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List of World Heritage Sites in India

Last Updated : 21 Feb, 2024
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International government exams like SSC, Banking, Railways, etc we find many questions from the Geography general awareness section. This is a very broad section and sometimes questions are very factual. We will cover the General awareness section comprehensively so that students can learn and get most of the questions correct in this section. In this article, we will discuss the List of World Heritage Sites in India.


World Heritage Sites :

  • A World Heritage Site is a place that has been listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical importance. 
  • The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the International World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. 
  • The UNESCO World Heritage Committee consists of 21 member states of UNESCO  elected by the General Assembly. 
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) strives to promote the identification, protection, and preservation of both cultural and natural heritage in the world.  
  • This is enshrined in an international treaty, the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

Criteria For The Selection :

  1. It represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.
  2. It exhibits a significant exchange of human values ​​over a period of time or within a cultural area of ​​the world to developments in architecture or technology, monumental art, town planning, or landscaping. 
  3. It gives a unique or at least exceptional testimony of a cultural tradition or of a  living or vanished civilization.
  4. It is an extraordinary example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that illustrates significant stages in human history.
  5. It is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land use, or sea use representative of a culture (or cultures) or human interaction with the environment, particularly when rendered vulnerable by irreversible changes.
  6. It is directly or tangibly connected with any living event or tradition, with any idea or belief, with any artistic or literary work of outstanding universal importance.
  7. It contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of outstanding natural beauty and aesthetic importance.
  8. It will be an outstanding example, representing important stages in the history of the earth, including records of life, significant ongoing geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphological or physiographic features.
  9. These will be prominent examples representing significant ongoing biological and ecological processes in the Representing evolution and land development, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, and plant and animal communities.
  10. It contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding and universal value from a scientific point of view, or conservation. 

List of World Heritage Sites:

Serial No.

Natural Heritage Site



1 Kaziranga National Park  Assam  1985
2 Keoladeo Ghana National Park  Rajasthan  1985
3 Manas Wildlife Sanctuary  Assam  1985
4 Nanda Devi National Park Uttarakhand 1988
5 Valley of Flowers Uttarakhand 2005
6 Sundarbans National Park  West Bengal  1987
7 Western Ghats  Maharashtra
Tamil Nadu 
8 Great Himalayan National Park  Himachal Pradesh  2014
9 Khangchendzonga National Park  Sikkim  2016
10 Dholavira  Gujarat  2021
11 Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple  Telangana  2021
12 The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier Chandigarh  2016
13 Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai  Maharashtra  2018
14 Historic City of Ahmedabad Gujarat 2017
15 Jaipur City  Rajasthan  2020
16 Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University)  Bihar  2016
17 Rani-Ki-Vav Gujarat  2014
18 Hill Forts of Rajasthan  Rajasthan  2013
19 The Jantar Mantar  Rajasthan  2010
20 Red Fort Complex  Delhi  2007
21 Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park  Gujarat  2004
22 Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus  Maharashtra  2004
23 Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka  Madhya Pradesh  2003
24 Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya  Bihar  2002
25 Mountain Railways of India  Tamil Nadu  1999
26 Humayun’s Tomb Delhi  1993
27 Qutb Minar and its Monuments Delhi  1993
28 Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi  Madhya Pradesh  1989
29 Elephanta Caves  Maharashtra  1987
30 Great Living Chola Temples  Tamil Nadu  1987
31 Group of Monuments at Pattadakal  Karnataka  1987
32 Churches and Convents of Goa  Goa  1986
33 Fatehpur Sikri  Uttar Pradesh  1986
34 Group of Monuments at Hampi  Karnataka  1986
35 Khajuraho Group of Monuments  Madhya Pradesh  1986
36 Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram  Tamil Nadu  1984
37 Sun Temple Konark, Orissa  1984
38 Agra Fort  Uttar Pradesh  1983
39 Ajanta Caves  Maharashtra  1983
40 Ellora Caves  Maharashtra  1983
41 Taj Mahal  Uttar Pradesh  1983

Important Key Facts About UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Cultural Sites

1. Agra Fort

  • Imposing red sandstone Mughal monument housing emperors, showcasing military might and architectural grandeur.
  • Pearl Mosque and Sheesh Mahal within the fort offer intricate beauty and stunning reflections.

2. Ajanta Caves

  • Buddhist rock-cut caves adorned with vibrant murals depicting Jataka tales, offering a glimpse into ancient beliefs and artistic brilliance.
  • Ajanta’s masterpiece, the 20-meter long reclining Buddha, embodies serenity and artistic mastery.

3. Nalanda Mahavihara

  • Ruins of a once-renowned Buddhist university and monastery, attracting scholars from across Asia.
  • Its vast complex with stupas, temples, and monastic cells whispers stories of intellectual prowess and spiritual pursuit.

4. Sanchi

  • Iconic Sanchi Stupa with intricate carvings detailing the life of Buddha, a testament to early Buddhist art and architecture.
  • Four ornate gateways showcasing toranas with mesmerizing reliefs add to the visual tapestry of Sanchi.

5. Champaner-Pavagadh

  • Blend of Hindu and Jain temples, mosques, and fortifications perched on a hill, reflecting diverse cultural influences.
  • Jama Masjid, with its unique architectural fusion, stands as a symbol of Champaner’s tolerance and rich heritage.

6. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

  • Gothic Revival railway station in Mumbai, adorned with intricate stonework and gargoyles, reflecting Victorian architectural splendor.
  • Formerly Victoria Terminus, it stands as a landmark of colonial history and architectural marvel.

7. Churches and Convents of Goa

  • Legacy of Portuguese colonial rule, showcasing a unique blend of European and Indian architectural styles in churches and convents.
  • Bom Jesus Basilica, with its golden altar and baroque grandeur, is a highlight of Goa’s religious heritage.

8. Dholavira

  • Excavated Harappan city revealing advanced urban planning with grid layouts, sophisticated water management systems, and public buildings.
  • Its unique citadels and burial grounds offer insights into the social and religious practices of the Indus Valley Civilization.

9. Elephanta Caves

  • Cave temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva, featuring rock-cut sculptures like the majestic Trimurti panel depicting three cosmic forms.
  • Cave’s natural light and serene atmosphere add to the mystical and spiritual experience.

10. Ellora Caves

  • Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain cave temples showcasing diverse religious art and architectural styles, revealing India’s cultural and artistic evolution.
  • Kailasa temple, carved from a single rock, stuns with its intricate details and sheer scale.

11. Fatehpur Sikri

  • Abandoned Mughal city showcasing red sandstone architectural wonders like Buland Darwaza, the tallest gateway in India, and Jama Masjid.
  • Its deserted streets and architectural remnants evoke a sense of grandeur and the ephemeral nature of kingdoms.

12. Great Living Chola Temples

  • Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, with its towering vimana (sanctum) and intricate sculptures, embodies Chola dynasty’s architectural prowess.
  • Gangaikondacholapuram and Thanjavur temples showcase exquisite stone carvings and harmonious proportions.

13. Hampi

  • Ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire capital, featuring temples, palaces, and fortifications, offering a glimpse into a lost kingdom’s wealth and artistic skill.
  • Vittala Temple’s stone chariot and Hazara Rama temple’s intricately carved panels are prime examples of Hampi’s architectural brilliance.

14. Mahabalipuram

  • Group of rock-cut temples, monuments, and bas-relief sculptures showcasing Pallava dynasty’s artistic excellence.
  • Descent of the Ganges is a mesmerizing narrative carved onto a rock face, depicting mythological stories.

15. Pattadakal

  • Group of Chalukya-era temples showcasing intricate carvings, diverse architectural styles, and harmonious blend of northern and southern Indian temple architecture.
  • Virupaksha Temple, dedicated to Shiva, stands out with its towering Dravidian-style vimana.

16. Hill Forts of Rajasthan

  • Series of imposing Rajput forts perched atop hills, reflecting strategic military prowess and architectural adaptability to the terrain.
  • Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer Fort in the Thar Desert are prime examples of Rajput military ingenuity and desert fort architecture.

17. Historic City of Ahmadabad

  • Walled city showcasing a blend of Hindu, Islamic, and Jain architectural styles, with intricate wood carvings and mosques like Jama Masjid.
  • Teen Darwaza, a three-arched gateway, and Sidi Saiyyed’s Jali, exquisitely carved window screens, add to the city’s artistic tapestry.

18. Humayun’s Tomb

  • First Mughal garden tomb in India, inspiring the Taj Mahal, with intricate tilework, symmetrical gardens, and black-and-white marble inlay.
  • Its serene ambiance and architectural innovation mark a significant shift in Mughal tomb design.

19. Jaisalmer

  • Golden-hued desert city showcasing Jain temples, havelis (merchant mansions) with ornate facades, and Jaisalmer Fort, offering mesmerizing views of the Thar Desert.
  • Its camel safaris and traditional puppet shows provide a glimpse into the Rajasthani desert culture.

20. Kaziranga National Park

  • Renowned for its one-horned rhinoceros population, but also harbors elephants, tigers, and diverse birdlife in its lush grasslands and wetlands.
  • Elephant safaris through the park offer an unforgettable wildlife experience.

21. Keoladeo National Park

  • Birdwatcher’s paradise with wetlands and lakes attracting over 350 bird species, including migratory species like the Siberian crane and imperial eagle.
  • Boat safaris provide a serene and immersive way to explore the park’s avian biodiversity.

22. Khajuraho Group of Monuments

  • Temples adorned with sensuously carved sculptures celebrating life and spirituality, sparking interpretations and discussions about their purpose and symbolism.
  • Kandariya Mahadeva temple, with its intricate carvings and soaring shikhara (tower), stands as a testament to Khajuraho’s artistic mastery.

23. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya

  • Buddhist pilgrimage site where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, attracting pilgrims from around the world.
  • Mahabodhi Temple, with its towering golden spire, symbolizes the Buddha’s journey to enlightenment.

24. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Biodiversity hotspot in the Indo-Gangetic plain, providing habitat for elephants, tigers, gaur, and one-horned rhinoceros.
  • Jeep safaris and elephant rides offer thrilling encounters with the park’s diverse wildlife.

25. Mountain Railways of India

  • Network of narrow-gauge railways, like the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, showcasing engineering feats and scenic journeys through mountains and valleys.
  • The chugging engines and breathtaking vistas offer a timeless travel experience.

26. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

  • Nanda Devi, the second-highest peak in India, dominates the landscape, while Valley of Flowers bursts with vibrant blooms during monsoon, creating a stunning contrast.
  • Trekking through the park offers awe-inspiring views and an encounter with the region’s unique flora and fauna.

27. Qutb Minar and its Monuments

  • Victory tower symbolizing Delhi’s Islamic heritage, standing tall at 73 meters, with intricate carvings and surrounding historical structures.
  • Iron Pillar, dating back centuries and remarkably resistant to rust, adds to the site’s mystery and historical significance.

28. Rani Ki Vav

  • 11th-century stepwell with intricate carvings and sculptures depicting Hindu mythology and daily life, considered an architectural marvel and a testament to water management ingenuity.
  • Its geometric design and descending levels create a mesmerizing visual and spiritual experience.

29. Red Fort Complex

  • Mughal fort made of red sandstone, showcasing imperial grandeur with palaces, halls, and gardens like Diwan-i-Am and Rang Mahal.
  • Its Peacock Throne, symbolizing Mughal power and wealth, adds to the fort’s historical significance.

30. Sarnath

  • Buddhist pilgrimage site where Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon, featuring ruins of stupas like Dhamekh Stupa and monasteries.
  • The Lion Capital of Ashoka, a national symbol of India, adorns Dharmarajika Stupa, showcasing Buddhist art and history.

31. Sundarbans National Park

  • World’s largest mangrove forest, home to Royal Bengal tigers, Ganges dolphins, and diverse marine life in a unique ecosystem where land and water meet.
  • Boat safaris offer a thrilling opportunity to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

32. Taj Mahal

  • White marble mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, a symbol of love and architectural magnificence, with intricate pietra dura inlay and symmetrical
  • Gardens featuring reflecting pools and cypress trees, creating a mesmerizing reflection of the Taj Mahal’s grandeur.

33. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

  • Astronomical instruments constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh II, showcasing scientific advancements of the era, used for predicting celestial movements and timekeeping.
  • The Samrat Yantra, a giant sundial, and Jai Prakash Yantra, a multi-purpose instrument, are highlights of this scientific marvel.

Natural Sites:

34. Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area

  • Encompasses diverse high-altitude ecosystems, including glaciers, valleys, and alpine meadows, supporting endangered species like the snow leopard and musk deer.
  • Trekking through the park offers challenging adventures and breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks.

35. Keoladeo National Park

  • Previously a man-made wetland, now a haven for over 350 bird species, including rare migratory species like the Siberian crane and imperial eagle.
  • Boat safaris provide a peaceful way to observe the park’s diverse birdlife and serene ecosystems.

36. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Biodiversity hotspot in the Indo-Gangetic plain, providing habitat for elephants, tigers, gaur, and one-horned rhinoceros.
  • Project Tiger initiatives have led to significant increases in tiger populations, making Manas a prime wildlife viewing destination.

37. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

  • Renowned for their scenic beauty and contrasting landscapes, Nanda Devi, a majestic peak towering over valleys, and Valley of Flowers, a carpet of vibrant blooms during monsoon, offer breathtaking sights.
  • Camping amidst the scenic meadows and trekking through challenging terrains provide unforgettable experiences.

38. Sundarbans National Park

  • Unique ecosystem where the Ganges River delta meets the Bay of Bengal, supporting the largest population of Royal Bengal tigers alongside crocodiles, dolphins, and diverse marine life.
  • Boat safaris through the intricate network of waterways offer opportunities to witness these majestic creatures and the unique mangrove ecosystem.

39. Kaziranga National Park

  • Lush grasslands and wetlands host the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceros, along with wild elephants, tigers, and numerous bird species.
  • Jeep safaris provide exhilarating encounters with the park’s diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes.

40. Western Ghats

  • Mountain range running parallel to the west coast of India, renowned for its biodiversity, rainforests, coffee plantations, and unique flora and fauna.
  • Trekking through the Western Ghats offers encounters with endangered species like the Lion-tailed macaque and Nilgiri Tahr, along with breathtaking waterfalls and scenic vistas.

Mixed Site:

41. Khangchendzonga National Park

  • Breathtaking Himalayan landscape surrounding Mount Khangchendzonga, revered in local religions and supporting rich biodiversity, including snow leopards, musk deer, and rhododendron forests.
  • Trekking through the park offers challenging yet rewarding experiences, with stunning views of the Himalayas and encounters with rare species.

41. Victoria Memorial

  • Marble monument dedicated to Queen Victoria, showcasing British Raj architecture with a blend of Indo-Saracenic styles and a large dome.
  • Its extensive museum collection houses paintings, artifacts, and documents, offering insights into colonial history and cultural exchange.


Explore India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites! Learn about cultural marvels like Agra Fort and Ajanta Caves, and natural wonders like Kaziranga National Park. With 42 sites, India’s rich heritage is preserved by UNESCO. Dive deeper into each site and plan your own adventures, celebrating India’s diverse cultural tapestry and stunning landscapes.

List of World Heritage Sites in India – FAQs

How many World Heritage sites are in UNESCO?

There are 42 World Heritage Sites in India.

Which is the 42th UNESCO site in India?

The 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in India is the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, encompassing the famed Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid, and Somanathapura in Karnataka. These temples were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in September 2023, signifying their exceptional architectural brilliance and cultural significance.

Which state has highest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India?

The state with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India is Maharashtra, boasting a total of five sites as of January 2024.

When did India join UNESCO?

India joined UNESCO on November 4th, 1946, just shortly after gaining independence from British rule on August 15th, 1947.

When was UNESCO founded?

The organization was founded a year earlier, on November 4th, 1945.

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