30 Must Visit Historical Places in India

By Seema Nande on Jun 20, 2017
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If I were to name one aspect as the most prime one in garnering visitors to India, it would be the country’s heterogeneous history, hands down! Home to such a diverse culture that changes every few kilometers, you can only imagine the magnitude of history this land has witnessed. It's only natural to get baffled as to where to start or what to see. And so, I bring to you this list of thirty most important historical places in India. Trust me, it was a tough job to zero down to thirty, given the wide assortment of places that beckon Indian history and culture.

Take a look at some of the most famous historical places in India you must pay a visit!

1. Taj Mahal, Agra

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The identity of India, one of the seven wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site among all the amazing credentials it has to itself, Taj Mahal is numero uno when we talk about historical places in India. The monument is an awe-inspiring token from the then Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to his ‘favorite wife’ Mumtaz!

Address: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001
Entry fee: Foreign tourist: INR 100, Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries: INR 530, Domestic/Indian: INR 40.
Popular things to do nearby: Jawab Masjid, Taj Museum, and Marble Handicrafts shopping

2. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Located right in the middle of Jaipur, the Hawa Mahal beckons of India’s then tradition of keeping the women concealed or in ‘purdah’. Its name derived from the local word for "air" and the numerous windows also signify how this palace was used as a place for recreation in the summers.  Resembling an inverted honeycomb, this monument was built to aid the women of the royal household witness the happenings outside the City Palace.

Address: Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002
Entry fee: INR 10, Foreigners: INR 50
Popular things to do nearby: Agrasen Market, Haldiyon Ka Rasta and Jantar Mantar

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3. Nartiang Durga Temple, Meghalaya

A Durga temple that dates back to five hundred years!? That’s Nartiang Durga Temple for you. Of the 51 Shakti Peethas of Hindu Mythology, this is one. The temple is dotted by devotees of the Shakti sect of Hinduism. There are various, very interesting tales attached to the statue of the Devi here, which are a delight to hear!

Address: Nartiang, Meghalaya 793150
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Nartiang Monoliths, Stone Bridge

4. Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh

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Northern India is a delight to visit given the wide array of Mughal era remnants that this region accommodates. Agra Fort rated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The incredible defensive structure beckons of the great minds that worked on this fort. A beautiful mélange of Islamic and Hindu concept!

Address: Agra Fort, Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Entry fee: Foreign tourist: 550 INR, Indian tourist: 40 INR, Children below 15 years: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Sheesh Mahal, Jahangir's Hauz and Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah

5. Red Fort, Delhi

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One of Delhi’s most iconic monuments, popular landmarks and a place that holds immense significance, the Red Fort is all things royal. A place where the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty resided and ruled for over two hundred years. This monument houses several museums within it, for utmost enlightenment about its rich past. Do read about the cheapest places in India

Address: Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006
Entry fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 250 for foreigners.
Popular things to do nearby: Lahori Gate, Mumtaz Mahal (Jewel Palace) and Chhatta Chowk Bazaar

6. Qutub Minar, Delhi

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A beautiful minaret reaching for the sky, the Qutub Minar is a popular sight in several Bollywood flicks. It is believed to be the region’s first Muslim kingdom site and was built after defeating the last Hindu Kingdom in Delhi. The red sandstone structure is inscribed with the preaching of the Quran. India’s first ever mosque, Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, too lies at the base of this minaret. 

Address: Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030
Entry fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 250 for foreigners.
Popular things to do nearby: Tomb of Imam Zamin, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, and Yogmaya Temple

Also read: Famous Foreign Travelers Who Visited Ancient India

7. Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

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Even the mention of Jallianwala Bagh, makes you imagine the terror that this massacre was. With an unfortunate event that this place witnessed in 1919, this Amritsar attraction has been converted into a garden today. It lies at a five-minute walking distance from The Golden Temple.

Address: Golden Temple Rd, Amritsar, Punjab
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Harmandir Sahib, AkalTakht, and Central Sikh Museum

8. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

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Any list of historical places in India would be incomplete without the mention of Jaisalmer Fort. This monument is a fine example of township and administration back in the 11th century. The fort derives its name from its protagonist, the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal. Beautiful panoramas of the Thar desert and lots of interesting things to do nearby!

Address: Fort Rd, Khejer Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan 345001
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Camel Tours, Jain Temples, and art shopping

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9. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

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One of the most famous historical monuments in India, the Humayun’s Tomb is home to more than hundred graves of the families of subesquent Mughal emperors. The monument boasts of impeccable Persian architecture that is simply stunning. Additionally, the structure is also credited to be the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. A fun fact- like Taj Mahal was built by Shahajan in memory of his wife, this monument was built by Hamida Banu Begum for her husband Empror Humayun. 

Address: Opposite Dargah Nizamuddin, Mathura Road, New Delhi, Delhi 110013
Entry fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 250 for foreigners.
Popular things to do nearby: Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya, Gurdwara Damdama Sahib and Isa Khan's Tomb

10. Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

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Could it get any better? An entire city, drenched in history, the Fatehpur Sikri’s establishment dates back to the 15th century. It is the edifice of one of the most popular Mughal Emperors- Akbar. The city served as the capital for the Mughal Emperor from the year 1571 to 1585. A must-visit we say!

Address: Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh 283110
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Panch Mahal, Lotus Throne, and Diwan-I-Khas

11. Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh

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India is home to a plethora of heritage sites, but the Khajuraho Temples are one of its kind, to say the least. Essentially, a group of Hindu and Jain temples, these monuments are a bold take on mythology given their design with several erotic sculptures. Built between 950 and 1050, these are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites India is home to.

Address: Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh 471606
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Lakshmana Temple, Kandariya-Mahadev Temple, and Vishvanath Temple

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12. Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan

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Udaipur, the city of lakes is one of the major draws when it comes to the state Tourism of Rajasthan. However, in a mesh of lakes and glitzy of five-star properties, there are several monuments like the Kumbhalgarh that are less known of. This is the birthplace of Mewar’s king Maharana Pratap. The fort finally succeeded completion after the King consulted a sage for several failures in building its walls. Today these walls are credited as the second-largest fort walls in the world. Evenings boast of mesmeric light displays! 

Address: Shakti Nagar, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Jain Temple - Ranakpur

Must Read: Haunted Places in Rajasthan

13. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

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The Sanchi Stupa is one of the most significant historical tourist places in India for more reasons than one. Along with being one of the oldest structures in India, this monument is of particular importance to the Buddhist community. It was commissioned by emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE!

Address: Sanchi Town, Madhya Pradesh, India, Asia
Entry fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 250 for foreigners.
Popular things to do nearby: Udayagiri Caves, Tropic of Cancer and Vidisha District Museum

14. Konark Temple, Odisha

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A 13th-century CE Sun Temple, the Konark temple is a great specimen of the Kalinga architecture. Resembling a giant chariot, this temple is believed to be built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty. There are twelve wheels of the temple are believed to represent the months of the year. These wheels can skilfully help you determine the exact timing of the day too! Several such interesting facts beckon the incredible Odhiya art and craftsmanship.

Address: Konark, Puri, Orissa, 752111, India
Entry fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 250 for foreigners.
Popular things to do nearby: Chandrabhaga Beach

15. Rabdentse, Sikkim

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This is the place that served Sikkim Kingdom’s capital from the year 1670 to 1814. Today, the ruins beckon the invading Gurkha army’s dreadful destruction. Along with the beautiful ruins, you can also enjoy magnificent views of the Khanchendzonga (Kanchenjunga) ranges from here. You have to trek a little for an absolutely worth it experience awaiting you here.

Address: Geyzing, Sikkim 737111
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Buddha Park, Pemayangtse Gompa and Kanchenjunga Falls

16. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

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Literally translating to uo;Great Awakening Temple”, the Mahabodhi Temple is that place where Buddha attained enlightenment, as per facts. Along with being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Buddhist temple is a very significant monument not just for the Buddhist community but for people of all faiths.

Address: Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Thai Monastery, Royal Bhutan Monastery, and Great Buddha Statue

17. Rani ki Vav, Gujarat

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An incredible example of intricacy that Indian architecture is popular for, the Rani ki Vav is a beautiful stepwell. It was built in the 11th century and today is credited to be one of the "Cleanest Iconic Place" in India. Every level of this structure has beautiful carvings of various Indian aspects like apsaras, yoginis and even Lord Vishnu.

Address: Mohan Nagar Society, Patan, Gujarat 384265
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Patan Patola Heritage and Sahasralinga Talav

18. Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

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A nudge at India’s glorious colonial past, the Victoria Memorial is this striking all-white, marble monument in Kolkata. Dedicated to England’s Queen Victoria, this attraction serves as a museum today. The Indo-Saracenic revivalist style is certain to leave any visitor spellbound. There are 23 galleries here that hold brilliant exhibits.

Address: Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
Entry fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 150 for foreigners.
Popular things to do nearby: St. Paul's Cathedral, Academy of Fine Arts and Elliot Park

19. Jageshwar, Uttarakhand

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One of the many ancient places in North India that not many know of, the Jageshwar dham is a Hindu pilgrimage town in Uttarakhand’s Almora district. It was the center of Lakulish- the 28th avatar of Lord Shiva. The highlight of this place is the cluster of 124 large and small stone temples.

Address: Jageshwar Dham, Uttarakhand 263623
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Dandeshwar Temple, Chitai Temple, and Zero Point

20. Gateway of India, Mumbai

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As the name suggests, the Gateway of India was used as "a landing place for British governors and other prominent people". Entirely made out of basalt rock, this magnificent structure is monikered as "the Taj Mahal of Mumbai". Today the monument is believed to be on a constant high alert and is highly secured!

Address: Peninsula at end of C. Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Mumbai, India (Gateway of India)
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Prince of Wales Museum, Colaba, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

21. Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

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Another beautiful example of India carvings, the Ajanta and Ellora Caves are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the site, you are bound to find temples of the Jain, Hindu and Buddhist religions. The construction of the temples dates back to the 6th and the 9th centuries. Precisely, these are a structure of 34 caves carved into the face of the Charanadri Hills.

Address: Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Entry fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 150 for foreigners.
Popular things to do nearby: Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Bhadra Maruti, and Daulatabad Fort

22. Charminar, Hyderabad

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If the North has a surfeit of Mughal architecture, the south is backed by the Nizams! The Charminar, literally translating to four minarets, was built in the year 1591, as a monument also serving as a mosque. For those interested in historical facts, this monument was pioneered by the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah.

Address: Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002
Entry fee: INR 5
Popular things to do nearby: Mecca Masjid, Chowmahalla Palace, and Mahtab Mahal

23. Maluti Temples, Jharkhand

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Seventy-two temples, all made of terracotta are the characteristic of the Maluti Temples. The temples' construction is believed to date back to the 17th and 19th centuries. The kings of Baj Basanta dynasty initiated the construction of these temples inspired by the family deity, Mowlakshi. There are shrines of other Hindu Gods to here.

Address: Malooti, Jharkhand 816103
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: NA

24. Mysore Palace, Karnataka

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The official abode of the rulers of Mysore- the Wodeyars, Mysore Palace is one of the most important attractions in Southern India. Here you can get to witness a wide array of all things royal; from clothes, paintings, artefacts to gardens, courtyards, and buildings. This is the main attraction in this city that is monikers as the city of palaces.

Address: Sayyaji Rao Rd, Agrahara, Chamrajpura, Mysuru, Karnataka 570001
Entry fee: INR 40; Tickets for children (7-12) INR 25; Ticket prices for foreigners: INR 200.
Popular things to do nearby: Gun House, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, and Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery

25. Hampi, Karnataka

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One of the best historical places in South India, Hampi is suddenly rising on the trending charts, owing to several factors. Who knew beauty could be found in the ruins of this Vijayanagara empire's capital? These ruins and boulders are attracting not just national tourists, but people from all over the world, especially owing to its bohemian vibe. In essence, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized temple town and village.

Address: Hampi, Karnataka 583239
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Virupaksha Temple, Sasivekalu Ganesha and Matanga Hill

26. Basgo-Leh, Ladakh

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Basgo Monastery also known as the Bazgo Gompa is on this list given its construction that dates back to the 16th century. The construction was pioneered by the Namgyal rulers. A visit to this monastery bestows you with striking panoramas of the ancient town’s ruins that lie at the foothills of the mountain on which the monastery is nestled.

Address: Basgo, Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: NA

27. The Cellular Jail, Andaman & Nicobar

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Also referred to as the Kālā Pānī, the Cellular Jail is a colonial prison on the archipelago of Andaman & Nicobar. Many popular freedom fighters have been imprisoned here during the India’s struggle for independence. Fast forward to today, this structure serves as a national memorial monument.

Address: Atlanta Point, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744104
Entry fee: INR 10
Popular things to do nearby: Marina Park and Aquarium, Ross Island and Makruzz

28. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

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Perched in the Kancheepuram district of Chennai, Mahabalipuram is a gorgeous seashore town that has some incredible religious, mythological and most importantly archeological significance in India’s history. The Pallava dynasty especially has played a very important role in shaping this town the way it is today.

Address: Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: Seashore temple, Arjun’s penance and Pancha Rathas

29. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai

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Famous for its striking, colonial architecture and infamous for the 26/11 attacks, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is that monument that brings to the city millions with dreams in their eyes. This is actually a railway station, very busy all throughout the day. It is a historic railway station as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai.

Address: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: St. Thomas Cathedral Mumbai, Bai Pirojbai Dadabhoy Manekji Vatcha Agiary and Kitab Mahal

30. Lonar Crater Lake, Maharashtra

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A historical place that has absolutely nothing to do with religion, spirituality, and archeology! The Lonar Crater Lake is a result of a "hypervelocity impact of either a comet or an asteroid" many years ago. The lake is of great significance given its both alkaline and saline characteristics. It is also popular to be a color-changing lake in Maharashtra.

Address: Buldhana district, Maharashtra
Entry fee: Free
Popular things to do nearby: NA

These are just a few historical places in India that are very popular and worth a visit. But trust India to surprise you with the unexpected; just keep your eye wide-open!

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