BATH, England — Yes, there really is a natural hot spring beneath the city of Bath, but soaking in the above-ground sights and sounds will leave you plenty relaxed. With its Georgian brick buildings and lush green hills, almost everywhere in Bath feels like a living postcard. With landmarks from Roman and medieval times, you may feel you’ve landed back in time, but the juxtaposition of stately terraced houses and people hustling about on smartphones brings you out of that fantasy.
Bath somehow weaves together threads of small-town life with cosmopolitan sophistication. It has galleries, museums and theatres. It’s a college town anchored by the University of Bath. And it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Even on a mere day trip from London, just 90 minutes away by train, Bath bubbles over with charm.
A majestic landmark in the centre of town, Bath Abbey is the third place of worship to occupy this site in 1,200 years. The first church, built in 757, was replaced by a cathedral soon after the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
There are 1007 incredible sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Many sites are inaccessible due to conflict while other are simply hard to reach
The Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan and the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria risk being lost forever
You can still see the remains of the Chimu Kingdom in Peru – if you’re quick
Even the more well-travelled among us would struggle to scratch the surface of Unesco’s World Heritage List.
Jaw-dropping scenery, ancient monuments and incredible wildlife are just a few of the 1007 sites earmarked for preservation by the organisation.
But while well-known destinations such as Machu Picchu and the Acropolis in Athens may feature prominently on many intrepid explorers’ ‘to do’ list, there are a number of stunning sites that the majority of us will simply never get to see.
Pooja Bhula is fascinated by Hampi’s unique natural landscape, rich heritage and how it’s now also accommodates a very bohemian way of life…
What hits me as we drive towards the UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi, is its vastness, which we explore through its small and big roads leading to the must-see monuments that once formed Vijayanagar–the capital of South India’s largest, most prosperous kingdom. Ruins, spread over 26 sq. km, lie comfortably alongside piles of naturally rounded granite boulders of different colours. John M Fritz and George Michell, explain in Hampi Vijayanagara, “Its unique rocky appearance is not caused by earthquake or upheaval, but by some 3,000 years of erosion, at first underground and then, when uplifted, by exposure to sun, wind and rain… For centuries, this uniformly built grained stone has provided an inexhaustible supply of building materials.”
Feeding the nation: The world heritage listed rice fields of Pulagan stretch over 110 hectares producing more than 620 tons of rice annually.
Just a few kilometers north of Ubud is an off-the-beaten-track UNESCO-recognized rice field site that offers visitors an almost solo experience.
Turn right at Tampak Siring’s traditional market and head out of the quaint town. About a kilometer away is the 110-hectare protected site of Subak Pulagan. Set against a backdrop of Mount Batur and Mount Agung ‘ and with fields surrounded by coconut palms Pulagan is a rural paradise.
The area received a UNESCO listing just three years ago, which has saved it from development, says the head of the local subak, or irrigation group, Sang Nyoman Astika.
‘Five years ago there was a lot of developers coming here wanting to buy up the land, but we cannot sell the land. This land is from our ancestors and must go down to our descendants. We are really proud to have the world heritage listing,’ says the 44 year old.
It is always refreshing to go to a national park and be one with nature. You will get to see a variety of wildlife and find yourself busy clicking pictures of them. It is a perfect vacation spot to head to with your family as the feeling of adventure lasts all the way through! The state of Assam has many national parks, making it a perfect getaway for the adventurer in you. Other than the many picturesque locales to roam around, these parks serve as the entertainment you need to jazz things up. Here is a look at some of the national parks in Assam.
Kaziranga National Park Kaziranga National Park is the pride of Assam.
A little more than five hours from neon-buzzed Tokyo lies a very different Japan, one of thatched-roof houses and black nights illuminated by lantern light. Pico Iyer travels to the country’s snowy western region to explore two villages untouched by modernity—and alive with their own quiet magic.
I might almost be staying in Hobbitland. The minute darkness descends and the paper windows under the thatched roofs all around me begin to glow, turning high walls into eerie faces, most of the day’s few visitors gone. Lanterns cast reflections on the rice paddy at the center of the 20-house village, and the sign warning of nearby bears grows indecipherable in the pitch black. Wandering between A-shaped houses with their steep 60-degree straw roofs—*gassho zukuri,*or “praying hands” in Japanese, though they also look like giant open books—I might be walking through a Christmas card of occasional lights and tree-trunk seats gathered around a mushroom-shaped low table.