Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, India is home to some of the most significant ruins across the globe. There are numerous prehistoric sites that stand as a testament to India’s glorious past. From mystical caves to primeval cities that were lost ages ago, only to be rediscovered in modern era, there are more ancient ruins in India than one can ever imagine. Read on to know about the top 5 most prominent ruins in India.
- Hampi, Karnataka
Once the capital of the famed Vijaynagar Kingdom in South India, Hampi is a legendary city which has now been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spread over an area of 25kms, the ancient city stands within the perimeter of hundreds of boulders and rocks. Various famous temples such as Lakshmi Narsimha Temple, Vithala Temple and Achyut Raya Temple can be found here. Royal structures such as Lotus Mahal, Queen’s Bath, etc are other major attractions. It takes about three days to explore the ruins of Hampi. However, for a true history fan, even three days can fall short to explore each and every structure at this mind boggling site.
- Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan
Built around 15th century A.D. in the Mewar kingdom of Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh Fort is a colossal fortress city, perching over the Aravali Hills in Rajasthan. Guarded by a 36 metre long wall, the fortress earned impenetrable status among enemies, during the medieval era. Today, the wall is also famously known as the ‘Great Wall of India’. The historic city has many majestic gates, magnificent palaces, tall watch towers, hidden chambers and important temples. Before serving as the capital of Mewar, the fortress was ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty in 6th century which saw the construction of various prominent Jain temples within the city premises.
- Nalanda University, Bihar
The Nalanda University was a Buddhist learning centre in India and one of the very few ancient universities in the world. Built in the 5th Century by Gupta Dynasty, this Indian education institution attracted thousands of students from India and abroad. The centre had a 9 storey library, which was quite a wonder in that time. However, the University got destroyed by the hands of Turkish invaders and fell in a state of ruins. It is now a prominent tourism destination which shows that the ancient university has not lost its importance even in the state of ruins.
- Dholavira, Gujarat
Part of the Harappan cities of the famed Indus Valley Civilization, Dholavira has been a subject of interest for hundreds of years. Various excavations carried out at the site over the years reveal the seven stages, including the rise, maturity and fall of the ancient Indus civilization. The ruined city displays remarkable city planning, awe-inspiring structures, aesthetic architecture, well planned water harvesting system and sanitation system. Dating back to 4500 years, this a must visit place for those who have an interest in ruins and even ancient architecture. A visit to this ancient city is like taking a walk in pre-historic times which gives an idea about how our early ancestors used to live.
- Martand Sun Temple, Kashmir
Constructed over a plateau at Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir, Martand Sun Temple was built by the Karkota Dynasty in 8th century AD. Dedicated to the Sun God, the architecture of the temple is an amalgamation of Kashmiri, Gandharan, Chinese, Roman and Gupta style of architecture. It was invaded in the 15th century by Sikandar Bhutshikan, a Muslim invader and has been in a state of ruins ever since. The ancient site provides a panoramic view of the enchanting Kashmir Valley. It is one of those sites in India that hold high archaeological importance.
India doesn’t get to be a 5000-year-old civilization without having lots of ruined sites, scattered all across its length and breadth. A visit to these world heritage locations would give travelers a fair idea about the times when India served as the centre of world trade and power.