Here are some of the pictures of palaces, temples, etc that I took on my trip to India in February/March, 1999. There are lots of palaces in India. The most impressive that I saw were the Amber Palace in Jaipur, the palace in Fatehpur Sikri, the Red Fort and of course the Taj Mahal, both in Agra. Very interesting too were the temples in Khajuraho with the huge amount of carved stone figures, including a large number of erotic statues.

Orchha was founded in 1531 and remained the capital of the powerful Bundelas Rajputs until 1783, when nearby Tikamgadh become the new capital. It is now a small village. The Jehangir Mahal in Orchha is well worth visiting. It has fantastic murals. The Jehangir Mahal was built by Raja Bir Singh in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir.

The Amber Palace in Jaipur is located on a hill overlooking Jaipur. It was the capital of the Kuchwaha Rajputs from 1037 to 1728. You can take an elephant ride up to the palace. It has beautiful gardens, lots of carved marble and inlay work.

Another imposing site in Jaipur is the Jantar Mantar. Built in 1726 by Jai Singh II, it has dozens of astronomical instruments (called yantars). They are build of masonry, marble, and brass. The largest is a huge sundial. The gnomon (or shadow casting) part is a staircase 30 m (100 ft) high. This is the largest sundial on earth. Other instruments come in pairs that complement each other. Where one of the instruments in a pair has a marble surface, the other is open, and vice versa. This allows you to walk into the instrument in the open areas and look at the shadow on the marble parts and determine where the shadow is with respect to the markings. The shadow is always on the marble surface on one of the instruments of a pair. Most of the markings had astrological purpose, not astronomical. Jantar Mantar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The palace in Fatehpur Sikri, not far from Agra, was built by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar between 1571 and 1585. He had planned this city as his capital but shortage of water compelled him to abandon the city. Within 20 years, the capital of Mughals was moved to Lahore. It has sensational sandstone carvings. Fatehpur Sikri is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Red Fort in Agra is a massive red sandstone structure. The Red Fort in Agra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565. It was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan's time. The emperor Aurangzeb deposed his father Shah Jahan and imprisoned him in the Agra Fort, from where he gazed across at the Taj Mahal, which he had built for his beloved wife. Shah Jahan is believed to have died in the Musamman Burj, a tower in Agra Fort with a beautiful marble balcony, which offers a scenic view of the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal is the show piece of Indian architecture. It was built by the Muslim Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 CE) in memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the interesting places was Khajuraho with its ancient (9th to 13th century) temples. It is probably best known for its erotic statues on the temples. All the temples have intricately carved statues all around the outside. The erotic carvings make up about 10% of the statues. Khajuraho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Delhi too has interesting architecture. The mosque in Delhi is the biggest mosque in India, and the minaret is the tallest in India.

There are many important Buddhist monuments in India. Buddha is believed to have preached his first sermon in Sarnath. Around 500 CE a large stupa was built on that place.

But the large palaces and temples are only a part of the religious life. There are many small shrines and temples were people worship.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Fortresses and Palaces

Small Fortification Hill Overlooking
A small fortification on a hill overlooking the Amber Palace in Jaipur. (815k)
Strange Looking Tower Don't
A strange looking tower. I don't know whether the shape has function or what it means. (828k)
Palace Orchha Build Visit
Palace in Orchha. It was build for the visit of a Muslim ruler to Orchha. (662k)
View Palace
Another view of the palace. (717k)
Capitols Palace Lower Row
Capitols in the palace. The lower row is Hindu style with elephants. The upper row is Muslim style, without realistic figures, just decorations. (842k)
Real Building Facade Rajah's
This is not a real building, just a facade. The Rajah's harem would be waiting behind the windows to watch him come home from war. (825k)
Peacock Entrance Palace Jaipur
Peacock Entrance in the palace in Jaipur. (1004k)
Two Silver Vessels Palace
One of two silver vessels in the palace in Jaipur, about 2 m (7 ft) high, weighing over 300 kg (660 lb). A Maharajah needed to take his Ganges water with him during a visit to England, so he took a couple of bottles with him, big bottles  :-) (666k)
Marble Palace Red Fort
A marble palace near the Red Fort. (736k)
Entrance Amber Palace
Entrance to the Amber Palace. (756k)
Entrance Amber Palace Jaipur
Entrance to the Amber Palace in Jaipur. Image of the Hindu God Ganesha above the door. (1011k)
Room Amber Palace Jaipur
Room in the Amber Palace of Jaipur with colored tiles and marble carvings and inlays. (424k)
Window Amber Palace Carved
Window in Amber Palace, carved out of marble. (1271k)
Details Marble Window
Details of a marble window. (976k)
Design Convex Mirror Tiles
Design with convex mirror tiles in the Amber Palace. These mirror tiles make for great light effects with flickering candles. (1034k)
Marble Column Stone Inlays
Marble column with stone inlays. (289k)
Wall Bastion Red Fort
Wall Bastion on the Red Fort in Agra. There were two moats. Originally one was filled with water and crocodiles, the other was dry land with roaming tigers. (421k)
Entrance Door Red Fort
Entrance door to the Red Fort. The door is spiked with metal spikes to prevent elephants from pushing the door in with their heads. (739k)
Moat Around Red Fort
The moat around the red fort. There were two areas in the moat, the outer one with water, filled with crocodiles, and the inner one with a jungle, filled with tigers. (734k)
Marble Columns Red Fort
Marble columns in the Red Fort in Agra. (755k)
Carved Red Sandstone Palace
Carved red sandstone in the palace in Fatehpur Sikri. (1068k)
Sandstone Carving
Sandstone carving. (1107k)
Carved Sandstone Column
Carved sandstone column. (885k)


Trimurti Divine Trinity Hinduism
The Trimurti (Divine Trinity) of Hinduism. From left to right Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu. (838k)
All Temples Big Temple
Not all temples have to be big. This is a temple for the Monkey God Hanuman. (790k)
Monkey Statue Monkey God
Monkey on the statue of the monkey God Hanuman. (734k)
Statue Boar Temple Complex
Statue of a Boar in the temple complex in Khajuraho. (839k)
Buddha Statue Dharmachakra Mudra
Buddha Statue with the Dharmachakra Mudra in the Buddha temple in Sarnath near Varanasi (former Benares), the holy city for Hindus and Buddhists. This temple was build near the place where Buddha gave his first sermon. (784k)
Dhamek Stupa Build Around
The Dhamek Stupa was build around 500 CE at the place where Buddha was believed to have given his first sermon. (1018k)
Hindu Temple Complex Orchha
Hindu temple complex in Orchha. (831k)
Paintings Mythical Battle Many-armed
Paintings of a mythical battle with a many-armed demon. These paintings are in the palace in Orchha. (1074k)
Painting Vishnu Resting Shesha
Painting of Vishnu resting on Shesha, the king of all nagas, with his consort Lakshmi at his feet. (872k)
Painting Varaha Incarnations Vishnu
Painting with Varaha, an Incarnations of Vishnu as a boar (right in blue). (1138k)
Painting Elephant God Ganesha
Painting of the Elephant God Ganesha. (854k)
Painting Monkey God Hanuman
Painting of the monkey God Hanuman. (888k)
Mosque Delhi Largest Mosque
The mosque in Delhi is the largest mosque in India. (955k)
Entrance Mosque Delhi Larges
Entrance to the mosque in Delhi, the larges mosque in India. (1082k)
Tallest Minaret India Delhi
The tallest Minaret in India (in Delhi). (399k)
Closeup First Tier Minaret
Closeup of the first tier on the Minaret. (1182k)

Astronomical Architecture

Large Sundial Observatory Jaipur
The large sundial in the Observatory in Jaipur, built in the 18th century. (717k)
Gradations Large Sundial
The gradations on the large sundial. (893k)
Smaller Version Sundial
A smaller version of the sundial. (926k)
Sundial Next Complementary Versions
Sundial. This and the next are complementary versions, one for times when the sun is above the celestial equator, and one for the times when the sun is below the equator. (921k)
Sundial. (978k)
Metal Sundials Astrological Markings
Metal sundials with astrological markings. (1023k)
Metal Sundial
Metal sundial. (1162k)
Whole Array Sundials Different
There was a whole array of sundials, for different constellations. They all served astrological purposes. (889k)
Instruments Observatory Jaipur Made
One of the instruments in the Observatory in Jaipur, made of marble. (873k)
Instruments Build Pairs Had
These instruments were build in pairs. One had marble with inscriptions of the astrological content where the other was open, and vice versa. (1026k)
Details Marble Bowls
Details on one of the marble bowls. (928k)
Details Marble Bowls
Details on one of the marble bowls. (716k)

Taj Mahal

Entrance Building Taj Mahal
Entrance building to the Taj Mahal. (910k)
Taj Mahal Entrance Hallway
The Taj Mahal through the entrance hallway. (695k)
Taj Mahal Morning Mist
The Taj Mahal in the morning mist. (857k)
Full View Taj Mahal
Full view of the Taj Mahal in the morning sun. (982k)
Taj Mahal Reflection
Taj Mahal with reflection. (992k)
Taj Mahal Closeup Reflection
Taj Mahal closeup with reflection. (925k)
Taj Mahal Framed Tree
The Taj Mahal, framed by a tree. (562k)
Taj Mahal Closeup Morning
Taj Mahal closeup in the morning sun. (1021k)
View Front Entrance Taj
View of the front entrance of the Taj Mahal. (1179k)
Inlaid Marble Door Taj
Inlaid marble door in the Taj Mahal. (1380k)
Closeup Taj Mahal Entrance
Closeup of the Taj Mahal entrance portal decorations. (1218k)
Detail Arch Over Taj
Detail of arch over Taj Mahal doorway and Koran inscriptions, inlaid with black stone in marble. (1061k)
Marble Work Inside Taj
Marble work inside the Taj Mahal. (1110k)
Marble Carvings Stone Inlays
Marble carvings and stone inlays inside the Taj Mahal. (1119k)
Sunrise Behind Taj Mahal
Sunrise behind the Taj Mahal. (679k)

Khajuraho Temple Complex

Temple Carved Stone Figures
Temple with carved stone figures in the Khajuraho temple complex. These temples date from around 1000 CE. (1111k)
Temple Khajuraho Temple Complex
Another temple in the Khajuraho temple complex. (1004k)
Temple Khajuraho Complex
Temple in the Khajuraho complex. (1088k)
Battle Elephants Stone Carvings
Battle elephants in stone carvings at the Khajuraho temple complex. (1123k)
Figure Demon
Figure of a demon. (1044k)
Figure Demon
Figure of a demon. (1137k)
Stone Figure Hindu God
Stone figure of Hindu God Shiva. (1076k)
Stone Figure Hindu God
Stone figure of Hindu God Ganesha. (1258k)
Stone Figure Goddess Kali
Stone figure of the Goddess Kali. (1010k)
Side View Temple Decorated
Side view of the temple decorated with stone figures. (1410k)
Carvings Khajuraho Temple Complex
Carvings in the Khajuraho temple complex. (1287k)
Frieze Stone Carved Erotic
Frieze with stone carved erotic figures on Khajuraho temple. (1163k)
Carved Erotic Figures
Carved erotic figures. (1219k)
Carved Erotic Figures
Carved erotic figures. (1108k)
Carved Erotic Figures
Carved erotic figures. (1095k)
Carved Erotic Figures
Carved erotic figures. (1074k)
Carved Erotic Figures
Carved erotic figures. (1135k)
Carved Erotic Figures
Carved erotic figures. (808k)

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