Are you sure that you know everything about our ancient buildings?
Incredible India is a country of great monuments and let us revisit to know more about them. Yes, we proudly say that India has interesting stories that are marvellous. Even one of the Seven Wonders of the World is in India. But, do you know everything about the great architectural memorials of our ancestors? Well, it’s time to see some of the most interesting facts about Indian monuments.
A monument that’s considered as an epitome of love. This beautiful creation with white marble was constructed by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz. In order to ensure that no such marvel is ever created again, he ordered that the hands of the labourers must be cut off so that they cannot make anything else more beautiful. It took 20 years for the completion of Taj Mahal starting from the year 1632. Around 20000 people worked for the construction of Taj Mahal. They used 1000 elephants for importing materials. The architectural style of Taj Mahal combines Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architecture. The four sides of Taj Mahal are perfectly identical. It also takes different colouring at different times of a day, pinkish hue in morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night. It is also possible to see calligraphy of Persian poems on the wall of Taj Mahal.
Red fort is one of the most iconic symbols of India, located in Delhi. Originally it was home for Mughal emperors for more than 200 years. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648, This name was derived from massive red sandstones with which it is made off. Red fort reflects the architectural styles of Mughal, Hindu, Islamic, Persian and Timurid. Red fort is situated in an area of 254 acres. It has octagonal shape. The Persian, European and Indian art works are used for decoration of red fort. The Kohinoor diamonds were used for the furnishing. Since 1947, every Indian Independence day, the Prime minister of the country hoists the national flag at the main gate of the Red Fort, Lahori gate and addresses the people through a live telecast from Red Fort.
The Qutub Minar, one of the largest minarets in India made from the rubble of sandstone, essentially signifies the triumph of Islam over Northern India. After the victory of the forces of Mohammed Ghori by his able general Qutubuddin Aibak, over the last Hindu Kingdom of Northern India-the Chauhans- the foundation of Delhi Sultanate was laid. To commemorate the spectacular feat, Qutubuddin Aibak commissioned the construction of Qutub Minar, which would symbolize the victory. The famous Lal Kot area of the compound was attacked and approximately 27 Hindu and Jain Temples were destroyed and their icons defaced to construct the giant Quwwat-Ul-Islam mosque. The construction of the Minar was started in 1199 A.D. However, only the first storey of the minaret could be constructed when Qutubuddin Aibak died in an accident, falling from his horse, while playing polo. His successor Iltutmash was a kind ruler and thereafter he finished three more stories of the tower. But in the year 1369, a powerful lightning struck Qutub Minar, destroying it completely. After this unfortunate incident, the restoration work was carried out by Sultan Firuz Shah Tuqhlaq who added two more stories to it. The Minar now has 5 stories, each with its own unique design. Being a major tourist spot, it attracts approximately 3.9 million people every year. In later part of the Delhi Sultanate, more structures were added to the Qutub Complex including Sultan Alauddin Khilji’s Tomb and a madrasa, The Alai Darwaza, Tomb of Iltutmish, Alai Minar. The Iron pillar, which however also being the part of the complex is an earlier structure.
Charminar is the signature of Hyderabad city just like Taj Mahal for Agra. It was built in 1591 AD by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah to recall the elimination of plague epidemic from his region. They used Indo-Islamic architecture style for this monument. It is made of granite, mortar and pulverised marble. There are four exquisitely shaped 56 meters tall minarets at each corners of the building. It also has double balcony. There are 149 winding steps towards the upper floor of Charminar, which is dedicated space for prayers. There is also a marvellous underground tunnel that connects Charminar to Golconda.
Hawa mahal also known as palace of winds is one of the finest tourist attractions of Jaipur city. This beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799. This pink sandstone palace is believed to be constructed in the form of crown of lord Krishna. Hawa Mahal is also a realization of Rajputana architecture. The pyramidal shape and 953 beautiful windows makes this place unique. The interior of this palace have long passages and looks very plane. In fact this palace don’t have stairs to reach the top, different stories are connected by slopes. The main intention behind the construction of 953 windows for Hawa Mahal is to get an excellent view of the whole city.
Let us learn about the South Indian temples in my next article……