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Hoysala Temple Complex becomes India's 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 14-03-2024
Hoysala Temple Complex becomes India's 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site Art and Culture 16 min read

The 45th session of the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, added architectural marvels of Karnataka and Hoysala era temples as India's 42nd World Heritage Site in the Cultural category.

  • The 'Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas' comprising three temples — Chennakeshava temple at Belur, Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebid in Hassan district and Kesav temple at Somnathpur of Mysuru district as the latest addition to the list of World Heritage Sites.
  • The shrines are characterized by hyper-real sculptures and stone carvings covering the entire architectural surface, a circumambulatory platform, a large-scale sculptural gallery, a multi-tiered frieze, and the Sala legend sculptures.
  • Rulers of the Hoysala dynasty ruled over parts of Southern India from the 11th Century to the 14th Century, and their capital was Halebid (Dwarasamudra). 

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was establshed on November 16, 1945. 

  • UNESCO has 195 Members and 8 Associate Members.
  • UNESCO is governed by the General Conference and also an Executive Board.  
  • The Secretariat is headed by the Director-General which implements the decisions of these two bodies.
  • Its headquarters are located in Paris.
  • Ms Audrey Azoulay is the Director-General of UNESCO.
  • UNESCO's mission is to contribute to building a culture of peace, sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and intercultural dialogue through education, sciences, culture, communication and information.
  • UNESCO usually works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples based upon respect for commonly shared values.

Name of the site




Agra Fort (1983)


Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Red Fort of Agra Built by Akbar

Home to palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas.

Ajanta Caves (1983)


Ajanta, Maharashtra 

Ancient Buddhist rock-cut architecture.

On the left bank of the river Waghora in the hills of Ajanta

First phase coincides with the rule of the Satavahana dynasty from about the 2nd century BC to the 1st century BC. 

Second phase corresponds to the Basim branch of the Vakataka dynasty with their Asmaka and Rishika feudatories in the 5th to 6th centuries CE.

Nalanda Mahavihara (2016)


Nalanda, Bihar

Most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent.

Development of Buddhism into a religion

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)


Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) by Mauryan emperor Aśoka.

Sunga, Kushana, Kshatrapa, and finally Gupta dynasties – continued to contribute to the expansion of Sanchi.

History of Buddhism from the 3rd century BCE to the 12th century CE. 

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)


Panchmahal, Gujarat

Pavagadh Hill is a volcanic formation.

14th century Hindu capital and Islamic state capital of 15th century 

Khichi Chauhan Rajputs

Sultan Mehmud Begda made his capital

Brahmanical temple of Kalika Mata

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) (2004)


Mumbai, Maharashtra

Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India.

Designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City

Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)



Former capital of the Portuguese Indies – particularly the Church of Bom Jesus, which contains the tomb of St Francis-Xavier

Dholavira: a Harappan City (2021)



On the arid island of Khadir

Large cemetery with cenotaphs of six types testifying to the Harappans unique view of death. 

Bead processing workshops and artifacts of various kinds such as copper, shell, stone, jewelry of semi-precious stones, terracotta, gold, ivory

Evidence for inter-regional trade with other Harappan cities, as well as with cities in the Mesopotamia region and the Oman peninsula

Elephanta Caves (1987)



City of Caves', on an island in the Sea of Oman close to Bombay.

Contains a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva in Hinduism.

The Island of Gharapuri

Ellora Caves (1983)


Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism

Fatehpur Sikri (1986)


Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar.

largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.

Great Living Chola Temples (1987, 2004)


Thanjavur, TamilNadu

Three great 11th- and 12th-century Temples: the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. 

Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)


Bellary,  Karnataka

Last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. 

Tungabhadra basin 

Krishna temple complex, Narasimha, Ganesa, Hemakuta group of temples, Achyutaraya temple complex, Vitthala temple complex, Pattabhirama temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex,

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)


Chingleput, Tamil Nadu

Founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries

Temple are Koneri Mandapam, Mahishmardhini cave, and Varaha Mandapa

Arjuna’s Penance and Govardhan Dhari.

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)


Bijapur, Karnataka,  

The 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty.

Temple of Virupaksha, built c. 740 by Queen Lokamahadevi 

Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)



Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Gagron, Amber, Jhalawar and Jaisalmer.

Historic City of Ahmedabad (2017)



Founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river,

the Bhadra citadel,

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (1993)




Built in 1560 by Akbar.an example of the charbagh (a four quadrant garden with the four rivers of Quranic paradise represented).

Also called the ‘dormitory of the Mughals’ 

Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019)



Founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II

Architect- planner Vidyadhar.

Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple (2021)


Hyderabad, Telangana

Kakatiyan period (1123–1323 CE) under rulers Rudradeva and Recharla Rudra

Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)


Madhya Pradesh

Built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050.

Two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism

Nagara-style temple architecture.

Temple of Kandariya  

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)


Gaya, Bihar

The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. 

the attainment of Enlightenment of Buddha.

Mountain Railways of India (1999, 2005, 2008)


West Bengal, TamilNadu, Himachal

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, 

Nilgiri Mountain Railway, 

Kalka Shimla Railway

Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)



Qutb mosque, the Quwwatu’l-Islam

Completed by Qutb ud din Aibak and Shamsu’d-Din Iltutmish.

Saracenic tradition

Alai Darwaza by Allaudin Khilji

Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) (2014) 


Patan, Gujarat 

On the banks of the Saraswati River,

Distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems

Maru-Gurjara architectural style,

Red Fort Complex (2007)



bUILT as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan

The Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546

The Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise)

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)



Madhya Pradesh

Mesolithic Period 

Closely associated with a hunting and gathering

Ensembles of the Hoysalas (2023)


Hassan and Mysuru, Karnataka

dating from the 12th to 13th centuries

sculptures of the Sala legend

Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur temples

Often described as ‘Poetry carved in Stone’

Santiniketan (2023)



West Bengal

Established in 1901 by Rabindranath Tagore

A ‘world university’ was established at Santiniketan in 1921, recognizing the unity of humanity or “Visva Bharati”. 

Sun Temple, Konârak (1984)



Puri, Odisha

Culmination of Kalinga temple architecture

Monumental representation of the sun god Surya's chariot

Built in the 13th century, it is one of India's most famous Brahman sanctuaries.

Taj Mahal (1983)


Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan Bank of the Yamuna River

Ustad-Ahmad Lahori was the main architect

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier (2016)



Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh

Built over a period of a half-century, in the course of what Le Corbusier described as “patient research”. 

The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)


Jaipur, Rajasthan 

Built in the early 18th century by Jai Singh II

The astronomical tables of Zij

Part of a tradition of Ptolemaic positional astronomy 

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018)



First in the Victorian Neo-Gothic style and then, in the early 20th century, in the Art Deco idiom. 

Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)



High alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests.

Kaziranga National Park (1985)



World's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses

Brahmaputra Valley floodplain

Keoladeo National Park (1985)



Bharatpur, Rajasthan

Palaearctic migratory waterfowl, aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia.

‘Bird Paradise

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)



alluvial grasslands and tropical forests

endangered species, such as the tiger, pygmy hog, Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant

Manas River

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005)



Endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep

Mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya

Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain which is approached through the Rishi Ganga gorge

Sundarbans National Park (1987)


West Bengal

The world's largest area of mangrove forests.

At the mouth of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers between India and Bangladesh

Bengal tigers

Western Ghats (2012)


Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat

The world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity along with Sri Lanka.

Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)



World’s third highest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga.

Zemu Glacier

A hidden land both to Buddhists (Beyul) and to Lepchas as Mayel Lyang,


Answer: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Answer: 42

Answer: Hoysala era temples, Karnataka

Answer: Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur temples

Answer: 16 November 1945.

Answer: Paris

Answer: Ms Audrey Azoulay

Answer: 195 Members and 8 Associate Members

Answer: Khangchendzonga National Park

Answer: Kalka-Shimla, Darjeeling, Nilgiri
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