Ultimate 5 Timeless Ravishing Beauties of India
KONARK SUN TEMPLE, ODISHA
The timeless Konark or Konarak Sun temple is dedicated to the Hindu sun god Surya, and, conceived as a giant stone chariot with 12 wheels, it is the most famous of the few sun temples built in India. It is located about 35 km northeast of the city of Puri on the coastline in the state of Odisha (earlier Orissa). It was built c. 1250 CE by King Narasimhadeva I (r. 1238-1264 CE) of the Eastern Ganga dynasty (8th century CE – 15th century CE). The temple in its present state was declared by UNESCO a World timeless Heritage Site in 1984 CE. Although many portions are now in ruins, what remains of the temple complex continues to draw not only tourists but also Hindu pilgrims. Konarak stands as a classic example of Hindu temple architecture, complete with a colossal structure, sculptures and artwork on myriad themes.
The word ‘Konark’ is a combination of two Sanskrit words kona (corner or angle) and arka (the sun). It thus implies that the main deity was the sun god, and the temple was built in an angular format. The temple follows the Kalinga or Orissa style of architecture, which is a subset of the nagara style of Hindu temple architecture. The Orissa style is believed to showcase the nagara style in all its purity. The nagara was among the three styles of Hindu temple architecture in India and prevailed in northern India, while in the south, the dravida style predominated and in central and eastern India, it was the vesara style. These styles can be distinguished by how features such as ground plan and elevation were represented visually.
The nagara style is characterized by a square ground plan, containing a sanctuary and assembly hall (mandapa). In terms of elevation, there is a huge curvilinear tower (shikhara), inclining inwards and capped. Despite the fact that Odisha lies in the eastern region, the nagara style was adopted. This could be due to the fact that since King Anantavarman’s domains included many areas in northern India as well, the style prevalent there decisively impacted the architectural plans of the temples that were about to be built in Odisha by the king. Once adopted, the same tradition was continued by his successors too, and with time, many additions were made.
Chatri – Cenotaphs of the Rulers of Orchha
The Mysore Palace, which is known as the Amba Vilas Palace, is located in the very center of Mysore and can serve as its business card. Mysore Palace is one of the greatest timeless palaces in India. In historical times, this palace was the center of rule of the Mysore Maharajas.
In ancient times, the principality of Mysore was located on the southwestern part of the Hindustan Peninsula. The capital of this state was Seringapatam. The kingdom became famous in connection with the heroic confrontation of the English colonization, which lasted for forty years as part of four Anglo-Mysore wars. Mysore was the last Indian principality to lose its independence, and was forced to become part of the East India Company.The main attraction of Mysore is the Mysore Palace, which was built in the 19th century (1897) on the site of a previously burned palace. The timeless building was completed in the Indo-Saracen style, a characteristic feature of which is the presence of a kaleidoscope of glasses and mirrors. You can also see wonderful wooden doors decorated with carvings and a mosaic floor.
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The majestic Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, is often the first visual that comes to mind when one thinks of the Rajasthan’s capital of Jaipur. The ‘pink city’, as Jaipur is popularly known, presents a timeless beautiful marriage of history, heritage and architectural splendour, with the rose-tinted sandstone Hawa Mahal standing tall among one of the most visited and unique monuments. However, not many know that the 300-plus jharokhas (portholes) that form the very memorable façade of the monument that attracts tens of thousands of tourists from around the world each year, is actually its back side. Moreover, even the front façade doesn’t serve as a direct entrance, and one has to enter from the side of the City Palace, of which it is a part.
The honeycomb timeless structure is unique to this 18th-century building that was constructed as a viewing gallery for the women of the royal family of Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh (r. 1764–1803), the grandson of Sawai Jai Singh II. The ornate portholes gave them a vantage point to observe the city life around without being seen themselves. Designed by Lal Chand Ustad in 1799, the inspiration for the monument is said to have come from the Khetri Mahal (also known as the Wind Palace) at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
Rising to a height of over 80 ft, the monument is broader at the base and tapers towards the top. The walls of the pavilion, however, are only 9-inches thick. An amalgamation of Islamic Mughal and Rajput style of timeless architecture, the top part of the structure actually reflects Maharaja Pratap Singh’s devotion for Lord Krishna as it was built to resemble Krishna’s crown. The palace itself is said to be dedicated to Radha and Krishna, with there being a room in each floor dedicated to the god.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple, formally known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is a Sikh Gurdwara in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India.
It was built as a place of worship for all religions, and is considered the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhism. The symbolic openness of the Sikhs is represented by the four entrances used to enter the Gurdwara. It also includes the world’s largest free kitchen, capable of serving food to 300,000 people a day.
The timeless structure dates back to the 16th century, when the site was acquired from the landlords of local villages, with the intention of establishing a new town settlement. Excavation of the 22,943.25 sq.m lake known as a Sarovar (the tank) but actually called Amritsar (Pool of the Nectar of Immortality) began in 1570, and gave the name to the city that developed around it. The tank was intended to be God’s home and whoever bathed in it would obtain spiritual and temporal advantages. It is fed by the Ravi River.
The temple’s timeless architecture draws on both Hindu and Muslim artistic styles yet represents a unique coevolution of the two. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), Hari Mandir was richly ornamented with marble sculptures, golden gilding, and large quantities of precious stones. Within the sanctuary, on a jewel-studded platform, lies the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs. This timeless scripture is a collection of devotional poems, prayers, and hymns composed by the ten Sikh gurus and various Muslim and Hindu saints. Beginning early in the morning and lasting until long past sunset, these hymns are chanted to the exquisite accompaniment of flutes, drums, and stringed instruments. Echoing across the serene lake, this enchantingly beautiful music induces a delicate yet powerful state of trance in the pilgrims strolling leisurely around the marble concourse encircling the pool and temple. An underground spring feeds the sacred lake, and throughout the day and night pilgrims immerse themselves in the water, a symbolic cleansing of the soul rather than an actual bathing of the body. Next to the temple complex are enormous pilgrims’ dormitories and dining halls where all persons, irrespective of race, religion, or gender, are lodged and fed for free.
The normal custom had been for a Gurdwara to be built on high land; however, it was decided to build at a lower level so that worshippers would have to descend steps to enter it.
LAXMI VILAS PALACE, BARODA
Built upon an estate measuring 700 acres, the Laxmi Vilas Palace (or Lukshmi Vilas Palace) is an timeless extravagant timeless building by any standards and an overwhelming sight even for someone who has seen the mighty forts and palaces of Rajasthan. This fine symbol of the glory of the Maratha Gaekwads was commissioned by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1880, and was completed 10 years later at the cost of £ 180,000.
The palace was designed initially by Major Charles Mant who also designed the palaces of Kolhapur and Darbhanga. It is said that Major Mant got convinced that the structure was not stable and killed himself out of guilt. However, the palace withstood the tests of time and stands tall to this date, proving (fortunately) its creator wrong. After the death of Major Mant, the design was completed by Robert Fellowes Chisholm.
This beautiful timeless specimen of the Indo-Saracenic architecture happened to be the largest private residence built till date, four times the size of Buckingham Palace. Mant intended to ‘combine native detail with the ordinary requirements of a modern palace and arrangement of rooms’; while Chisholm recognised the transition that Indian royalty at that time was going through, making it necessary to create a design which would befit an Indian prince as much as it would an English gentleman.