Exploring India's famed cultural and historic sites

With a rich culture, history and incredible cuisine, India is a must-see destination for travelers. In 2014, the United Nations World Tourism Organization estimates that 7.7 million tourists visited the country. Have a look at these breath-taking photos of some of the many famed cultural attractions India has to offer.

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    The legendary Taj Mahal

    The Taj Mahal holds the tomb of Emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite and third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It sits on a marble platform in front of ornamental gardens. Four 40 meter high white minarets stand on each corner of the platform. Three million people visit the Taj Mahal each year.
    Patrick Manning
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    The Red Fort

    The Red Fort in Delhi served as the home to the Mughal emperor for 200 years. It was constructed in 1654 and designed by the same architect of the Taj Mahal. The palatial fortress was originally built when the capital of India moved from Agra to Delhi. Today, Delhi and its surrounding metro area is home to 25 million residents. 
    Patrick Manning
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    View of the Taj Mahal from Agra

    Emperor Shah Jahan constructed the Taj Mahal for his deceased third wife. However, he was imprisoned by his own son, Aurangzeb, in the Fort. He had a view of the Taj Mahal as it was being built.
    Patrick Manning
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    The Ganges River in Varanasi, India

     Measuring over 1,500 miles, this famous river is the longest in India. It flows through the countries of India and Bangladesh then empties into the Bay of Bengal. Hindus believe it to be a holy river and the water to be purifying. They come here to bathe and honor their dead relatives in the water.  Bodies of the dead are cremated on the shore and ashes are spread across the water.
    Patrick Manning
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    A famed pilgrimage site for followers of Hindi, Buddhism, and Jainism around the world, this is where Buddha came after his enlightenment and taught the Dharma.
    Patrick Manning
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    Sarnath Deer Park

    This is a famous destination for followers of Hindi, Buddhism, and Jainism. 
    Patrick Manning
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    The Agra Fort in Agra

    The history of the City of Agra dates back 2,500 years.The incredible structure contains two mosques and audience halls. Construction was started in 1565 by the third Mughal emperor Akbar. It served as a royal residence and military strategic point. 
    Patrick Manning
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    Nainital, India

    Nainital is a popular Himalayan resort town situated 6,000 feet above sea level. The lake, formed in a volcanic crater, is two miles in circumference. There are several hotels are situated along the hillside and the town hosts a bustling bazaar that is a popular destination for tourists. Many visitors go paddle boating during the day in the lake.
    Patrick Manning
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    Inside the Red Fort

    The British East India Company defeated the Maratha Empire (India) here in 1803.
    Patrick Manning
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    An Indian tuk-tuk

    Transportation around in Indian cities is frequently done by way of tuk-tuk.
    Patrick Manning
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    The National Gandhi Museum

    Gandhi Smriti-- or the National Gandhi Museum in Delhi-- tells the life story of Mahatma Gandhi, the famed leader of the India Independence Movement through authentic relics and pictures.
    Patrick Manning
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    Ghandi's Bedroom

    Gandhi lived here the final 144 days of his life. This is his bedroom where he lived simply with few belongings.
    Patrick Manning
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    The Gandhi Assassination

    The location behind Gandhi Smriti where the peaceful leader was assassinated on January 30, 1948. He was killed by Nathuram Godse, a militant Hindu nationalist.
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    The Raj Ghat

    The memorial for Gandhi in Old Delhi. Guests must remove their footwear before entering the sacred Raj Ghat walls. An eternal flame rests on a black marble pillar that is adorned with fresh flowers. 
    Patrick Manning
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