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World Heritage Sites in India


*Map showing World Heritage Sites in India.
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The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) lists and maintains the international World Heritage Programme. A UNESCO World Heritage Site can be any place such as a forest, lake, building, island, mountain, monument, desert, complex or a city; which has a special physical or cultural significance. It was in the year 1972 that a resolution was adopted by the General Conference of the UNESCO with a 'Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage'. The main objective of this resolution was to define the cultural and natural aspects of these sites. Out of the total sites in the world, 32 are present in India. Of these, 25 sites have cultural importance while seven other are known for their natural splendour.

It was during the seventh session of the World Heritage in 1983 that the first two sites - Agra Fort and Ajanta caves - were acknowledged as the heritage sites. Since then, over 30 new places have been added to the list. The latest entry is the Great Himalayan National Park which was added in 2014.

Let's take a look at the World Heritage Sites in India:

Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam: It was established in the year 1908 and was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Manas Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam: This Assam-based sanctuary was recognised for its rich biodiversity in 1985.

Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar: The centuries old temple was declared a World Heritage Site in 2002.

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi: The tomb, which gained recognition in 1993, holds great cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb in the subcontinent. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi: The red sandstone tower built in the 13th century was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1993.

Red Fort: Mughal Emperor Shahjahan built Red Fort and its complex as a part of his new capital, Shahjahanabad in the 17th century. It gained recognition in 2007 as a part of the list of World Heritage Site.

Churches and Convents of Goa: The churches and convents of Goa are known for their splendid architecture and sculptures. In 1986, these churches were distinguished as heritage sites.

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat: This cultural site was inscribed in 2004 as the World Heritage Site. It is known for its cultural significance.

Group of Monuments at Hampi: The group of temples, palaces and other monuments make Hampi an austere site. It was declared in 1986 as a World Heritage Site.

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal: It was included in the list as a heritage site in 1987 and is known for its temples and Jain sanctuary.

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh: The group of Buddhist monuments built between 200 and 100 BC was named as a World Heritage Site in 1989.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh: It is a group of "five clusters of rock shelters" and it was recognised in 2003 as a World Heritage Site.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh: These monuments with Hindu and Jain religious beliefs were declared as a heritage site in 1986.

Ajanta Caves: These Buddhist caves were listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1983.

Ellora Caves: In 1983, the Ellora Complex which is an amalgamation of the religious art of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, was declared a world heritage site.

Elephanta Caves: The caves are located in Elephanta Island and are two groups of caves - Hindu caves and Buddhist caves. It was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus): The headquarters of the Central Railways; this railway station is a fine example of the Gothic revival architecture in India. Hence, in 2004 it was declared a World Heritage Site.

Sun Temple, Konarak: It was recognised in 1984 as a Heritage Site and is a monumental representation of the sun god's chariot.

Keoladeo National Park: A reserve for numerous local and migratory birds, UNESCO recognised it as a heritage site in 1985.

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur: Built during the 18th century, the collection of these architectural astronomical instruments became a part of the list of heritage sites in 2004.

Great Living Chola Temples: The temples, which date back to the 11th and 12th centuries, were inscribed in 2004 as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram: The temple town has about 40 monuments and the temples are in shapes of chariots or mandapas and were inscribed in 1984 as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh: Also known as the Red Fort of Agra, it became a part of the UNESCO's list in 1983.

Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh: The capital of the Mughal Empire, Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. In 1986, it was inscribed as a World heritage Site.

Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh: One of the Seven Wonders of the World, UNESCO included it in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.Mountain Railways of India: It includes three railways - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka-Shimla Railway. They were inscribed as World Heritage Sites in 1999, 2005 and 2008 respectively.

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks: Known for their natural beauty and indigenous flowers, the sites were recognised in 1988 and then got extension in 2005.

Sundarbans National Park: It has the world's largest mangrove forest and in 1987 was declared as World Heritage Site.

Western Ghats: Designated in 2012 as World Heritage Site, the Western Ghats are the nature's paradise in India.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Ranthambore), (Amber Sub-Cluster), (Jaisalmer), (Gagron): The majestic forts of Rajasthan recently got recognition as World Heritage Site.

Rani ki Vav, Gujarat: It is a stepwell and a distinctive form of water storage system. In 2014, it was added to the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Site.

Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh: The high alpine peaks, riverine forests and alpine meadows are a part of this national park. In 2014, it was included in the list of UNESCO'S World Heritage Site.


The World Heritage Sites in India are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as on 29, as of 2012

List of World Heritage Sites in India

Heritage Sites State
Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary Assam
Manas Wild Life Sanctuary Assam
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya Bihar
Humayun's Tomb Delhi
Qutb Minar and its Monuments Delhi
Red Fort Delhi
Churches and Convents of Goa Goa
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park Gujarat
Group of Monuments at Hampi Karnataka
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal Karnataka
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi Madhya Pradesh
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Group of Monuments Madhya Pradesh
Ajanta Caves Maharashtra
Ellora Caves Maharashtra
Elephanta Caves Maharashtra
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) Maharashtra
Konarak Sun Temple Odisha
Keoladeo National Park Rajasthan
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur Rajasthan
Great Living Chola Temples Tamil Nadu
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu
Mountain Railways of India Tamil Nadu
Agra Fort Uttar Pradesh
Fatehpur Sikri Uttar Pradesh
Taj Mahal Uttar Pradesh
Mountain Railways of India West Bengal
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks Uttarakhand
Sundarbans National Park West Bengal
Western Ghats Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka
Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Ranthambhore), (Amber Sub-Cluster, (Jaisalmer), (Gagron) Rajasthan