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Uncovering 10 Dream-Like Hidden Gems of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

By Shubhangi Goel

Updated - Sept. 27, 2021 8 min read

If you're one of those who revel in the past and live by nostalgia, if historical tales intrigue you enough, then the following list of some not-so-known World Heritage Sites in India will surely push you to know more about them by being there.


As of July 2019, India has 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and we're already proud that we have been a party to and been chosen for the best. It's our duty to explore them to know the importance of their existence.


Here are 10 such UNESCO World Heritage Sites you can visit this year. 


1. Srirangapatna, Karnataka

The rocky island of Srirangapatna holds great historical and cultural importance which is why it could be your next spot if history fascinates you. The island town lies in the Mandya district of Karnataka with magnificent forts, temples, and monuments protected under UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. 


Image Courtesy: Yatra 


Highlights in Srirangapatna:

It's home to not one but 8+ beautiful sites such as Tipu Sultan Gumbaz, Wellesley Bridge, Karighatta viewpoint, Nimishamba Temple, Garrison Cemetery, Scott’s Bungalow, Seringapatam, Lord Harris's House, Srirangapatna Fort, Bailey's Dungeon, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and the list goes on.


Best Time To Visit Srirangapatna: October To March



2. Hampi, Karnataka

This UNESCO World Heritage Site turns out to be a charmer for those photographers who revel in ruins. It harbours a collage of rocks, boulders, and bits of old monuments which never fails to fascinate us. Some of the photogenic attractions are Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hanuman Temple and Queen's Bath. A picturesque sight of the old ruins of the heritage architecture of Hampi. If you crave to visit and explore ancient architecture based places - Hampi is the place to go! A walk around this heritage area will reveal a hundred stories to amaze the visitors.


Image Courtesy: Newsclick 


Highlights in Hampi:

The famous stone chariot of the town Hampi. It's a holy place devoted to Garuda, who worked inside the Vittala Temple Complex. The enormous model of Garuda, Lord Vishnu's escort used to be situated on the chariot however it is vacant at the present date.


Best Time To Visit Hampi: Mid-July to September



3. Hill Forts Of Rajasthan

There are several forts situated on the rocky hills of the Aravallis mountain range in Rajasthan which reflects a typology of Rajput Military architecture. They include palaces, Hindu and Jain Temples, Trading Centers and Urban Centers. Rajasthan, the land of magnificent forts and picturesque sand dunes are one of the prime destinations for any travel photographer. The vibrant colours, rustic folk music and busy shopping streets across the state can bring out the shutterbug in anyone. Rajasthan is replete with click-worthy places ranging from beautiful palaces of 'The City of Lakes'- Udaipur to the forts of The Pink City-Jaipur, from the bustling markets of 'The Blue City'-Jodhpur to the desert safaris of The Golden City-Jaisalmer. When it comes to visiting the best forts in India - you just can't miss out on the ones in Rajasthan.


Image Courtesy: Slideserve 


Highlights In Hill Forts Of Rajasthan: 

The famous ones are Chittor Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amer Fort, and Jaisalmer Fort.


Best Time To Visit The Forts Of Rajasthan: October To March



4. Churches And Convents Of Goa

Goa is as much replete with churches and convents as it is with beaches. Tourists have always found them spectacular because of their baroque architecture and rusty art inside. The most renowned of the lot is the Church of Bom Jesus which attracts thousands of religious as well as non-religious tourists every year. The area became a heritage site in 1986


Image Courtesy: Incento 


Highlights in Churches And Convents Of Goa:

You'll find most of the churches and convents in Velha, Goa. You'll find around 60 churches still surviving in the city of Velha which includes - Saint Catherine's Chapel, the Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi, The Theatine Igreja da Divina Providência and a lot more.


Best Time To Visit Them: Mid November To Mid February



5. Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

Everyone has heard of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain peak in the world but not many know about this majestic National Park located in Sikkim which became the heritage site very recently in 2016. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, mountains, valleys, glaciers, etc.


Image Courtesy: Rudraksh Holidays 


Highlights In Khangchendzonga:

One can also go for nearby treks which includes the routes like Yuksom - Tshoka - Dzongri and Bakim - Dzongri - Thangshing - Samuteng - Goechala. One can also go for lodging and bird watching - it's a paradise for bird watchers as you'll be able to witness some of the best species like Satyr tragopan, osprey, Himalayan griffon, lammergeier, Tragopan pheasant, green pigeon, Tibetan snowcock, snow pigeon and impeyan pheasant.


Best Time To Visit Khangchendzonga: March To May



6. Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat

The fascinating story behind Rani ki Vav of being built by a widowed queen in memory of her deceased husband brought this place into notice and enlisted in the World Heritage site list in 2014. It's basically a stepwell constructed on the banks of the river Saraswati, which in itself has several mythological connotations. 

rani ki vav_image

Image Courtesy: Wikizeroo 


Highlights In Rani Ki Vav:

The sculptures inside are devoted to Vishnu in the form of Dus Avatars and you'll also witness Apsara showcasing 16 different styles of make-up also known as Solah-Shringar. The holy water accumulated in Rani Ki Vav is considered to be helpful to cure viral diseases.


Best Time To Visit Rani Ki Vaj: October To March



7.  Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu

This group of three temples comprising of Brihadisvara Temple, Gangaikonda Temple and Airavatesvara Temple were built by the Chola Dynasty, hence the name Chola Temples. They are at the apex of design, architecture and bronze casting by the Cholas. It became a heritage site in 1987. Keep in mind to dress properly keeping cultural and religious sentiments in mind. Photography is not allowed inside the temples. The temples mostly open around 6:00 pm other than Brihadisvara Temples - it opens at 9:00 pm.

great living cholas temples_image

Image Courtesy: Twitter 


Highlights In Chola Temples: 

They represent pure form Dravidian architecture and clearly represent the Chola ideology. The temples depict the real craftsmanship of the Chola’s of the 11th century. You’ll witness life-size paintings of Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Shiva as well. The bronzes of Bhogasakti and Subrahmanya present in these temples are masterpieces of Chola metal icons.


Best Time To Visit Chola Temples: October To March



8.  Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

This lush green park located in the Kullu district of Himachal is home to more than 375 species of fauna which makes it a paradise for trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts. This area too got recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site quite recently in the year 2014. It offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views!

great himalyan national park_image

Image Courtesy: Trip Advisor 


Highlights In Great Himalayan National Park:

Explore the shelters of Ayurvedic Plants and witness beautiful species like Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Himalayan Tahr and more. They’ve also got treks for up to 8 days - Adventure Junkies should totally go for it, Park treks are every tourist’s favourite. On the other hand, one can go for Sainjh Valley trek or Gushaini to Parvati Valley trek.


Best Time To Visit Great Himalayan National Park: March To June, September To October



9. Group Of Monuments At Pattadakal, Karnataka

Pattadakal is a small hidden village in Karnataka which houses this group of monuments including Hindu and Jain's temples built by the Chalukya dynasty. This place is still unknown to a lot of people, including the natives living nearby but the place holds significant historical, cultural and religious importance. It got recognized by UNESCO in 1987. 


Image Courtesy: Quora 


Highlights In Pattadakal (Group Of Monuments):

Almost every wall depicts a story - They are carved with the Goddess, God, demons, and battlefields. The Black Stone Bull is the greatest charm of Virupaksha Temple - You can't miss out on this one either. Malllikarjuna has eighteen pillars which are decorated with the stories of the Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Hindu epics.


Best Time To Visit Pattadakal: October To March



10. Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, Madhya Pradesh

Located inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh, Bhimbetka is believed to be the starting point of the stone Age in India which has been preserved for over 100,000 years now. It's been an essential matter of subject for archaeologists to study the prehistoric times in which man lived. Hence, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.  


Image Courtesy: Travelogy India 



It exhibits early traces of human life and the Stone Age on the Indian Continent. It was a shelter inhabited by Homo Erectus over 10,000 years ago.


Best Time To Visit: October To March



It's World Tourism Day every-day when you have so many great places to visit in the country. 




Q: How Many UNESCO Heritage Sites Do We Have In India?

A: 37


Q: Which are the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Delhi?

A: Redfort, Qutub Minar, Humayan's Tomb


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