India is a powerhouse of history adorned by ancient ruins and architectural monuments and buildings. Ruled by multiple dynasties, embedded with varying cultures and traditions; the country is an encyclopaedia by itself. Such is its majestic historical value, that globetrotters stay dazed and amazed while traversing through various regions of the country. There are several historic ancient ruins in India that speak about the age-old heritage of India even in their state of broken walls or dilapidated images. I am immensely interested in historical structures as it aids to gain knowledge about the country and its past. I am sure my readers will also like to read about my experiences of visiting some of the ancient ruins in India.
Nalanda University – Bihar
I loved reading my history books in school. Each time I read about the different monuments, temples, structures etc. the eagerness of visiting each one of them rooted in my mind. Nalanda University is one such ancient ruins in India, that was enlisted in my travelogue. My dream was fulfilled and I am today happy to share my experience. It is one of the oldest universities in the world, dating back to the third century. The university is now a UNESCO world heritage site. The Hindu mythological tales and epics mention proudly about the importance and significance of Nalanda University.
Several temples and monasteries can be found near the university. It is said that in the seventh century there were 2000 teachers and 10000 students in the university. Lord Buddha, the pioneer of Buddhist religion and Hieun Tsang, the great Chinese Buddhist monk and traveller, were instrumental in patronizing the university. But sadly it was turned into ruins by the invasion of Bakhtiyar Khilji, an Afghan general, who attacked India in the 12th century. The books and manuscripts preserved in the university went on burning for 6 months.
Golconda Fort – Andhra Pradesh
Though Golconda Fort is one of the ancient ruins in India, yet it is well preserved and maintained by the Archaeological Department of India. I was fortunate to visit this amazing monument, proclaiming the grandeur and aura of the history of India. Located beside the beautiful Hussain Sagar Lake, it is amazing to watch the reflection of the magnificent fort on the crystal clear waters. Though the fort was originally constructed in the 12th century, it evolved into a more robust structure in the 16th century. The world-famous “Koh-i-Noor” diamond was stored inside the Golconda Fort. Unfortunately, some parts of the fort turned into ruins due to the negligence of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
The beautiful part of visiting the Fort is the light and sound show hosted every evening. You must not miss out on the show, which speaks about the history of the fort along with the astounding display of lights and sounds. Royal rooms, banquet halls, artistic gates, halls and mosques are present inside the fort.
Maluti Temples – Jharkhand
Jharkhand is the place of my in-laws, I had travelled to certain prominent sight-seeing destinations during my visits. One of the oldest and unexplored ancient ruins in India, the Maluti Temples exist in the state. The temples were constructed during the rule of the Pala dynasty. About 108 temples approximately were built together. Now only 72 of them exist but almost in a wrecked state. The temples had been quite neglected and never has undergone renovation and repair. We heard from the locals that it seemed surveys were done but no commitment for investment to repair the temples.
Standing in front of the ruins, I felt a bit lost. Especially since the temples were once a pride of the town, with Maluti earning the name of the temple town. They must have been such a divine and holy place during the times when they were constructed and visited by the devotees. I can only hope some goodness prevails over the temples and they can regain at least some percentage of the lost glamour.
Hampi – Karnataka
Hampi is one of the most popular ancient ruins in India. Occupying a place in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, it is known as the city of ruins. The remains of the buildings, monuments, markets, forts etc. belong to the Vijayanagar empire. Hampi was the capital of the empire, belonging to the 15th century. Located at the banks of the iconic river Tungabhadra; you can explore the city to decipher ruins of ancient military establishments as well as religious temples. It is best to walk around the city, climb up the boulders present surrounding the city to capture a wonderful view of the landscape.
As you tour around the temples, you can find an intermingling of Hindu and Muslin style of architecture in the designs. Some parts even depict the Jain architectural patterns. The Vijayanagar rulers had a special fascination for art and culture. You can find proofs of the same within the city, in the form of concert halls where theatre, song and dances were hosted.
Ajanta and Ellora Caves – Maharashtra
The state of Maharashtra is a bit close to my heart. The reason being my professional career started in Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra. I did not miss visiting the prominent travel destinations in the state; Ajanta and Ellora caves being one of them. Considered one of the ancient ruins of India, it is an incredible experience to visit the rock-cut cave temples. The carvings inside the caves portraying the Buddhist, Jain and Hindu style of architecture, are worth trillions of appreciation.
Some images carved inside the caves have been eroded; yet still, you can observe the artistic talents of the craftsmen of ancient times in the intrinsic designs of the walls and the sculptures. Walking inside the magnificent and majestic caves filled my heart with wonders at these breathtaking creations of humans beings long back in the yesteryears. Historians and archaeologists believe the caves belong in between the second century BC to sixth century AD.
Mahabalipuram Temples and Caves – Tamil Nadu
A plethora of temples and caves form one of the mesmerizing ancient ruins of India in Mahabalipuram. The place had enticed me such a lot that I feel like visiting again and again. The sandstone carved sculptures and structures are considered to be the world’s biggest among the World Heritage sites. Even though some portions of the temples and caves have eroded but a majority of them still stand straight in glory curated with exquisite artworks and craftmanship.
The establishment of the temples dates back to the seventh and eighth centuries. A total of 40 temples are present across the entire stretch, located at the banks of the majestic Bay of Bengal on the Coromandel coast. The Shore temples and the Rathas are the prominent ones among them. I still remember studying in my school history books. The shrines of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are the key attractions in the cave temples of Mahabalipuram.
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.