World Heritage Sites in India – Static General Awareness

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World Heritage Sites in India – Static General Awareness
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) lists and maintains the international World Heritage Programme. A UNESCO World Heritage Site can be any place such as a forest, lake, building, island, mountain, monument, desert, complex or a city; which has a special physical or cultural significance.
It was in the year 1972 that a resolution was adopted by the General Conference of the UNESCO with a 'Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage'.
The main objective of this resolution was to define the cultural and natural aspects of these sites. 
It was during the seventh session of the World Heritage in 1983 that the first two sites - Agra Fort and Ajanta caves - were acknowledged as the heritage sites. Since then, over 30 new places have been added to the list. The latest entry is the Great Himalayan National Park which was added in 2014.
There are 36 (28 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed) World Heritage Sites in India that are recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of August 2017. These are places of importance of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.

List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
1. Kaziranga National Park, Golaghat & Nagaon Districts in Assam
The sanctuary hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses and UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1985 for its unique natural environment.

2. Manas National Park, Jyoti Gaon, Assam
Also known as Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a Project Tiger reserve, Elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve. UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1985 for its unique natural environment.

3. Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodh Gaya, Bihar
Mahabodhi Temple Complex was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2002) as a unique property of cultural and archaeological importance. The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. It is the place where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was enlightened in 531 BC at age 35.

4. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
It was built in 1570 and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Monument in 1993 for its cultural importance and its Mughal architectural style has been acclaimed as the “necropolis of the Mughal dynasty”.

5. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
It was built in the beginning of the 13thcentury, the complex of structures comprises itineraries, the Alai Darwaza Gate (1311), the Alai Minar, the Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque, the tomb of Iltumish, and an Iron Pillar. It was inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List (1993) for its unique representation of the Islamic architectural and artistic excellence.

6. Red Fort Complex, Delhi
Red Fort Complex, also known as Lal Qila is a palace fort built in the 17th century by Shahjahan, the 5th Mughal emperor as part of his new capital city of Shahjahanabad, north of Delhi. It was inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List (2007).

7. Churches and Convents of Goa, Velha Goa(Old Goa), Goa
Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments inscribed by UNESCO under the World Heritage List in 1986 as cultural property. They were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments of Goa, known as the “Rome of the Orient”.

8. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Panchmahal, Gujarat
It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 as a cultural site. There is a concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties. The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city.

9. Group of Monuments at Hampi, Hampi, Bellary Dist, Karnataka
Hampi is a village and temple town was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara. Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city.

10. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Bagalakote, Karnataka
It was designated under UNESCO World Heritage List, in 1987, covers a remarkable series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain temple. These are a remarkable combination of temples built by the Chalukya Dynasty in the 6th to 8th century at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal, the latter city was known as the “Crown Rubies”.

11. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
Sanchi is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi. The Great Stupa is one of the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on January 24, 1989 for its unique cultural importance.

12. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Raisen District, Madhya Pradesh
The unique rock art has been discovered in 400 painted shelters. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters is some 30,000 years old. The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.

13. Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh
The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples built by Chandela dynasty. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures. It was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Sitein 1986 for its unique original artistic creation.

14. Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad District, Maharashtra
The caves include paintings and rock cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art, particularly expressive paintings that present emotion through gesture, pose and form. It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

15. Ellora Caves, Aurangabad District, Maharashtra
It is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple caves complexes in the world, and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Cave 16 of Ellora features the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world, the Kailasha temple, a chariot shaped monument dedicated to Shiva.

16. Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra
The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally “the city of caves”). The caves were designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

17. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway, Mumbai, Maharashtra
It is formerly known as Victoria Terminus is a historic railway station and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. It serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. The station was built in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

18. Sun Temple, Konarak, Odisha
Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the “Black Pagoda”). 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. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site inscribed in 1984 as cultural property.

19. Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a man-made and man-managed wetland and one of the national parks of India. It is conferred with World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985, as a natural property.

20. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan
The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II. It has been inscribed as cultural property on the UNESCO World Heritage List(2010).

21. Great Living Chola Temples, Brihadeeswarar temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram; Airavateshwarar Temple, Darasuram; Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
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 11th and 12th centuries. The site was inscribed under UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 as Cultural heritage.

22. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
They were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast. It was inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1984 as a cultural heritage.

23. Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh
Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort of Agra. It was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983, under cultural monument.

24. Fatehpur Sikri, Agra District, Uttar Pradesh
The city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal Emperor Akbar after his military victories over Chittor and Ranthambore and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585. It is also called walled city and Victorious City.It was inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986 as a cultural heritage.

25. Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
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.It was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.

26. Mountain railways of India, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (1999), Darjeeling, West Bengal; Nilgiri Mountain Railway (2005) Ooty, Tamil Nadu; Kalka-Shimla Railway, Himachal Pradesh
The Mountain Railways of India represents a collective listing of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Railway under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

27. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Chamoli District, Uttarakhand
Nanda Devi National Park was inscribed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. The latter was expanded and renamed to Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks in 2005.

28. Sundarbans National Park, Dayapur, Gosaba, West Bengal
It is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve covered by mangrove forests and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987).

29. Western Ghats
Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains is one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots”. 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.

30. Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Rajasthan
Hill Forts of Rajasthan, are a series of sites located on rocky outcrops of the Aravallis mountain range in Rajasthan. It consists of Chittorgarh-Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amer Fort, Jaisalmer Fort. It was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013.

31. Rani ki vav,  (TheQueen’s Stepwell), Patan, Gujarat
It is a famous stepwell It is famous for its size and sculpture. It was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.

32. Great Himalayan National Park, Kullu region in Himachal Pradesh
The Park was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites (2014). The Unesco World Heritage Site Committee granted the status to the park under the criteria of “outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation”.

33. Nalanda, Nalanda District, Bihar
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 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2016).

34. Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
The park gets its name from the mountain Kanchenjunga which is 8,586 metres (28,169 ft) tall, the third-highest peak in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2016).

35. The Architectural Work Of Le Corbusier, Chandigarh
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. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2016).

36. Historic City of Ahmadabad, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

The walled city of Ahmadabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah 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. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2017).

Notes on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India:
  • Great Living Chola Temples includes one Brihadeeswarar temple in Ariyalur districtof Tamil Nadu, one Airavateshwarar Temple in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu and another one Brihadeeswarar temple in Thajavur district of Tamil Nadu.
  • Mountain Railways of India includes Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in Darjeeling, West Bengal, Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Ooty, Tamil Nadu and Kalka-Shimla Railway in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Hill Fort of Rajasthan includes fort in Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambhore, Amber Sub-Cluster, Jaisalmer and Gagron
  • Western Ghats include 20 sites in the state ofKerala, 10 in Karnataka, 5 in Tamil Nadu and 4 in Maharashtra.