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& MONUMENTS OF INDIA
Madhubani: Bihar. This small
place is famous for its folk paintings known as Madhubani
Tamil Nadu. Known as the 'Athens of the East',
Madurai was built by the Pandyan king Kulasekara in the 6th
century BC. It
is most renowned for the 17th century
Temple, which has the tallest Gopuram (temple gateway) in the
world. This pre-Christian era temple was actually built by
Kulasekara Pandya but was re-built later by Tirumalai Nayak. The
temple forms a parallelogram and has 11 gopurams, one
thousand-pillared hall, 'pool of lilies' and the �musical
pillars�. It is
dedicated to Sundareshwara (Shiva) and his consort Meenakshi (Parvati).
The Portamaraikulam or the golden lotus tank is the
place where the Tamil literary society called Sangam used to
meet to decide the merit of the literary works presented to
Tirumalai Nayak Palace (built in 1523 AD), Vandiyur
Mariamman Teppakulam (Mariamman Tank), Koodal Azhagar Temple,
Thirupparankunram (one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya),
(another abode of Lord Subramanya), Gandhi Museum and Vaigai Dam
are other important places in and around Madurai. Madurai plays
host to the Chitirai, Avanimoolom and Float Festivals.
This popular hill resort was once the summer capital of the
Bombay Presidency during the British days. The hill resort is
known for Venna Lake, view points at Elphinston, Babington,
Bombay and Kate's Point and the Chinaman's, Dhobi and Lingmala
Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram
is famous for its nine rock-cut temples
belonging to the Pallava period, the Rathas,
Arjuna's Penance (the largest bas-relief sculpture in the
world), Krishna Mandapam, Shore Temple, Mahishasurmardini Cave,
Varaha Mandapa and Mandapams.
Other Interesting monuments include Ganesa Ratha,
Varcha Cave, Krishna's Butter Ball, Gopi's Churn, Valayankuttai
Ratha and Kodikal Mandapam. Of the 8 rock-cut Rathas built by
Narasimha I, the Dharmaraja Ratha is the largest.
The Pancha Pandava Ratha is architecturally the best.
The Shore Temple built by Narasimha II is dedicated to Lord
Shiva and has two shrines placed back to back.
Mahakala Caves: Bihar.
The Mahakala (or Dungeshwari) Caves, 18km northeast of Bodh
Gaya, is the site where the Buddha did the severe penance that
resulted in the familiar image of him as a skeletal, emaciated
These are rock-cut Buddhist caves situated in the Udayagiri
hills, about 6.5km from Mumbai. These were excavated during 200 BC to 600 AD and are now in
Mahe is a coastal region of the Union Territory of Pondicherry
situated on the West Coast in Kerala.
Maheshwar: Madhya Pradesh.
This temple town was earlier known as Mahismati
and finds a mention in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It was the
capital of the Holkar queen Rani Ahilya Bai. The nearby Peshwa
Ghat, Fanase Ghat and Ahilya Ghat attract a large number of
people. There are also intricately carved canopies or
Chhatris like the Fanase Chhatri and the Bule Sarkar Ki
The town is also famous for the Maheshwari saris, renowned
throughout India for their unique weave.
Majuli: Assam. It is considered as the world's largest inhabited
riverine island and is revered for its Vaishnavite monasteries lying
near Jorhat. Founded in the 15th
century by Sri Sankardeva, there are 22 'Sataras' still surviving.
The important ones include Bengenaati Satra, Kamalabari
Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Anuiati Satra, Garamukh Satra and
Shamaguri Satra. The Satras give a projection of the Assam's
cultural heritage. Majuli is populated primarily by the Mishing
Manali: Himachal Pradesh.
Manali, which is known as 'Queen of Hill Stations', is the
ultimate tourist destination for the trekking, mountaineering and
There are several places of interest around Manali like
Kothi, Rohtang Pass,
Rahalla Falls, Solang
Valley, Arjun Gufa, Nehru Kund, Kothi, Jagatsukh, Beas Kund and the
Hadimba Temple or Dhoongri Temple.
Mandapeshwar Caves: Maharashtra. These are the 9th
century Buddhist caves located near Mumbai.
Himachal Pradesh. The historic town of Mandi is renowned for its
81 finely carved old stone temples like the Bhutnath, Triloknath,
Panchvaktra, Shyamakoli and Tarna Devi temples. The Rewalsar Lake
(famous for its floating islands of reed), Sundernagar, Janjehli and
the Gompa monastery are other important places in Mandi.
Madhya Pradesh. Mandu or the 'City of Joy' is associated with the
romance of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati. Mandu was
originally the fort capital of the
Parmar rulers of Malwa. It was in the 10th century that Raja Bhoj
founded this town as a retreat. Towards the end of 13th century, it
came under the Sultans of Malwa, whose first ruler renamed it
Shadiabad - the 'city of joy'.
The Afghan governor Dilawar Khan established the kingdom of Mandu
and started its golden era. His son Hoshang Shah raised it to its
greatest splendour. Important places in Mandu are the Jahaz Mahal,
Nahar Jharokha, Taveli Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Dilawar
Khan's Mosque, Hoshang Shah's Tomb (considered as India's first
marble monument), Ashrafi Mahal, Jami Masjid
(which is inspired by the great mosque of Damascus and was completed
by Mahmud Shah Khilji I),
Nilkanth (a Shiva temple), Nilkanth Mahal, Rewa Kund, Baz
Bahadur's Palace, Roopmati's Pavilion, Hathi Mahal, Darya Khan's
Tomb and Dai Ka Mahal.
Bihar. Situated 29km west of Patna, it is renowned for the shrines
of Hazrat Makhdoom Yahya Maneri and his son Sharfuddin Ahmed Maneri.
These shrines, referred to as Choti and Bari Dargah, were visited by
Sikandar Lodi, Babur, Humayun and Akbar. The Choti Dargah is
considered to be one of the finest mausoleums of Eastern India.
Mangalore: Karnataka. The city
of Mangalore is believed to have been eternally blessed by the
benign Mother Goddess, Mangalamba. This region was given away as a
reward to sage Parashurama by Samudraraja and is, thus, hailed as
"Parashurama Srusti". Great sages like Kanva, Vyasa, Vashista and
Vishwamitra were believed to have meditated on the Sahyadri
Mountains located in this region.
It formed part of the
Tulu land, ruled by the Taulava
Mangalore is famous for the St. Aloysius Church and
the Jog Falls, which are India's highest waterfalls.
Famous for the Mathura School of Art, Statues of Buddha and Mahavira
and the headless statue of Kanishka.
Most of these monuments are built of red sandstone.
It is also famous for the Shri Krishna Janmasthana,
Dwarkadish Temple, Kansa's Fort, Geeta Mandir, Goverdhan and
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
Located near the Charminar, this huge and
impressive mosque can accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time. It
was started in 1614 by Abdullah Qutub Shah and completed in 1687 by
: Andhra Pradesh. Medak is famous for the Medak
Church and Fort. The Medak
Church was built in 1924 by Rev.Charles W.Posnett, the Medak Church
is believed to be one of the tallest and largest churches in the
It is a fine example of Gothic architecture. This cathedral has three marvellous stained glass windows,
the 'Divine Manifestation', the 'Crucifixion' and the 'Ascension'.
The massive structure can accommodate as many as 5000 people
at a time. The 12th century Medak Fort, originally
called Methuku durgam, is an architectural marvel and is of
considerable historic importance since it witnessed several battles
in the Deccan spanning five centuries. Originally built in typical
Hindu style during the reign of the Kakatiyas, the later additions
and modifications carried out by the Qutb Shahis exhibit Muslim
Bihar. Surrounded by the Ganga on three sides and guarded by the
Kharagpur hills, Monghyr's strategic location has lured the kings
and kingdoms since time immemorial. The history of Monghyr is, in
fact, a chronology of battles. It begins with the Mahabharata that
records the encounter of Bhim with the ruler of Modagiri (Monghyr's
ancient name as mentioned in the Mahabharata) and concludes with the
defeat of Nawab Mir Qasim in 1763 at the hands of the East India
Company. In between, the pages of history of Monghyr are riddled
with rebellions, sieges and battles fought between Palas,
Pratiharas, Turks, Mughals, Afghans, Marathas and the English.
Some historians believe that
Chandragupta was the founder of Monghyr, which was called as Gupta
Garh - a name that has been found inscribed on a rock here. Buddhist
tradition refers to Monghyr as Maudgolyagiri, named after a rich
merchant - Maudgala who was converted by Buddha to his religious
order. Ramayana too is replete with references to Monghyr.
Ain-e-Akbari describes Monghyr as the
chief town where Raja Man Singh had his residence and Raja Todar
Mall remained entrenched in the Monghyr fort when he came to crush
the rebellious Bengal army of the Mughals. The nearby Kharagpur
hill, an extension of the Vindhyan Range, is rich in hot springs
like Bhimbandh, Rishi Kund and Sita Kund, where
Sita is said to have suffered the fire ordeal to prove her chastity.
The old coach factory is located at Jamalpur where 452 railway
engines were assembled in the first decade of its establishment in
1862. The earliest monument is the 15th century tomb of Shah Nafa
reflects typical Bengali architecture. A little distance beyond the
southern gate is an old Chamberlain Memorial Church with an
inscription "Ebenezer 1819". Around six kilometres from the town is
Pir Pahar, near Sita Kund, which offers an excellent view of Monghyr
and its surroundings. Monghyr has a rich public library, Krishna
Seva Sadan, famous for its vast collection of books. Another library
rich in oriental books, Persian and Arabic manuscripts, is the
Khanqah-i-Jamia Rahmania, established by the noted scholar, Maulana
Muhammad Ali Mungeri in 1927.
Moirang: Manipur. Moirang is one of the principal centres
of early Manipuri folk culture with an ancient temple of the
pre-Hindu deity Lord Thangjing. This town is important,
historically, as it was here that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's
Indian National Army hoisted its flag for the first time on Indian
Rajasthan. Mount Abu is considered as sacred by both
Hindus and Jains. The
famous Dilwara Jain temples date back to the 11-13th centuries.
The Vimala-Vashi Temple is the oldest temple, built in 1030
AD by Vimala Shah, and is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain
tirthankara. The Neminath Temple and the Luna Vashi Temple are
the other important temples. The
Nakki Lake, Gomukh Temple,
Guru Shikar having
the Mira and Chaumundi
Temples and the Adhar Devi
Temple are some of the important sites around Mount Abu.
Once a group of seven islands, Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is
now one big island connected to the mainland by long, sweeping
bridges. The origins of
modern Mumbai go back to 1662 AD, when Catherine of Braganza, the
sister of the King of Portugal, married Charles II. The Portuguese,
who then ruled the islands, included them as part of the wedding
dowry. In 1668 AD, Charles II sold Bombay to the East India Company.
Mumbai is famous for the Gateway to India (which was
conceived following the visit of King George V in 1911 and
officially opened in 1924), Tower of Silence; the Victoria or
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (VT), Nariman Point, Marine Drive, Juhu
or Chowpati Beach, the beach resorts of Manori, Madh and Versova,
Malabar Hill, Hanging Gardens (laid atop Malabar Hill in 1881),
Prince of Wales Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Dr Bhaudaji Lal
Temple, Darga of Haji Ali, Jain Temple (built in 1904 and dedicated
to Adinath), St. Holyname Cathedral, Sir J.J.Scjool of Art
(associated with Rudyard Kipling), Hutatma Chawk (Martyrs' Square),
the shopping centres of Chor Bazaar, Zaveri Bazaar, Colaba Causeway
and Heera Panna, Raudat Tahera ( a mosque and mausoleum
erected by the Dawoodi Bohras) and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park
near Borivali, which is best known for the Kanheri Caves. Marve,
Manori, Gorai and Madh Island are important beaches near Mumbai.
Gorai is home to Esselworld, Mumbai's first amusement park.
Uttaranchal. Hill station at the foothills of the Himalayas,
which was discovered by Captain Young in 1827.
It is famous for the Gun Hill, Kempty Falls, Dhanolti,
Chakrata waterfalls, Camel's Back Road, Lal Tibba, Lake Mist Resort
and Bhadraj Temple.
Surkanda Devi, about 35 km from Mussoorie, is an important
Mysore was the capital of the Wodeyar dynasty,
which ruled the state of Karnataka for nearly 150 years till the
Mysore is well known for the Chaumundeshwari temple,
St.Philomena's Cathedral, the Brindavan Gardens, Tipu Sultan's tomb
and the Mysore Palace.
Nabadwip is one of the most important pilgrimage centers for the
Hindus. It is the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya, the founder of
Vaisnava sect. Nabadwip, which has around 186 temples, is called
the 'Varanasi of Bengal'.
Nagappattinam: Tamil Nadu. Historically Nagappattinam
was one of the constituents of Cholamandalam and was known as
'Cholkula Vallippattinam'. Nagappattinam is mentioned as
'Padarithitha' in ancient Buddhist literature. An ancient
Burmese historical text of 3rd century BC provides evidence of
the existence of a Buddha Vihara built by Ashoka. The Darga of
Hazrat Mian at Nagore, Arokkiya Madha Church at
Velanganni, Shiva Temple at Sikkal,
Vedaranyewarar temple at
Vedaranyam (Thirumaraikkadu) and the Vaishnava
temple at Mannarkudi are some of the important places in Nagappattinam.
Nagercoil: Tamil Nadu. The
place is famous for the Nagercoil Temple dedicated to Nagaraja,
the King of Snakes. The
waterfalls, Colachel Port, Lord Muruga Temple, ancient port of
Thengapattinam, Udayagiri Fort, St. Xavier Church, Kottar
and the church of Manapadu are important places around
Pradesh. Originally known as Sriparvata, it is
situated in a valley
drowned under the reservoir of the Nagarjunasagar dam across the
Krishna River in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. The site
was once studded with ruins of countless Buddhist relics that
were salvaged and the building materials of the monasteries and
chaityas were reconstructed atop a hill which forms an
island now. Inscriptions from the Buddhist monasteries suggest
that Nagarjunakonda must have been the biggest and one of the
most important Buddhist settlements in South India and also a
great pilgrimage center.
Nagarjuna Sagar is named after the Buddhist monk,
Acharya Nagarjuna. Its dam is considered to be Asia's biggest.
Constructed on the river Krishna, the dam was completed in
1966-67 and reaches a height of 124 meters with 26 crest gates.
Nagarjuna Sagar is also the largest man-made lake. It is also a
place of immense archeological significance. Excavations have
revealed that Nagarjunasagar was a center for the propagation of
Buddhist teachings in South India. Saint Nagarjuna had founded
the Madhyamika School here. Another major attraction at
Nagarjunasagar is the picturesque Ethipothala waterfalls,
flowing down from Chandravanka Mountains, located eleven
kilometers from the dam.
Pradesh. It was the capital of Kullu for about 1400
Years. There are several interesting temples around Naggar like
the Gauri Shanker Temple, the Vishnu Temple and the pagoda
shaped shrine of Tripura Sundari.
The Roerich Art Gallery is another attraction for the
Tamil Nadu. The place is famous for the
Darga of Hazrat Meera Sultan Syed Shahabdul Hameed (better known
as Hazrat Mian).
Himachal Pradesh. Naina Devi is famous for the Naina Devi
temple, which is one of the 51 shakti peeths
according to the Hindu mythology.
Nainital: Uttaranchal. It is 100-year old hill station
that was discovered by an Englishman Baron in 1841.
It is known as India's 'Lake District' as it has a large number of
lakes like Naini Lake, Chirp Tal, Sat Tal, Bhim Tal and Nauchukiya
Established in the 5th century BC, Nalanda, situated near
Rajagriha, is recorded as the world�s earliest university. It was
described as �The Oxford University of Mahayana Buddhism�.
Built by Kumara Gupta I, it offered wide range of subjects
like literature, logic, grammar, medicine, philosophy and astronomy.
Buddha is believed to have visited Nalanda a number of times.
His favourite disciple Sariputra was born here and he died preaching
at this place. In the 3rd century BC, the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka
honoured the famous monk with a grand stupa.
By 5th century BC it acquired the position of a
well-established monastery under the Guptas. A long succession of kings from 5th to 12th century extended
their royal patronage to ensure the progress and prosperity of the
university. During its
hey-days Nalanda was a flourishing residential university with over
10,000 students and 1500 teachers. Huen Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim
spent three years at Nalanda in the 7th century. Another Chinese
pilgrim I-Tsing spent 10 years at this university.
The most imposing structure in Nalanda is the Sariputra Stupa
which has seen the construction of different periods. Archaeological
discoveries have established that metal objects were cast in
The Pala School of art is seen at its best at Nalanda and
several sculptures belonging to this period have been unearthed in
Lauria Areraj is the 11.5 m high Ashokan column, erected in 249
BC. The polished sandstone pillar has six edicts on it. Lauria
Nandangarh is the site of the famous 8.5 m polished sandstone lion
pillar erected by Ashoka.
The adjoining Nandangarh stupa is believed to house
the ashes of the Buddha.
Nanded is a sacred place for the Sikhs. Of the many
gurudwaras, the shrine of Guru Govind Singh, known as
Sachkhand Gurudwara, is particularly famous.
This is a very ancient town, which according to some, dates
back to the Mahabharata times. The places of interest in Narnaul
include Jal Mahal (built by Shah Quli Khan); Pir Turkman Mosque
and Tomb; Ibrahim Khan Sur's Tomb (who was the grandfather of
Sher Shah Suri); Quli Khan's Tomb; Chor Gumbad; Tripolia
Gate (constructed by Shah Quili Khan in 1589); Chatta Rai Bal
Mukund Das (a large palace built by Rai Bal Mukund Das, the
diwan of Narnaul during Emperor Shah Jahan�s reign); Narnaul
Shiva Temple; Madhav Wala Temple; Mirza Ali Jan�s Baoli; Shoba
Sarovar and Chotta Barwa Tank.
Nicobar Islands: The Nicobar Islands can be divided in three
groups - northern-most group, central group and southern group.
Since time immemorial these beautiful Islands have been part of
India. Many of the voyagers referred Nicobar Islands as the
'Land of the Naked'. In Indian term it was called 'Nakkavar'. An
archeological inscription dated 1059 AD indicated that Nicobar
was part of the kingdom of Tamil Chola King of Tanjore. In 1869,
British took possession of the Nicobar Islands from the Danes
and they became part of modern India.
Nizamuddin Dargah: New Delhi. Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya
(1238-1335 AD) came to Delhi in 1258 AD and became a disciple of
the celebrated Sufi mystic Sheikh Farid Shakargunj or Baba
Farid. The Hazrat died in 1325 AD. His original tomb, built by
Feroz Shah Tughlaq, does not exist anymore and the present
structure was built around 1562 AD by Faridun Khan. The tombs of
the famous Sufi poet Amir Khusro and that of the Mughal princess
Jahanara are located adjacent to the dargah.
The dargah is popularly called as the "Yaran
Chabuttrra" or the 'platform of friends'.
Madhya Pradesh. Omkareshwar is the sacred island, shaped like
the holiest of all Hindu symbols 'OM'. The temple of Shri Omkar
Mandhata houses a Jyotirlinga.
Ooty: Tamil Nadu. Ooty (also known as Ootacamund
is described as 'the Queen of the hill
stations of South India'.
Situated in the Nilgiris at an altitude of 2240 metres,
Ooty is known for its extraordinary scenic beauty. The important
places in and around Ooty are Botanical Gardens (whose landscape
resembles that of the Kew Gardens of London), Pykara, Ketty
Valley View, Glen Morgan, Doddapetta (highest peak in the
Nilgiris -2623 m), Kalhatty Water Falls, Wenlock Downs, Elk
Hills, Tiger Hill, Wilson Fish Farm, St. Stephen Church,
Marlimund Lake, Avalanche and the Snowden Peak. Wellingtion,
Kotagiri, Glenmorgan, Coonoor and Lovedale are other beautiful
places located outside Ooty.
Orchha: Madhya Pradesh.
Orchha is a medieval city which was founded in 16th century by
the Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap.
Some interesting places in Orchha include the Jehangir
Mahal built by Raja Bir Singh to commemorate the visit of
Emperor Jehangir; Laxminarayan Temple; Sheesh Mahal; Orchha
Fort; Raj Mahal, built by Madhukar Shah; Rai Praveen Mahal;
Chaturbhuj Temple; Ram Raja Mandir; Dinman Hardaul's Palace and Shahid Smarak
(which commemorates the great freedom fighter Chandrashekhar
Osmania University: Hyderabad,
Andhra Pradesh. Established in 1918 by the late Nizam of Hyderabad,
it was the first university in India to impart education in a