12 Must Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

India is rich in its history and culture, and is popular throughout the world for the same. UNESCO has listed around 36 world heritage sites in India since inception. So, it is imperative to visit some of these amazing places on your trip to India; if not all.

So, if you are planning to travel in India or are already in India and looking to visit some of the world heritage sites located in the country, then here is a list of 12 such world heritage sites you simply cannot afford to miss;

 

Kaziranga National Park

Elephant Safari at Kaziranga National Park
Elephant Safari at Kaziranga

Location: Assam

Best Time to Visit: October to May (the park is flooded during monsoon, so don’t even think of planning a visit during monsoon, viz., from June till September)

How to Reach: Guwahati is the nearest big city from Kaziranga and one can easily get flights and trains to Guwahati from all parts of the country. From Guwahati, one can book a cab to Kaziranga. Alternately, you can also take a train from Guwahati/Delhi to Furkating which is roughly 75kms from Kaziranga.

Believe it or Not: This world heritage site is popular for the mighty one-horned rhinos, and accommodate around 2/3rd of this specie in the world.

 

Ellora Caves

Ajanta and Ellora Caves
Facade of Ellora Caves

Location: Maharashtra

Best Time to Visit: July to February (March to June is scorching summer time and can get hectic to explore the caves)

How to Reach: Ellora caves are located roughly 30kms from the city of Aurangabad, which is well connected from all parts of the country. You can easily book cabs for Ellora caves from Aurangabad.

Believe it or Not: Though the caves date back to 6th-7th century AD, it was not until the late 19th century that the caves were discovered by a British India Army office during an expedition.

 

Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar

Location: Delhi

Best Time to Visit: All year round

How to Reach: Delhi is the capital of India and thus is very well connected with the rest of the country.

Believe it or Not: The inside of the minaret was open to visitors until 1981, when a horrific stampede killed 45 people.

  

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal
Sunrise at the Taj Mahal

Location: Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Best Time to Visit: The monument is open throughout the year, however, it is recommended to avoid visit during peak summer season, viz., May to July.

How to Reach: Agra is well connected by rail route from the rest of the country. There are regular bus services from Delhi, which is the nearest metropolitan city. One can also book a cab from Delhi to enjoy the road route.

Believe it or Not: A team of whopping 22000 labors, painters, stone cutters, and embroidery artists was required to successfully complete this gem of an architecture, which eventually took around 17 years to get complete.

 

Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar in Jaipur
The Giant Sun Dial at Jantar Mantar

Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan

Best Time to Visit: All year round (though, avoid visiting during summer season, viz., June to September)

How to Reach: Jaipur is the capital of the royal state of Rajasthan and is well connected with the rest of the country through air, rail, and roadways. There are frequent flights plying to Jaipur from Delhi and Mumbai.

Believe it or Not: Jantar Mantar of Jaipur was the brainchild of the maharaja of Jaipur HH Jai Singh II, who built four more such observatories throughout the country; including Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi.

 

Sun Temple

Sun Temple Konark
Sun Temple Konark

Location: Konark, Orrisa

Best Time to Visit: September to March

How to Reach: Konark itself does not have an airport or railway station, but is comfortably commutable from the cities of Puri and Bhubaneshwar (capital of Orrisa). Bhubaneshwar is well connected through air from major cities of the country and is located 70kms from Konark. One can easily find cabs from Bhubaneshwar to Konark Sun Temple. Also, if you are travelling by railways, Puri is the nearest big station which is located around 30kms from the temple.

Believe it or Not: The temple dedicated to the Sun God has been built in the shape of a chariot (said to be that of the Sun God) mounted on 24 wheels and drawn by 7 mighty horses.

 

Group of Monuments of Hampi

Hampi Monuments
Virupaksha Temple in Hampi

Location: Hampi, Karnataka

Best Time to Visit: October to March

How to Reach: Hospet is the nearest big city from the village of Hampi, which is well connected by rail and roadways from several major cities; including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Delhi, Chennai, etc.

Believe it or Not: One of the standout monuments at Hampi is the Vittala Temple, which is popular for its 56 melodic columns; fondly known as musical pillars. The pillars are said to create a string of melodious sound when tapped delicately.

 

Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves
Caves of Elephanta

Location: Elephanta Island, Maharashtra

Best Time to Visit: November to February (absolutely avoid during monsoon, viz., June to August, as the sea experience high tides and ferries usually do not ply.

How to Reach: Elephanta caves are located on the Elephanta islands, or locally known as Gharapuri, situated 10kms east to the city of Mumbai. The only way to reach the island is through ferries that ply from the Gateway of India in south Mumbai. Mumbai being one of the major cities of India is very well connected through road, rail, and air ways from the rest of the country. Ferries run from the Gateway to the Island from 9am till 2pm, and return ferries run between 12pm to 5:30pm. The caves are closed to visitors on Mondays.

Believe it or Not: The name Elephanta was given to this island by the Portuguese invaders who landed here in the mid 16th century, when they found a huge elephant statue made of rock. The island was earlier known as Gharapuri Island, which means “City of Caves”.

 

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri
Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri Fort

Location: Uttar Pradesh

Best Time to Visit: October to March

How to Reach: Fatehpur Sikri is a small town that comes under Agra district and is located roughly 40kms from the main city area of Agra. Thus, it is comfortably commutable from major cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Gwalior, Luckhnow, etc.

Believe it or Not: “Fateh” means Victory, and thus the city is also known as the “City of Vicotry” and was the capital of Mughal Empire during Akbar’s rule for nearly a decade, before he moved the capital to Agra.

 

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb

Location: Delhi

Best Time to Visit: All year roundd

How to Reach: Delhi is the capital of India and thus is very well connected with the rest of the country.

Believe it or Not: There are more than 100 graves (tombs) within the entire complex, and the entire structure took almost 7 years to get complete. It was a Persian architect who designed the complex.

 

Valley of Flowers National Park

Valley of Flowers
Valley of Flowers

Location: Uttarakhand

Best Time to Visit: July to September is the best and highly recommended time to visit this national park, as the flowers are completely bloomed and the snow is all melted away.

How to Reach: The national park is located in the Chamoli district of Uttrakhand state, and is situated at an elevation of 3658m from the sea level. One can choose to drive all the way from Delhi which includes 508kms drive and 13kms of trek, or can fly in to Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun which is 292kms from the last motorable point; Govind Ghat. A trek of 16kms from Govind Ghat will take you to Valley of Flowers. If you are planning to travel from train, then nearest railway station is Rishikesh which is 273kms from Govind Ghat. You can easily find cabs from Rishikesh and Dehradun to Govind Ghat.

Believe it or Not: A group of 3 British mountaineers, Frank S. Smythe, Eric Shipton, and R.L. Holdsworth, lost their way while returning from their successful expedition to Mt. Kamat, and landed up in this valley where they found a huge cover of colourful flowers throughout. They got amazed by such divine beauty and view and immediately named it “The Valley of Flowers”.

 

So, there you have it! Top 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites in India that you simply cannot afford to miss. Have you been to any of these places? Share your experience in the comment box below and let fellow travellers know more.

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