14 World Heritage Sites of South India, a Tour Plan
There are 35 (27 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed) World Heritage Sites in India that are recognized by the UNESCO as on July 2016. This post is a tour plan to visit 17 World Heritage sites of South India. Of these 17 sites, 3 are natural ones in the Western Ghats.
World Heritage Sites of South India
If you have been craving to visit the World Heritage sites in south of India, now is the time. Plan a vacation for coming winters. Winters are not so severe in South India and weather is most pleasant. Depending on the number of days you plan to tour various sites can be visited. A 20 days itinerary can help cover the 14 World Heritage Sites of South India at a relaxed pace. This will be a great learning and enriching experience.
Start from Mumbai, as Mumbai is easily reachable by air, rail and roads. The city has 2 Indian world heritage sites. One of them is Elephanta Caves which got its status in 1987. Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai too figures in the list. Budget stay possible with MTDC.
Fly to Aurangabad from Mumbai; plenty of flight, rail and road options available. Spend two days seeing Ajanta and Ellora caves, these two places got the prestigious status of UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Two days here will enable a relaxed tour. Like in Mumbai MTDC has budget hotels here too.
Goan churches figure in world heritage sites list. Fly to Goa, spend the day leisurely seeing the Churches and convents of Goa. The next day can be spent leisurely strolling the beaches of Goa. In Goa you can avail GTDC hospitality at Panjim Residency. From Goa you can plan Hampi which is 7 hours journey by road, a distance of 350kms. Alternately you can fly to Bangalore and then drive down to Hampi.
Spend couple of days here. From Hampi you can make a trip to Pattadakal which got its heritage status in 1987. Pattadakal will take just a day. But I suggest spare another day for Badami and Aihole. Though these two sites aren’t included in UNESCO’s list yet they are worth visiting. There is a lot to see in these two places; even after the end of four days here you may have the urge to extend your stay here. From Hampi drive down to Bangalore for a flight to Chennai. You have now covered 6 of the 14 UNESCO Heritage sites.
Leave for Chennai, with Chennai as base you can cover the other three world heritage site, Mahabalipuram, Chola temples and Mountain railways of Nilgiris, which is year 2005’s addition to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India. Span these visits over six days to enable unhurried enjoyable visit. Another option would be road trip from Bangalore to Ooty for Mountain Railways and halt there for a day. Next day set off for Thanjavur for Chola Temples, spend a couple of days here and then set off for Mahabalipuram. Finally drive to Chennai. The distance fom Bangalore to Chennai via these 3 world Heritage sites is 976kms. It is a doable one and enjoyable too if you heritage and history!
Arrive at Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha. From there proceed to Sun Temple Konark. The distance between Bhubaneswar to Konark is 72kms, that should take one and half hours approx. Budget stay facilities is possible at OTDC. The 13th century Sun Temple here is mesmerizing! On day 18 evening fly to Kolkata. You are in last phase of the travel.
Though Sunderbans cannot be counted in South India heritage sites, I included it because of Kolkata which is a very well connected city. Visit Sunderbans, a natural world heritage site. A stay in one of the islands here can be the most refreshing end to your journey. At the end of 20 days you will be rich with memories of sights of these sites!
Go ahead make your plans and have a grand tour of
the World Heritage Sites in South India!