UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of  United Nations. UNESCO was created for the conservation and protection of the worlds inheritance of books, works of art and monuments of history and science. As of now there are 36 world Heritage sites in India. 28 cultural sites and 8 natural sites. 

This article describes the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Aspirants of various Banking and other competitive exams like RRB, CDS, LIC AO, RBI, SSC, UPSC, FCI, UIIC, OICL, SBI Clerks and PO can expect 2-3 mark questions on this.

 

UNESCO has adopted an International Treaty Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on 16 November 1972, with an intent to identify, protect and conserve landmarks (city, complex, building, desert, monuments, ancient ruins, mountains, lakes, complexes, islands, forests) which have outstanding historical, cultural or some other form of significance. The sites listed/recognized by the UNESCO belong to everyone (universal application) irrespective of the continents/countries they belong to and come under the protection zone of UNESCO. These landmarks which have been officially recognized by the UNESCO are called as World Heritage Sites.

 

Below are the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India:

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 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 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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

Sundarbans National Park: It has the world’s largest mangrove forest and in 1987 was declared as 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. 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Humayuns Tomb

Delhi

Built in 1570 and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Monument in 1993 for its cultural importance.

Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary

Assam

Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary (Assam) is in flood plains of the Brahmaputra Rivers south bank, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 for its unique natural environment. It was established as a reserved forest in 1908 to protect species of rhinoceros. It was named as Kaziranga Game Sanctuary in 1916, Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950, and declared a national park in 1974.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya

Bihar

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2002

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

Assam

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is in Assam and covers area of 50,000 hectares. It is on Border with Bhutan and is contiguous with Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan. It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 for its unique natural environment.

Qutb Minar and its Monuments

Delhi

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1993

Red Fort Complex

Delhi

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2007

Ajanta Caves

Maharashtra

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1983

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

Madhya Pradesh

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1989

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Gujarat

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2004

Churches and Convents of Goa

Goa

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1986

Group of Monuments at Hampi

Karnataka

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1986

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

Karnataka

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1987

Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Madhya Pradesh

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1986

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

Madhya Pradesh

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2003

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)

Maharashtra

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2004

Elephanta Caves

Maharashtra

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1987

Ellora Caves

Maharashtra

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1983

Great Living Chola Temples

Tamilnadu

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1987

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Tamilnadu

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1984

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Rajasthan

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2010

Keoladeo National Park

Rajasthan

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1985

Sun Temple, Konarak

Odisha

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1984

Agra Fort

Uttar Pradesh

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1983

Fatehpur Sikri

Uttar Pradesh

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1986

Taj Mahal

Uttar Pradesh

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1983

Mountain Railways of India

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (West Bengal)

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1999

Nilgiri Mountain Railway (Ooty, Tamil Nadu)

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2005

Kalka-Shimla Railway (Himachal Pradesh)

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2008

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Uttarakhand

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1988 and Extension in 2005

Sundarbans National Park

West Bengal

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1987

Western Ghats

 

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2012. Western Ghats (Sahyadri Mountains) are a mountain range along western side of India and one of the worlds ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots”. Total 29 properties (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests) were designated as world heritage sites – 20 in Kerala, 10 in Karnataka, 5 in Tamil Nadu and 4 in Maharashtra.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambhore, Amber Sub-Cluster, Jaisalmer, Gagron)

Rajasthan

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2013

Rani ki vav (The Queen’s Stepwell)

Gujarat

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2014

Great Himalayan National Park

Himachal Pradesh

Added in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2014

 

  1. Three new sites added in 2016 : Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) in Bihar , The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh and Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim.
  2. In 2017, the Walled City of Ahmedabad, founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in the 15th century, has been declared India’s first World Heritage City.

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