2. its construction was started by Qutub-ud-Din

2. Qutub Minar :

Delhi in red and buff sandstone is the highest tower in India. It was built in the 13th century with a height of 72.5m, its construction was started by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak of Slave Dynasty in 1199 for the use of mu’azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first storey, to which were added three more storeys by his successor and son-in-law, Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish (1211-36 CE.).

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All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first storey. It has been named so after great Sufi-saint, Qutub-ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki.

The complex has a number of other important monuments such as the gateway built in 1310 CE. the Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque; the tombs of Iltutmish, Ala-ud-Din Khalji and Imam Zamin; the Alai Minar, a 7m high Iron Pillar, etc.

The latter also known as Iron Pillar of Mahrauli is one of the example of metallurgical achievement of Ancient India since it is still rust free.

UNESCO has declared the highest stone tower in India as a world heritage.

3. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque:

To the north-east of Qutub Minar was built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in A.D. 1198. It is the earliest extant – mosque built by the Delhi Sultans.

It consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and architectural members of 27 Hindu and Jaina temples, which were demolished by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak as recorded in his inscription on the main eastern entrance.

Later, a lofty arched screen was erected and the mosque was enlarged, by Shams-ud- Din Iltutmish (1210-35 CE) and Ala-ud-Din Khalji.

The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script of 4th century CE.

According to which the pillar was set up as a Vishnudhvaja (standard of god Vishnu) on the hill known as Vishnupada in memory of a mighty king named Chandra.

A deep socket on the top of the ornate capital indicates that probably an image of Garuda was fixed into it.

4. Alai-Darwaza:

The southern gateway of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque at Qutub Minar complex was constructed by Ala-ud-Din Khalji in A.H. 710 (1311 CE.) as recorded in the inscriptions engraved on it. This is the first building employing Islamic principles of construction and ornamentation.

5. Alai Minar:

Which stands to the north of Qutub Minar, was commenced by Ala-ud-Din Khalji, with the intention of making it twice the size of earlier Minar.

He could complete only the first storey, which now has an extant height of 25 m. The other remains in the Qutub complex comprise madrasa, graves, tombs, mosque and architectural members.

6. Victoria Memorial:

Kolkata was built between 1906 and 1921 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 25-year reign in India. In fact, in 1876 the British parliament made Victoria the Empress of India. Her reign ended with her death in 1901.

This huge white-marble museum, made from Makrana marbles from Rajasthan, is filled with a vast collection of remnants from the period of British Empire rule in India.

The Prince of Wales, King George V, laid the foundation stone on January 4,1906 and it was formally opened to the public in 1921.

The Victoria Memorial was designed by Sir William Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architects.

7. Rashtrapati Bhawan:

The official residence of the President of India, is located in New Delhi. It was designed by Edwin Landseer Lutyens as the erstwhile residence of the British Viceroy.

The building completed in 1929, was scheduled to be constructed in four years but it took 17 years to complete it.

The decision to build a residence in New Delhi for the British Viceroy was taken after it was decided that the capital of India would be shifted from Calcutta (Kolkata) to Delhi.

It was 26th January 1950 that the building was renamed as Rashtrapati Bhavan – the President’s House.

The building is built in two shades of sandstone and reflects a blend of Mughal and classical European style of architecture.

Inside the Presidential Estate there is the elegant Mughal Gardens, which covers an area of 13 acres and is a blend of the formal Mughal style with the design of a British Garden.

The Mughal Gardens are open to the public in February-March every year.

8. Red Fort, Delhi:

It is known by that name because of the red stone with which it is built. The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, after ruling from Agra for eleven years, decided to shift to Delhi and laid the foundation stone of the Red Fort in 1618.

It was inaugurated in 1647. With a circumference of almost one and a half miles, the fort is an irregular octagon and has two entrances, the Lahore and Delhi Gates. The Diwan-e-Aam is the Red Fort’s hall of public audience.

The Mughal emperors would hold court here and meet dignitaries and foreign emissaries. The piece de resistance of the fort, the Diwan-e-Khas was the hall of private audience.

The most highly ornamented of all Shah Jahan’s buildings, it is a pavilion of white marble supported by intricately carved pillars.

So enamoured was the emperor by the beauty of this pavilion that he engraved on it the following words: “If there is paradise on the face of this earth, it is this, it is this.”

Richly decorated with flowers of inlaid mosaic work of Cornelian and other stones, the Diwan-e-Khas once housed the famous Peacock Throne, which when it was plundered by Nadir Shah in 1739, was valued at six million sterlings.

India’s history is also closely linked with this fort. It was from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler, Bhadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of the three century long Mughal rule.

It was also from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free from colonial rule.

9. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka :

A recognized world heritage site by UNESCO, are in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains of Madhya Pradesh.

Bhimbetka is also known as Bhima’s Lounge (Bhima was the second of the five Pandava princes in the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’).

There are five clusters of natural rock shelters, displaying paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period to the historical period.

Most of the paintings here are in red and white with occasional dashes of yellow and green, with themes culled from events in everyday life.

The scenes depicted are mainly of dancing, playing music, hunting, horse and elephant riding, decorating bodies, and collecting honey.

Household scenes too constitute an occasional theme. Animals like tigers, lions, wild boar, elephants, dogs and crocodiles have also been portrayed in the paintings.

The walls of these shelters are also adorned with religious symbols that were popular with these pre-historic artists.

10. St. Cathedral :

It is one of the most celebrated religious buildings of Goa, constructed by the Roman Catholics under the Portuguese rule during the 16th century. It is the largest church in Asia.

The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria on whose feast day in 1510 Alfonso Albuquerque defeated the Muslim army and took possession of the city of Goa. Hence it is also known as St. Catherine’s Cathedral.

The construction of this imposing edifice began in 1562 during the reign of King Dom Sebastiao (1557-78) and substantially completed by 1619. It was consecrated in 1640.

The building is Portuguese-Gothic in style with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior.

Cathedral’s tower houses a famous bell, the largest in Goa and one of the best in the world, often referred to as ‘Golden Bell’ on account of its rich tone.

11. Sikandara Fort :

Located only 13 km from the Agra Fort is the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar, the great.

He was the heir to a long tradition of oriental refinement, a great patron of the arts, literature, philosophy and science.

A visit to Akbar’s monument opens before one, the completeness of Akbar’s personality as completely as the Taj Mahal does of Mumtaz Mahal’s. Akbar’s vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb is set amidst a lush garden.

Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it. Akbar’s son Jahangir completed the construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613.

12. Sun Temple, Konark :

It is located in the eastern State of Orissa near the sacred city of Puri and is dedicated to the sun God or Surya.

It is a monumental representation of the sun God Surya’s chariot; its 24 wheels are decorated with symbolic designs and it is led by a team of horses. It is a masterpiece of Orissa’s medieval architecture.

The temple declared a world heritage by UNESCO was built in 1250 CE. during the reign of the Eastern Ganga King Narasimhadeva-I (A.D. 1238-64). There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the Konark Sun Temple.

Some say the wheels represent the 24 hours in a day and others say the 12 months. The seven horses are said to symbolize the seven days of the week.

Sailors once called this Sun Temple of Konarak, the Black Pagoda because it was supposed to draw ships into the shore and cause shipwrecks.

13. Agra Fort :

The 16th century Mughal fort constructed by Akbar the great at the capital city of Agra is known as the Red Fort of Agra.

There are a number of exquisite buildings inside the fort like Moti Masjid-a white marble mosque akin to a perfect pearl; Diwan-E-Am, Diwan-E-Khaas, Musamman Burj – where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan died in 1666 A.D., Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal.

Agra Fort, an excellent example of Mughal architecture, is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

14. Ajanta & Ellora Caves :

These were built between the 2nd century B.C., and the 6th century A.D. The paintings and sculptures in the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, inspired by contemporary religions unleashed a surge of artistic excellence unmatched in human history.

The rock-out caves of Ajanta are located in Aurangabad district in Maharashtra. A set of 29 caves, Ajanta is among the finest examples of some of the earliest Buddhist architecture, cave paintings and sculptures.

These caves comprise Chaitya halls or shrines, dedicated to Lord Buddha and Viharas or monasteries.

The paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings of the caves depict incidents from the life of Lord Buddha and various Buddhist divinities.

Among the most interesting paintings are the Jataka tales, illustrating diverse stories relating to the previous incarnations of the Buddha as Bodhisattava, a saintly being who is destined to become the Buddha.

These elaborate sculptures and paintings stand in impressive grandeur in spite of withstanding the ravages of time.

Amid the beautiful images and paintings are sculptures of Buddha, calm and serene in contemplation.

The cave temples and monasteries at Ellora are also located in Aurangabad district. Sculptors, inspired by Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, created elaborate rock carvings.

Extending in a linear arrangement, the 34 caves contain Buddhist Chaityas or halls of worship, Viharas or monasteries and Hindu and Jain temples.

Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5th and 11th century CE. the earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29).

The most imposing excavation is, without doubt, that of the magnificent Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) which is the largest monolithic structure in the world.

Known as Verul in ancient times, it has continuously attracted pilgrims through the centuries to the present day.

Declared as World Heritage Sites by LTNESCO since 1983, the paintings and sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a great influence in the development of art in India.

The creative use of colour and freedom of expression used in depicting human and animal forms makes the cave paintings at Ajanta one of the high watermarks of artistic creativity.

15. Amer Fort :

The ancient capital of the Kachhawah rulers is located near Jaipur. It stands amidst wooded hills and its ramparts are reflected in the still waters of the Maota Lake below. It is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture.

The original palace was built by Raja Man Singh and additions were made later by Sawai Jai Singh.

Within the palace are the Diwan-e-Aam or the ‘Hall of Public Audience’, the Diwan-e-Khas or the ‘Hall of Private Audience’ and the Sukh Niwas where a cool breeze blows across channels of water for the purpose of air-conditioning.

There is also the Jai Mandir or the ‘Temple of Victory’, with its famous Sheesh Mahal, the scintillating ‘Hall of Mirrors’.

16. Bara Imambara, Lucknow :

A historical edifice with such a marvellous architecture that even modern architects seem to be perplexed by its design.

The Imambara was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah in 1784 in a famine relief programme. The structure is also called Asafai Imambara.

The structure shows the mixture of Rajput and Mughal architectures with Gothic influences. Bara Imambara is an interesting building.

It is neither a mosque, nor a mausoleum, but a huge building having interesting elements within it. The construction of the halls and the use of vaults show a strong Islamic influence.

The Bara Imambara is, in fact, a great hall built at the end of a spectacular courtyard approached through two magnificent triple-arched gateways.

The central hall of the Imambara is almost 50 meters in length and 16-meter wide. The ceiling of this columnless hall is more than 15-meter high.

The hall is one of the largest of its kind in the world without any external support of wood, iron, or stone beams. The roof has been put together with interlocking bricks without using a beam or a girder.

Hence, it is viewed as a unique achievement of architecture. The building, which consists of three huge halls, has an amazing maze of corridors hidden in between its walls that are about 20 feet thick.

This dense, dark maze is called the’bhul bhulaiya’. It is a network of more than 1000 labyrinthine passages, some of which have dead-ends, some end at precipitous drops while others lead to entrance or exit points.

Another structure at the Imambara is the five-storied baoli (step well), which belongs to the pre-Nawabi era. Called the Shahi-Hammain (royal bath), this baoli is connected with the river Gomti. Only the first two stories are above water, the rest being perennially under water.

17. Charminar :

The Charminar is a massive arch built by Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah, in 1591 to commemorate the end of the plague in the city.

The symbol of the city, the Charminar, is an impressive square monument with four minarets.

The monument is a magnificent square edifice of granite, built upon four grand arches facing North, South, East and West.

These arches support two floors of rooms and gallery of archways. At each corner of the square structure is a minaret rising to a height of 24 meters, making the building nearly 54 meters tall.

It is these four (char] minarets (minar) that give the building, its name ‘Charminar’. Each minar stands on a lotus-leaf base, a special recurrent motif in Qutub Shahi buildings.

The first floor was used as a madarasa (college) during the Qutub Shahi period. The second floor has a mosque on the western side, the dome of which is visible from the road, if one stands some distance away. The clocks above each of the four archways were added in 1889.

18. Dilwara Temples :

The Dilwara Jain temples in Mount Abu, (Rajasthan) enshrines various Jain ‘Tirthankaras’. Constructed out of white marble, the temples are an outstanding example of Jain temple architecture.

Of the five shrines in this group, four are architecturally significant. Each has a walled courtyard.

In the centre of the courtyard is the shrine with the image of the deity Rishabhdev. Around the large courtyard, there are numerous small shrines, each housing a beautiful image of the tirthankaras with a series of elegantly carved pillars from the entrance to the courtyard.

The ministers of the Solanki rulers of Gujarat had constructed all these temples during 11th and 13th centuries CE.

Vimal Vasahi is the oldest temple, which has been dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankara.

Vimal Shah, minister of the then Solanki ruler of Gujarat, built it in the year 1031 CE. The special feature of this temple is its ceiling which is circular in eleven richly carved concentric rings.

The central ceiling of the temple is adorned with magnificent carving and it culminates into an ornamented central pendant.

The pendant of the dome tapers down forming a drop or point, like a lotus flower. This is an astonishing piece of work.

It symbolizes the divine grace coming down to fulfil human aspirations. Figures of 16 Vidya Devis (goddesses of knowledge) are carved on the ceiling.

The other Dilwara temples are the Luna Vasahi, Vastupala and Tejapala, named after the ministers of the then Vaghela ruler of Gujarat who built them in 1230 CE.

Inspite of being plain and austere on the outside, the interiors of all these temples are covered with delicate carvings.

Its most notable feature is that the brilliant intricacy and delicacy of the marble carving is so fine that in places the marble becomes almost transparent.

Dilwara temples are one of the best examples of craftsmanship, the genius of carving out so brilliant and intricate a shape out of a block of stone, such that it almost comes to life!

19. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus :

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus in Mumbai, Maharashtra is a fine example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, with a blend of themes derived from Indian traditional architecture. The terminus exhibits an important interchange of influences between the two.

The building, designed by the British architect F.W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay (now Mumbai) as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port city in the Indian subcontinent.

The terminal was built over ten years, starting in 1878 according to a High Victorian Gothic design based on late medieval Italian models.

Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches, and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture.

On 2nd July 2004, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO nominated this magnificent specimen of late 19th century railway architecture as a World Heritage Site.

This terminus is one of the rare specimens of the excellent fusion of traditional western and Indian architecture and adds a unique variety to the rich Indian heritage.

20. Chola Temples :

Situated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, this World Heritage site comprises the three great 11th and 12th century Chola Temples: the Brihadisvara temples of Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholisvaram, and the Airatesvara temple at Darasuram.

The three Chola temples in India are exemplary production in the Dravidian style of temple architecture.

The Brihadisvara temples are situated at Thanjavur, the ancient capital of the Chola kings. King Rajaraja Chola constructed the Brihadisvara Temple in 10th century CE., designed by the famous architect Sama Varma.

The Cholas were great patrons of art, during their reign, as a result, the most magnificent temples and exquisite bronze icons were created in South India.

The Brihadisvara temple is crowned by a pyramidal 65-m vimana, a sanctum tower. Its walls are covered with rich sculptural decoration. The second Brihadisvara temple complex built by Rajendra I was completed in 1035.

Its 53-m vimana has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur.

It has six pairs of massive, monolithic dvarapalas statues guarding the entrances and bronzes of remarkable beauty inside.

The other two temples, Gangaikondacholisvaram and Airatesvara were also built in the age of Cholas and testify their brilliant achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.

The great Temple of Tanjore (Thanjavur) was built between 1003 and 1010 in the reign of the King Rajaraja, of the Chola Empire which stretched all over South India and the neighbouring islands.

Surrounded by two rectangular enclosures, the Brihadisvara Temple (built from blocks of granite and, in part, from bricks) is crowned with a pyramidal 13-storey tower, the vimana, standing 61 m high and topped with a bulb-shaped monolith. The walls of the temple are covered with rich sculptural decoration.

21. Elephanta Caves :

Elephanta anciently known as Gharapuri, the island capital of Konkan Mauryas, is celebrated for its colossal image of Mahesamurti with three heads each representing a different form.

The Elephanta island is located 10 km away from the Gateway of India. The cave temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was excavated sometime in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta kings, who ruled the area between 757-973 CE.

The Elephanta caves is a conglomeration of seven caves, out of which the most important is the Mahesa murti cave.

The main body of the cave, excluding the porticos on the three open sides and the back isle, is 27 metres square and is supported by rows of six columns each. The gigantic figures of ‘dvarapalas’ or doorkeepers are very impressive.

There are sculptured compartments in this cave with remarkable images of Ardhanarisvara, Kalyana-sundara Shiva, Ravana lifting Kailasa, Andhakari-Murti (slaying of Andhaka demon) and Nataraja Shiva.

The cave complex has been given the status of world heritage by UNESCO.

22. Fatehpur Sikri :

The royal city at Fatehpur Sikri, situated 26 miles west of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, was built under the orders of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, is honour of saint Shaikh Salim Chisti, on Sikri ridge.

In 1571, he ordered the construction of buildings for his own use and asked the noblemen to build houses for themselves.

Within a year, most of the work was finished and within the next few years, a well planned administrative, residential and religious buildings came into existence.

The Jami Mosque was perhaps among the first buildings to come up. Its epigraph gives AH 979 (1571-72 CE.) as the date of its completion.

The Buland Darwaza was added some five years later. Among other important buildings are the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti, Naubat or Naqqar Khana (drum house), Taksal (mint), Karkhanas (royal workshop), Khazana (treasury), Hakim’s quarters, Diwan-i-Am (hall of public audience), house of Maryam also called Sunahra Makan (Golden House), palace of Jodha Bai, Birbal’s house, etc.

24. Gateway of India :

The Gateway of India is synonymous with Mumbai. It is the most famous monument of Mumbai it is a great historical monument built during the British rule in the country.

It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai (then, Bombay).

Gateway of India was built at Apollo Bunder, a popular meeting place. It was designed by the British architect, George Wittet.

The foundation stone of the Gateway of India was laid down by the then Governor of Bombay (Mumbai) on March 31st 1913.

The archway is 26 meters high and joined with four turrets and intricate latticework carved on stones. The arch alone was built at the cost of 21 lakhs.

It is built in Indo-Sarcenic style, though some influence of Gujarati style is also evident in its architecture. The structure itself is quite majestic and a hybrid of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

In the past Gateway of India used to be the arrival point for visitors from the west. Ironically, when the Raj ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph; the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway.

25. Gingee Fort :

Gingee in Puducherry is one of the finest forts in South India. Its origin dates back to the 9th century when it was a stronghold of the Cholas but the fort as it looks today is the handiwork of the Vijaynagara kings who made it an impregnable citadel.

The fortified city is built on the seven hills, the most prominent of which are Krishnagiri, Chandragiri and Rajagiri.

Surrounded by high walls, it was so strategically planned as to make enemies think twice before they attacked.

Strongly guarded by a triple gate beyond which lay equally heavily guarded courts, the summit of the Rajagiri could not have been easily attained by any of the enemies.

26. Golconda Fort :

The 400 year old majestic and imposing Golconda Fort is situated on the western outskirts of Hyderabad.

The fort was built by the Kakatiya dynasty in the 13th century and is considered one of India’s most outstanding citadels.

It epitomises the sumptuous ‘Nawabi’ culture of the time. ‘Shepherd’s Hill’ or ‘Golla Konda’, as it was popularly known in Telugu, has an interesting story behind it.

One day, a shepherd boy came across an idol on the rocky hill, which was called Mangalavaram. The news was conveyed to the ruling Kakatiya king.

The king got a mud fort constructed around the holy spot and his descendents continued to follow this trend.

Later, the Golconda fort came into the possession of the Bahmani dynasty. Still later, the Qutub Shahi dynasty took over and made Golconda its capital. Golconda fort owes much of its present grandeur to Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah.

The subsequent generations saw Golconda being fortified further with several additions and the formation of a beautiful city within.

By the 17th century, Golconda was famous as a diamond market. It gave the world some of the best-known diamonds, including the ‘Kohinoor’.

The magnificent architecture of the Golconda fort is very imposing and this is evident from the colossal gate at the entrance studded with long iron spikes, to deter invading armies from battering it down.

The gate leads to the portico known as the Balahisar gate, magnificent as the gate itself.

The acoustic system, which was so designed that a handclap sounded at the Balahisar gate of the fort could be heard right up in the citadel is an interesting aspect of the fort.

The brilliant planning of the architects is evident from the ventilation, which is so designed to let in bouts of fresh cool breeze.

The fort has the Royal Nagina Gardens, the bodyguards’ barracks, and the three water tanks, all of 12 metres deep, which once formed part of an intricate water system in the fort.

The crowning glory of the fort is the durbar hall, which stands atop a hill overlooking the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

27. Golden Temple :

Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating), situated in Amritsar (Punjab), is the most sacred temple for Sikhs.

Guru Arjan Dev, the 5th Guru, conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself designed the architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib.

Earlier, the plan to excavate the holy tank (Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar) was chalked out by Guru Amardas the 3rd Guru, but Guru Ramdas, 4th Guru executed it under the supervision of Baba Budhaji.

The construction work on the Sarovar (the tank) and the town started simultaneously in 1570. The work on both the projects was completed in 1577 CE.

Guru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mirji of Lahore, in December 1588. The construction work was supervised by Guru Arjan himself.

Unlike erecting the structure on the higher level, Guru Arjan Sahib got it built on the lower level and got it open from all four sides. Thus, he created a symbol of new faith, Sikhism. It is accessible to every person without any distinction based on caste, creed, sex and religion.

The building work was completed by September 1604. Guru Arjan installed newly created ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ (the holy book of the Sikhs), in Sri Harmandir Sahib and appointed Baba Budhaji as its first Granthi i.e., the reader of ‘Guru Granth Sahib’. After this event it attained the status of ‘Ath Sath Tirath’, ‘Sikh nation’s Own Tirath’.

Sri Harmandir Sahib, is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre of the Sarovar (tank). The temple itself is 40.5ft. square.

It has a door each on the East, West, North and South. The Darshani Deori (an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway.

The doorframe of the arch is about 10ft in height and 8ft 6inches in breadth. The door panels are decorated in artistic style.

It opens on to the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib. It is 202 feet in length and 21 feet in width.

The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide ‘Pardakshna’ (circumambulatory path). It runs around the main shrine and it leads to the ‘Har ki Paure’ (steps of God). On the first floor of ‘Har ki Paure’, there is continuous reading of ‘Guru Granth Sahib’.

On the top stands the low fluted ‘Gumbaz’ (dome) having lotus petal motif in relief at the base and an inverted lotus at the top, which supports the ‘Kalash’ having a beautiful ‘Chhatri’ at the end.

Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslim and the Hindu way of construction work and this is considered as one of the best architectural specimens of the world.

It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India.

The temple is a noted combination of stupendous beauty and sublime peacefulness.

28. Gwalior Fort :

Gwalior fort is one of the most invincible forts in India. This imposing citadel has changed many hands.

It is built on a hill of sandstone and towers 100 meters from the plain. The outer wall of the fort is almost 2 miles in length and the width varies from one km’s to 200 meters. The walls of the fort give way onto the steep slopes.