In the rest of the world, people recognize India as an incredibly diverse country with different cultures, an unimaginable number of languages spoken, and an attention-grabbing heritage. There are so many places in India that are home to some mesmerizing monuments where everyone loves to go and know more about what happened hundreds of years ago. Whether you’re a history buff or not, as soon as someone starts telling you about any historical events, they have your attention.
Whenever you think about the heritage sites of India, the initial few names that pop up in your head are Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Konark Sun Temple, Charminar, Victoria Memorial, and Amer Fort. However, in this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of the monuments that you may have never heard of before, but they deserve as much attention as the famous ones. Let’s check out a few offbeat monuments to explore in India!
Are you seriously not aware of this stunner of a framework, even though you carry a photograph of it all the time with you? Yes, fetch that recent hundred rupee note and see for yourself, the image of this amazing structure! The seven-storied stepwell is located on the banks of the Saraswati River in the city of Patan in Gujarat. Almost one thousand years ago, Rani Udaymati of the Chalukya or the Solanki dynasty built Rani Ki Vav or the Queen’s Stepwell in the memory of her husband King Bhima 1. The 11th-century stepwell is one of the oldest and the most well-made structures in Gujarat.
The monument was designed as an inverted temple and you’ll see countless carved pillars along with over 800 sculptures and amazing geometric patterns. The architectural style that has been used is Maru-Gurjara. Rani Ki Vav was flooded in the 19th century by the Sabarmati River and remained underwater for many years. It was restored by the Archaeological Survey of India in the 1980s. UNESCO declared Rani Ki Vav a World Heritage Site in 2014 and also described it as displaying the pinnacle of craftsmanship in stepwell construction. Also, the stepwell was awarded the cleanest iconic place in India at the 2016 Indian Sanitation Conference.
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Also known as Jalnjira Killa, the Murud Janjira Fort is around 165 km away from Mumbai in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The word Janjira has been derived from the Arabic word ‘Jazeera’, which means island. The huge fort is located on an island 5 km from the coastal village of Murud and 53 km from Alibaug. A treat for the shutterbugs and history enthusiasts, the fort which is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on all sides is among the strongest marine forts in the entire country. Murud also counts as one of the best heritage places near Pune, Mumbai, and Alibaug.
The top-most part of the magnificent fort offers the tourists a jaw-dropping view of the Arabian Sea and gives a peek into the history as well. Murud Janjira Fort has a similar story to most of the other forts in India as it was initially built for the protection of the families of some local fishermen from intruders. The 15th-century structure was just a small, wooden fort that was captured by Ahmednagar’s Siddi Sirul Khan in the 17th century. A lot of different forces have attacked and failed to conquer the Murud Janjira Fort like the Marathas, Portuguese, and the British. Even today, a total of nineteen of the fort’s bastions remain intact. You’ll also get to see ancient cannons, a deep well, a mosque, and a number of huge walls when you visit this hidden gem.
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Popularly known as the stepwell of Jodhpur, Toorji Ka Jhalra is an astonishing architectural wonder that will keep you hypnotized for as long as you stare at it. The ancient stepwell is located in Jodhpur, the Blue City of Rajasthan, and is one of the few remaining structures demonstrating the orthodox water management systems of Rajasthan. The most important thing about the stepwell is that it was built during the rule of Maharaja Abhay Singh Rathore in 1740, not by him but by his queen Maharani Tanwar. At that time, an age-old tradition was religiously followed where the queens along with other female members of the royal families were in charge of building public waterworks.
The locals used the impressive structure for decades before the city was transformed and the well was abandoned completely. Not too long ago, the historical heritage site was reworked by the authorities and the stepwell was cleaned and drained. In fact, a lot of debris had settled in the water body which was all cleared up to enhance the beauty of Toorji Ka Jhalra. Made out of the rose-red sandstone found only in Jodhpur, the stepwell is a major tourist attraction in the entire state of Rajasthan and is definitely worth a visit.
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Picture this - you’re walking on the busy and congested streets of Saurashtra’s Junagarh in Gujarat and you’re struggling with chaos as there’s heavy traffic before you. And in the middle of all of this, you suddenly find yourself looking at a beautiful piece of architecture which is a part of the chaos. This experience is guaranteed to take you by surprise as it will take a few moments for you to come back to normalcy. Mahabat Maqbara is a 19th-century mausoleum of Nawab Mahabat Khan II and Bahaduddinbhai Hasainhbai. It’s kind of unfortunate that not many people in India know about this amazing gem.
The monument is a gorgeous mix of Indo, European, and Islamic architecture, the construction of which was started by Nawab Mahabat Khan II in 1878. The Nawab died before his dream could be fulfilled and the structure was then completed by his successor Nawab Muhammad Bahadur Khan III in 1892.
The basic design of the Mahabat Maqbara is very close to that of India’s most beautiful monument Taj Mahal. However, there are two major differences between the two as far as their maintenance and locations are concerned. While the Taj Mahal is extremely protected and well taken care of by the authorities, Mahabat Maqbara has to be content with much less. More importantly, the Taj Mahal is in a separate complex that is quite far from the main roads. On the other hand, Mahabat Maqbara is right in the middle of a busy street.
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And you thought Rajasthan is just about the amazing Thar Desert and Hawa Mahal? Here’s a suggestion. Just go to Google Maps and look at the size of the state and you’ll realize how many more places are there for you to visit! There are endless forts and beautiful palaces the state has to offer and one such mindblowing fort is the Nahargarh Fort. Located in the Aravalli mountain ranges of The Pink City - Jaipur, Nahargarh Fort is going to make you fall in love with it in no time. We know you’re scratching your head thinking, ‘Where have I seen this place?’. It’s an easy one. Think quick or we’ll spill the beans. Okay, time up. You saw the fort in the cult movie Rang De Basanti starring Aamir Khan.
Constructed in 1734 by the founder of the city of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the fort’s original name was Sudarshangarh. It was later changed to Nahargarh, which means abode of tigers. The main purpose of the fort was to form a solid line of defense with Jaigarh Fort and Amer Fort in order to protect Jaipur. The unique stepwell is the main highlight of one of the largest forts in the country designed in the Indo-European style of architecture. A number of important historical events took place at Nahargarh Fort like the signing of treaties with Maratha forces in the 18th century and protecting Europeans during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. You’ll definitely enjoy the view of the entire city from the fort.
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All the history enthusiasts who did not know about Karnataka’s Bidar Fort in the Bidar district in Bidar city are going to be mad at themselves after reading this, for sure. Located in the north-eastern part of the state in south India, Bidar Fort is not just a single structure. Inside the premises, there are close to 40 different monuments! One day might not be enough if you’re a big fan of history and architecture. Most of the different frameworks in the Bidar Fort indicate that Islamic and Persian architecture was used to build them. In the 14th century, Bidar was the capital of the Bahmani Kingdom and this fort was built by Ahmad Shah Wali Bahman. In the 15th century, Sultan Alla-Ud Din Bahman renovated the fort as well as he shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.
It is because of the Bidar Fort that the city is known as the City of Whispering Monuments. Although the fort is not as popular as the other ones (that’s why it’s on this list), a lot of films have been shot here including the song Ishq Sufiyana from The Dirty Picture. The Bidar Fort is 700 km away from Bengaluru but recently, an airport called Bidar Airport has been constructed in the city and is just 11 km away from the monument. Also, there’s a railway station at a distance of just 3 km. There are a number of operational trains and buses between Bengaluru and Bidar.
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The people of India take pride in the architectural brilliance of the country’s awe-inspiring monuments. Right from the Indus Valley Civilization all the way to the British rule, most of the monuments were constructed by the Rajputana, Dravidian, and Mughal dynasties. And credit where it’s due. The government authorities have done a great deal of work to maintain and look after each and every one of these masterpieces. What’s also interesting is that there are many more offbeat monuments yet to be fully explored in the country. So the next time you plan your holidays to any of these states, make sure not to miss these secrets anymore!
Is India Safe To Visit?
As far as tourism is concerned, India is a safe place to visit apart from some small, occasional crimes. Although some of the cities can require you to be a little more careful than others, particularly after the sun sets, the places where tourism is at the top of its game are much safer.
How Many Monuments Are There In India?
In India, there are a total of 116 ticketed monuments in 19 states managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Which Is The Tallest Monument In India?
The tallest monument in the country is The Statue of Unity in Gujarat which is a staggering 182 meters in height.
Which Is The Indian State With The Highest Number Of Monuments?
According to the Archaeological Survey of India, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of monuments (743 monuments) followed by Karnataka (506 monuments).
What Is An Offbeat Destination?
The offbeat destination is all about getting away from crowded places, experiencing nature at its best, and knowing the culture and traditions of the rural areas.
What Is The Number 1 Tourist Attraction In India?
The number 1 tourist attraction in India has to be The Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders.
How Many Main Types Of Tourism Are There?
The three types of tourism are domestic tourism, inbound tourism, and outbound tourism.
What Type Of Information Do Monuments Give?
Every monument reminds us of the happenings in the past, and heritage, and is proof of creativity.