India is a country with rich culture and heritage. We have several sites that are many centuries old and are architectural marvels. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) identifies around 40 World Heritage Sites in our country. It is World Heritage Day today and we thought of taking you through the top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Dating between the 2nd Century BCE and 480 CE, Ajanta Caves are located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. They are regarded as the marvel of Buddhist religious art. These caves were built in two phases, and the site is protected under the Archaeological Survey of India.
They comprise stunning worship halls and ancient monasteries that have carvings on the walls. These remains tell us about the Buddhist traditions. They have also paintings depicting rebirths and numerous lives of Lord Buddha.
Khajuraho is one of the oldest cities in India. It is situated in Madhya Pradesh and consists of a number of ancient temples. Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a UNESCO site that is popular for graceful sculptures and architectural marvels.
Situated in New Delhi, Qutub Minar is approximately a 62m high all-brick minaret. Its construction started around 1192 by the first rules of the Delhi Sultanate. Its complex has a mosque, which is one of the earliest to survive in the Indian Subcontinent.
Located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum made of ivory-white marble. It was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1632. It is a ‘jewel of Muslim art in India’ and one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. In 2007, it was among the seven wonders of the world.
Situated on the Elephanta Island, Elephanta Caves were constructed around the mid of 5th and 6th centuries AD. It is famous for a 7m high sculpture of Sadashiva representing the three aspects of Lord Shiva - the preserver, the creator and the destroyer.
Boasting stunning architecture, Jaisalmer Fort is among the hill-forts of Rajasthan that are ranked among the 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. It was built in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal and camouflages itself in the yellow desert. It also boasts many eateries for visitors.
The vast site of Hampi features the remains of the Vijayanagara Empire, the last kingdom of Hindus. It boasts a stunning view of the open plain, River Tungabhadra and surrounding hill ranges. Krishna Temple Complex, Hemakuta group of Temples, Lotus Mahal Complex and Ganesa are a few famous sites that you must visit.
The Sundarbans mangrove forest spans over 10,000 sq. Km area. It is located in West Bengal and is a prominent Tiger Reserve in India. It is home to crocodiles, numerous species of birds, snakes and other animals. It particularly is an abode of Bengal Tigers.
9Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple is dedicated to the Sun God ‘Surya’. Although it is a ruin, it is one of the most important sites for historians. It was popular as Black Pagoda, and its destruction is still a part of controversies due to different opinions. However, it is a pilgrimage site for the followers of Hinduism.
Did you know that Marathas have occupied Agra Fort? They were the last Indian rulers to occupy the complex before the Britishers. It was the prominent residence for the Sikarwar clan rulers. The fort (List Of Forts In India) was also the battle site during the Indian rebellion of 1857.