Natural and Cultural heritage are both integral to human existence. World Heritage Committee of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) identifies various sites across the world contributing to the cultural and natural heritage of an area in order to encourage the preservation of those sites.
India, being rich and diverse in terms of landscape, culture, history, etc., is home to as many as 30 cultural heritage sites, 7 natural heritage sites, and 1 of mixed category.
With a total of 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India so far, it becomes the sixth country in the world to have the highest number of World Heritage Sites.
Let exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India be the theme of your next trip! Come, book cheap flights to India and visit these beautiful places of great natural/historical/ cultural/ architectural importance.
Taj Mahal, Agra:
The acclaimed Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and an important Cultural World Heritage Site in India. This white marble mausoleum built by Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife stands as an awe-inspiring symbol of love.
Considered as the “Jewel of Mughal architecture,” the Taj Mahal is surrounded by vast Mughal Gardens on the right bank of the Yamuna River.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam:
Situated in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River, Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s highest population of the Great one-horned Rhinoceros and the Golden Tiger was also spotted in these terrains.
The wetlands, forests, and grasslands of this sprawling park also shelter endangered species like Asiatic elephants, tigers, wild water buffalos, swamp deer; aquatic species, including the Ganges River dolphin; and thousands of bird species, including migratory ones.
Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bihar:
Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya is a sacred pilgrimage spot for Buddhists across the world. Consisting of seven different Buddhist spiritual sites, it is famous for brick-built Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi Tree, where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment.
The main temple is 50-meter-tall and is one of the oldest Buddhist temples. Recognizing its cultural and archaeological significance, the Mahabodhi Temple Complex was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India in 2002.
Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim:
This UNESCO World Heritage Site in India is special as it is both a natural and cultural heritage site, i.e., the first and the only mixed heritage site in India. Also known as Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve, this high-altitude park spreading over 850 sq.km is located at the heart of the Himalayan Mountain Ranges.
Inhabited by a diverse species of flora and fauna, including snow leopard, musk deer, red panda, Himalayan blue sheep, Himalayan black bear, the park’s landscape features plains, alpine lakes, steep-sided valleys, and glaciers.
Jaipur was recently added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in India (in July 2019). Known as the Pink City, the fortified city of Jaipur gives a glimpse of the royal heritage of India.
Famous for its splendid forts, palaces, gardens, temples, museums, and shopping bazaars, Jaipur is also an important hub for arts and crafts. The popular tourist attractions in Jaipur are Hawa Mahal, Amber fort, City Palace, Govind Dev temple, Jantar Mantar, etc.
Stretching along the West coast of the Indian Peninsula, the Sahyadri mountain ranges or the Western Ghats is not only an important UNESCO World Heritage Site in India, but also features in the top twenty biodiversity hotspots in the world.
Along with 325 rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, these mountain ranges are known to house thousands of flowering and non-flowering plant species, hundreds of varieties of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, etc.
Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu:
Built in Dravidian style during the 11th and 12th centuries, the Great Living Chola Temples consist of three temples in Tamil Nadu dedicated to Lord Shiva, namely Brihadeeswarar temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Thanjavur, and Airavateshwarar Temple at Darasuram.
Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram features 53 m tall vimana (sanctum tower), whereas Airavatesvara temple has 24 m vimana. They stand as a testimony to the Chola kingdom’s grandeur and finesses in art and architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.