A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. This means, these World Heritage Sites in India are considered to be of immense cultural and natural importance in the world.
The following are the 36 World Heritage Sites in India –
Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
Kangchendzonga National Park includes the Kanchenjunga Peak, which is the 3rd highest peak in the world. The national park is famous for its fauna and flora, with snow leopard being occasionally sighted. There are few trekking routes in this national park as well for the trekking enthusiasts.
Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
One of Seven Wonders of the World, White Marble Mughal Architecture, the Taj Mahal was build by emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal.It is considered as the best example of Mughal architecture worldwide and is called the “Jewel of Muslim Art in India”.
Capitol Complex, Chandigarh
The architectural work of Le Corbusier across many countries, including the Capital Complex of Chandigarh was recognized as a World Heritage Site as part of outstanding contribution to Modern Movement. This was part of Le Corbusier’s work, which he did in 17 countries in the first half of 20th century.
Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University), Bihar
Nalanda Archaeological Site in Bihar was a center of learning and a buddhist monastery from 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. Nalanda vouched for evolution of buddhism as a religion and remained an abode of knowledge for 800 years.
Rani Ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat
Owing to its architectural marvel and splendour, Rani-ki-vav is well known for its Stepped Corridors, Sculptures and Stone Carvings in the Well. Most of the sculptures in the well are devoted to Lord Vishnu in the form of his 10 avatars, which signify his return to the world. It is designed as an inverted temple and is divided into seven levels of wells each having its own importance as per the religious and mythological works mentioned in canonical literature.
Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
These caves are famous for their rock-cut sculptures and carvings depicting Shiva as the Creator and the Destroyer of the Universe.
Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
The Ellora Caves are well known for their Indian-rock cut architecture. There are about 34 rock cut temples and caves which can be dated to about 600 to 1000 AD
Hill Forts of Rajasthan- Ranthambore, Amber Sub-Cluster, Jaisalmer, Gagron
The majestic forts of Rajasthan recently got recognition as World Heritage Site.They’re located on the rocky Aravalli Mountain Range in Rajasthan. The sheer length and expanse of the forts is enough to portray the power and strength of the Rajputana rulers and chieftains. The fortifications of these forts are extremely strong.
Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho is unique heritage site which is famous for a group of Hindu and Jain Temples situated 175 km south east of Jhansi. They are well known for their Nagara style symbolism and erotic figures and sculptures.
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka
Pattadakal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important tourist site located in Karnataka. It is famous for its Chalukya style of architecture that originated in Aihole and blended with the Nagara and Dravidian styles of architecture.
Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
One of the first World Heritage sites in India, the Ajanta caves date back to around 2nd century BCE to 650 CE and consist of the finest masterpieces of 31 rock cut Buddhist cave monuments, paintings and sculpture.
Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi
It’s a tomb complex consisting of several smaller monuments including the tombs of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty
Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam
Kaziranga contains about 15 endangered Indian faunal species, of which the Rhino is the most endangered. Other mammals include capped langur, hoolock gibbon, tiger, leopard, sloth bear, Ganges dolphin, otter, wild boar, water buffalo, gaur, sambar, swamp deer, hog deer and Indian muntjac.
Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka
The ruins at Hampi are a collection of heritage sites depicting the fine Dravidian style of art and Architecture. The most important heritage monument in this site is the Virupaksha Temple, which continues to be a very important religious centre for the Hindus.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan
It is a collection of 19 astronomical instruments including world’s largest stone Sundial. All these instruments are man-made.
Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
Spread over an area of 754.4 square kilometers, the Great Himalayan National Park is one of India’s National Parks located in the Kullu region of Northern Himachal Pradesh. The park includes the upper mountain snow melt and glacial water melt origins of several rivers
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar
Bodh Gaya is considered to be the most holy pilgrimage spot for the Buddhists, as this was the place where Mahatma Buddha attained enlightenment. The holy Bodhi Tree is the site where Siddhartha gained Enlightenment and became Gautam Buddha.
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
The Buddhist Monuments located at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh are a World Heritage Site in India and they are the oldest stone structures in India.
Red Fort Complex, Delhi
Under Shah Jahan, Mughal art and architecture reached it’s zenith, and the Red Fort is the perfect example of that. One can see the blending of Indo-Islamic, Timurid, Hindu and Persian forms of architecture in several facets of the Red Fort.
Manas Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam
Manas Wildife Sanctuary is a protected wildlife reserve and one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. It’s located in the North Eastern Indian state of Assam.
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), Maharashtra
Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as the Victoria Terminus is the headquarters of Central Railway in Mumbai. It was built by Frederick William Stevens with the inspiration from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and traditional Mughal buildings between the years 1878-1888, and gave Bombay the face of being the International Mercantile Port of India.
Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh
The Agra Fort includes a number of monuments like Khas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Muhamman Burie(an octagonal Tower), Diwan-e-Khas, Diwan-e-Am, Moti Masjid and Nagina Masjid.
Historic city of Ahmedabad
The first city of India to enter the list, Ahmedabad was declared as the World Heritage City on July 8, 2017. The city of Ahmedabad has close to 25 ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) protected structures
Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu
(Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur, Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikondacholisvaram and Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram.)
These temples stand testimony to the architectural splendour and beauty of Chola art, architecture and sculpture. These temples are living temples and the rituals and festivities which were observed by people thousands of years ago, are still held.
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2003, the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka is the place were the earliest traces of human life on Indian subcontinent was discovered.
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
These temples were built under the reign of the Pallava rulers and the striking feature of these temples is the fact that they are all carved out of rock and an important in terms of ratha architecture in India.
Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
The the name of the city itself denotes the victory (Fateh) of Akhbar over Chittor and Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri constitutes of four main Monuments – the Jama Masjid, the Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Diwan-e-khas
Churches and Convents of Goa
The 15th and 16th centuries mark the coming of the Portugese to India along the Konkan coast in the South-western part of India.Portugese marked the introduction of Christianity in the Indian subcontinent and due to their different, yet beautiful architectural forms, these churches have been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
Also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keladeo National Park is located in the Indian state of Rajasthan. A home to about 366 different species of birds, it’s also known for being the wintering and nesting ground for several non-indigenous, migratory birds.
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand
The Nanda Devi is the highest mountain peak of Uttarakhand and the highest mountain peak of India also because the Kanchenjunga is known to share its border with Nepal.The Valley of Flowers is a National Park near Nanda Devi peak which stretches upto 8 kilometers in length and 2 kilometers in width. It is famous for the astonishing variety of flowers which covers the entire valley like a bed sheet.
Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal
Famous for the Royal Bengal Tigers, the Sunderban National Park is a known Tiger reserve and a Biosphere reserve located in the Indian State of West Bengal
Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
The Sun temple is in the shape of a gigantic chariot with carved stone wheel, pillars and walls and is led by 6 enormously carved horses. It’s also considered to be one of the largest brahmin sanctuaries in India.
The hills cover 160000 square kilometer area with a length of 1600 kilometer, width of 100 kilometer and a heights of 1200 meters. It has an extremely high bio-diversity and ranks among the top 8 in World’s Biological Hot Spot Locations
Mountain Railways of India
The mountain railways of India comprise of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Railway and are a part of the World Heritage Sites in India.
Qutab Minar and its Monuments, New Delhi
One of the most popular World Heritage Sites in India, the Qutub Minar was built in 1193 by the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, Qutub-ud-din Aibak of the Mamluk Dynasty, after defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu Kingdom.
To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance . It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet. The above definitely prove to belong to the list!