Last Updated on December 8, 2021 by Cody Livingston
The latest edition of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites now includes 36 spectacular architectures from India. The subcontinent has now become one of the leading countries having such number of popular World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO. These Heritage Sites in India showcase the prosperity of the cultural and historical value of the country to the world. Undoubtedly, these places are the public properties which comprise of immense historical potential and rich cultural diversity. The beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India are widely appreciated by the tourists across the globe.
Let’s go through the top 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Exploring these places will definitely enhance your archaeological, historical and cultural knowledge.
1. Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh
A significant remembrance of love, the Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. One of the best illustrations of Mughal architecture across the world is also known as the Jewel of Muslim Art. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. Situated at the bank of the Yamuna River in Uttar Pradesh (U.P), it is the most recognised tourist destination across the globe as well as indexed among one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
How to Reach: Pack your bag, book cheap flights to India and witness the essence of love at the Taj Mahal. It is well-connected by roadways, railways, and airways from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.
Read Also: Best Things to do in Bangkok
2. Agra Fort
An important monumental Mughal architecture, the Agra Fort is located close to the Taj Mahal. Built during the time of Mughal Emperor Akbar, it displays the fusion of Indian architectural design with Persian art. Sheesh Mahal, Khas Mahal, Moti Masjid, Diwan-e-Khas, and Nagina Masjid are the significant monuments inside the Agra Fort.
How to Reach: Since the Agra Fort is close to the Taj Mahal, you can travel to Agra by roadways, railways, and airways from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. You need only to book flights to India and magnify your voyage experiences.
3. Ajanta Caves
Famous for Buddhist Monuments, Rock-cut Caves, and beautiful Paintings, Ajanta Caves are one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. Comprising the glory of the Satvahana Dynasty and the Vakataka Dynasty, the Ajanta Caves demonstrate masterpieces rock-cut caves, Buddhist monuments, sculpture, and paintings. Situated in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, it justifies the inception of classical Indian Art.
How to Reach: Ajanta caves are close to Aurangabad Airport, Maharashtra (100 km away). There are regular flights to Aurangabad from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus International Airport, Mumbai. Ajanta caves are well connected by roadways, railways, and airways from Mumbai.
4. Nalanda Mahavihara
Nalanda Mahavihara is generally acknowledged as Nalanda University. It was the learning centre of Buddhists during the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. Several stupas and shrines exhibit the glorious epoch of Nalanda Mahavihara. A home to Vedic knowledge for hundreds of years, it was the first residential university of the World. Located in Bihar, Nalanda reveals the evolution of Buddhism and makes the Indian Tourism Map more alluring.
How to Reach: Nalanda Mahavihara is close to Gaya International Airport, Bihar (85 km away). It is 100 km away from Patna Airport which is frequently connected with Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. Easy taxis, buses, and trains are available for Nalanda Mahavihara from both Patna and Gaya.
Read Also: The Seven Natural Wonders of the World
5. Mountain Railways of India
Journey at the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, including the Kalka-Shimla Railway and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway can be the one best experience what an individual gains during the voyage. It is a narrow (two feet) gauge railway that runs between Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri. These Mountain Railways of India are one of the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Offering beautiful scenic temptations, these Mountain Railways are the real gem of Indian heritage.
How to Reach: Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport to reach Darjeeling Himalayan Railways. It has frequent flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi and other International Airports in India. New Jalpaiguri is well-connected from major cities of India
Read Also: 15 Most Amazing Secret Beaches in the World
6. Sanchi Stupa
Famous for Monasteries, Monolithic Pillars, and Temples, Sanchi is Stupa is located 46 km away from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Comprising the oldest stone architecture in India, Sanchi is one of the renowned Buddhist pilgrimage sites including Sanchi Stupa and other temples. Situated in Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh, Sanchi carries the glory of great emperor Ashoka and one of the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.
How to Reach: Sanchi is 55 km away from Bhopal Airport which is connected with Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. Sanchi is also connected to New Delhi via roadways and railways.
Read Also: Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Singapore
7. Elephanta Caves
Famous for rock caves and religious temples, Elephanta caves illustrate the cultural past of Indian civilization. Located on the island in the Arabian City near Mumbai, it comprises numerous archaeological designs. Portraying the glimpses of Hindu Lord Shiva, Elephanta Caves are a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. These caves are famous for carvings and rock-cut sculptures in cave temples.
How to Reach: Elephanta Caves are less than 25 km away from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus International Airport, Mumbai. If you are fond of exploring archaeological sites, book cheap flights to India and have a trip to Elephanta Caves.
8. Ellora Caves
Well-known for Hindu Jain and Buddhist Temples, Ellora Caves are one of the most amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. Located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, it includes Rock-cut Architecture, Monasteries, Cave temples and other wonderful architecture. Depicting the prosperity of Indian history and civilization, Ellora Caves beautifully defines the acceptance of India towards various cultures and customs.
How to Reach: Ellora caves are close to Aurangabad Airport, Maharashtra (100 km away). There are regular flights to Aurangabad from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus International Airport, Mumbai. Ellora caves are well connected by both roadways and railways from Mumbai.
9. Fatehpur Sikri
Signifying the victory Mughal Emperor Akhbar over Ranthambore and Chittor, Fatehpur Sikri was founded in the 16th century. One of the famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, it includes four major monuments, i.e. The Buland Darwaza, The Jama Masjid, Panch Mahal and Diwan-e-Khas. All these buildings are a great example of Mughal architecture.
How to Reach: Want to witness the spectacular archaeological constructions, book flights to India and explore the practical experience of grand UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Fatehpur Sikri is very close to Agra (35 km away), which is well connected by roadways, railways, and airways from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.
Situated in Karnataka, Hampi is one of the most preferred tourist destinations in India and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Portraying the Dravidian Architecture and Art, Hampi carries the glimpses of the ancient and flourishing history of the Vijayanagar Empire. The Virupaksha Temple, Vitthala temple complex, Achyutaraya temple, Pattabhirama temple, Lotus Mahal and other monuments are major attractions. All these monuments are called the Group of Monuments at Hampi.
How to Reach: Jindal Vijaynagar Airport, Bellary (40 km away) is the nearest airport from Hampi, which has frequent flights from Bengaluru International Airport. Jindal Vijaynagar Airport has frequent flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi and other International Airports in India.
Consisting the Architecture of the Pallava Dynasty, Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is actually a tourist spot and one of the prime destinations near Chennai. Having more than 40 sanctuaries, Mahabalipuram includes Shore Temple, Five Rathas, Thirukadalmallai, Sculpture Museum, Descent of the Ganges, Mahishamardini Cave and other beautiful historical architecture and caves. Mahabalipuram is one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage sites in India.
How to Reach: Mahabalipuram is close to Chennai International Airport (55 km away). Buses and taxis are easily available from Chennai to Mahabalipuram.
One of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites in India, Khajuraho is famous for the beautiful stone carvings of erotic symbolism. Situated in the Bundelkhand province of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho includes famous Hindu and Jain temples. The city portrays the cultural heritage of India and the glory of the Chandella dynasty. There are 85 temples, including Kandariya temple, beautifully displaying Nagara style of erotic sculptures.
How to Reach: Khajuraho Airport only 5 km from away from the city and has frequent flights from Delhi, and Mumbai.
13. Sun Temple, Konark
Popularly known as Black Pagoda, the Sun Temple is the most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. Situated in Konark, it is very close to the beautiful beach town, Puri, Odisha. The temple, one of the major Brahmin sanctuaries in India, was constructed by King Narasimhadeva-I. It possesses the shape of a huge chariot led by six horses having carved stone walls, pillars and wheels. Sun Temple portrays the Kalinga Architecture and affluent cultural heritage of India.
How to Reach: Bhuvneshwar Airport around 62 km from away from Konark Sun Temple and has frequent flights from Delhi, Mumbai and other International Airports in India.
14. Red Fort
Managed by the Archaeological Survey of India, Red Fort is one the prominent historical buildings in India and a beautiful example of Red Sandstone Architecture. It is one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and situated in the national capital of India. The fort has several internal constructions including the Diwan-i-Khas, the Diwan-i-aam, and private pavilions. Red Fort has a great impact in Mughal politics that carried forward to the Indian political system.
How to Reach: If you keen to eyewitness the transformation of Indo-Islamic architecture, book cheap flights to India and visit the Hindu, Timurid, and Persian format of architecture. Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi is 18 km away from Red Fort.
15. Bodh Gaya
An important religious pilgrimage for the Buddhists, one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. A city where Gautam Buddha gained enlightenment, Bodh Gaya has Mahabodhi Temple and several ancient religious stupas. The Mahabodhi Temple was built by Emperor Ashoka and deliberated as the holiest pilgrimage for Buddhists.
How to Reach: It is close to the Gaya international airport (10 km away) which has frequent flights from Delhi, Mumbai and other International Airports in India.
16. Chola Temple
Portraying the beautiful Chola Architecture and Bronze Casting, Chola Temple was built by the Chola Dynasty. Brihadisvara Temple, Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram and other ancient architecture are the major attractions of the city. Signifying the magnificent cultural heritage of India, these temples are still enjoying the ancient festivities and rituals of thousands of years ago. Chola Temples are located in Tamil Nadu.
How to Reach: It is close to the Tiruchirappalli International Airport (55 km away) which has frequent flights from Delhi, Mumbai and other International Airports in India.
17. Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary
One-Horned Rhinoceroses, Wild Water Buffalo, Tigers, Swamp Deer, Elephants, and other species can be visited in Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary. One of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary protects several endangered species. Situated on the floodplains of the Brahmaputra River in Assam, the sanctuary has a rich amount of Indian faunal species, forests, and dense grasslands.
How to Reach: Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary is close to Jorhat Airport (97 km away), Tezpur Airport (100 km away) and Guwahati International Airport (217 km away). It has well connectivity with both roadways and railways.
18. Humayun’s Tomb
A famous Mughal Architecture, Humayun’s Tomb was constructed by Begum Bega (the first wife of Mughal Emperor Humayun) during 1565-1572. Comprising several smaller monuments, it has gone through many restoration works. The tombs of an Afghan noble Isa Khan Niyazi and Water Channels are the major centre of attraction.
How to Reach: Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi is only 16 km away from the Humayun’s Tomb and well connected with buses, taxis, and Delhi Metro.
19. Hill Forts of Rajasthan
The unique and famous Military Defence Architecture of Rajput, Hill Forts of Rajasthan are recently indexed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Portraying the power of the Rajputana rulers, it comprises six royal forts of Chittorgarh, Ranthambore, Kumbhalgarh, Amber, Gagron, and Jaisalmer. These forts signify the unique structures for water harvesting and storage that are even worthy today.
How to Reach: Jaipur Airport is close to the Hill Forts of Rajasthan and well connected to the major cities of India via roadways and railways.
20. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Built-in the 18th century by the Rajput King Sawai Jai Singh, Jantar Mantar is the largest Architectural Astronomical Observatory in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It is the largest stone Sundial in the world and one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. This Astronomical Observatory includes more than 19 astronomical instruments used to calculate the equatorial system, the celestial coordinate systems, the ecliptic system, and the horizon-zenith local system.
How to Reach: Jantar Mantar is 12 km away from the Jaipur International Airport which has frequent flights from Delhi, Mumbai and other International Airports in India.