UNESCO has a unique way of protecting and preserving what they deem as legacy by listing them under the World Heritage Sites. These sites are reputed to have outstanding universal value. Debatable as the tag stands, it is a matter of pride for individuals and nations alike.
These sites are set up to re-create the days gone by. What most people often overlook is that there's a reason why it's called history. It is an image of the past and is fast being replaced by the images of the present. Heritage is performed and a sense of the real is forged.
And yes, culture excludes. The bright part? Culture also includes.
The culture politics apart, all world heritage sites are a pleasure to the senses. Many historians, archaeologists and social scientists have pledged their lives to study and feel the enormity of these almost grotesque sites.
By respecting what these sites symbolize, we breathe life into it. The present offers us a choice to visit and discover what resonates and what does not. You have a choice to make that discovery. So what are you waiting for? Make sure that your tour to South India covers these celebrated World Heritage Sites.
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
Majestic as it stands on the banks of Malaprabha river in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, is a must visit World Heritage Site.
The Virupaksha Temple is one of the eight temples here and a masterpiece of Chalukya Art and Architecture.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway
A world Heritage site along with the Mountain Railways of India, Nilgiri Mountain Railway connects Mettupalayam in the foothills to Ooty. Come, be a part of this exciting journey of deep tunnels, high bridges and the ever congruous nature.
Group of Monuments at Hampi
With successful conservation efforts, Hampi takes you to the world of the past. There can never be enough said about this place. Admiration, curios eyes, hurried breath will be among your many witnesses.
Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Living Chola Temples, the Brihadeeswarar Temple is a masterpiece built by the great Rajaraja Chola I. The fortified temple is world-renowned for its tall temple tower, monolithic apex, and another monolithic sculpture that of the Nandi.
Get ready to travel the grandeur that lived at least a 1000 years back.
Airavateswarar Temple, Darasuram, Tamil Nadu
Again part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Living Chola Temples, but built by Rajaraja Chola II, Airavateswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built in 12th CE, this temple is witness to exquisite detailing on the stones.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple, Tamil Nadu
Built by Rajendra Chola I, Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Living Chola Temples. The carving is magnificent and the inscriptions on the walls will transport you to a world of conquests and victories very dear to the Cholas.
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
The pride of the Pallava Kings, this rock complex at Mahabalipuram is carved along the coromandel coast. The pancha-rathas or the five chariots are famed monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture.
Make sure that your ears and eyes are wide open for the carvings here sing the glory of Lord Shiva like no place else.
Anamudi Peak, Western Ghats
The highest peak in the Western Ghats, Anamudi Peak is at an elevation of a staggering 2,695 meters. Anamudi could be translated to 'elephant's forehead' and is named due to the similarity of its shape and form.
Agasthyamalai Range, Western Ghats
Also called the Ashambu Hills, Agasthyamalai Hills lie at the extreme southern end of the Western Ghats. Located in Kerala, this picturesque mountain range is 6,129 ft high.
Banasuran Hills, Western Ghats
Standing at an altitude of 2,073 meters, Banasuran Hills is a major part of the Western Ghats mountain range. Known for its tribal residence, Banasuran Hills is a paradise for nature lovers.