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Cultural heritage

India

India is an incredibly diverse country with a wealth of history. A melting pot of different religions, emperors and other rulers has left its unique mark on the landscape. Travel with us to four historic attractions in this fascinating country.

Discover India
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A visit to Ajanta isn’t complete without seeing Ellora

Just beyond Ajanta lies another stunning cave complex: the Ellora Caves, famous for its rich diversity of religious rock sculptures. Here you will find traditional Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments. The two cave complexes are not too far apart, so one can easily visit both Ajanta and Ellora.

The Caves of Ajanta

A stone masterpiece

Do you know about the Caves of Ajanta? Located just outside Aurangabad in the west of the country, this vast cave complex was hidden for many years. It was only in 1819 that a group of British officers on a tiger hunt uncovered the caves by accident.

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They stumbled across an oasis full of splendid temples and monasteries carved into the rocks by a group of Buddhist monks at the beginning of the Common Era. Magnificent pillars, sculptures, ornaments and chambers form a series of 29 caves that are open to visitors. Lavish decorations on the walls and ceilings represent the life of Siddharta Gautama (Buddha) and are considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art. These enormous caves are set in beautiful serene surroundings. It’s easy to see why the monks chose this spot to build their monasteries.

Fatehpur Sikri

Glorious ghost town

Do you like ghost towns? Then you will love Fatehpur Sikri. Built between 1569 and 1585, this fascinating ghost town was the ceremonial capital of the Mughal Empire during the Mughal dynasty. Emperor Akbar, one of the most famous Mughal rulers, built this city for the saint Salim Chishti who foretold that Akbar would sire three sons. Chishti’s prophesy came true and Fatehpur Sikri was built as a tribute.

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However, a structural water shortage forced the residents to leave the city after 16 years. Fortunately, the city has been perfectly preserved and visitors can admire the spectacular collection of palaces and temples. The highlight is Chishti’s splendid tomb.

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    Religious Hindus flock here to take their ritual morning bath in the holy water of Pushkar Lake. The shores are dotted with hundreds of temples. The most popular one is the Jagatpita Temple, the only Brahma temple in India. Brahma is said to have chosen the location of this temple himself; a testament to his good taste.

    Holy water

    Pushkar Lake

    According to legend the Hindu god Brahma, creator of the world, dropped a lotus flower on earth. At the exact spot where the flower touched the ground, a lake emerged. The holy city of Pushkar was built around this lake and is still one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus.

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    The camel market

    Every year nomadic tribes from the nearby deserts gather in Pushkar to trade their livestock at the world’s largest camel market. This important occasion is accompanied by a spectacular and colourful celebration. This year’s market will take place from 24-27 November.

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      Fortunately, this once thriving city didn’t completely vanish and the impressive ruins can still be seen today. Don’t rush; spend a few days here to take it all in. With its magical evening light, babbling river and dramatic scenery, Hampi is India at its best.

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      The ruins of Hampi

      Heavenly Hampi

      Anyone who has ever visited this part of India will fondly remember magical Hampi. This small rural village was once the capital of one of the most powerful Indian empires, the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi was a dynamic city with a booming trade and a rich cultural life. All this came to a sudden halt when the city was conquered and looted by Muslim sultans in the 16th century. Although the empire survived, the city was never reconquered or rebuilt.

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