UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India: Culture and Architecture

UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India: Culture and Architecture
Saat Kaman (Seven Arches) at Pavagadh Hill, Gujarat, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India that are culturally and architecturally important

Precious Kamei
May 16 , 2019
07 Min Read
There are 37 World Heritage Sites in India and that makes India number sixth globally. As in, sixth largest number of sites in the world. We have already made a list of natural and sites of religious importance, here is the final list of sites that are culturally and architecturally important.
 
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Humayun's TombBuilt in the 16th century, Humayun's Tomb is also known as Necropolis of the Mughal dynasty. The site was built for Emperor Humayun by his widow and along with his tomb, the site holds 150 more tombs that belong to the members of the royal family. The site was given te status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
 
Qutab Minar Complex, Delhi
The towering icon of Delhi, Qutab MinarIntricate detail on the minarAlso to make it to the list of World Heritage Sites in India by UNESCO in 1993 is the towering Qutab Minar and other structures inside the complex.  Standing over 72 metres, the tower was built in the 13th century and is an architectural marvel. 
 
Red Fort Complex, Delhi
This red sandstone palace fort is an interesting mix of architectural design inspired from India and Persia. It gained the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 because of its unique architectural design. 
 
Champaner-Pavagahdh Archaeological Park, Gujarat
Jami Masjid, a major tourist attraction at Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological ParkThis park sits on a prehistoric site and still has a lot to be excavated. Due to this, the site gained the status in 2004. The site is a beautiful combination of a chalcolithic site, a hill fortress and the remainder of the erstwhile capital of Gujarat from the 16th century. 
 
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
Rock art at Bhimbetka Rock ShelterThe site was inscribed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India in 2003. What makes this site important are the rock paintings on the sandstone formations  dating back to the Mesolithic period. 
 
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – formerly Victoria Terminus
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in MumbaiThis ever-busy railway station is one of the most popular icons of Mumbai. Also the headquarters for the Central Railways in India, the grand railway station gained the status in 2004. It was originally named as Victoria Terminus and is designed in tge grand Gothic architectural style. 
 
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Sundial at Astronomical Observatory Jantar Mantar in JaipurThe site holds a collection of astronomical instruments in the form of architecture. Thr Jantar Mantar is one of the best preserved similar structures (five in total) in the whole of India. Looking at these structures, one could only wonder the kind of astronomical skills and the understanding of the cosmos, during that time. It gained the status in 2010.
 
Agra Fort
The beautiful arches of Agra FortThe Agra Fort is also also referred to as the Red Fort, not to be confused with the aforementioned one. In 1983, it found its way to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
 
Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
Fatehpur Sikri complexLocated in Agra, this city was at first abandoned due to political unrest. But slowly new city walls were built which led to the constuction of palaces, mosques and other important buildings. It didn't take too long for it to gain another name--City of Victory. Fatehpur Sikri got the status in 1986.
 
Taj Mahal, Agra
Taj Mahal in AgraEverybody recognises Taj Mahal and why not when it is one of the most beautiful structures in the whole world. Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1631 by Emperor Shahjahan in memory of Mumtaz Mahal. The structure is made our of white marble, looks spectacular any day, any time. The site made it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
 
Mountain Railways of India
The very famous Darjeeling toy trainThere are three railway lines that make up the mountain railways of India. They are: the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Mountain Railway. Collectively they come under the UNESCO World Heritage Site (1999, 2005 and 2008).
 
Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Jaisalmer Fort with the city down belowThis is comprised of six forts in total: Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort and Jaisalmer Fort. These date back to 5th century AD and the pride of the Aravalli Range in Rajasthan. They made it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2013.
 
Rani ki vav – The Queen’s Stepwell
Rani Ki Vav is situated in the town of PatanThis site is located in Patan and is popular because of its intricate design. It is constructed near Saraswati River and is a subterranean water storage system. The stepwell dates back to the third millennium BC. Look around for other breathtaking sculptures found within the property. It gained the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
 
Nalanda, Bihar
Ruins of NalandaNalanda dates back to the third century BC. It was an erstwhile scholastic and monastic institution where Buddhism as a religion developed. Here you will find early Buddhist art works, stuccoes, stupas, shrines and viharas. Nalanda made it to the list in 2016.
 
The Architectural Works of Le Corbusier
This is a collection of properties spread across 17 sites in 7 different countries. Chandigarh is the best example we have in India. The city was planned and designed by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. It gained the status in 2016.
 
Historic City of Ahmadabad
Historic gate in the old city of AhmedabadThe Historic City is the erstwhile walled quarter which used to be an important political and commercial center of Gujarat. It gained the status in 2017.
 
Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai
The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai is the most recent one to make it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India (2018). It is a collection of Victorian Neo Gothic architectures dating back to the 19th century and 20th century Art Deco buildings in the Fort area of Mumbai.
 

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