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UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states parties which are elected by their General Assembly. These World Heritage Sites are both tangible proof of the progress that has brought us to where we are today, and a monument to what we have has passed. Beginning from 1983, the UNESCO has recognized 28 ‘World Heritage Sites’ in India. It’s a long trek since the West began to take active interest in the archaeological and natural heritages of India in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

  1. Taj Mahal (Agra): - Taj Mahal is considered a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. It is a glorified mausoleum of Emperor Shah Jahan and his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The white domed marble structure, with its four characteristic minarets is world famous monument in India. Taj is known to have been built over a period of 17 years, using 20 thousand labour and millions of money.
  2. Agra Fort (Agra): - Mughal Emperor Akbar made Agra his capital and commissioned this massive red sandstone fort. Built in eight years with combined labor of more than a million masons, it was expanded to its present shape by his grandson Shah Jahan and harbours a number of ornate structures.
  3. Fatehpur Sikri (Agra): - Fatehpur, served as the short-lived capital of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1571 and 1585.The Emperor’s ambitions wilted due to shortage of water before he reinstated the capital to Agra. Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal and wisecracker Raja Birbal’s house are some of the interesting sites in Fatehpur Sikri.
  4. Qutub Minar Complex (Delhi) : - 11th centuryQutab Minar, the 238-ft (72.5 m) five storey high sandstone minaret is a travel guide icon of Delhi. Its construction history spanned three hundred years of Delhi Sultantate. The other important structure in the complex is the ruined mosque of Quwwat-ul-lsIam.
  5. Red Fort (Delhi) : - Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan shifted the capital from Agra to Delhi in 1639, he built the Lal Qua (Red Fort). The major buildings inside the fort are Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Khas Mahal, Zenana, Moti Masjid and Hayat Baksh Bagh (a garden).
  6. Humayun’s Tomb (Delhi) : - The earliest Mughal monument of repute in India ranks also amongst best preserved one. Humayun’s tomb in Delhi was commissioned either by his eldest widow Haji Begum, or his on Emperor Akbar. The Mughal practice of building gardened-tombs began with Humayun’s Mausoleum.
  7. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (Bhopal) : - The rock shelters of Bhimbetka, harbour exquisite Stone Age rock paintings dating approximately 9,000 years ago. According to popular legend the place was reinvented as the parlor of Bhima, the third Pandava brother in the Mahabharata. The paintings, actually a handiwork of pre-historic cavemen, depict scenes from their everyday life.
  8. Buddhist Monuments, (Sanchi) : - Sanchi, a quaint village 46-km northeast of Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal, was the site of protracted Buddhist architectural activities between 3rd century BC and 12th century AD. The great Stupa or Buddhist relic mound- commissioned by Emperor Asoka became the nucleus of architectural and artistic enterprise that continued through Sunga, Satvahana and Gupta period.
  9. Khajuraho Group of Monuments (Madhya Pradesh) : - The much publicized erotic sculptures of Khajuraho constitute a small niche. The vast temple complex hardly has a member of Hindu pantheon unrepresented. There were 85 temples, out of which 22 are in reasonable state of repair. Khajuraho is the magnum opus of Rajput Chandela kings who flourished between 9th and 13th century
  10. Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary (Assam) : - Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 for its unique natural environment. It was first established as a reserved forest in 1908 to protect the dwindling species of Rhinoceros. It underwent several transformations over the years, as The Kaziranga Game Sanctuary in 1916, renamed as Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary in 1950,
  11. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Assam) : - located in an area of 50,000 hectares (120,000 acres) in the plains of the Manas River’s in the foot hills of the Himalayas on the border with Bhutan. The sanctuary is the habitat of several species of plants and 21 most threatened species of mammals, out of 55 mammal species in the sanctuary, 36 reptile species, 3 amphibians and 350 species of birds; endangered species include Tiger, pygmy hog, clouded leopard, sloth bear, Indian Rhinoceros, wild buffaloes, Indian Elephants, golden langur and Bengal Florican.
  12. Mahabodhi Temple Complex (Bodh Gaya) : - spread over an area of 4.86 hectares (12.0 acres) was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique property of cultural and archaeological importance. The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC (260 BC) around the Bodhi Tree. The main temple is 50 m in height, built in Indian architectural style, dated between 5th and 6th centuries, and it is the oldest temple in the Indian sub-continent built during the “Golden Age” of Indian culture credited to the Gupta period.
  13. Churches and Convents of Goa : -  Churches of Goa were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers between 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments are mainly in the former capital of Velha Goa. The most significant of these monuments is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which enshrines the tomb containing the relics of St. Francis Xavier. These monuments of Goa, known as the “Rome of the Orient,” were established by different Catholic religious orders.
  14. Jantar Mantar (Observatory) Jaipur : - The Jantar Mantar observatory in Jaipur is one of the most significant and best preserved collections of architectural astronomical instruments in India. It was built between 1727 and 1734 by Maharaja Jai Singh II.
  15. Ajanta Caves (Aurangabad) : - The Buddhist caves at Ajanta contain some of India's most magnificent paintings. The 29 caves were excavated beginning around 200 BC, but they were abandoned in 650 AD in favour of Ellora. Five of the caves were temples and 24 were monasteries, thought to have been occupied by some 200 monks and artisans.
  16. Ellora Caves (Aurangabad) : - The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves at Ellora, carved between 600 and 1000 AD, include 34 monasteries and temples dug side by side in the wall of a high basaltic cliff not far from Aurangabad.
  17. Sun Temple Konark (Orissa) : - Built in the 13th century, this temple was dedicated to the Sun God and was originally designed in the form of his chariot.
  18. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram : - The great Pallava rulers built these monuments in the period 630-800 AD.
  19. Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur (Rajasthan) : - This park was once a duck hunting reserve of the Maharajas. Today it is one of the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Siberia. Some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian crane, have been recorded in the Park.
  20. Group of Monuments Hampi : - Last capital of the last great Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar.
  21. Elephanta Caves (Mumbai) ; - On an island in the Oman Sea near Bombay are four rock-cut temples on Elephanta Island. Thought to have been carved out between 450 and 750 AD.
  22. Sundarbans National Park : - The mouths of the Ganges form the world's largest delta, and part of this vast mangrove swamp, some 100 km south of Calcutta, is a 2585-sq-km wildlife reserve. Part of Project Tiger, Sundarbans has one of the largest tiger populations of any of India's parks.
  23. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park : - Strong winds, daily drizzle, and regular heavy snowfall have created a unique climate and hence a distinctive flora and fauna in this largely inaccessible region. Notable fauna inclue the musk deer, leopard, Himalayan black bear and the snow partridge.
  24. Mountain Railways of India : - This site includes three railways: Darjeeling, Nilgiri, and Kalka Shimla. All three railways are currently still operational.
  25. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Mumbai) : - Frederick Stevens designed the main train station in Bombay for the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. It opened in 1887 in time to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The style combines the Venetian Gothic popular in England at the time with elements of Indian architecture, and is built in the local red sandstone.
  26. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (Karnataka) : - Chalukyan rulers were not only empire builders, but great patrons of art whose encouragement prompted the artists and craftsmen to experiment and innovate in different architectural styles and giving it a new dimension. It is in their period that transition from rock-cut medium to structural temples took place.
  27. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park Gujarat. There is a concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape which includes prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th century capital of the state of Gujarat.
  28. The Great Living Chola Temples, built by kings of the Chola Empire stretched over all of Tamil Nadu. This cultural heritage site includes three great temples of 11th and 12th century namely, the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.
  29. Western Ghats , also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, a mountain range along the western side of India and one of the world’s ten "Hottest biodiversity hotspots" (sub cluster nomination) A total of thirty nine properties (including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests) were designated as world heritage sites - twenty in the state of Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.
  30. Hill Forts of Rajasthan, are a series of sites located on rocky outcrops of the Aravallis mountain range in Rajasthan. These hill forts in Rajasthan represent Rajput military strongholds across a vast range of geographical and cultural zones. Rajput forts are well known for their defensive architecture. They enclose large territories and even complete villages in walled compounds. The property consists of Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort, Jaisalmer Fort. Due to the variety of built structures in each hill fort, only the most significant elements of each complex are described.