India is a huge country, with a long and varied history and a wealth of natural beauty. No surprises then that it’s home to 36 World Heritage Sites. Visiting all of these sites would take months, not to mention a lot of effort to visit the more remote and obscure sites. But if you’re visiting India for the first time, don’t miss out on visiting these must-see Indian World Heritage Sites.
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1. Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is deservedly so one of the wonders not just of India, but of the whole world. This tomb for the favourite wife of one of the Mughal-emperors was built in the 17th century, and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Located in Agra, ensure you arrive early in the morning for the best photo opportunities.
2. Hill Forts of Rajasthan
These six military forts built in the Rajput tradition are scattered around Rajasthan. All of them are spectacular, but probably the most visited is the Amer Fort near the city of Jaipur, the capital of the state. Jaipur is also known as the “pink city”, due to so many of its buildings being painted pink. Inside the fort is an opulent palace with multiple beautiful courtyards.
3. Humayun’s Tomb
While this building may look similar to the Taj Mahal, and both are tombs built in the Mughal style of architecture, Humayun’s Tomb is located in the heart of Delhi, rather than Agra. Built in the 16th century for Humayun, the second Mughal emperor of India, this tomb is renown for the contrast between its red sandstone and white and black marble inlay, plus the surrounding gardens, an oasis of peace and calm in New Delhi.
4. Mountain Railways of India
This listing includes three mountain railways scattered across India: the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in northeastern India, Nilgiri Mountain Railway in the country’s south, and Kalka-Shimla Railway, north of New Delhi. All feats of 19th century engineering, the railways are also a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. Be sure to book first class tickets well in advance.
5. Khajuraho Group of Monuments
The temples at Khajuraho lie mid-way between New Delhi and Varanasi, two must-visit cities on a tour of India. Built in the 10th and 11th centuries, the temples are a mixture of Hindu and Jain, with about 20 temples remaining. The temples are renown for their intricate sculptures. Just be warned – some of the sculptures are rather risqué!
Next year, my husband and I will be heading to India in February to visit these World Heritage Sites and more. (Tip: February is one of the best months to visit India, weather-wise!) Follow along on our trip at World Heritage Journey.