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Great Himalayan National Park: A Travel Guide

Overview of the Great Himalayan National Park
Being inducted in 1999, Great Himalayan National Park also happens to be the latest addition to the list of National Parks in India. This sanctuary was initially declared a protected region in 1984.

Located in the Kullu region in Himachal Pradesh, Great Himalayan National Park is bestowed with unique ecological aspect nestled in the Western Himalaya. The four valleys of the park are named Sainj Valley, Tirthan Valley, Jiwa Nal Valley and Parvati Valley.

Snow Leopard, Great Himalayan National Park
An elusive Snow Leopard at Great Himalayan National Park

Great Himalayan National Park is home to over 180 bird specials, some rare mammals that include Himalyan Brown Bear, musk deer and snow leopard along with a number of invertebrate, reptiles and rare amphibian species.

In a nutsheel

Location: Kullu in Himachal Pradesh

Highlights: 180 species of birds and rare mammals such as black bears, blue sheep, Himalayan Brown Bear, musk deer and snow leopard

National Park Area: 754 km² core area and a buffer zone of 5 km from the western boundary of the park which covers 265.6 sq km. and is also known as ecozone with home to around 1,500 households in 141 village.

Altitude: 1800 to 5200 meters above sea level

Eco-region: Sub tropical and Alpine Forest

Terrain: An array of dense ridges, deep gorges and precipitous cliffs, rugged cliffs, glaciers and narrow valleys.

Best Season: From April to June and between October-November

How to reach: Chandigarh is the nearest major railway station 296 km away. Or you can come all the way up to Joginder Nagar (143 km), in Mandi which is connected through a narrow gauge line to Pathankot. Take a cab or bus from here. Closest airport is Bhunter at 63 km

An introduction to the Great Himalayan National Park
Located in the upper reaches of Western Himalaya, Great Himalayan National Park is a delight for the new breed of ecotoursits, trekkers and adventure seekers. Verdant oak and rhododendron forest, gushing water streams and unpolluted air and sweeping view of pristine Himalayan peaks makes Great Himalayan National Park one of the ideal retreat from the hubbub of city and civilization.

Not only the natural profusion evident in the rich flora but the multitude of wildlife, both rare and elusive makes this national park a must visit for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and trekkers.

Ecotourism inside the Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park offers plenty of ecotourism activities. From relatively easy walks in ecozone inside the park to relatively easy, moderate and tough trekking trails spanning over several days, there are an array of ecotourism activities to choose from.

Habitat inside this National Park varies from lush Oak, Conifer and Rhododendron forests to alpine meadows and from sweeping valleys and gushing water streams to high altitude glaciers.

Ecozone is the reserve area inside the National Park where the locals reside. There are several day walks to acquaint you with the lifestyle and culture of the local people.

These day walks also give you a glimpse into the fact that how ecotourism could help balance the man vs. nature to preserve and sustain the fragile ecology.

The best time to visit for a glimpse into the local culture is during Dusshera festival in September-October when locals gather to celebrate their cultural ethos and tradition.

Treks and Hiking
Inside the Great Himalayan National Park, one could choose from 2-3 days easy to moderate hikes to moderate to tough treks to high altitude glaciers and alpine meadows.

It is mandatory for the tourists to acquire prior permission and permits from the park official for multi-day treks inside the park.

Some of the treks available inside the Great Himalayan National Park are:

Sainj Valley Trek
Duration: 5 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Maximum Elevation: 3700 meters
Total Distance Covered: 66 km

Sainj - Tirthan Valley Trek
Duration: 8 Days
Grade: Moderate to Tough
Maximum Elevation: 4120 meters
Total Distance Covered: 85 km

Gushaini - Shilt Hut Hike
Duration: 3 Days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Maximum Elevation: 3100 meters
Total Distance Covered: 30 km

Jiwa Nala - Parvati River Valley Trek
Duration: 7 Days
Grade: Tough
Maximum Elevation: 4636 meters
Total Distance Covered: 110 km

Gushaini - Tirhan Valley Trek
Duration: 8 Days
Grade: Moderate to Tough
Maximum Elevation: 4000 meters
Total Distance Covered: 76 km

Rakhtsar in Sainj Valley (Pin Parvati Trek)
Duration: 8 Days
Grade: Moderate to Tough
Maximum Elevation: 5319 meters
Total Distance Covered: 90 km

Trekking to other routes is also possible with the prior permission from the park officials.

Fees for Great Himalayan National Park
Tourists visiting Great Himalayan national Park have to pay certain fee for entrance, belongings and purpose (camera/filming) of the visit. For Indian Nationals the entrance fee to this park is INR 50 per person per day. Additionally, they also need to pay INR 150 per day for carrying video camera for non-commercial purpose.

For Foreign Nationals, the entrance fee is fixed at INR 200 per person per day. For carrying non-commercial video camera, foreign national need to pay an extra amount of INR 300 per day.

Climate of the Great Himalayan National Park
The park is best visited in spring (April to June) and autumn (October-November). Rain during monsoon means that tourist should avoid visiting Great Himalayan National Park. During winter, even the low lying regions receive snowfall and the weather is extremely cold.

Wildlife in the Great Himalayan National Park
The rich biodiversity of this national park makes it a home of numerous birds and mammals species. Over 180 bird species, 30 mammals, various insects and reptiles and been found and recorded inside GHNP.

Several common as well as rare species reside in the Great Himalayan National Park. Some of the most spotted mammals in the park include goat-antelope, Himalayan Goral and Himalayan Tahr. There has been rare spotting of Blue Sheep and Snow Leapord above the tree line. Other major mammals residing in the park include Asiatic Black Bear, Musk Deer, Barking Deer, Common Leopard and Himalayan Brown Bear.

One of the major attractions of Great Himalayan national Park is the numerous bird species found inside this park. Whereas Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle and Himalayan Vulture are the common sightings in the park, it is also home to the endangered Western Tragopan.

Some important species in the Park are Long Tailed Minivets, Laughing Thrush, Golden Bush Robin, Black Throated Thrush, Yellow Bellied Fantails and Grey Winged Blackbirds among others.

Other common species of pheasants inside the park are White Crested Khaleej, Koklass, Himalayan Monal and Cheer Phesant.

Besides 50 species of birds also migrate each summer to the Great Himalayan national Park which include Eurasian Woodcock, several cuckoos, Oriental Turtle-dove, Ashy Drongo and Grey Nightjar among others.

How to reach Great Himalayan National Park
This national park is best visited by road as there is no train connectivity and even the nearest airport at Bhunter 63 kilometers away is not connected with major airports in India as hardly  any commercial airline  have a connecting flight to Bhunter.

By Road
Great Himalayan National Park is well connected by road. It is located approximately 500 km from Delhi, 243 km from Shimla, 75 km from Kullu, 296 km from Chandigarh and 241 km from Dharamsala. Both state run and private bus service operate regularly from Delhi, Shimla, Chandigarh, Manali and Dharamsala.

A general route from Delhi to Great Himalayan National Park is:
Delhi – Ambala (188 KM) – Chandigarh – Roopnagar (282 KM) – Kiratpur – Bilaspur (371 KM) – Mandi (440 KM) – Pandoh – Aut (481 KM) – Larji – Gushaini – Tirthan (511 KM).

By Train
There are 2 ways to reach Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) through train. First is to take the train to Chandigarh which is well connected through rail line with other major cities of India. From there one could travel by bus or hired taxi to GHNP.

Another way is to reach Pathankot by train which again is well connected by rail with other cities. From Pathankot, one could catch the narrow gauge train (popularly referred to as toy trains) till Joginder Nagar in Mandi which is 143 km away. It’s a 10 hours but scenic ride from Pathankot to Mandi.

A hired cab or bus from Joginder Nagar will take you to GMNP.

By Air
The nearest airport is at Bhunter located 63 kilometers away but it is not well connected with any major airline service.

Accommodation in Great Himalayan National Park
There are ample homestays in the ecozone where one could stay inside GHNP. Limited accommodation/camping options are available in Forest Rest House (3 rooms) and Community Training & Tourist Center (40 dormitory beds) in Sairopa, inspection huts and designated camping grounds at select places along the hiking trails.

If you are planning for multi day trek in the park, it is always advisable that you carry tents, sleeping bags, insulated mats, cooking equipments etc.

General Information
  • It is required to seek prior permission to enter GHNP
  • The number of tourist inside this national park is regulated due to its fragile ecosystem
  • You might be required to pay for personal photography
  • Filming and photo shoot for commercial requires additional fees and permit
  • All multi day treks requires certified guides and porters
  • Trekkers need to produce their trekking route to the park officials before entering GHNP
  • Foreign Visitors on multi day trekking must carry their travel insurance documents in case emergency medical or evacuation in needed.
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Ranthambore National Park: A Wildlife Travel Guide

Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is one of the most visited national parks in India. Ranthambore is renowned for its tiger and it is believed that this wildlife sanctuary offers the highest probability of tiger spotting in their natural habitat.

Ranthambore is located in Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. It used to be the hunting ground of the former maharajas of Jaipur. At the centre of Ranthambore National Park is the 10th-century Ranthambore Fort. You could also notice an array of ancient temples, several talaos (lakes) and chhatris inside this wildlife reserve in Rajasthan.

Tiger at Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is famous for 'friendly' Royal Bengal Tigers

Ranthambore National Park Travel Facts 

Location: Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan

Highlights: Tigers and over 250 bird species

National Park area: 275 km² core area. 392 km² including buffer zone

Tiger Reserve area: 1334 km²

Altitude: 215 to 505 meters above sea level

Eco-region: Kathiarbar-Gir dry deciduous forests

Terrain: Dense tropical dry forest, open bushland and rocky terrain interspersed with lakes and streams

Best Season: From November to March

Best Time for Tiger Spotting:  March-June

Closed: Monsoon season (July - August)

How to reach: Sawai Madhopur is the nearest railway station 11 km away. Kota Station 110 km away has a halt of all the trains for 10 min and connects Sawai Madhopur with almost 50 trains. Closest airport is Jaipur at 130 km.

Introducing Ranthambore National Park

A seamless blend of heritage, history and nature, Ranthambore National Park is located around the historical Ranthambore Fort, now a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site. Sprawling over an area of 392 square kilometers, Ranthambore Park is the most popular tiger reserve.

Situated strategically at the meeting of Aravali Hills with Vindyas Plateau, Ranthambore’s vivid topography is an amalgamation of dense forest, deep gorges, turquoise lakes with a 10th century fort  in its heart that blend seamlessly with the surroundings.

Ranthambore Fort
Ranthambore Fort is a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site
Ranthambore National Park offers perfect ambience to spot tiger owing to its small size, high density of tiger per sq. km and vegetation which is dry deciduous forest and open bush land.

Ranthambore National Park Climate

Climate at a Glance
  • Subtropical, dry climate with distinct winter, summer and rainy season.
  • Highest Temperature = 49.0C (May–June)
  • Lowest Temperature = 2.0 C (December–January)
  • Average Rainfall = 800 mm
  • Monsoon = July to September
  • Humidity = 10–15%(summer), 60%(rainy)
  • Visit Season = Nov-May (National Park remains closed in Monsoon)
Climate of Ranthambore goes from extreme cold in the winters to scorching heat during summers. During monsoon (July-October), the park remains closed for visitors.

Summer (March to June) in Ranthambore is extremely hot and rather punishing in May and June.  Maximum temperature in summer could reach as high as 46°C and the minimum temperature recorded is 23°C.

Although very hot, May-June is considered to be the ideal time for spotting tigers in Ranthambhore National Park.

Winters (November to February) in Ranthambore are pleasant making it much favorable time to visit the park and explore its rich flora and fauna. The temperature varies from maximum of 32°C to a minimum of 4°C.

Wildlife in Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park has a vivid topography. It is nestled at the joining of Aravali Hills and Vindhya Plateau which gives it’s the typical topography of rocky plains, dry deciduous jungle and high cliffs.

This National Park in India is home to over 30 mammals, 12 species of reptiles including the Marsh Crocodile & amphibians and 272 bird species.

Mammals in Ranthambore

Ranthambore National Park is renowned for its Royal Bengal Tigers which have been part of many a National and International travel documentaries. Other major wild animals include leopard, Nilgai, Jackal, Wild Boar, Sambar, Mongoose, Hyena and Sloth Bear.

Reptiles in Ranthambore

There are over 12 species of reptiles that live in their natural habitat at Ranthambore. Reptilian species in Ranthambore National Park include Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, Tortoise, Banded Kraits, Cobras, Common Kraits, Vipers, Desert Monitor Lizards and the Indian Chamaeleon.

Avifauna in Ranthambore

Although Ranthambore is more popular for its friendly tigers, few visitors are aware of the fact that Ranthambore National Park is home to over 300 species of birds.

In fact Ranthambore National Park could be a birdwatcher’s paradise with list of spotted avifauna including Black Francolin, Blue Breasted Quail, Red-Crested Pochard, Eurasian Wryneck,  Indian Gray Hornbills, Asian Palm Swift, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Nightjars, Chestnut-Bellied Sandgrouse, Great Crested Grebe, Eagles, Darters, Black-Headed Bunting, Egrets, Herons, Yellow-Legged Gull, Flamingos, Ibis, Pelicans, Storks, Pittas, Shrikes, Stork Billed Kingfisher, Bee Eaters, Eurasian Cuckoo, Parakeets and Tree Pies among others.

Black-headed Bunting, Birds of Ranthambore

Chesnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Ranthambore
Chesnut-bellied Sandgrouse - Birding in Ranthambore

Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Ranthambore National Park
Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Ranthambore National Park

Yellow-crowned Woodpecker
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker
If you are visiting especially for bird watching, then some of the best locations for bird watching are Malik Talao, Rajbagh Talao, Padam Talao and the Jhalra area.

Ranthambore National Park Wildlife Safaris

There are 2 options available when it comes to choice of the vehicle for safari in Ranthambore; either open top gypsy with seating capacity of 6 or the open top canter with seating capacity of 20.

Safari in Ranthambore is available in 2 shift per day; one in the morning at 7:00 AM and other in the evening at 2:00 PM. Each ride last for 3 and a half hour.

Traffic into the park is highly regulated and private vehicle are not allowed. At one time only 20 vehicles are allowed inside split along 5 different zones.

Ranthambore Safari Cost

Indian Nationals need to pay INR 78 and INR 75 per person for safari in canter (petrol engine) and canter (diesel engine) respectively.

Foreign Nationals need to shell out INR 478 and INR 475 respectively for the same.
For safari in open top gypsy Indian Nationals need to pay a fee of INR 135 and INR 131 for Petrol Gypsy and Diesel Gypsy respectively.

Each passenger (irrespective of Nationality) has to pay an additional charge of INR 330 at the time of collection of boarding pass at the entrance of the park.  

A guide fee of INR 67 in Gypsy and INR 20 in Canter is also charged for the safari.

How to reach Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore by Air

The closest airport to Ranthambore National Park is in Jaipur 130 km away. It takes around four hours to reach Ranthambore from Jaipur by road.

Ranthambore by Train

The nearest railway station from Ranthambore is at Sawai Madhopur which is 11 km away. Sawai Madhopur is well connected via rail route from Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Alternatively, Kota Station 110 km away connects Sawai Madhopur with almost 50 trains. All trains passing through Kota halt there for minimum 10 minutes.

Distance by road:

 Delhi - 450 km, Jaipur - 180 km, Kota 110 km

Packing Tips for Ranthambore Safari
The climate varies from extremely cold to extremely hot from winter to summer in Ranthambore. It is always advisable to carry warm cloths during winters (November-February) and light clothing for summer (March-June).

It is also advisable to wear clothing with natural colors that blends in with the natural surrounding so as to not to disturb or distract the animals.

Additional information for planning Ranthambore Tiger Safari
  • Indian tourists need to carry a photo-id proof (passport, driving license, etc.) or any other identification proof provided while booking.
  • Foreign tourists need to carry their passport for identification purpose while making a booking and entering the park.
  • Id-proof to be submitted at the time of receiving boarding pass
  • Children up to 5 years can accompany their parents, but extra seat will not be provided
  • Video Camera fee – Rs. 400/-; Still Camera – free; Professional Video & Movie Camera or for Feature Films –permitted only with the permission of Chief Wildlife Warden, Jaipur.
  • Camera Fees have to be deposited at the time of receiving boarding pass or at the entry gate.

Here's a bonus tip, if you are looking for further wildlife adventure in India. Try our travel guide on Periyar National Park. Or if it is the Single-horned Rhinos that you are looking forward to along with the tigers and great tuskers, you should head to Kaziranga National Park which is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in India as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Looking for more? Check out the best national parks and wildlife reserves in India.

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Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya, Bihar

The place where the prince Siddhartha Gautam attained Nirvana and became Buddha, Mahabodhi temple is the holiest pilgrimage of Buddhists.

Mahabodhi Temple is a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site for its cultural importance.

Located in Gaya district of Bihar, Mahabodhi Temple is visited regularly by both Buddhist and Hindu and millions of tourists from around the World.

An array of monasteries and temples are peppered around the main Stupa where monks and devotees meditate and reflect as well as study the gospels of Buddha.

 Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Photo Credit - Wikipedia

The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries.

It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

The existing temple at Bodhgaya is one of the earliest and most impressive structures built exclusively from brick in the late Gupta period.

The carved stone balustrades are a supreme example of sculptural reliefs in stone.

The site consists of the main temple and six sacred places within an enclosed area, and a seventh one, the Lotus Pond, just outside the enclosure to the south.

The temple complex is built in classical style of Hindu temple architecture with low basement and moldings decorated with honeysuckle and geese design.

Inside the temple a colossal image of a seated Buddha touching the earth with his right hand. In this posture the Buddha accomplished the supreme enlightenment.

The Buddha statue is of black stone but it has been covered in gold and dressed in bright orange robes.

The most important attraction in the Mahabodhi Temple complex is the giant Bodhi Tree which lies to the western side of the main complex.

The existing tree is supposed to be the descendent of the original Bodhi Tree under which Siddhartha Gautam sat and after spending his first week attained enlightenment.

Animeshlochan Chaitya, Ratnachakrama, Ratnaghar Chaitya, Ajapala Nigrodh Tree, Lotus Pond and Rajyatna Tree where Buddha spent his second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth week respectively are some other major sacred places of the complex.

How to get there:

By Air: The nearest airport from to reach Mahabodhi Temple is at Gaya (17 km) - Druk Air flies from Bangkok once a week. Thai Airways has daily flights to Gaya.

Another alternative to reach Mahabodhi Temple is to catch a flight to Patna Airport which is connected with Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai through multiple daily direct flights to. Patna is 110 km away from Bodh Gaya.

By Road: Gaya is well connected by road to Patna which is 112 kilometers away. Patna in turn is well connected to other major cities of India by road, rail and flights

By Train: Gaya 16 kilometers away from Bodg Gaya is the nearest railway station Gaya. Taxis, buses andthree wheeler (tuk tuks) are available from here to ferry the visitors to Bodh Gaya.

Keep in mind that tuk tuk price is extremely variable and fluctuate as per the time of the day. Charges vary normally from 100-150. You could save your bucks depending upon your skills in bargaining.

By Bus: Bodhgaya is connected by road to Gaya. The Bihar State Tourist Development Coporation (Tel: 0612-225411) runs daily deluxe bus services to and from Bodh Gaya. Buses also run for Varanasi, Nalanda, Rajgir and Kathmandu from Bodhgaya.
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Things to do in Agra beside Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Sikri?

When people think of Agra, they think of Taj Mahal. But believe me when I say that there are other things to do in Agra beside Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

Besides Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri, other attraction is Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb but it is hardly a hidden attraction in Agra.

Many people visit Agra but what when anyone is asked for the attractions worth visiting they come up with names like Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itmad-Ud-Daula Tomb, Fatehpur Sikri and rarely Sikandra.

Around Agra, Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur is a popular destination but then again hardly hidden as it is popular around the world as a UNESCO World Heritage Site so is Fatehpur Sikri. Listed below are what I think some lesser known attractions around Agra.

Mehtab Bagh

Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh
Mehtab Bagh offers perfect photo ops to capture Taj Mahal in its glory

50 years ago, when the Taj was built on the Yamuna's south bank, a moonlight garden called Mehtab Bagh was also laid just across the river.

The place was once an oasis with fragrant flowers, shaded pavilions, fountain jets and reflecting pools but it ceased to exist in the due course of history. Slowly, the site became barren. This 25-acre plot has now turned in to an epicenter for the apex court-ordered project to establish protective green ways around the Taj.

Chini Ka Rauza

This was constructed by Afzal Khan - a high official in the court of Shah Jahan. Decorated by glazed tiles on the façade, the structure clearly depicts the Persian influence in architecture.


The  mausoleum of emperor Akbar represent his philosphy and secular outlook, combining the best of Hindu and Muslim architectures in a superlative region. Completed in 1613 A.D. by his son Jahangir, it is one of the well preserved monuments. This is the last resting place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Jama Masjid

This building, with a rectangular open forecourt was constructed in 1648 A.D., by Shah Jahan's daughter, Jehanera Begum in memory of the famous Shiekh Salim Chisti and his grand son Islam Khan. Of particular important is its wonderful assimilation of Iranian architecture.

Ram Bagh

The oldest Mughal garden in India, the Ram Bagh was built by the Emperor Babar in 1528 on the bank of the Yamuna. It lies about 2.34 km north of the Taj Mahal. The pavilions in this garden are designed so that the wind from the Yamuna, combined with the greenery, keeps them cool even during the peak of summer.

The original name of the gardens was Aram Bagh, or 'Garden of Relaxation', and this was where the Mughal emperor Babar used to spend his leisure time and where he eventually died. His body was kept here for sometime before sending it to Kabul.

Braj Parikrama

The Rainy month of Bhadon, the month when the Lord Krishna was born, is a time of colorful celebrations. The famous Braj Parikrama - a pilgrimage of all the places in Braj that associated with Shri Krishna, is undertaken.

Traditionally, the Chaurasi kos (84 kos) pilgrimage of Braj Mandal, with its 12 vanas (forests). 24 upvanas (groves), sacred hill Govardhan, divine River Yamuna and numerous holy places along its banks, is undertaken annually by lakhs of devotees from all over the country.


A famous place for Hindu pilgrimage. The young Lord Krishna is said to have held Giriraj up on the tip of a finger for 7 days and nights to shield the people of Braj from the deluge of rain sent down by Lord Indra.

Gokul (1.6 km from Mahavan)

It was here that Lord Krishna was brought up in secrecy by Yashoda, in the pastoral beauty of this village on the banks of the Yamuna. The celebration of Janmashtami in August is unparalleled for its gaiety and melas are constant attraction here.

Radhakund (5 km of Govardhan)

Just 5 km north of Govardhan and 26 km west of Mathura, Radhakund is a large lake, where Shri Krishna is said to have killed Arista - the bull demon. To commemorate this event, every year on the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Kartik (Oct./Nov.), a large fair is held here.

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Seven Manmade Wonders of India

Ever wondered about seven manmade wonders of India? Well there are so many specimen built by men since antiquity in India. Many stand out, but when it comes to choosing the best of the best the task becomes really arduous. 

When Times Magazine came up with its list of 100 Top Books, they said that the list has two purposes: One is to instruct and the other is to enrage. 

By “enrage” one could surmise that they were referring to the debates and furious comments the list would attract from readers whose favorite didn’t make it to the list.

Even this list might do the same (albeit at a smaller scale), as it could accommodate only seven manmade wonders of India. I have tried to justify the reason for their inclusion though brief overview and their significance. Rest, I leave on you, the readers of this list. 

And feel free to leave your thoughts or mention name of any manmade wonders of India that you believe could have been included on this list along with why you believe so.

Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is not just the one of seven wonders of India but also one of the seven wonders of the world
Unarguably - and I believe it - that Taj Mahal would make it to the top of manmade wonders of the India by anyone thinking of similar list. It took 22,000 workers, 22 years and brilliant architecture to construct Taj Mahal. 

Taj Mahal was built as a mausoleum to commemorate Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s 3rd wife Mumtaj Mahal. Taj Mahal is also inscribed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site for its immense cultural significance.

Ask any celebrity who comes to India and they want a photo by this symbol of love. Be it Princess Diana, Tom Cruise, Ben Kinsley of Vladimir Putin, everyone who visit Taj wants a slice of it in their picture.

Did you know that Taj Mahal is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World? Here more details and trivia on Taj Mahal.

Konârak Sun Temple, Orissa

Konârak Sun Temple
Konârak Sun Temple in Orissa is definitely one of the seven wonders of India
Konârak Sun Temple is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal in the state of Orissa. According to legends, the temple was so carefully aligned that the first rays of the rising sun would pass the Nata Mandir and would strike its principal entry inside the main sanctum. 

Sun god Surya was revered by Brahmins and Konârak Sun Temple is a monumental testimony of sun god Surya's chariot. The entire complex was conceived as the chariot of sun which as per Hindu Mythologies had 24 wheels pulled by 7 horses. 

The Konârak Temple is also referred to as Black Pagoda a name by which European sailors would refer to it while passing by in the ocean. The temple is renowned for its elaborate carvings and the lavishly sculpted 24 chariot wheels creating the illusion of temple complex as one giant chariot pulled by 7 horses of which 6 still remain.

Did you know that this temple finds mention in ancient vedic texts and puranas?

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Thousand Pillar Hall at Sri Meenakshi Temple,  Madurai
Also featured in list of top 30 New Wonders of the World, Meenakshi Amman Temple also known as Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple is dedicated Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. 

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and also finds mentioned in Tamil literatures of antiquity. The original temple though was significantly expanded and rebuilt during 1623 to 1655.

There are 14 massive gopurams or the gateway towers and 2 vimanas or the main sanctums housing the deities Shiva named here as Sundareswarar and Parvati known as Meenakshi. 

Meenakshi Temple is ornately carved and vimanas are golden sculptured and even gopurams are exquisitely carved giving the temples a resplendent look.

[ Also check out top 10 Temples in India ]

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Khajuraho Group of Monuments are inscribed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO
These monumental representations of power of imagination of man deserve to find a mention in seven manmade wonders of India. Khajuraho Temples are an outstanding testimony to the reign of Chandela Rajput dynasty which reached its apogee around 1100 AD.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a wonder indeed made of sandstone and without any use of mortar. The huge monoliths were put together using mortise and tenon joint system and are held in place by gravity. Megaliths weighing up to 20 tons were used to build the columns and arches of the temples here at Khajuraho.

Chandela Rajput Kings were greatly influenced by Tantric school of thoughts which find depiction in the elaborate carvings of the temple exteriors. 

Carvings at Khajuraho depict all aspects of life but the erotic sculptures often get highlighted as they appear extensively on the exteriors of the temples. In accordance with ancient treaties on architecture, erotic depictions were reserved for specific parts of the temples only. 

Other aspects of Tantric thoughts like spirituality and secularism find depiction in the inner parts of the temples. The sculptures at Khajuraho are a manifestation of the frank belief and tolerant lifestyle of the times when the society believed in dealing frankly and openly with all aspects of life, including sex.

[ Get to know more about Khajuraho Group of Monuments ]

Golden Temple, Amritsar

Golden Temple, Amritsar
Golden Temple, Amritsar is the holiest Sikh shrine in the world
Golden Temple is perhaps the second most iconic structure of India after Taj Mahal. It is the holiest Sikh shrine in the world and it is here that Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest Sikh Scripture is installed.

Foundation of Golden Temple was laid during the reign of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan in 1558 and completed by 1604. Golden Temple is surrounded by Amrit Sarovar a large pool of water which also lends it name to the Amritsar city.

Golden Temple is open to people of all faith irrespective of caste, creed or sex which is also manifest in the 4 entrances to the temple. Several monuments could be found inside the complex commemorating Sikh Gurus and martyrs.

Golden Temple is named so for its gold plated dome. The gold was donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who secured Panjab from external aggression.

Thousands of devotees pay visit to this temple everyday and free meal or langar is arranged for all those who visit Golden Temple.

Did you know that langar arrangements inside the Golden Temple are all voluntary as in arranged and managed by visitors and devotees? Here's some interesting facts about the Golden Temple.

Akshardham Temple, Delhi

Akshardham Temple in Delhi
Akshardham Temple in Delhi could be considered one of the seven modern wonders of India
I know this might create uproar amongst you but this one is a gem of structure to have come up in recent times. Akshardham Temple in Delhi attracts 70 percent of the all tourists who visit Delhi. 

The temple built by 3000 volunteers assisting 7,000 artisans was opened to public on 6th November 2005. The large central temple was built according to the principles of Vaastu and Pancharatra Shastra. 

It is crafted entirely of stone and carved from top to bottom with carvings of deities, vegetation, animals, and dancers etc.

The complex features an IMAX feature on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, a musical fountain on the message of the Upanishads, and large landscaped gardens. The temple is named after a belief in Swaminarayan Hinduism.

[  Read More about  Delhi Travel Guide ]

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad
The ancient caves at Ajanta were carved out using just chisel and hammers
Inscribed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Ajanta Caves are 29 rock cut Buddhist caves dating back to 2nd century BC. These caves are the repository of the finest specimen of Indian art especially paintings which are considered to be the magnum opus of Buddhist religious art.

These caves, overtaken by forest were accidently rediscovered by an officer of British army during hunting exercise in 1819. Ajanta Caves served the purpose of Buddhist monasteries where monks gathered for intellectual discourses and discussions.

The caves at Ajanta were carved out using chisel and hammers by the monks and artists over a period of 900 years. The paintings at Ajanta depict the stories from Jatakas, a voluminous body of literature narrating stories of Bodhisattva’s previous lives.

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