Your photos have rediscovered India's heritage!

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What does heritage mean to you?

Your personal slice of heritage could be your family home, or a 200-year-old tree you pass on your way to work. An ancient monument that has withstood the ravages of urbanization. It could be a lake in your town that craves a lease of life. Or a dying tradition, dance or custom that needs a few more takers.

We asked Yahoo! readers via Flickr to share photos of heritage icons that they want to preserve. Submitting a photo to this series is akin to adding your voice to a visual signature campaign -- you endorse the heritage icon and your passion to protect it.

Our editors were pleasantly overwhelmed by the range and breadth of themes and topics that represented heritage to our readers. Titled "My Discovery of India", our theme showcased aspects of heritage that readers want to preserve. Thanks to all of you for your time, enthusiasm and effort in making this showcase a runaway success. Do watch this space, as this gallery will be updated regularly.

Do continue to submit your photos (remember to read the submission guidelines before you do so).

Culture clash

Culture clash
By Radhakrishnan S / Flickr

Thirupuvanam Chozha Temple, Tamil Nadu

Thirupuvanam Chozha Temple, Tamil Nadu
By Ramesh Muthaiyan/ Flickr

Balanced life on Marina Beach, Chennai

Balanced life on Marina Beach, Chennai.
By Vijayamurthy Sadagopalan/ Flickr

A 150-year-old steam locomotive

A 150-year-old steam locomotive.
By Vijayamurthy Sadagopalan/ Flickr

Travel - My Discovery of India - Onathappan

Onathappan, a clay pyramid structure with four faces and a flat top used during Onam celebrations in Kerala, symbolizes Thrikkakara Appan or Thrikakkarappan. This unique structure represents Vamana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. For some people the pyramid represents both King Maveli and Vishnu. It is also referred as Onathappan. Thrikkakarappan is the presiding deity in the famous Thrikakkara temple in Ernakulam District of Kerala and is closely associated with the Onam myth.

The structure is made using clay or mud and generally has four faces with a flat top. While welcoming King Mahabali to their homes, people place Thrikkakara Appan on a bed made of rice flour decked with flowers and pujas are performed. Some people believe that the unique shape of Thrikkakara Appan – the four faces – represents the four stages in the life of a human being. Usually, people place three structures which represent the three steps of land asked by Vamana to King Mahabali.

Photo by Babish VB

My Discovery of India - Mcluskieganj

Temple and Mosque, Mccluskieganj, Jharkhand

About 40 miles northwest of the capital, Ranchi, is this rare sight that tells of India's communal harmony. The town was once home to a large Anglo-Indian community, which has declined considerably over the years.

by Moumita07

My Discovery of India - Sand Dunes in Nubra Valley desert

Sand dunes in the Nubra cold desert near Hunder village, Ladakh at altitude above 3,000 m (about 9850 feet). Observe the snow peaks in the background, so unlike what one normally expects to see in a desert.

By Indianature26

My Discovery of India - Gombaz, Srirangapatna

The Gumbaz, Srirangapatana, Karnataka

This is the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, his father Hyder Ali and mother Fathima Begum. The Gumbaz, an imposing structure, stands on a high and wide platform with an open verandah of polished pillars all round. It is an architectural beauty and a must visit if you are in Mysore, India.

By Indira Nair

My Discovery of India - Veena Nair

Lonar Crater Lake, Maharashtra

Lonar Lake is the third largest meteorite crater in the world and dates back as much as 50,000 years. It is situated in Buldhana district, Maharashtra. It is a crater formed out of basalt rock, the only one of its kind on earth. The two-million ton meteorite travelled at a distance of about 80,000 km per hour and hit the earth with such force that it created a depression of about 2 kms in diameter and 200 meters deep. Lonar Lake was first discovered by the British officer J E Alexander in 1823. Apart from tourists, the lake is visited by geologists and scientists from all over the world. The US Geological Survey, Smithsonian Institution of Washington DC, the Geological Society of India have conducted extensive studies about the site. The area surrounding the lake is rich in biodiversity. There are about twelve temples around the lake, though most are in a ruined state.

By Veena Nair

My Discovery of India - Chandragiri, Karnataka

Chandragiri Hill, Karnataka

Every importance is given to the hill of Vidhyagiri situated opposite to Chandragiri, where the statue of Gomateshwara is situated. This temple at Chandragiri is vital for educating the public about the aspects of a Jain temple, if only it were maintained properly.

By Aishwariyaa Indramohan

My Discovery of India - Himalayas

The Himalayas

The Himalayas are the highest mountain range in the world. Its mighty glaciers are the source of many Asian rivers. Protecting and preserving its wild species, flora and fauna, rivers and landscapes are of utmost importance for the welfare of humanity in South Asia.

Photo by Veena Nair

My Discovery of India - Kaamkandla Theatre

Kaamkandla Theatre

These are the ruins of an open-air octagonal theatre depicting the love story of a famous dancer Kaamkandla. It is in Bilahri village, about 90 km from Jabalpur. I have seen many parts of the remains of archeological importance lying here and there in the fields near and around the villages. It is a truth that per month remains worth crores of rupees are stolen and smuggled. If a place can be marked in every village like a Panchayat building or school and villagers are made aware of the importance the ruins then wherever the villagers find the remains, they can bring and store them here, ensuring their safety. These archeological jewels could be preserved and the villagers will develop a feeling of pride about their glorious past. Their children will also be educated.

Photo by Himanshu

My Discovery of India - Long-billed Vulture

Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus)

This is a critically endangered species that has suffered a 97%–99% population decrease in Pakistan and India. The cause of this has been identified as poisoning caused by the veterinary drug Diclofenac. The drug is believed to be swallowed by vultures with the flesh of dead cattle, which were administered Diclofenac, which is a veterinary anti-inflammatory drug. Diclofenac causes kidney failure in several species of vultures. In March 2005 the Government of India announced its support for a ban on the veterinary use of Diclofenac. As of August 2011 the ban for veterinary use has been in place but old stocks of Diclofenac are still being administered to livestock throughout India.

Photo by Meena Raghavendra

My Discovery of India - Legacy Printing Press

Legacy printing press, Patna

Today, computerization has advanced print media immensely but only a few years ago, it was a mechanical technology. The evolution of the printing press represents one of the biggest advancements for human civilization. Now that old manual printing presses are being replaced by modern digital printing technologies, some of these presses must be preserved for their heritage value and to educate younger generations about the evolution of printing.

Photo by Mitanshee

My Discovery of India ˆ- Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan

ˆKala Bhavan, Shantiniketan

Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan, India is considered one of the best arts colleges in the world. Here you can see wall paintings, sculptures, frescoes and murals of famous artists like Ramkinkar Baij, Binode Behari, K G Subramanyan, etc. We need to protect and preserve their works for future generations.

Photo by Veena Nair

My Discovery of India - Gingee Fort

Gingee Fort, Troy of the East

Although Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu is not currently in danger, this beautiful architectural site is still off the beaten track for most tourists. Gingee Fort, also known as Chenji or Jinji or Senchi, is one of the few surviving forts in Tamil Nadu. Called "Troy of East" by the British, it was initially built by the Cholas in the 9th century and later occupied by Vijayanagara Empire in the 13th century before passing on to the Nayaks, Marathas, Arcot Nawabs, Mughals, French and British masters.

Photo by Nanda Kumar

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Theyyam

Theyyam (Teyyam, Theyyattam or Thira) is a popular ritual form of worship in North Malabar, Kerala. As a living cult with several thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs. The performers of Theyyam belong to the lower classes and have an important position in Theyyam. The term Theyyam is a corruption of the word Devam (god).

Photo by Prabhu Velayudhan

My Discovery of India Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales.The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period between 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the 26th cave of Ajanta and the above photograph shows, carvings depicting various stages in the life of Buddha. (Source: Wikipedia)

Photo by Veena Nair

My Discovery of India Asiatic Lion at Gir

­Gir, home to Asiatic lions

Currently in the eye of a storm over relocation to Madhya Pradesh, the Asiatic Lion is today restricted to a small range in Gir Sanctuary, Gujarat. There are only about 450 Asiatic Lions and they need to be preserved as they represent the rich heritage of India in more ways than one, especially as the lion is represented in the Ashoka Pillar, one of India's enduring motifs.

Photo by Shaival Choksi

My Discovery of India Atithi Devo Bhavah

Atithi Devo Bhavah

This foreign traveller here is experiencing what we call bliss. And right within the compound of the Red Fort in Delhi. Lately there’s been so much doing the rounds about how unsafe India is. If only we could make it safer and better for everybody and once again fearlessly utter those magical words ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’! Let’s all stand up to right what’s wrong in this country and preserve our greatest heritage of being kind and warm people.

Photo by Anita Singh

My Discovery of India Diu Jail

Diu Jail

Diu Jail is located in the middle of the jetty near the main city of Diu, which was in use since its time as a Portuguese colony. This inaccessible jail is actually a marvel of architecture.

Photo by Pratik Patel

My Discovery of India Draupadi's Swayamvara, Chennakeshava Temple, Arasikere

Draupadi's Swayamvara, Chennakeshava Temple, Arasikere, Karnataka

This is the scene of Draupadi's swayamvara at Panchala Palace as depicted in the Mahabharata. A fish was tied on the roof a vessel with water placed on the ground. A prospective groom had to look at the reflection of the fish's eye in the water hit the target. After many valiant kings failed, Arjuna came dressed as as Brahmin. Many kings objected to Arjuna's participation as the contest was restricted to the martial Kshatriya clan. Later, he was allowed to participate, and he Arjuna struck the fish's eye with his well-aimed arrow and won Draupadi's hand in marriage. A soapstone sculpture depicting this scene appears on the wall of the Chennakeshava Temple at Haranahalli in Arasikere taluk of Hassan district in Karnataka State. This temple was built by Hoysala rulers in the 12th century.

Photo by Girish S

My Discovery of India Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves

Ellora is an archaeological site 29 km northwest of the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, built by the Rashtrakuta dynasty. Well known for its monumental caves, Ellora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 "caves" – actually structures excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and viharas and mathas were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves, built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history. It is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. (Source: Wikipedia)

Photo by Veena Nair

My Discovery of India Education for Girl Child

Smiling through hard times

What do I want to preserve here, you might ask. The smiles and, god-willing, an education for every child! If that is not heritage, what is? On a Sunday afternoon I found them selling beads before India Gate in Delhi. I'’d much rather prefer toys in those little hands.

Photo by Anita Singh

My Discovery of India Khajuraho

Sculptures of Khajuraho

Khajuraho is a town in Madhya Pradesh. Famous for its temple sculptures that promote the art of love and lovemaking as described in the ancient text, Kama Sutra. Built by the Chandela monarchs in the 10th century, Khajuraho is a must-visit for those interested in art and sculpture. The artistic precision achieved during that era remains awe-inspiring to the world.

Photo by Tublu

My Discovery of India Tuman Temple

Tuman Shiv Temple in Korba, Chhattisgarh

Tuman is a small village situated 10 km away from Katghora, 30 km away from the district headquarters. According to historians, Tuman was the capital of the Haihaya dynasty. An ancient Shiv temple can be found here, and is believed to have been built during the reign of Kalchuri (about 11 AD) by King Ratnadev I. This photograph shows the remains of this rich history. Our government and people must step in to save this neglected heritage.

Photo by Arvind Pratap Singh

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Ravana Phadi Rock-Cut Temple, Aihole, Karnataka

Ravana Phadi cave, among the oldest rock-cut temples in Aihole, is located southeast of Hucchimalli temple in Aihole. This temple dates back to the 6th century with a rectangular shrine and two mantapas. There is a Shivalinga in the inner room or sanctum sanctorum. This is a Shaivite cave temple with a sanctum larger than that of the Badami Cave Temples. Many visitors to Aihole are not aware of this marvelous rock cut temple. Only a few visit, perhaps because it is relatively poorly maintained.

Photo by Sivaraj Mathi

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Black Taj Mahal - Ibrahim Rauza in Bijapur, Karnataka

Ibrahim Rauza, often called the Black Taj Mahal (Rauza refers to the tomb of a king and Makbara is a tomb of a queen). Ibrahim Rauza is the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II and this architecture is comparable to a black Taj Mahal. It is said that this was an inspirational design for The Taj Mahal. There are two structures facing each other. One is a Black Taj Mahal and the other is a Masjid (mosque) and a water tank and fountain are between these two structures. There is wonder in these two structures. If a person stands in the corner of the Masjid and whispers, it can be heard in the inner part of Ibrahim Rauza. But for this demonstration you need to take the help of a guide available there.

Photo by Jayanand

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Deepor Beel, Assam

Deepor Beel (beel means lake in Assamese) is the first bird sanctuary and only Ramsar site of Assam. It is located 18 km southwest of Guwhati on the National Highway 31 on the Jalukbari Khanapara bypass. The beel is about 5 km from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. A broad gauge railway line skirts the lake. It is permanent, freshwater lake in a former channel of the Brahmaputra river. It not only a major stormwater storage basin for Guwahati city but also a large natural wetland having great biological and environmental importance. The beel has a total area of 40 sq km of which 4.14 sq km was declared a bird sanctuary by the Assam Government in 1989. In November 2002, it was listed as a Ramsar site due to its rich wetland biodiversity. Again, considering the varieties of bird species found in the beel, Birdlife International has also declared Deepor Beel as an Important Bird Area (IBA). However, the people and government are ignoring the importance of this beel and its deterioration is on full scale. The major reasons are proliferation of human settlements, roads, and industries around the periphery (in the eastern and north-eastern sides) causing pollution, waste-water from different parts of the city and the adjoining areas, construction of broad-gauge railway line on the periphery of the beel, allottment of the government vacant land to private parties by government settlement department, brick kilns and soil cutting, hunting, trapping and killing of wild birds and mammals, and unplanned intensive fishing practices (both during day and night).

Photo by Kaveri Hazarika

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Hoysaleswara Temple near Chikmagalur, Karnataka

I came across the 12th Century Hoysaleswara Temple en route to Chikmagalur. This part is carved out of a single stone and the architecture is one of the best in India. The Hoysaleswara temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. It was built in Halebeedu (in modern-day Karnataka) during the rule of King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala dynasty. The construction was completed in 1121 CE. During the early 14th century, Halebeedu was sacked by Muslim invaders from northern India and the temple fell into a state of ruin. Previously known as Dwarasamudra, Halebeedu is 16 km from Belur, 31 km from Hassan and 149 km from Mysore in Karnataka. This photograph shows the trinity of the Hindu pantheon - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva).

Photo by Vivek

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Mahabbat Maqbara, Junagadh, Gujarat

The Mahabbat Maqbara is an exquisite monument in Junagadh, Gujarat. In an effort to capture the hues at dusk the two Minarets on the side appear to be inclined in this wide shot, which is however not the case. The minars are very much straight, but are in a sad state. Most of the structure is crumbling. The compound of the monuments is used as a cricket ground. It is important for us to preserve such a beautiful monument, a most striking architectural heritage of India.

Photo by Rohit Pansare

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Ancient stairway in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Madhavadhara stairway is one of the many stairways leading to Simhachalam, a temple on the verge of extinction. Many inscriptions could be seen through the path that date as far back as 1098 AD. Not many people realize that there is a walkway uphill. Some who did had to revert because of the dilapitated stairs. I believe the Temple Board should realize the necessity to preserve this treasure.

Photo by Kishan Chadalawada

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

Varadharaja Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

The temple has excellent architecture and has been built with several stories. It is one of the oldest large temples in Tamil Nadu.

Photo by Karthikeyan Chinnathamby

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photo Submission

St Mary's Church, Madurai

Also known as St Mary's Cathedral, this church was built in 1840 and blends European and continental styles of architecture. Located in Madurai near the Tirumala Nayak Mahal on old Koyavar Palayam Road, it was originally dedicated to Vyakula Matha, a representation of the Virgin Mary. The new church was constructed in 1916 after the Madurai Diocese was created in 1938, St. Mary's Church was raised to the status of a pro-Cathedral and the Bishop's throne was installed. The church was elevated to the status of Cathedral on 1969. The notable feature of the church is the two tall elegant bell towers constructed in Roman style which is at a height of 42 meters.

Photo by Karthikeyan Chinnathambi

Travel My Discovery of India Heritage Photos

Pichavaram Mangroves, Tamil Nadu

Pichavaram near Puducherry has a well-developed mangrove forest. Pichavaram consists of a number of islands interspersing a vast expanse of water covered with green trees. The area is about 1100 Hectare and is separated from the sea by a sand bar. The Pichavaram mangrove consisting of rare species like Avicennia and Rhizophara presents a special attraction, with its peculiar topography and environmental condition. It supports the existence of many rare varieties of economically important shell and finfishes. The Pichavaram mangroves attract an appreciable bird population of residents, local migrants and true migrants. Amongst others, one can view birds like Cormorants, Egrets, Storks, Herons, Spoonbills and Pelicans. The availability of different habitat types such as channels, creeks, gullies, mud flats and sand flats and adjacent sea shore offers ideal habitat for different species of birds and animals. (Source: Wikipedia)

Photo by Indira Nair

Travel My Discovery of India Photo Submission

Halebeedu

One of the walls of the splendid Hoysala temple at Halebeedu
Photo by Sai Kiran Kanuri

Travel My Discovery of India Photo Submission

Bibi Ka Maqbara - Taj of the Deccan, Aurangabad, Maharastra

Bibi Ka Maqbara is a maqbara located in Aurangabad, Maharastra, India. It was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the late 17th century in the memory of his first wife, Dilras Banu Begum (also known as Rabia-ud-Daurani). It bears a striking resemblance to the famous Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of his mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Aurangzeb was not much interested in architecture, though he had built the small, but elegant Pearl Mosque in Delhi. Bibi Ka Maqbara was the largest structure that he had to his credit. The comparison to the Taj Mahal has often obscured its very own considerable charm. The monument is also called the Dakkhani Taj (Taj of the Deccan). Bibi Ka Maqbara is the principal monument of Aurangabad and its historic city. An inscription found on the main entrance door mentions that this mausoleum was designed and erected by Ata-ullah, an architect, and Hanspat Rai, an engineer, respectively. Ata-ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the principal designer of the Taj Mahal. Bibi ka Maqbara is believed to be built between 1651 and 1661 CE. According to the "Tawarikh Namah" of Ghulam Mustafa, the cost of construction of the mausoleum was Rs. 6,68,203-7 (Rupees Six Lakh, Sixty Eight Thousand, Two Hundred and Three & Seven Annas).

Photo by Mohan Kumar

Travel My Discovery of India Photo Submission

Baul Singers

Bauls are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal. They constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition. Bauls are a very heterogeneous group with many sects, but their membership mainly consists of Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims. They can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments. Not much is known of their origin. Lalon Fakir is regarded as the most important poet-practitioner of the Baul tradition. Baul music had a great influence on Rabindranath Tagore's poetry and on his music (Rabindra Sangeet). In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. (Source: Wikipedia)

Photo by Veena Nair

Travel My Discovery of India Photo Submission

Chinese Fishing Nets, Kerala

The Chinese fishing nets (Cheena vala) are fishing nets that are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets. They are mostly found in Kerala. Huge mechanical contrivances hold out horizontal nets of 20 m or more across. Each structure is at least 10 m high and comprises a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen. The system is sufficiently balanced that the weight of a man walking along the main beam is sufficient to cause the net to descend into the sea. The net is left for a short time, possibly just a few minutes, before it is raised by pulling on ropes. Rocks, each 30 cm or so in diameter are suspended from ropes of different lengths for keeping everything in balance. It was earlier thought that the nets might have been introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He. Recent research shows that these were introduced by Portuguese Casado settlers from Macau. (Source: Wikipedia)

Photo by Indira Nair

Travel My Discovery of India Photo Submission

Duladeo Temple, Khajuraho

Duladeo Temple is one of the finest Temples among the Khajuraho Group of Temples which is a World Heritage site. It is located on the bank of Khurar River in Khajuraho and this temple comes in the southern group of temples of Khajuraho. This temple is also called as the Kunwar Math. Shikaras are an integral part of the temple structures in Khajuraho and Duladeo Temple is no exception. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built in 1130 AD by the Chandela kings during the reign of Madana-Varman. The temple is decorated with the carvings of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

Photo by Sujith