India, one the most culturally and historically rich countries of the world has so much to see and explore. It has seen the earliest civilisations of the world and also been ruled by various dynasties time and again which sets it apart on the global map in terms of its architecture and heritage. It inculcates various architectural styles of utmost importance and with stunning work. UNESCO identifies and demarcates World Heritage sites on basis of its cultural, historical or scientific significance and preserves them. India now has 38 World Heritage Sites making it the sixth largest in the number of heritage sites in the world!
Here are 15 UNESCO heritage Cultural sites in India
1. Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
Listed Year: 1983
These caves are the finest examples of rock cut architecture in India. It is a blend of Hindu, Jain and
Buddhist arts. These are situate in Aurangabad , the city of 12 gates. The paintings inside the caves are ravishing and a source of inspiration and study for many. They date back to 600 to 1000 AD.
2. Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
Listed Year: 1984
This temple in Konark is an ode to the sun god and is built in the shape of a chariot held by seven horses. The carvings on the temple structure are immensely intricate and detailed and the temple is a site to behold at especially for the heritage enthusiasts. It dates back to 13th century.
3. Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
Listed Year: 1989
The Sanchi Stupa is one of the oldest and the most beautiful piece of Buddhist architecture. The group of Buddhist monuments at Sanchi consist of, monasteries, monolithic Ashokan pillar, Stupas, temples, sculptural wealth and other Buddhist monuments.
4. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Listed Year: 2010
It is described as one of the most significant and best-preserved historic observatories of India.It has a collection of different astronomical instruments and the largest stone sundial of the world.
5. Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
Listed Year: 1987
Situated near Mumbai, these are a set temple caves dedicated to lord Shiva. The exhibit an extraordinary blend of Hindu and Buddhist rock cuts architecture.
6. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Maharashtra
Listed Year: 2004
It stands proudly as an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India blended with themes deriving from Indian Gothic architecture. It was formerly known as Victoria Terminus celebrates the Indian Railways.
7. The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai
Listed Year: 2018
It is collection of the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco buildings along the Oval ground. The site bears a testimony to the modernization witnessed by the city during the 19th and 20th centuries.The colours , balconies and verandahs are most striking features.
8. The Pink City – Jaipur
Listed Year: 2019
Built by Raja Jai Singh, the city has grid planning from Vedic architecture. It ensembles Forts, Monuments, Palaces, Art and Craft, Culture, Astrological significance and so much more depicting the Hindu and Mughal architectural styles in the most stunning way.
9. Taj Mahal, Agra
Listed Year: 1983
The most renowned heritage site of India, the Taj Mahal resides on the banks of heavenly Yamuna river. The structure exemplifies the beauty of the white marble, the most intricate and beautiful carvings and all the Islamic architecture elements holding it together. It was built by emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is a must visit monument to look for peace, tranquillity and elegance.
10. Churches and Convents of Goa
Listed Year: 1986
These consist of the most famous churches and convents which include the Basilica of Bom Jesus,Sé Cathedral of Goa,Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel of Santa Catarina, Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine, and Church of Divine Providence.
11. Rani Ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat
Listed Year: 2014
It is a stepwell divided in seven levels and is a marvellous example of Maru-Gurjara architectural style. It is built as an inverted temple and has numerous mythological sculptures with utmost intricacy.
12. Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
Listed Year: 1986
This city was built by emperor Akbar and houses various notable monuments like the Buland Darwaza, the largest gateway of India, Jama Masjid ,Diwan-e aam,Diwan-e-khas, Panch Mahal and many more. It was a properly planned settlement built in the Mughal architectural style.
13. Hampi, Karnataka
Listed Year: 1986
The site preserves the ruins of the Vijaynagara empire of Karnataka, spread over an area of 4100 hectares and consist of sacred complexes, riverside features, forts, temples, mandapas, shrines, memorial structures, water structures, pillared halls, and many others of Hindu architectural style.
14. Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University), Bihar
Listed Year: 2016
It stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.
15. Mountain Railways of India
Listed Year: 1999, 2005, 2008
The listed railways are Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Kalka–Shimla Railway. They have been stated as for being “outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain”