42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India with PDF Map

This article on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India is specifically written for UPSC aspirants. It provides crisp and concise information, along with a free downloadable PDF map, and offers insights into what and how you should study this topic.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are landmarks or areas recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for their cultural, historical, scientific, or other significance, and are legally protected by international treaties.

These sites can include natural landscapes, cultural monuments, or a combination of both, and they represent outstanding universal value to humanity.

India has the 6th largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites globally. With 59 Heritage sites, Italy has the highest number followed by China with 57 sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India Map

Currently, there are 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Out of these, 34 are Cultural, 7 are Natural and 1 is Mixed Heritage Sites as shown in the map below.

You can also download the PDF map from the given link.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India Map


  • The Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Agra Fort, and the Taj Mahal, all included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1983, were the first sites from India to be added to the list.
  • The Hoysala Temples in Karnataka and Santiniketan in West Bengal included in September 2023 are the latest additions from India to UNESCO’s list.
  • Please note that the 6 Hill Forts of Rajasthan are collectively recognized as a single World Heritage Site.
  • Similarly, the Mountain Railways of India, also considered a single site, consist of three branches: 1. the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (listed in 1999), 2. the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (added in 2005), and 3. the Kalka–Shimla Railway (added in 2008).

List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

The List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India is provided below, categorized into three segments:

  1. Cultural World Heritage Sites (34)
  2. Natural World Heritage Sites (7)
  3. Mixed World Heritage Sites. (1)

1. Cultural World Heritage Sites

These are locations or monuments that bear exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or civilization. Cultural heritage sites can include architectural marvels like ancient cities, palaces, religious buildings, or archaeological sites.

Here is a list of the 34 UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites in India:

World Heritage SitesStates/UTsEntry Year
Agra FortUttar Pradesh1983
Taj MahalUttar Pradesh1983
Ellora CavesMaharashtra1983
Ajanta CavesMaharashtra1983
Sun Temple, KonarkOdisha1984
Group of Monuments at MahabalipuramTamil Nadu1984
Group of Monuments at HampiKarnataka1986
Khajuraho Group of MonumentsMadhya Pradesh1986
Fatehpur SikriUttar Pradesh1986
Churches and Convents of GoaGoa1986
Great Living Chola TemplesTamil Nadu1987
Group of Monuments at PattadakalKarnataka1987
Elephanta CavesMaharashtra1987
Buddhist Monuments at SanchiMadhya Pradesh1989
Humayun’s TombDelhi1993
Qutb Minar and its MonumentsDelhi1993
Mountain Railways of India:
1. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
2. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway
3. The Kalka–Shimla Railway

1. West Bengal
2. Tamil Nadu
3. Himachal Pradesh

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh GayaBihar2002
Rock Shelters of BhimbetkaMadhya Pradesh2003
Chhatrapati Shivaji TerminusMaharashtra2004
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological ParkGujarat2004
Red Fort ComplexDelhi2007
The Jantar Mantar, JaipurRajasthan2010
Hill Forts of RajasthanRajasthan2013
Rani-ki-Vav Gujarat2014
Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at NalandaBihar2016
The Architectural Work of Le CorbusierChandigarh2016
Historic City of AhmadabadGujarat2017
The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of MumbaiMaharashtra2018
Jaipur CityRajasthan2019
Dholavira: a Harappan CityGujarat2021
Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) TempleTelangana2021
SantiniketanWest Bengal2023
Sacred Ensembles of the HoysalasKarnataka2023

2. Natural World Heritage Sites

These are areas of natural beauty or ecosystems that possess exceptional biodiversity and ecological significance.

Here is a list of 7 UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites in India:

World Heritage SitesStates/UTsEntry Year
Keoladeo National ParkRajasthan1985
Kaziranga National ParkAssam1985
Manas Wildlife SanctuaryAssam1985
Sundarbans National ParkWest Bengal1987
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National ParksUttarakhand1988, 2005
Western GhatsGujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu2012
Great Himalayan National ParkHimachal Pradesh2014

3. Mixed World Heritage Sites

These are sites that have both cultural and natural significance and often showcase the harmonious interaction between human culture and the natural environment over time.

Currently, India has only 1 UNESCO Mixed World Heritage Site:

World Heritage SitesStates/UTsEntry Year
Khangchendzonga National ParkSikkim2016

State-wise List of World Heritage Sites

As a UPSC aspirant, it is important that you know the states or Union Territories to which these heritage sites belong along with their general location on the map.

Also, a common type of question asked by UPSC in various exams (including UPSC Prelims, CAPF, etc.) is to arrange certain sites/places from east to west or north to south and vice versa. So, knowing the general locations of these world heritage sites in India will also be useful.

Here is a table showing state wise list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India along with the total number of such sites in each state mentioned in the bracket:

States/UTsWorld Heritage Sites
(C-Cultural, N-Natural, M-Mixed)
Maharashtra (6*)1. Ajanta Caves (C)
2. Ellora Caves (C)
3. Elephanta Caves (C)
4. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (C)
5. Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (C)
6. Western Ghats** (N)
Gujarat (5*)1. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (C)
2. Rani-ki-Vav (C)
3. Historic City of Ahmadabad (C)
4. Dholavira: a Harappan City (C)
5. Western Ghats** (N)
Rajasthan (4)1. Keoladeo National Park (N)
2. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (C)
3. Hill Forts of Rajasthan (C)
4. Jaipur City (C)
Karnataka (4*)1. Group of Monuments at Hampi (C)
2. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (C)
3. Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas (C)
4. Western Ghats** (N)
Tamil Nadu (4*)1. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (C)
2. Great Living Chola Temples (C)
3. Western Ghats** (N)
4. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway** (C)
Madhya Pradesh (3)1. Khajuraho Group of Monuments (C)
2. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (C)
3. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (C)
Delhi (3)1. Humayun’s Tomb (C)
2. Qutb Minar and its Monuments (C)
3. Red Fort Complex (C)
Uttar Pradesh (3)1. Agra Fort (C)
2. Taj Mahal (C)
3. Fatehpur Sikri (C)
West Bengal (3*)1. Sundarbans National Park (N)
2. Santiniketan (C)
3. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway** (C)
Assam (2)1. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (N)
2. Kaziranga National Park (N)
Bihar (2)1. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (C)
2. Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda (C)
Himachal Pradesh (2*)1. Great Himalayan National Park (N)
2. The Kalka–Shimla Railway** (C)
Goa (2*)1. Churches and Convents of Goa (C)
2. Western Ghats** (N)
Sikkim (1)1. Khangchendzonga National Park (M)
Uttarakhand (1)1. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (N)
Odisha (1)1. Sun Temple, Konark (C)
Chandigarh (1)1. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier (C)
Telangana (1)1. Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple (C)
Kerala (1*)1. Western Ghats** (N)


  • An asterisk (*) in the above table indicates that the total number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in that particular state includes one or more site(s) that is/are shared with other Indian states.
  • A double asterisk (**) indicates the site that is shared with one or more state(s).

Important Facts About Indian Heritage Sites

1. Agra Fort

  • A 16th-century Mughal monument built primarily of red sandstone.
  • Also known as the Red Fort of Agra, it is situated on the banks of the Yamuna River.
  • It is a prime example of Mughal architecture, blending elements of Islamic, Persian, and Indian architectural styles.
  • It got its present layout under the Emperor Akbar.
  • Jahangir Palace, Khas Mahal, and Diwan-i-Khas are some notable structures within the Agra Fort.

2. Taj Mahal

  • Located on the right bank of the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631 AD.
  • the construction started in 1632 AD and completed in 1648 AD
  • It was designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahori and built in white marble.

3. Ellora Caves

  • The Ellora Caves comprise 34 caves with temples and monasteries that were cut out of a 2 km long basalt cliff between 600 AD and 1000 AD.
  • The caves lie in the Charanandri Hills in the Aurangabad District of Maharashtra.
  • Built by followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, they illustrate the religious tolerance prevalent in ancient India.
    • Caves 1-12: Mahayana Buddhism
    • Caves 13-29: Hinduism
    • Caves 20-34: Jainism
  • The famous Kailasa Temple in Cave 16 is the world’s largest monolithic structure carved from a single rock.

4. Ajanta Caves

  • These are 30 caves excavated out of a vertical cliff above the left bank of the river Waghora in the Ajanta Hills in Maharashtra.
  • They represent a collection of Buddhist art from two periods:
    • First Phase: Coincides with the rule of the Satavahana dynasty from 2nd to 1st century BC.
    • Second Phase: Corresponds to the Vakataka dynasty from 5th to 6th centuries AD.

5. Sun Temple, Konark

  • Built in the 13th century AD on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Odisha.
  • It is attributed to King Narasingha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
  • It is one of the finest examples of Kalinga architecture.
  • The temple represents the chariot of the solar deity Surya, with twelve pairs of wheels drawn by seven horses.

6. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

  • Built in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Pallava dynasty.
  • Carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the state of Tamil Nadu.
  • Important structures include the rathas ( chariot-shaped temples), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous ‘Descent of the Ganges‘, and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Lord Shiva.

7. Group of Monuments at Hampi

  • Hampi was the last capital of the Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th Century AD) until it was conquered by Deccan sultanates in 1565.
  • It was a prosperous multi-cultural city with monuments built in the Dravidian style as well as the Indo-Islamic style.
  • Located in the River Tungabhadra basin in Karnataka.

8. Khajuraho Group of Monuments

  • This site comprises 23 temples belonging to two religions:
    • Hinduism
    • Jainism
  • Built in the 10th and 11th centuries during the Chandela dynasty.
  • The temples are built in the Nagara style.

9. Fatehpur Sikri

  • Fatehpur Sikri (City of Victory) is located in Agra District in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It was the capital of the Mughal Empire for about a decade under Emperor Akbar, until the capital was moved to Lahore in 1585.
  • Built between 1571 and 1573, it includes one of the largest mosques in India – the Jama Masjid.

10. Churches and Convents of Goa

  • This site comprises a collection of churches, cathedrals, and convents built during the Portuguese colonial era in Goa in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • Built in Gothic, Manueline, Mannerist, and Baroque styles with some blend with the Indian techniques and resources.
  • Some notable churches and convents include the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.
  • Shows the influence of the Catholic religion in Asia during the period.

11. Great Living Chola Temples

  • Built in the 11th and 12th centuries under the Chola dynasty.
  • The site includes three Temples:
    • The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur built by Rajaraja I
    • The Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholapuram built by Rajendra I
    • The Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram built by Rajaraja II
  • They represent some of the best examples of Dravidian architecture of the Chola period.
  • The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987. The other two temples – the Brihadisvara Temple and the Airavatesvara Temple were added in 2004.

12. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

  • Built in the 7th and 8th centuries AD under the Chalukya dynasty.
  • This site comprises nine Hindu temples and one Jain temple.
  • They were constructed in the Badami Chalukya style that blends architectural forms from northern and southern India.
  • The site includes the Temple of Virupaksha, built in 740 AD by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s victory over the kings from the South.

13. Elephanta Caves

  • Located on Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbour.
  • Constructed mainly in the 5th and 6th centuries AD, with remains of human occupation dating back to the 2nd century BC.
  • The temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva.

14. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

  • The site comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples, and monasteries) mostly dating to the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.
  • It became important under Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire in the 3rd century BC.
  • It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12th century AD.

15. Humayun’s Tomb

  • Constructed in the 1560s, the Humayun’s Tomb represents the first example of a garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent, introducing the elements of Persian gardens.
  • It represents a leap in Mughal architecture and is an architectural predecessor of the Taj Mahal.

16. Qutb Minar and its Monuments

  • Built in the 13th and 14th centuries when the Delhi Sultanate established power there.
  • They include the
    • The Qutb Minar – a 72.5 m high minaret built in Red Sandstone
    • The Alai Darwaza gateway
    • The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque which was built of materials reused from previous Hindu temples
    • The Iron Pillar, and several tombs and other monuments.

17. Mountain Railways of India:

  • The site consists of three railways:
    1. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (listed in 1999) in West Bengal
    2. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (added in 2005) in Tamil Nadu
    3. The Kalka–Shimla Railway (added in 2008) in Himachal Pradesh

18. Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya

  • This is where Gautam Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.
  • The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha. The other three are Lumbini, where he was born, Sarnath, where he preached his first sermon, and Kushinagar, where he achieved Mahaparinirvana.
  • The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, and the present temple dates from the 5th and 6th centuries AD during the Gupta Period.
  • It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick.

19. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

  • It comprises five clusters of rock shelters in the foothills of the Vindhya Range.
  • They display rock paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period.
  • The nearby villages still show some resemblance in cultural practices as depicted in the paintings.

20. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

  • Located in Mumbai, it was formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station.
  • It was built in the late 19th century.
  • It was designed by Frederick William Stevens in the Victorian Gothic style blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture.

21. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

  • Located in the Panchmahal District of Gujarat, this site features several archaeological, historical, and living cultural heritages.
  • Structures such as fortifications, palaces, temples, mosques, and agricultural and water-managing systems, from the 8th to 14th centuries are found here.
  • Includes the remains of settlements dating from the prehistoric (chalcolithic) to the medieval periods.
  • The Kalikamata Temple on top of Pavagadh Hill is considered to be an important shrine.
  • The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city.
  • Champaner was a short-lived capital of the Gujarat Sultanate in the 16th century.

22. Red Fort Complex

  • The Red Fort was built under Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the mid-17th century.
  • It is named so for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone.
  • it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Salim Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex.
  • It represents the zenith of Mughal architecture and has a fusion with Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions.

23. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

  • It is India’s most significant historic astronomical observatory.
  • It was built by Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh in the 18th century.
  • There are about 20 astronomical instruments that were designed and built for naked-eye observations of the positions of stars and planets.

24. Hill Forts of Rajasthan

  • This site comprises six forts:
    1. Chittorgarh Fort
    2. Kumbhalgarh Fort
    3. Ranthambore Fort
    4. Gagron Fort
    5. Amber Fort
    6. Jaisalmer Fort
  • They were constructed between the 8th and 18th centuries by Rajput kingdoms.

25. Rani-ki-Vav

  • Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD.
  • It is one of the finest examples of a stepwell, a type of well where groundwater is accessed through several levels of stairs.
  • It was constructed during the Chaulukya dynasty, on the banks of the Saraswati River.

26. Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda

  • It was a Buddhist ancient higher-learning institution.
  • It was operational uninterrupted for a period of about 800 years from 5th to 13th century AD.
  • Some archaeological remains also date back to the 3rd century BC.
  • The remains include shrines and stupas, viharas, and artworks in different materials.

27. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

  • It is a transnational site shared with Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan.
  • It comprises 17 works of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier.

28. Historic City of Ahmadabad

  • The walled city of Ahmadabad was founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in 1411 AD on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati River.
  • It presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period including the Bhadra Fort, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and numerous other mosques, tombs, and shrines.

29. The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai

  • A collection of 19th-century Victorian Revival public and 20th-century Mumbai Art Deco private buildings set around the Oval Maidan in Mumbai.

30. Jaipur City

  • The walled city of Jaipur was founded in 1727 by the Rajput ruler Sawai Jai Singh II.
  • It was built according to a grid plan interpreted in the light of Vedic architecture.
  • Some famous monuments there include the Hawa Mahal, Govind Dev temple, City Palace and the Jantar Mantar.

31. Dholavira: a Harappan City

  • Located in the Kachchh District of Gujarat, this well-preserved ancient urban settlement was rediscovered in 1968.
  • Occupied between about 3000 BC to 1500 BC.
  • It is the 6th largest Harappan city discovered so far.
  • The remains include a fortified city, a cemetery, and water management systems.
  • This site lies on the Tropic of Cancer.

32. Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple

  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • The temple was constructed in the 13th century under the Kakatiya dynasty.
  • It is decorated with stone carvings and sculptures in granite and dolerite that depict regional dance customs.

33. Santiniketan

  • Santiniketan was established in rural West Bengal in 1901 by the renowned poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore.
  • It was a residential school and centre for art based on ancient Indian traditions and on a vision of the unity of humanity.
  • A ‘world university’ was established at Santiniketan in 1921, recognizing the unity of humanity or ‘Visva Bharati’.

34. Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas

  • This site comprises three Hoysala temples in Karnataka:
    • The Chennakeshava Temple in Belur
    • The Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebidu
    • The Keshava temple in Somanathapura
  • The temples were built by the followers of Vaishnavism and Shaivism between the 12th and 14th centuries
  • They combined elements of Dravidian architecture with influences from northern India.

35. Keoladeo National Park

  • It is a man-made wetland Initially intended as a duck-hunting reserve for Maharajas.
  • It is important both for migratory and resident birds, especially aquatic birds.
  • Over 350 species of birds, including the rare Siberian crane, have been recorded in the park.
  • The park is also protected under the Ramsar Convention.

36. Kaziranga National Park

  • Located in the floodplains of the Brahmaputra River, this park is one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by human presence.
  • It is inhabited by the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses as well as many mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers and bears, and thousands of birds.
  • It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2007.

37. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

  • This Wildlife Sanctuary is a biodiversity hotspot and home to a great variety of wildlife, including many endangered species, such as the tiger, wild water buffalo, sloth bear, pygmy hog, Bengal florican, Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant.
  • It lies along the Manas River and covers grasslands on floodplains and forests.
  • Along with being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also designated as:
    • National Park
    • Tiger Reserve
    • Elephant Reserve
    • Biosphere Reserve
    • Important Bird Area

38. Sundarbans National Park

  • Situated in the Delta of the Ganga and Brahmaputra Rivers between India and Bangladesh.
  • It contains the world’s largest area of mangrove forests.
  • It is a biodiversity hotspot, home to a large population of Bengal tigers, as well as an important habitat for the Irrawaddy dolphin and Ganges river dolphin, several species of birds and sea turtles.

39. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

  • This site comprises two areas in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand:
    • The Valley of Flowers National Park
    • The Nanda Devi National Park.
  • Nanda Devi National Park was originally listed alone in 1988. The Valley of Flowers National Park was added in 2005.
  • The Valley of Flowers NP is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty.
  • This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear, and bharal (blue sheep).

40. Western Ghats

  • It is a mountain range that runs along the western coast in 6 Indian states: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • The area is covered with montane forests and is a biodiversity hotspot.
  • It is home to endangered species such as the tiger, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr, and Nilgiri langur.
  • It is about a 1,600 km long stretch that is interrupted only by the 30 km Palghat Gap.

41. Great Himalayan National Park

  • It is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests and includes the upper mountain glacial and snow meltwater sources of several rivers.
  • In total, there are 25 types of forests recorded, and they have rich floral and faunal species.
  • It is home to endangered species such as the western tragopan and musk deer.

42. Khangchendzonga National Park

  • Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in the State of Sikkim.
  • This NP includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains.
  • It also hosts the world’s third-highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.

I hope you find this article on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India helpful. Remember to download the pdf map and study it thoroughly.

Additionally, understanding the significance of these sites can greatly enrich your knowledge and preparation for UPSC exams. Each site holds a unique story and cultural significance, which could be important from an exams perspective.

So, dive into the details, explore the map, and let the wonders of India’s heritage inspire your studies. Best of luck on your journey!

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Subodh Sharma

I am Subodh Sharma, an IIT Roorkee graduate, committed to assisting UPSC aspirants in their map-based preparation journey. Having dedicated over four years to preparing for the UPSC examinations myself, I deeply understand the challenges and frustrations aspirants face in finding quality maps-based content. The years of preparation have given me...

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