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Seven Wonders Of India

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The Seven Wonders Of India as per the poll conducted by TOI cover the best tourist attractions of the country.

India’s seven wonders are stunning examples of ancient Indian art and architecture, and they continue to woo all of the world with their charm.

1. The Hampi Temple Complex In Karnataka

Hampi, also referred to as the Group of Monuments at Hampi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka, India. It became the centre of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire capital in the 14th century.[2] Chronicles left by Persian and European travellers, particularly the Portuguese, state Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets. By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.

Located in Karnataka near the modern-era city of Hosapete, Hampi’s ruins are spread over 4,100 hectares (16 sq mi) and it has been described by UNESCO as an “austere, grandiose site” of more than 1,600 surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India that includes “forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, water structures and others”.Hampi predates the Vijayanagara Empire; there is evidence of Ashokan epigraphy, and it is mentioned in the Ramayana and the Puranas of Hinduism as PampaaDevi Tirtha Kshetra. Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple, an active Adi Shankara-linked monastery and various monuments belonging to the old city.

2. Khajuraho Group Of Monuments In Madhya Pradesh

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu temples and Jain temples in Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh, India, about 175 kilometres (109 mi) southeast of Jhansi. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1][2] The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures.

Most Khajuraho temples were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty. Historical records note that the Khajuraho temple site had 85 temples by the 12th century, spread over 20 square kilometers Of these, only about 25 temples have survived, spread over six square kilometers.[2] Of the surviving temples, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art.

The Khajuraho group of temples were built together but were dedicated to two religions, Hinduism and Jainism, suggesting a tradition of acceptance and respect for diverse religious views among Hindus and Jains in the region.

3. The Konark Sun Temple In Orissa

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century CE sun temple at Konark about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast from Puri on the coastline of Odisha, India.[ The temple is attributed to king Narasingha deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.

Dedicated to the Hindu sun god Surya, what remains of the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with immense wheels and horses, all carved from stone. Once over 200 feet (61 m) high, much of the temple is now in ruins, in particular the large shikara tower over the sanctuary; at one time this rose much higher than the mandapa that remains. The structures and elements that have survived are famed for their intricate artwork, iconography, and themes, including erotic kama and mithuna scenes. Also called the Surya Devalaya, it is a classic illustration of the Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture .[

The cause of the destruction of the Konark temple is unclear and remains a source of controversy.Theories range from natural damage to deliberate destruction of the temple in the course of being sacked several times by Muslim armies between the 15th and 17th centuries. This temple was called the “Black Pagoda” in European sailor accounts as early as 1676 because its great tower appeared black.  Similarly, the Jagannath Temple in Puri was called the “White Pagoda”. Both temples served as important landmarks for sailors in the Bay of Bengal. The temple that exists today was partially restored by the conservation efforts of British India-era archaeological teams. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984, it remains a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, who gather here every year for the ChandrabhagaMela around the month of February.

4. Taj Mahal In Uttar Pradesh

The Taj Mahal, meaning “Crown of the Palaces” is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan, the builder. The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year and in 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.

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5. The Nalanda University In Bihar

Nalandawas a Mahavihara, a large and revered Buddhist monastery, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar) in India. The site is located about 95 kilometres (59 mi) southeast of Patna near the city of Bihar Sharif, and was a centre of learning from the fifth century CE to c. 1200 CE.[4] It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The highly formalized methods of Jain and Buddhist learning helped inspire the establishment of large teaching institutions such as Taxila, Nalanda, and Vikramashila[ which are often characterised as India’s early universities.Nalanda flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries and later under Harsha, the emperor of Kannauj.[The liberal cultural traditions inherited from the Gupta age resulted in a period of growth and prosperity until the ninth century. The subsequent centuries were a time of gradual decline, a period during which the tantric developments of Buddhism became most pronounced in eastern India under the Pala Empire.

At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from near and far with some travelling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia.Archaeological evidence also notes contact with the Shailendra dynasty of Indonesia, one of whose kings built a monastery in the complex.

Much of our knowledge of Nalanda comes from the writings of pilgrim monks from Asia such as Xuanzang and Yijing who travelled to the Mahavihara in the 7th century. Vincent Smith remarked that “a detailed history of Nalanda would be a history of Mahayanist Buddhism”. Many of the names listed by Xuanzang in his travelogue as products of Nalanda are the names of those who developed the philosophy of Mahayana. All students at Nalanda studied Mahayana as well as the texts of the eighteen (Hinayana) sects of Buddhism. Their curriculum also included other subjects such as the Vedas, logic, Sanskrit grammar, medicine and Samkhya.

Nalanda was very likely ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Mamluk Dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate under Bakhtiyar Khalji in c. 1200 CE. While some sources note that the Mahavihara continued to function in a makeshift fashion for a while longer, it was eventually abandoned and forgotten until the 19th century when the site was surveyed and preliminary excavations were conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India. Systematic excavations commenced in 1915 which unearthed eleven monasteries and six brick temples neatly arranged on grounds 12 hectares (30 acres) in area. A trove of sculptures, coins, seals, and inscriptions have also been discovered in the ruins many of which are on display in the Nalanda Archaeological Museum situated nearby. Nalanda is now a notable tourist destination and a part of the Buddhist tourism circuit.

On 25 November 2010, the Indian government, through an Act of Parliament, resurrected the ancient university through the Nalanda University Bill, and subsequently Nalanda University was established. It has been designated as an “international university of national importance.”

6. The Monolithic Gomateshwara Statue In Karnataka

Bahubali (English: One With Strong Arms), a much revered figure among Jains, was the son of Rishabhanatha, the first tirthankara of Jainism, and the younger brother of Bharata Chakravartin. He is said to have meditated motionless for one year in a standing posture (kayotsarga) and that during this time, climbing plants grew around his legs. After his year of meditation, Bahubali is said to have attained omniscience (Kevala Gyana).

Bahubali other names were Kammateswara Gommateshwara because of the Gommateshwara statue dedicated to him. The statue was built by the Ganga dynasty minister and commander Chavundaraya; it is a 57-foot (17 m) monolith (statue carved from a single piece of rock) situated above a hill in Shravanabelagola in the Hassan district, Karnataka state, India. It was built circa 981 A.D. and is one of the largest free-standing statues in the world.

7. The Golden Temple In Punjab

The Harmandar Sahib also known as Darbar Sahib (Punjabi pronunciation: [dəɾbaːɾ saːh(ɪ)b] (“Abode of God”, “Exalted Holy Court”), is a Gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India.[ It is the preeminent pilgrimage site of Sikhism.[2][4]. It is usually called the Golden Temple in English, because it is plated with gold.

The Gurdwara sahib is built around a man-made pool (Sarovar) that was completed by Guru Ram Das in 1577.Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of Sikhism, requested Sai Mian Mir – a Muslim Pir of Lahore, to lay its foundation stone in 1589.In 1604, Guru Arjan placed a copy of the Adi Granth in Harmandir Sahib, calling the site Ath Sath Tirath (lit. “shrine of 68 pilgrimages”).[The Gurdwara was repeatedly rebuilt by the Sikhs after it became a target of persecution and was destroyed several times by the Muslim armies from Afghanistan and the Mughal Empire.[The army led by Ahmad Shah Abdali, for example, demolished it in 1757 and again in 1762, then filled the pool with garbage. The construction work of the present day Harmandir Sahib took place in 1764 under the leadership of Sultan-e-Quam Sardar Jassa Singh 1718-1783 and other leading Sikh Misl Sardars and Jagirdars under Kaar Seva, large Sikh congregations assembled at Amritsar to help rebuild Darbar Sahib. Harmandir Sahib was finally completed in 1776.[Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited Darbar Sahib in 1802 after seizing Amritsar from Sardar Gurdit Singh Dhillon and his mother Mai Sukkha of Bhangi Sikh Misl. Maharaja laid it in marble and copper between 1820-1831, and overlaid the sanctum with gold foil by 1830. This has led to the name Golden Temple.

The Gurdwara is spiritually the most significant shrine in the Sikh Religion. In the early 1980s, the temple became a center of conflict between the Indian government led by Indira Gandhi, some Sikh groups, and a militant movement led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale seeking to create a new nation named Khalistan. In 1984, Gandhi sent in the Indian Army as part of Operation Blue Star, leading to the deaths of over 1,000 militants, soldiers, and civilians, as well as causing much damage to the Gurdwara and the destruction of Akal Takht. The Gurdwara complex was rebuilt again after the 1984 damage.[

The Harmandir Sahib is an open boat of worship for all men and women, from all walks of life and faith.It has a square plan with four entrances and has a circumambulation path around the pool. The temple is a collection of buildings around the sanctum and the pool. One of these is Akal Takht, the chief center of religious authority of Sikhism.Additional buildings include a clock tower, the offices of Gurdwara Committee, a Museum and a langar– a free Sikh community-run kitchen that serves a simple vegetarian meal to all visitors without discrimination.Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship.[The Gurdwara complex has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its application is pending on the tentative list of UNESCO.

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