If there stands a witness to centuries of India's past, it is the architectural colossi dotted around our country. These monuments have stood tall through change of power, religions, territories and societies and are, our link to those who walked these lands before.
In this exhibit that follows, we look at some of India's most beautiful archeological sites and explore some of their stories that need sharing and telling.
We'll start the journey from the North, move East, South and finally to the West of the country, looking through some of these photographs and interactive Street Views.
We begin this story in Delhi, the capital of India - a city that prides itself with over a 180 archeological sites scattered all over. The people of Delhi live around and amidst these sites, and it is these that lend it an air of an ancient city - one where histories and stories live in a fine equilibrium.
Explore two of Delhi's landmarks through the Street Views that follow.
Below: Qutub Minar
Right: Jantar Mantar
The Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula, The Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal are some of the monuments under the ASI Agra Circle. With newer infrastructure being built at great speed between cities, the expressway to Agra from Delhi has brought down the journey time to a couple of hours, making some of these sites easily accessible.
EAST AND CENTRAL INDIA
Moving eastwards, we embark on a journey through Varanasi and Sarnath onto Bengal. We then skim a small section of central India, seeking Sanchi after Sarnath.
MOVING FURTHER SOUTH
Buddhist stupas and remains are found extensively along the western ghats and in parts of Andhra Pradesh. The following are images from Nagarjun Konda, Guntupalli Caves and Amaravati.
The following photograph highlights the intricate carvings at Amaravati. The Amaravati Marbles or Elliot Marbles as they have come to be known, are part of the fragments from this site that are housed in the British Museum in London. The stupa remains under the protection of the ASI that also manages a site museum near the archeological find.
The Amaravati school of art occupies a pre-eminent position in the history of Indian Art. With sculptures dating back to the 3rd century BC, it is a significant site in the historical narrative of Buddhism.
The austere, grandiose site of Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Its fabulously rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned.
Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre
From Hampi, we move to Golconda and Tiruvannamalai.
And then onto the Sithannvasal Caves. Explore these over Street View.
We follow this up with some majestic forts in Tamil Nadu.
Explore these sites through Street View
TOP: Krishnagiri Fort
CENTRE: Muchu Kundesvara Temple
BOTTOM: Muvar Koil and Aivar Koil
Moving North from Kerela to Rajashthan, first along and then inland from the Western Coastline of India.
AJANTA, ELLORA and DAULATABAD
The histories of these two sites, Ajanta and Ellora considered the former (though their magnitude solicits individual comparisons) and of Daulatabad could not be more different. On this timeline we transverse, it also features centuries later. However, the three sites form an important triad of Buddhist, Hindu and Tughlak architecture in the area.
Explore Raigarh Fort and Kanheri Caves
Our last pitstop on this journey is Rajasthan. The following images represent some of the landmarks of architecture in the region.
Narrative — Payal Wadhwa, Designer and Interpretation strategist