Indian architectural wonders with a visa, Asian Building Design, Online South Asia Travel Advice

Indian architectural wonders with a visa guide

17 Mar 2021

When people think of India, the mind instantly goes to scorching heats, heavy humidity and streets so crowded you can barely move an inch without bumping into someone else. Yet India is also a country filled with some of the most marvellous wonders of architecture in the world. To see these grand constructs up close, you need to apply for an Indian visa.

Up close view of India’s architectural wonders – only with a visa:

1: The Taj Mahal
Indian architectural wonders with a visa Taj Mahal

We have to, of course, start with the Taj Mahal. It is not just an iconic building in India but throughout the world. Tourists from all over flock to the country to visit this world heritage site. Built in the 17th century by the emperor Shah Jahan, it was dedicated as a tomb to his beloved wife. The Taj Mahal towers some 70 metres into the air and is recognizable from afar due to its pearly-white minarets. It is for good reason that the Taj Mahal is a staple of any visit to India. Few experiences can match seeing it up close.

2: The Tomb of Itimad ud-Daulah
Indian architectural wonders Tomb of Itimad ud-Daulah

Shah Jahan was not the only one who built a massive tomb for his loved ones. The Tomb of Itimad Ud-Daulah was commissioned by Nur Jahan, consort to Jahangir, the Mughal ruler of India at the time. It is a mausoleum to her parents who died in 1621, and construction was completed in 1628. Located in Agra, the Tomb predates the Taj Mahal, and it is widely accepted that it functioned as an early blueprint for its more famous cousin.

3: The Birla Mandir Temple
Birla Mandir Temple

Both Islam and Hinduism are cornerstones of Indian society, and as such many temples can be found dedicated to either religion. The Birla Mandir Temple in Jaipur belongs to the latter. The building is relatively new (built in 1988) and is made of pure white marble. The temple is dedicated to the god Vishnu, one of the prime deities in Hinduism, and his consort Lakshmi. Visitors are free to explore its grand gardens and even see the remains of the Birla family.

4: Jahangir Mahal
Jahangir Mahal India

No building better exemplifies Mughal architecture than the Jahangir Mahal. Built as living quarters for Hindu women belonging to the royal household, the palace is part of the massive Agra Fort, and considered by many its most beautiful feature. The colours make it appear as if it was constructed out of sand. The halls of the building are engraved with both Hindu and Islamic hieroglyphs, and inside you can find the Hauz-i-Jahangiri, a basin constructed out of a single massive piece of stone. It was used as a container for rose water.

5: Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid Agra India architecture marvel

The Jama Masjid, or Jama Mosque, is likewise located in Agra. Also known as the Friday Mosque, the building is one of the main Islamic features in India and a popular pilgrimage destination for Muslims in India. Like the Taj Mahal, the Jama Mosque was commissioned by Shah Jahan. Whereas the Taj Mahal was a tomb for his wife, the Jama Masjid was dedicated to his daughter Jahanara Begum. A marvel of Iranian architecture, the building took 6 years and over 5000 workers to construct.

Travelling to India: remember your visa

Of course, images can never capture the true beauty of these buildings. This can only be achieved by seeing them up close. And to do that, you need to apply for an Indian visa to travel to India.

Submitting an Indian visa application can be done online through the digital application form. British tourists can stay in the country for up to 180 days with the online tourist visa, more than enough to visit all of the buildings listed above, especially since most of them are located in Agra.

Up close view of India’s architectural wonders: only with a visa

Make sure to read up on the visa requirements. For example, you can only arrive at specific airports, and certain areas in India such as Nagaland and Sikkim have special rules regarding travel. The visa is generally issued within one week of applying.

On arrival in India, your passport must be valid for at least six more months, and you must have already booked a return or onward ticket.

Comments on this guide to Indian architectural wonders with a visa article are welcome.

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