7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of South India

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We have listed 7 UNESCO World Heritages Sites of South India here. These are places of importance of cultural or natural heritage.

Western Ghats:

Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, is a mountain range along the western side of India. This is one of the world’s ten Hottest biodiversity hotspots. The Western Ghats contains major hill ranges starting from Sahyadri Mountain ranges in Tamil Nadu. These hill ranges are home to most popular hill stations such as Ooty, Mahabaleshwar, Madikeri and the most famous Munnar. The famous hills of Western Ghats are Sahyadhris, Nilgiris, Palani Hills, Anaimalai Hills and Cardamom Hills.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Ooty, Tamil Nadu:

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a railway in Tamil Nadu, built by the British in 1908. This railway is in Ooty hill station and was initially operated by the Madras Railway. The railway relies on traditional steam engines. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site and was added as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway on July 2005. This is the steepest slope of any railway in Asia.

This is a 46 km long narrow gauge line, which is fully operational today. The historical steam engine service the line on the rack section between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, where diesel engines then take the trains to Ooty. The uphill journey takes about five hours.

Monuments in Mahabalipuram:

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a town in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. The city is famous for its ancient and cultural heritage. This is a marvelous place of historic architectures facing Bay of Bengal. This was a prominent sea port dating back to 7th century AD and was ruled by the Pallava Dynasty. The place is famous for its monuments and is classified among the UNESCO world heritage sites. There are a lot of statues here. The main attractions among them are the statue of an elephant in single stone and Krishna’s butterball. Each and every statue in Mahabalipuram reflects the innovations made by the Pallava Kings. The monuments are located close together and we can simply walk from one monument to another. You can understand the history behind the monuments with the help of a guide. The other main attractions here are Pancha Pandava Rathas, Sea Shore Temple, Krishna Mandapam, Mamallapuram Lighthouse, Ganesha Ratham, Trimurti Cave, Varaha Mandapam, Mahishasuramardini Cave, Pancha Pandava Cave, Varaha Cave temple and the beach. Most of the monuments here are carved out of Granite and display the brilliance of Dravidian style architecture.

Monuments in Hampi:

The Monuments at Hampi portrays the glory of the past once the city had. The city is located on the banks of the river Tungabadra in Karnataka. The monuments in the city are the ruins of Vijayanagara, which was the former capital of the powerful Vijayanagara Empire.  This old town is an important Hindu religious centre. The famous Virupaksha Temple is situated here.This city is a world heritage site located within the ruins of Vijaynagar. This is one of the most important historical sites across the world. There are many magnificent buildings and sites that display the architectural brilliance of the Vijaynagar rulers here.

Monuments in Pattadakal:

The Group of monuments in Pattadakal includes a series of eight temples dedicated to Shiva, a ninth shaivite sanctuary called the Papanatha Temple, and a Jaina Temple in northern Karnataka. The ancient temples here were built by the well-praised Chalukya Dynasty. These were designated under UNESCO World Heritage List, in 1987. The temples here represent a remarkable fusion of the architectural features of northern (Nagara) and southern (dravida) India.  The city is considered to be a Hindu holy city. These are a remarkable combination of temples built by the Chalukya Dynasty in the 6th to 8th century at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal, the latter city was known as the "Crown Rubies".

Chola temples, Tamil Nadu:

Chola dynasty was the longest ruling dynasty in Southern India. Cholas are very well known for their arts and crafts. This cultural heritage site is stretched over all of Tamil Nadu which includes three great temples of 11th and 12th centuries namely, the Brihadeeswara at Thanjavur, the Brihadeeswara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavateswara Temple at Darasuram. The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram, built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53 metres (174 ft) 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 metres (79 ft) vimana and a stone image of Shiva. The temples display the brilliant art skill of Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting. The site was inscribed under UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 as cultural heritage site.

Churches and Convents of Goa: 

Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments inscribed by UNESCO under the World Heritage List in 1986. These monuments were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between 16th and 18th centuries. These are mainly in the former capital of Velha Goa. The most popular among these monuments is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which enshrines the tomb containing the relics of St. Francis Xavier. The monuments here are known as the "Rome of the Orient”. There were originally 60 churches of which some of the surviving monuments in the city of Velha Goa are the Saint Catherine's Chapel,thin de Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Se Catedral de Santa Catarina dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the church of Saint Cajetan and its seminary, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and Church of Saint Augustine and some graves, including the Georgian Orthodox Church Saint, Saint Ketevan, who was also a queen. The monuments are built in laterites and walls plastered with limestone mortar mixed with broken shells.

There are many holiday homes such as resorts, guest houses, homestays, and cottages near to these famous places ensuring comfortable, safe stay for its travellers with all required amenities. 

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