Flights suspended, itineraries cancelled and bags unpacked; because the country is under complete lockdown. Nevertheless, that is not going to stop a wanderlust soul. But what to do in lockdown; especially when you are bitten by the travel bug? While in an earlier post, a list of ‘travel-full’ things was mentioned that can be experienced sitting at home in lockdown, this post will take you on a virtual tour to 10 monuments of India; citadels, museums, palaces, shrines and more. Hope you enjoy every bit of cultural India sitting on your couch.
Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh
The familiar 16th-century landmark that also happens to be the eighth wonder of the world is the Taj Mahal in Agra. Four silvery minarets surrounding the dome-shaped central structure is till date considered as the epitome of love. With river Yamuna flowing alongside, the monument renders some best captivating views in a full moon. Experience its breathtaking 360 degree view here.
Amer Fort, Rajasthan
Located just on the outskirts of the capital city of Rajasthan, Amber or Amer Fort is tucked amidst the hills overlooking a vast lake. A set of winding roads leads its way to this 15th-century erection that is famed for its royal palaces, temples and grand courtyards. Here is a detailed view of the fort; both inside and outside.
Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
The rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments near Aurangabad that dates back to the 2nd century BCE are the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra. These cave temples are known for their expressive paintings, artistic impressions and engraved figures that mostly depict the life of Gautam Buddha. Take a virtual tour to this UNESCO World Heritage Site here.
Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat
Rani Ki Vav or the Queen’s Step Well as people say is a magnificent 11th-century stepwell located near Ahmedabad in Gujarat. With ornate pillars and intricate wall carvings, the seven storey step well appears like the shape of an inverted temple when observed from the outside edge. Take this visual journey to the stepwell WHERE EVERY STEP TELLS A STORY.
Tanjore or Thanjavur is much-admired for its Great Living Chola Temples. These are a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising of Hindu temples built in the 11th and 12th century by the Chola Kings. Thanjavur is also one of the popular pilgrimage centre in South India, Brihadeeswara Temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva) being the most visited one. Get an elaborate vision of the Shiva temple here.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Southern part of India is Hampi. Back in 14th century, it was the capital of the Vijaynagar Empire. UNESCO describes Hampi as an ‘austere, grandiose site that includes forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, water structures and others’. Experience the richness and opulence of the lost city here.
National Museum, Delhi
It is one of the largest museums in India that displays over 2, 00,000 articles, both of Indian and foreign origin. The displays have been categorized into various departments like archaeology, manuscripts, paintings, jewelry, anthropology, conservation etc. Some key exhibits of the halls include Pasupati Seal (2700-2100 BC), a bronze statue of standing Buddha from Nalanda (10th century AD), sacred relics from Kapilvastu (4th-5th century BC), Nataraja Chola (12th century AD) and many more. Click here to wander across the massive halls of this museum.
Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
Originally patronised by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE, Sanchi is one of the best-preserved Buddhist Stupa complexes in India. The original Stupa commissioned by Ashoka had a brick construction with a central hemisphere that was used for preserving relics from Lord Buddha’s life. Today the monument boasts of its high ornate gateways, carved balustrades, elaborate pillars and fine illustrations representing Lord Buddha’s life. Experience the timeless sojourn of Sanchi here.
Bada Imambara, Lucknow
Constructed by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in the 17th century, the giant complex of Bada Imambara hosts other Nawabi landmarks like Asifi Mosque, Bhool-Bhoolaiya and a Shahi Baoli. Bada Imambada is primarily known for its long hallways, thin walls, light-weight construction and lavish interiors. The monument also homes the tomb of its creator along with the architect, Kifayatullah. Pay a visit to this popular landmark in Lucknow through this link.
Key Monastery, Himachal Pradesh
The 11th century Tibetan Buddhist monastery is the biggest monastery in the Spiti Valley that homes more than 250 monks. Apart from its religious significance (that mentions the sacred presence of Dalai Lama), the monastery has a breathtaking natural beauty as well. Spiti River and Spiti Valley with a backdrop of the mighty Himalayas make it a top choice both for a pilgrim and a tourist. Rediscover Spiti Monastery with this VR tour.
- Google Arts & Culture presents a 360-degree experience of India that brings out places like Hampi, Goa, Delhi and Amritsar.
- Here is a list of virtual museums enlisted on the website of the Ministry of Culture that includes places like National Museum Delhi, Victoria Memorial Kolkata and ASI Taj Museum Agra.