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17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

India has about 37 UNESCO Heritage Sites

Photo Credit: Muthu Kumar

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. There are 37 World Heritage Sites in India (29 Cultural sites, 7 Natural sites, and 1 Mixed site).

Here are the 17 must-visit sites in India:

17. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), Mumbai

Photo Credit: wildlifeweeks

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, is a historic railway station and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. The station was designed by Frederick William Stevens according to the concept of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and meant to be a similar revival of Indian Goth (classical era) architecture. The station was built in 1887 in the Bori Bunder area of Mumbai to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

16. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Photo Credit: makarand_c.bing

Built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. The town is said to have gained prominence under the rule of Mamalla. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast. The temple town has approximately forty monuments, including the largest open-air bas-relief in the world.

15. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka described in the UNESCO Inscription as “the site complex … a magnificent repository of rock paintings within natural rock shelters” is located in the foothills of the Vindhya range of hills in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is spread in sandstone formations extending over an area of 1893 ha with a buffer zone 10,280 hectares (25,400 acres).

14. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Photo Credit: aloshbennett

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks are nestled high in West Himalaya. Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. It is located in the Garhwal Himalaya of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear, and blue sheep. The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park.

13. Churches and Convents of Goa

Photo Credit: Pankaj Kaushal

Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments inscribed by UNESCO under the World Heritage List in 1986 as cultural property, under criteria, and, which were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments are mainly in the former capital of Velha Goa. Velha Goa is also known Goem, Pornem Gõy, Adlem Gõi, Old Goa or Saibachem Gõi, where Saib or Goencho Saib refers to Saint Francis Xavier.

12. Sun Temple, Konarak

Photo Credit: yameza

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple, at Konark, in Orissa. Located on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal in the Mahanadi Delta, it is built in the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god with 24 wheels, and is heavily decorated with symbolic stone carvings and led by a team of six horses.

11. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Photo Credit: Paul Mannix

Khajuraho Group of Monuments attributed to the Chandela dynasty which, under the sovereignty of Gurjar Pratihars reached its glory between 950 AD and 1050 AD. The ensemble of monuments that have survived belong to the Hindu and Jain Religious practices with a striking fusion of sculpture and architecture; the best example of this outstanding feature is seen in the Kandariya Temple.

10. Qutub Minar, Delhi

Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar and its Monuments, Delhi, located to the south of Delhi, is a complex with the Qutub Minar as the centerpiece, which is a red sandstone tower of 72.5 metres (238 ft) height with a base of 14.32 metres (47.0 ft) reducing to 2.75 metres (9.0 ft) diameter at the top.

9. Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra

Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometers to the east of the city of Mumbai. The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves — the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves.

8. Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam

Photo Credit: Muthu Kumar

Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, located in the Northeastern state of Assam in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River. The park, which covers an area of 106,250 acres, has the distinction of being home to the world’s largest population of the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros. There are many other mammals and birds species in the sanctuary.

7. Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Photo Credit: Abhijat Shrivastava

Ajanta Caves listed under UNESCO World Heritage as a cultural heritage site, are Buddhist caves that were built in two phases, the first phase was from 2nd century BC.

6. Red Fort Complex, Delhi

Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis

Red Fort Complex, also known as Lal Qila is a palace fort built in the 17th century by Shahjahan (1628–58), the fifth Mughal Emperor as part of his new capital city of Shahjahanabad. located to the north of Delhi. It represents the glory of the Mughal rule and is considered the Highpoint of Mughal architectural, artistic aesthetic creativity. The architectural design of the structures built within the fort represents a blend of Persian, Timuri and Indian architectural styles; Isfahan, the Persian Capital is said to have provided the inspiration to build the Red Fort Complex.

5. Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi

Hampi is an ancient village in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It’s dotted with numerous ruined temple complexes from the Vijayanagara Empire. On the south bank of the River Tungabhadra is the 7th-century Hindu Virupaksha Temple, near the revived Hampi Bazaar. A carved stone chariot stands in front of the huge Vittala Temple site. Southeast of Hampi, Daroji Bear Sanctuary is home to the Indian sloth bear.

4. Mountain Railways of India

Photo Credit: Krishna G S / Flickr

The Mountain Railways of India represents a collective listing of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Railway under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the Mountain Railways of India are five railway lines built in the mountains of India in the 19th and early 20th centuries, during the British Raj, which are run even today by the Indian Railways.

3. Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

Photo Credit: Sarah Welch

Ellora Caves also known as Ellora Complex are a cultural mix of religious arts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. These are 34 monasteries and temples sculpted contiguously into rock walls of a high basalt cliff, which are seen along a length of 2 kilometres (1.2 mi). Dated to 600 to 1000 AD, they are a reflection of artistic creation of the ancient civilization of India.

2. Hill Forts, Rajasthan

Hill Forts

Hill Forts of Rajasthan, are a series of sites located on rocky outcrops of the Aravallis mountain range in Rajasthan. They represent a typology of Rajput military hill architecture, a style characterized by its mountain peak settings, utilizing the defensive properties of the terrain. These hill forts in Rajasthan represent Rajput military strongholds across a vast range of geographical and cultural zones. It represents a number of hill forts and is said to express the development of Rajput defensive architecture. examples of Rajput military architecture. Rajput forts are well known for their defensive architecture. They enclose large territories and even complete villages in walled compounds. The property consists of Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort, Jaisalmer Fort. Due to the variety of built structures in each hill fort, only the most significant elements of each complex are described.

1. Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is a mausoleum – a funerary mosque. It was built by Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his third wife Begum Mumtaz Mahal who had died in 1631.

Do let us now the UNESCO sites you have visited in the comments below.

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Written by Harsha MV

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia.

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