7 LESSER KNOWN WORLD HERITAGE SITES SHOWING HERITAGE OF INDIA

Hi friends! Do you know how many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are there in India? Well, as per the latest UNESCO records, there are as many as 37 world heritage sites in India, which is among the highest number of world heritage sites in a single country anywhere. These world heritage sites in India are the flagbearers of the heritage of India and its historical and natural treasure. UNESCO recognizes only those sites which it feels belong to the whole mankind irrespective of their locations. So India's world heritage sites hold tremendous cultural, historical as well as natural value for everyone. But not everyone knows about every UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

There are a few which are very well known like, Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, Ajanta and Ellora caves, Sun Temple in Konark and Red Fort complex in Delhi which is quite well known. But there are some which do not get as much attention as they should as world heritage sites. So here I bring to you, 7 of these lesser known world heritage sites in India, which, I am sure, you will find beautiful and amazing but will also make you proud of the richness of culture and nature that India possesses.

1. MANAS NATIONAL PARK

Located in the northeastern state of Assam, Manas National Park derives its name from the river Manasa, which flows nearby. Situated on the foothills of the mighty Himalayas near Bhutan, the park was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in December'1985. Even before that Manas national park was declared a tiger reserve since 1973. That is the reason the chief attraction here is the royal Bengal tiger. This park has as many as 55 species of mammals and 380 species of birds, so bird watching becomes a very natural activity here. Apart from this, there are 50 species of reptiles also. Apart from tiger, the other species of animals found here are elephants, rhinoceros, Barasinga, leopards, Asian golden cat, capped langur, barking deer, black panther, etc.


MANAS NATIONAL PARK, Assam
MANAS NATIONAL PARK
Image - nenow.in


How to Reach Manas National Park?

By Air - The nearest airport is Bagdogra in Guwahati, which is about 176 km away. It will take 4-5 hours to reach Manas National Park from Guwahati airport.

BY Train - Guwahati again is the nearest major rail link to all the major cities of India. However, there are quite a few trains which halt at Barpeta Road railway station, which is around 25 km from Manas National park.

By Road - As I said earlier, you have to reach Guwahati first and from there you can travel to Manas National Park by road through national highway no. 31.

2. RANI - KI - VAV

Situated in Patan, Gujarat, Rani Ki Vav is a stepwell which is intricately carved. Rani Ki Vav means Queen's stepwell and is believed to have been built between 1063 and 1068 AD. It was built by queen Undayamati in the memory of her husband Bhima. It was declared a world heritage site in India by UNESCO on 22nd June' 2014. In 2016, it won the title "cleanest iconic place" in India during the Indian Sanitation Conference. Rani Ki Vav is 64 m long, 20 m wide and 27 m deep. There are as many as seven galleries which include more than 800 beautiful sculptures. These sculptures are carved on pillars and the theme is majorly based on Lord Vishnu. The whole stepwell depicts the architecture of a bygone era. There is an entry ticket of INR 5 for Indian nationals and for foreign nationals, this fee is USD 2.



RANI KI VAV, Gujarat
RANI KI VAV
Image - businesstoday.in
Also, read: Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park
How to reach Rani Ki Vav?


By Air - The nearest airport is Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat. From here, it takes around 3.5 hrs to reach Patan.


By Rail - The nearest railway station is Mehsana. From here you have to travel by road and it will take around 1.5 hours to reach Patan from here.


By Road - Patan is well connected by road. You can get a bus or hire a cab to reach there from Ahmedabad or Mahsana. Another alternative is a shared jeep, which is cheaper but less comfortable.


3. KHANGCHENDZONGA NATIONAL PARK


Another national park in northeast India, Khangchendzonga National Park is located in Sikkim. It was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India in July'2016. It is basically a Biosphere reserve. This park was declared a mixed heritage site because of its rich wildlife as well as natural treasures. It got its name from Mt. Kanchenjunga, which is also called Khangchendzonga and is the third highest peak in the world. This park has rich wildlife and you can spot animals like red panda, snow leopard, great Tibetan sheep, wild dog, Himalayan black bear, and bharal, etc. Apart from this, there are bird species like grey peacock pheasant, black neck crane, blood pheasant, Tibetan snow cock, etc. Besides this park has 18 big glaciers which include Zemu glacier known for its huge size. There are 17 beautiful lakes also in Khangchedzonga National park, which has an area of around 850 sq. km.


You need to take permission from the state wildlife department to visit the park, which grants the permission for a fee of INR 350 for seven days to Indian nationals and INR 560 to foreign nationals. For every additional day, the fee is INR 40 for Indians and INR 80 for foreign nationals.



KHANGCHENDZONGA NATIONAL PARK, Sikkim
KHANGCHENDZONGA NATIONAL PARK
Image - netpaltravel.com


How to reach Khangchendzonga National Park?


By Air - The nearest airport is Bagdogra, which is around 170 km away.


By Rail - The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, which is again around 170 km away.


By Road - It is 46 km away from the capital city of Gangtok and is well connected by road to Gangtok.


4. VICTORIAN GOTHIC AND ART DECO ENSEMBLES OF MUMBAI

This is the latest addition to the list of World Heritage Sites in India by UNESCO. Situated in Fort area of Mumbai, this is a collection of buildings in which some buildings are of Victorian Gothic style and others are of Art Deco style. Located across the Oval Maidan (earlier known as Esplanade). There are a total of 94 buildings in this collection. These are all 19th and 20th-century buildings, which will be protected as heritage sites. The Victorian Gothic buildings include 19th-century landmarks like Bombay High court and the University of Mumbai as well as iconic Rajabai clock tower. The Art Deco buildings primarily include 20th-century residential buildings. This ensemble of buildings was given world heritage tag as recently as July'2018. The reason they have got this tag is that these buildings symbolize the phases of modernization that Mumbai has undergone during the last two centuries.



VICTORIAN GOTHIC and ART DECO ENSEMBLES, Mumbai
VICTORIAN GOTHIC ENSEMBLE
Image - pinterest.com

How to Reach Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai


It is very easy to reach these ensembles as these are located in the heart of the city in South Mumbai.

5. WESTERN GHATS


Running for a stretch of 1600 km along the Western coast of India, Western Ghats is a mountain range which has been termed as one of the top hot spots of biodiversity in the world. This mountain range has an area of 160000 sq. km and stretches to six states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat. The Western Ghats are not as high as the Himalayas but they are as beautiful and more diversified in flora and fauna. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in India, Western Ghats are also known as Sahyadri range. 


You can imagine the variety of flora and fauna available in this mountain range by the simple fact that it has over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 species of mammals and over 500 bird species. Then there are about 39 other sites including reserved forests and national parks that come under this World Heritage Site. The greenery of Western Ghats is eye-catching and will leave you mesmerized. Overall, Western Ghats is home to some of the most beautiful places, animals, birds, flowers, forests and water bodies. And you can't forget the magnificent mountains. There is ample incentive for you to visit this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.



Western Ghats, India
WESTERN GHATS
Image - tripoto.com
Must read: Dooars - A paradise of unmatched natural beauty

How to Reach Western Ghats

You travel to any of the above-mentioned states and you will find some part of the Western Ghats.


6. BHIMBETKA ROCK SHELTERS


Located in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh in central India, Bhimbetka Rock Shelters give you an insight into the earliest life in India, right from the stone age. This site is scattered over an area of more than 10 sq. km and has in it more than 750 rock shelters and seven hills. The word Bhimbetka is based on Bhim from Mahabharata and is often interpreted as "Bhim baithka" or the sitting place of Bhim. This amazing site was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in India by UNESCO in the year 2003. Some of the rock shelters were used as long as 100000 years back. The caves here have paintings are more than 30000 years old and will give you a glimpse of the art and thought process of that era. 


These rock shelters and caves are archaeological treasures and are sure to bring a child-like excitement in you. The paintings on the walls of caves are considered to be the oldest Indian art. The most wonderful thing about Bhimbetka Rock Shelters is that the colors of paintings have not worn out even after all these years. Which is miraculous. This place is not about history but about the evolution of mankind in India. The rich flora and fauna around this place are added incentive to visit this place. So if you are interested in seeing the signs of earliest human habitation, head straight to Bhimbetka Rock Shelters.



BHIMBETKA ROCK SHELTERS, Madhya Pradesh
BHIMBETKA ROCK SHELTERS
Image - eziitours.in

How to Reach Bhimbetka Rock Shelters?


Bhimbetka Rock Shelters are situated 45 km away from the state capital Bhopal and it is the nearest airport as well as the railway station to reach this place. From Bhopal, you have to travel by road to reach Bhimbetka Rock Shelters.


7. GROUP OF MONUMENTS AT PATTADAKAL


It is a group of Hindu and Jain temples and monuments located in a complex situated in Pattadakal in Karnataka state in South India. The 7th and 8th-century temples were built by Chalukya dynasty and underscore their love for art and architecture. There are about 10 Hindu temples in Pattadakal and all are dedicated to Lord Shiva. So the whole town reverberates with Shiva vibes. You will be mesmerized by the beauty of the architecture of the temples. Some temples have a Dravidian style of architecture while some others have northern Aryan style architecture and two of the temples have a confluence of southern and northern architectural style.


Pattadakal is situated on the banks of the river Malprabha. The existence of temples and the river will give you a feeling of being at some holy place. Even locals consider it as a sacred place. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1987, these temples fall under the category of the protected monument and are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). You will be amazed to see the friezes in the temples as they depict stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as concepts from Vedas and Puranas. The whole complex is a testament to the fact that how architecturally advanced Chalukya dynasty was. So whether you are religiously inclined or not, you must visit Pattaadakal group of monuments for its sheer architectural splendor.



PATTADAKAL TEMPLE
PATTADAKAL TEMPLE
Image - noer.gov.in
Also, visit: Kudremukh - A confluence of religion and adventure

How to Reach Pattadakal?


By Air - The nearest airport is Belgaum, which is 180 km away. The nearest international airport is Bangaluru which is 510 km away.


By Train - The nearest railway station is Badami which is about 22 km away.


By Road - Pattadakal is well connected by road to all the major cities of Karnataka and state-run buses are available from all the major cities to reach Pattadakal.


Looking at the above list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, you can easily see how culturally, historically, naturally, architecturally rich India is. So, its time you pack your bags and go out and explore this richness.


HAPPY TRAVELLING!!

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