India is known for its rich heritage and exotic culture. Ancient India had encountered numerous invasions by ruling monarchs and each sovereign has left behind iconic sculptures and monuments. The heritage sites left behind are a gift to India from its ancestors. These centuries-old monuments, sculptures and carvings still stand erect and are protected and maintained by the UNESCO World Heritage authority and Archaeological Society of India. Over the years, the architectural beauty of Indian monuments has gained popularity not only with Indians but with tourists from all over the world as well. These heritage sites of India reflect the perfect union of customs, traditions and religions. In this article, we will list out 5 must-visit heritage sites in India.
1. Agra, Uttar Pradesh
The Agra Fort is another heritage monument in the town of Agra that is known for its richly decorated buildings imposing the Mughal style of architecture. The fort was built with red sandstone and is surrounded by a high fortification wall. It protects at least a dozen heritage monuments inside the fort walls like Khas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Nagina Masjid and many others.
Fatehpur Sikri, another complex of monuments and temples close to Agra, is a UNESCO world heritage site since the year 1986. It is a medieval city housing a complex of ancient temples and monuments built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century. Named as the ‘City of Victory’, Fatehpur Sikri houses one of the largest mosques in India – The Jama Masjid.
2. Puri, Odisha
The Sun Temple of Konark in the Puri district was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site in the year 1984. It is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal towards the East of India. The Sun temple was built entirely out of stone in the 13th century. The temple is in the form of a gigantic chariot of Sun God, having 24 intricately carved wheels and led by a team of horses. The heavily carved stone monument reflects the grandeur of the traditional style of Kalinga architecture.
Churches and convents of Old Goa are a set of religious monuments located Velha, the former capital of Goa. These monuments, built by the Portuguese rulers, were declared as World Heritage sites by UNESCO in the year 1986. The most iconic one is the Basilica of Bom Jesus which houses the tomb containing remains of St. Francis Xavier. The other heritage sites like Igreja de Nossa Senhora, St Cathedral church, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel of Santa Catarina and ruins of the Church of St. Augustine are equally remarkable. Most of these churches and convents have plain interiors but have a beautiful style of architecture and carvings on the exteriors.
4. Jaipur, Rajasthan
The Pink City, Jaipur, has recently bagged a title of UNESCO world heritage site in July 2019. The walled city of Jaipur houses plenty of iconic architectural monuments such as the City Palace, the Hawa Mahal and the Janta Mantar. The Jantar Mantar was included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 2010 and now the entire city has been declared as a heritage site. Jantar Mantar, built in the 18th century, is an astronomical observatory featuring the world’s largest sundial that helps in interpreting the position of celestial bodies and in calculating local time.
5. Hampi, Karnataka
The group of monuments in Hampi, located on the banks of Tungabhadra river in Karnataka, are listed as heritage monuments in the UNESCO World Heritage site list in the year 1986. Hampi was once the capital of one of the largest kingdoms of India, the Vijayanagar Empire. Some of the notable structures constructed in the 16th century include Virupaksha Temple, Vitthala temple and Lotus Mahal. The iconic stone chariot of the Vitthala temple is inscribed on the Indian 50 rupees note. Most of the heritage sites in Hampi are in ruins but thanks to UNESCO recognition, they are decently protected.
You can learn a lot about India’s history by visiting these wonderful monuments. Sterling Resorts located at most of these places will help to enhance your travel experience by organising an extraordinary tour to the heritage sites thus creating a long-lasting memory for you and pampers you with the numerous facilities available at the resort.