21 Best Architectural Buildings in India

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India is a land of amazement and surprises. Just when you think you know enough, there’s an element that astonishes you. And this is not just confined to Indian culture or diversity, but also to its art and architecture.

Indian architecture is an amalgamation of centuries of history, influenced by thousands of rulers and attributed to tons of cultures that have bred, thrived and demolished in the country. The upshot of this blend is magnetic and Indian skyline is adorned by beautiful buildings that present fantastic architecture. To add to the list of the historic and glorious structures are also some new buildings that add to the diversity of India.

Here’s a top mix-trix of old and new stunning buildings across India that present unique architecture.

1. Nalanda Ruins - A University of Wonders

Where: Nalanda, Bihar
What: One of the acclaimed universities of ancient India, Nalanda is also a famous Buddhist monastery in Bihar. Though only the ruins remain today, it is easy to imagine the grandeur and the importance of the place in its heyday. Explore the simple beauty and genius involved in constructing the monastery. Do not forget to explore the Hindu temples and sculptures found in the excavations here.
Visitor Information: Open from sunrise to sunset, ticketed entry.

2. Vijayanagar - The Forgotten Kingdom

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Where: Hampi, Karnataka

What: Popularly referred to as Hampi, the erstwhile kingdom of Vijayanagar was once the capital of King Krishnadevaraya. This is the place where Tenali Raman played the famous pranks that made him a legend. Though many of the buildings from Krishnadevaraya’s capital have crumbled with time, the Virupaksha Temple, the stone chariot at the Vitthala temple, the Queen’s complex, the Sangeet Mahal remain behind as witnesses to the glory days. Also check out the stepwell near the palace complex to understand the visionary techniques used to keep the capital running.

3. Ajanta - Ellora Caves - Art and Architecture Galore

Where: Aurangabad, Maharashtra

What: The best place to see spellbinding rock architecture in India is in the Ajanta - Ellora caves. These were carved almost at the beginning of history, centuries before the birth of Christ. While the Ajanta caves are soaked with Buddhist history and art, the Ellora caves pay tribute to architecture styles in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.
Discover the stunning masterpieces on the walls of the Ajanta caves. Be mesmerized by the intricate details of the giant Kailasa temple carved from a single rock. These caves are surrounded by bountiful nature on all sides that add to the peace and tranquility of the place.

4. Fatehpur Sikri - The Abandoned Capital

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Where: Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

What: Built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar after birth of his son and heir, Fatehpur Sikri is a one-stop destination to learn about Mughal and Rajput fusion architecture. It is said that Akbar played close attention to the design and construction of this city. Though it was abandoned, the building complexes here are in excellent condition and provide a generous insight into the life during Mughal times. Do visit the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti, a marble building that stands out in the red sandstone complex.

5. Tawang Monastery - the Gaden Namgyal Lhatse

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Where: Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

What: The largest Buddhist monastery in India is located in the city of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Situated on the mountain overlooking the Tawang River valley, the monastery complex can easily be mistaken for a royal mansion. The assembly hall, also known as Dukhang, is the main attraction here. The entire complex is still used by Buddhist monks for their daily life and prayers.

6. Rani ki Vav - The Royal Hangout

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Where: Patan, Gujarat

What: A stepwell built by Queen Udayamati in the memory of her husband, King Bhimadeva 1 in the second century. Decorated with sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses, the stepwell is 30 metres deep and divided into various levels, each more beautifully decorated than the last. It was once located close to the lost Saraswati River. Despite it being under water till a few decades back, the sculpture is still in perfect condition and completely worth the visit.

7. Gol Gumbaz - The Mausoleum of Sound

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Where: Bijapur, Karnataka

What: It is the tomb of Muhammad Adil Shah, who ruled the Bijapur Sultanate in the 17th century. Its name is derived from the absolutely massive dome in the middle of the structure. The tomb is constructed in such a way that if one whispers on one side of the dome, the sound can easily be heard on the opposite side. This is one of the biggest domes in the world and also one of the largest structure covered by a dome.

8. Meenaxi Temple - Adorned with Devotion

Where: Madurai, Tamil Nadu

What: This temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her husband Lord Shiva. Its grandness is magnified by the four gopurams that serve as entrances to the temple, one from each major direction. The rest of the city has been planned keeping the temple as its geographic centre. Through the magnificent doors lie the grand mandapams adorned with sculptures. Beyond the halls is the sanctum sanctorum of the celebrated couple.

9. Patni Knowledge Park - The Green Office

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Where: Airoli, Navi Mumbai

What: The software training and customer relation centre at Patni Knowledge Park is one of the most eco-friendly buildings in the world. The 5-acre complex has facilities that ensure optimum utilisation of energy and other natural resources. Around 3500 people work in this campus and yet it manages to be sufficiently lit and well managed. This is one of the revolutionary buildings in the country.

10. Lotus Temple, New Delhi- The Symbol of Spirituality

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Where: Lotus Temple Rd, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Bahapur, New Delhi, Delhi

What: An award winning structure, the lotus temple is a Baha’i temple open to people of any religion. The building comprises of 27 free-standing marble petals arranged in groups of three to form nine sides.

Walk-in, spend a couple of minutes in the serene atmosphere and you’ll experience the feeling of being one with the universe!

Visitor Information: Open to visitors 9 am to 7 pm, no entry fee

11. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus- West Meets East

Where: Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra

What: Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, this is the HQ of central railways and is very righteously a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to 1887, this impressive High Victorian Gothic style building was constructed to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

The permutation of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and traditional Indian architecture is presented in the buildings wood carvings, skyline, turrets and pointed arches.

12. The Great Stupa - Sailing The Sands of Time

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Where: Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

What: The oldest stone structure of India, this Stupa dates back to 3rd BCE and was commissioned by Emperor Ashoka the Great. A hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. Surrounded with four carved railings, the structure presents marvellous Buddhist architecture.

Withstanding centuries of history, The Great Stupa has seen empires rise and fall, faced turmoil and has rewarded with beautiful additions as well. Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site to experience the silent tales of history the Stupa is trying to hold on to!

13. Infosys Multiplex - Dome Of Entertainment

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Where: Infosys Ltd., Hebbal Industrial Area, Mysuru, Karnataka 570027

What: A 4-screen cinema hall in the Infosys Mysore Development Centre, this geodesic dome and auditorium has a seating capacity of 1500 seats.

An excellent example of State-of-art architecture, the employees of Infosys can enjoy watching movies on the weekends at this striking theatre.

14. Chittorgarh Fort- The Grandeur of the Rajputs

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Where: Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

What: One of the largest forts in India, Chittorgarh is home to the history that sleeps in its Stambhas, the spirituality hidden in its temples, the sacrifice that oozes out in its palaces and the audacity that is visible through its walls.

Spanning over an area of 700 acres, the fort presents eclectic architecture throughout its 65 historic built structures, among them 4 palace complexes, 19 main temples, 4 memorials and 20 functional water bodies.

15. Victoria Memorial- The White Beauty

Where: 1, Queens Way, Kolkata, West Bengal

What: Dedicated to Queen Victoria, this is striking white building from the British Raj and is attributed to architect William Emerson. Constructed in Indo-Saracenic revivalist style, Victoria Memorial is a blend of British, Mughal, Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural influences.

Operating as a museum today, the gardens of this beautiful building are also worth an evening stroll!

16. Golconda Fort- The Home Of Diamonds

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Where: Ibrahim Bagh, Hyderabad, Telangana

What: Home to the world famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, Golconda fort is one of the quirkiest architectural specimens of India delivering brilliant acoustics. A small hand clap at the entrance reverberates at the pavilion almost a kilometre away.

Assorted apartments, halls, temples, mosques, gardens and the decoration with a combination of Hindu-Muslim influence add to the beauty of the fort.

17. The Taj Mahal- The Epitome of Love

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Where: Agra, Uttar Pradesh

What: Known as the epitome of love, this structure is considered to be the masterpiece of Mughal architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The building is a classic example of Persian art and a glance at this white-marble structure embodied with precious-stone will make you fall in love with it!

18. i Flex Building - The Structure Of Suspending Windows

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Where: C V Raman Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka

What: A chic state-of-art building spread over 144,000 square feet accommodating 1500 employees; the suspended floors present a unique architecture. The building is now operated as an office of Oracle Financial Services.

Visitor Information: Can be observed from outside.

19. Hawa Mahal- The Pink Pleasure

Where: Badi Choupad, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan

What: A five-storey pyramidal palace resembling a honeycomb web of Beehive, with small portholes. Dating back to the 18th century, the Haw Mahal presents its grandeur in a charming pink hue with 953 niches.

A fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and Mughla Islam Architecture, Hawa Mahal is one of the most beautiful sights in Jaipur.

Visitor Information: Open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm, ticketed entry

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20. MatriMandir/Auroville Dome- The Soul of the City

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Where: Auroville, Bommayapalayam, Tamil Nadu

What: A structure that took 37 long years to be completed is a Geodesci dome adorned with golden relics in the shape of a huge dome decorated with petals. The inner chamber of this dome is home to the largest optically-perfect glass globe in the world which is used for meditation.

The structure is supported by four pillars that symbolise the four aspects of the personality of The Mother the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo.

21. Qutub Minar- The Tower Of Victory

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Where: Mehrauli, New Delhi

What: This is the tallest brick minaret in the world and has a history that goes back to 1200 CE. A UNESCO world heritage site, the Qutb Minar was built by a series of rulers of Delhi. The intricate carvings on the Minar depict the verses from Quran. The tower comprises of cylindrical shafts separated by balconies, the first three storeys are made of red sandstone, the fourth and fifth or marble and sandstone respectively.

The huge complex around the Qutub Minar is a architectural, archaeological and historical marvel worth visiting!

Take a tour of these stunning monuments and you'll be proud of Indian Architecture; both old and new!

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