Uncovering India’s Most Awe-Inspiring Cultural Sites
Uncovering India’s Most Awe-Inspiring Cultural Sites
Babyboomers.com Staff

The 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention recognised a number of natural and cultural sites across the globe as being of significant international importance, branding these places and buildings as World Heritage Sites. This recognition is due to a variety of factors, such as incredible engineering and design or geographical regions rich in wildlife and of striking appearance. India now boasts 40 World Heritage Sites, placing it sixth in the world in terms of the number of sites found in any one country: there are 32 cultural sites, 7 natural places and 1 mixed site that are awaiting travellers. History enthusiasts should make sure to book guided tours to India to bring to life the country’s most awe-inspiring sites, each of which boasts its own unique and fascinating backstory. Discover the UNESCO sites which are a must for your hit list when you a touring South Asia’s largest country.

Agra, Taj Mahal

In the mid-17th century, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan erected the Taj Mahal in honour of his wife, Mumtaj Mahal. It was finished in 1653 at a cost estimated at 32 million Indian rupees, or 58 billion rupees (around 720 million dollars) in today's money. Widely known as the ‘Jewel of Muslim Art in India’ and regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture in the entire globe, it is hardly surprising that this UNESCO site is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is situated beside the Yamuna River in Agra, Rajasthan. Due to its central role in the rise and fall of the Mughal Empire in India and its total magnificence, this monument is arguably the most famous landmark in the world.  A huge tourist attraction that is a must see in your lifetime.

Hampi

Another one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites in India is Hampi, situated in Karnataka’s northern region. The 16th-century capital of the now long-gone but once thriving Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi is now a ruined complex than nonetheless showcases the superb Dravidian style of art and architecture. The Virupaksha Temple, which is still an important Hindu holy site, is the site's most noteworthy heritage landmark. You can also view prehistoric carvings here which are evidence of even earlier occupation of this land. This iconic cultural site also has a number of additional monuments: collectively, they are referred to as the ‘Group of Monuments at Hampi’.

Ajanta & Ellora Caves

The Ajanta Caves, one of the first sites in India to be classed as World Heritage, are home to 31 rock-cut Buddhist cave structures that span from the second century BC to 650 AD. Preserved inside are some of the most exquisite ancient works of art still viewable today including paintings, sculpture, and murals. The caves were constructed in two separate periods during two different dynasties, but both are profoundly significant in showcasing early creativity and design. These cultural sites are in a fairly remote region of the country, but travellers with time on their hands will find the visit to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves to be one of the most memorable experiences of their entire tour.





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