Think about the subject ‘Indian heritage destinations’. What are the first things that come to your mind? ‘Cliche’, ‘the usual’, ‘the beaten track’, you say? Well, we agree more than you know. So, we decided to step in to give you some options that we have conveniently overlooked while flocking to the more popular historical indian cities. Check out this list; most places on the list, if not all, will compel you to pack your bags and leave.
Located about an hour’s drive from Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh is a fortress town that owes its existence to the majestic but dominating Kumbhal fort (Kumbhal’garh’). The fort, possibly one of the few forts in the whole wide world that have never been breached, is a glorious specimen of a hill fortress, with its wall spreading over a distance of 38 kilometres, making it the second longest wall ever, after the Great Wall of China. Visit the town for the sheer awe of taking in the views of the fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with 5 other Rajasthani hill forts, but also visit for the pretty hindu and Jain temples on the premises and the annual cultural festival remembering Maharana Kumbha (the fort gets its name from him, obviously).
Well, since Rajasthan is so brimming with history, here’s another example of an oft-overlooked destination here. Osian, about an hour and a half away from Jodhpur, is a place that puts superlatives to shame. Dating back 1700 years at least, to the Gupta period, the town used to be a major trading center that then grew in reputation as a religious hub too, owing to the many deliciously ornate Brahmanic and Jain temples here. The temples are worth visiting for the sheer intricacy of their design and the grandeur of their architecture. The ones most worth a visit are the main Jain temple, the Sun temple and the Sachiya Mata temple.
Located on the banks of the Betwa river, MP, Orchha was founded in the 16th Century, and it looks it has been forgotten ever since. The many palaces, temples and royal chhatris seem untouched by time, in a good way. Visit the Ram Raja temple, the Purana mandir and come what may, visit the medieval royal palace-fort located on an island on the Betwa river, which is like a crash course in the historical architecture of Madhya Pradesh.
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We hope you don’t mind another Rajasthani entry here, because Mandawa deserves a mention on every such list Located in the Jhunjhunu district, Mandawa is the historical equivalent of a contrast. Strikingly different from any other place in the region, yet coming from the same founding principles, Mandawa is home to many unnaturally beautiful havelis, temples and a fort. It was always an artistic hub, with its rich legacy of fresco paintings, tie-and-dye fabrics and folk music, and it has recently caught the fancy of Bollywood. You many not have realized, but many recent blockbusters have been shot here. Try googling, and you’ll surprise yourself.
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Aurangabad, the Maharashtra one, was home to history before history was a thing. Home to the sometimes romantic, sometimes enlightening prehistoric caves of Ajanta and Ellora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site now, the city has also been the seat of royalty. Capital to the Yadavas, and a Maratha and Mughal stronghold, the city has many magnificent monuments, like the Bibi ka Maqbara, known as the Taj of the Deccan, the Daulatabad Fort and the tomb of Aurangzeb. Worth mentioning are the literally countless gateways here. Which resulted in Aurangabad being called the ‘City of Gates’.
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“What is Delhi doing here?”, did you say? Well, allow me to explain. Delhi is massively popular for its India Gate, and its Red Fort and its Qutub Minar. But the real treasure lies in the forgotten streets and the dark corners. Try to guess the number of monuments, and make it an ambitious. Five hundred? Not even close. Thousand, do you think? Nada. Delhi is home to a, hold your breath, 1475 monuments officially recognised by the Archeological Survey of India. Walking through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi, you will stumble across tombs, temples, old rest-houses, libraries, and more, some bent out of all appreciable shape. We can’t recommend a single place. Take a tour and find your favorites.
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