List of Famous Historical Monuments of India and their Builders
This article is all about famous historical monuments of India, information about most important historical places of India, list of monuments and their builders. Historical Monuments can be classified according to architecture styles, religious entities, period of construction etc. By period we mean the monuments constructed can be differentiated as per their time e.g. Indus valley period, Magadha Empire, Gupta Empire etc in Ancient India, Mughal period during Medieval India and monuments of Modern India. Styles of Architecture also plays a vital role in classification of Historical Places of India. For example the monuments built during Mughal era are classical examples of Turkish-Persian architecture, while the monuments of South India gives the glimpses of Dravidian Architecture. Some of the important and famous historical monuments of India are as follows:
Famous Historical Monuments of India
- Year of construction – 11th century originally, by Akbar in 1573 in present form
- Built by – Mughals (in present form)
From starting Agra Fort was a strategic place and epicenter of power and it was used to command the entire India. The exact time of construction of the original fort is unknown. The fort in its present form was constructed by Mughals. All mughal rulers contributed to some extent in the construction of the present structural form. Originally the fort was called Badalgarh which was held by Raja Badal Singh, a Rajput king in year 1475. This fort however came under control of Lodi dynasty of Delhi. Sikandar Lodi, the first delhi sultan shifted his capital from Delhi to Agra and occupied this Agra Fort.
After the first battle of Panipat in 1526 between Ibrahim Lodi (son of Sikandar Lodi) and Babur, the Agra Fort came under the control of Mughals. In year 1540, this fort came in possession of Sher Shah Suri who defeated Humayun and ousted him out although Humayun managed to recapture it again in 1555. The fort was also occupied for few years by Hindu king Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (Hemu) who defeated Humayun. But after the second battle of Panipat in year 1556 between Hemu and Akbar, Hemu was defeated and the fort came under the control of Mughals again. It was Akbar who built the fort in the present form by red sandstones in 1573 and Shah Jahan also contributed in its present design. Later this fort was captured by Marathas in 18th century and then it came under the hands of British rule after Anglo Maratha war of 1803.
- Year of construction – 1576 AD
- Built by – Akbar
Buland Darwaza was built by Akbar in 1576 to mark his victory over Gujarat. Buland darwaza is the highest entrance gate of its kind in all over world. This represents the classical example of Mughal architecture. This is built at the main entrance of the palace of Fatehpur Sikri. This is built by using red sandstones and beautified with marble at various key locations. The whole structure of the gate is 54 m above ground level. There are 42 steps to be climbed to reach the main platform over which the gate is built. The height of the gate itself from the base platform is 40 m.
- Year of construction – 1591
- Built by – Md. Quli Qutub Shah
Charminar is a symbolic icon of city of Hyderabad. It was constructed in year 1591 by Quli Qutub Shah. It is basically a mosque which is situated on the banks of Musi river. As per the legend, Char minar was constructed as a commemoration for the eradication of deadly plague disease which was causing grave danger to the city. Quli Qutub Shah prayed and vowed to construct the monument once the plague gets eradicated. Quli Qutub Shah also founded the city of Hyderabad around this monument. Persian influence can be found from the architecture of this building. The structure is basically square 20 m long and having a minaret located at each corner. Height of each minaret is 56 m. Granite, limestone and mortar are used as main building materials.
- Year of construction : 1653
- Built by : Shah Jahan
Taj Mahal was built the famous Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who is also called as Mughal Architect. He has built a number of other monuments also like : Red Fort of Delhi, Jama Masjid of Delhi, Moti Masjid of Lahore, Shalimar gardens of Kashmir etc. This monument was built by him as a tribute and loving memory of her wife Mumtaj. The construction work of Taj Mahal started in year 1632 and completed in 1653. It was built under the supervision of Architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri and 20,000 craftsmen. The cost of construction is estimated to about 32 Million rupees at that time.
- Year of construction – 1569
- Built by – Akbar
Fatehpur sikri is a planned fully fortified wall city which was founded by Akbar in 1569. This city is located 37 Km from Agra and the main attraction includes tomb of the sufi saint – Salim Chisti. This city was constructed by Akbar to commemorate, consolidate and safeguard his victories over Rajput kings of Chittor and Ranthambhor. Fathepur Sikri served as Mughal capital from the period of 1571 to 1585. Its original name was coined as Fatehabad which was later changed to Fatehpur Sikri. The name Fateh was coined to mark the victory of Akbar over this Rajput kingdoms. The buildings of Fathenpur Sikri represents the example of classical Persian architecture. The buildings are made of red sand stones. The main attractions of this city are – Buland Darwaza, Birbal’s house, Jama Masjid, Salim Chisti ki Dargah, Diwan – e – Aam, Diwan – e – Khas, Ibadat Khana, Anup Talao, Panch Mahal, Mariam-uz-Zamani Palace, Pachisi Court and Naubat Khana.
Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)
- Year of construction – 1585 to 1604
- Built by – Guru Arjan
Harmandir Sahib which is popularly known as Golden Temple is located in Amritsar, Punjab state, India. This temple is among the holiest Sikh shrines across the whole world. The construction of the temple was started in 1585 and completed in 1604 by fifth Sikh Guru – Guru Arjan. The present structure in the form of Gurudwara was built by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in 1764. It was Maharaja Ranjit Singh who got the outer walls and roof covered by gold to which the acronym Golden Temple started. The devotees took bath in the holy water of reservoir surrounding the temple which is fed by river ravi. As contrary to the other Sikh shrines, there are total four entrances to the temple. There are three pious trees in the vicinity of temple each representing important milestones of Sikh culture.
- Year of construction – 1626 to 1656
- Built by – Md Adil Shah
Gol Gumbaz is basically a tomb of Mohammad Adil Shah and his two wives. This gumbaz is located in Bijapur of Karnataka. The structure is a huge dome which is second largest of its kind of medieval world (first one is Hagia Sofia of byzantine empire, presently in Turkey). This was constructed Adil Shah when he was alive by the architect Yaqut of Dabul. The structure consists of four minarets on each corners of a central dome standing on a cubical base. The sides of the base are 47.5 meter in length and the dia of the dome is 44 meter. The minarets are seven storied and octagonal from inside carrying staircase up to the upper dome structure. The most interesting part of this dome is whispering gallery where even a slightest sound can be heard at other side due its acoustic design.
- Year of construction – 1799
- Built by – Sawai Raja Pratap Singh
Hawa Mahal was built by Sawai King Pratap Singh and the construction was completed in year 1799. The palace was designed by Ustad Lal Chand and red and pink sandstones are used in the construction. Hawa Mahal has achieved a distinguished image and iconic representation of the pink city of Jaipur. This palace is the shape of crown of Krishna and is named so because of its numerous windows in form of honeycomb structure. The palace is a 5 storeyed structure which has total 953 windows which enables the royal ladies to watch the outside streets of palace without being seen from out. The unique feature of the palace is the air ducts design which allows air to pass like venturi leaving a cool breeze giving air conditioning effect.
- Year of construction – 1724 to 1735
- Built by – Maharaja Jai Singh II
There are total 5 Jantar Mantars which were built by Maharaja Jai Singh of of Jaipur. The locations of these Jantar Mantar are New Delhi, Mathura, Jaipur, Ujjain and Varanasi. The Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is the largest one which houses world’s largest stone Sun dial and is also defined as a World Heritage site. These Jantar Mantar are basically astronomical observatory containing of a number of scientific instruments related to astronomy. These instruments measure the time of day as per the position of sun in sky. These devices were used to study the position of planets with respect to sun, calculations related to astronomical tables etc.
Red Fort (Lal Quila)
- Year of construction – 1638 to 1648
- Built by – Shah Jahan
Red Fort is yet another masterpiece delivered by Mughal Architect Shah Jahan after Taj Mahal. This was designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri who also designed Taj Mahal. Likewise Taj Mahal, Red Fort is also situated on the banks of river Yamuna. Red Fort which is also called as Lal Quila served as official residence of Mughal Kings. In addition to residence, it also served as political and administrative center of Mughal Empire. As the name suggest, the fort is made up of red sandstones and reflects a blend of Persian and Timurid architecture styles. It was also declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2007. The importance of this monument can be understood by the fact that Prime Minister of India hoists the tricolor and delivers speech on every independence day annually.
After Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb made some modifications by constructing moti masjid (Pearl Mosque) and fortified gateway at the two main gates of entrance. After Aurangzeb, the fort was occupied by Jahandar Shah, Farrukhsiyar and then Muhammad Shah. In 1739, Nadir Shah defeated the later Mughals and plundered Delhi and looted the peacock throne of Red Fort. For brief time till 3rd Panipat battle, the control of Red Fort came under hands of Marathas. After Marathas lost in 3rd Panipat battle by Ahamad Shah Durrani, Shah Alam came to power and occupied Red Fort with support of Marathas and Sikhs. In 1803 after Anglo Maratha war of Delhi, the fort came under the control of British.
Some of the other important structures in the premises of Red Fort are – Delhi Gate, Lahori Gate, Khizrabad Gate, Water Gate, Chhatta Chowk, Mumtaz Mahal, Rang Mahal, Hammam, Baoli, Moti Masjid, Hira Mahal, Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-Khas.
- Year of construction – 1193 AD
- Built by – Qutub-ud-din Aibak
Qutub Minar is second tallest minar (tallest is Fateh Burj of Mohali, Punjab) in India while it is tallest brick minaret of India and World. This minar is located in Mahrauli, Delhi, India. This minar was constructed by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, who is also the found of Delhi Sultanate. Qutub Minar is also one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in India. The structure is made of red sandstones and marbles. The total height of minar is 73 meters (240 feet) which is actually tapering from base diameter of 47 feet and top being 9 feet. Total number of stairs from base to top is 379. Later three more storeys were added by Iltutmish in year 1220 CE. After the top floor was destroyed by thunderbolt in year 1369, two more storeys were built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.
Some other important historical monuments in the vicinity of Qutub Complex are – Alai Darwaza, Alai Minar, Ala-ud-Din’s Madarsa, Tomb of Imam Zamin, Diamond Pole of Delhi, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and Iron Pillar of Gupta Empire.
Historical Monuments which are UNESCO World Heritage sites
There are total 35 sites in India which were declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Apart from the monuments listed above, the list of world heritage monuments of India are as follows –
Heritage Monuments Construction Year Built by
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi 1572 Humayun's second wife Bigga Begum
Mahabodhi Temple, Gaya, Bihar 3rd Century BC Ashoka
Churches and Convents of Goa(Basilica of Bom Jesus)
16th Century Portuguese
Humpi Monuments, Ballari, Karnataka 14th & 16th Century Vijaynagara empire kings
Champaner - Pavagarh Archaeological Park, Gujarat 8th to 14th Century ...
Pattadakal Monuments, Bagalkot, Karnataka 8th Century Chalukya dynasty
Sanchi Buddhist Monuments, Madhya Pradesh 2nd to 1st Century BC built by Buddhists in 1st to 2nd BC, later developed by Ashoka in 3rd century BC.
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh Pre-historic, 30,000 years ago ...
Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh 950-1050 AD Chandela Kings
Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 2-6th Century BC Gupta Kings
Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 600-1000 AD Rastrakutas built Hindu and Buddhist caves, Yadav dynasty built Jain group of caves
Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra 5-8th century AD Rashtrakuta Kings
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus), Mumbai, Maharashtra 1887-88 Designed by architect Fredrick William Stevens
Sun Temple, Konark, Puri, Odisha 13th century King Narshimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga dynasty
Great Living Chola Temples i) Gangikonda Cholapuram, ii) Darasuram, iii) Tanjavur Tamil Nadu 11th to 12th Century Chola Empire
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 7th to 8th Century Pallav kings
Hill Forts of Rajasthan i) Chittorgarh, ii) Kumbhalgarh, iii) Ranthambhore, iv)Amber, v) Jaisalmer, vi)Gagron 7th to 16th Century Rajput kings of Rajasthan
Rani ki vav, Patan, Gujarat 11th Century Udaymati of Solanki dynasty
Nalanda, Bihar 3rd Century BC to 12th Century AD Gupta Empire
Some other Important Historical Places and Monuments of India
Famous Historical Temples, Stupas, Ashrams
Monument Location Built by
Belur Math Kolkata Swami Vivekanand
Chennakesava Temple Belur, Hasan, Karnataka Vishnu Vardhan
Dhamekh Stupa Sarnath, Varanasi Ashoka
Dilwada Jain Temples Mount Abu, Raj. Vimal Shah
Gommateshwar Temple Shravanbelagola, Hasan, Karnataka Chavunadaraya, Ganga Dynasty
Takhat Shri Harmandir Sahib Patna, Bihar Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Jagannath Temple Puri, Odisha Chola Gang Dev
Dakshineswar Kali Temple Kolkata Rani Rashmoni
Khajuraho Temples Chhatarpur, MP Chandel Kings
Mahabodhi Vihar Bodh Gaya, Bihar Ashoka
Lakshmi Narayan Temple Delhi Birla Family
Laxman Temple Chhatarpur, MP Yashovarman
Parinirvana Temple and Stupa Kushinagar, UP Govt of India
Sabarmati Ashram Ahmedabad, Guj. Mahatma Gandhi
Sanchi Stupa Raisen, MP Ashoka
Shanti Niketan West Bengal Rabindra Nath Tagore
Sun Temple Konark, Odisha Narsingh Dev I
Vishnupad Temple Gaya, Bihar Rani Ahilya Bai
Famous Historical Caves
Monument Location Built by
Ajanta Caves Aurangabad Gupta Kings
Elephanta Caves Mumbai Rashtrakut Rulers
Ellora Caves Aurangabad Buddhist
Kanheri Caves Mumbai Buddhist
Famous Historical Forts, Palaces, Gardens
Monuments Location Built by
Aram Bagh Agra, UP Babur
Bharatpur Fort Bharatpur, Raj. Raja Surajmal Singh
Bundi Fort Bundi, Raj. Raja Nagar Singh
Char Minar Hyderabad, Telangana Quli Qutub Shah
Chasm-e-Shahi Sri Nagar, J&K. Ali Mardan Khan
Chhattra Mahal Bundi Fort, Raj. Rani Chhatrasal
Cochin Fort Kerala Portuguese
Dhar Fort Dhar, MP Md Bin Tughlaq
Fort William Kolkata, West Bengal Lord Clive
Golconda Fort Hyderabad, Telangana Qutubshahi
Hauz Khas Delhi Qutub-ud-Din Aibak
Jodhpur Fort Jodhpur, Raj. Rao Jodha Ji
Madan Palace Jabalpur, MP Raja Madan Singh
Mrignayani Palace Gwalior, MP Raja Man Singh Tomar
Nishat Bagh Sri Nagar, J&K. Asaf Ali
Old Fort Delhi Sher Shah Suri
President House Delhi British government
Prince of Wales Museum Mumbai, Mah. George V
Shalimar Bagh Sri Nagar, J&K. Jahangir
St George Fort Chennai, TN East India Company
Famous Historical Tombs, Shrines, Mosques
Monument Location Built by
Akbar's Tomb Sikandra, Agra, UP Jahangir
Bada Imambabda Lucknow, UP Nawab Asaf -ud- Daula
Bibi ka Maqbara Aurangabad Aurangzeb
Charar-e-Sharif Sri Nagar, J&K Jainul Abedin
Chhota imambada Lucknow, UP Md Ali Shah
Etmad-ud-Daula Tomb Agra, UP Noor Jahan
Gol Ghar Patna, Bihar British Government
Humayun's Tomb Delhi Hameeda Bano Begum (wife)
Jama Masjid Agra, UP Shah Jahan
Mecca Masjid Hyderabad Quli Qutub Shah
Moti Masjid Agra Fort, UP Shah Jahan
Pandari ki Haveli Patna, Bihar Father Capuchin
Patthar ki Masjid Patna, Bihar Parvez Shah
Safderjung Tomb Delhi Shuja-ud-Daula
Sheesh Mahal Agra, UP Shah Jahan
Sher Shah's Tomb Sasaram, Bihar Son of Sher Shah
Shershah Masjid Patna, Bihar Parvez Shah
Tajmahal Agra, UP Shah Jahan