First UNESCO World Heritage Site in India

Agra Fort, Ajanta Cave, Ellora Cave, and Taj Mahal became the first to get enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1983 after the 7th Ordinary session of the World Heritage committee in Italy from 5 to 9 December.

To see the original text of the meeting: Visit Here(Page 8)

Geographical location of National Parks in India.
UNESCO World Heritage
sites in India, Source: UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO) in its seventeenth(17th) meeting, 1972 came to the conclusion that there is a need to protect the cultural and natural heritage of the world. This cultural and natural heritage is threatened by the changing social and economic condition of the society in which it is located.

Many of the nations in which this cultural and natural heritage are located are not capable to safeguard this heritage due to lack of resources and technology. So in the 17th meeting Convention Concerning the Protection of the world cultural and natural heritage was adopted by many nations.

This convention was ratified by the Indian parliament on 14 November 1977.

The process of enlisting the sites in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list started in the year 1978. A total of 12 properties were included in the World Heritage List that year.

The first-ever property included in the UNESCO World Heritage List was Agra Fort, Ajanta Cave, Ellora Cave, and Taj Mahal in the year after the 7th Ordinary session of the World Heritage Committee in Italy, in December 1983.

Criteria for selection of UNESCO World heritage sites

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria

(i) To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

(ii) To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;

(iii) To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

(iv) To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;

(v) To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

(vi) To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

(vii) To contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

(viii) To be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;

(ix) To be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;

(x) To contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Source: UNESCO Criteria

Types of Sites in UNESCO World Heritage Sites List

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are categorized into three categories.

Cultural Sites: These are the sites that are important to protect the cultural heritage and history of human civilization across the world.

Natural Sites: These are important to preserve the biodiversity and natural beauty of different sites across the globe.

Mixed Sites: These are the sites that are important from the cultural as well as natural perspective. In Indian only site has been included in this list.

SiteYear in which it
was included
in the world Heritage Site List
Cultural Sites
Ajanta Fort1983
Ajanta Caves1983

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara 2016Nalanda, Bihar
Buddhist Monument at Sanchi1989Madhya Pradesh
Champaner- Pavagarh Archaeological Part 2004
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)2004Maharastra
Churches and Convents of Goa1986
Elephanta Caves1987
Ellora Caves1983
Fatehpur Sikri1985Uttar Pradesh
Great Living Chola Temple1987, 2004
Tamil Nadu
Group of Monuments at Hampi1986
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram1984
Tamil Nadu
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal1987
Hill Forts of Rajsthan2013
Historic City of Ahmedabad2017
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi1993
Jaipur City2019
Khajuraho Group of Monuments1986Madhya Pradesh
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodhgaya2002
Mountain Railways of India1999, 2005, 2008West Bengal
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi1993
Rani ki Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell ) at Patan, Gujrat2014
Red Fort Complex2007
Rock Shelter of Bhimbetka2003Madhya Pradesh
Sun Temple, Konark1984
Taj Mahal, 1983Uttar Pradesh
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement2016
Janta Mantar, Jaipur2010Rajsthan
Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai2018Maharastra
Natural Sites
Great Himalayan National Park-Conservation Area2014Nort India
Kaziranga National Park1985Assam
Keoladeo National Park1985Rajasthan
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary1985Assam
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National ParkUttrakhand1980,2005
Sunderbans National Park1987West Bengal
Western Ghats2012Maharastra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu
Khangchendzonga National Park2016Sikkim
List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

What is UNESO world heritage site in India?

Ajanta Cave, Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, and Ellora Cave became the first UNESCO World Heritage site in India.

UNESCO World heritage site is selected by whom?

World Heritage Committee decides the sites to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage site list.

how many unesco world heritage sites in india?

At present total 38 unesco world heritage sites are located in India.