Essay: Amazing Indian Buildings

Indians have been building marvellous structures for thousands of years now. Let’s look at a few of our architectural marvels over time.

Essay: Amazing Indian Buildings

Here are a few of the most amazing structures Indians have built. We’re not going to talk about the Taj Mahal here because you probably already know all about it! The photos start at the top left and go clockwise.

The Sindhu-Saraswati Civilization
Recent excavations and remote sensing imagery have shown evidence of the mighty river Saraswati which once flowed in India. The Sindhu (now known as Indus) and Saraswati valleys were home to one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. Rakhigarhi in Haryana and Dholavira in Gujarat are among the most important sites in India. Other sites lie in modern-day Pakistan. The most amazing feature in these sites is the urban planning and public buildings such as the “Great Bath”.

Great Stupa - Sanchi
The Great Stupa at Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh) was originally built in the 3rd Century BCE by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. It’s believed  to house the ashes of the Buddha. The distinguishing features of the stupa are the great dome and central pillar. Each element of the stupa symbolizes different things. Ashoka also built many pillars where he inscribed messages to his people. These stand as far as Kandhar in modern-day Afghanistan and Takshashila in modern-day Pakistan to Lumbini in modern-day Nepal and Yerragudi in Andhra Pradesh. The national emblem of India uses the four lions from the pillar at Sarnath.

Iron Pillar - Delhi
The Iron Pillar is a marvel of metallurgy. The pillar is one of the most ancient wonders of India. It weighs over 3 tons and has not rusted for many centuries now. Scholars believe The corrosion resistance results from an even layer of crystalline
iron hydrogen phosphate hydrate forming on the high-phosphorus-content iron. This evenness was achieved over 1,500 years ago! The Iron Pillar is a testament to Indian skills in metallurgy. Another example is Wootz Steel. The famous Damascus Swords were made with steel ingots exported from Southern India.

The Chausath Yogini Temple
The Chausath Yogini Temple, Mitaoli, is an 11th-century temple in Morena district in Madhya Pradesh. It is also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple. It is a circular temple with an open courtyard in the centre. The temple takes its name from its 64 (chausath in Hindi) chambers, each devoted to a yogini. Yoginis are women who have mastered Yoga. Of many such Yogini temples in India, only a few remain. This particular temple was the inspiration for the Indian Parliament building designed by the English architect Edwin Lutyens.

The City of Hampi
The City of Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire. It was the second largest city of its time after Beijing. Hampi used to be one of the most prosperous cities in the world. It is home to engineering marvels like musical pillars which are tuned to the seven notes. The city had temples, markets and other public places. The water infrastructure was extensive. Fresh water was carried around the city via aqueducts. There were also wells and water overflow drains. The Virupaksha Temple is still revered and in active use. Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Statue of Unity
One of the most recent wonders built by Indians is The Statue of Unity. It’s the tallest statue in the world at 182m. The statue is built to withstand winds of up to 180 kilometres per hour (110 mph) and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.

Which of these marvels have you visited? What are your favourites? What other wonders do you know about? Do tell us!

Don't miss the article on green buildings and the crossword.