Visit India

To See what God in doing here in India.

Visit India

Sahara Inland Mission welcomes opportunities to host visitors who wish to see first-hand what God is doing here in our part of India and those who wish to volunteer by contributing through their direct ministry efforts.

We are very pleased that you are considering visiting India, a country that is mentioned in the Bible (Esther 1:1 & 8:9). India has only 2.5 percent of the total world area and nearly 16 percent of the world’s population. India entered the 21st century with a population of 1.2 billion and is an ancient civilization, with 83%Hindu, 11% Muslim, 3% Christian and 2% Sikh. Tradition has it that the Gospel was brought to India by St. Thomas around AD 52.

We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the adventure of experiencing the land, the people and the customs of our wonderful country for yourself.
Your trip may include many different parts of India as well as a visit to the main mission base at SIM, Umred, Nagpur.

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Taj Mahal, Agra

Explore the ultimate epitome of love, the Taj Mahal, whose grandeur remains unmatched in history and today this is one of the best weekend getaways from Delhi. This opulent white marble structure was commissioned to be built in 1632 by Shah Jahan for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took around 22 years to complete this magnificent structure that is considered one of the most famous historical places in India.

According to local legend, it was believed that Shah jahan cut off the hands of all the workers who built the Taj Mahal so that a similar monument could not be built.

Interesting fact: A shopping complex and hotel inspired by the Taj Mahal is being constructed in Dubai and is estimated to be four times larger in size.

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Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh

To get a sense of the rich history of the Mughal era, visit the walled palatial Agra Fort that is built entirely of red sandstone. Built in 1565 by Akbar, this historical tourist place in India has two ornately designed gates: the Amar Singh Gate and the Delhi Gate. You can only enter through the Amar Singh Gate to uncover an ancient city filled with gateways, courts, passages, palaces and mosques.

Interesting fact: This fort was included in one of Sherlock Holmes’ cases: the “Sign of the Four” and was also the location for the movie Jodha Akbar.

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Red Fort, Delhi

One of the historical tourist places in India, the Red Fort was constructed over ten years from 1638 to 1648. This fort was constructed when Shah Jahan shifted the capital from Agra to Delhi and it was then known as the Qila-e-Mubarak. This octagonal fort is one of the most famous historical places in north India and is also the site where the President gives his speech on Independence Day.

Interesting fact: The Red fort was actually white as it was made of limestone. The British painted it red when the limestone started chipping off.

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Qutub Minar, Delhi

Regarded as the site of the first Muslim kingdom in northern India, the Qutub Minar is definitely one of the most historical places in India. It is one of the finest examples of Indo-Muslim architecture with its intricate red sandstone storeys. These are dotted with carvings and verses from the Quran and are mostly in Arabic and Nagari.

Qutub Minar is one of the famous historical places in India and is said to have got its name from Qutb-ud-din Aibak who was the first Muslim ruler of North India. The first mosque in India Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid is also located at the foot of the Qutub Minar.

Interesting fact: The Qutub Minar complex has an iron pillar that has not rusted even after 2000 years.

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Fatehpuri Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

The royal city of Fatehpur Sikri was once the capital of the Mughal era during Akbar’s reign. This royal city is one of the historical tourist places in India and once had palaces, public buildings, mosques, quarters for the king, the army as well as the servants. Further, the well planned royal city with carved columns and decorated pillars was built between 1571-1573 AD and abandoned due to a shortage of water.

Interesting fact: Many barren women would come to the tomb of the Sufi saint Salim Chisti to pray for children.

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Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

The ‘Palace of Winds’ or Hawa Mahal gets its name due to the fact that it looks like a honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 intricate windows. It is also shaped like a crown as the ruler who built it, Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, was a major devotee of Lord Krishna. One of the popular tourist places in Jaipur, this palace is known as the tallest building in the world that doesn’t have any foundation. The palace is curved but still stands firm due to its pyramidal shape.

Interesting fact: It was believed that this building was created so that the royal ladies could look outside as they were constantly under ‘purdah’.

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Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho has always been thought of as the place that exemplifies sensuality and eroticism at its best. However this is a misrepresentation as only about 10 percent of the sculptures are sensual and the rest are common depictions. Countless sculptures depicting love, eternal grace, beauty, delicacy and the creative arts can be seen in one of the most historical places in India. A perfect amalgamation of Hinduism and Jainism, these temples have carvings of cult icons, demi gods and Apsaras.

Interesting fact: The city got its name as it was adorned with date palms and “Khajura’ means date palms in Hindi. It was also often called Khajjurpura in ancient times.

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Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

Unearth one of the most religious centers of Buddhism at the Sanchi Stupa that houses relics of the Buddha. This famous historical place in India was built by Lord Asoka in the 3rd century B.C for Emperor Asoka. The Dome of the Stupa signifies the wheel of law and this stupa is actually considered as a symbol of Buddha’s freedom the circle of life and death (Moksha). The four gateways of the Stupa have various scenes from the Jataka tales and stories of Buddha’s life.

Interesting fact: The relics of Buddha were painted with a Mauryan polish to make them glow like glass.

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Konark Temple, Odisha

Built by the great ruler of the Ganga dynasty – King Narasimhadeva I, along with 1200 artisans, the Konark Temple is magic set in stone. Located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, this temple signifies the exquisite detailing of ancient architecture and is one of the famous historical places in India. A particularly interesting feat is at the entrance of the temple where two lions are shown crushing elephants and a human body lies at the foot of the elephant.

Interesting fact: The 12 wheels at the base of the temple are sun dials that accurately denote time.

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Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

Visit the Mahabodhi temples that are one of the four holy grounds of Buddhism. This is the spot where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment while meditating under a fig tree. The Bodhi tree is the descendant of the Fig tree and lies just near the temple. The earliest temple was built by Asoka in the 3rd century BC. The temple has a massive statue of Buddha touching the earth with this right hand.

Interesting fact: The Bodhimanda is the spot under the Bodhi tree where the Buddha attained enlightenment. It is believed that this spot will be the last to disappear when the world ends and the first to reappear when the world is recreated.

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Rani ki Vav, Gujarat

You will feel like an ant climbing down an anthill when you explore the Rani ki Vav stepwell as it is a massive structure that is around 24 meters deep. One of the most unexplored historical places in India, this stepwell was built in the 11th century AD, as a memoriam for King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty by his wife Queen Udayamati. The lowest level of the stepwell was earlier used as a route to escape to neighbouring villages.

Interesting fact: The central level has the theme “Dasavatars” which means 10 incarnations of Vishnu, and that when you approach the water level there will be a sculpture of Vishnu reclining on a thousand snake heads.

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Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is one of the most historical tourist places in India and was built during the peak of the British era in India. The then Viceroy Lord Curzon laid down the idea of this monument but its actual design was done by Sir William Emerson.

Multitudes of lush gardens, a museum filled with British memorabilia including weapons, paintings, sculptors, artifacts etc and royal portrait of the Queen are what you will find in this beautiful monument. One of the best paintings you will find here is the one by Russian artist Vasili Verestchagin. This painting depicts the Prince of Wales in Jaipur in 1876.

Interesting fact: There are two sets of mysterious inscriptions on the monument. One is “VRI” which means Victoria Regina Imperatrix and the other is “Dieu Et Mon Droit”. The first means Victoria Queen and Empress and the latter means “God and my right”.

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Gateway of India, Mumbai

Built as an access point for the entry and exit during the British period, the Gateway of India is one of the best historical places in India. This ancient gateway was completed in 1924 and was inaugurated by The Viceroy, the Earl of Reading. It has been reinforced over time using yellow basalt and concrete and has delicate latticework all over the turrets. The statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Swami Vivekananda were also installed at the Gateway later on.

Interesting fact: The last of the British ships set sail for England from the Gateway of India in the 20th century.

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Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

The Ajanta and Ellora caves depict true craftsmanship skills where each rock carving was done by hand. When British officer John Smith set out to chase a tiger in 1819, he would never have thought that he would uncover the majestic Ajanta caves. These 29 caves are full of sculptures and paintings that epitomise Buddha and various Jataka tales.

Blending three different religions: Buddhism, Jainism and Brahmanism, the 34 caves at Ellora have been carved on the walls of a basaltic hill. There are 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves. Most of these caves are monasteries that were used for praying and studying.

Interesting fact: It is believed that the Buddhist monks were not allowed to go out during the monsoons and would sit and carve sculptures in the Ajanta caves.

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Charminar, Hyderabad

It was believed that Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah built the Charminar in 1591 to honor Allah. However in reality this historical tourist place in India was built to signify the end of plague in the city. Legend has it that there is a secret tunnel from the monument to Golconda fort but it hasn’t been discovered till date. Each minaret of this monument has four stories and every arch has one clock.

Interesting fact: There is a cat’s head in one of the arches in order to ward off rats that once almost destroyed Hyderabad.

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Mysore Palace, Karnataka

Once the royal abode of a number of rulers, the Mysore Palace is now a museum that has all the royal pictures, clothing and artefacts of the Wodeyar dynasty. This palace is one of the most historical places in India and is frequently visited by several tourists. The palace was built and refined by several emperors throughout the years and is thus an amalgamation of Hindu, Rajput, and Mughal styles making it one of the heritage destinations in India. Glazed tiles, chandeliers, and iron pillars adorn the pavilion inside the temple that is used to host royal weddings.

Interesting fact: The Maharajas used to earlier sit on a Golden palanquin that was then carried by elephants during the Dasara festival. Goddess Durga’s idol is now placed inside the palanquin.

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Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi’s rocky outcrops, chariot structures, gopurams, elephant stables, ornate halls – all depict the tale of one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms. It is believed that Lord Rama and his brother visited this historical place to search for Sita. They took the help of the two brothers Bali and Sugriv who ruled this region then. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most famous historical places in South India and was also the region where Vijayanagara’s main coin mint was situated.

Interesting fact: The first instance of human settlement recorded here dates all the way back to 1 CE.

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Chola temples, Tamil Nadu

Get set to undertake an adventurous journey back in time by visiting the trio of three great Chola temples: Brihadeshwara Temple at Tanjore, Airavateshwara Temple in Darasuram, and Brihadeeshwara Temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram. The three temples were built by the kings of Chola dynasty which was one of the greatest kingdoms of South India. The ones at Tanjore and Cholapuram were built in the 11th century while the one at Darasuram was built in the 12th century.

Interesting fact: Raja Raja Cholan was inspired to build the Brihadeshwara Temple at Tanjore due to a dream he had while visiting Sri Lanka.

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Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Dravidian-style temples dotted with innumerable sculptures are the major attractions of Mahabalipuram. The stone carvings display Pallava art and took over 200 years to create making this one of the most ancient historical places in India.

11 temples called Mandapas lie on both sides of the hills at Mahabalipuram and these have both Dravidian style architecture as well as several Buddhist elements. The Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance and the Cave temples are some of the most popular tourist attractions of this region.
Interesting fact: The “Descent of the Ganges” that has been carved from pink granite and displays how Lord Shiva made the water of the Ganges descend from the heavens onto the earth.