India is a nation that is steeped in history and tradition. With so many religions and languages dotting this nation of more than a billion people there is much to see and do if you visit. In order to help best direct you towards places that will really fill your vacation with some of the mystique India has to offer I have compiled a short list of places to visit. With any luck your trip to India will be able to show the melting pot of culture and tradition that India really is.
Perhaps India’s most recognizable building the Taj Mahal looms large like an Arabian fairy tale from the banks of the Yamuna River. Dating back to 1630 AD, the Taj Mahal took 22 years to complete with 20,000 workers painstakingly laying thousands of tonnes of marble needed to erect it. Giving a romantic weight to the building is that Emperor Shah Jahan created it as an ode of love to his wife Mumtaz Mahal. A captivating aspect of the Taj Mahal is that its construction caters to the sunlight and creates an effect where the colours appear to change throughout the day.
Hampi was once the capital of Vijayanagar one of the greatest Hindu empires in India history. Now, just a laid back village the area is still host to a multiplicity of intriguing ruins and monuments intermingled with large boulders that rear up across the landscape. The sheer quantity of ruins allows them to stretch 25 kilometers with more than 500 monuments represented in that distance. This is a place where the past vivisects with the present and creates a tangible energy that can be felt.
These are the temples that worship the body and sexuality. The Khajiraho temples, more than 20 in total, are filled with erotic sculptures and are reknowned for being the place where the karma sutra was written. These carvings – done in exquisite, painstaking detail – celebrate love, life and worship and exist as an uninhibited peek into the ancient Hindu faith and the Tantric practices that also sprung from it.
Ajanta and Ellora Caves
Created in the hillside rock in the middle of nowhere are the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. 34 of the caves Created between the 6th and 11th centuries while 29 more date as far back as the 2nd century BC. Inside the Ajanta caves are a rich collection of painting and sculpture. The Ellora caves are renowned for their amazing architecture. What adds weight to what is inside the caves is the fact that they were hand crafted with only hammer and chisels.