List of World Heritage Sites in India for all competitive exams

In every competitive exam some questions are frequently asked about Indian heritage site. So its important to gain general knowledge and informations about this.

India is a country enriched of arts, culture, history and architecture. Natural features are also admirable. Thats why India became a land of heritage in the world. There are some unique places spreading over some states and territories in India for that the country is famous for tourist destination and recognized in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list.

As of November 2017 there are 36 Indian places included in world heritage list approved by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO). These places have cultural and natural importance which carry ancient and modern history of India. India’s architectural tradition also reflected in these places which includes Indian city, memorials, parks, forest, desert and other historic places.

UNESCO is a specialised agency of United Nations which approves protects and maintains heritage sites(places)around the world. The UNESCO has chosen these places among their 1073 already recognised heritage sites around the world so far. The process began by listing Agra Fort, Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves and Tajmahal as firsts world heritage sites in 1983. Since then 32 places have been added to the list finishing 2017’s addition of Historic City of Ahmedabad(India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City Site)as heritage site.

This article is very important study material for competitive exams such as PSC, IAS, SSC, UPSC, LIC, BANK, RAIL and defence exams. In any of these exams two or three questions are frequently asked from here. So read it carefully

UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India

As we all know UNESCO, is a special organisation of the United Nations which have 193 member nations. Based in Paris, France, UNESCO with its constitution fully came into force in 1946. According to United Nation’s charter this organisation mainly focuses on education, culture, natural sciences, social sciences and communication. Securing cultural and natural world heritage sites is one of UNESCO’s main promoted programmes among international science programmes, preserving human rights, freedom of press, literacy and world literature translations.

As per World Heritage Convention UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is appointed to maintain and protect all of these heritage sites. According to World Heritage Committee’s 2017 report India ranks 6th by country led by Italy(53), China(52), Spain(46), France(43) and Germany(42) and tops in Asia(36 out of 59). out of these sites are from south Asia


Latest List of World Heritage Sites In India 2017

Let’s explore the UNESCO verified top 36 World Heritage Sites exist in India

Heritage Sites                          Location

1. Ajanta caves    >                       Maharashtra

Ajanta cavesview of Ajanta caves

The Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra has been listed as cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. It is the first heritage site in India. The amazing rock-cut sculptures of Buddhist caves with nice paintings can be noticed here.

2. Agra Fort        >                       Uttar pradesh

agra - fort  view of agra – fort

In 1983 UNESCO inscribed the Agra Fort(also known as Red Fort of Agra) of Uttar Pradesh as a cultural heritage site. This is the first heritage site in India along with Ajanta Caves. Located near Yamuna river and 2.5 Kilometers long Agra Fort is a historic monument built with red sandstone during the reign of Emperor Akbar in 16th century making it one of the famous tourist spot.

3. Ellora caves    >                        MaharashtraEllora_ Caves

Ellora Caves of Maharashtra has been listed as a cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. A mix religious arts of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism can be found here. The rock-cut well sculptured Ellora Caves are great examples of ancient civilization of India which built between 600-1000 AD.

4. Elephanta Caves   >                 Maharashtra

elephanta_cavesfront of elephanta_caves

Elephanta Caves are collection of Hindu temples dedicated to lord Shiva. The rock -cut stone sculptures of Elephanta caves built in 19th century and now its under maintenance of Archaeological Survey of India. They are located on Elephanta island in Mumbai, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. This site was listed as World Heritage Site in 1987 for its cultural importance. 

5. Kaziranga wild life sanctuary >      Assam

The Kaziranga Wild life sanctuary located on eastern zone in India near Bhahmaputra river. It is a natural World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 1985. Kajiranga was declared National Park in 1974 and covering an area of 106200 acres. Kajiranga sanctuary most famous for one-horned rhinoceros.

6. Qutb Minar         >                                   Delhi


Qutb Minar is a cultural World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO and located in Delhi. The height of Qutb Minar is 72 metres. The construction work of this historic site was started in 1192 by Qutubuddin Aibak and completed by Iltutmis in 13th century.

7. Keoladeo National Park >                            Bharatpur, Rajasthan

It is one of the historical national park in India formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Spreading over an area of 29 squar kilometres this biosphere reserve is home to 350 bird species. The park was declared as protected sanctuary and established in 1982.

8. Sun Temple of Konark >                   Odissa


The Konark Sun Temple is a historic piece of architecture built in 13th-century CE. The state of Odisha became proud when the temple inscribed in world heritage list in 1984. The ancient culture of Odisha reflected here.

9. Khajuraho >                        Madhyapradesh


The Khajuraho is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh famous for nagara-style architectural symbolism and erotic sculptures. Various type of arts can be noticed into the idols of temples. The Khajuraho temples were built during reign of Chandella dynasty in 1000 CE. Every year Khajuraho Dance Festival is celebrated here. Khajuraho was mentioned in Persian historian Al-Biruni’s writings.

10. Churches & Convents of Goa >          Goa


Churches and Covents of Goa is a set of religious monuments located in territory of Goa listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. It is a cultural site built during Portuguese empire.

11. Champaner- Pavagadh Archaeological Park  >                                                      Gujarat

The Champaner city was founded by one of the most influential Emperor of Gujarat Sultanate Mahmud Begada in 14th century. The park includes archaeological, historic and cultural heritage monuments of capital of state of Gujarat. The heritage site is filled with forts and bastions extends from hills of Pavagadh to city of Champaner. Hindu and Muslim culture and architectures are reflected here. In 2004 it was inscribed by UNESCO as a Heritage Site.

12. Temple of Chola  >                    Tamilnadu


The Great Living Chola Temples are the group of Hindu temples built during reign of Chola dynasty in 11 century in Indian state of Tamilnadu. The site includes Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatsvara Temple at Darasuram. This site became cultural heritage of India in 1987.

13. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus                            >                                               Maharashtra

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus formerly known as Victoria Terminus is a historic railway station in Mumbai, Maharashtra built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria. It is one of the best Indian architecture designed by Frederick William Stevens. It is one of the busiest railway station in India. It was renamed in 1996 from Victoria Terminus to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to commemorate Chhatrapati Shivaji the founder of the Maratha Empire. The site became world heritage in 2004

14. Jantar Mantar of Jaipur >         Rajasthan


The Jantar Mantar monument in Jaipur, Rajasthan is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734. It is an World Heritage Site inscribed by UNESCO in 2010 located near City Palace and Hawa Mahal of Jaipur.

15. Tajmahal          >                    Uttarpradesh


Tajmahal is a great historic memorial built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 in memory of Mumtaj Mahal. It is also one of the seven wonders of the world. It is a tomb built with white marbles and includes mosques and guest houses. Tajmahal located on river bank of Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was included in heritage list in 1983.

16. Nandadevi Sanctuary & Valley of Flowers                                  >       Uttarakhand

Nandadevi Sanctuary & Valley of Flowers is a national park established in 1982 located around peak of Nanda Devi. It was became heritage of India in 1988

17. Temple of Pattadakal  >           Karnataka


Pattadakal is a complex of Hindu and Jain temples located on Mahaprabha river in the Indian state of Karnataka. This cultural heritage were built during reign of historic Chalukya dynadty. The site was listed by UNESCO in 1987 and now under maintenance of Archaeological Survey of India.

18. Mountain Railways of India > West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Himachal

19. Fatehpur Sikri   >                  Uttarpradesh


Fatehpur Sikri is a town in Agra District, UttarPradesh, India. The city was founded by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1569

20. Bhimbetka    >                  Madhyapradesh


21. Great Temple of Mahabalipuram >           Tamilnadu

MahabalipuramTemple of Mahabalipuram

22.Complex of Mahavodhi Temple >     Bihar

The Mahavodhi Temple is one of great example of Indian culture was built during the reign of Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century. Its covering an area of 12 acres in Bihar. This temple was listed as cultural heritage site by UNESCO. The structure of temple built completely with bricks. Siddhartha Goutam Buddha gained ‘Bodhi’ from here and spread buddhism all over the world.

23. Manas Wild Life Sanctuary >        Assam 

Manas Wild life Sanctuary is a natural heritage site listed by UNESCO in 1985. It is located in north-eastern state of Assam near Manas river. Manas sanctuary includes tiger, Indian rhinoceros, buffaloes, clouded leopard, golden langur, Indian elephant, birds and various type of species. Manas was declared a sanctuary in 1928 and in 1973 declared a tiger reserve. Manas sanctuary covering a total area of 120000 acres.

24. Red Fort Complex >                            Delhi


Red Fort is palace fort built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 17th century. Red Fort located in Delhi near Yamuna river. The outside of fort is built of sandstone. UNESCO listed Red Fort as a cultural World Heritage Site. Total Red Fort complex area covered by 120 acres.

25. Buddhist Monuments of Sanchi     >                Madhyapradesh

Sanchi is a Buddhist complex famous for its Great Stupa at Sanchi town in Raisen district of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. The Sanchi is located 46 kilometres north-east of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the oldest stone made architectue built by the Great Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century BCE. It is one of the main witness of the Mauryan Empire.

26. Sundarvans National Park >West Bengal

27. Temple of Hampi & Vijaynagar>                                                                             Karnataka


28. Tomb of Humayun      >                      Delhi

 Humayun's_tombHumayun’s tomb

Tomb of Humayun was built in 1570 during Mughal empire. It is a cultural World Heritage monument listed by UNESCO in 1993. The tomb built in marbels and chhatris.

29. Western Ghats                 >  ——–

30. Hill Forts of Rajasthan   > ——–

31. Rani ki Vav         >                   Patan,Gujrat

Rani_ki_vavRani ki Vav is a stepwell located in the town of Patan, Gujarat, India. Rani ki vav was built in 11th century CE. It was became world heritage in 2014

32. Great Himalayan National Park                    >  Himachal pradesh

Great Himalayan National Park is one of the national park in India located in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. Spreading an area of 1170 square kilometers the park came into existence in 1984. Great Himalayan Park is home to different type of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks and insects. This place became world heritage in 2014.

33. Nalanda   >                                           Bihar

NalandaNalanda was a large Buddhist monastery during the reign of ancient Magadha empire. It is located near Bihar Sharif, Patna. Nalanda became an university from fifth to twelfth century CE. It is an Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. Its a great place for tourism.

34. Khangchendzoga National Park >Sikkim

Kanchenjunga National Park or Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve is a national park in Indian state of Sikkim. It is the first mixed heritage in India inscribed in 2016 in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The park named from Kangchenjunga(8586 meter)the third-highest mountain peak in the world. It is the home of snow leopard, mask deer, Himalayan tahr like animals. Zemu Glacier flows within this park.

35. The Architectural Work Of  Le Corbusier        >                                                Chandigarh


36. Historic City of Ahmedabad >      Gujarat

The most recent heritage site in India the Historic City of Ahmedabad was established by Emperor Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat Sultanate in 1411 CE. It was declared first heritage city in India in 2017 at 41st session of World Heritage Committee.

Tentative List of World Heritage Sites

There are also some world heritage sites in India in UNESCO’s tentative list.



    ** List is updated till new addition 2017** 

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