Unpopular UNESCO World Heritage sites in India

What is a word heritage site?

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area of cultural, historical, scientific or any other significance which is given legal protection by an International Convention administered by the UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). Such sites are specially marked as well as protected to preserve and maintain the heritage of the places which are unique, rare and of outstanding value to the humanity . These sites are conserved to protect them from trespassing which will end up in destroying the beauty of the place. These sites can include ancient or historical sites, buildings, lakes , mountains, forests, cities , monuments or wild areas which maintain the above criteria.

There are a total of 1121 sites recognized as World heritage sites across 165 countries by the UNESCO. India is the fifth position in the list of countries holding largest number of World Heritage sites with a total of 38 sites spreaded across the country.

Here is the list of 10 most unpopular World Heritage Sites that are rarely known

Unpopular World Heritage Sites in India

  1. ELLORA CAVES

A perfect blend of historical religion and architectural significance is the Ellora caves situated in Verul, Maharashtra. It is one of the world’s largest rock-cut Hindu Temple cave complexes enclosing within the walls of the cave beautifully carved artefacts of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism’s religious artefacts.

2. GROUP OF MONUMENTS , MAHABALIPURAM

The Group of Monuments is a collection of 7th- and 8th-century CE religious monuments in the coastal resort town of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, situated on the coast of Bay of Bengal. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous ‘Descent of the Ganges’, and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva carved out of stones.

3. KEOLADEO GHANA NATIONAL PARK

Situated in the state of rich history and heritage is the Keoladeo National park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan which was in earlier times a duck hunting reserve for the Maharajas that ruled various kingdoms in India before. Now, it is the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. Some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian crane, have been recorded in the park. The other wildlife of the sanctuary include, Nilgai, Chital , Sambar, Indian Porcupine, Indian Gray Mangoose, Jungle Cat, fishing Cat, civet, Jackals and striped hyenas. The park has well defined treks which can be explored either on foot or on rickshaws provided there. Infact, the national park provides rickshaw pullers for the bird watching who are also the fabulous guides to the area.

4. MOUNTAIN RAILWAYS

What better than an experience of travelling in rumbling train apartments amidst the majestic mountains. The Darjeeling Himalayan railway, Nilgiri Toy Train and the Kalka Shimla train which offers the experience of travelling in the train over the steepest heights surrounded by nature all around was declared as the world heritage site as it explores that hidden part of the country which is still saved from encroachment . The toy train on Nilgiri line takes passengers from a height of 1,069 ft to 7,228 ft. This rail network is one of the steepest in Asia. 

5. THE CHURCHES AND CONVENTS OF GOA

This coastal southern state of India on the coast of Arabian sea which is famous for its party life and beaches also has many monuments and churches of historical significance. Goa was the capita lof the Portugeese traders that came to India in around 16th century and therefore consists many victorian style buildings.

The main buildings that are included, are:

  • St. Catherine’s Chapel
  • Church and Convent of Francis of Assisi
  • Sé Cathedral
  • Basilica of Bom Jesus
  • Church of Saint Cajetan including the seminary
  • Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
  • St. Augustine Tower

The Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, a missionary across Asia (India, Japan, China) who died in 1552. He is regarded as the patron saint of Goa. Once every decade on December 3, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing.