Across the globe Currently there are 1121 number of heritage sites that are being considered and counted by UNESCO. Out of these 1121 number of heritage sites 869 number of heritage sites are considered as cultural and 213 are considered as Natural sites. Places that are considered in the Indian heritage sites include Ajanta and Ellora caves ,the Taj Mahal ,the Agra Fort ,the fatehpur sikri, the Sunderbans and many more are included in this list. The list is going and never ending as India has a very beautiful heritage and culture.
Table of Contents
WORLD HERITAGE SITES BY UNESCO
1. AJANTA CAVES
The Ajanta caves which are located in the north eastern Maharashtra in Ajanta village are the temples and monasteries from the Buddhist rock cut caves which are often mostly celebrated by their paintings on the wall.
During the 1st and the 7th century BCE there was excavation of some of the 30 caves which consists of two different types. These are the chaityas and also the viharas. The rich ornamentation and the sculpture of the caitya pillars are splendid. Colourful Buddhist legends and divinities are depicted by these paintings with vitality and full exuberance that is unsurpassed by the Indian art. In 1983 , the caves were recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
2. THE AGRA FORT
The fort of Agra which is also known as the Agra quila , is situated in Agra , India. In 1983 , it was named and tagged as the world heritage site by UNESCO. The Agra fort is situated around 2.5 km away from the mighty Taj Mahal. It was the year 1565 AD , when it was designed and built by the great mughal emperor Akbar. During the ancient times , Agra was the capital of India during the ancient times . Along this beautiful fort , runs the Yamuna river and it is thus built alongside it. The total area of the fort is 94 acre. And the fort has a semi circular plan. In total the fort has 4 gates out of which two of the fort’s gates are named as the Lahori gate and the Delhi gate. The Agra fort was built after the Emperor Akbar came back from Fatehpur Sikri due to shortage of water in the area. The prince and the next Mughal emperor Jahangir was also born in the Agra Fort itself. The Agra Fort was thus made alongside the Yamuna river for water related issues so that they could be solved and in future there was no scarcity. The Agra fort was made wonderfully and amazingly and also by brilliant workers from all over the globe.
It is situated in one of the historical cities of India, the Agra , located in Uttar Pradesh. Till 1638 , the Agra fort was the main residence of the Mughal Dynasty of all the emperors. But after 1638 , Delhi was the new capital to the Mughals as it was shifted from Agra due to many reasons. The Agra fort is considered as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Taj Mahal which is also known as its famous sister , this monument is situated 2.5kms northwest from the mighty Taj. A walled city can be resembled to the fort. In Ibrahim Lodhi’s palace , Babur who had attained victory had stayed in the fort after his victory in 1526 from the first battle of Panipat. Later on, a baoli was built by him in the fort. And following the years in 1530 , his prince Humayun was later crowned as the successor in the fort. But Humayun was then soon defeated in 1540 by Sher Shah Suri in Bilgram . Due to this , till 1555 the fort had remained in the trap of the Suris but it was soon recaptured by Emperor Humayun. Hemu , who was the general of Adil Shah Suri , had recaptured Agra in 1556.The governor was pursued by Hemu and fled to Delhi where in the battle of Tughlagabad he was encountered with the Mughals. Due to its central situation, it’s importance was soon realized by Emperor Akbar who came in Agra in 1558 and soon made it his capital. It was realized by the historian of Emperor Akhbar who was none other than Abul Fazal that it was a brick fort which could be named as badalgarh. It was at that time in a very ruined condition and all the walls and segments were very poor and destroyed but then it was Emperor Akbar who had made it built and renovated by calling the workers throughout the globe. Majorly it was the use of red sandstone through which it was built. The red sandstone was majorly taken from the Dhaulpur district from Rajasthan and also the Barauli area in it. The plan of the architects was to make it with bricks in the inner area and the outer area could be made with red sandstone and covered properly. The construction work continued for 8 long years and some 4000 builders had daily worked upon it. And thus it was then finally and fully completed in 1573. The site was taken in its current state in the reign of Emperor Akbar’s grandson the Shah Jahan. He made the mighty Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. But unlike his own grandfather the grandson would always like to build the monuments with White Marbles rather than using much red sandstone. Shah Jahan was restrained and deposed by his son Aurangeb during the end of his life in the fort. Musamman Burj , which is a tower of the Taj Mahal with a white marble balcony, it is often rumoured that Shah Jahan had died there instead of the Agra Fort. During the 18th century, it is well known that the Agra fort was captured and attacked by the maratha empire. And thereafter the fort had changed many hands between the marathas and their foes a lit number of times. After their defeat, at the third battle of Panipat which was led by Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1761 for the next decade , the marathas remained totally out of their region. The fort was taken in 1785 by Mahadji Shinde. The fort was also a site of rebellion during the 1857 war with the Britishers.
3. TAJ MAHAL
Taj Mahal is also known as the symbol of love which was built by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632. The Taj Mahal took over a span of 22 years to be fully built. It is situated in Agra around 2.5 kms from the Agra Fort. It was built for his wife Mumtaz Mahal to be immortalized who had died in 1632 due to childbirth. The Taj Mahal is situated on the eastern part of the Agra city on the right or eastern bank of the Yamuna River. Ustad Ahmed Lahauri who was the chief builder of the Taj Mahal was an Indian of persian descent. The complex consists of the main elements which are the main gateway , the garden , the mosque , the jawab and the mausoleum. During 1638 – 1639 more than 20000 workers were hired from Europe, India , Persia , Ottoman Empire to get the mausoleum completed itself at 1638-1639. All the buildings which were adjunct were completed by 1643 and the decoration was completed by at least 1647. The total land was 44 acre in general . There was a tradition that was being told at that time that a mausoleum that was being built across the river for his own remains was not brought out to be successful as Shah Jahan was being captured and imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb in the Agra Fort for the rest of his life.
There are a group of temples of the hindus and jains in the district of Chhatarpur , Madhya Pradesh which are situated approximately 175 kms southeast of Jhansi city. These temples are considered as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The architectural symbolism of the temples which is famous for nagara styles and erotic sculptures.
Mostly the Khajuraho temples were built during the ancient times of 885 AD and 1050 AD by the help of Chandela Dynasty. By the 12th century, the Khajuraho temples record 85 temples which are spread over a land of 25 square kms . But unfortunately out of these only 25 temples have survived which are spread over an area of 6 square kms. The Kandariya Mahadev Temple which is from one of the surviving temples is always splendid and decorated with a profusion of sculptures with details and expressiveness and symbolism of the ancient Indian Art.
The boys used to live in hermitages when these temples were built . This was done by the help of the sculptures to learn the meaning of household by remaining brahmacharis until manhood.
The very famous sun temple of Konark is situated in the Puri district of the Odisha state . Konark lies towards the Bay of Bengal and is 60 kms away from the capital city of the state Bhubaneswar . The sun temple also known as the black pagoda which was built from black granite during the reign of the king Narsimha Deva I. The temple is considered as a world heritage site. But on today’s date , the temple is mostly at its ruins and the collection of the sculptures are housed all in the sun temple museum konark. This museum is run by the Archeological survey of India.
The Konark Dance festival is also a very famous annual dance festival which is being celebrated and is devoted purely to indian dance forms which includes the traditional and classical dance of India the Odissi .
6. KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK
In the area of the Golaghat , karbi anglong , and the Nagaon district of the state of Assam , this National park is situated. This sanctuary has hosted almost 2/3rd of the world’s one horned rhinoceros and is considered as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The population of the Rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park is around 2413 according to the census which was held in March 2018 and was conducted jointly by twasForest Department of the government of Assam , and also some of the recognized wildlife NGOs . Out of the total 1641 adult rhinos , 642 were males , 794 were females and 203 rhinos were unsexed. 387 were sub-adults out of which 116 males and 149 females were there and 122 were unsexed. And the remaining 387 were calves.
7. THE SUNDERBANS
In the bay of bengal , the delta that is formed by the confluence of the Ganga river , Brahmaputra river and the Meghna river gave us the Sundarbans which lies in the Mangrove area . In the Indian state of west bengal , it spans from the Hooghly river till the River Baleshwar in the area of Khulna which is present in Bangladesh currently. Closed and open Mangrove forests are composed of them , it also comprises land that is used for the purpose of agriculture , barren land and mudflats. It is intersected by various tidal streams and also the channels. The protected areas in the Sunderbans are four in total which are enlisted as the World Heritage Sites are the Sunderbans National park , Sunderban south , Sunderban West , Sunderban east and Sunderbans wildlife sanctuaries. In the 2020 assessment, despite all these restrictions and things , the sunderbans were considered endangered in the framework of IUCN red list of ecosystems.
A total area of 10000 square kms is covered by the Sundarban Mangrove forest out of which 6017 square kms lies in the Khulna division of Bangladesh and 4260 square km is extended in the West Bengal division.
Most abundant species present are the Sundri and the Gewa trees . Habitat is provided by the forest to 453 fauna species, which includes 290 birds, 120 fish , 42 mammal and various amphibian species and reptile species.
8. GREAT LIVING CHOLA TEMPLES
The great living chola temples are also considered as a World heritage site by UNESCO which is a group designated to the Chola dynasty era , the temple of the hindus in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The monument which were completed in the early 11th and 12th century CE includes
1. BRIHADISVARA TEMPLE at THANJAVUR.
2. BRIHADISVARA TEMPLE at GANGAIKONDACHOLAPURAM
3. AIRAVATESHWARA TEMPLE AT DARASURAM.
In 1987 , the Temple complex at Thanjavur was recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. In the year 2004 later on , the Airavatesvara temple and the Brihadisvara temple complex were added as an extension to it.
9. HUMAYUN’S TOMB
The Humayun’s Tomb which is also known as Humayun ka maqbara was the tomb of the great mughal emperor Humayun. At present it is situated in Delhi , India. Empress Bega Begum who was also known as Haji Begum was the first wife of Emperor humayun and also the chief consort made the tomb built in 1558. The chief architect for the project was Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son Sayyid Mohammed and some other persian architects which were chosen by her.
In the Indian subcontinent, it was the first ever garden tomb and is located in Nizamuddin east Delhi , India which is close to the Dina paneh citadel also called as the purana qila or the old fort which was also founded by Humayun in 1553. It was the year 1993 when the tomb was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO .
10. CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ TERMINUS
The chhatrapati shivaji maharaj terminus is the very historic railway station and also a World heritage site by UNESCO that is situated in Mumbai , Maharashtra at present day.
The former name of the terminus was Victoria Terminus and also the Bori Bunder Railway station. It was opened 168 years ago in the year of 1853. And was soon rebuilt in 1888 , 133 years later.
Fredrick William Stephans who was a british born architect had designed the terminus from the design of Axel Haig which was then executed in the Italian Gothic Style. It’s construction started in the year 1878 and took around years when it was completed by the year 1888.