Hoysala ensembles inscription, India’s 42 UNESCO heritage sites

The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala — the famed Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid and Somananthpura in Karnataka have been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list.

While the Hoysala temples maintain a fundamental Dravidian structure, influences from the Bhumija style prevalent in Central India, the Nagara traditions of northern and western India, and the Karnataka Dravida modes favored by the Kalyani Chalukyas are also visible.


Here’s a look at all 40 world heritage sites in India, as designated by UNESCO:

  1. Kaziranga in Assam
  2. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam
  3. Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal
  4. Western Ghats. These include Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster, Periyar Sub-Cluster, Anamalai Sub-Cluster, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster, Talakaveri Sub-Cluster, Kudremukh Sub-Cluster, Sahyadri Sub-Cluster
  5. Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh
  6. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya in Bihar
  7. Churches and Convents of Goa
  8. Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi
  9. Red Fort Complex in Delhi
  10. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Gujarat
  11. Group of Monuments at Hampi in Karnataka
  12. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal in Karnataka
  13. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh
  14. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh
  15. Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh
  16. Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra
  17. Ellora Caves in Maharashtra
  18. Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra
  19. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) in Maharashtra
  20. Sun Temple at Konark in Odisha
  21. Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan
  22. Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, Rajasthan
  23. Great Living Chola Temples in Tamil Nadu. They include Brihadeeswarar temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Airavateshwarar Temple in Darasuram, Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur.
  24. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu
  25. Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh
  26. Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh
  27. Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh
  28. Rani ki vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) in Patan, Gujarat
  29. Mountain Railways of India. They include Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal, Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Kalka-Shimla Railway in Himachal Pradesh.
  30. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand
  31. Hill Forts of Rajasthan. They include Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambhore, Amber Sub-Cluster, Gagron
  32. Nalanda in Bihar
  33. Khangchendzonga National Park In Sikkim
  34. The Architectural Work Of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh
  35. Historic City of Ahmadabad in Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  36. Qutb Minar in Delhi
  37. Victorian Gothic and Art Deco building
  38. Pink City in Jaipur
  39. The Ramappa temple in Telangana
  40. Dholavira, a Harappan-era metropolis situated in Gujarat
  41. Santiniketan, Bengal
  42. The Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala


In 1945, UNESCO was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.UNESCO strives to build networks among nations that enable this kind of solidarity,

Mobilizing for education: so that every child, boy or girl, has access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development.

Building intercultural understanding: through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to protect sites of outstanding universal value.

Pursuing scientific cooperation: such as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, to strengthen ties between nations and societies.

Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy, development and human dignity.

UNESCO is known as the “intellectual” agency” of the United Nations. Audrey Azoulay is the current director general of UNESCO.


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