GoUNESCO is a challenge based on travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS). It was started as a personal challenge by Ajay Reddy in India in 2012. In the first year, 50 participants from across India joined the challenge and traveled to over 250 destinations and covered over 150,000 miles.
GoUNESCO is not just a travel challenge, but a readymade itinerary that captures the diversity of India and the varied experiences it offers. The UNESCO WHS in India are located across the country in cities and remote locations with the inscribed heritage monuments from different periods of history. From temples from the Chola era in the South to structures built in the golden period of the Mughal empire in the north, ancient temples built in 6-8th century at Ajanta and Ellora to 10,000 year old rock paintings at Bhimbetka. The WHS also include more modern structures like the mountain railways in India and natural heritage sites like Kaziranga and Keoladeo national parks.
To participate in the GoUNESCO challenge, all one has to do is click a picture at the WHS, with the entry ticket and submit it on the website. A visit to a WHS earns points for the participant, points for each site are calculated on the ease of travel and the popularity of the WHS. Less popular and hard to reach WHS are allocated more points to encourage participants to travel to those locations. The traveler with the highest number of points at the end of the year is declared the winner.
In 2012, an architect from Hyderabad, Jai Bharathi won the challenge by visiting all 28 WHS in India. She ended her travel with a visit to the Churches and monuments in Goa on new year’s eve.
To know more about the GoUNESCO Challenge and the founder, check out GoUNESCO with Ajay Reddy.