13 Enchanting Historical Places in India to Visit in 2023

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India, renowned for its diverse history, showcases many historical sites that span centuries, dynasties and cultures. From palaces to temples, each historical destination in India narrates a unique tale from the country’s past.

In this blog post, we will embark on a tour of the top 13 historical places in India.

We will provide details, such as the time to visit, activities to indulge in various places, entry fees and insider tips to ensure an unforgettable journey.

  1. Taj Mahal, Agra

When discussing the top historical destinations in India, the Taj Mahal undoubtedly secures a prominent position on the list.

Emperor Shah Jahan constructed the Taj Mahal as a tribute to his wife Mumtaz Mahal after her demise during childbirth in 1631. It took more than two decades for over 20,000 artisans and laborers to complete this architectural masterpiece that stands as an eternal symbol of love.

Taj Mahal, Agra

The architectural style of the Taj Mahal beautifully intertwines Persian and Indian influences. The primary mausoleum is a white marble structure adorned with inlays of semi-precious stones and calligraphy inspired by the Quran.

The complex offers a sight surrounded by landscaped gardens, serene reflecting pools, and striking red sandstone structures.

Best time to visit:  The ideal time to visit the Taj Mahal is during the winter, from October to March, as the weather is pleasant.

Things to do: When you are there, take in the beauty of the white marble mausoleum, wander through the surrounding gardens and immerse yourself in the love story behind its creation.

Pro tip: try to arrive in the morning to avoid crowds and witness the Taj Mahal bathed in gentle morning light. You might need permits if you plan to use tripods or professional photography equipment.

Opening time: 6 am to 6.30 pm (except Fridays)

Entry fee: 54 cents for Indians and $12 for foreigners

Where to stay

Our recommendations,

  • Oyo Townhouse 501 Hotel City Star ($21 per night**)
  • Da Bungalow ($39 per night**)
  • Hotel Taj Resorts ($47 per night**)

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  1. City Palace, Jaipur

Moving on to another historical destination in India, we have Jaipur City Palace on our list. This architectural marvel stands as an awe-inspiring testament to the grandeur and opulence of the Rajput dynasty.

Located at the heart of Pink City, this sprawling palace complex beautifully combines elements of Mughal, Rajput and European styles.

City Palace, Jaipur - Historical Destinations in India

The City Palace was constructed during the century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II – Jaipur’s founder. Its facade showcases intricate frescoes, ornate gateways, and delicate latticework that captivate you. The palace itself is divided into courtyards; each possesses its unique charm waiting for you to explore.

Best time to visit: The winter season between October and March is the best time to visit City Palace and Jaipur.

Things to do: Explore the palace complex and visit the museum showcasing royal artefacts. Don’t forget to check out the Mubarak Mahal and Chandra Mahal.

Pro tip: to know the history and remarkable architecture of the palace, hire a knowledgeable local guide. They can provide you with an in-depth understanding of its captivating past.

Opening time: 9.30 am to 7 pm

Entry fee: $2.4 for Indians and $8.5 for foreigners

Where to stay

Our recommendations,

  • Oyo 8412 Hotel Maharani Prime ($12 per night**)
  • Oyo 81045 Collection O Hotel My Stay Retreat ($13 per night**)
  • Oyo Townhouse 132 Hotel The Grand ($19 per night**)

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  1. Varanasi Ghats

When you are looking for the top historical destination in India, you can’t ignore Varanasi. This ancient city, previously known as Benares, boasts a history that spans thousands of years. The ghats lining the Ganges River play a role in the cultural fabric of Varanasi.

These ghats serve various purposes, from religious rituals and ceremonies to daily activities like bathing and laundry. They are also the final resting place for many Hindus who seek salvation by being cremated on the banks of the holy river.

Varanasi Ghats

Best time to visit: Visit Varanasi from October to March when the weather is comfortable and the city comes alive with festivals.

Things to do:

  • Experience the Ganga Aarti ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat.
  • Take a boat ride along the Ganges River.
  • Explore the lanes of Varanasi.

Can I witness the Ganga Aarti at Varanasi Ghats every day?

Yes, Ganga Aarti is conducted daily at the Varanasi Ghats, both in the morning and evening. However, it’s a good idea to check the specific timings, which may vary.

Where to stay

Our recommendations,

  • Oyo Flagship 47006 Hotel Magadh Palace ($29 per night**)
  • Hotel Plaza Inn ($43 per night**)
  • East View ($54 per night**)

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  1. Hampi

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a glimpse into the Vijayanagara Empire’s glory days.

Hampi, often referred to as the “City of Ruins,” was once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. During the 14th and 16th centuries, its zenith saw the construction of magnificent temples, palaces, and other architectural wonders.

Hampi

Best time to visit: Try visiting this place between November and February to avoid the scorching summer heat.

Things to do: Must-see attractions include exploring ruins, visiting the Virupaksha Temple, and hiking up Matanga Hill for breathtaking panoramic views.

Pro tip: Wear comfortable shoes, as you need to walk a lot amidst ancient ruins.

Opening time: 6 am to 6 pm

Entry fee: 36 cents for Indians and $6 for foreigners.

  1. Khajuraho Temples

The Khajuraho Temples were built during the 11th century under the Chandela dynasty. Being one of the best historical sites in India, these temples are a testament to the creative and architectural prowess of that era.

Khajuraho Temples

Initially, there were over 80 temples, of which 22 remain today. These temples are divided into three groups: the Western, Eastern, and Southern.

Best time to visit:  October to February is the best time to visit these temples.

Things to do: While exploring, you can marvel at the sculptures depicting Hindu mythology aspects and also visit the Khajuraho Archaeological Museum.

Opening time: 8 am to 6 pm

Entry fee: 48 cents for Indians and $7.33 for foreigners

What is the significance of the erotic sculptures at Khajuraho Temples?

The erotic sculptures at Khajuraho Temples are a small part of the temple complex. They are believed to symbolize the celebration of all aspects of life, including love and sensuality, as a reflection of human existence.

  1. Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu is a captivating town known for its rich heritage, remarkable rock-cut monuments and serene beaches.

Mahabalipuram, named after the demon king Mahabali, is steeped in history that dates back to the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries. Many of its rock-cut temples and sculptures have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Mahabalipuram

Best time to visit: Plan your visit between November and February when you can enjoy the weather.

Things to do: Explore the UNESCO-listed shore temples, marvel at the Arjuna’s Penance rock carving, and relax on the beautiful beaches.

Pro tip: Witness the spectacular sunrise at the Shore Temple for a memorable experience.

Opening time: 9 am to 6 pm

Entry fee: 36 cents for Indians and $ 6.11 for foreigners

  1. Mysore Palace

Our list of the best historical destinations in India won’t be completed without Mysore Palace.

The Mysore Palace in Karnataka is a testament to the magnificence of India’s history. Also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, it combines Indo architecture and represents the opulence of the Wadiyar dynasty.

Mysore Palace

Originally built as a palace in the 14th century, it underwent extensive renovations in the early 20th century after being destroyed by fire.

Best Time to Visit: You can visit the Mysore Palace anytime during the year. It is exceptionally vibrant during the Dasara festival held in September or October.

Things to Do: Explore its interiors, witness the palace lighting ceremony on Sundays and public holidays, and stroll through its beautiful gardens.

Pro tip: To avoid queues and capture photographs, consider visiting early in the morning.

Opening time: 10 am to 5.30 pm

Entry fee: $1.2 for adults

  1. Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh serves as a reminder of Emperor Akbar’s vision and his desire to create an ideal city. This UNESCO World Heritage site near Agra showcases a blend of Mughal, Persian and Indian styles.

Fatehpur Sikri

Best time to visit: Visit this place between October and March when the weather is pleasant.

Things to do: Explore the red sandstone architecture, visit Jama Masjid and be amazed by the Buland Darwaza.

Opening time: 6 am to 7.30 pm

Entry fee: 61 cents for Indians and $7.45 for foreigners.

How can I reach Fatehpur Sikri from Agra?

Fatehpur Sikri is located approximately 40 kilometres from Agra. You can reach it by road through various transportation options, including taxis, buses, or guided tours.

  1. Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar in Delhi is another top historical destination in India. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a testament to the legacy of various dynasties that have ruled Delhi over the centuries.

Qutub Minar

The complex dates back to the 12th century when Qutb ud din Aibak, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, commissioned it. Over time, it was expanded upon by rulers like Iltutmish and Firoz Shah Tughlaq.

Best time to visit: you can visit Qutub Minar any time throughout the year; however, avoiding summer heat and monsoon rains is advisable.

Things to do: Admire the towering Qutub Minar, explore the surrounding archaeological complex, and visit the Iron Pillar.

Pro tip: Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat and crowds.

Opening time: 7 am to 9 pm

Entry fee: 36 cents for Indians and $6.11 for foreigners

  1. Ajanta & Ellora Caves

In the heart of the Indian state of Maharashtra lie two UNESCO World Heritage sites that are nothing short of archaeological wonders—Ajanta and Ellora Caves. These cave complexes carved into the Sahyadri Hills’ cliffs showcase artwork and intricate sculptures and hold great spiritual significance.

Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Best time to visit: The best months to explore the Ajanta and Ellora Caves are November to March.

Things to do: Admire the carvings in the caves, learn about Buddhist, Hindu and Jain art and visit the visitor centres at Ajanta and Ellora.

Pro tip: Hire a guide who can provide insights into the cultural importance of these ancient caves.

Opening time: 6 am to 6 pm

  1. Amer Fort

This grand fortress combines Rajput and Mughal styles perfectly, offering a captivating journey into the history and luxury of the Rajputana dynasty. It is truly one of the most popular historical destinations in India.

Amer Fort - Historical Places in India

Raja Man Singh I, Emperor Akbar’s trusted general, constructed Amer Fort. It served as the residence for Kachwaha Rajput rulers until they relocated their capital to Jaipur.

Best time to visit: Plan your visit to Amer Fort between October and February to enjoy weather conditions.

Things to do: Explore the fort complex extensively, take an elephant ride up to its entrance gate and don’t miss visiting Sheesh Mahal (the Mirror Palace).

Pro tip: Arriving early is advisable if you want to avoid queues for elephant rides. Additionally, mornings tend to be less crowded for exploring the fort.

Opening time: 8 am to 7 pm

Entry fee: 30 cents for Indians and $6.72 for foreigners

  1. Konark Sun Temple

The Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, also called the “Black Pagoda “, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that pays homage to the Sun God, Surya.

Konark Sun Temple

Constructed by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty during the 13th century, this temple’s design represents the Sun God’s chariot, featuring 24 intricately carved wheels symbolizing each hour of the day.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit this temple is between October and March when the weather is pleasant.

Things to do:  Admire the stunning temple architecture, explore the Konark Museum, and enjoy the nearby Chandrabhaga Beach.

Pro tip: Plan your morning or late afternoon visit to avoid the scorching midday sun.

Opening time: 6 am to 8 pm

Entry fee: 36 cents for Indians and $6.11 for foreigners

Where to stay

Our recommendations,

  • Goroomgo Silicon Residency Puri ($31 per night**)
  • Sterling Puri ($81 per night**)
  • Pride Ananya Resort Puri ($82 per night**)

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  1. Red Fort

Moving on to another popular and top historical destination in India is, the Red Fort or “Lal Qila.”

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a testament to India’s history and enduring spirit.

Red Fort - Historical Places in India

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Red Fort in the 17th century as his new imperial residence and the seat of his power. The fort has seen historic events, including the famous Indian independence speech delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru on August 15, 1947.

Best time to visit: It is recommended to explore the Red Fort between October and March when the weather’s pleasant.

Things to Do: Explore the iconic red sandstone fort, watch the sound and light show in the evening, and visit the museums inside.

Pro Tip: Attend the sound and light show in the evening to learn about the fort’s history in an engaging way.

Opening time: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

Entry fee: 42 cents for Indians and $6.11 for foreigners

Conclusion

The above-mentioned top 13 historical places in India are not just wonders but remnants of our nation’s vibrant past.

Each attraction offers a glimpse into India’s history, culture and artistic heritage. Whether you have a passion for history or seek a fulfilling travel experience, India’s historical sites will leave an impression on your heart and mind.

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FAQs

Which are famous historical places in South India?

Hampi, Mysore, Badami, and Mahabalipuram are famous historical places in South India.

What are the top 5 historical places in Delhi?

The top 5 historical places in Delhi include,
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Purana Qila
  • Jama Masjid
  • Agrasen Ki Baoli
  • Lodhi Tomb