With culturally rich and diverse country, India is one of the most ancient civilizations in the world that harbors many age-old wonders than most other lands. Of these, the world heritage sites have special place in India tour packages as they boast an outstanding value to the entire world. For example, the state of Maharashtra is home to a large number of heritage sites and 5 of them got the UNESCO world heritage site tag. These heritage sites are among the top places to visit in Maharashtra due to its intertwined layers of history and culture along with unique imprints of architectural design. In addition to the historic and cultural importance, these places can also be scientifically as well as educationally relevant.
Here is the list of stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Maharashtra.
The Ellora Cave Complex comprises of 34 caves that were hewn out of solid rocks of the Charanandri hills between the 6th and 10th centuries AD. Overlooking the Waghur River, it is the most visited heritage monument in India, and among the must-include places in Maharashtra tour packages. Of the 39 caves, 12 are Buddhist caves, 17 are Hindu Caves and 5 are Jain Caves. The coexistence of structures from three different religions serves as a splendid visual representation of the prevalent religious tolerance of India. The main attraction of Ellora is Kailash Temple (Cave16), which is the most remarkable, and one of the top places to visit in Ellora Caves. Ellora Caves was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in the year 1983 due to its stupendous architecture, interesting spatial effects, and grand sculptures. Ellora is one of the best heritage places to visit near Pune.
Book Here : Ellora Tour Packages
An epitome of fabulous cave architecture in India, Ajanta Caves are a group of 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments belongs to the era between the 2nd century BCE and 650 CE. The caves at Ajanta are one of the renowned Buddhist monuments in India, and among the most visited heritage sites in Maharashtra. Along with Ellora, Ajanta Caves were declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Representing both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the rock-cut caves have magnificent paintings depict the rebirths of Buddha and many Jataka Tales. Cave 1, 2, 16, 17, 19, and 26 are the must-visit tourist places in Ajanta.
Book Here : Ajanta Tour Packages
Another historic place in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Maharashtra is Elephanta Caves that highlights the peace and ideology reflected by Buddhism. Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located around 15 kilometers away from the coast of Mumbai on Elephanta Island or Gharapuri. It is the oldest historic site as well as one of the best places to visit in Mumbai. The caves were discovered by the Portuguese colonizers who named the caves Elephanta caves after finding the elephant statues on the caves. There are a total of seven caves dated between the 5th and 8th centuries and were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The five caves situated on the western hills of the Island are associated with the cult worship of Lord Shiva, and are home to some marvellous sculptures including Ravana holding up the Kailash, Shiva-Parvati on Kailash, Ardhanarishvara, Trimurti, Wedding of Shiva, Nataraja, Kartikeya, Yogishvara, and Matrikas. However, other two caves host various Buddhist sculptures depicting numerous pictures of Gautama Buddha and Jataka Tales.
Also Read : Top Places to Visit Near Mumbai
Victorian Gothic & Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai
The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Bombay is a collection of 19th century Victorian neo-Gothic public buildings and 20th century Art Deco buildings in the Fort area of Mumbai. The Victorian ensemble includes Indian elements suited to the climate, including balconies and verandas while the Art Deco edifices, with their cinemas and residential buildings, blend Indian design with Art Deco imagery, creating a unique style that has been described as Indo-Deco. These two ensembles bear testimony to the phases of modernization that Mumbai has undergone in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. Declared as UNESCO World Heritage sites on 30th June 2018 during the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee at Manama, Bahrain, this site is a collection of 94 buildings that include Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower, Eros Cinema and Convocation Hall, University of Mumbai, Watson’s Hotel, David Sassoon Library, and the Elphinstone College, among the top places to visit in Mumbai. Set around the Oval Maidan, these large edifices stand as relics from a different time, which are all too glamorous, even in the face of new posh buildings that are built in Mumbai.
Must Read : Stunning Heritage Sites in Maharashtra
Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus
Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus (CST) is the most extravagant and a historic railway station located in the heart of Mumbai. Formerly known as Victoria Terminus (VT), it was built in 1888 and is a magnificent Gothic revival structure which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004. This 133-year-old heritage building is one of the biggest and busiest railway stations in India apart from being one of the most magnificent and historic landmarks. Designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. Also, it is the second most photographed monument of the country after the Taj Mahal. The monument looks stunning while lit up in colorful lights during the night which draws a large number of visitor as part of Mumbai tour packages.
Must Visit : Historic Caves in Maharashtra