When I imagine India I mainly think of colour, busy streets and a constant stream of life. But I also think of beautiful buildings; grand and elaborate architecture with incredible history. Here are some of our favourites...
The Golden Temple (Harimandir Sahib), Amritsar
Nestling on a bed of holy Sikh water, this giant honeycomb of a building radiates something so mystical and atmospheric... I challenge any visitor to not be completely mesmerised upon first sight.
The Golden Temple is a sacred place of pilgrimage for Sikh followers and the pinnacle sight of smoggy Amritsar. Literally thousands of pilgrims, visitors and locals roam through the temple grounds every day, each person on their own special voyage. To give an idea of the size of it all, the dining hall feeds around 80,000 people every day, all year round!
Aside from the glowing building itself, we were most humbled by the incredible hospitality and kindness of the Sikh community during our stay here. They offer free accommodation in a private tourist dorm, whilst the food hall churns out free food and chai 24 hours a day to people from all backgrounds/religions!
The Taj Mahal, Agra
Because this list wouldn't be complete without the Taj Mahal, right? A must see sight for any visitor to India, the Taj stands tall with pride as one of India's most iconic buildings.
Commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal tells a tangled tale of romance, death and pure luxury through its incredible architecture. We visited the Taj at sunrise, which we thoroughly recommend to beat the crowds and midday sun.
Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai
Amongst the busy chaos of Madurai's streets, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is the star of the city. Formed of multiple towers encased in a pedestrian-only square, the towers are enchantingly colourful and intricately carved.
Relaxing in the temple grounds is the perfect break from pacing through the hot city. We'd recommend heading to one of the city's many rooftop restaurants for a sunset view of the temples in the skyline.
Hawa Mahal/Amber Fort, Japiur
Rajasthan has an almost mystic feeling about it, and Jaipur's beautifully worn buildings, manic traffic and mind-blowing fort all make for a memorable few days of sightseeing.
Images of the Hawa Mahal are constantly cropping up on my Pinterest feed, but to see this building in real life was (as always) a million times better. The whole palace made me think of juicy-pink grapefruits, while the pocket sized windows lead out to incredible views of the old city.
Our favourite part of Jaipur has to be the Amber Fort. The sheer size of this whole landmark is just unbelievable to see. With hugely extravagant rooms adorned with mirrored tiles and mosaics, it's hard to imagine this place as anything other than a fictional setting.
We were slightly underwhelmed by Mysore as a whole, but the city's palace is one of the most extravagant buildings we've ever set eyes on. Think amazing tiles, turquoise mosaics and a lot of gold, and you end up with this luxurious building once home to royalty.
Each Sunday the Palace lights up for an evening show, which although bordering on tacky, we'd recommend it for something a bit different!
Which monuments are on your bucket list?