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
The Rise of Islam in South-Asia
The initial entry of Islam into South Asia came in the first century after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The Umayyad caliph in Damascus sent an expedition to Baluchistan and Sindh in 711 led by Muhammad bin Qasim. He captured Sindh and Multan. Three hundred years after his death Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, the ferocious leader, led a series of raids against Rajput kingdoms and rich Hindu temples, and established a base in Punjab for future incursions. In 1024, the Sultan set out on his last famous expedition to the southern coast of Kathiawar along the Arabian Sea, where he sacked the city of Somnath and its renowned Hindu temple.
Muslim Invasion In India
Muhammad Ghori invaded India in 1175 A.D. After the conquest of Multan and Punjab, he advanced towards Delhi. The brave Rajput chiefs of northern India headed by Prithvi Raj Chauhan defeated him in the First Battle of Terrain in 1191 A.D. After about a year, Muhammad Ghori came again to avenge his defeat. A furious battle was fought again in Terrain in 1192 A.D. in which the Rajputs were defeated and Prithvi Raj Chauhan was captured and put to death. The Second Battle of Terrain, however, proved to be a decisive battle that laid the foundations of Muslim rule in northern India.
The Delhi Sultanate
The period between 1206 A.D. and 1526 A.D. in India's history is known as the Delhi Sultanate period. During this period of over three hundred years, five dynasties ruled in Delhi. These were: the Slave dynasty (1206-90), Khilji dynasty (1290-1320), Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413), Sayyid dynasty (1414-51), and Lodhi dynasty (1451-1526).
The Slave Dynasty
The concept of equality in Islam and Muslim traditions reached its climax in the history of South Asia when slaves were raised to the status of Sultan. The Slave Dynasty ruled the Sub-continent for about 84 years. It was the first Muslim dynasty that ruled India. Qutub-ud-din Aibak, a slave of Muhammad Ghori, who became the ruler after the death of his master, founded the Slave Dynasty. He was a great builder who built the majestic 238 feet high stone tower known as Qutub Minar in Delhi.
The next important king of the Slave dynasty was Shams-ud-din Iltutmush, who himself was a slave of Qutub-ud-din Aibak. Iltutmush ruled for around 26 years from 1211 to 1236 and was responsible for setting the Sultanate of Delhi on strong footings. Razia Begum, the capable daughter of Iltutmush, was the first and the only Muslim lady who ever adorned the throne of Delhi. She fought valiantly, but was defeated and killed.
Finally, the youngest son of Iltutmush, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud became Sultan in 1245. Though Mahmud ruled India for around 20 years, but throughout his tenure the main power remained in the hands of Balban, his Prime Minister. On death of Mahmud, Balban directly took over the throne and ruled Delhi. During his rule from 1266 to 1287, Balban consolidated the administrative set up of the empire and completed the work started by Iltutmush.
The Khilji Dynasty
Following the death of Balban, the Sultanate became weak and there were number of revolts. This was the period when the nobles placed Jalal-ud-din Khilji on the throne. This marked the beginning of Khilji dynasty. The rule of this dynasty started in 1290 A.D. Ala-ud-din Khilji, a nephew of Jalal-ud-din Khilji hatched a conspiracy and got Sultan Jalal-ud-din killed and proclaimed himself as the Sultan in 1296. Ala-ud-din Khilji was the first Muslim ruler whose empire covered almost whole of India up to its extreme south. He fought many battles, conquered Gujarat, Ranthambhor, Chittor, Malwa, and Deccan. During his reign of 20 years, Mongols invaded the country several times but were successfully repulsed. From these invasion Alla-ud-din Khilji learnt the lessons of keeping himself prepared, by fortifying and organizing his armed forces. Alla-ud-din died in 1316 A.D., and with his death, the Khilji dynasty came to an end.
The Tughlaq Dynasty
Ghyasuddin Tughlaq, who was the Governor of Punjab during the reign of Ala-ud-din Khilji, ascended the throne in 1320 A.D. and founded the Tughlaq dynasty. He conquered Warrangal and put down a revolt in Bengal. Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq succeeded his father and extended the kingdom beyond India, into Central Asia. Mongols invaded India during Tughlaq rule, and were defeated this time too.
Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq first shifted his capital from Delhi to Devagiri in Deccan. However, it had to be shifted back within two years. He inherited a massive empire but lost many of its provinces, more particularly Deccan and Bengal. He died in 1351 A.D. and his cousin, Feroz Tughlaq succeeded him.
Feroz Tughlaq did not contribute much to expand the territories of the empire, which he inherited. He devoted much of his energy to the betterment of the people. After his death in 1388, the Tughlaq dynasty came virtually to an end. Although the Tughlaqs continued to reign till 1412, the invasion of Delhi by Timur in 1398 may be said to mark the end of the Tughlaq empire.