List of World Heritage Sites in North India

The splendor and vastness of the architectural heritage of North India can easily be demonstrated by the fact that out of 25 cultural world heritage sites in India which have been declared by UNESCO, 14 are in North India.  The 6 other Heritage Sites of North India are Natural Sites, thus summing up to a total of 20 Heritage Sites in the Northern regions on India.

With many shifts in ruling powers, India has become the thriving hub of multiple architectural marvels. From the world famous Taj Mahal to the creative genius Khajuraho temple, the power of architecture taste blended with the Indian culture and landscape has no equal.

While most of the architecture is well-documented, there are many relics that exist in all their glory without any recognition. Known or unknown, the wide and thriving Indian heritage in any respect has certainly received accolades from across the globe.

The List of Heritage Sites that can be found in North & North east India are following.

CULTURAL:

  • Agra Fort (1983)
  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
  • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)
  • Fatehpur Sikri (1986)
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)
  • Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)
  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)
  • Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)
  • Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)
  • Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014)
  • Red Fort Complex (2007)
  • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
  • Taj Mahal (1983)
  • The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)

 

NATURAL:

  • Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)
  • Kaziranga National Park (1985)
  • Keoladeo National Park (1985)
  • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)
  • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988)
  • Sundarbans National Park (1987)

 

The Taj Mahal, a perfect blend of Muslim and Indian architecture, is one of the new seven wonders of world. The Mahabodhi Temple complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar built by Emperor Ashoka in 260 BC, marks the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautam Buddha. Khajuraho temple and Buddhist monuments of Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh also finds itself in list of world heritage sites.

Read more about a few of these heritage sites in north India.

Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014)

Rani-ki-Vav, on the banks of the Saraswati River, was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-storey works of art and architecture.

Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions. Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works.

Rani ki vav stepwell view from entry point

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)

A stupa (from Sanskrit: m., स्तूप, stūpa, literally meaning “heap”) is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the ashes of Buddhist monks, used by Buddhists as a place of meditation. The ‘Great Stupa’ at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE to spread Buddhism.

Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics.

Sanchi, especially Stupa 1, has a large number of Brahmi inscriptions. Although most of them are small and mention donations, they are of great historical significance. James Prinsep in 1837, noted that most of them ended with the same two Brahmi characters. Princep took them as “danam” (donation), which permitted the decipherment of the Brahmi script.

 

sanchi-stupa

Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)

Located in Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is the pride of Indian architectural grandeur. It was built during the rule of Chandela Dynasty which was at its height during the time span of 950 to 1050. The temple complex was reported to be an amalgam of 85 temples in earlier days, though today only 25 temples are found. The temples are believed to be the greatest masterpiece of ancient Indian art.

The temples in western complex are mainly dedicated to Hindu deities whereas the temples in the Eastern Complex are mainly dedicated to Jaina Tirthankaras. The Khajuraho temples feature a variety of art work, of which 10% is sexual or erotic art outside and inside the temples.

 

Khajuraho temple - Heritage site in madhya pradesh

Sundarbans National Park (1987)

The Indian Sunderbans forms the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India. A paradise for birdwatchers, the list includes such rarities as the Masked Fin-foot, Mangrove Pitta and the Mangrove Whistler.  The site is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes.

The Sundarbans provides sustainable livelihoods for millions of people in the vicinity of the site and acts as a shelter belt to protect the people from storms, cyclones, tidal surges, sea water seepage and intrusion. The only means of travelling the park is to by boat, down the various lanes formed by the many flowing rivers. Local boats or vessels are operated by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation.

sunderbans tiger reserve natural heritage site