Uttar Pradesh, Agra District
Near the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques.
Maharashtra State, Aurangabad District, Soyagon Taluka, Lenapur Village
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.
Uttar Pradesh, Agra District
An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
State of Uttaranchal
These are some of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the Himalayas. Dominated by the peak of Nanda Devi, which rises to over 7,800 m, Nanda Devi National Park has remained more or less intact because of its inaccessibility. It is the habitat of several endangered mammals, especially the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer and bharal. The Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty, and is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. 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.
Mountain Railways of India
States of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu
Still operational today, these hill passenger railways crossing regions of great beauty are outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway opened in 1881, while the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, though proposed in 1854, was begun in 1891 and completed in 1908 due to the difficulty of the mountainous location which scales an elevation of 326m to 2,203m. It was highly significant in facilitating population movement and the social-economic development in the British colonial era.
Great Living Chola Temples
Two great Chola Temples of the 11th and 12th centuries have been added to the 11th century Brihadisvara temple of Thanjavur, inscribed in 1987. 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 now includes the three great 11th and 12th century Chola Temples: the Brihadisvara temple of Thanjavur, the Temple of 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. It has six pairs of massive, monolithic dvarapalas statues guarding the entrances and bronzes of remarkable beauty inside. 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 Cholas brilliant achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
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 centre in India until the 12th century A.D.
Keoladeo National Park
State of Rajasthan, 50 km west of Agra
This former duck-hunting reserve of the Maharajas is one of the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. Some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian crane, have been recorded in the park.
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
Built in the early 13th century a few kilometres 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.