“You don’t stumble upon your heritage. It’s there, just waiting to be explored and shared.” Our heritage is our identity and pride. This World Heritage Day, let us pledge to preserve and conserve it. Explore beautiful images of World Heritage sites in our very own Incredible India.
1. Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh
The Khajuraho Group of Monuments were built between 950 to 1050 CE under the reign of the Chandella dynasty. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for the Nagara style symbolism, erotic sculptures and sensuous stone carvings. The monuments are a testament to the outstanding ancient Indian architecture. The Kandariya temple is the most popular among all the temples in the Khajurao complex.
2. Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka
The Group of Monuments at Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage site located on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in northern Karnataka. It comprises of a collection of heritage sites boasting the Dravidian style of architecture. Hampi lies within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the glorious Vijayanagara Empire. The Virupaksha Temples is the most notable site amongst several others including the Krishna temple complex, Achyutaraya temple complex, Vitthala temple complex…
3. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Humayun’s Tomb was notably the first garden-tomb in India with beautiful causeways and channels. It was built in 1570 by Humayun’s widow Biga Begum and Mirza Ghiyat was the chief architect. The tomb is acclaimed as the “necropolis of the Mughal Dynasty” for its famous double domed elevation. The site also houses over 150 tombs of various members of the royal family.
4. Konark Sun Temple, Orissa
The Konark Sun Temple, built in the traditional style of Kalinga architecture is a 13th century heritage site. Situated in Konark, Orissa, it was built by King Narasimhadeva 1 of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple complex is constructed in the form of the Sun God’s magnanimous chariot with 24 wheels pulled by six carved horses. The Konark Sun Temple is believed to be one of the biggest Brahmin sanctuaries in India.
5. Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
“The City of Victory” was constructed between 1156-1605 by the famous Mughal Emperor, Akbar. The complex of monuments built in the Mughal style of architecture includes the Jama Masjid (one of the largest mosques in India), the Buland Darwaza (one of the most beautiful doors made of Australian wood which would sink in water), Panch Mahal (the place of origin of the Navaratnas) and the Tomb of Salim Chisti (the wise saint who predicted the birth of Akbar’s heir, Jahangir).
6. Group of Monuments Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Built by the Pallava Kings in the 7th and 8th centuries, the group of monuments in Mahabalipuram include the Ratha Temples (temples in the form of chariots), the Shore Temple, 11 Cave sanctuaries and the largest open-air rock relief “Descent of the Ganges”. These monuments are renowned for being carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast.
7. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Maharashtra
Formerly know as the Victoria Terminus, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is the headquarters of Mumbai’s Central Railway. It was built in Gothic Style by Frederick William Stevens between 1878-1888. This historic railway station is one of the busiest in India.
8. The Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu
Built by the kings of the Chola Empire in the 11th and 12th century, the Chola Temples are spread across Tamil Nadu. This heritage site includes three temples namely, the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The temples are a beautiful reflection of the intricate Chola architecture, sculpture art, painting and bronze casting.
9. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Located in Assam, in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River, Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for the one-horned rhinoceroses. The park consists of dense grasslands, forests, streams and lakes running through it. It was termed as a reserved forest in 1908 to keep a check on the decreasing number of rhinoceros. It is home to tigers, leopards, wild boars, swamp deers, wild water buffalos, gaurs and sambars to name a few.
10. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand
The Nanda Devi is the highest mountain peak of Uttarakhand and The Valley of Flowers is a national park nearby. Located in the Garhwal Himalaya of Uttarakhand, these national parks are home to diverse, rare and endangered wildlife including the snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, blue sheep and brown bear. Together they comprise the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve which is home to more than 600 species of Flora and 520 species of Fauna.
11. Taj Mahal, Agra
One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his wife, Begum Mumtaz Mahal. Located along the bank of River Yamuna in Agra, it is acclaimed as the “Jewel of Muslim Art in India”. It is constructed using white marble and boasts of Persian, Islamic and Indian architectural influences. It took 16 years to complete its construction and it cost 32 million rupees which in today’s time translates to 58 billion rupees. The Taj Mahal is perhaps the most famous heritage site of India.
12. Rani Ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat
Built in the 3rd millennium BC during the Solanki dynasty, Rani Ki Vav is an exemplary example of ancient Indian architecture. Legend has it that it was constructed by widowed queen Udayamati in the honour and memory of her husband Bhimdev 1. Rani-ki-vav is recognised for its stepped corridors, sculptures and intricate stone carvings. It is designed as an inverted temple and is divided into seven levels of wells each having it own importance according to the religious and mythological works mentioned in literature.
13. Hill forts of Rajasthan
The Hill forts of Rajasthan comprise of a series of heritage sites located on the rocky Aravallis. These hill forts which were once Rajput military strongholds are known for their defensive architecture and the strategic utilisation of the terrain’s defensive properties. The list of Rajput forts include Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Amber fort, Jaisalmer Fort and Gagron Fort. Some of the sites enclosed entire villages within their compound.