From arts and literature, to history and archaeology, India makes for a great travel destination for enthusiasts of diverse fields. It is laced with a rich past, encompassing within it various civilizations worth exploring. If you want to a take a cultural trip in the country, then these 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India should definitely be on your list.
Nalanda Mahavira, Bihar
From 3rd century BCE till around the 13th century CE, Nalanda in Bihar was a center for learning and a Buddhist monastery. Nalanda vouched for the growth of Buddhism as a religion and was recognized as an abode of knowledge for years. The first residential university of the world, it was attended by scholars from distant lands such as Tibet, Korea, and China. Today, you will get to see remains of stupas, viharas, and shrines at the Nalanda Archeological Site, testimony to the glorious days of the past.
GoFro Tip: Visit the Nalanda Multimedia Museum to see a 3D-animation representation of Nalanda’s history.
Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
Nestled in the magnificent Himalayas, in the north-eastern state of Sikkim, lies the Khangchendzonga National Park. Also known as Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve, it spreads over an expanse of 850 sq. km, at an elevation of 1,829 m to 8,500 m above sea level. The place derives its name from Kanchenjunga, the 3rd highest peak in the world, which is a part of the park. The flora and fauna of the Park are quite famous among nature lovers, who also try to spot the elusive snow leopard while here.
GoFro Tip: The Park consists of few but wonderful trekking trails which you can try.
Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
One of the first places in India that earned the title of a “World Heritage Site” were Maharashtra’s Ajanta and Ellora Caves. The caves date back to 2nd century BCE to 650 CE and were built in two different phases – the Satavahana Period and the Vakataka Period. Ajanta and Ellora are made up of 64 rock-cut caves, the art and architecture of which are examples of unparalleled craftsmanship from that era. The caves play an important role in the way art and architecture has developed throughout history in India.
GoFro Tip: Keep some time aside for the sparkling waterfalls of Charanandri Hills at Ellora.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, is nestled in the Himalayan ranges in the beautiful state of Assam. The park is particularly famous all over the world for it is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of Greater One-Horned Rhinos, and has the highest density of tigers. It also shelters water buffaloes, elephants, swamp deer, leopards, and countless species of resident as well as migratory birds. The best time to visit this wonderful place is during the months of November to March.
GoFro Tip: There are numerous accommodations within the park for you to stay at, including tents that will make it seem like a true safari expedition!
Khajuraho Monuments, Madhya Pradesh
Situated about 175 km south-east of Jhansi, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is another one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in India. The Khajuraho Monuments are a group of Hindu and Jain Temples, famous for their erotic figures and sculptures. It consists of a total of 85 temples, most of which were built between 950 to 1050 CE in the Nagara style of architecture. The sensuous human and animal forms carved in Khajuraho reflect the cultural sensibilities of the country at that time.
GoFro Tip: Stay till the evening to see the beautiful light and sound show held at the open lawns in the temple complex.
Sun Temple, Konark
Standing with great vigor and splendor, the Sun Temple is a Brahmin Monument in Konark, Odissha. Built around 1250 AD by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, it draws visitors from around the world for its outstanding architecture and detailed craftsmanship. The temple has been carved in the shape of a gigantic chariot led by 6 enormous horses. The colossal temple stands as a testimony to the grandeur of the Kalinga architecture, prevalent in those times.
GoFro Tip: Hire a guide if you are visiting for the first time as you will have to travel along the beach and inside a forest to reach the site.
Rani ki Vav, Gujarat
Built in memory of Bhimdev I, the son of the founder of the Solanki dynasty, Rani ki Vav is a stepped well famous for its fine architecture. Though used for storage of water, the structure was designed as an inverted temple, lending it a sense of religious importance. The ancient sculptures and stone carvings in the well are devoted to the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu, signifying his return to the world.
GoFro Tip: Do visit the herb shops near Rani ki Vav, famous for their medicinal benefits.
Take a break from routine life, pack your bags, and visit these places to fully grasp the grandeur of India.