UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India 2021

UNESCO Indian Cultural Heritage Sites 2021

  • Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh (1983): Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty till 1638 when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. The Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.
  • Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra (1983): The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries A.D.), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence.
  • Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar (2016): The Nalanda Mahavihara site is in the State of Bihar, in north-eastern India. It comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings), and important artworks in stucco, stone, and metal. Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions.
  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh (1989): On a hill overlooking the plain and about 40 km from Bhopal, the site of Sanchi comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples, and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist center in India until the 12th century A.D.
  • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat (2004): A concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape that includes prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat. The site also includes, among other vestiges, fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts, agricultural structures, and water installations, from the 8th to 14th centuries. The Kalikamata Temple on top of Pavagadh Hill is considered to be an important shrine, attracting large numbers of pilgrims throughout the year. The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus, Mumbai), Maharashtra (2004): The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. The terminal was built over 10 years, starting in 1878, according to a High Victorian Gothic design based on late medieval Italian models. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. It is an outstanding example of the meeting of two cultures, as British architects worked with Indian craftsmen to include Indian architectural tradition and idioms thus forging a new style unique to Bombay.
  • Churches and Convents of Goa (1986): The Churches and Convents of Goa is a serial property located in the former capital of the Portuguese Indies, which is on the west coast of India about 10 km east of the state capital Panjim. These seven monuments exerted great influence in the 16th to 18th centuries on the development of architecture, sculpture, and painting by spreading forms of Manueline, Mannerist, and Baroque art and architecture throughout the countries of Asia where Catholic missions were established. In doing so they eminently illustrated the work of missionaries in Asia.
  • Dholavira - a Harappan City, Gujarat(2021): Dholavira: a Harappan city, is one of the very few well preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE. Being the 6th largest of more than 1,000 Harappan sites discovered so far, and occupied for over 1,500 years, Dholavira not only witnesses the entire trajectory of the rise and fall of this early civilization of humankind, but also demonstrates its multifaceted achievements in terms of urban planning, construction techniques, water management, social governance and development, art, manufacturing, trading, and belief system. With extremely rich artifacts, the well-preserved urban settlement of Dholavira depicts a vivid picture of a regional centre with its distinct characteristics, that also contribute significantly to the existing knowledge of Harappan Civilization as a whole.
  • Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra(1987): The Elephanta Caves are located in Western India on Elephanta Island (otherwise known as the Island of Gharapuri), which features two hillocks separated by a narrow valley. The small island is dotted with numerous ancient archaeological remains that are the sole testimonies to its rich cultural past. These archaeological remains reveal evidence of occupation from as early as the 2nd century BC. The rock-cut Elephanta Caves were constructed about the mid-5th to 6th centuries AD. The most important among the caves is the great Cave 1, which measures 39 meters from the front entrance to the back. In plan, this cave in the western hill closely resembles Dumar Lena cave at Ellora, in India. The main body of the cave, excluding the porticos on the three open sides and the back aisle, is 27 meters square and is supported by rows of six columns each.
  • Ellora Caves, Maharashtra(1983): The invaluable ensemble of 34 caves at Ellora in the Charanandri hills of western India’s Maharashtra State showcases a spirit of co-existence and religious tolerance through the outstanding architectural activities carried out by the followers of three prominent religions: Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Jainism. The rock-cut activity was carried out in three phases from the 6th century to the 12th century. The earliest caves (caves 1–12), excavated between the 5th and 8th centuries, reflect the Mahayana philosophy of Buddhism then prevalent in this region. The Brahmanical group of caves (caves 13–29), including the renowned Kailasa temple (cave 16), was excavated between the 7th and 10th centuries. The last phase, between the 9th and 12th centuries, saw the excavation of a group of caves (caves 30–34) reflecting Jaina's philosophy.
  • Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh (1986): Fatehpur Sikri is located in Agra District in the State of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. It was constructed southeast of an artificial lake, on the slopping levels of the outcrops of the Vindhyan hill ranges. Known as the “city of victory”, it was made capital by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605 CE) and constructed between 1571 and 1573. Fatehpur Sikri was the first planned city of the Mughals to be marked by magnificent administrative, residential, and religious buildings comprised of palaces, public buildings, mosques, and living areas for the court, the army, the servants of the king, and an entire city. Upon moving the capital to Lahore in 1585, Fatehpur Sikri remained as an area for temporary visits by the Mughal emperors.
  • Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu (1987, 2004): The Great Living Chola Temples were built by kings of the Chola Empire, which stretched over all of south India and the neighbouring islands. The site includes three great 11th- and 12th-century Temples: the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram, and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram, built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53-m vimana (sanctum tower) has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur. The Airavatesvara temple complex, built by Rajaraja II, at Darasuram features a 24-m vimana and a stone image of Shiva. The temples testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka(1986): The austere and grandiose site of Hampi comprise mainly the remnants of the Capital City of Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th Cent CE), the last great Hindu Kingdom. The property encompasses an area of 4187, 24 hectares, located in the Tungabhadra basin in Central Karnataka, Bellary District. Hampi’s spectacular setting is dominated by river Tungabhadra, craggy hill ranges, and open plains, with widespread physical remains. The sophistication of the varied urban, royal and sacred systems is evident from the more than 1600 surviving remains that include forts, riverside features, royal, and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, gateways, defense check posts, stables, water structures, etc.
  • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu(1984): Mahabalipuram (or Mamallapuram), located along southeastern India’s Coromandel Coast, was a celebrated port city of the Pallavas. The group of monuments there consists of rock-cut cave temples, monolithic temples, bas-relief sculptures, and structural temples as well as the excavated remains of temples. The Pallava dynasty, which ruled this area between the 6th and 9th centuries CE, created these majestic edifices. The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram occupies a distinct position in classical Indian architecture. These majestic edifices mark the high quality of craftsmanship in the region during the 6th century CE. The natural landscape was utilized in carving out these structures, thereby making the ability of the Pallava craftsmen universally known.
  • Group of Monuments of Pattadakal, Karnataka(1987): Pattadakal, in Karnataka, represents the high point of an eclectic art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India. An impressive series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there. One masterpiece from the group stands out – the Temple of Virupaksha, built c. 740 by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband's victory over the kings from the South.
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Rajasthan(2013): The serial site, situated in the state of Rajasthan, includes six majestic forts in Chittorgarh; Kumbhalgarh; Sawai Madhopur; Jhalawar; Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. The eclectic architecture of the forts, some up to 20 kilometers in circumference, bears testimony to the power of the Rajput princely states that flourished in the region from the 8th to the 18th centuries. Enclosed within defensive walls are major urban centres, palaces, trading centres, and other buildings including temples that often predate the fortifications within which developed an elaborate courtly culture that supported learning, music, and the arts. Some of the urban centres enclosed in the fortifications have survived, as have many of the site's temples and other sacred buildings. The forts use the natural defenses offered by the landscape: hills, deserts, rivers, and dense forests. They also feature extensive water harvesting structures, largely still in use today.
  • The Historic City of Ahmadabad, Gujarat(2017): The walled city of Ahmadabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods. The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras) with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells, and religious institutions. The city continued to flourish as the capital of the State of Gujarat for six centuries, up to the present.
  • Humayun's Tomb, Delhi(1993): Humayun’s Tomb was built in the 1560s, with the patronage of Humayun’s son, the great Emperor Akbar. Persian and Indian craftsmen worked together to build the garden-tomb, far grander than any tomb built before in the Islamic world. Humayun’s garden-tomb is an example of the charbagh (a four-quadrant garden with the four rivers of Quranic paradise represented), with pools joined by channels. The garden is entered from lofty gateways on the south and from the west with pavilions located in the centre of the eastern and northern walls.
  • Jaipur City, Rajasthan(2019): The walled city of Jaipur, in India’s north-western state of Rajasthan, was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II. Unlike other cities in the region located in hilly terrain, Jaipur was established on the plain and built according to a grid plan interpreted in the light of Vedic architecture. The streets feature continuous colonnaded businesses that intersect in the centre, creating large public squares called chaupars. Markets, shops, residences, and temples built along the main streets have uniform facades. The city's urban planning shows an exchange of ideas from ancient Hindu and early modern Mughal as well as Western cultures. The grid plan is a model that prevails in the West, while the organization of the different city sectors (chowkris) refers to traditional Hindu concepts. Designed to be a commercial capital, the city has maintained its local commercial, artisanal and cooperative traditions to this day.
  • Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana (2021): Rudreshwara, popularly known as Ramappa Temple, is located in the village of Palampet approximately 200km north-east of Hyderabad, in the State of Telangana. It is the main Shiva temple in a walled complex built during the Kakatiyan period (1123–1323 CE) under rulers Rudradeva and Recharla Rudra. Construction of the sandstone temple began in 1213 CE and is believed to have continued over some 40 years. The building features decorated beams and pillars of carved granite and dolerite with a distinctive and pyramidal Vimana (horizontally stepped tower) made of lightweight porous bricks, so-called ‘floating bricks’, which reduced the weight of the roof structures. The temple’s sculptures of high artistic quality illustrate regional dance customs and Kakatiyan culture. Located at the foothills of a forested area and amidst agricultural fields, close to the shores of the Ramappa Cheruvu, a Kakatiya-built water reservoir, the choice of setting for the edifice followed the ideology and practice sanctioned in dharmic texts that temples are to be constructed to form an integral part of a natural setting, including hills, forests, springs, streams, lakes, catchment areas, and agricultural lands.
  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh(1986): The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Only about 20 temples remain; they fall into three distinct groups and belong to two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism. They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture. The Temple of Kandariya is decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art.
  • Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar(2002): The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.
  • Mountain Railways of India(1999, 2005, 2008): This site includes three railways. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the first and is still the most outstanding, the example of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, its design applies bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty. The construction of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a 46-km long meter-gauge single-track railway in Tamil Nadu State was first proposed in 1854, but due to the difficulty of the mountainous location, the work only started in 1891 and was completed in 1908. This railway, scaling an elevation of 326 m to 2,203 m, represented the latest technology of the time. The Kalka Shimla Railway, a 96-km long, single-track working rail link built in the mid-19th century to provide a service to the highland town of Shimla is emblematic of the technical and material efforts to disenclave mountain populations through the railway. All three railways are still fully operational.
  • Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi(1993): Built in the early 13th century a few kilometers south of Delhi, the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak to 14.32 m at its base, and alternating angular and rounded flutings. The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art (built-in 1311), and two mosques, including the Quwwatu'l-Islam, the oldest in northern India, built of materials reused from some 20 Brahman temples.
  • Rani-ki-vav (the Queen's Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat(2014): Rani-ki-Vav, on the banks of the Saraswati River, was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-story works of art and architecture. Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions. Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological, and secular imagery, often referencing literary works. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank 9.5 m by 9.4 m, at a depth of 23 m. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft 10 m in diameter and 30 meters deep.
  • Red Fort Complex, Delhi(2007): The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid, and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.
  • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh (2003): The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau. Within massive sandstone outcrops, above the comparatively dense forest, are five clusters of natural rock shelters, displaying paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period. The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages adjacent to the site bear a strong resemblance to those represented in the rock paintings.
  • Sun Temple, Konarak, Odisha(1984): The Sun Temple at Konârak, located on the eastern shores of the Indian subcontinent, is one of the outstanding examples of temple architecture and art as revealed in its conception, scale and proportion, and in the sublime narrative strength of its sculptural embellishment. It is an outstanding testimony to the 13th-century kingdom of Orissa and a monumental example of the personification of divinity, thus forming an invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the cult of Surya, the Sun God. In this sense, it is directly and materially linked to Brahmanism and tantric belief systems. The Sun Temple is the culmination of Kalingan temple architecture, with all its defining elements in complete and perfect form. A masterpiece of creative genius in both conception and realisation, the temple represents a chariot of the Sun God, with twelve pairs of wheels drawn by seven horses evoking its movement across the heavens. It is embellished with sophisticated and refined iconographical depictions of contemporary life and activities. On the north and south sides are 24 carved wheels, each about 3 m in diameter, as well as symbolic motifs referring to the cycle of the seasons and the months. These complete the illusionary structure of the temple-chariot. Between the wheels, the plinth of the temple is entirely decorated with reliefs of fantastic lions, musicians and dancers, and erotic groups
  • Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh(1983): The Taj Mahal is located on the right bank of the Yamuna River in a vast Mughal garden that encompasses nearly 17 hectares, in the Agra District in Uttar Pradesh. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal with construction starting in 1632 AD and completed in 1648 AD, with the mosque, the guest house, and the main gateway on the south, the outer courtyard, and its cloisters were added subsequently and completed in 1653 AD. The existence of several historical and Quranic inscriptions in Arabic script have facilitated setting the chronology of the Taj Mahal. For its construction, masons, stone-cutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome builders, and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from Central Asia and Iran. Ustad-Ahmad Lahori was the main architect of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture. Its recognised architectonic beauty has a rhythmic combination of solids and voids, concave and convex, and light shadow; such as arches and domes further increases the aesthetic aspect. The colour combination of lush green scape reddish pathway and blue sky over it showcases the monument in ever-changing tints and moods. The relief work in marble and inlay with precious and semi-precious stones make it a monument apart.
  • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modem Movement, Chandigarh(2016): Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites comprising this transnational serial property are spread over seven countries and are a testimonial to the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past. They were built over a period of a half-century, in the course of what Le Corbusier described as “patient research”. The Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh (India), the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo (Japan), the House of Dr. Curutchet in La Plata (Argentina), and the Unité d’habitation in Marseille (France) reflect the solutions that the Modern Movement sought to apply during the 20th century to the challenges of inventing new architectural techniques to respond to the needs of society. These masterpieces of creative genius also attest to the internationalization of architectural practice across the planet.
  • The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan(2010): The Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur, is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific characteristics of their own. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.
  • Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, Maharashtra(2018): Having become a global trading centre, the city of Mumbai implemented an ambitious urban planning project in the second half of the 19th century. It led to the construction of ensembles of public buildings bordering the Oval Maidan open space, first in the Victorian Neo-Gothic style and then, in the early 20th century, in the Art Deco idiom. The Victorian ensemble includes Indian elements suited to the climate, including balconies and verandas. The Art Deco edifices, with their cinemas and residential buildings, blend Indian design with Art Deco imagery, creating a unique style that has been described as Indo-Deco. These two ensembles bear testimony to the phases of modernization that Mumbai has undergone in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries.

UNESCO - Indian Natural Heritage Sites 2021

  • Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area, Himachal Pradesh(2014): This National Park in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows, and riverine forests. The 90,540 ha property includes the upper mountain glacial and snow meltwater sources of several rivers, and the catchments of water supplies that are vital to millions of downstream users. The GHNPCA protects the monsoon-affected forests and alpine meadows of the Himalayan front ranges. It is part of the Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and includes twenty-five forest types along with a rich assemblage of fauna species, several of which are threatened. This gives the site outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation.
  • Kaziranga National Park, Assam(1985): Kaziranga National Park represents one of the last unmodified natural areas in the north-eastern region of India. Covering 42,996 ha, and located in the State of Assam it is the single largest undisturbed and representative area in the Brahmaputra Valley floodplain. The fluctuations of the Brahmaputra River result in spectacular examples of riverine and fluvial processes in this vast area of wet alluvial tall grassland interspersed with numerous broad shallow pools fringed with reeds and patches of deciduous to semi-evergreen woodlands. Kaziranga is regarded as one of the finest wildlife refuges in the world. The park’s contribution in saving the Indian one-horned rhinoceros from the brink of extinction at the turn of the 20th century to harbouring the single largest population of this species is a spectacular conservation achievement. The property also harbours significant populations of other threatened species including tigers, elephants, wild water buffalo, and bears as well as aquatic species including the Ganges River dolphin. It is an important area for migratory birds.
  • Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan(1985): Keoladeo National Park, located in the State of Rajasthan, is an important wintering ground of Palaearctic migratory waterfowl and is renowned for its large congregation of non-migratory resident breeding birds. A green wildlife oasis situated within a populated human-dominated landscape, some 375 bird species and a diverse array of other life forms have been recorded in this mosaic of grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps, and wetlands of just 2,873 ha. This ‘Bird Paradise’ was developed in a natural depression wetland that was managed as a duck shooting reserve at the end of the 19th century. While hunting has ceased and the area declared a national park in 1982, its continued existence is dependent on a regulated water supply from a reservoir outside the park boundary. The park’s well-designed system of dykes and sluices provides areas of varying water depths that are used by various avifaunal species.
  • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam(1985): Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the State of Assam in North-East India, a biodiversity hotspot. Covering an area of 39,100 hectares, it spans the Manas river and is bounded to the north by the forests of Bhutan. The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the core zone of the 283,700 hectares Manas Tiger Reserve and lies alongside the shifting river channels of the Manas River. The site’s scenic beauty includes a range of forested hills, alluvial grasslands, and tropical evergreen forests. The site provides critical and viable habitats for rare and endangered species, including tiger, greater one-horned rhino, swamp deer, pygmy hog, and Bengal florican. Manas has exceptional importance within the Indian sub-continent’s protected areas, as one of the most significant remaining natural areas in the region, where sizeable populations of a large number of threatened species continue to survive.
  • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand(1988, 2005): Nestled high in West Himalaya, India’s Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear, and blue sheep. The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park. Together they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya, praised by mountaineers and botanists for over a century and in Hindu mythology for much longer.
  • Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal(1987): Sundarbans contain the world's largest mangrove forests and one of the most biologically productive of all-natural ecosystems. Located at the mouth of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers between India and Bangladesh, its forest and waterways support a wide range of fauna including a number of species threatened with extinction. The mangrove habitat supports the single largest population of tigers in the world which have adapted to an almost amphibious life, being capable of swimming for long distances and feeding on fish, crab, and water monitor lizards. They are also renowned for being “man-eaters”, most probably due to their relatively high frequency of encounters with local people. The islands are also of great economic importance as a storm barrier, shore stabilizer, nutrient and sediment trap, a source of timber and natural resources, and support a wide variety of aquatic, benthic, and terrestrial organisms. They are an excellent example of the ecological processes of monsoon rain flooding, delta formation, tidal influence, and plant colonization.
  • Western Ghats(2012): Older than the Himalaya mountains, the mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of immense importance with unique biophysical and ecological processes. The site’s high montane forest ecosystems influence the Indian monsoon weather pattern. Moderating the tropical climate of the region, the site presents one of the best examples of the monsoon system on the planet. It also has an exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism and is recognized as one of the world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity. The forests of the site include some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests anywhere and are home to at least 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile, and fish species.
  • Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim(2016): Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern India (State of Sikkim), the Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers, and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third-highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga. Mythological stories are associated with this mountain and with a great number of natural elements (caves, rivers, lakes, etc.) that are the object of worship by the indigenous people of Sikkim. The sacred meanings of these stories and practices have been integrated with Buddhist beliefs and constitute the basis for Sikkimese identity.

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