UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in India

What is a World Heritage Site?

  • A World Heritage Site is a place on earth having a special cultural or physical significance and outstanding universal value to the humanity.
  • It may be a building, a city, a complex, a desert, a forest, an island, a lake, a monument, or a mountain.
  • They have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
  • According to the sites ranked by country, Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites with 51 sites, followed by China (48), Spain (44), France (41), Germany (40), India (35) and Mexico (33).

Who lists World Heritage Sites?

  • A world Heritage site is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)which is based in Paris, France.
  • The International World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee establishes the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • The World Heritage Committeeis responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention (The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage or the World Heritage Convention), defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  • It is composed of 21 state parties which are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  • Currently, India is a member of the World Heritage Committee.


UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the nodal agency for forwarding any request for World Heritage status to any Indian site whether cultural or natural.
  • Based on the proposals received from the Central or State Government agencies as well as management Trusts, etc., and after their due scrutiny, the Government forwards the nomination dossiers to the World Heritage Center.
  • India now has 35 sites, including 27 cultural properties, seven natural sites and one mixed site, notified as World Heritage Sites.
  • The latest entries in 2016 were – (1) Nalanda University (2) Capitol Complex and (3) Khangchendzonga National Park (mixed site).
  • The list of places in India which have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO is given below:

Cultural Sites

Under protection of Archaeologic Survey of India

S.No Name of Site State
1. Ajanta Caves (1983) Maharashtra
2. Ellora Caves (1983) Maharashtra
3. Agra Fort (1983) Uttar Pradesh
4. Taj Mahal (1983) Uttar Pradesh
5. Sun Temple, Konarak (1984) Odisha
6. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984) Tamil Nadu
7. Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) Goa
8. Group of Temples, Khajuraho (1986) Madhya Pradesh
9. Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986) Karnataka
10. Group of Monuments, FatehpurSikri (1986) Uttar Pradesh
11. Group of Temples, Pattadakal (1987) Karnataka
12. Elephanta Caves ( 1987) Maharashtra
13. Great Living Chola temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004) Tamil Nadu
14. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) Madhya Pradesh
15. Humayun’s  Tomb, Delhi (1993) Delhi
16. Qutb Minar Complex, Delhi (1993) Delhi
17. Prehistoric Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003) Madhya Pradesh
18. Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004) Gujarat
19. Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007) Delhi
20. Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013) Note: Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums Rajasthan
21. Rani ki Vav (2014) Gujarat
22. Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) (2016) Bihar
23. Capitol Complex (2016) Chandigarh


Under Protection of Ministry of Railways

24. Mountain Railway of India ( Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla(2008) West Bengal,  Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh
25. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004) Maharashtra

Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee

26. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya (2002) Bihar

Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums Department

27. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010) Rajasthan

Natural Sites

Under Protection of Ministry of Environment & Forest

28. Kaziranga National Park (1985) Assam
29 Manas Wild Life Sanctuary (1985) Assam
30. Keoladeo National Park (1985) Rajasthan
31. Sunderban National Park (1987) West Bengal
32. Nanda Devi  and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005) Uttarakhand
33. Western Ghats (2012) Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
34. Great Himalayan National Park (2014) Himachal Pradesh
35. Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) (2016)* [Mixed site] Sikkim