Tripadvisor, the world's largest travel site, has announced its list of the Top 25 Landmarks in the World for 2018. The results are based on ratings and reviews submitted by the website's readers. Not surprisingly, the Taj Mahal features on the list (at #6).
Five landmarks from India have also been included on Tripadvisor's List of Top 25 Landmarks in Asia (up from three last year). These are the Taj Mahal in Agra, Amber Fort in Jaipur, Golden Temple in Amritsar, Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi, and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi. Pleasingly, the Golden Temple in Amritsar is back on the list this year, plus another Sikh shrine (Gurudwara Bangla Sahib).
Tripadvisor has compiled a list of the Top 10 Landmarks in India for 2018 as well. As to be expected, it has many iconic monuments and temples. Agra Fort has moved up the list, while Gurudwara Bangla Sahib reappears after being dropped last year. Unfortunately for Mumbai, the Gateway of India and Siddhivinayak Temple have both fallen off the list this year, although the Bandra-Worli Sea Link continues to remain on there (albeit in a lower position).
Here are the 10 landmarks that made it onto the list.
- Taj Mahal, Agra -- India’s most recognized monument and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal looms fairytale-like from the banks of the Yamuna River and tops the itineraries of visitors to India. It's popularly visited on a day trip from Delhi or as part of the renowned Golden Triangle Tourist Circuit.
- Amber Fort and Palace, Jaipur -- Located on the outskirts of the "Pink City" of Jaipur, Amber Fort and Palace was the original home of Rajput royalty until Jaipur city was constructed. It's one of Jaipur's top attractions and contains a number of magnificent palaces, halls, gardens, and temples. Inside, the elaborate mirror work adds to the grandeur.
- Golden Temple, Amritsar -- The number of people who visit the Golden Temple rivals the Taj Mahal. This exquisite sacred Sikh shrine has a stunning, distinctive gold plated upper and dome. Amritsar, where the temple is located, is the spiritual capital of the Sikhs and gained its name, meaning "Holy Pool of Nectar", from the body of water around the temple.
- Swaminarayan Akshardham, Delhi -- A relatively new Hindu temple complex, opened in 2005, sprawling Swaminarayan Akshardham sits on the banks of the Yamuna River in east Delhi. It's one of Delhi's top attractions, and the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple. The temple is dedicated to Swaminarayan, founder of a modern sect of Hinduism known as Swaminarayan Hinduism (a form of Vaishnavism). It has a multitude of exhibitions and gardens that showcase India's culture, arts, architecture, and history.
- Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi -- A spectacular and serene white Sikh temple near Connaught Place associated with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan. It was originally a bungalow built in the 17th century by Raja Jai Singh of Amber (Jaipur).
- Agra Fort, Agra -- One of the finest Mughal forts in India, which the Red Fort in Delhi was modeled on. Agra Fort was originally a brick fort that was held by a clan of Rajputs. However, it was subsequently captured by the Mughals and rebuilt by Emperor Akbar, who decided to shift his capital there in 1558. It's not just a fort though. There are also sublime white marble palaces and other buildings inside. Another attraction is the evening sound and light show that recreates the fort's history.
- Meherangarh Fort, Jodhpur -- One of the top attractions in Jodhpur and the city's most famous landmark, the impregnable Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. This well preserved heritage structure rises powerfully above the city and offers panoramic views of Jodhpur's blue buildings. It houses a museum, restaurant, and many remnants of battle such as antique artillery.
- Qutab Minar, Delhi -- One of India's most popular historical monuments, Qutab Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world and an incredible example of early Indo–Islamic architecture. It was built in 1206, but the reason remains a mystery. Some believe that it was made to signify victory and the beginning of Muslim rule in India, while others say it was used to call the faithful to prayer. The tower has five distinct stories, and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the holy Quran.
- Humayun's Tomb, Delhi -- This tomb, built in 1570, was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal in Agra. It houses the body of second Mughal emperor, Humayun. What makes it particularly noteworthy is that it was the first of this type of Mughal architecture to be built in India. The tomb is set among extensive gardens.
- Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai -- This cable-stayed bridge (one that consists of one or more columns, with cables supporting the bridge deck) crosses the Arabian Sea, linking the Mumbai suburbs with south Mumbai. It apparently contains steel wire equivalent to the circumference of the earth. The bridge also weighs the same as 50,000 African elephants, and used 90,000 tonnes of cement -- enough to make five 10 storied buildings. It's considered to be an engineering marvel.