India has been a place where people of different cultures and religions coexist since ancient times. Dynasties have come and gone, leaving their presence in the many splendid temples and magnificent monuments that grace the country. As such, India has a rich cultural heritage and promises unforgettable experiences on a heritage tour. For those who want to take such a tour, here is a list of 9 Indian heritage tours to give you a head start.
India’s most popular heritage tours:
An absolute must see is the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is recognized as a gem of Indian Muslim art, it is not only a heritage of India, but a Famous World Heritage Site. The grandeur of the white marble mausoleum and the history behind it make it a masterpiece that attracts worldwide attention.
Prince of Rajasthan:
Another heritage rich place in India is Royal Rajasthan. Its timeless historical forts and palaces combined with its artistic and cultural beauty make it one of the top tourist destinations in India. The deserts of Rajasthan hold their own charm and a camel tour will take you into the wilderness for a rewarding experience.
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One of the famous destinations for holiday revellers, Goa is not without its rich culture and heritage. Goa, known as the “Rome of the East”, or ancient Goa, is marked by churches, cathedrals and chapels built by the Portuguese to commemorate their former glory. Goa’s most famous church and one of the oldest in all of India is the Cathedral of Bom Jesus, revered for containing the relics of Goa’s patron saint, Francis Xavier.
Here are the wild animals in Assam:
If you want to get up close and personal with nature and wildlife, head to Assam. Home to the World Heritage Kaziranga and Manas National Parks, these wildlife sanctuaries are natural habitats for a variety of birds and animals, the most famous of which are the worlds that can be found in Kaziranga National Park The famous one-horned Indian rhino.
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Good old Delhi:
The capital of India is loud in its cultural heritage. Derry is full of historical places. Humayun’s Tomb built in the 16th century, the red sandstone tower of Qutub Minar built in the 13th century and the Red Fort Palace built in the 17th century are living proofs of India’s original glory and are high on the heritage list of India.
Caves in Maharashtra:
If Delhi still has Old World monuments, Maharashtra is full of ancient caves dating back to the 1st century BC. From the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves to the best of Kanheri and Elephanta caves, these caves display beautifully carved sculptures popular in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and cultures. These caves are glorious depictions of rich history.
The heart of Karnataka is the city of Mysore, whose borders are dotted with magnificent palaces and gardens. The city has witnessed the rule of many dynasties, most notably that of Tipu Sultan, who left his mark and admiration for the world. The City of Palaces is known to be adorned with several palaces built by different emperors, but the most striking is the Mysore Palace. The palace houses several temples and the public halls of Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-Khaas. Most notable is the palace architecture that blends Eastern, Dravidian and Roman influences. The brightly lit palace at night is definitely the crowning glory of Mysore.
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Temples in Tamil Nadu:
Tamil Nadu has a rich cultural history dating back more than 4,000 years, and this heritage is expressed through its countless temples, lively dance forms and fine arts. The state alone has 34,000 Hindu temples that are centuries old. Sri Meenakshi Temple in the temple city of Madurai is the largest temple in India. Its facade, seen below, is sculpted with colorful figurines of different deities. With an estimated 33,000 sculptures, the temple is the only one of its kind where a goddess is more revered than a god.
The ruins of Hampi in Karnataka shine with ornately carved monuments that are the remains of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565. Hampi’s monument complex including more than 1600 surviving forts, temples, shrines, war buildings, colonnades and more is a declaration of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India.