UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places with cultural plus historical and scientific or some other form of significance, not only this but they are also internationally protected. In fact for a place to be called a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a matter of pride & every year numerous places are included in this esteemed list.
Spread from east to west & north to south currently India has 35 such unique sites.
Recently Dholavira is blessed to be the 40th treasure in India to be given UNESCO’s World Heritage Inscription. Another feather in India’s cap as we now enter the Super-40 club for World Heritage Sites.The 40 world heritage properties accross India include 32 cultural, seven natural and one mixed property and if you plan to explore the country, check out this places.
I was lucky enough to visit Unesco World Heritage Site in Gujarat organized by Gujarat Tourism in this September 2021. Gujarat is my native place,but I never knew it has so many beautiful Unesoc World Heritage sites with amazing architecture & history . Got to know so much at this place ,which I would like to share with you all.
1. Rani ki Vav – The first one in my List is Rani ki vav also called as ’Queen’s stepwell’ which is a stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat,India. Rani ki Vav is just located on the banks of River Saraswati . It has been listed as one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2014. We visited this place in the afternoon after reaching Ahmedabad,which is 123km away from the airport.
Rani ki vav is a unique example of its own kind and designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, the stepwell is divided into seven levels of stairs including sculptural panels; more than 500 sculptures.
Rani ki vav is definately the finest and one of the largest example of stepwell architecture in the History of Gujarat. Built at a height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction giving the Maru-Gurjara styled architecture it looks amazing. The walls, pillars and beams are ornamented with carvings and scroll work. The niches in the side walls are ornamented with beautiful and delicate figures plus sculptures.
There are 212 pillars in the stepwell and the sculptures inside stepwell depicts numerous Hindu deities including Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha,Surya & many more.
Rani ki vav, they say was constructed during the rule of the Chalukya period. Udayamati built this stepwell at Patan. It is also said that it was built in the memory of Bhima by his own queen Udayamati and probably completed by Udayamati and Karna after his death.
The stepwell was then flooded by the Saraswati river.In 1890s, Henry Cousens and James Burgess both visited it when it was completely buried under the earth and only well shaft and few pillars were visible.
In 1986, there was a major restoration carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Rani ki vav has been called the Monument of National Importance and protected by the ASI and was added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites on 22nd June 2014. One of the most beautiful Unesoc world heritage site in Gujarat.
2. The Sun Temple at Modhera- The next stop was the Sun temple of Modhera which is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located in Modhera village of Gujarat. It is situated on the banks of the river Pushpavati.It is located in Modhera village, 106 km approx from Ahmedabad in Gujarat India.
The temple is designed in such a way that,the first ray of the rising sun would fall on a diamond placed over the head of the Sun God. This would also light up the shrine with a golden glow and look more Beautiful.
The temple structure is divided into 3 parts – Gudha Mandapa (the shrine hall), Sabha Mandapa (the assembly hall) and Kunda (the reservoir).
In 2014, the Modhera Sun Temple entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites .The temple is the Monument of National Importance and is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India currently. This UNESOC World Heritage Site in Gujarat surely should be in your list .
3. Dholavira – The ancient city Dholavira is an archaeological site at Kutch District,Gujarat.It is located on Khadir bet island in the the Great Rann of Kutch. Distance between Ahmedabad to Dholavira by Road is approximately around 368 Kms.
Recently, UNESCO has announced Dholavira – Harappan city in Gujarat as India’s 40th world heritage site.
The site was discovered by J. P. Joshi, the Archaeological Survey of India. It is indeed one of the five largest Harappan sites and prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization.
Dholavira has a rectangular shape and is spread over 54acres of land. This Harappan city was constructed with three divisions called the citadel, the middle town, and the lower town.
Te middle town had been furnished with their own defence-work, gateways, wells.The most amazing feature of this site is that is built of stone, whereas most other Harappan sites & Mohenjo-daro, are almost built of brick. Dholavira is one of the most beautiful Unesoc world heritage sites in Gujarat you should not miss out .
4. Old Ahmedabad – World Heritage Site
Ahmedabad became the 1st India city which was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage City.
Ahmedabad being the capital city, it is also one of the most hot tourist places in Gujarat. The city was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah, so currently there are several historical monuments & heritage places in Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is exactly located in the banks of River Sabarmati, is filled with amazing architecture of both Hindu & Islamic styles.
A special features of Old Ahmedabad comprising numerous pols, small villages, narrow streets, wells and chabutaras for feeding birds, gates. To experience the glory of Ahmedabad it is necessary to walk through an old quarter and truly observe architecture,art, religious places, its culture & traditions. Old Ahmedabad is in the list of Unesoc world heritage sites in Gujarat.
We had the opportunity to enjoy heritage walk of Ahmedabad,which starts from Swaminarayan Temple Kalupur, numerous Pols, Chowks with very popular and famous jama Masjid.Ahmedabad heritage walk also known as the journey of ‘Mandir to Masjid. My Unesco World Heritage site tour is incomplete without this heritage walk.
5. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Gujarat and a must-visit for anyone who loves to explore architecture and history. I am yet to visit champaner – World Heritage site and planning to visit soon. I would recommend you include these Unesco world heritage sites in your itinerary, just like Taj Mahal. Especially for those interested in history, culture & archaeology,”
Thank you Gujarat Tourism for showing the best world heritage places of Gujarat, which I was unexplored & unknown to me.Hoping to visit more such hidden gems soon.