Take a peek into some of India's finest UNESCO World Heritage Sites known for their outstanding universal value, as Holidaymine takes you for a magical tour to these excellent monuments. The countdown begins! As we always say keep Holidaymining.
An era marked by fortifications and invasions, passionate love and betrayal, where the kings ruled and captured, the majestic Agra fort was built. It is also known as the ‘Red Fort’ since it is constructed with massive red-sandstone by the most powerful Mughal ruler- Emperor Akbar. The enchanting Taj Mahal adds to it a magical aura overshadowing the mystical Red Fort. This powerful fortress comprises of the stunning Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques. Its entrance comprises of two mighty gates- The Amar Singh gate and Delhi Gate. Several buildings made of marble enhance the beauty of this magical fort. The symbol of power and strength, The Agra Fort continues to stand tall in all its glory!
Photo Credit: Garrett Ziegler
A true masterpiece of religious architecture, the Sun Temple is one that depicts the joy and rhythm of life in all its glory. It is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1984 and is located in the village of Konark in Puri which is the capital of Odisha. Built by King Narasimhadeva in the thirteenth century, the temple is shaped like a colossal chariot with seven horses and twenty-four beautifully carved wheels, carrying the Sun God, Surya, across the heavens. Its landscape is decorated with rosewood, mahogany and eel trees. This magnificent temple comprises a sanctum with a lofty sikhara, jagamohana and a detached nata-mandira (hall of dance) in the same axis. Surrounded by various smaller, but equally enchanting temples this temple exudes an aura that is sure to captivate any visitor!
Photo Credit: Abhijit Kar Gupta
Bhimbhetka Rock Shelters- Madhya Pradesh
If you were a fan of the popular cartoon ‘Flintstones’ in your childhood, you will instantly love the Bhimbhetka Rock Shelters in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. They exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India. They are made of massive stone outcrops, surrounded by thick wild forests and display paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period. The paintings on these rock shelters steal the show and are a popular tourist attraction. Visit the Auditorium Rock Shelter, Zoo Rock and Boar Rock in the Bhimbetka Cluster, if they don’t remind you of Flintstones nothing will!
Photo Credit: Dinesh Valke
A UNESCO site located near the Hospet town of Karnataka, Hampi is charismatic even in its ruined state. The bewitching ruins of Hampi lie scattered forlornly with heaps of giant boulders perched over miles of vast terrains. The rusty hues add to its exotic beauty giving it a feel of a virgin beauty, attracting millions of tourists. Every turn in Hampi offers a pleasant surprise as you discover it five hundred beautiful monuments. Decorated around its hills and valleys are beautiful temples, basements of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings… and a lot more for you to explore in this enchanting place that conceals more than what it reveals.
Photo Credit: Adarsh Padegal
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus- Mumbai
Located in the heart of Mumbai, the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a station that serves as a life line of the Mumbaikars. It was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004. Formerly known as Victoria Terminus it is a brilliant example of the Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens. The bustling station is carved with friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses. At the top of the central dome stands the triumphant figure of Progress and is an excellent edifice the Mumbaikars are extremely proud of!
Kaziranga National Park-Assam
The Kaziranga National Park is famous for India’s tourism mascot- The One Horned Rhino. It is situated partly in Golaghat District and partly in Nagaon District of Assam. Hemmed by table top tea bushes the park lies in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River. This notable wildlife sanctuary was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1985. The Park is inhabited by the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers and bears, and thousands of birds. You can an elephant ride to move around the park or cruise in a boat on the Brahmaputra along the park.
Photo Credit: Susan Roehl
Basilica of Bom Jesus-Goa
Goa’s most famous church the Bom Jesus Basilica is a model of simplicity and elegance, and a fine example of Jesuit architecture. Located in Old Goa this magnificent Church is a World Heritage Monument and contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier. This beautiful church is a superb example of the Baroque architecture in Goa. The church is called "Bom Jesus" meaning 'good Jesus' or 'infant Jesus' to whom it is dedicated. The façade has on it, at the top, the letters, "IHS" which are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek. The ravages of time destroyed some of its lengthy corridors and spacious apartments, but this imposing church has emerged victorious standing tall and proud for the world to see.
Valley of Flowers-Uttarakhand
Nestled in the West Himalayan region the ‘Valley of Flowers’ is a fairy-tale destination situated or rather gifted by God, to the state of Uttarakhand. This valley is protected by snowy mountains and blooms with a number of spectacular flowers as the snow melts with the advent of summer. In this fairy land you will come across cascading waterfalls and exotic flowers, making you feel as though you are walking on a piece of heaven. The virgin beauty of this magical valley splashed with vibrant colors will lure you in its enchanting grip.
Khajuraho Temple- Madhya Pradesh
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khajuraho is a famous tourist and archaeological site known for its sculptured temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Jain patriarchs. They have awed generations with their architectural brilliance and erotic sculptures. They were built one thousand years ago by the Chandela Rajput kings. Magnificence in form they built 85 richly carved temples, that inspired a burst of creativity among the people. These erotic temples are carved with amazing excellent sculptures that are frequently sensual and, at times, sexually explicit. The enchanting Shaivite temple is the best known temple within its complex and is largely frequented by tourists.
Elephanta Caves- Maharashtra
The Elephanta Island comprises of the stunning Elephanta Caves, which is a collection of rock cut temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located on the Elephanta Island or Gharapuri to the east of the city of Mumbai. The entire complex was created through a process of rock removal and some of the rock surfaces are highly finished while some are untreated bare rock. These temples demonstrate a refreshing combination of unending beauty and sculptural art making them apt to feature as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Photo Credit: Himanshu Sarpotdar