India, a fiery and intoxicating country, is always famous for offering travelers a spectacular blend of people, cultures and landscapes. The sheer history and diversity of the country makes it spellbinding and the presence of breathtaking natural wonders simply makes each journey even more exciting. Spirituality and wellness are two of the biggest highlights of your Indian adventures, but its exotic architecture and outstanding historical sites also ensure that India ranks high in the list of history and culture buffs. There are more than 1000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world, with 35 of them being located in India. Each Indian site on UNESCO’s list is considered to be a superstar attraction in its own right, so it isn’t uncommon for people to have their own list of favorites. That said, there are a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India which deserve a special mention simply because of the fact that they’re incredibly unique for the world hasn’t seen anything else like them.
Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh
Taj Mahal, a mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. Millions get drawn to its gates year after year for that once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of the most beautiful building on the planet. The Emperor himself said that it made the sun and the moon shed tears and Rudyard Kipling also described it as the embodiment of everything pure. Perhaps Poet Rabindranath Tagore best described it as a teardrop on the cheek of eternity, for every trip to this iconic landmark is bound to arouse all sorts of emotions within you – right from a sense of amazement to soul-shattering grief.
Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
If you’re searching for evidence of aliens, look no further than the Ellora Caves. These ancient Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples have been excavated out of the hills and are the best examples of rock-cut architecture on the planet. The site features 34 temples and monasteries which have been sculpted out of a high basal cliff between the years 600 to 1000 AD. Make sure that you visit the Kailasa Temple, for it is one of the most unique temples on the planet and truly showcases ancient Indian architecture at its beautiful best. This is the only temple on the planet where an entire mountain was carved from the top to create the temple complex. This means that the builders had to carve each piece, plan for each passage and design every carving as they worked their way down, with zero tolerance for error. To think that this temple was built in less than 18 years makes you wonder how over 400000 tons or rock was removed in such a short time, a feat which is considered to be next to impossible using our advanced machines as well. Makes you wonder just how such exotic pieces of architecture came into existence in the first place. Was it sheer brilliance or was it something else?
Monuments of Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi, located in Vijayanaga, features an ancient collection of monuments that are considered to be the best examples of Dravidian architecture on the planet. A trip to Hampi often end up being surreal and spellbinding and the enchanting architectural beauty always leaves you captivated and enthralled, forcing you to keep your eyes from blinking, lest all that beauty disappear. The main highlights in Hampi include the brilliant Virupaksha Temple, the oldest structure in the city and it’s only working temple, and the Hampi Bazaar, the main traveler’s precinct. Other attractions worth checking out include Achyut Raya’a Temple, the Stone doors, Hazara Raam Temple, and Vittala Temple.
Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Temples are a group of Jain and Hindu temples located at a distance of 175 kms to the southeast of Jhansi. The complex consists of 85 temples which date back to the years 950 and 1050 CE. Each temple is famous for its erotic architecture and Kama Sutra inscriptions and every monument showcases a fascinating blend of architecture and sculpture, examples of which are best seen in the Kandariya Temple.
Each of these outstanding manmade sculptures is awe-inspiring to say the least. Most of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India can be easily accessed and such sites can also be found in all parts of the country. So the next time you visit the land of mysteries, make sure you add a few UNESCO sites into your itineraries.
UNESCO sites in India – Cultural
UNESCO sites in India – Natural