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Seven Manmade Wonders of India

Ever wondered about seven manmade wonders of India? Well there are so many specimen built by men since antiquity in India. Many stand out, but when it comes to choosing the best of the best the task becomes really arduous. 

When Times Magazine came up with its list of 100 Top Books, they said that the list has two purposes: One is to instruct and the other is to enrage. 

By “enrage” one could surmise that they were referring to the debates and furious comments the list would attract from readers whose favorite didn’t make it to the list.

Even this list might do the same (albeit at a smaller scale), as it could accommodate only seven manmade wonders of India. I have tried to justify the reason for their inclusion though brief overview and their significance. Rest, I leave on you, the readers of this list. 

And feel free to leave your thoughts or mention name of any manmade wonders of India that you believe could have been included on this list along with why you believe so.

Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is not just the one of seven wonders of India but also one of the seven wonders of the world
Unarguably - and I believe it - that Taj Mahal would make it to the top of manmade wonders of the India by anyone thinking of similar list. It took 22,000 workers, 22 years and brilliant architecture to construct Taj Mahal. 

Taj Mahal was built as a mausoleum to commemorate Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s 3rd wife Mumtaj Mahal. Taj Mahal is also inscribed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site for its immense cultural significance.

Ask any celebrity who comes to India and they want a photo by this symbol of love. Be it Princess Diana, Tom Cruise, Ben Kinsley of Vladimir Putin, everyone who visit Taj wants a slice of it in their picture.

Did you know that Taj Mahal is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World? Here more details and trivia on Taj Mahal.

Konârak Sun Temple, Orissa

Konârak Sun Temple
Konârak Sun Temple in Orissa is definitely one of the seven wonders of India
Konârak Sun Temple is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal in the state of Orissa. According to legends, the temple was so carefully aligned that the first rays of the rising sun would pass the Nata Mandir and would strike its principal entry inside the main sanctum. 

Sun god Surya was revered by Brahmins and Konârak Sun Temple is a monumental testimony of sun god Surya's chariot. The entire complex was conceived as the chariot of sun which as per Hindu Mythologies had 24 wheels pulled by 7 horses. 

The Konârak Temple is also referred to as Black Pagoda a name by which European sailors would refer to it while passing by in the ocean. The temple is renowned for its elaborate carvings and the lavishly sculpted 24 chariot wheels creating the illusion of temple complex as one giant chariot pulled by 7 horses of which 6 still remain.

Did you know that this temple finds mention in ancient vedic texts and puranas?

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Thousand Pillar Hall at Sri Meenakshi Temple,  Madurai
Also featured in list of top 30 New Wonders of the World, Meenakshi Amman Temple also known as Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple is dedicated Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. 

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and also finds mentioned in Tamil literatures of antiquity. The original temple though was significantly expanded and rebuilt during 1623 to 1655.

There are 14 massive gopurams or the gateway towers and 2 vimanas or the main sanctums housing the deities Shiva named here as Sundareswarar and Parvati known as Meenakshi. 

Meenakshi Temple is ornately carved and vimanas are golden sculptured and even gopurams are exquisitely carved giving the temples a resplendent look.

[ Also check out top 10 Temples in India ]

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Khajuraho Group of Monuments are inscribed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO
These monumental representations of power of imagination of man deserve to find a mention in seven manmade wonders of India. Khajuraho Temples are an outstanding testimony to the reign of Chandela Rajput dynasty which reached its apogee around 1100 AD.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a wonder indeed made of sandstone and without any use of mortar. The huge monoliths were put together using mortise and tenon joint system and are held in place by gravity. Megaliths weighing up to 20 tons were used to build the columns and arches of the temples here at Khajuraho.

Chandela Rajput Kings were greatly influenced by Tantric school of thoughts which find depiction in the elaborate carvings of the temple exteriors. 

Carvings at Khajuraho depict all aspects of life but the erotic sculptures often get highlighted as they appear extensively on the exteriors of the temples. In accordance with ancient treaties on architecture, erotic depictions were reserved for specific parts of the temples only. 

Other aspects of Tantric thoughts like spirituality and secularism find depiction in the inner parts of the temples. The sculptures at Khajuraho are a manifestation of the frank belief and tolerant lifestyle of the times when the society believed in dealing frankly and openly with all aspects of life, including sex.

[ Get to know more about Khajuraho Group of Monuments ]

Golden Temple, Amritsar

Golden Temple, Amritsar
Golden Temple, Amritsar is the holiest Sikh shrine in the world
Golden Temple is perhaps the second most iconic structure of India after Taj Mahal. It is the holiest Sikh shrine in the world and it is here that Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest Sikh Scripture is installed.

Foundation of Golden Temple was laid during the reign of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan in 1558 and completed by 1604. Golden Temple is surrounded by Amrit Sarovar a large pool of water which also lends it name to the Amritsar city.

Golden Temple is open to people of all faith irrespective of caste, creed or sex which is also manifest in the 4 entrances to the temple. Several monuments could be found inside the complex commemorating Sikh Gurus and martyrs.

Golden Temple is named so for its gold plated dome. The gold was donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who secured Panjab from external aggression.

Thousands of devotees pay visit to this temple everyday and free meal or langar is arranged for all those who visit Golden Temple.

Did you know that langar arrangements inside the Golden Temple are all voluntary as in arranged and managed by visitors and devotees? Here's some interesting facts about the Golden Temple.

Akshardham Temple, Delhi

Akshardham Temple in Delhi
Akshardham Temple in Delhi could be considered one of the seven modern wonders of India
I know this might create uproar amongst you but this one is a gem of structure to have come up in recent times. Akshardham Temple in Delhi attracts 70 percent of the all tourists who visit Delhi. 

The temple built by 3000 volunteers assisting 7,000 artisans was opened to public on 6th November 2005. The large central temple was built according to the principles of Vaastu and Pancharatra Shastra. 

It is crafted entirely of stone and carved from top to bottom with carvings of deities, vegetation, animals, and dancers etc.

The complex features an IMAX feature on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, a musical fountain on the message of the Upanishads, and large landscaped gardens. The temple is named after a belief in Swaminarayan Hinduism.

[  Read More about  Delhi Travel Guide ]

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad
The ancient caves at Ajanta were carved out using just chisel and hammers
Inscribed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Ajanta Caves are 29 rock cut Buddhist caves dating back to 2nd century BC. These caves are the repository of the finest specimen of Indian art especially paintings which are considered to be the magnum opus of Buddhist religious art.

These caves, overtaken by forest were accidently rediscovered by an officer of British army during hunting exercise in 1819. Ajanta Caves served the purpose of Buddhist monasteries where monks gathered for intellectual discourses and discussions.

The caves at Ajanta were carved out using chisel and hammers by the monks and artists over a period of 900 years. The paintings at Ajanta depict the stories from Jatakas, a voluminous body of literature narrating stories of Bodhisattva’s previous lives.

Let me know of your thoughts on this compilation.

1 comment:

  1. Nice read. Good choice of monuments... Are these in a certain order of incredibility?


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