Sunday, October 2nd, 2022

World Heritage Sites in India We Can’t Get Enough Of

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara

Buddhist monks at an ancient monastery in Nalanda
Buddhist monks at an ancient monastery in Nalanda Shutterstock

The Nalanda Mahavihara site in Bihar dates back from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. The site did not just help the development of Buddhism, it is also the longest-serving monastic and scholastic institution in India. It comprises a property of 23 hectares comprising 14 temples and 11 viharas along with many smaller shrines and artworks made from stucco, stone, and metal. 

The Great Himalayan National Park

This park located in Himachal Pradesh is a biodiversity hotspot showing off twenty-five forest various species of fauna including those which are threatened. The national park lies in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains, characterised by high alpine meadows, snowclad peaks, and riverine forests.

High alpine meadows, snowclad peaks, and riverine forests pretty much sum up the Great Himalayan Nat
High alpine meadows, snowclad peaks, and riverine forests pretty much sum up the Great Himalayan National Park shutterstock

The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area displays mosaics of steep valley-side landscapes and water bodies. Tirthan and Sainj Wildlife Sanctuaries of ecological and zoological significance are also located within the national park.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram

Carved out from rocks located along the Coromandel coast, the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram were founded by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. This UNESCO world heritage site is known for chariots, mandapas, and giant open-air reliefs, besides thousands of sculptures dedicated to Shiva. These majestic edifices signify the craftsmanship and serve as a testimony to the Pallava civilisation of southeast India. 

Devotees at Mahabalipuram
Devotees at Mahabalipuram Shutterstock

Mountain Railways of India

The mountain railways of India conserve three railway routes – the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Kalka Shimla Railway, and Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Have you taken the heritage train in Darjeeling?
Have you taken the heritage train in Darjeeling? Shutterstock

Opened between 1881 and 1908, they boast ingenious engineering solutions operating trains through the mountainous terrain of great beauty. These railway routes prove to be a literal sense of the quote ‘journey over destination’ when you travel through monsoon rains, lush greenery, mystical air, and dreamy snowfall. 

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Stone carvings on one of the temples in Khajuraho
Stone carvings on one of the temples in Khajuraho Shutterstock

Located in Madhya Pradesh, these monuments belong to two different religions –Jainism and Hinduism. The monuments were built between 950 and 1050 when the Chandella dynasty reached its apogee. Of these, only 20 temples remain. The Khajuraho temple signifies harmonious integration of sculptures and Nagara-style architecture, mirroring social life through depictions of teachers and disciples, domestic scenes, dancers and musicians, and amorous couples.

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

The monuments at Pattadakal in Karnataka were crafted in the 7th and 8th centuries during the reign of the Chalukya dynasty. The architecture here is an amalgamation of northern and southern India.

Mallikarjuna temple at Pattadakal, Karnataka
Mallikarjuna temple at Pattadakal, Karnataka Shutterstock

The archaeological site comprises a series of nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary. Pattadakal is mostly renowned for the temple built by Queen Lokamahadev in 740 CE to honor her husband’s victory over the kings from the South.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

Bhimbetka Caves near Bhopal
Bhimbetka Caves near Bhopal Shutterstock

On the southern edge of the central Indian plateau, the rock shelters of Bhimbetka are located in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains. Above a dense forest are five clusters of natural rock shelters within massive sandstone displaying paintings that date back to 8,000 BCE from the Mesolithic Period. These rock paintings represent cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages.

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