India has now 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and owns the sixth largest number of sites in the world. These include 29 cultural sites, seven natural sites, and one mixed site.
India's UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Here is the list of 37 World Heritage sites in India, as designated by UNESCO:
- Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra - 1983
- Ellora Caves in Maharashtra - 1983
- Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh - 1983
- Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh - 1983
- The Sun Temple at Konarark in Odisha - 1984
- Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu - 1984
- Kaziranga National Park in Assam - 1985
- Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam - 1985
- Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan - 1985
- Churches and Convents of Goa - 1986
- Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh - 1986
- Group of Monuments at Hampi in Karnataka - 1986
- Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh - 1986
- Group of Monuments at Pattadakal in Karnataka - 1987
- Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra - 1987
- Great Living Chola Temples in Tamil Nadu. They include Brihadeeswarar temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Airavateshwarar Temple in Darasuram, Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur. (1987, 2004)
- Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal - 1987
- Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand (1988, 2005)
- Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh - 1989
- Humayun's Tomb in Delhi - 1993
- Qutb Minar in Delhi - 1993
- Mountain Railways of India. They include Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal, Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Kalka-Shimla Railway in Himachal Pradesh. (1999, 2005, 2008)
- Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya in Bihar - 2002
- Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh - 2003
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) in Maharashtra - 2004
- Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Gujarat - 2004
- Red Fort Complex in Delhi - 2007
- Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, Rajasthan - 2010
- The Western Ghats. These include Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster, Periyar Sub-Cluster, Anamalai Sub-Cluster, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster, Talakaveri Sub-Cluster, Kudremukh Sub-Cluster, Sahyadri Sub-Cluster - 2012
- Hill Forts of Rajasthan. They include Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambhore, Amber Sub-Cluster, Jaisalmer, Gagron - 2013
- Rani ki Vav (The Queen's Stepwell) in Patan, Gujarat - 2014
- Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh - 2014
- Archaeological Site of Nalanda in Bihar - 2016
- Khangchendzonga National Park In Sikkim - 2016
- The Architectural Work Of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh - 2016
- The Historic City of Ahmadabad in Ahmedabad, Gujarat - 2017
- The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai, Maharashtra - 2018
How is a World Heritage Site selected?
- The first step towards the listing is the nomination of a site by the respective government of a country.
- The site should have an Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for World Heritage nomination.
- To determine the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for World Heritage nomination, there are ten enlisted criteria.
- The proposed nomination must satisfy at least one of these ten criteria.
- The Nomination File is then evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union.
- These bodies then make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.
- The Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site.
What are the ten criteria for determining Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)?
- to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
- to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
- to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
- to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
- to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
- to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria.
- to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
- to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
- to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
- to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
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(According to UNESCO World Heritage Center)
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