Architecture and Culture
Pre-historic cave arts at Bhimbetka and Edakkal are witness to a long historical journey of India’s architecture; with a history of over 5000 years it followed a succession of styles. Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and European.
Buddhism influenced the earliest stone structure of the grand Stupa at Sanchi, which is over 2300 yrs old. The splendid rock-cut caves at Ajanta and Ellora, symbolize the coming of stone structural design that date back from 5th century onwards. The oldest university of Nalanda (4th to 6th century), Stupas of Sarnath and Mahabodhi Temple of Bodhgaya are some of the survived specimen of ancient Buddhist culture. The Tantrik Buddhism has survived till date in the high Himalayas which is similar to Tibetan Buddhism. The most famous monasteries are in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Himachal Pradesh also has the exiled Government of Tibet headed by the spiritual leader HH The Dalai Lama.
The Temple art and architecture is different in North and South of India, which flourished between 5th to 15th centuries. The finest examples of this type of architecture are temples of Khajuraho (10th century) with their exquisite carvings on stone, Temples of Orissa (Jagannath at Puri and Konarak Sun Temple and many more in Bhubaneshwar), Temples of Tanjore, Kumbakonam and Darasuram in Tamil Nadu, the 7th century Shore Temples of Mahabalipuram, famous Meenakshi Temple at the oldest South Indian city of Madurai (2500 yrs) and the Hoysala style of temples from 12th to 13th century at Somnathpur, Belur and Halebid. The golden age of Hindu architecture down south is preserved at Hampi the seat of the Vijayanagar Empire from the 15th century. North of Hampi the ornate temples of Pattadakal, the awe-inspiring Cave Temples of Badami and rock cut caves of Aihole are some examples of rich historical heritage. Numerous Forts, Palaces and Temples of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Central India are full of history, art and culture of medieval times. The pilgrimage towns of Haridwar, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Omkareshwar and Maheshwar still carry the old traditions and life-style as in ancient times.
Islamic architecture made a major contribution with its domes, arches, and minarets built in elegant styles, from 11th century till the 18th century. This is the time where a fusion of Indo-Islamic architecture gave some of the most exquisite examples of art. The finest example range from the tallest victory tower called QutubMinar (11th century, in Delhi), the mosques and famous tombs including Humayun’s Tomb, Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb (in Agra), GolGumbaj at Bijapur, Mughal Gardens of Kashmir, Jama Mosque of Delhi, Mosques of Bhopal and Imambaras of Lucknow; to the forts and palaces of Agra, FatehpurSikri, Delhi, Daulatabad (near Aurangabad) and Mandu. The most special of them all is the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most precious of all the World Heritage Monuments.
European traders influenced and left their mark on various parts of South India. The cities of Pondicherry, Madras (Chennai), Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Cochin, Panjim (Goa) are some of the best examples of Indo-European architecture. The British also developed several Hill stations to escape the heat and dust of the sub-continent during Indian Summer. In fact Shimla was so charming, it attracted the entire British administration that the whole Government used to shift from Calcutta to Shimla (a distance of 2xxx kms) and was declared the Summer Capital of the Government of India in 1864.
DMC India is pioneer in tailor-made tours and with its experienced team of consultants would love to create a special program for people who love to explore the different architecture marvels. Please do contact us for further information and details.