Monuments in East India

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East India has some impressive monuments.
East India has some impressive monuments. (Image: Wall of Gateway of India image by Sujit Mahapatra from Fotolia.com)

The states of Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa make up a large portion of India's Eastern Region. Home to Kolkota, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and Nalanda University, one of the oldest universities in history, East India is a thriving cultural and commercial center. As an emerging prime tourist spot, East India has several important monuments erected by ancient kingdoms to celebrate historical battles and to show their reverence for the Buddhist religion.

Shaheed Minar in Kolkata, West Bengal

Literally known as the Tower of Martyrs, the Shaheed Minar commemorates Sir David Ochterlony's victory of the Nepal War in 1814 to 1816. The Egyptian style monument stands 158 feet high with two balconies at the top that can be accessed through its spiral staircase in the two lower levels. In 1969, Shaheed Minar officially became a symbol for soldiers who fought for India's freedom. The tradition of gathering at the monument to hold meetings, rallies and convocations started in 1931 when Rabindranath Tagore used the venue to hold a rally denouncing the killing of a young man by the British Government of India. Since then, the structure became one of the main venues for political activities in Kolkata. Even with its turbulent history, the Shaheed Minar still is considered one of the best architectures in West Bengal and offers tourists a breathtaking view of the city of Kolkata.

Kesaria Buddhist Stupa in Bihar

Buddhism started in Bihar and modern pilgrims visit the city each year to pay homage to various temples, including the Kesaria Stupa, one of the earliest structures dedicated to Buddha. The Kesaria Stupa was excavated in 1998 and archeologists believe it was built between 200 and 750 AD. The stupa held various relics and statues of the Buddha in various positions. Considered largest in the world, the stupa towers at a height of 104 feet and boasts a circumference of 1400 feet. The monument was originally 150 feet high when the Lichhivis people built it, but the structure was reduced to its current height after a strong earthquake hit India in 1934. The Lichivis have strong ties with Buddha and many believe that he stayed in the Kesaria Stupa before achieving Nirvana.

Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa

Considered as one of the worlds best architectural structures, the massive Konark Temple is one of the earliest temples for sun worship. Every year Indian devotees travel to this site to celebrate the Chandrabhaga Festival. Dedicated to the Sun God, the monument was built to look like a horse-drawn chariot used by the deity while traveling the heavens. Konark King Narasimhadev built the structure around 1238 to 1264 AD to landmark his triumph over the Muslims. Legend has it that a huge lodestone on top of temples dome disrupted compasses and this leds to the sinking of nearby ships. UNESCO currently declared The Konark Temple as a World Heritage Site due to the intricate designs, sculptors and engravings throughout the structure.

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