India is a country known for its rich and diverse culture and history. Though there are numerous world heritage sites across the length and breadth of the country that reflect different eras of Indian history, here are our top 10 picks:
Taj Mahal, Agra: Standing first in the new ‘Seven Wonders of the World’, Taj Mahal, was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 for his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. It is a mausoleum for both.
Qutub Minar, Delhi: Located in the Capital of India – Delhi, it is the tallest minar measuring 237.8 ft, and was constructed by Qutub-ud-din-aibak in the year 1192 AD. The construction was completed by Iltutmish. The famous iron pillar in Qutub Complex was set up by a king named Chandra and was set up as Vishnudvaja.
The Caves of Ajanta & Ellora, Maharashtra: Situated near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the Ajanta Caves (dating back to 2nd century BC to 650 AD) are a masterpiece of Buddhist art. The Ellora Caves (dating 6th to 9th century AD) consist of Jain, Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Some of these caves are so well preserved to this day that repairs are rarely required.
Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, Bihar: Mahabodhi Temple marks the ‘Great Enlightment’ of Lord Buddha, and hence is the most sacred place in Buddhism. It is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus.
Churches & Convents of Goa: The churches and convents of Goa can be attributed to the Portuguese rulers who ruled Goa from 1510 to 1961. Most of these, including the Chapel of St. Catherine, Se’ Cathedral, Basilica of Born Jesus etc. were built between the 16th and 17th century AD.
Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh: A masterpiece in the history of Buddhist architecture, this sanctuary was founded by the great emperor Ashoka, who had converted to Buddhism around 250 BC. Located 46 kms towards North-East of Bhopal, the Great Stupa is the oldest known structure in India.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam: Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the state of Assam, covers an area of around 39,100 hectares. It is a hot spot for bio diversity lovers. It is home to various endangered species like Tigers, Bengal Floricans and One-horned Rhinos.
Champanagar & Pavagadh Archeological Park, Gujarat: Located in Panchmahal district of Gujarat, Champanagar and Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a UNESCO world heritage site holding many yet to be excavated heritage properties, including prehistoric sites of an early Hindu capital. It contains a perfect combination of Hindu and Islamic architecture.
Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, Madhya Pradesh: Located 46 km South of Bhopal, the Bhimbetka Caves of Madhya Pradesh hold the treasures of rarely found pre-historic art. These caves are named after Bhima, one of the five Pandavas of Mahabharat. The rock paintings that have been found here date back to Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods.
The Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh: Located in Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, the park was established in 1984 and covers an area of 1171 sq. km. It is a habitat for 375 fauna and various flora species.