When it comes to historical architecture, India has so much to offer thanks to its thousands of years of history. From ancient historical sites to more contemporary sites and everything in between, you will find India to be rich in architectural history. Sadly, when that happens, a lot of lesser-known places get overlooked. Most of you are well aware of the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, or Golden Temple, but today we look at some of the other less-visited yet equally significant historical sites that you must visit if you are ever in India.
The Buddhist monastery complex Thiksey was founded in the 15th century. It is located 18 km from Leh at an altitude of 3300 m and is one of the most important and largest monasteries in the region. The monastery complex is almost completely painted white and extends over a total of 12 levels up a hill. The complex also includes 10 temples. In the main temple, there is a 15 m high gilded Buddha statue, which is richly decorated. Sacred shrines and a collection of Buddhist scroll paintings and other historical objects can be found throughout the complex. In the monastery complex, there are even various facilities, such as a school, shops, and a simple guest house where visitors can spend the night.
The Mughal-style memorial made of white marble was built in memory of Queen Victoria, completed in 1921, and inaugurated by King George V. A bronze statue of Queen Victoria can be found in front of the 60 m high building. Inside there are 25 halls in the neo-renaissance style, which house various exhibits from the colonial era.
The city palace of Udaipur is located on the east bank of Lake Pichola and is the largest palace in Rajasthan. The founder of Udaipur Maharana Udai Singh began building the city palace. However, the city palace only gained its majestic appearance over the centuries after various Maharanas expanded and enlarged it. Although it is composed of four main palaces and many other small buildings, the overall picture of the palace complex radiates a perfect unity. The palace is surrounded by balconies, towers, arches, domes, and terraces. From the terraces on the upper floors, you can enjoy a wonderful view of Udaipur and Lake Pichola. The main part of the palace is now a museum with a considerable collection of works of art, including paintings and porcelain figurines.
The Alchi monastery is located about 40 km south of the city of Leh and dates from the 11th century. It is characterized by its very special style because in contrast to the other Tibetan monasteries, the Alchi Monastery shows a clear Kashmiri influence.
The founding of Alchi is attributed to Rinchen Sangpo, who brought Buddhism to Tibet. As a boy, he was sent to Kashmir to gain the knowledge that was needed to revive Buddhism in Tibet. He collected texts and doctrinal transmissions for over a decade and eventually returned to Tibet to practice Buddhism.
The monastery is decorated with intricate wood carvings and houses huge Buddha statues. The wall painting in the Alchi monastery is of particular importance. This is one of the most important treasures of the western Himalayas. The wall painting owes its good state of preservation to the dry climate in Ladakh and the favorable geographical location, which protected the monastery from invasions. Talented artists from Kashmir have created wonderful pictures here, which captivate above all with beautiful colors and elaborate details.
Dada Harir Stepwell
Located in Ahmedabad the Manchester of India, Dada Harir StepWell is an architectural marvel. It’s an eight-story deep well built in octagonal shape, full of beautiful sandstone carvings, that incorporate Jain, Islamic, and Hindu architecture. Not only it is rich in beauty but rich in history as well. It was built on the orders of Dada Harir in 1485, who was the head woman of the harem of Sultan Mahmud Begada. All was a place where women of the time didn’t just get water but also got to socialize with each other. It is indeed a place worth your visit.