Are you looking for places to visit on your next big trip to India? Then here are the most famous landmarks in India that you should tailor your itinerary around.
Being one of the cheapest countries in Asia, India is an ideal country for any traveler.
Known for its diverse culture, rich history, beautiful temples, palaces, ruins of ancient cities, monuments, and architectural gems, there are a number of Indian landmarks that you should not miss on your next visit.
Since you may not have time to explore all the monuments of India, I am sharing with you this comprehensive list of the 20 most famous landmarks in India that you shouldn’t miss visiting.
Psst… Traveling only to the Northern part of the country? Then check out these beautiful places to visit in Northern India and before you go, make sure that you check out these useful India travel tips for a perfect trip.
Famous Landmarks in India
1. Taj Mahal, Agra
Taj Mahal has to top the list of India landmarks as it is a bucket list destination for millions of travelers.
Located in Agra city, the Taj Mahal is the most famous landmark in India and your trip will be incomplete without visiting it.
Constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan between 1631-1648 to commemorate and house the tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is not only a symbol of India’s rich history but also the unofficial icon of the country attracting millions of tourists from all corners of the world.
The Taj Mahal is not only one of the 7 wonders of the world but has also been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983.
This Mausoleum built with white marble is a jewel of Muslim art whose striking beauty will leave you in awe.
And besides the architectural beauty, the Taj Mahal also offers some of the best sunrise views.
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2. Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi
Located near the banks of the Yamuna River in New Delhi is Swaminarayan Akshardham, the world’s largest Hindu temple.
It is a one-stop place to learn about Indian culture, spirituality, and admire its magnificent architecture.
Sitting on 12 hectares of land, the temple complex has a museum, a large cultural center, water canal, parks, and it’s flooded with shrines and sculptures.
At the temple’s centerpiece, you will find a massive idol of the Lord of Swaminarayan and over 20,000 deities, sages, and displays of traditional and modern Hindu culture.
The outside of the temple is also a beautiful wonder decorated with over 148 statues of elephants and a step-well-styled courtyard.
Though the divine abode of God is a stunning piece of architecture built from intricately carved sandstone and marble and the primal attraction at Swaminarayan Akshardham, there are so many things to do and see at this Indian landmark.
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3. Qutab Minar, New Delhi
Being the second tallest Minar in India after Fateh Burj, Qutab Minar is also the tallest minaret made of bricks in the world and one of the historical monuments of India.
Rising at 238ft (73m) tall, this UNESCO world heritage site was built in 1200AD by Qutb-al-Din-Aibak, the first Muslim ruler after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom to indicate a power shift.
The Minar features 5 storeys with a base diameter of 15m (43ft) and an apex of 2.5 m (9ft) with each story having a separate projecting balcony. It is one of the ancient surviving Indo-Islamic architecture and attracts more than 3 million visitors a year.
The Minar is surrounded by several historically significant Indian monuments including; the ruins, tombs, medieval structures, and madrassa. And at the foot of the Minar is the Quwwat-Ul-Islam which was the first mosque to be built in India.
The highlight of this tower of victory is a 7m (23ft) pure iron pillar that is more than 6 tons and has resisted corrosion for centuries.
There is a popular belief that if you can encircle the iron with your hands while standing with your back to it, your wish will be fulfilled.
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4. Agra Fort, Agra
Sitting on 380,000 square meters is the beautiful Agra Fort which is one of the famous Indian monuments and a popular tourist spot receiving around 2 million visitors a year.
The construction of this historical fort started in 1565 and was the primary residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638 when the capital of India shifted from Agra to Delhi.
The fort is more of a walled city with a hidden paradise and exquisite buildings encompassed in a 2.5km long and 70ft (21m) high walls.
The crescent-shaped fort has 2 mosques, multiple palaces, and audience halls illustrating the Mughal architecture.
So if you love ancient history, you will love Agra Fort which has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983 and is now one of the must-visit landmarks of India.
5. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Located 300km from India’s capital Delhi, Hawa Mahal is a beautiful palace seated in the city of Jaipur. Also known as the palace of winds, it is one of the famous Indian landmarks to visit in the city.
It was built from red and pink sandstones with pyramidal shapes resembling Lord Krishna’s crown giving it a unique and beautiful look.
Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh constructed the 5 storey building in 1799 as an extension of the Royal City Palace.
Though its main purpose was to provide an observation place for the royal women to witness the everyday city’s life and the street festivals without being seen by the public, today, it’s an India landmark that welcomes millions of visitors who want to admire its impeccable beauty and walk into the footsteps of the royals.
Besides the architecture and history, getting to the top of the palace will give you amazing views of the bustling streets of Jaipur, the City Palace, and Jantar Mantar.
6. Red Fort, Delhi (Old Delhi)
Red Fort is one of the most celebrated Indian historical monuments. Located at the heart of old Delhi, it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan from 1639-1648 when India changed its capital from Agra to Delhi.
This magnificent fort was the primary residence of many Mughal emperors, and its beauty and rich heritage make it one of the famous landmarks of India that attracts thousands of travelers to the city.
It was built using red sandstones hence the name Red Fort. Today, it houses museums and serves as a ceremonial ground where India hoists its national flag on independence day every year.
It is also surrounded by several big gates and was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007.
7. The Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple is an Indian landmark known for its beautiful golden walls.
This beautiful temple in Amritsar is the holiest pilgrimage site for people who follow the Sikh faith.
The temple features 16th century Hindu and Islamic architecture styles with intricate designs and stunning sparkling golden walls that will leave you in awe.
It is centered on a holy pond known as Amrit Sarovar which makes it appear like it’s floating on water.
The pond has holy water on all sides where devotees take a dip to wash away their sins. This temple is the epitome of harmony, equality, and glory.
So if you are looking for a place to seek spiritual solace and blessings, then visit the Golden temple to join millions of other devotees from all over the world who come to seek spiritual nourishment and peace.
8. Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
A trip to the Aurangabad region in Maharashtra will leave you impressed by the hand-crafted caves, sculptures, and frescoes representing the ancient rock-cut architecture in the world.
The two caves of Ajanta and Ellora are famous landmarks of India and UNESCO World heritage sites that attract thousands of curious travelers and historians.
While the Ajanta caves dedicated to the Buddhists have 29 caves and date back to the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD, the Ellora caves date back to the 6th century AD and 11th century AD and are dedicated to Hindus, Buddhists, and Jain.
The most renowned attraction here is cave 16 at Ellora which houses the Kailasa temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is also the largest monolithic rock-cut temple in the world and also a historical Indian landmark not to miss.
Other notable attractions not to miss here include the life-size elephant sculptures, together with other fine Indian paintings that will make you appreciate India’s historical art even more.
9. Gateway of India, Mumbai
Gateway of India is an Indian historical monument located at the Apex of Apollo Bunder overlooking the Arabian sea in Mumbai.
The 26m (85ft) monument was built in 1911 and completed in 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India.
The gateway of India also served as an entry point for British Viceroys when they arrived in India.
Though it was constructed in the 20th century, it has a16th century Gujarat architecture with touches of Islamic designs and a resemblance of a triumphal arch that attracts a number of architecture and history buffs.
The place is also a popular spot for locals, travelers, photographers, street vendors, and street food stalls.
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10. Konark Sun Temple, Konark
On the coastline of Odisha, 35km northeast of Puri, on the bank of River Chandrabhaga is Sun Temple which is one of the famous monuments of India.
Built in the 13th century and dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya, this stunning piece of architecture is mind-blowing.
It is designed to resemble a gigantic chariot with 24 wheels led by a team of 6 horses all carved from stone. The temple is also decorated with intricate artwork, symbolic designs, and iconography that illustrates the Kalinga architecture.
Since the temple is dedicated to the sun God, it was perfectly designed such that the first rays of the sun strike at the temple’s entrance every day.
With years of history and impressive architecture, the Konark Sun Temple is a famous landmark in India that should not be missed.
11. Amer Fort, Jaipur
Cradled on top of Aravalli hill, Amer Fort is one of the most majestic palaces in India.
Located 11km (6.8mi) from the pink city Jaipur, it is arguably one of the grandest forts and one of the famous buildings in India attracting millions of visitors every year.
Built in 1592 by emperor Sing, the fort served as the primary residence of the Rajput rulers. But today, this magnificent palace that was constructed with yellow and pink sandstone offers a visual treat to all its visitors.
It is one of the Indian famous landmarks and an architectural masterpiece that illustrates Rajputana architecture.
Its colorful architectural design with maze-like passages and many meandering staircases makes it a major tourist spot in Jaipur.
The charming complex with exquisite Hindu elements at the peaks is also a must-see sight while exploring the palace.
12. Charminar, Hyderabad
Charminar is one of the famous monuments in India located in the heart of Hyderabad.
This iconic monument was constructed in 1591 by the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty, Muhammad Quli Sha.
It is one of the most recognizable and famous structures in India. It has 4 minarets on the 4 corners rising 48.7m (160ft) which symbolize the first 4 khalifas of Islam.
On the top floor of this monument is a mosque that has been in existence for more than 400 years.
This religious and historical Indian landmark is popular for the busy local markets surrounding it, and it’s a site for numerous festival celebrations like Eid-al-Fitr.
It’s that one place you have to visit while in Hyderabad as it’s not only an Indian landmark but also the city’s international symbol.
13. Safdarjung Tomb, New Delhi
Do you love photography and architecture? Then don’t miss visiting Safdarjung Tomb, one of the few Indian monuments built during the Mughal era’s last span highlighting the stunning Mughal architecture.
Built in 1754 for a powerful Mughal emperor who ruled from 1719 -1748, Safdarjung Tomb is a gorgeous marble and sandstone mausoleum with 213 led lights illuminating the tomb every night from 7.30 pm to 11 pm.
The underground chamber host two graves of Safdarjung and his wife, and the compound garden houses 3-dome mosques, fountains, and water canals flowing through the compound.
This beautiful tomb complex is not super crowded making it an ideal spot for people who hate congested touristic areas.
14. Pangong Tso, Ladakh
At an elevation of 4,225m (13,862ft), Pangong Tso is the highest saltwater lake in the world and also one of the famous natural landmarks in India.
It stretches 134km (83mi) long and is divided into 5 sub lakes. 40% of the lake is in Ladakh, India, while the other 50% is in Tibet, China, and the 10 % is disputed between the 2 countries.
One of the unusual and impressive things about Pangong Tso is that it keeps changing colors from blue to green or red depending on the time of the day.
The beauty of this lake is unspeakable and you have to see it for yourself to understand and take in its splendor. You can literally spend hours here and not get enough of the lake.
15. Masrur Temples, Laharpur
Also known as Himalayan pyramids, the Masrur temples are a cluster of 15 rock-cut temples built in the 8th and 9th centuries.
The temples have three entrances; the northwest, southeast, and northwest, where two entrances are incomplete.
The temples feature reliefs, idols of Lord Rama, Lord Lakhsnana, and Goddess Sita. The temples are also spiritually significant and a key archeological site that attracts millions of visitors from all corners of the world.
However, the temples were ruined by earthquakes, and the temple ruins complex left remains an extraordinary marvel that proves human creativity.
16. Dzuko Valley, Manipur
If you’re a nature lover, then Dzuko Valley should top your list of landmarks in India to visit.
Located along the border of Manipur and Nagaland, there is no other place like this in India. It is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and it’s known for its lush rolling hills covered with dwarf bamboo.
Also known as the valley of flowers, it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Northeast India. It has a wide range of flowers, including the Dzuko lily with a deep shade of pink only found in this valley.
The best time to visit the valley is in full bloom season between June and September where you’ll enjoy the sight of the bright white and pink lilies adorning the valley.
The area is great for trekking, hiking, or just exploring and appreciating nature in its pristine condition.
17. India Gate, New Delhi
Built from 1921 to 1931, India Gate in New Delhi is one of the historical monuments in India.
It is a memorial archway made of sandstone built to pay tribute to the brave soldiers who fought for the country.
A well-maintained lawn surrounds the 42m (138ft) structure and it’s a popular picnic spot among travelers and locals.
The structure has inscriptions of the names of over 70,000 soldiers killed in world war I and the soldiers martyred during the Afghan war of 1919.
On top of that, the base of the structure houses 4 eternal flames to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers.
18. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai
Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Lord Shiva. It is a major tourist spot and an epitome of classic architecture that will take your breath away.
Located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River, this iconic temple has mesmerizing murals all around making it a must-visit attraction to witness its splendor.
The temple is home to a hall that has a thousand pillars, 33,000 sculptures, and a sacred pool where you can do a ritual bath. Other attractions at Meenakshi Amman Temple include; shrines, elephant sheds, gardens, and a wedding hall.
Different types of festivals are also held here throughout the year with the main festival, Chithirai Thiruvizha happening in April attracting millions of visitors.
So if you want to experience the festivity and culture while learning about the history of Meenakshi Amman Temple, then April is the best time to visit this famous Indian landmark.
19. City Palace, Jaipur
City palace is a famous tourist attraction in Jaipur and there is no way you can avoid it when in the city as it’s located right in the heart of the pink city.
Built from 1739-1732 by Sawai Jai Singh II, the palace illustrates a striking blend of Rajput, Mughal, and European styles.
The palace not only features a Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II museum that exhibits clothes worn by the royals, gardens, holy shrines, pavilions, halls, palaces, and gateways but also continues to be the home of the Jaipur royal family.
There is so much to see and explore here which portrays the richness and royalty of Indian history.
20. Mysore Palace, Mysore
Also known as Mysuru Palace, Mysore Palace is the most famous landmark in India after the Taj Mahal.
Initially, the palace was made of wood which was later destroyed by fire in 1897. It was later rebuilt in 1912 to the 3 storey structure we see today.
It is a combination of Hindu, Gothic, Muslim, and Rajput architectural styles giving it a unique look.
The palace was the official residence of the royal family of Mysore, who ruled from 1399 to 1950.
It was later made into a museum and houses royal souvenirs, jewelry, paintings, and costumes.
The best time to visit the place is at night to watch the illuminated lights covering the structure giving it a stunning look.
Final Thoughts on the Famous Landmarks in India
India is a country blessed with history, culture, impressive architecture, and a number of monuments that it can be hard to visit all of them in one visit.
So I hope that this post has helped you narrow down the Indian landmarks you shouldn’t miss while in the country.
Have you been to any of these famous landmarks of India? Which one of them was your favorite?
And if reading this post has inspired you to visit India, which one of these Indian monuments are you most excited to see? Let me know in the comments below!
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