UNESCO, the United Nations Eductional, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, list 27 cultural world wonders in India. So, from A to Z, here goes….
Agra Fort: Also known as the Red Fort, this red sandstone fortress was the power base of Mughal India for many years. It’s not surprisingly on the Agra tourist trail. It so good, I think it puts Delhi’s Red Fort in the shade.
Ajanta Caves: Buddhist cave monuments, the earliest dating from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. The city of Aurangabad is a good base to explore Ajanta and fellow UNESCO site Ellora.
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi: About 40km outside of Bhopal, the monuments at Sanchi are said to be the oldest in existence.
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park A hill fortress of an early Hindu capital it’s home to buildings and structures from between the 8th and 16th Centuries. Located near the historical city of Champaner, Gujarat.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) I want to take a train into Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai. It’s Victorian gothic architecture looks amazing.
Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) These churches, built during the 16th and 17th century by the Portuguese were influential in spreading Christianity and European art across Asia
Elephanta Caves A small island, situated close to Mumbai, these caves are in honour of Lord Shiva. Combining this with a trip to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, could mean two UNESCO sites in one trip.
Ellora Caves 34 Buddhist and Jain monasteries and temples dug into cliffs that were built between the 5th and 10th century. Like Ajanta, Aurangabad is the base to explore these two sites in one trip
Fatehpur Sikri Mughal Emperor Akbar’s deserted city lies about 35km from Agra. Built from scratch, but inhabited for just 10 years, it’s on the Agra tourist trail.
Great Living Chola Temples: The kings of the Chola Empire were serious temple builders. The architecture, sculpture and bronze work from 9th and 10th century is renowned, with the Great Living Chola Temples, near the town of Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, their finest work.
Group of Monuments at Hampi – The home of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanaga and a site that amazed travelers between the 14th and 16th centuries. It’s does the same for tourist today with many using Goa as a base to get to Hampi
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram – Chariots, caves and outstanding Hindu temples carved in the 7th and 8th centuries, the monuments of Mahabalipuram are said to be an exhibition space where the King could show off his people’s talents to prospective buyers.
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal – The high point of Chalukya dynasty art in Karnataka in the 7th and 8th centuries, the monuments are home to impressive Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary. Virupaksha Temple, built around 740, is said to stand out.
Hill Forts of Rajasthan – Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Sawai Madhopur, Jhalawar, Jaipur and Jaisalmer are the six forts that make up UNESCOs list.
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi – The first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent is right here in Delhi. Built in 1570 it is said to be the inspiration for much of the Mughal architecture in India. See another of my blogs for some more information.
Khajuraho Group of Monuments – Dating back to 950 AD and 1050 AD and famous for their erotic inscriptions and carving, the temples at Khajuraho are one of India’s most popular tourist sites.
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya – Built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C, the complex is a holy site linked to the life of the Lord Buddha.
Mountain Railways of India – As the name suggests there is more than one. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka Shimla Railway, are a massive international draw. Incredible feats of engineering taking place in amazing mountain ranges. Two good reasons to let the train take the strain.
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014) – Built in the 11th century AD, this stepwell is said to have been built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in Maru-Gurjara architectural style.
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka – Natural rock shelters housing paintings from as early as the Mesolithic Period (also called the middle stone age).
Sun Temple, Konârak – A representation of the sun god Surya’s chariot, the sun temple was built in the 13th century and sits proudly on the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
Taj Mahal – Do I need to say anymore? Built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur This site puts Delhi’s Janter Manter to shame. An astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It’s massive instruments were designed to observe the behaviour of the sun, the moon, the stars and the planets with the naked eye. Get a tour guide to explain how these wonderful machines work.
The last one to mention at the end of this mammoth list is the latest. The work of architectural inspiration, Le Corbusier. The Complexe du Capitole, in Chandigarh, which houses the city’s administrative centre, “reflects the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20th century to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society.”, says UNESCO.
So, it’s over you to decide where to go.