List of World Heritage Sites in India: State wise & Facts
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are important places of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.
There are 38 World Heritage Sites located in India. These include 30 cultural sites, seven natural sites and one mixed-criteria site.India has the sixth largest number of sites in the world.
♦Maharashtra (5 Heritage site)♦
- Ajanta Caves (World Heritage Tag-1983): The Ajanta Caves are Budhhists caves built in two phases. The first, was from the reign of Emperor Ashoka. The second, further additions were made during the 5th and 6th centuries AD of the Gupta period. The caves depict richly decorated fresco paintings, reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings and sculptures in Sri Lanka. There are 31 rock-cut cave monuments which are unique representations of the religious art of Budhhism.
- Ellora Caves (World Heritage Tag-1983): The Ellora Caves, also known as the Ellora Complex, are a cultural mix of religious arts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. 34 monasteries and temples sculpted contiguously into rock walls of a high basalt cliff are seen along a length of 2 kilometres (1.2 mi). Dated to 600 to 1000 AD, they are a reflection of artistic creation of the ancient civilization of India.
- Elephanta Caves (World Heritage Tag-1987): The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally “the city of caves”) in Mumbai Harbour.consists of two groups of caves — the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves.
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (World Heritage Tag-2004): The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a historic railway station in Mumbai, which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. It is one of the busiest railway stations in India, and serves Central Railway trains terminating in Mumbai as well as the Mumbai Suburban Railway.
- The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (World Heritage Tag-2018): This is a collection of the Victorian Gothic buildings and Art Deco buildings. They are the Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower, Eros Cinema and the University of Mumbai
♦Uttar Pradesh (3 Heritage site♦
- Agra Fort (World Heritage Tag-1983): They were built from the 16th century onward until the early 18th century. This corresponds to Emperor Akbar’s reign in the 16th century to that of Aurangzeb in the early part of the 18th century, including the contributions made during the reign of Jahangir and Shahjahan of the Moghul Rule in India.
- Taj Mahal (World Heritage Tag-1983): The Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is a mausoleum — a funerary mosque. It was built by Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his third wife Begum Mumtaz Mahal who had died in 1631.
- Fatehpur Sikri (World Heritage Tag-1986) : Fatehpur Sikri, “the City of Victory,” was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556–1605). It was the capital of the Empire and seat of the grand Mughal court but only for 14 years.
♦Odisha (1 Heritage site)♦
- Sun Temple (World Heritage Tag-1984): The Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the “Black Pagoda”), at Konark, in Odisha. Located on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal in the Mahanadi Delta, it is built in the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god with 24 wheels, and is heavily decorated with symbolic stone carvings and led by a team of six horses.
Tamil Nadu (2 Heritage site,2 Shared Site )
- Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (World Heritage Tag-1984): The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, in Tamil Nadu, about 58 km (36 mi) from Chennai, were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. The town has gained prominence under the rule of Mamalla. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast. The temple town has approximately forty monuments, including the largest open-air bas-relief in the world.
- Great Living Chola Temples (World Heritage Tag-1987): The Great Living Chola Temples, built by kings of the Chola Empire stretched over all of Tamil Nadu. This cultural heritage site includes three great temples of the 11th and 12th centuries namely, the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.
- Mountain Railways of India, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Ooty (World Heritage Tag-2005): Nilgiri Mountain Railway followed suite as an extension to the site in 2005
Note: Western Ghat, Mountain Railways of India shared site with other state
♦Assam (2 Heritage site)
- Kaziranga National Park (World Heritage Tag-1985): It was first established as a reserved forest in 1908 to protect the dwindling numbers of rhinoceros. It underwent several transformations over the years, as The Kaziranga Game Sanctuary in 1916, renamed Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950, and declared a national park in 1974. Kaziranga National Park is the name to exemplify the most popular conservation efforts to save the endangered species like one-horned rhinoceros in India.
- Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (World Heritage Tag-1985): The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the northeastern state of Assam covers an area of 50,000 hectares (120,000 acres) in the plains of the Manas River in the foothills of the Himalayas, on the border with Bhutan (contiguous with the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan). In 1907, it was declared a reserve forest, a sanctuary in 1928, and became a tiger reserve in 1973 as part of “Project Tiger” and a World Heritage Site in December 1985.
Note: Since 1992, the sanctuary was listed under “The World Heritage in Danger” but removed in 2011 after significant conservation efforts.
♦Rajasthan (4 Heritage site)
- Keoladeo National Park (World Heritage Tag-1985): The Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur is located within the Indus-Ganges Monsoon Forest Biogeographical Province. It was declared a national park in 1982. In 1900 it was a duck-hunting reserve of the Maharajasof Bharatpur, then became a bird sanctuary in 1956, with the Maharajas exercising shooting rights until 1972. It was recorded as a Ramsar Wetland site in 1981.
- The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (World Heritage Tag-2010): The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modelled after the one that he had built at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur.
- Hill Forts of Rajasthan (World Heritage Tag-2013): Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambhore, Amber Sub-Cluster, Jaisalmer, Gagron
- Jaipur (World Heritage Tag-2013): The fortified city of Jaipur, in India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II. Unlike other cities in the region located in hilly terrain, Jaipur was established on the plain and built according to a grid plan interpreted in the light of Vedic architecture. The streets feature continuous colonnaded businesses that intersect in the centre, creating large public squares called chaupars. Markets, stalls, residences and temples built along the main streets have uniform facades.
♦GOA (1 Heritage site)
- Churches and Convents of Goa (World Heritage Tag-1986): The Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments inscribed by UNESCO under the World Heritage List in 1986 as cultural property, under criteria (ii),(iv) and (vi), which were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between the 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments are mainly in the former capital of Velha Goa.
♦Madhya Pradesh (3 Heritage site)
- Khajuraho Group of Monuments (World Heritage Tag-1986): The Khajuraho Group of Monuments attributed to the Chandela dynasty which, under sovereignty of Gurjar Pratihars reached its glory. The ensemble of monuments that have survived belong to the Hindu and Jain Religious practices with striking fusion of sculpture and architecture.
- Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (World Heritage Tag-1989): The Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, located 45 kilometres (28 mi) from Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are a group of Buddhist monuments dated between 200 BC and 100 BC. The site, however, has been conjectured to have been developed in the 3rd century BC, when Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire ruled. The principal monument is Stupa 1 dated to the 2nd century and 1st century BC.
- Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (World Heritage Tag-1989): The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka described in the UNESCO Inscription as “the site complex … a magnificent repository of rock paintings within natural rock shelters” is located in the foothills of the Vindhya range of hills in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
♦Karnataka (2 Heritage site, 1 Shared site )
- Group of Monuments at Hampi (World Heritage Tag-1986) Ballari district: The Group of Monuments at Hampi comprise a sombre but ostentatious Hampi town, on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka. Hampi subsumes the ruins of Vijayanagara, which was the former capital of the powerful Vijayanagara Empire. Dravidian temples and palaces abound in Hampi. These won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Hampi, as an important Hindu and Jain religious centre.
- Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Bagalkot District (World Heritage Tag-1987): This group of temples, the Virupaksha Temple, built c. 740 by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s (King Vikramaditya II) victory over the Pallava kings from the south, is considered the most outstanding architectural edifice (This is different from the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi.) These are a remarkable combination of temples built by the Chalukya Dynasty in the 6th to the 8th century at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal, the latter city was known as the “Crown Rubies”.
Note: Western Ghat shared site
♦West Bengal (1 Heritage site,1 Shared site)
- Sundarbans National Park (World Heritage Tag-1987): The Sundarbans National Park, the largest estuarine mangrove forest in the world is a national park, tiger reserve, World Heritage Site and a biosphere reserve located in the Sundarbans Ganges river delta bordering the Bay of Bengal, in West Bengal.
- Mountain Railways of India, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling (World Heritage Tag-1999): The World Heritage UNESCO recognition of these mountain railways of India has been stated as for being “outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain”. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was recognized first in 1999.
Note: Mountain Railways of India shared site
♦Uttarakhand (1 Heritage site)
- Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (World Heritage Tag-1988): The Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks are nestled high in West Himalaya. Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. It is located in the Garhwal Himalaya of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep.
♦Delhi (3 Heritage site)
- Humayun’s Tomb (World Heritage Tag-1993): Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi, the first tomb built with several innovations, set at the centre of luxurious gardens with water channels, was the precursor monument to the Taj Mahal (built a century later). It was built in 1570 and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Monument in 1993 for its cultural importance.
- Qutb Minar and its Monuments (World Heritage Tag-1993): The Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi, located to the south of Delhi, is a complex with the Qutb Minar as the centre piece, which is a red sandstone tower of 72.5 metres (238 ft) height with a base of 14.32 metres (47.0 ft) reducing to 2.75 metres (9.0 ft) diameter at the top. Built in the beginning of the 13th century, the complex of structures comprises itineraries, the Alai Darwaza Gate (1311), the Alai Minar (an incomplete mound of the intended Minar or tower), the Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque (the earliest existing mosque in India), the tomb of Iltutmish, and an Iron Pillar.
- Red Fort Complex (World Heritage Tag-2007): The Red Fort Complex, also known as Lal Qila is a palace fort built in the 17th century by Shahjahan (1628–58), the fifth Mughal emperor as part of his new capital city of Shahjahanabad.
♦Himachal Pradesh (1 Heritage site,1 Shared site)
- Mountain Railways of India, Kalka-Shimla Railway (World Heritage Tag-2008): In 2008 the Kalka–Shimla Railway was further added as an extension; and the three together have been titled as Mountain Railways of India under Criteria: ii, iv under the region in the Asia-Pacific. The claim of the Matheran Hill Railway, the fourth mountain railway, is pending acceptance by the international body.
- Great Himalayan National Park (World Heritage Tag-2008): The Great Himalayan National Park at Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests.
Note: Mountain Railways of India shared site
♦Bihar (2 Heritage site)
- Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (World Heritage Tag-2002): The Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (Buddha Gaya).The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC (260 BC) around the Bodhi Tree Ficus religiosa (to the west of the temple). However, the temples seen now are dated between 5th and 6th centuries AD. The structures have been built in bricks. Revered and sanctified as the place where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was enlightened in 531 BC at age 35, and then propagated his divine knowledge of Buddhism to the world, it has been the ultimate temple for reverential worship, over the last several centuries, by Buddhists of all denominations, from all over the world who visit on pilgrimage.
- Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda (World Heritage Tag-2016): The Nalanda Mahavihara site is in the State of Bihar, in north-eastern India. It comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal. Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years.
♦Gujarat (3 Heritage site,1 Shared site)
- Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (World Heritage Tag-2002): There is a concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape which includes prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat. The site also includes, among other vestiges, fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts, agricultural structures and water installations, from the 8th to the 14th centuries.
- Rani ki vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) (World Heritage Tag-2014): Rani ki vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat, is a famous stepwell It is famous for its size and sculpture. Most of the sculptures are in devotion to Vishnu, in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki, Rama, Mahisasurmardini, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi and others representing their return to the world. Nagkanya, Yogini beautiful women – Apsara showcasing 16 different styles of make-up to look more attractive called Solah-shringar.
- Historic City of Ahmedabad (World Heritage Tag-2017): The walled city of Ahmedabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah I in the 15th century, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati River, presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.
Note: Western Ghat shared site
♦Sikkim (1 Heritage site)
- Khangchendzonga National Park (World Heritage Tag-2016): Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern India (State of Sikkim), the Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.
♦Chandigarh (1 Heritage site)
- The Architectural Work Of Le Corbusier (World Heritage Tag-2016): Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites comprising this transnational serial property are spread over seven countries. Urban and Architectural Work of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh, is home to numerous architectural projects of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Matthew Nowicki and Albert Mayer.
- Western Ghat (World Heritage Tag-2016): Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster, Periyar Sub-Cluster, Anamalai Sub-Cluster, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster, Talakaveri Sub-Cluster (five properties), Kudremukh Sub-Cluster (five properties), Sahyadri Sub-Cluster.
- The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, a mountain range along the western side of India and one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots” (sub cluster nomination). A total of thirty nine properties (including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests) were designated as World Heritage Sites – twenty in the state of Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.