UNESCO World Heritage sites

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50 years of World Heritage Sites

At its World Heritage Convention on November 16, 1972, UNESCO adopted an international treaty that for the first time linked the concepts of nature conservation and preservation of cultural properties. The World Heritage Sites program was sparked by Egypt’s planned construction of the Aswan High Dam, which would have flooded a large swath of the Nile Valley and thousands of archeological treasures.

Mesa Verde National Park, (where Ancestral Puebloans lived for seven centuries) was among the first World Heritage Sites chosen by the UNESCO committee, in 1978.

About World Heritage Convention:

The Convention

The Convention defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The most significant feature of the 1972 World Heritage Convention is that it links together in a single document the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties. The Convention recognizes the way in which people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.

Strategic Objectives

The “Five Cs”


Strengthen the Credibility of the World Heritage List, as a representative and geographically balanced testimony of cultural and natural properties of outstanding universal value.


Ensure the effective Conservation of World Heritage properties.


Promote the development of effective Capacity-building measures, including assistance for preparing the nomination of properties to the World Heritage List, for the understanding and implementation of the World Heritage Convention and related instruments.


Increase public awareness, involvement and support for World Heritage through communication.


Enhance the role of communities in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Brief History

The idea of creating an international movement for protecting heritage emerged after World War I. The 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage developed from the merging of two separate movements: the first focusing on the preservation of cultural sites, and the other dealing with the conservation of nature.


UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites

UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites are those sites with distinctive cultural facets such as geological formations, physical, biological, and cultural landscapes.

The list of UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites in India is given below:

Natural World Heritage SiteStateYear of Notification
Kaziranga National ParkAssam1985
Keoladeo Ghana National ParkRajasthan1985
Manas Wildlife SanctuaryAssam1985
Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of FlowersUttarakhand1988, 2005
Sundarbans National ParkWest Bengal1987
Western GhatsMaharashtra,Goa,Karnataka,Tamil Nadu andKerala2012
Great Himalayan National ParkHimachal Pradesh2014

UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites

UNESCO Cultural World Heritage sites are those sites with unique cultural facets such as Paintings, monuments, architecture, etc.

The list of UNESCO Cultural World Heritage sites in India is given below:

Cultural World Heritage SiteStateYear of Notification
Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) TempleTelangana2021
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern MovementChandigarh2016
Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of MumbaiMaharashtra2018
Historic City of AhmedabadGujarat2017
Jaipur CityRajasthan2020
Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University)Bihar2016
Hill Forts of RajasthanRajasthan2013
The Jantar MantarRajasthan2010
Red Fort ComplexDelhi2007
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological ParkGujarat2004
Chhatrapati Shivaji TerminusMaharashtra2004
Rock Shelters of BhimbetkaMadhya Pradesh2003
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh GayaBihar2002
Mountain Railways of IndiaTamil Nadu1999
Humayun’s Tomb, DelhiDelhi1993
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, DelhiDelhi1993
Buddhist Monuments at SanchiMadhya Pradesh1989
Elephanta CavesMaharashtra1987
Great Living Chola TemplesTamil Nadu1987
Group of Monuments at PattadakalKarnataka1987
Churches and Convents of GoaGoa1986
Fatehpur SikriUttar Pradesh1986
Group of Monuments at HampiKarnataka1986
Khajuraho Group of MonumentsMadhya Pradesh1986
Group of Monuments at MahabalipuramTamil Nadu1984
Sun Temple, KonarakOrissa1984
Agra FortUttar Pradesh1983
Ajanta CavesMaharashtra1983
Ellora CavesMaharashtra1983
Taj MahalUttar Pradesh1983

UNESCO Mixed World Heritage Sites

A mixed site comprises components of both natural and cultural importance:

Mixed World Heritage SiteStateYear of Notification
Khangchendzonga National ParkSikkim2016



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