Touted as the most luxurious train in India, Maharajas’ Express is one of the best modes to travel in India. The train is not just famous for its state of the art facilities but also famous for outside excursions to the most famous places in India such as Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Varanasi and Lucknow etc. Mention here are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are covered during the 5 journeys offered by Maharajas’ Express.
Taj Mahal – An Epitome of True Love
The most celebrated piece of Mughal architecture and craftsmanship, Taj Mahal is the most visited attraction of North India. This epitome of love has been crowned as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ and is visited by almost every tourist who comes here from different parts of the world. This ultimate monument of love has been given the status of the best World Heritage Sites in India. This grand mausoleum was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648 AD in the memory of his beloved wife ‘Shah Jahan’. It was built by 20,000 workers day and night for around 22 years. This monument is made up of red sandstone and white marble. The interiors of this grand structure are embedded with 28 types of precious & semi-precious stones.
Agra Fort- The Stronghold of Mughal Emperors
Another popular UNESCO World Heritage Site and a famous tourist attraction in Agra, Agra Fort is located in close proximity to Taj Mahal. It is built alongside the river Yamuna and stretches over an area of 2.5 kilometers. It can be accessed through two gates- Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate but tourists can enter the gate via the Amar Singh Gate. Agra Fort has served as the residence of great Mughal Emperors- Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. It was the imperial abode of the Mughal rulers and comprises of several fairy tale palaces such as the Jehangir Palace and the Khas Mahal.
Fatehpur Sikri- The Ghost Town
Counted amongst India’s most famous and acclaimed heritage sites, Fatehpur Sikri is located in the district of Agra, just 37 kilometers away from Agra-the city of Taj Mahal and 245 kilometers away from Delhi. It was founded and built by the great Mughal Emperor ‘Akbar’ in the 16th century. The walled city of Agra exhibits some of the finest collections of indigenous Mughal architecture one will ever come across anywhere in the world. Rightly termed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri combines various flavors of regional architecture with Islamic inscriptions carved with finesse on red sandstone. Some popular monuments in the town of Fatehpur Sikri include Jama Masjid, Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Anup Talao, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Diwan-I-Aam and Diwan-I-Khas.
Khajuraho Group of Temples- The Living Examples of Erotica
It would not be an overstatement to say that a sense of sensuality is exuded by the outer wall carvings of Khajuraho temples, built in the 10th century by Chandela rulers. The site has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and teems with a number of Hindu and Jain temples. These temples display an extraordinary craftsmanship and exquisite carvings. The amazing sculptures and architecture of buildings in this temple town is a fine example that depicts Indo-Aryan style of construction. The beautiful carvings seen inside inner sanctum of Khajuraho temples are really spectacular. The temples in Khajuraho are segregated on the basis of Western Group of Temples, Eastern Group of Temples and the Southern Group of Temples. The Khajuraho Dance Festival of India that all dance lovers eagerly look for. The seven days festival exhibits different classical dance forms of India.
Ajanta Caves- Testimony of Human Labor and Visualization Power
Ajanta Caves are perhaps the most astounding discoveries of pat millennium in the form of handcrafted rock-cut caves. It is merely situated at a distance of 100 kilometers from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Probably unmatched anywhere else in the world, these rocks are located deep into the natural vegetation away from the chaos of the city life. Considered as a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ajanta Caves are discovered by John Smith, a British Officer in 1819. The 29 caves at Ajanta are the most outstanding specimens of rich Indian ancient architecture.
Also check out our previous post about Ajanta Caves.
Jantar Mantar-Open-Air Astronomical Lab
Built in 1727-1734 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, Jantar Mantar is counted among the five observatories that were built in Jaipur and Delhi. The monument displays the extraordinary artwork of the people from ancient times. Built as a UNESO World Heritage Site, Jantar Mantar has a master instrument which is approximately 27 meters in height. This is called Giant Sundial. It displays the time of the day up to the accuracy of 2 seconds of local time. The height is the reason behind its accuracy. The shadow of the Sundial moves in accordance with the sun. The accurate reading is that Sundial moves 6 centimeter per minute and gives the almost correct time of the day. Although Jantar Mantar is there in Jaipur, the Jaipur one is the best place to see real & amazing artwork.
Built by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 & located in pink city Jaipur, the Amber Fort epitomizes the glorious heritage of the Rajputana rulers. Carved out of white marble and red sandstone, the fort will offer you the royal taste of the kings. It is considered as one of the finest hilltop forts in India and emblazoned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a beautiful lake in the foreground of the fort which adds more beauty to it. The fort reflects the perfect amalgamation of Hindu and Mughal styles of architecture. The interiors are majestically decked with mirror work, paintings and carvings.
Situated close to Sawai Madhopur town in Rajasthan, the Ranthambore Fort is a living testimonial of Rajasthan historical developments and was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in 2013. The fort is surrounded by the Ranthambore National Park which was the hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur before Independence. It is perched atop of a rocky outcrop in the middle of a dense forest at the convergence of Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges. It is one of the best forts in Rajasthan which was built by Chauhan warriors in 944 AD.
Note: All photos credit goes to Wikipedia.com