10 World Heritage Sites in India We Can't Get Enough Of

10 World Heritage Sites in India We Can't Get Enough Of
Sea, sand, sculptures and the shore temples make Mamallapuram a magical destination, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

With 38 UNESCO World Heritage sites, India bags the position blog having the sixth-largest number of archaeological and natural sites in the world. On World Heritage Day, we curated a list of 10 heritage sites of India signifying the incredible beauty of culture, history, and landscapes

Srushti Kulkarni
April 18 , 2021
05 Min Read

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara
The Nalanda Mahavihara site in Bihar dates back from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. The site did not just help the development of Buddhism, it is also the longest-serving monastic and scholastic institution in India.
Buddhist monks at an ancient monastery in Nalanda
It comprises a property of 23 hectares comprising 14 temples and 11 viharas along with many smaller shrines and artworks made from stucco, stone, and metal. 

The Great Himalayan National Park
This park located in Himachal Pradesh is a biodiversity hotspot showing off twenty-five forest various species of fauna including those which are threatened. The national park lies in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains, characterised by high alpine meadows, snowclad peaks, and riverine forests.
High alpine meadows, snowclad peaks, and riverine forests pretty much sum up the Great Himalayan National ParkThe Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area displays mosaics of steep valley-side landscapes and water bodies. Tirthan and Sainj Wildlife Sanctuaries of ecological and zoological significance are also located within the national park.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram
Devotees at  at Mahabalipuram
Carved out from rocks located along the Coromandel coast, the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram were founded by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. This UNESCO world heritage site is known for chariots, mandapas, and giant open-air reliefs, besides thousands of sculptures dedicated to Shiva. These majestic edifices signify the craftsmanship and serve as a testimony to the Pallava civilisation of southeast India. 

Mountain Railways of India
The mountain railways of India conserve three railway routes - the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Kalka Shimla Railway, and Nilgiri Mountain Railway.
Have you taken the heritage train in Darjeeling? Opened between 1881 and 1908, they boast ingenious engineering solutions operating trains through the mountainous terrain of great beauty. These railway routes prove to be a literal sense of the quote ‘journey over destination’ when you travel through monsoon rains, lush greenery, mystical air, and dreamy snowfall. 

READ: What's Common Between Mountain Railways and Art Deco Buildings?

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Stone carvings on one of the temples in Khajuraho
Located in Madhya Pradesh, these monuments belong to two different religions –Jainism and Hinduism. The monuments were built between 950 and 1050 when the Chandella dynasty reached its apogee. Of these, only 20 temples remain. The Khajuraho temple signifies harmonious integration of sculptures and Nagara-style architecture, mirroring social life through depictions of teachers and disciples, domestic scenes, dancers and musicians, and amorous couples.

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
The monuments at Pattadakal in Karnataka were crafted in the 7th and 8th centuries during the reign of the Chalukya dynasty. The architecture here is an amalgamation of northern and southern India.
Mallikarjuna temple at Pattadakal, Karnataka
The archaeological site comprises a series of nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary. Pattadakal is mostly renowned for the temple built by Queen Lokamahadev in 740 CE to honor her husband's victory over the kings from the South.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
Bhimbetka Caves near Bhopal
On the southern edge of the central Indian plateau, the rock shelters of Bhimbetka are located in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains. Above a dense forest are five clusters of natural rock shelters within massive sandstone displaying paintings that date back to 8,000 BCE from the Mesolithic Period. These rock paintings represent cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages.

READ: In Pictures: Bhimbetka

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
The capital city of Gujrat holds unexcavated archaeological and living cultural heritage properties embraced in a mesmerising landscape besides chalcolithic world heritage sites dating back from the 16th-century.
Jami Masjid, a major tourist attraction at Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
The Archaeological Park is a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital including vestiges, residential precincts, palaces, fortifications, agricultural structures, religious buildings, and water installations from the 8th to 14th centuries. The unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city attracts a large number of pilgrims on top of Pavagadh Hill to The Kalika Mata Temple.

READ: Revisit India's Past At The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Valley of Flowers
Environmental heritage is as important as our structural heritage
India’s Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows nestled high in West Himalayas. The natural beauty of endemic alpine flowers, Asiatic black bear, brown bear, snow leopard, and blue sheep complements the wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park. The gentle landscape is a richly diverse area encompassing a unique transition zone between the Great Himalaya and the mountain ranges of the Zanskar.  

Ellora Caves
Tourists at Ellora
Dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff, Ellora caves extends over 2 km with 34 monasteries and temples dating from A.D. 600 to 1000.  These sanctuaries devoted to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism illustrating the spirit of tolerance is not very far from Aurangabad. Kailasa is the largest monolithic temple in these caves preserving beautiful paintings belonging to different periods on the ceilings of the front mandapa.

READ: Photographing the Kailasa Temple at Ellora


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