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PRIDE OF INDIA

Taj Mahal

One knows that ‘The Taj’ is one amongst the World’s Wonders!
One knows that it is one amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites!!
One knows The Taj as a legend of eternal love of an Emperor for his favourite Queen!!!

Well, ‘The Taj’ has distinctions much beyond just these!
Therefore, ‘The Taj’, surely, deserves your visit once and more!!!
In 1631, Shah Jahan, emperor during the Mughal empire's period of greatest prosperity, was grief-stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess, died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum
Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632. The court chronicles of Shah Jahan's grief illustrate the love story traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal.[17][18] The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later. Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these words
The Taj Mahal incorporates and expands on design traditions of Persian architecture and earlier Mughal architecture. Specific inspiration came from successful Timurid and Mughal buildings including; the Gur-e Amir (the tomb of Timur, progenitor of the Mughal dynasty, in Samarkand), Humayun's Tomb, Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and Shah Jahan's own Jama Masjid in Delhi. While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone, Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones, and buildings under his patronage reached new levels of refinement




India Gate

At the centre of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triomphe" like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.
The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and it was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was dedicated to the nation 10 years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, after India got its independence. The eternal flame burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.
The entire arch stands on a low base of red Bharatpur stone and rises in stages to a huge moulding. The cornice is inscribed with the Imperial suns while both sides of the arch have INDIA, flanked by the dates MCMXIV (1914 left) and MCMXIX (1919 right). The shallow domed bowl at the top was intended to be filled with burning oil on anniversaries but this is rarely done.
During nightfall, India Gate is dramatically floodlit while the fountains nearby make a lovely display with coloured lights. India Gate stands at one end of Rajpath, and the area surrounding it is generally referred to as 'India Gate'.
Surrounding the imposing structure is a large expanse of lush green lawns, which is a popular picnic spot. One can see hoards of people moving about the brightly lit area and on the lawns on summer evenings.




Qutab Minar

Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India. An inscription over its eastern gate provocatively informs that it was built with material obtained from demolishing '27 Hindu temples'. A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled.
The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer.
No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world. Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey.
The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak is quite evident in the minar. The relief work and even the materials used for construction differ. The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated brackets. Even though in ruins, the Quwwat Ui Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque in the Qutab complex is one of the most magnificent structures in the world. Qutab-ud-din Aibak started its construction in 1193 and the mosque was completed in 1197.
Iltutmush in 1230 and Alla-ud-din Khilji in 1315 made additions to the building. The main mosque comprises of an inner and outer courtyard,decorated with shafts and surrounded by piller. Most of these shafts are from the 27 Hindu temples, which were plundered to construct the mosque. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Muslim mosque has typical Hindu ornamentation. Close to the mosque is one of Delhi's most curious antiques, the Iron Pillar.




Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is a fascinating ghost city built in the 16th century; 37 km from Agra Akbar the great, who at 26 years did not have an heir, founded this historic site.
Fatehpur Sikri He went to a saint, Shaikh Salim Chishti who lived in a city called Sikri. His blessing gave Akbar 3 sons. As a gesture, Akbar built a whole new city in Sikri. Akbar named his new capital Fatehpur Sikri or the City of Victory .Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural splendour at its height.
It was built between 1569 and 1585 and was intended to be the joint capital with Agra, but was soon deserted because the water system could not support any residents. It remained untouched for over 400 years now and its palaces are a remainder of the extravagance of the Mughals Fatehpur Sikri is the best example of the culmination of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Fatehpur Sikri Mosque is said to be a copy of the mosque in Mecca and has designs, derived from the Persian & Hindu architecture. After this within 20 years, the capital of Mughals was shifted to Lahore
Diwan-i-Khas- Hall: Popularly known as the “Ekstambha Prasada”, the Diwan-i-Khas served as the royal chamber of Emperor Akbar. It is designed according to the Persian style of architecture and is decorated with fine sculpture and precious stones. There are 4 kiosks, which are located in the middle of the court. Panch Mahal: The Panch Mahal ranks among the most fascinating buildings in Fatehpur Sikri. It is a five-storey building which was meant to be the shelter of the royal ladies and mistresses. The top story of the building offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
Tomb of Salim Chisti: The tomb of renowned Sufi saint Salim Chisti is located here. The tomb is well known for its delicate carvings and draws hundreds of pilgrims.
Buland Darwaza: It ranks among the important monuments in the place. This enormous gateway has a height of 54 meters and is largest gateway in the world. It was made in the year 1575 to celebrate Emperor Akbar's success in conquering Gujarat and is a fine blend of Persion and mughal architecture.
Apart from these prime Attractions in Fatehpur Sikri are Diwan-I-Am, Turkish Sultana’s House, The Treasury, Daulat khana-I-khas, Palace of Jodha Bai, Hawa Mahal And Nagina Masjid, Birbal’s Palace, Sunehra Makan and The Jama Masjid. Today regarded as one of the most important buildings amongst a list of World Heritage Structures, which has been brought forward by the UNESCO, a visit to the Fatehpur Sikri in Agra in India remains one of the fondest dreams of Indians from all around the world.




Hawa Mahal


The renowned 'Palace Of The Winds', or Hawa Mahal, is one of the prominent tourist attractions in Jaipur city. Located in the heart of Jaipur, this beautiful five-storey palace was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh who belonged to Kachhwaha Rajput dynasty. The main architect of this palace built of red and pink sandstone, is Lal Chand Ustad and the palace is believed to have been constructed in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Considered as an embodiment of Rajputana architecture, the main highlight of Hawa Mahal is its pyramid shape and its 953 windows or 'Jharokhas' which are decorated with intricate designs. The main intention behind the construction of the Mahal was to facilitate the royal women and provide them a view of everyday life through the windows, as they never appeared in public. Read further to know more about Hawa Mahal, its history, architecture and its visiting hours.
History It was in 1799 that the Kachhwaha Rajput ruler, Sawai Pratap Singh, grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh who built Jaipur, constructed Hawa Mahal as a continuation of the Royal City Palace. Sawai Pratap Singh's devotion to Lord Krishna is evident in the palace's construction as it resembles the lord's crown. Though many reasons are cited behind the construction of the fort, Purdah system followed by the Rajputs is said to be one of the main causes. During those days, Rajput royal women did not appear in public or in front of strangers. However, they were keen to follow the day-to-day events and royal processions occurring on the streets. It is for their benefit that the Hawa Mahal was built, complete with small windows and screened balconies. This gave the women a sense of freedom, without appearing in public.
Architecture Hawa Mahal, designed as a beehive castle with small windows, has a height of 50 feet from its base. This structure, erected on a thin shield or podium approximately fifty feet high, has walls less than a foot thick. Constructed of red and pink sandstones by Lal Chand Ustad, Hawa Mahal is famous for its windows or 'Jharokhas' which enable free circulation of air within the structure. Its entrance is a door which leads to a spacious courtyard surrounded by two-storey buildings on three sides. Of the five storeys of the Mahal, the top three storeys have the thickness of a single room while the bottom storeys have courtyards. The interior of the Hawa Mahal is stark and plain with passages and pillars reaching to the top storey. The building does not have stairs to reach the upper floors; the storeys are connected by slopes. From Hawa Mahal, you have an excellent view of the city. The monument also has an archeological museum.
Nearby Tourist Attractions There are numerous attractions around Hawa Mahal such as the famed Jantar Mantar, Govind Devji temple, Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Ram Niwas Bagh, BM Birla Planetarium, Jain Temple, Statue Circle, Sisodia Rani Garden and so on.
Hawa Mahal, which is the quintessence of Rajput architecture, stands high in the heart of Jaipur city as a prominent attraction. Hope this article familiarizes you with Hawa Mahal and its historic significance.



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