Important UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India

Important UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India: There are 38 World Heritage Sites in India.These site are recognized as sites with cultural and natural importance by UNESCO World Heritage Convention.Let’s learn.

India is ranked at sixth position in the highest number of heritage sites in the world.

Important UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India

Types of Cultural Heritage

There are two types of cultural heritage

  • Tangible Cultural Heritage: Natural or artificial site or archaeological structure,buildings,monuments etc
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage: Skill,tradition,knowledge,communities etc

Tangible Cultural Heritage are further classified into three types

  • Cultural World Heritage Sites
  • Natural World Heritage Sites
  • Cultural and Natural (Mixed) World Heritage Site
What is a World Heritage site?

A World Heritage site is defined as a natural or artificial site or archaeological structure that is of international importance which requires special protection. It is classified under tangible cultural heritage.

These sites are officially recognized by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Know About UNESCO
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is headquartered in Paris,France. 
  • UNESCO was established on 4 November 1945.
  • Current Director General is Audrey Azoulay. (As of July 2020)
  • UNESCO is a member under the United Nations Development Group.
  • The list of world heritage sites is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme under UNESCO.
  • A treaty called World Heritage Convention was signed to announce world heritage site lists.
  • The list is administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The committee is composed of 21 UNESCO member states, elected by the General Assembly.
Once a site gets recognition as World Heritage Site by UNESCO,it becomes the part of the legal territory of the state.
World Heritage Day

18th April of every year is celebrated as World Heritage Day to create and spread awareness about Heritage among communities around the world.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) declared, 18 April as the “World Heritage Dayin 1982. This declaration was approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983 to spread awareness about cultural heritages around the world and also to protect and conserve the existing cultural heritages.

Significance of World Heritage Sites
  • World Heritage Sites of a nation not only brings huge international prestige but also it asks a commitment and responsibility from that Nation to save and protect concerned site.
  • World Heritage Sites give economy a boost in form of tourist income and promotes jobs.
  • Creates public awareness about cultural and natural importance.
The list of 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Cultural World Heritage Sites in India

  1. Taj Mahal, Agra
  2. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
  3. Hampi, Karnataka
  4. Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
  5. Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
  6. Bodh Gaya, Bihar
  7. Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
  8. Red Fort Complex, Delhi
  9. Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu
  10. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
  11. Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi
  12. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan
  13. Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
  14. Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh
  15. Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
  16. Rani Ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat
  17. Hill Forts of Rajasthan
  18. Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
  19. Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University), Bihar
  20. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka
  21. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
  22. Qutub Minar and its Monuments, New Delhi
  23. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat
  24. The Historic City of Ahmedabad
  25. Churches and Convents of Goa
  26. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
  27. The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai
  28. Capitol Complex, Chandigarh
  29. The Pink City,Jaipur,Rajasthan
The Latest World Heritage Site in India
The Pink City Jaipur, Rajasthan was announced as World Heritage site by the UNESCO on February 5, 2020

Natural World Heritage Sites in India

  1. Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam
  2. Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
  3. Western Ghats
  4. Manas Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam
  5. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal
  6. Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
  7. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks of Uttarakhand
  8. Kanchenjunga National Park, Sikkim

Cultural and Natural (Mixed) World Heritage Site in India

  1. Khangchendzonga National Park
What is the first World Heritage Site in the world?
Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean was declared as the first World Heritage Site in the World.
What is the first World Heritage Site in India?
Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra was the first World Heritage Site declared in India.
What is the World's Largest UNESCO World Heritage Site?
The city of Bordeaux is the World’s Largest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Selection of World Heritage Sites

A nominated site is selected as world heritage site only if it is of ‘outstanding universal value‘ and meets at least one of the ten selection criteria outlined by UNESCO.

There are 1120+  UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 160 countries. China and Italy are the two countries with most numbers of World Heritage Sites (55).
Removal of World Heritage Site

Once a site is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, it must be protected from external threats and regular maintenance is needed. Sometimes it is seen that some listed World Heritage Sites gets affected by several factors like natural disasters,pollution, poaching, armed conflict or uncontrolled tourism activities. The sites are then listed in danger list, if such unfortunate activities are observed. The sites are completely removed from the list if the situation becomes worse or no further action is taken by the concerned state.

Recently these three sites lost its world heritage status from UNESCO

  • Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, Oman
  • Dresden Elbe Valley, Germany
  • Bagrati Cathedral, Georgia


All the data mentioned in this article are as per data from UNESCO,July 2020, the above mentioned data are subjected to change.

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