World Heritage Sites in India

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) identifies World Heritage Sites as places that belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory. There are 32 World Heritage Sites in India that are recognized by the UNESCO as of 2014.

Agra Fort and Ajanta caves are first two sites that were acknowledged as the heritage sites in 1983. Since then, over 30 new places have been added to the list. The latest entry is the Great Himalayan National Park which was added in 2014.

Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam

Region: Assam, India  |  Period: 20th century

Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam

Spread over an area of about 430-sq-kms, Kaziranga National Park is located on the banks of Brahmaputra River in Assam state of India. It was included in the World Heritage Site List in 1985 for its unique natural environment. Famous for its one horn rhinoceroses, Kaziranga Wildlife sanctuary is a home for many rare and exotic species like wild water buffalo, swamp deer, elephants and Tigers supports the growth and survival of a unique and diverse wildlife.

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Manas Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam

Region: Assam, India  |  Period: 20th century

Manas Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam

In 1985, the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary was inscribed as World Heritage Site for its unique natural environment. It covers an area of 50,000 hectares in the plains of the Manas River’s in the foot hills of the Himalayas on the border with Bhutan. The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a Tiger, Elephant and Biosphere Reserve and a home for number of endangered species like Hispid Hare, Assam Roofed Turtle, Pygmy Hog and Golden Langur.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Region: Bihar, India  |  Period: 3rd century BC, 5th and 6th century AD and 19th century

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar

In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous as it is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala) under what became known as the Bodhi Tree. The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Bodh Gaya is located almost 96 kilometer away from Patna, Bihar.

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Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Region: Delhi, India  |  Period: 1570

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Located on the banks of the River Yamuna this structure was declared a UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1993 for its cultural importance. Humayun Tomb was built to remember the emperor Humayun by his wife Bega Begum (Haji Begum) in 1569-70. The monument displays the inspiration of Persian architecture. Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian, was the architect employed by Haji Begam for this tomb. The building is constructed from red sandstone, while the tomb itself is made of yellow and black marble. The world famous Taj Mahal bears resemblance to this monument constructed during early Mughal rule in India.

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Qutub Minar and its Monuments, Delhi

Region: Delhi, India  |  Period: Late 12th century

Qutub Minar and its Monuments, Delhi

Qutub Minar in Delhi was inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List for its unique representation of the Islamic architectural and artistic excellence. The tall minaret was constructed in 1192 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak, and later completed by his successor Iltutmish. Each of the 5 storeys and tower of Qutub Minar has unique designs. Qutab Minar is among the tallest and famous towers in the world and It is made from red standstone and marbles. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. It's Height is 72.5 meteres or 237.8 feet.

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Red Fort(Lal Qila) Complex

Region: Delhi, India  |  Period: 1648

Red Fort Complex

Fort was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. It took around 9 years to complete this magnificent structure. It was refined with a fusion of Islamic, Persian and Hindu influences during the time of Shah Jehan. A massive red stone wall was built around the fort to protect it from the invaders. The interior of it consisted the court rooms, Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Aam, several other essential private structures, and also the Moti Masjid. It gained recognition in 2007 as a part of the list of World Heritage Site.

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Churches and Convents of Goa

Region: Velha Goa (Old Goa), Goa, India  |  Period: 16th and 18th centuries

Churches and Convents of Goa

Goa Churches and convents are monuments inscribed by UNESCO under the World Heritage List in 1986 as cultural property, which were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between 16th and 18th centuries. The groups of monuments include Basilica of Bom Jesus, Chapel of St Catherine, Church of Lady of Rosary, Church and Convent of St Francis of Assisi, St. Cajetan, Se Cathedral and Church of St. Augustine.

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat

Region: Gujarat, India  |  Period: Prehistoric and 8th to 14th centuries

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat

It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 for its cultural significance. The Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park is set of monuments consisting palaces, temples, residential complexes, agricultural structures and water installations such as stepwells and tanks, mosques and tombs all belonging to 16th century.

Group of Monuments at Hampi

Region: Ballari district, Karnataka, India  |  Period: 14th and 16th centuries

Group of Monuments at Hampi

Hampi is located in Karnataka state of India. It's about 350 kilometers north of Bangalore, the state capital. Monuments of Hampi are a collection of heritage sites includes group of temples, places and other monuments on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka. It was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as the cultural heritage site.

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Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

Region: Bagalkot District, Karnataka, India  |  Period: 8th century

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

Pattadakal is considered a Hindu holy city. The city houses a series of eight Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Siva which were built for the royal worshipping purpose of Chalukya Dynasty, a ninth shaivite sanctuary called the Papanatha Temple, and a Jaina Temple. It was included in the list as a heritage site in 1987.

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Region: Madhya Pradesh, India  |  Period: 2nd and 1st centuries BC to the 12th century AD

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

The group of Buddhist monuments are the oldest stone structures in India, originally commissioned by emperor Ashoka dated between 200 BC and 100 BC. It was erected for paying homage to Lord Buddha. It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on January 24, 1989 for its unique cultural importance.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh

Region: Madhya Pradesh, India  |  Period: 300,000 years

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh

The rock shelters, discovered in 1957, comprise a group of “five clusters of rock shelters”. The shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003 as a unique cultural property.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

Region: Madhya Pradesh, India  |  Period: 950 AD to 1050 AD

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments located in Chhatarpur District of Madhya Pradesh. These groups of monuments are the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples which are well known for their Erotic Architecture defining Kama Sutra Inscriptions all around the world. It was built during the rule of Chandela Dynasty which was at its height during the time span of 950 to 1050. It was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, a cultural property on October 15, 1982 for its unique artistic creation.

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Ajanta Caves

Region: Maharashtra, India  |  Period: 2nd century BC to 6th century

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves are a series of 29 Buddhist cave temples in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India some of which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. Ajanta Caves listed under UNESCO World Heritage as a cultural heritage site in 1983.

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Ellora Caves

Region: Maharashtra, India  |  Period: 600 to 1000 AD

Ellora Caves

Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. These caves were built during the 5th-7th century. There are 34 caves in all: 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu cavesand 5 Jain caves. This cultural property has been inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.

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Elephanta Caves

Region: Maharashtra, India  |  Period: 5th to 8th centuries

Elephanta Caves

The caves lies 10 kilometers east to the city of Mumbai. The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island. These rock cut temples dedicated to Shiva Mahadeva are rich in sculptural content. These caves house rock cut temples dating back to the 5th century CE. It was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus)

Region: Maharashtra, India  |  Period: 1887–1888

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is a historic railway station and the headquarters of Central Railway in Mumbai. Designed by the British architect F.W. Stevens. It took ten years to complete and was named "Victoria Terminus" in honour of the Queen and Empress Victoria. It was built in 1888. In 2004 it was declared a World Heritage Site.

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Sun Temple, Konarak, Odisha

Region: Puri District, Orissa, India  |  Period: 13th-century

Sun Temple, Konarak, Odisha

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century Hindu temple dedicated to the sun God. The Sun temple is in the shape of a gigantic chariot with carved stone wheel, pillars and walls. It is located in the village of Konark, which is about 35 km north of Puri on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The temple was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

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Keoladeo National Park

Region: Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India  |  Period: 1981

Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park is formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. The Sanctuary is one of the richest bird areas in the world. Every year thousands of migratory visit the park for wintering breeding. This man made wetland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has well maintained. It was declared a national park in 1982 and was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The best time to visit this place is from November to February when birds from all around the world came here for their winter vacations.

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Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Region: Jaipur, Rajasthan, India  |  Period: 1727 and 1734

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Jantar Mantar of Jaipur in Rajasthan was built in 1734 and was one of the most precise astronomical instruments of its time. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh and is located close to the gate of the famous City Palace of Jaipur. It has been inscribed as cultural property on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004.

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Great Living Chola Temples

Region:Tamil Nadu, India  |  Period: 11th and 12th century

Great Living Chola Temples

The Chola temple architecture reflects the glory, prosperity and stability under the Chola emperors. These temples were built in Southern Part of India during the rule of Chola empire. The site comprises three temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva includes the Brihadisvara Temple, the Brihadisvara Temple and the Airavatesvara Temple. Temples, dated back to 11th and 12th centuries, were inscribed in 2004 as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Region: Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India  |  Period: 7th and 8th centuries

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

The temple town has approximately forty world famous monuments including the largest open-air bas-relief. Four of these monuments including structural temples, chariot temples, cave temples with bas reliefs and the rock reliefs of the area were inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1984 as a cultural heritage.

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Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh

Region: Uttar Pradesh, India  |  Period: 16th century

Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh

Agra Fort is also known as the Red Fort of Agra. It is very close to the famous Taj Mahal. It consists of a wall built in red sandstone and several buildings inside. The wall has 2 gates, the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate. Sikandar lodhi was the first sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. It became part of UNESCO World Heritage in 1982.

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Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

Region: Uttar Pradesh, India  |  Period: 16th century

Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri was founded in 1569 by the Mughal emperor Akbar, was the short-lived capital of the Mughal empire between 1571 and 1585. This site was chosen to honor the Sufi saint Salim Chishti, a holy man who blessed him with a son who was named Salim in 1569. The construction of this walled city took almost fifteen years and the complex included several royal palaces, a harem, courts and a mosque. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved collections of Indian Mughal architecture in India and therefore inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1986.

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Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh

Region: Uttar Pradesh, India  |  Period: 17th century

Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This white domed marble mausoleum is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and has an epic love story behind it. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who erected this monument in memory of his beloved wife, Arjumarid Bano Begum; popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, who died in A.H. 1040 (A.D. 1630). It was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.

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Mountain Railways of India

Region: Kalka-Shimla Train, Himanchal Pradesh  |  Period: 19th and early 20th centuries

Mountain Railways of India

Mountain Railways of India includes three railways: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka-Shimla Railway and are a part of the World Heritage Sites in India. The narrow tracks of these toy trains have been designed in a way that connects the foothills to the hill stations. They were inscribed as World Heritage Sites in 1999, 2005 and 2008.

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Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Region: Chamoli District, Uttarakhand, India  |  Period: 1939 and 1982

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

The Nanda Devi is the highest mountain peak of Uttarakhand. Valley of Flowers and Nanda Devi National Park together constitute the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Known for their natural beauty and indigenous flowers, this Heritage Site is home to more than 600 species of Flora and over 520 species of fauna. The Valley of Flowers was declared a National Park in 1982 and was included in the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 2005.

Sundarbans National Park

Region: West Bengal, India  |  Period: 1939 and 1982

Sundarbans National Park

Sundarbans area covers 4624 sq km in India alone to incorporate a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile. This National Park is a known Tiger reserve and a Biosphere reserve. It is situated on the Sunderban Deltas formed by the river Ganges in Bay of Bengal. The Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. It has the world's largest mangrove forest and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987 as a natural property.

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Western Ghats

Region: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  |  Period: 2012

Western Ghats

Western Ghats is a mountain range, spread over 1600 km in the western side of India. The mountain range extends over Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. A total of thirty nine properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites in 2012.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan

Region: Rajasthan, India  |  Period: 7th to 16th centuries

Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan, India

Six forts of Rajasthan situated on the rocky terrains includes: Amber, Chittorgarh, Gangron, Jaisalmer, Kumbhalgarh and Ranthambore are UNESCO world heritage sites. These are massive and majestic fort with the legacy of glorious past and fascinate the tourists with their amazing architecture and history of brave Rajput rulers. This is one of the recent additions to the list of World Heritage Sites in India in 2013.

Rani ki vav, Patan, Gujarat

Region: Patan, Gujarat, India  |  Period: 11th century AD

Rani ki vav, Patan, Gujarat

Rani ki vav (The Queen's Stepwell) located on the banks of the Saraswati River in Patan is a famous stepwell. It was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Queen Udayamati commissioned this stepwell, in 1063 A D in the memory of her husband King Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty. The architecture is very interesting to study and the sculptures are magnificent. It was added to the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2014.

Great Himalayan National Park

Region: Himachal Pradesh, India  |  Period: 2014

Great Himalayan National Park

Great Himalayan National Park is located in the Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh. The park is sprawled over an area of 765 sq kms. A major part of the national park is permanently under glaciers and ice. The region was notified as a national park in the year 1984 to save the endangered wildlife species of this Himalayan Ecosystem. The high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests are part of this national park. It was included in the list of UNESCO'S World Heritage Site in 2014.