UNESCO World Heritage Group of Monuments in India

Last Updated on September 9, 2023

We recently observed the International Day of Monuments and Sites, also known as the World Heritage Day on 18th April. I was engrossed in being a new mom, newly back-to-work from maternity leave, and missed observing this day. So, here's a belated post about the great heritage monuments of India. For this article I have chosen what thrills me the most – a group of monuments that memorializes a fragment of history.


The Stone Chariot of Vittala Temple Hampi
The Stone Chariot of Vittala Temple Hampi

At its peak, the grandiose city of Hampi was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the world. This was in the 14th and 15th century. This was the time of the great Vijayanagara empire, a period of relative peace and great prosperity. The rulers of Vijanayagara kingdom were great patrons of art. It gave rise to a distinct style of architecture that mesmerized visitors all over the world.

Today you can only find the ruins of this great kingdom in the beautiful state of Karnataka. Even though most of the architectural marvels were destroyed by invasion, what remains of them can still make you time-travel to that era.

Major Monuments in the Group:

  • Vijaya Vittala temple – the one with the stone chariot and musical pillars
  • Virupaksha temple – one of the oldest living temples in its full glory
  • Hemkunta group of monuments – another UNESCO world heritage site
  • Elephant Stable, Lotus Palace, etc.

Recommended Tours:

Guided Tour of Hampi from Goa

Recommended Stay:

Evolve Back Hampi ($$$$), Wayfarers Hampi ($$$), Shankar Homestay ($)

Read More:

Hampi Itinerary

Churches and Convents of Goa

GOA UNESCO World Heritage site Churches
Church in Old Goa

The churches and convents of old Goa have been accorded with the UNESCO world heritage status. Built in the 16th and 17th centuries they are some of the finest Portuguese architecture in the world. The churches are still active and are frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Major Monuments in the Group:

  • Basilica of Bom Jesus – Besides stunning architecture, it's famous for the mummified remains of St. Fransisco Xavier
  • Se Cathedral
  • St Augustine's Tower etc.

Recommended Tours:

Goa Cultural Walk

Recommended Stay:

Holiday Inn ($$$$), The Crown($$)

Read More: Goa Travel Guide, Best Places to Stay in Goa

Mahabalipuram Group of Monuments

Once called “the land of seven pagodas”, Mahabalipuram is a treasure trove of heritage monuments. This historic town on the Coromandel coast is one of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu. It was the seat of the great 7th-century Pallava dynasty and is also associated with ancient Hindu legends. This may be why the Pallavas commissioned so many rock-cut temples here.

There are around 40 exquisite architectural masterpieces here, some of which are honored as UNESCO world heritage sites. 


Major Monuments in the Group:

  • Arjuna's Penance
  • Shore Temple
  • Pancharatha
  • Cave temple complex, etc.

Recommended Tours:

Recommended Stay:

Hotel Mahabs ($$), Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay ($$$$)

Read More:

Goa Travel Guide, Best Places to Stay in Goa


Great Living Chola Temples

The Great Living Chola Temples were built by the rulers of Chola dynasty which reigned over South India for 1500 years till the 13th century. Many of these temples are not just well-preserved but also active and functioning. Which is why the title “Living Chola Temples”. While the magnificent temples from this era can be seen across Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India, the three main monuments in this group are in Tamil Nadu itself.

Major Monuments in the Group:

  • Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur
  • Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram
  • Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.

Recommended Tours:

Recommended Stay:

Read More: Tamil Nadu

Pattadakal Group of Monuments

Pattadakal cluster of monuments
CC. Pixabay

Pattadakal, Aihole and Badami is the Chalukya-trio, the three principal cities of the 7th-century Chalukya dynasty. Badami was the administrative capital of the Chalukyas, Aihole was the seat of learning and Pattadakal the cultural capital.

The Chalukyas were great connoisseur of art and architecture. The cluster of temples of Pattadakal is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for the intricate architecture combining styles from North and South India. The eclectic cluster of heritage monuments comprises of nine Hindu temple and one Jain temple of the era.

Major Monuments in the Group:

  • Virupaksha Temple – One of the rarest temples commissioned by a queen
  • Kashi Vishwanatha Temple
  • Mallikarjuna Temple, etc.

Recommended Stay:

KSTDC Hotel Mayura Chalukya ($$)

Hotel Mahabs ($$), Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay ($$$$)

Here ends my 21st post in the series #MyFabulousFive for #BlogchatterA2Z 2022.

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  1. Sandhya Bhattaram says:

    Beautiful unique heritage sites. Nice post! 🙂

  2. Manali Desai says:

    Thank you so much for this. My wanderlust heart is so satisfied after reading this and I hope I can someday cover all these sites.

  3. Interesting and unique UNESCO sites in India – they look worth visiting.

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