UNESCO World Heritage sites in India (UPDATED 2020)
A updated list of all UNESCO World Heritage sites in India till 2020:
Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)
City: Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, and Nagaon districts
one horned rhino in kaziranga national park
The Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the province of Assam in India and one of the province’s most important tourist attractions.
Named as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, this park is popular for its unique and natural environment.
Named as a reserved forest in 1908, it aimed at preserving the dwindling population of the rhinoceros species that inhabit the area.
Recognized a national park in 1974, it comprises several species of mammals and birds, and the habitat of the largest population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)
leaf like butterfly manas national park
Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this is another site in the Indian state of Assam This one is located within the plains in Manas River and the foot of the Himalayas.
Located in the Himalayan foothills, it is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
This sanctuary serves as home to various plant species and threatened species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
Elevated into a sanctuary until it was included in the “Project Tiger”, the sanctuary was developed into a tiger reserve.
it was restored with extensive conservation efforts in 2011, it was named as one of the World Heritage Sites in danger.
Mahabodhi Temple Complex (2002)
City: Both Gaya
Considered as one of the four holy sites relating to the life of Buddha, this temple complex is a World Heritage Site.
Built-in the 5th and 6th centuries, it is considered a holy place. Much of the property left today is part of the ruins of a temple complex. Constructed solely out of brick, it is one of the first Buddhist temples in India.
it started the development of brick architecture in the centuries to follow. UNESCO recognized both the temple area and the Lotus Pond around it in the listing.
Humayun’s Tomb (1993)
City: New Delhi
Humayuns Tomb New delhi
Introduced several innovations by the time it was built, this tomb was commonly referred to as the precursor to the Taj Mahal.
Built-in the 16th century, it was listed by UNESCO as a heritage site.
It was built for by the widow of Mughal Emperor Humayun and is a work of Mirza Ghiyath using the Mughal architectural style.
It has also earned the name “Necropolis of the Mughal dynasty”.
The property holds the tomb of Humayun and 150 tombs from the royal family.
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)
Composed of nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary, it is the most important architectural edifice belonging to this group of monuments in Hampi.
Built during the reign of the Chalukya Dynasty from the 6th to the 8th centuries, the temples also showcase a combination of architectural styles inspired by northern and southern India.
Qutb Minar and its Monuments (1993)Qutb minar New delhi
City: New Delhi
Inscribed into the list of World Heritage Sites in India by UNESCO in 1993, these complex monuments are among the popular sites in Delhi.
The main feature of the complex is the red sandstone tower, Qutb Minar, which rises to a height of over 72 meters.
Built-in the 13th century, these complex structures testify to the Islamic depredations during that time. (the materials used for constructing these structures were from the ruins of Jain and Hindu temples).
It is most notable for showcasing the artistic and architectural excellence of Islam.
Red Fort Complex (2007)
City: New Delhi
Built for the 5th Mughal Emperor, this palace fort was built in the 17th century.
Inscribed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, it remains culturally and historically significant for the unique architectural design that features a blend of Indian, Persian and Timuri styles.
Served as the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty, it is located in the center of the city.
This imposing piece of architecture derives its name from its impregnable red sandstone walls.
In addition to accommodating the emperors and their households, it was the ceremonial and political center of the Mughal state and the setting for events critically impacting the region.
Today, this monument is home to a number of museums that have an assortment of precious artifacts on display.
Every year, the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the national flag here on Independence Day. Made out of red sandstone, the enclosure wall surrounding this palace complex lends the place its name as the Red Fort Complex.
Churches and Convents (1986)
Old Goa Church
Declared as a World Heritage Site in 1986, churches and convents of Old Goa is the name given by UNESCO to a set of religious monuments located in Goa Velha (or Old Goa), in the state of Goa, India.
Dubbed as the “Rome of the Orient”, the main building included are:
St. Catherine’s Chapel
Church and Convent of Francis of Assisi
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Church of Saint Cajetan including the seminary
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
St. Augustine Tower
Built by the Portuguese colonial rulers during the 16th and 18th centuries in Goa, the Basilica of Born Jesus is the primary structure among these monuments, which also houses the tomb with the relics of St. Francis Xavier.
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Inscribed in 2004 as a cultural site, it holds a large collection of unexcavated archaeological properties within a prehistoric landscape.
A prehistoric Chalcolithic site and a hill fortress comprise this archaeological park.
From palaces to religious buildings, to fortifications and agricultural structures, all of these combine to making this site important to the region.
Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)
City: HampiGroup of Monuments at Hampi
This group of monuments dominates a somber but ostentatious town of Hampi.
Named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, the temples showcase how the town became an important religious center for the Hindu worshippers.
The Virupaksha temple and several other monuments comprise this cultural heritage site.
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
State: Madhya Pradesh
This site holds a collection of Buddhist monuments that date back from 200 to 100 BC. However, many believed that the site developed under the rule of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC. Until the 12th century, these sanctuaries serve as active Buddhist religious monuments. You will find a variety of structures in the area including palaces, monasteries, temples and monolithic pillars.
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
State: Madhya Pradesh
Inscribed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India in 2003, the repository of The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka paintings within sandstone formations expands up to nearly 2000 hectares of land area.
Believed to date back to the Mesolithic period, the most interesting part about these paintings is that the 21 villages that surround the area strongly correlate to the subject of these paintings.
Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)
City: Chhatarpur district
State: Madhya Pradesh
Attributed to the monuments of the Chandela dynasty in India, it is famous for its Nagar-style architectural symbolism and its erotic sculptures.
Masterfully combining the architecture and sculpture in its art form, it has a total of 85 temples built within this complex but only 22 survived.
All of these temples have been around since the 10th century. Inscribed by UNESCO in 1986, it is an artist proof of the Chandela Culture in India.
Ajanta Caves (1983)
City: Aurangabad district
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Buddhist cave system that was initially built in the 2nd century BC. These caves showcase richly decorated paintings and frescoes.
Many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group during the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries A.D).
The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence. Consisting of 31 rock-cut cave monuments, this site is believed to be representative of Buddhist religious art.
Ellora Caves (1983)
Ellora Caves Aurangabad
Located in Maharashtra, this site is a blend of religious arts from Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism practices.
Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, it is home to 34 monasteries and temples.
Notable for their artistic significance, these caves were sculpted into the rocks of the basalt cliffs. This site is notable for its reflection of the ancient civilization in India.
Elephanta Caves (1987)
State: MaharashtraElephanta Caves
This series of sculpted caves are located in Elephanta Island in India.
There are two groups of caves on this site: one group consists of five Hindu caves and the other consists of two Buddhist caves.
The rock-cut architecture used in both caves date back to the 5th century; however, it remains unknown as to exactly who built them. Listed as a World Heritage Site to further aid in its preservation efforts, the group of caves underwent renovation in 9170.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – formerly Victoria Terminus (2004)
This historic railway station is located in Mumbai, India. It is also the headquarters for the Central Railways in India. This station is one of the busiest in the country.
Designed by architect Frederick William Stevens during the 19th century, the completion of this project took 10 years. Originally named Queen Victoria.
Declared as a World Heritage Site in 2004, it features a Gothic architectural style.
Sun Temple, Konarak (1984)
City: KonarkSun Temple, Konarak
Another temple complex listed as a cultural site by UNESCO, The temple is attributed to king Narashima Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.
Shaped like a gigantic chariot with details including walls, pillars, and carved stone wheels, this temple is dedicated to Hindu Sun God Surya.
The majority of the temple is now in ruins. Also included in the list of the Seven Wonders of India, this temple is also called the Surya Devalaya.
Keoladeo National Park (1985)
State: RajasthanKeoladeo National Park
Also known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park, this bird sanctuary is a famous attraction in India.
It is one of few natural sites listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India that was inscribed in 1985.
Every year, there are thousands of birds that flock to the area, especially during winter.
Meanwhile, it also serves as home to over 230 species of birds. Declared a protected sanctuary in 1971, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Home to a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, the construction was commissioned for by Maharaja Jai Singh II. There are 5 facilities within in total that were built in different locations.
The one in Jaipur is the largest and best-preserved out of the five facilities.
UNESCO described it as an “expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts” during that time.
Great Living Chola Temples (1987)
City: Thanjavur, Gangaikonda Cholapuram
State: Tamil Nadu
Built during the 11th and 12th centuries, there are three temples included in this site. The temples are as follows: Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, Airavateshwarar Temple and Brihadeeswarar Temple in Gangaikondacholapuram.
All of these temples exemplify the architectural achievements of the Chola culture in India. It also showcases the other art forms they excelled in: bronze casting, painting and sculpture.
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
State: Tamil NaduCarvings found on the Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Founded by the Pallava kings during the 7th and 8th centuries, this collection of monuments is carved entirely from a rock.
The most distinctive features of the complex are the temples shaped like chariots, together with the cave sanctuaries and open-air reliefs.
Featuring thousands of sculptures made to glorify Shiva, another notable monument in the site is the Temple of Rivage.
Agra Fort (1983)
State: Uttar Pradesh
Also referred to as the Red Fort, this site is the best example of how the Mughal dynasty flourished in India.
It serves as the reminder of that opulent power that the empire held throughout its reign.
Listed as one of the World Heritage Sites in India in 1983, this site is culturally very significant.
Built from red sandstone and surrounded by towers, moats, palaces, and mosques, it is located next to the bank of the Yamuna River.
Fatehpur Sikri (1986)
State: Uttar PradeshFatehpur Sikri Agra
Dubbed as the “City of Victory”, this is a city in Agra district. Founded in the mid-16th century, it served as the capital for the Mughal Empire.
Abandoned due to political unrest, the city is significant for its wondrous creations and artistic designs.
Construction of a new walled city was planned after the victories were won, taking about 15 years of undergoing planning and construction.
It resulted in the construction of royal palaces, mosques, courts, private quarters and many other buildings.
Taj Mahal (1983)
State: Uttar Pradesh
Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is a notable tourist attraction not just in India but all over the world. It is a mausoleum and funerary mosque.
Commissioned for by Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was built in memory of his third wife after she died in 1631.
Exemplifying the principles of a Mughal architectural style, the edifice of the Taj Mahal is made purely out of white marble.
The overall architectural design combines elements from India, Persia, and Islam. It took 16 years to build the Taj Mahal and is, therefore, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Mountain Railways of India (1999, 2005, and 2008)
Cities: Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Kalka-ShimlaMountain Railways of India
This property is a combination of three railways in India that are located in the mountains. these railways were built in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Of the five, three railways are part of the Himalaya Mountains in Northern India.
Meanwhile, the other two are located in Southern India. Noted for their bold engineering solutions, these railways established a rail link in rugged terrain.
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988)
City: North Chamoli
State: UttrakhandNanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Expanded in 2005, the park includes the Valley of Flowers National Park. Listed one of the popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this park abounds in a variety of flora and fauna.
It is a park consisting of two core areas: Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park. The first site was inscribed in 1988, which is Nanda Devi National Park.
Sundarbans National Park (1987)
State: West BengalSundarbans National Park
Considered an important natural monument in India, it is a national park, tiger reserve and biosphere reserve.
Located in West Bengal, it is located adjacent to the Sundarban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh.
Filled with mangrove forest and a giant reserve for Bengal tigers, it is close to the Ganges Delta.
Aside from the tigers, several species of birds, reptiles, and invertebrates also inhabit the area. Declared a national park in 1984, it was initially a tiger reserve.
Western Ghats (2012)
States: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
This mountain range is located on the western part of India.
Listed as one of the world’s “biodiversity hotspots”, it falls under the Natural category for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
There are 39 properties in total that are included within this property, which includes wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves and national parks.
Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)
Located in Northern India, this World Heritage Site is of great beauty and structure.
Composed of six forts: Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort, and Jaisalmer Fort.
These forts are located within the Aravalli Range and date back to the 5th century AD.
Rani ki vav – The Queen’s Stepwell (2014)
Listed as a cultural monument of India by UNESCO, it is located in the town of Patan. Intricately constructed near the banks of Saraswati River, it is a subterranean water resource and storage system that was ahead of its time upon its construction in the third millennium BC.
Constructed featuring the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, it consists of seven levels of stairs, an inverted temple, and about 500 sculptures.
Great Himalayan National Park (2014)
State: Himachal PradeshA Valley in Himalayan National Park
Recently inscribed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list of 2014, this national park is located in the bosom of Kullu. Founded in 1984, the park consists of alpine meadows, alpine peaks, and riverine forests.
The glacial and snow meltwater is an important source for the water supply catchments below it. Additionally, it is home to many species of mammals, birds, reptiles, mollusks, amphibians, and insects.
Nalanda – Buddhist Monastery (2016)
City: Nalanda district
Inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, Nalanda is one of those sites. It is an archaeological site consisting of scholastic and monastic institutional remains that date back to the 3rd century BCE. Within the site, you will find artworks, stuccoes, stupas, shrines and viharas. Famous for educational and monastic purposes, this site is believed to be an important example of the development of Buddhism.
Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)
City: North Sikkim
This is another natural site to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India that is located in the Himalayan Mountain range. Composed of snow-capped mountains, this national park houses the third highest peak in the world – Mount Khangchendzonga. It also offers unique diversity in terms of landscape ranging from plains to valleys and glaciers.
The Architectural Works of Le Corbusier (2016)
State: Chandigarh (The Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh)
Spread out to over 17 sites in 7 different countries, the architectural works of Le Corbusier is one of those transnational properties. The other countries where these sites are located are Japan, France, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.
Historic City of Ahmadabad
Historic City of Ahmadabad (2017)
Founded in the early 15th century by Ahmad Shah I of Gujarat Sultanate, the historic city of Ahmadabad is a walled city in India.
It’s the capital and an important political and commercial centre of Gujarat. Recognized by UNESCO for its cultural value, this urban settlement continues to symbolize the heart of metropolitan Ahmedabad.
The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (2018)
As a global trading centre in the 19th century, Mumbai began modernizing and constructing a number of public buildings in the Victorian Neo-Gothic style then later in the Art Deco style in the early 20th century.
Known as Indo-Deco over time you can find this fascinating ensemble of buildings around the Oval Maidan, and the blended architectural styles show Mumbai’s growth as a fortified trading outpost to the first city of India.