Posted 31 October 2022

Fifteen Indian destinations you should explore if you love history

Have you ever had a chance to see the glory of India's rich history up close or does your knowledge of its past only comprise those depicted in history textbooks? If you belong to the latter category then yes, you definitely must take the time out to explore India's diverse cultural landscape and expand your knowledge about its illustrious past as India is a country of diversity that is filled with architectural jewels at every corner. It is dotted with ancient temples, opulent forts, stunning caves, architectural monuments, and magnificent palaces, which make up its historical sites.

These historical sites tell a fascinating story of a bygone era and even offer a powerful insight into the craftsmanship of the time period. In addition, these historical sites are filled with tales of chivalry, wars, and romance, adding tremendous value to the county. Due to their immense significance, the historical sites in India have developed into major destinations for tourists and have even attracted the attention of art lovers and history buffs globally. In every way, India's historical sites provide a source of delight, whether you're visiting Agra's mesmerizing Taj Mahal, remembering India's struggle for freedom at Delhi's India Gate, or taking a ride on an elephant at Jaipur's Amer Fort.

Therefore, if you too are interested in exploring India's rich heritage and past, then this list can be most helpful for you. We have compiled most of the historical sites in this list to make your task easier. Now, it’s your turn to pick out of these, travel and quench your thirst for interesting historical insights.

A list of historical places to visit in India

This tailor-made guide has most of the details you need while planning to explore the historical sites in India. So, look through the list, plan your trip accordingly, and don't hesitate to contact us in case you need any kind of assistance.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra

Known as one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra stands as a living testimony of the eternal love between Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and Queen Mumtaz. Construction of the Taj Mahal started in 1632, and a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site will demonstrate why it took this iconic monument so long to complete. The ethereal beauty of this white marble tombstone remains unparalleled to this day. While the Taj Mahal exudes stories of romance, it is also a showcase of the glory of Mughal architecture.

  • Nearest airport: Agra Airport
  • Address: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001
  • Best time to visit: February-April
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹45

2. Red Fort, Delhi

It would be an understatement to not include Red Fort in our list of historical places in India. The Red Fort was commissioned for construction in 1638, during the time when Shah Jahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and is a perfect display of the supremacy of Mughal craftsmanship. The aesthetic appeal together with the historical significance makes Red Fort one of the most visited forts in India. This colossal monument in the present time is also the site where the honourable Prime Minister of India delivers a speech on Independence Day.

  • Nearest airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport
  • Address: Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006
  • Best time to visit: November-March
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹35

3. Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

Ajanta and Ellora Caves, the twin caves considered as one of the largest rock-cut temple complexes in the world, are a must-see attraction for both history enthusiasts and creative souls. Located in the heart of Maharashtra, the Ajanta and Ellora Caves are a perfect display of the Jataka tales and Buddha’s life. Apart from Buddhism, the site is also of great importance for the followers of Hinduism and Jainism. There is a fascinating fact about Ajanta and Ellora caves: a British officer, John Smith accidentally discovered them while he was hunting tigers.

  • Nearest airport: Aurangabad Airport
  • Address: Ellora Cave Rd, Ellora, Maharashtra 431102
  • Best time to visit: June-March
  • Entry feefor Indians: ₹40

4. Gateway of India, Mumbai

One of the iconic landmarks in India that was built to serve as an access point for the entry and exit of Britishers, the Gateway of India is incredibly significant. The Gateway of India after its completion in 1924 was inaugurated by the then Viceroy, the Earl of Reading. In addition to its importance in the British context, the Gateway of India has now evolved as a popular tourist attraction in Mumbai and remains jam packed with people throughout the year.

  • Nearest airport: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
  • Address: Colaba, South Mumbai
  • Best time to visit: All year round
  • Entry fee for Indians: Not applicable

Read more about: Nine things you should definitely do on your next trip to Mumbai

5. Qutub Minar, Delhi

An incredible testimony of the Indo-Islamic architecture, Qutub Minar is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in Delhi. Qutub Minar soars to a height of 240 ft and is said to get its name after the first Muslim ruler of North India, Qutb-ud-din-Aibak. Featuring a magnificent red sandstone minaret and inscriptions in Parso-Arabic, one can learn about its history by reading these inscriptions. It is also one of the tallest individual towers in the world and has weathered many natural disasters. So, while you are in the capital city of India, make sure to visit Qutub Minar for a lifetime experience.

  • Nearest airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport
  • Address: Mehrauli, Delhi, India
  • Best time to visit: October-February
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹35

6. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Fondly known as the “palace of winds”, Hawa Mahal in Jaipur has its own interesting story to tell. The Hawa Mahal, in the shape of a crown, was designed by Lal Chand Ustad for Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh's queens to get a glimpse of the outside world, something that was not possible under the purdah system. This unique palace is structured like a honeycomb with as many as 953 intricate windows. As the palace is located in the heart of Jaipur, it is easily accessible from other parts of the city.

  • Nearest airport: Jaipur Airport
  • Address: Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002
  • Best time to visit: November-February
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹50

7. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Victoria Memorial is one of the most popular tourist attractions located in the erstwhile capital of India, Kolkata. Built during the peak of British rule, the Victoria Memorial is dedicated to Queen Victoria. The lush-green expansive gardens and museum add immense aesthetic appeal to this white marble building that is spread over 64 acres of land. Apparently, Lord Curzon proposed the idea for the conception of the Victoria Memorial, and Sir William Emerson is the genius behind its intricate design.

  • Nearest airport: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
  • Address: Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
  • Best time to visit: November-February
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹30

8. Khajuraho Temple, Madhya Pradesh

Just like forts and palaces, there are numerous temples in India that tell fascinating tales from the past and one of them is the Khajuraho Temple. The Khajuraho Temple is home to innumerable sculptures that depict creativity and themes of love and beauty at their best. One can also find a perfect amalgamation of Jainism and Hinduism models here, which also, in turn, reflects the acceptance of diversity. For its unparalleled charm and significance, Khajuraho Temple has even been gracefully added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

  • Nearest airport: Khajuraho Airport
  • Address: Chattarpur, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Best time to visit: October-February
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹40

9. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

A revered site for all Buddhist followers, Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reason behind the increasing significance of the Mahabodhi Temple is that it is at this very site where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. The Mahabodhi Temple dates back to the times of emperor Ashoka and has a magnificent idol of Buddha that is about 5 ft. high. There are many legends that say that Mahabodhi Temple will be the last site to disappear whenever the world will come to an end. Interesting, right?

  • Nearest airport: Gaya Airport
  • Address: Bodh Gaya, Bihar 824231
  • Best time to visit: October-March
  • Entry fee for Indians: Not applicable

10. Jallianwala Bagh, Punjab

Jallianwala Bagh is an infamous historical site that preserves the sacrifices of all those who lost their lives during the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. Hundreds of innocents were killed in the Jallianwala Bagh after General Dyer gave orders for a mass shooting. In order to honour these lost lives, the government of India built a memorial at this very site. Owing to its historical significance, the Jallianwala Bagh has now become a popular tourist attraction in Amritsar along with Golden Temple.

  • Nearest airport: Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport
  • Address: Golden Temple Rd, Amritsar, Punjab
  • Best time to visit: All year round
  • Entry fee for Indians: Not applicable

Read more about: Five reasons to Plan your next trip to Amritsar  

11. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

The credit for the construction of the iconic Mehrangarh Fort goes to Rao Jodha which soars high in the blue city of India, Jodhpur. Nestled on a hill’s top and guarded by humongous walls, the Mehrangarh Fort has about 7 entrance gates, all of which were constructed on different occasions. There is Vijay Gate that was built after King Man Singh marked a win over Bikaner and Jaipur. The appeal of the Mehrangarh Fort is such that a handful of Bollywood and Hollywood movies used this site as their setting.

  • Nearest airport: Jodhpur Airport
  • Address: B # 165, The, Fort Rd, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006
  • Best time to visit: November-February
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹100

Read more about: Seven reasons why you need to visit Jodhpur, Blue City

12. India Gate, Delhi

Located in Delhi’s Rajpath, the credit for the design of India Gate goes to Edwin Lutyens. India Gate soars to a height of 42 m and is dedicated to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War and 3rd Anglo-Afghan War. The interesting thing about this war memorial is that an eternal flame, Amar Jyoti burns right here underneath the archway, symbolizing the courage and valour of Indian soldiers. To add more, one can also discover the names of thousands of Indian soldiers engraved on the monument.

  • Nearest airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport
  • Address: Rajpath, India Gate, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
  • Best time to visit: November-February
  • Entry fee for Indians: Not applicable

13. Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

The Gwalior Fort which is a popular hill fort has been fondly referred to as ‘pearl amongst the fortresses in India’ by the Mughal emperor, Babur. Perched at great altitudes, the Gwalior Fort is visible from almost all parts of the city. This legendary fort has witnessed the fall and rise of several empires and thus to date resonates with great historical significance. The Gwalior Fort is also the place where you can click plenty of insta-worthy pictures in a very scenic background.

  • Nearest airport: Gwalior Airport
  • Address: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh 474008
  • Best time to visit: All year round
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹75

14. Amer Fort, Jaipur

Anyone who has been to Amer Fort can go on praising its beauty. The place is synonymous with a plethora of adjectives - outstanding, magnificent, vibrant, breathtaking, however, none can aptly justify its glory in the true sense. Settled in the pink city, Jaipur, Amer Fort was built by Maharaja Man Singh in the late 16th century. With its immense significance, it is no wonder that Amer Fort has been included in the list of UNESCO’S World Heritage Sites. While here, do not miss the chance to enjoy a ride on the elephant’s back for an even more vivid look at the Amer Fort.

  • Nearest airport: Jaipur Airport
  • Address: Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001
  • Best time to visit: October-December
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹25

15. Charminar, Hyderabad

Tucked away in the heart of ‘pearl city’, Charminar is unarguably the identity marker of Hyderabad. As the name suggests, Charminar comprises four minarets, each of which has four stories. This historical landmark is said to be built to mark the end of a plague that infected the city.

There are some tales that also say that Charminar was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah to pay respect to Allah. Irrespective of these tales that narrates the inception of this iconic building, one thing that is worth mentioning is that Charminar is truly a piece of excellent craftsmanship.

  • Nearest airport: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport
  • Address: Charminar Rd, Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002
  • Best time to visit: All year round
  • Entry fee for Indians: ₹20

Read more about: Why Hyderabad is the perfect destination for a cultural getaway

Thus, gear up to unravel the diversity of this country with a visit to these historical sites. Feel the greatness, escape from the modern chaos and uncover those hidden wonders on your holiday that have a lot to say.

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