Monuments: The Historical Marvels of Uttar Pradesh
“History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard. It is a poem with events as verses.” -Charles Angoff
True isn’t it? History is like a musical composition which can be heard by your heart. But if you are looking for a symphony, where do you go? Perhaps, monuments have your answers. Think about it.
In case, it appeals to you, Uttar Pradesh is dotted with many historical monuments that virtually transport you to a different era. And it’s quite a surreal experience.
Monuments of Uttar Pradesh includes beautiful cenotaphs, forts, walled cities, stupas and ancient ruins of Buddhism. The city homes several famous sites like Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Dhamek Stupa. These monuments have also been declared as the World Heritage Sites.
Also called as ‘The Heartland of India’, Uttar Pradesh Monuments date back to 500 BC. The region saw a spur in number of monuments during the rule of Gupta Dynasty (320-550 BC). It was called as the Golden Age of India when art, architecture, science and philosophy reached great heights. After all, Guptas were great lovers of art and architecture.
So get ready to spot an ancient Jain temple situated in the vicinity of the Mughal’s Fathepur Sikri or admire the elaborate marble work at Taj Mahal. Whatever your choice might be, it’s going to be an enthralling experience. Go ahead and book for Uttar Pradesh Tour Packages to witness the epitomes of love, power and pride in North India.
Following are some of the famous monuments of Uttar Pradesh
Revered as an epitome of love, Taj Mahal is the one of the famous monumental prides of India. It is located in Agra city, about 50km away from Mathura. It is a stunning white-marble mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The construction began in 1631 and took almost 22 years for its completion.
The building reflects a perfect example of Mughal architecture. It was designed by a Persian-Afghan architect named Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Presumably, Emperor Shah Jahan wanted to build a black colour Taj Mahal on the other side of the River Yamuna. However, his plans did not come into fruition due to conflict with his sons.
Taj Mahotsav is a famous festival held in the backdrop of this monument. It is organised every year during February by Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department to encourage the tourism of India. It gives a platform to showcase the various art and culture of the country.
Agra Fort is a stunning ensemble of architectural traditions of Rajput and Mughal dynasties. It is located in Agra, about 6km away from Taj Mahal. The walls of the fort are made of red sandstone thus giving it the sobriquet of ‘Red Fort of Agra’. Presumably, the construction of the fort was initiated by Emperor Akbar during 1565.
However, according to the historical evidences a fort-like structure pre-existed even before 1565.
The site is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture. The present building was designed by architect Qasim Khan Mir Barr-wa-Bahr. It initially served as the military post for Mughals. Later Emperor Shah Jahan added few marble-made constructions to the site and turned it into a palace.
The history of Agra Fort also suggests that it was visited by great dignitaries and once contained the great treasury of Mughal Dynasty. There are four entrances at the four cardinal sides of the fort with only one southward gate in use today. The site bagged the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004.
Emperor Akbar is known for his multitudes of constructional contributions to India. One of them is Fatehpur Sikri situated in Sikri village, about 40km away from Agra Fort. It is an entire city built by Emperor Akbar during 1571-1585. It served as the capital for Mughals before Agra. It is said that Akbar moved the capital only after two years of its construction due to the water crisis.
An interesting legend is attached to this site. It says that Akbar was childless till the age of 26. A Sufi saint named Shaikh Salim Chisti living in the Sikri village predicted that Akbar would have three sons. The prediction soon turned into a reality and Akbar was blessed with three sons. He built the city as a gesture of respect for the saint.
Buland Darwaza is a massive gateway built in the city during 1575. Along with this impressive architecture the site also holds majestic palaces, wells, a mosque and the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti. A blend of Persian and Mughal architecture is clearly visible in the construction. Interestingly, Archaeological Survey of India discovered an ancient Jain temple in its vicinity during December 1999.
It is one of the major Buddhist sites located in Sarnath city, about 11km away from Varanasi. It is a cylindrical-shaped stupa with a height of 34m and a width of 28.3m. It was built by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after the enlightenment. Erected in 500CE, it is believed to have replaced a previous existing structure.
The archaeological findings indicate that the structure was enlarged and expanded on nearly 12 occasions. Hiuen Tsang, a famous Chinese traveller also visited the site during 640 CE. His accounts state that the actual stupa stretched up to a height of 91m. The excavations around it have also revealed several other votive stupas and ancient monasteries.
Dhamek Stupa boasts of being the largest structure in Sarnath. Delicate floral designs are seen at the lower part of it. Eight niches are present on the outer walls of the stupa which might have once contained the images of Lord Buddha. The highlights of Gupta Period are evident in the intricate carvings done just below these niches.
History becomes even more meaningful by exploring historical sites. So, this season plan your trip to monuments in Uttar Pradesh for an old and historic experience.
Best Time to Visit
The months from October to March are perfect to plan your holidays to Uttar Pradesh. The months from April to June can be extremely hot, so tourism should be avoided. July to September bring monsoon showers in the state which is not considered ideal for sightseeing tours.
How to Reach
By Air: Uttar Pradesh has four domestic airports in Lucknow, Agra, Kanpur and Varanasi connecting to all other major cities of India.
By Rail: Railways is the best way to reach here as the state has a great railway network with junctions in Agra, Kanpur, Faizabad, Allahabad, Mughal Sarai, etc.
By Road: Road connectivity in Uttar Pradesh is also good with availability of numerous private and state run buses.
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