10 Historic UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

10 Historic UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Sakshi Trivedi | September 30, 2019 |

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are significant places of cultural or natural importance and heritage. There are around 50+ sites in India and India has the sixth-largest number of sites in the world. These sites are a mix of cultural, natural and both of them together.   

1. Khajuraho

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Built-in the 10th century by the Chandela Dynasty, Khajuraho is a group of monuments. The remains of 22 temples out of the 85 temples built represent Hindu and Jain religious practices during the Medieval period in India. The Kandariya Mahadev temple of Khajuraho has some splendid features and it means “the Great God of the Cave”. Khajuraho is also considered as one of the seven wonders of India 

UNESCO World Heritage since 1986

Region: Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh.

Read Our Khajuraho Guide

2. The Konark Sun Temple

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Also known as Black Pagoda, The Sun Temple of Konark was built in the 13th century on the east coast of Bay of Bengal. The temple is beautifully made in the form of the chariot of Surya, with 24 wheels led by six horses and intricate stone carvings. The site is well ornated and is one of the most renowned places in India. It was constructed by King Narsimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty.

UNESCO World Heritage since 1984

Region: Konark, Odisha   

Read Our Konark Guide

3. Hampi

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Hampi is an archaeological city lying on the banks of Tungabhadra River in Karnataka. The group of monuments in Hampi date back to 14th Century and was native to Vijaynagara Empire. The remains of pillars, temples, shrines, forts give a direct insight into South-India’s rich history. The famous Virupaksha Temple is important to religious practices of Hindu.

UNESCO World Heritage since 1999

Region: Ballari District, Karnataka

Read Our Hampi Guide

4. Fatehpur Sikri

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Built by Akbar in the second half of 16th Century, Fatehpur Sikri was known as “the city of victory”. The city includes the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques, one of the finest testimony to the Mughal civilization. The Buland Darwaza, the Panch Mahal and Tomb of Salim Chisti are also examples preeminent of Mughal Architecture. 

UNESCO World Heritage since 1986

Region: Agra, Uttar Pradesh   


5. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Located in the steep-hilly region of North-Eastern India, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway runs between New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal to Darjeeling. The railways are built 328 feet above sea level in the rugged mountainous terrain. The train passes through zig-zag routes with a splendid view of green mountains, valleys and river by the side. The establishment of the railways in such difficult terrain was a herculean task which was completed successfully. 

UNESCO World Heritage since 1999

Region: Darjeeling

Read Our Darjeeling Guide

6. Chittorgarh Fort

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Chittorgarh Fort is one of the biggest Forts in India and has a rich cultural heritage attached to it. Initially controlled by the Mewar Kingdom and then by Paramara Dynasty, the fort has witnessed a lot of wars and rulers. The remains of the majestic forts include royal gates, commemorative towers, Vijay and Kirit Stambha, Padmini and Rana Kumbha Palace, and temples of Lord Krishna and Kalika Mata.

UNESCO World Heritage since 2013

Region: Chitor, Rajasthan

Read Our Chittorgarh Guide     

7. Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai includes Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower, Eros Cinema and the University of Mumbai. Constructed in Victorian Neo-Gothic style during the British rule, the structures were said to be built in Indo-Deco style. The rockpile remains a major functioning area and is always awed by the tourists.

UNESCO World Heritage since 2018

Region: Mumbai, Maharashtra      

8. Nalanda Mahavira

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The most ancient university of Indian Subcontinent, Nalanda has been an institution for imparting knowledge for over 800years. The archaeological remains in Nalanda date back to 3rd century BCE to 13th century CE. The excavated remains of temples and monasteries associated flourishing of Buddhism through India.

UNESCO World Heritage since 2016

Region: Nalanda district, Bihar

Read Our Nalanda Guide

9. Old Goa

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Also known as Velha Goa, Old Goa has various churches and monuments that are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The monuments exhibit rich Portugual architecture and are made of limestone mortar mixed with shells. The infamous Basilica of Bom Jesus church attracts a lot of tourists. The vintage monuments are also known as “Rome of the Orient”.     

UNESCO World Heritage since 1986

Region: Goa

Read Our Goa Guide

10. Ajanta and Ellora Caves

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The Ajanta and Ellora Caves near Aurangabad region in the Maharastra region are the famous caves dating back to 5th and 6th century AD and 600 to 1000 century AD. The caves are decorated with paintings and religious art of Buddhism. The rock-cut caves represent a mix of Hindu, Buddhism and Jainism religious paintings and sculptures.  

UNESCO World Heritage since 1983

Region: Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Read Our Ajanta and Ellora Caves Guide

About the author

Sakshi Trivedi