Top 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

In this article, we have written about top 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India and why they have topped the lists. Make sure to tick some of them off your lists on your next vacation.

1. Nalanda University, Bihar

Nalanda University Bihar
Photo by Wonderlane, CC BY-SA 2.0

Nalanda University is a world-famous Buddhist monastery that stands proud since the advent of 17th century BCE. it was primarily built to promote the learning of Vedic knowledge. This place flourished most during the reign of Gupta Dynasty in India. The Nalanda museum showcases antique coins, books, statues of Buddha, scriptures informing about the history of Nalanda and scripts on the stupas too. You would not want to miss out on this while on your next trip to Bihar.

2. Sundarbans, West Bengal

Sundarbans, West Bengal
Photo by Dibyendu Ash, CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in South Bengal, Sunderbans is majorly known for the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Ganga-Brahmaputra delta has given rise to swampy areas of land where one can find an abundance of Mangrove trees. The most famous among tourists is the Sundari tree and Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary. Animals like deer, wild boar, jackals, crocodile and flying fox are abundant in this region.

3. Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Photo by Diganta Talukdar, CC BY-SA 2.0

Writers and authors have always been mesmerised by the beauty of this place. Kaziranga National Park is famous for housing of about 1651 adult rhinos. The tall elephant grass and the dense forests of this place along with water bodies make it a must-visit for tourists from all parts of the world.

4. Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort, Delhi
Photo by Partha S. Sahana, CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most important piece of architecture in India is the Red Fort. It was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan during his reign. This fort is made of red sandstone and has several museums. The Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag on 15th of August every year at the main gate and addresses the nation from the Red Fort.

5. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, CC BY-SA 2.0

Claimed to be the oldest stone structure in India, the Sanchi Stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka and has relics of Buddha. It has many old Buddhist inscriptions and also a beautiful statue of Buddha at the very entrance of the main gate.

6. Sun Temple, Orissa

Sun Temple, Orissa
Photo by Achilli Family | Journeys, CC BY-SA 2.0

As the name suggests, the Konark Sun temple was built to worship Surya, the Sun God. The most unique feature of this temple is the use of iron for the construction of its pillars. This temple has also been enlisted in the seven wonders of India articles at various times.

7. Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra

Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
Photo by Ting Chen, CC BY-SA 2.0

The style of architecture known as the rock-cut style is a major attraction in Maharashtra for tourists. These caves are dedicated to Hindu and Buddhist Gods including Shiva. Made from solid basalt rock, Elephanta caves are often regarded as a symbol of human architectural brilliance in India.

8. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Photo (Cropped) by J’ram DJ, CC BY-SA 2.0

The structures in Mahabalipuram include chariots, temples and rock reliefs. Built by the Pallavas, the city has served as a sea port for quite a long period of time.

9. Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi, Karnataka
Photo by Arian Zwegers, CC BY-SA 2.0

You would not be surprised when I told you that Hampi was the most searched tourist site in Karnataka in Google. It used to be one of the richest and most prosperous during the peak time. There are many temples including the Virupaksha temple that is visited by people from all across the country.

10. Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat

Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat
Photo by Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0

Built during the reign of Chalukyas in India, Rani ki vav is famous for the 500 sculptures that are present along with several stairways. It was also given the title of “Cleanest Iconic Place” by INDOSAN in 2016.

11. Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar

Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar
Photo (Cropped) by juggadery, CC BY-SA 2.0

It is under the Bodhi Tree that Lord Gautam Buddha had attained enlightenment. Mahabodhi Temple has henceforth become one of the most important places of pilgrimage. There is a humongous statue of Lord Buddha in Bodh Gaya.

12. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Photo by Arian Zwegers, CC BY-SA 2.0

The temples in Khajuraho are a dedication to Hinduism and Jainism. There are about 25 temples that still remain. The sculptures and structures in the temples attract large number of tourists to this place. The sculptures depict poses and scenes from daily life and some also showcase erotic poses.

13. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Photo by Jorge Láscar, CC BY-SA 2.0

Located near the famous Hawa Mahal in Rajasthan, the Jantar Mantar has the world’s largest sundial ever made.

14. Agra Fort

Agra Fort
Photo by Dan Lundberg, CC BY-SA 2.0

Agra Fort is located in Agra near New Delhi. This piece of architectural brilliance was built by the Mughal emperors. The fort is so large that it can be viewed as a city in itself. The insides of the fort are decorated with sculpted columns, pillars and ceilings.

15. Qutub Minar, Delhi

Qutub Minar, Delhi
Photo by Stefan Rüdiger, CC BY-SA 2.0

It is well known that the construction of Qutub Minar was done the ruler Qutub ud din Aibak of the Delhi Sultanate. The main components include the use of sandstone and marble. Also, one can see beautiful calligraphic inscriptions on the walls and balconies of this structure.

16. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Photo by Jorge Láscar, CC BY-SA 2.0

As the name suggests, Humayun’s tomb is the first tomb to be built in a garden in the subcontinent of India. The Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyas has done a splendid job by using red sandstone and the construction of this monument is adds one more feather to the colourful cap of Delhi.

17. Hill Forts of Rajasthan

Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Photo by YAMAN SAINI, CC BY-SA 4.0

Six forts are termed the hill forts of Rajasthan namely the Chittogarh fort, Jaisalmer fort, Amber fort, Gagron fort, Kumbhalgarh fort and the Ranthambore fort. The forts are surrounded by the Aravalli range of mountains and form a picturesque location. Many movies have been shot here and tourists visit from all parts of the world.

18. Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
Photo by Danial Chitnis, CC BY-SA 2.0

Buddhist monasteries and sculptures constitute the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra. There are paintings and scripts and sculptures that showcase the life of Lord Buddha- his birth, past lives and much more.

19. Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal, Agra
Photo by Tiberio Frascari, CC BY-SA 2.0

The beauty of Taj Mahal built by emperor Shah Jahan is a secret to none. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and tourists from all across the globe visit this splendid structure. The love of the emperor for his wife is monumentalized by this structure. If you are visiting India, it goes without saying that going to Taj Mahal should be on top of your to-do list.

20. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Photo by Pankaj, CC BY-SA 2.0

Manas National park in Assam is famous for being the home of so many varieties of animals. They include Assam’s roofed turtle, golden langur, hispid hare, pygmy hog and wild water buffalo.

21. Churches and Convents of Goa

Churches and Convents of Goa
Photo by nImAdestiny, CC BY-SA 2.0

Built in Portuguese style, Goa has always been a famous place for tourists to visit. There are several churches and cathedrals. To add to all of it, the sea beach and night life make Goa filled with fun and frolic.

22. Rock Shelters, Madhya Pradesh

Rock Shelters, Madhya Pradesh
Photo by Dinesh Valke, CC BY-SA 2.0

the Rock Shelters are located inside the premises of Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary. These have been the home for Homo erectus for a considerable period of time. There are paintings which depict dance forms and are an evidence of the same.

23. Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan

Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan
Photo (Cropped) by ASIM CHAUDHURI, CC BY-SA 2.0

Ornithologists from all across the globe and country come to this National park to watch more than 230 myriad species of birds and study them. The former name of Keoladeo National Park was Bharatput Bird Sanctuary.

24. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
Photo by Arian Zwegers, CC BY-SA 2.0

If you have noticed the Victorian Gothic style architecture of this building, you are sure to know why this is marked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station was designed by Frederick William Stevens. A lot of the bustling city life of Mumbai is surrounded around this famous place.

25. Fatehpur Shikri, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri is the perfect and best example of the amazing Mughal architecture and art. Built by the Mughal emperor, Akbar, it was also the capital city of the Mughal Empire during his rule. You ought to visit this place including the tomb of Salim Chisti if you are planning a trip there.

About Rohit

An architect by profession, Rohit Agarwal is a curious traveller, seeking out the minutest detail about the places he travels to, and that’s what one will find in his writings. His writings have appeared in various blogs, he’s currently trying to bring forth as many different places a traveller who shares the same level of curiosity like him would like to visit through his writings.

Leave a Comment