There are several beautiful monuments and UNESCO heritage sites in India, out of which I tried to select my 7 favourite ones:
1. Iron Pillar: An extraordinary piece of metallurgy in the Qutub Complex, this pillar was built in the 4th century CE by one king 'Chandra' as per the inscriptions, and probably deduced to Chandragupta Vikramaditya II. The unique feature of this pillar is its rust-free material, and has been withstanding intense heat, rain and cold over the centuries. This incredible technology has not been replicated since.
|Iron Pillar, Delhi|2. Kailasa Temple, Ellora:
Incredibly drilled top-down by scooping out all the massive rock hill, this is one of the masterpieces our ancient ancestors have produced. The temple has been dated to 8th century CE by the Rashtrakutas, but maybe the temple was carved out by the Rashtrakutas, but the drilling of the rocky boulder was done much earlier. I feel this feat is difficult to accomplish now even with modern machinery.
|Kailasa Temple, Ellora|
3. Gommateshwara(Bahubali) statue in Sravanabelagola: The 57 ft Gommateshwara statue, dating back to the 10th century CE, is a monolithic rock cut statue, cut with such precision that one can even make out the toe and finger nails. One theory also states that the rock used for the statue is different from that of the hill, believing that it had to be carried to the top. Another feat which is difficult to accomplish today.
4. Brihadeeshwara temple, Tanjavur: Built in solid granite stone, one of the hardest known rocks, this temple was built by the powerful king Raja Raja Chola in the 10th-11th century. Experts believe that the Great Gopuram was assembled to the top using a herd of elephants, which seems difficult by the weight of the material. If we had to do this today, we would need several tonne metal lifters to get this accomplished.
|Brihadeshwara temple, Tanjavur|
5. Rani-ki Vav: A beautifuly carved stepwell in Gujarat was discovered in the 19th century by a British archaeologist. This stepwell dates back to the 11th century and measures an incredible 210 ft long, 65 ft wide and 90 ft deep, and each tier is decorated with intricate carvings. A stepwell of such a magnitude would take more than a generation to be completed.
6. Kumbhalgarh Fort: Though I have not visited this place, but definitely this is in my bucket list. Popular as the 'Great Wall of India', this fort was built in the 15th century by the king Rana Kumbha and spans a whopping 35 km fort wall.
7. Musical Pillars of South Indian temples: The Vijayanagara period, Chola and Pandiya period had mastered the art of creating music from solid pillars. The pillars were made from the stones which produce peculiar sound, but creating different musical notes from identical solid pillars is an incredible feat. Such pillars can be seen in Hampi, Darasuram, Tirunelveli and many other places in South India.
|Musical Pillars at Hampi|
A few other wonders can be featured here like Mahabalipuram Ancient Lighthouse, Pancha Rathas, Khajuraho, Konark Sun Temple, Vikramshila, Nalanda University, and many rock cut temples across India. What are your own seven manmade wonders of India?
My next post in this series will be the Natural Wonders of India.
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