10 Must-Visit World Heritage Sites In India

OT Staff

UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India

India's World Heritage Sites encompass a fabric of ancient temples, architectural marvels, and natural wonders. Each site narrates a unique story, from Hampi's Vijayanagara ruins to the ethereal Ajanta and Ellora caves, showcasing India's rich heritage and cultural legacy.

Columns at Qutub Minar complex | Shutterstock

Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It has stunning architecture, intricate marble work, and symmetrical gardens, and it changes colour with sunlight - pinkish in the morning, white in the evening, and golden at night.

A view of the Taj Mahal through its arched entrance | Shutterstock

Ellora and Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Ajanta and Ellora Caves are ancient rock-cut caves representing Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Ajanta is known for its frescoes, while Ellora's Kailasa Temple is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Ellora Caves span over 2 km and are excavated from the Charanandri Hills.

Lord Buddha at Ellora | Shutterstock

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho is famous for its stunning Nagara-style temples adorned with intricate carvings depicting various facets of life, spirituality, and Kama Sutra themes. Originally, there were around 85 temples, but only about 20 remain today.

Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Khajuraho | Shutterstock

Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire and has stunning ruins amidst a surreal landscape, including the Virupaksha Temple, Vijaya Vittala Temple, and the Royal Enclosure. The ruins cover 26 sq km.

The iconic stone chariot at Hampi | Shutterstock

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Bodhgaya is where Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha. The site has the Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhi Tree, stupas, and monasteries. The Mahabodhi Temple, one of India's oldest brick structures, dates to the 3rd century BCE.

The Mahabodhi Temple of Bodhgaya | Shutterstock

Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai, Maharashtra

Mumbai's Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 92 buildings in the Fort precinct. It includes four architectural styles and surrounds the Oval Maidan, home to the High Court of Bombay and the University of Mumbai.

Rajabai clock tower of the University of Mumbai | Shutterstock

Architecture of Le Corbusier, Chandigarh

The Chandigarh Capitol Complex, designed by Le Corbusier, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Palace of Assembly, the Secretariat, and three monuments. This complex is an excellent example of modern architecture's unique cultural setting.

A part of the Chandigarh Capitol Complex | Shutterstock

Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, Karnataka

The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas are three 12th-13th century Hoysala-style temples that exhibit the architectural excellence of the Hoysala dynasty in magnificent architecture, hyper-realistic sculptures, and stone carvings. These temples have been recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

The intricate architecture of Hoysalas | Shutterstock

Santiniketan, West Bengal

Santiniketan is a residential school and art centre located in rural West Bengal. It was established in 1901 by Rabindranath Tagore, a famous poet and philosopher. The institution is based on ancient Indian traditions and promotes a vision of human unity that transcends religious and cultural boundaries.

A sculpture by Ramkinkar Baij at Santiniketan | Shutterstock

Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

Sundarbans is the world's largest tidal mangrove forest, known for its diverse wildlife, including Bengal tigers, saltwater crocodiles, and birds. Its unique ecosystem is shaped by daily tides.

A royal Bengal tiger in the mangroves of Sunderbans | Shutterstock

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