Famous Historical Places to Visit in India

India is blessed to have countless number of historic places due to its rich history and cultural presence. Any part, whether North, South, East or West, there are so many places which takes you back to the rich roots of our country, exactly from where our glorious years started.

From temples, forts to stunning architectural masterpieces, each of these historic sites have made their way into various international TV shows, travel guides and even books.

Though each and every site is a must visit, but the following are the best historical places in India which is known for its rich history, impeccable architectural wonders and why they are loved and make it through each traveller’s bucket list.

And yes, each Indian and foreign tourist should definitely pay their visit to capture its beauty through their cameras and eyes!

1. Taj Mahal, Agra

Crown Jewel of India – Taj Mahal

If we talk about famous and most fascinating historical site in India, then the first name that pops in our head is the magnificent – Taj Mahal.

Constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a symbol of love for his late wife Mumtaz, this iconic structure is the ‘Crown Jewel of India’.

Situated on the banks of softly flowing Yamuna River, Taj Mahal is an epitome of beauty, standing tall since eras and making people believe that true love exists and this structure is a living example.

The soft pure marble changes its moods according to the seasons. Glowing in blush pink in the evening, turning into milky white in the morning to shining like gold in the moon light, you can never get enough of this masterpiece at once.

Come visit one of the Wonders of the World, because you deserve to visit ‘The Taj’ once more!

Entry Fee: INR 40 (Indians) , INR 1000 (Foreigners)

To know more about Taj Mahal-when to visit, tips, history, architecture etc, read our detailed article on Taj Mahal- The pride of India      

2. Agra Fort, Agra

Famous Historical Places to Visit in India is Agra Fort
The symbol of power and strength- Agra Fort

There is something very mystic about the forts. Maybe the underlying secrets cast its spell on you that make you fall in love with it.

One such fort which possesses an aura and pleasant charm is ‘Agra Fort’.

The Agra Fort is a symbol of that era where the invasions and fortifications happened, where the power was symbolized by grand, lavish palaces and grandeur forts.

Also known as ‘Lal – Qila’, as it is made up of red sandstone majorly and marble, the fort stands and speaks the language of the brave hearts it has witnessed eras ago. A symbol of power and strength, the only point of entry to this fort is through the ‘Amar Singh Gate’.

Step inside and discover the famous spots, including ‘Jahangiri Mahal’ which will leave you spellbound.

Entry Fee: INR 40 (Indians) ,INR 500 (Foreigners)

3. Qutub Minar Complex, Delhi

Famous Historical Places to Visit in India is qutub minar
The Afghan architectural masterpiece – Qutub Minar

All the monuments inside the Qutub Minar complex are stunning and will leave you completely awestruck. The first structures were built by the ‘Sultans of Mehrauli’ and later by the ‘Mughals’.

The main highlight being the red sandstone structure, the ‘Qutub Minar’ which is is built in an Afghan architectural style. If you notice closely you can see the verses from the holy book of Islam, ‘Quran’ carved on it.

The Qutub Minar is so tall that you may not be able to capture it in one go through your camera lens. But then what are your eyes for?

Discover this beauty which has made it way to the UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage Site’ as it really stands tall in the capital city of India.

Entry fee: INR 30 (Indians) , INR 500 (Foreigners)      

4. Red Fort, Delhi

Famous Historical Places to Visit in India is red fort delhi
The pride of Mughal Empire’s architectural style – Red Fort

You enter Delhi and ask anyone about the must visit places, they will surely mention ‘Red Fort’.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, this fort is a symbol of excellent and glorious architectural style and pride of the Mughal Empire.

Red Fort should make its way into your must-visit places as you get a chance to immerse and soak yourself completely in the tremendous and rich history which this fort holds.

There is a lot to see and experience in this fort as its spread around the sprawling gardens and the interiors which will give you a strong and aesthetic essence of Mughal Empire’s then innovative architectural planning. The architectural designs of the fort will also give you a glimpse of the fusion of Islamic; Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions all carved and built on red sandstone.

The Red Fort complex has also made its way into the World Heritage Site list of India.

If visiting in the evening, don’t forget to attend the light and sound show, narrated by the legendary bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan’.

Entry fee: INR 30 (Indians),   INR 500 (Foreigners)

Read our detailed article about the Red Fort to know everything about this iconic fort

5. Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
The first planned city – Fatehpur Sikri

The first planned city of the Mughals which is completely constructed with red sandstone, was built by the Mughal Emperor ‘Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar’ in honour of the great Sufi Saint ‘Salim Chisti’.

The uniqueness and magnificence of this beauty is spread around with ‘Imperial Palace Complex’, the Marble tomb of Salim Chisti and the Grand Mosque which is a benchmark and showcases the glimpses of architectural designing of the bygone era.

As Emperor Akbar has tolerant religious views and great interest in literature, architecture and fine arts, this city will showcase you his ideology as you will witness the blend of both Islamic and Hindu elements in their style and designs.

This charismatic monument looks flawless under the golden sky of sunrise and pink sky of sunset which looks as if a painting has come to existence.

Go and delve a little deeper and see what Emperor Akbar’s dream actually looked like!

Entry Fee: INR 40 (Indians), INR 500 (Foreigners)  

6. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata –

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
Blend of grace and beauty – Victoria Memorial

Ever seen an immense blend of grace and beauty standing tall in a marble monument? Maybe you guessed it right!

Victoria Memorial is a vast and beautifully carved festival of white marble, commissioned by ‘Lord Curzon’ then ‘Viceroy of India’ was designed for commemorate the demise of ‘Queen Victoria’s’ demise in 1901.

But the construction wasn’t completed until 20 years after her demise and we can surely see why!

Though this beauty speaks thousand words but its best to visit it at night when the entire building is illuminated, looking like thousand stars landed at once.

Entry fee: INR 20 (Indians) , INR 200 (Foreigners) , Children up to class XII in uniform and Army Personnel’s entry is FREE

7. Konark Sun Temple, Puri

Konark Sun Temple, Puri
Black Pagoda – Konark Sun Temple

Also known as ‘Black Pagoda’, this 13th century Sun temple is an exceptional example of India’s religious heritage.

Made up of red sandstone and black granite ‘Konark Sun Temple’ was built under ‘King Narasimhadeva’ of the ‘Ganga Dynasty’.

Making its way into the World Heritage Site, it is one of the finest example of ‘Brahmin Architecture and Beliefs’.

It was built to honour the ‘Sun God, Arka’ and the temple complex displays the wealth, spirituality and talent of the Brahmins in Orissa.

As Hinduism is the world’s oldest practiced religion, the temple presents the mixture of spirituality and earthly erotica.

Want to find some real peace? Visit this epitome of spiritual beauty.

Entry Fee: INR 40 (Indians) ,  INR 600 (Foreigners)  

8. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

The crown shaped pink beauty- Hawa Mahal

If one really wants to witness thousands of colours at once, it has to be in Rajasthan.

The most distinctive landmark of Jaipur, the ‘Hawa Mahal’ is lushly pink-painted and is created as a honeycomb hive that rises to astonishing five storeys.

Constructed by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh’ in 1799, you can notice that this monument is in the shape of a crown as they say he was a strong devotee of ‘Lord Krishna’.

Also known as the ‘Palace of Winds’ you will be surprised that in the front where it showcases its design and strong architectural presence, the back of this monument is void and empty.

The main aim to build this site was enabling ladies of the royal households to watch the life, events and possessions of the city.

The pink city has a lot to offer, starting from Hawa Mahal and when you reach the top, you can see the blush pink skyline of Jaipur city which looks like a dream of an artist come true especially during sunsets.

Entry Fee: INR 10 (Indians) ,INR 50 (Foreigners)         

9. Amer Fort, Amer

Amer Fort, Amer
Beauty to be admired inch by inch – Amer Fort

Rajasthan is a wonder when it comes to taking a dip into different architectural styles and designs which hold the rich history of the kings and battles fought on this very land.

The most trusted general of Emperor Akbar, ‘Maan Singh’ built this beauty in the 16th century. It is a timeless beauty to be admired whenever you enter Jaipur, though to have a pleasant experience, it is better to visit it in the winters.

To get to the fort, you either have to travel by a jeep or an elephant, though elephant gives you the touch of royalty.

Getting to the top, you will surely see your jaw dropping at the carvings and designs on the walls which still portrays the elegance of this beauty.

There is a lot to see and experience, so therefore, better to visit this place when you have a plenty of time in hand, as they say, beauty needs to be admired inch by inch.

Entry Fee: INR 25 (Indians) ,INR 250 (Foreigners

10. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Majestic, tall and strong – Mehrangarh Fort

If you want to witness the ‘Blue City’ from the top of the world, then ‘Mehrangarh Fort’ is there to help you!

Built in the 15th century, majestic, strong and tall, Mehrangarh stands on a rocky hill, this fort will shock you with remarkably diverse architectural styles. Built by the ruling dynasty of ‘Rathore Rajputs’ this fort has seen many eras go by and holds the weapons, paintings and palanquins intact till date.

As they say, Rajasthan can never disappoint you, so will not this fort. The fort still remains in the hands of the Royals and is very well maintained and preserved.

Entry Fee: INR 100 (Indians) ,INR 400 (Foreigners)

11. Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
The birth of paintings – Ajanta Caves

They say some darkness always carries secrets that can only be heard when you dig a little deeper. But sometimes the darkness shows you the presence of bygone era which is alive till date.

The ‘Ajanta Caves’ were believed to be cut out of rocks by Buddhist monks.

If you want to take a look at the Indian Art and expressive paintings that speaks thousand words, then Ajanta Caves is must visit. These can be considered as finest surviving picture galleries born in ancient world.

With 30 caves, though not all accessible by tourists, still shows a lot of caves which will make you believe that we are in the ‘Land where Paintings were born’.

You can even visit ‘Ellora Caves’ as they are jointly known as ‘Ajanta and Ellora’ both of which are listed under ‘UNESCO’s World Heritage Site’.

Know more about Cave Paintings in India like Ajanta and Elora HERE

Entry Fee: INR 30 (Indians) , INR 500 (Foreigners)

12. Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi

Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi
The preserved ideology of Buddhists – Sanchi Stupa

If you want to witness numerous Buddhist Stupas, which are hemispherical structures containing relics of the Buddha or his followers, then Sanchi is a place for you.

These Stupas were constructed by ‘Emperor Ashoka’ to preserve and spread the ideologies and philosophies of Buddhism.

These architectural beauties are still holding the beauty and showcasing history and art of ‘Mauryan’ period till date.

Tourists from all around the globe come across these stupas and tend to get awe-struck for a long time.

In fact, the ‘Mahastupa’ has been given the status under ‘World Heritage Site’.

Entry Fee: INR 10 (Indians) , INR 250 (Foreigners) ,Free entry for children up to 15 year.      

13. Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Khajuraho

Khajuraho group of monuments

The ‘Heart of India’ has a surprise for us!

Khajuraho group of monuments were built between 950-1050 AD by the ‘Chandela Dynasty’.

The most intriguing details will hold your heart as each temple in the complex depicts various forms such as Spiritual teachings, meditation, wrestling, royalty and most significantly ‘Erotic Art’ which is considered to be one of a kind.

Each sculpture depicts a scene which can be easily understandable without any dialogue boxes. Maybe that’s why these temples are well-known globally and have been applauded for its eye-catching details which are still intact even after all these years.

The exceptional architectural skills will let you not leave the place and give you an experience that will refuse to leave your heart.

These expressive sculptures have made the Khajuraho Complex of Monuments to the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site; after all, its detailed and well-preserved allure needs to be witnessed by every eye.

Entry Fee: INR 40 (Indians), INR 600 (Foreigners) , Free for children up to the age of 15 years.        

Read everything on Khajuraho Group of Monuments here

14. Mysore Palace, Mysore

Mysore Palace, Mysore
Royalty in every inch – Mysore Palace

Indo-Saracenic architecture is one of its kind as it is an amalgamation of Hindu, Mughal, Rajput and Gothic Styles and can be found in the royal palace of Mysore – ‘Mysore Palace’.

If you see the illuminated palace at night, it shines no less than a diamond and the bright gold lighting flashes in your eyes for a long time. In the morning, the red coloured domes and the gigantic palace itself is a sight to behold.

The interiors are very well detailed. The palace is lavish and yet so elegant that it gives you a taste of royalty.

With 14 temples inside, you cannot afford to miss a single one and it should not be because it is sheer visual treat.

And yes, plan the trip to palace during ‘Dushera’ as you see how the palace illuminates giving a different festive vibe all together.

Entry Fee: INR 40 (Indians) , INR 200 (Foreigners) 

15. Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
Overlooking the Bay Of Bengal – Shore Temple

Tamil Nadu is a state blessed with religious importance which can be seen through the number of temples present in the state alone.

One such temple, which will attract the eye of a person who wants to connect with religious scenario of the bygone era is the ‘Shore Temple’ located in Mahabalipuram.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple will give you the glimpses of ancient finesse art. It overlooks the ‘Bay of Bengal’ thus the name given.

It has been built using the granite stones and was named as ‘Seven Pagodas’ due to its pyramidal structure. Though there were seven temples that existed in the past, but now only the Shore Temple remains to tell you the tales of that time.

If you are willing to get some peace and connect to the religious ideas of the bygone era, then this place is a must visit.

Entry Fee: INR 10 (Indians) ,INR 250 (Foreigners)     

It might take a lifetime for a person to visit all the historical sites of our country, as half of them aren’t even mentioned here.

Every state has a wonder standing to let you time travel and see the history through your eyes.

Out of all these famous historical sites, which one is your favourite or which one are you willing to visit first?

Written by Sharmila Feroz

Sharmila Feroz is a graduate of versatile vocations who grew up in a military household which led her to travel to interesting and beautiful parts of the country. Penning those travel experiences paved her way into writing about ethnic lifestyle and cultural celebrations in India.

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