Top 10 World Heritage Sites In India
India has been the seat of the some early civilizations in the world. Its name appears in gold whenever we browse the history. It has seen some strongly established kingdoms, greatest rulers, spiritual gurus, cultures etc leaving behind their unique imprints and a rich legacy. Such legacies and remnants which showcase exemplary creative art, which depict important historical milestones, which encase prodigious natural beauty or which exceptionally represent any culture or civilization have all been given the status of World heritage Sites by UNESCO. For the ones who want to go for a heritage tour in India should definitely keep these top ten world heritage attractions in mind while planning out their tour:
1. Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal along with being a world heritage site is one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’. This beautiful monument built in white marble is situated in the erstwhile capital of Mughal empire- Agra. It was built was Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife and the love of his life- Mumtaz Mahal; it therefore stands as a symbol of pure and eternal love. Taj Mahal has combined the best architectural features of many Mughal buildings and is thus considered as a masterpiece. Resplendence of Taj Mahal grows manifold at sunrise and sunset.
2. Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Khajuraho is a group of temples located in the heart of India – Madhya Pradesh showcasing the architectural prowess of craftsmen of the Rajput Chandela dynasty. These were a group of 85 temples out of which only 20 have survived various attempts of demolition by Muslim rulers and neglect thereafter. Standing as one of the best examples of carving work, the exterior walls of these temples feature erotica, sculptures representing daily life and symbolic art depicting ancient Indian values. A heritage tour to Khajuraho temples will thus give you some excellent photographic opportunities which you should never miss out on.
Suggested Tour: 10 Days – Golden Triangle with North India Temple
3. Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar was declared to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. It was built by Qutab-Ud-Din Aibak as a victory tower to commemorate the triumph of Mohd. Ghori over his arch rival Prithvi Raj Chauhan (A Rajput King) and its construction was completed by Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak’s successors hence. Being the tallest monument in Delhi and the second tallest minaret in India, it is a remnant of the grandeur of Delhi Sultanate. What is noteworthy is that several parts of the Minar embrace Arabic and Persian inscriptions and Kufic calligraphy which tell the history of its construction and subsequent repair works.
Suggested Tour: Full Day Delhi Private Tour
Recommended Luxury Train Tour: 3 Nights 4 Days Delhi Tour Maharajas’ Express Train
Read Also: Top 5 Places To See on a One Day Delhi Tour
4. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri was the erstwhile capital of Mughal dynasty before being abandoned by Akbar due to complete failure of water supply system. This was constructed as a well planned city by Akbar when he decided to shift his capital from Agra. It has been conferred the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of the reason that it stands as one of the best examples of Mughal architectural finesse. A heritage tour to Fatehpur Sikri will let you explore some of its very impressive features like the Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khas, Jama Masjid etc. Buland Darwaza (literal meaning: The great gate) stands out in the whole complex because of it being the largest gateway in the whole world.
5. Sun Temple
Located in Konark, Odisha, this temple dates back to 13th It was constructed in the form of a very large ratha (a chariot) and was dedicated to the Sun God (as the name also suggests). Bearing magnificently carved out features (twelve pair of wheels and the chariot being driven by seven horses) with detailed craftswork done, it looks divine and resplendent. What is interesting to note is that the wheels are actually sun dials which makes it a hotspot for the people interested in ancient astronomy. It was bestowed with the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
Read More: Architectural Treasure: Sun Temple, Konark
6. Great Living Chola Temples
The Great Living Chola Temples are a group of three temples constructed during the Chola dynasty and they stand true to their name as they represent the splendour of powerful Chola monarchy. The three temples in the group are Brihadisvara Temple, Airavatesvara Temple and the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram. These are situated in the state of Tamil Nadu and they exhibit the brilliance of Dravidian architecture. During the reigns of Cholas, Tamil literature and art flourished like anything and the Chola temples are a perfect example of that.
Suggested Tour: 6 Days – Tamilnadu Cultural Tour
7. Ajanta Caves
Situated in Aurangabad, Maharashtra these caves date back to 2nd Century BC. These Buddhist caves are considered as one of the most outstanding artistic pursuits carried out in the olden times. About thirty in number, these remained abandoned for quite a lot of time as they were covered by dense forests before being rediscovered by a British officer. The surviving mural paintings in the caves are one of the finest paintings which represent the art of ancient India and are many times used as an inspiration by present day artists.
Read More: Ajanta & Ellora Caves Information
8. Ellora Caves
A heritage tour in Maharashtra will take you further to the Ellora caves. These 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 due to their cultural importance. Rock cut architectural style used in the construction of these caves is worth seeing as it looks very brilliant. We can get an idea about the religious concord that prevailed at that time as Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves were all located at the same site.
Read More: Cave Paintings in India
Suggested Tour: 6 Days – Ajanta and Ellora Caves Tours
9. Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is a delight for nature lovers and wildlife explorers. Situated in Assam, it is a home to 2 / 3rd s of world’s great one-horned rhinos. Along with this there are many other fauna and avifauna species as it is biodiversity hotspot. This is why it has been given the highest amount of protection under Indian laws that relate to wildlife conservation. The national park with its beautiful landscape and pristine surroundings is a popular destination for people who want to go on a nature heritage tour.
Recommended Luxury Train Tour: 7 Nights 8 Days Delhi to Mumbai Maharajas’ Express Train – Adventurous Drive at Ranthambore National Park
10. Mahabodhi Temple Complex
It is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The Mahabodhi Temple translates to the temple of great (maha) awakening (Bodhidharma). History lays down that Gautama Budhha sat under a peepal tree to meditate where he attained nirvana (enlightenment). This tree was called as the Bodhi tree and when Asoka the great visited this site, he constructed a temple besides the Bodhi Tree in 260 BC which is the Mahabodhi Temple. Knowing its past we can think of the reason why Mahabodhi temple complex has been designated as one of the World Heritage Sites. According to Jataka legends, earth’s navel lies at the place where Bodhi Tree is.
Read More: India’s Top 5 Hindu Temples
Suggested Tour: 10 Days – Golden moments in India Tour Package
Popular Tour Packages to Explore the Heritage Sites in India :