land on the right bank of the Yamuna River. It has an octagonal layout marked by four exclusive minarets at four corners with a pristine elevation of a central bulbous dome below which the tombs are laid in an underground chamber. Calligraphic inscriptions in-crusted in polychromatic pierra dura, decorative bands and floral arabesques glorify the monument's graphic beauty and provide a picture perfect impression to the viewers.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Group of Monuments attributed to the Chandela dynasty which, under sovereignty of Gurjar Pratihars reached its glory. The ensemble of monuments that have survived belong to the Hindu and Jain Religious practices with striking fusion of sculpture and architecture; the best example of this outstanding feature is seen in the Kandariya Temple. Of the 85 temples built, only 22 temples have survived in an area of 6 km2, which represents the Chandela period of the 10th century. Located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh it prooves of the Chandela Culture that existed prior to the Muslim invasion of India in the early 12th century

Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves are Buddhist caves that were built in two phases, the first phase was from the 2nd century BC. In the second phase, further additions were made during the 5th and 6th centuries AD of the Gupta period. The caves depict richly decorated paintings, frescoes, which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka and sculptures. As a whole, there are 31 rock-cut cave monuments which are unique representations of the religious art of Buddhism.
Ellora Caves also known as Ellora Complex are a cultural mix of religious arts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. These are 34 monasteries and temples sculpted contiguously into rock walls of a high basalt cliff, which are seen along a length of 2 kilometres (1.2 mi). Dated to 600 to 1000 AD, they are a reflection of artistic creation of the ancient civilization of India.

The Great Living Chola Temples

The Great Living Chola Temples, built by kings of the Chola Empire stretched over all of Tamil Nadu. This cultural heritage site includes three great temples of 11th and 12th centuries namely, the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram, built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53 metres (174 ft) vimana (sanctum tower) has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur. The Airavatesvara temple complex, built by Rajaraja II, at Darasuram features a 24 metres (79 ft) vimana and a stone image of Shiva. The temples testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modelled after the one that he had built at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these and has a set of some 20 main fixed instruments built in masonry. Its an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.