Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Tripoto
Photo of Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 1/21 by Mahuya Paul
Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri
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Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
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Agra Fort, Agra
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Red Fort, Delhi
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Buddhist Monuments, Sanchi
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Champaner Monuments, Gujarat
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Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho
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Qutub Minar, Delhi
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Ajanta Caves
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Elephanta Caves
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Kailash Temple, Ellora Caves
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Group of Temples, Pattadakal
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Group of Monuments, Hampi
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Group of Monuments, Mamallapuram
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Sun Temple, Konarak

This bucket list happened because of the World Heritage Sites of India ticket. On a trip to Delhi, I visited the Humayun's tomb, and the Qutub Minar, and in both the places I had to buy this ticket. And then I remembered how I had to buy a similar one for the Agra Fort and Fathehpur Sikri. As I took a closer look and started googling away the fascinating list of 15 monuments listed there - I realized that I have already been to the Sun Temple, Konarak, and a couple of others, such as, the Ajanta-Ellora Caves, and the group of monuments at Hampi were already on my to-do list. That's when I decided to make a clean sweep of all these monuments. You have to remember that this is not an exhaustive list of the UNESCO sites in India. In this blog I am going to talk about only the ones printed on the ticket below.

Photo of Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 16/21 by Mahuya Paul

The good news is that you don't need to make 15 trips for the 15 heritage sites. Here's a rough idea of how you can manage it in 5 trips - some slightly longer than the others, but definitely doable over a long weekend, if you plan it right.

Delhi - Agra

If you are in Delhi, or nearby, you can cover at least 5 monuments in the list in 3 days. You will need one full day to visit Humayun's Tomb, the Red Fort, and the Qutub minar in Delhi. You can drive down to Agra, or take a bus, or a train to visit the Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri. The bonus of course would be the Taj Mahal, although it's not part of this particular ticket list.

Photo of Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 17/21 by Mahuya Paul

I would suggest that you add two more days to your trip and visit the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the Jalianwalabag, and the Wagah Border. You can cover all three in a day, and here's how you can do it.

Best time to visit: October-March

No of Days: 3 days

Bangalore - Chennai

Make Bangalore your base. Take an overnight train to Hampi. You can check out the most important monuments in Hampi in a day. Drive to Pattadakal the next day. On the way, you can also visit Aihole and Badami caves and take a train back the same day. You can spend 1 night and 2 days and have a leisurely view of the ruins.

For tips on how to make the plan, see here.

Come back to Bangalore and take a train to Chennai. The Mamallapuram group of monuments are 60 kms away from Chennai central, and you can visit all the sites in half day. Feel free to stay over at Chennai or Mahabalipuram itself. Or you can drive further down south to relax at the Pondicherry beach city. Here's a short write-up about a trip to Mahabalipuram. This is me, trying to strike a SRK pose at the Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram.

Photo of Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 18/21 by Mahuya Paul

Best time to visit: December - January

No of Days: 3 days

Mumbai-Aurangabad

The planning for this trip is kinda easy. Start with Mumbai. Go to the Elephanta Caves for a half day tour. On the way, see the Gateway of India, and the Taj Hotel. Mumbai city, of course has its own charm and you have an option of spending a couple more days to see the Marine Drive, or Cafe Leopold, or Amitabh Bachchan's house. :)

Take a 5 hours train to Aurangabad. You will need a day each to visit the Ajanta Caves and the Ellora Caves. And would have time left to look at local attractions of the Old City.

Photo of Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 19/21 by Mahuya Paul

Best time to visit: Right after the monsoons. Else, October-March

No of Days: 3 days

Bhopal - Vadodara

The Sanchi-Khajuraho-Champaner is possibly the one requiring most planning. You can either start from Vadodara, visit the Champaner, proceed to the Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi and finish off with the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. Or try the other way round.

Photo of Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 20/21 by Mahuya Paul

Best time to visit: Feb-March, September-October

No of Days: More than 3 days, depends on how you plan. :)

Puri

Although your main destination is the Sun Temple Konarak, you'd really also be enjoying the beautiful Puri beach, and the Jagannath Temple. The picture below is of the famous Konark Chariot Wheel.

Photo of Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India 21/21 by Mahuya Paul

Best time to visit: Feb-March, September-October

No of Days: 1 day

Let 2016 be the year when you take advantage of the long holidays, and check off these heritage sites one by one.

Here's a short video on the rock-cut caves at Ajanta-Ellora:

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