Sheer poetry in marble. Majesty and magnificence, unrivalled, the Taj Mahal is the only one of its kind across the world. The monumental labour of love of a great ruler for his beloved queen. The ultimate realisation of Emperor Shahjahan's dream. One of the wonders of the world. From 1631 A.D., it took 22 years in its making.
An estimated 20,000 people worked to complete the enchanting mausoleum, on the banks of the Yamuna. For a breathtaking beautiful view of the Taj Mahal, one has to see it by moonlight.View More
Brhadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
The Brhadisvara Temple, a splendid example of Chola architecture was built by Emperor Rajaraja (985-1012 A.D.). The long series of epigraphs incised in elegant letters on the plinth all round the gigantic edifice reveals the personality of the Emperor.
The Brhadisvara temple is a monument dedicated to Siva, and he named lord as Rajarajesvaram-udayar after himself.View More
Near the gardens of Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise.
Agra Fort, an excellent example of Mughal architecture, is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.View More
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is synonymous with Mumbai. It is the most famous monument of Mumbai and is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. Gateway of India 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.View More
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
The Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya is located in the central part of the state of Bihar, in the northeastern part of India. It is the part of the great Ganges plains. The Mahabodhi Temple is located at the place of Lord Buddha's enlightenment. Bihar is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment.View More
One of the most ancient and celebrated religious buildings of Goa, this magnificent 16th century monument, constructed by the Roman Catholics under the Portuguese rule, 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 and is bigger than any of the churches in Portugal itself.View More
Victoria Memorial is one of the famous and beautiful monuments of Kolkata. It was built between 1906 and 1921 to commemorate Queen Victoria's 25-year reign in India.
After the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the British government gathered the reins of control of the country directly, and in 1876 the British parliament made Victoria the Empress of India. Her reign ended with her death in 1901.View More
An important landmark in the cultural history of medieval India was the silent revolution in society brought about by a galaxy of socio-religious reformers, a revolution known as the Bhakti Movement. This movement was responsible for many rites and rituals associated with the worship of God by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of Indian subcontinent. For example, Kirtan at a Hindu Temple, Qawaali at a Dargah (by Muslims), and singing of Gurbani at a Gurdwara are all derived from the Bhakti movement of medieval India (800-1700). The leader of this Hindu revivalist movement was Shankaracharya, a great thinker and a distinguished philosopher. And this movement was propounded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Namadeva, Tukaram, Jayadeva. The movement's major achievement was its abolition of idol worship.
The leader of the bhakti movement focusing on the Lord as Rama was Ramananda. Very little is known about him, but he is believed to have lived in the first half of the 15th century. He taught that Lord Rama is the supreme Lord, and that salvation could be attained only through love for and devotion to him, and through the repetition of his sacred name.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was an ascetic Hindu monk and social reformer in 16th century Bengal. A great proponent of loving devotion for God, bhakti yoga, Chaitanya worshiped the Lord in the form of Krishna.
Sri Ramanuja Acharya was an Indian philosopher and is recognized as the most important saint of Sri Vaishnavism. Ramananda brought to North India what Ramanuja did in South India. He raised his voice against the increasing formalism of the orthodox cult and founded a new school of Vaishnavism based on the gospel of love and devotion. His most outstanding contribution is the abolition of distinctions of caste among his followers.
Followers of Bhakti movement in 12th and 13th Century included saints such as Bhagat Namdev, and Saint Kabir Das, who insisted on the devotional singing of praises of lord through their own compositions.
Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru and founder of the Sikhism, too was a Nirguna Bhakti Saint and social reformer. He was opposed to all distinctions of caste as well as the religious rivalries and rituals. He preached the unity of God and condemned formalism and ritualism of both Islam and Hinduism. Guru Nanak's gospel was for all men. He proclaimed their equality in all respects.
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries continued to witness the rise of many religious reformers. The exponent of the Rama cult and the Krishna cult among the Vaishnavas branched off into a number of sects and creeds. The leading light of the Rama cult was saint-poet Tulsidas. He was a very great scholar and had made a profound study of Indian philosophy and literature. His great poem, 'Ramacharitamanasa', popularly called Tulsi-krita Ramayana is very popular among the Hindu devotees. He set before the people the image of Sri Rama as all virtuous, all powerful, the Lord of the World, and the very embodiment of the Supreme Reality (Parabrahma).
The followers of the Krishna cult founded the Radha Ballabhi sect under Hari Vamsa in 1585 A.D. Sur Das wrote 'Sursagar' in Brajbhasha, which is full of verses of the charm of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha.
The terms Sufi, Wali, Darvesh and Faqir are used for Muslim saints who attempted to achieve development of their intuitive faculties through ascetic exercises, contemplation, renunciation and self-denial. By the 12th century A.D., Sufism had become a universal aspect of Islamic social life as its influence extended over almost the entire Muslim community.
Sufism represents the inward or esoteric side of Islam or the mystical dimension of Muslim religion. However, the Sufi saints transcending all religious and communal distinctions, worked for promoting the interest of humanity at large. The Sufis were a class of philosophers remarkable for their religious catholicity. Sufis regarded God as the supreme beauty and believed that one must admire it, take delight in His thought and concentrate his attention on Him only. They believed that God is 'Mashuq' and Sufis are the 'Ashiqs'.
Sufism crystallized itself into various 'Silsilahs' or orders. The 4 most popular among these were Chistis, Suhrawardis, Qadiriyahs and Naqshbandis.
Sufism took roots in both rural and urban areas and exercised a deep social, political and cultural influence on the masses. It rebelled against all forms of religious formalism, orthodoxy, falsehood and hypocrisy and endeavoured to create a new world order in which spiritual bliss was the only and the ultimate goal. At a time when struggle for political power was the prevailing madness, the Sufi saints reminded men of their moral obligations. To a world torn by strife and conflict they tried to bring peace and harmony. The most important contribution of Sufism is that it helped to blunt the edge of Hindu-Muslim prejudices by forging the feelings of solidarity and brotherhood between these two religious communities.