The Golden Gallery of India

Photo: Women holding candles in front of a lit palace

Two women in Jaipur hold candles to celebrate Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. Observed over five days throughout India, it marks, among other things, the start of the new business year and the victory of light over dark.


A man steps through a doorway at the Varadarajaswamy Temple in Kanchipuram, “city of a thousand temples.” Kanchipuram is also known for silk saris—a thriving business here.

The Mogul emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in Agra as a tribute to his favorite wife, who died in childbirth in 1630. The white marble monument, with its sprawling gardens, took 20 years to build. A red sandstone mosque stands on one side.

Decorated elephants carry tourists past the Jaigarh and Amber Forts in Jaipur, Rajasthan, constructed beginning in the 15th century. The marble-and-sandstone Amber Fort has intricate carvings; the immense Jaigarh Fort once served as a center of artillery production.

Hindu pilgrims bathe in the Ganges hoping to wash away their sins. Every 12 years millions take part in the 45-day Kumbh Mela, or Grand Pitcher Festival, which includes ritual bathing in this and other rivers.

The Ladakh region, culturally Tibetan, is home to Buddhist temples andgompas, or monasteries, including Lamayuru. This arid Himalaya land was closed to visitors until the 1970s, and it remains sparsely populated.

Two men wrestle during a festival in Himachal Pradesh, which means “region of snowy mountains.” This resort area in the foothills of the Himalaya is an Indian favorite.

During the ten-day Ganesh festival in Mumbai, devotees carry a statue of the elephant-headed Hindu god into the sea. Across India, worshippers carry hundreds of the statues into rivers and lakes as well as the sea.

Tourists flock to Agra to see the world-famous Taj Mahal, only to realize that the area is home to many other astonishing buildings, among them the 16th-century Red Fort, which once surrounded a Mogul imperial city.


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