Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India
Do you know that India consists of 36 world heritage sites approved by UNESCO? These heritage sites are an enchantment to your eyes and opens up your mind to the rich culture and history of the country. With no regards to setting of these heritage sites in India, these places are glistening with tourists, year after year. If you are visiting India for the very first time and look for an ideal vacation, the best way is to keep as many world heritage tour sites as possible in your travel itinerary.
Here are the top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to enjoy in India.
Along with being a world heritage site, Taj Mahal is one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. This historic monument built in pure white marble is located in the former capital of Mughal empire- Agra. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the reminiscence of his beloved wife and the love of his life- Mumtaz Mahal; it thus stands as an icon of pure and everlasting love. Taj Mahal has pooled the finest architectural features of many Mughal buildings and is thus well-thought-out as a masterpiece. The majestic beauty of Taj Mahal grows manifold at sunrise and sunset.
Khajuraho Group Of Monuments
Khajuraho is a group of temples situated in the core of India – Madhya Pradesh showcasing the architectural dexterity of craftsmen of the Rajput Chandela dynasty. These were a set of 85 temples out of which only 20 have endured several attempts of destruction by Muslim rulers and abandonment thereafter. Standing as one of the finest specimens of carving work, the external walls of these temples feature erotic art, statuettes representing daily life and symbolic art depicting olden Indian values. A world heritage tour in India’s Khajuraho temples will definitely give you some exceptional photographic opportunities which you must never miss out on.
Qutub Minar was acknowledged to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. It was built by Qutab-Ud-Din Aibak as a triumph tower to commemorate the victory of Mohammed Ghori over his superior rival Prithvi Raj Chauhan (A Rajput King) and its construction was completed by Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak’s heirs later. Being the tallest monument in Delhi and the second tallest minaret in India, Qutub Minar is a relic of the grandeur of Delhi Sultanate. What is striking is that numerous parts of the Minar hold Arabic and Persian inscriptions and Kufic calligraphy which speak the history of its construction and succeeding repair works.
Fatehpur Sikri was once the former capital of Mughal dynasty before being abandoned by Emperor Akbar owing to complete failure of water supply system. This was constructed as a well-organized city by Akbar when he decided to move his capital from Agra. It has been convened the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO since it stands as one of the perfect examples of Mughal architectural finesse.
A cultural tour to Fatehpur Sikri will let you explore some of its very remarkable features like the Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khas, Jama Masjidto name a few. Buland Darwaza (literal meaning: The great gate) is a prime attraction in the whole complex because of it being the largest gateway in the world.
This world heritage tour site in India is renowned for the large sculpture that epitomizes the ‘Chariot of the Sun’. You can find Kalinga-styled architecture in this temple and it is one of the ‘Seven Wonders of India’. Located near to Puri, this 13th century monument was made by King Narasimhadeva I. The entire temple is constructed in chariot shape, which is steered by six large stone horses. Each horse represents the six Brahmin sanctuaries situated in the country. The site is a significant pilgrimage destinations and sightseeing spot.
Great Living Chola Temples
The Great Living Chola Temples are a set of three temples constructed during the Chola dynasty and they stand true to their name as they epitomize the magnificence of powerful Chola monarchy. The three temples in the set are Brihadisvara Temple, Airavatesvara Temple and the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram. These are positioned in the state of Tamil Nadu and they display the brilliance of Dravidian architecture. During the supremacy of Cholas, Tamil literature and art prospered like anything and the Chola temples are an ideal example of that.
Located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra these caves date back to 2nd Century BC. These Buddhist caves are well-thought-out as one of the most exceptional artistic chases carried out in the ancient times. About 30 in number, these remained abandoned for quite long duration as they were covered by thick forests before being rediscovered by a British officer. The enduring mural paintings in the caves are one of the finest paintings which signify the art of ancient India and are many times used as an stimulus by contemporary artists.
A world heritage tour in Maharashtra will take you further to the Ellora caves. These ancient caves are a group of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves. Built by Rashtrakuta dynasty, these have been put in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO owing to their historic importance. Rock cut architectural style utilized in the construction of these caves is worth seeing as it looks wonderful. We can get an idea about the religious harmony that prevailed in that era as Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves were all located at the same location.
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is a delight for nature lovers and wildlife afficiandos. Located in Assam, it is a home to 2 / 3rd s of world’s great one-horned rhinoceros. Along with this, there are many other fauna and avifauna species as it is a hotspot of biodiversity. This is why it has been given the major amount of protection under Indian laws that relate to wildlife conservation. The national park with its lovely landscape and immaculate surroundings is a famous destination for people who want to go on a nature-friendly world heritage tour in India.
Mahabodhi Temple Complex
Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The Mahabodhi Temple decodes to the temple of great (maha) awakening (Bodhidharma). History narrates that Gautama Budhha sat under a peepal tree to meditate where he achieved nirvana (enlightenment). This tree was called as the Bodhi Tree and when King Ashoka visited this site, he built a temple besides the Bodhi Tree in 260 BC which is the Mahabodhi Temple. Knowing its past, you can think of the reason why Mahabodhi Temple Complex has been labelled as one of the Heritage Sites in India. According to Jataka legends, earth’s navel lies at the location where Bodhi Tree is.
India boasts of a rich heritage and consists of 36 world heritage sites approved by UNESCO.
The top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India are a testament of the rich culture and epic history of the country. Some of these world heritage sites are- Taj Mahal in Agra, Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh, Qutub Minar in Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Sun Temple- located near Puri, Great Living Chola Temples in Tamil Nadu, Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, Kaziranga National Park in Assam and Mahabodhi Temple Complex. Every year, tourists from all over the globe visit these heritage sites in huge numbers. So, include all these top 10 UNESCO world heritage sites in your itinerary, when travelling to India.