Forgotten Cities of India - Owlcation - Education
Updated date:

Forgotten Cities of India

Author:

Ankita loves to explore various aspects of science and is passionate about writing on topics of her interest.

Cities are mortal like humans. They thrive for many years after they are born and eventually die. There have been many cities and towns that have been lost over the course of history. They were abandoned, submerged or destroyed. Today the beautiful but mysterious ruins of these lost cities attract thousands of travellers from all over the world and are often studied.

India has seen numerous prehistoric societies and settlements. Although some of the spectacular caves in India date back to 6000 BC, ancient lost cities have been found to be only as old as 3700 BC. While many of the cities are yet to be discovered, historians and archaeologists have been able to find many of the ancient lost cities. Here is a list of some of the legendary lost cities of India.

1. Dholavira, Gujarat

Located in the Khadir Island of the Rann of Kutch, Dholavira is one of the largest Harappan cities in the subcontinent. This ancient city was a thriving metropolis for 1,200 years. It had an easy access of the sea prior to the decrease in sea level. The Archaeological Survey of India has been continuously excavating this site since 1900 and this brought to light, the organised architecture and sophisticated planning of the area. The site includes step well, reservoirs, and various other antiquities like animal bones, gold, silver, seals, beads, vessels and terracotta ornaments. It has been also found that Rain Water Harvesting was in practise in that area. A mysterious sign board has also been discovered in the Indus script. Dholavira is the largest archaeological site in India.

cities-lost-through-time

2. Hampi, Karnataka

Situated on the bank of river Tungabhadra, it is listed as one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara Empire who ruled the Southern India. It was ruled by four dynasties from 1336 to 1565. More than 500 monuments were built by the princes of the four dynasties which were greatly admired by ancient people. The spectacular setting of Hampi is dominated by craggy hill ranges and miles of undulating terrain. Every January, the Karnataka government organises a cultural event known as Hampi Utsav here.

cities-lost-through-time

3. Kalibangan, Rajasthan

Kalibangan, which means black bangles, lies along the left bank of the dried-up bed of river Ghaggar in Rajasthan. It was discovered by Luigi Pio Tessitori, an Italian Indologist, and is known as a settlement of the Indus Valley Civilization. The place throws light upon the earliest ploughed agricultural land. Fire altars found during excavation reveals that the dwellers here believed in the worship of fire. Kalibangan was established in 3700 BC and abandoned in 1750 BC.

cities-lost-through-time

4. Muziris, Kerala

Muziris in Kerala was one of the India’s most important trading ports in the first century BC. Exports, such as black pepper, from this port kept even mighty Rome in debt. Poems often describe how foreign traders at that time arrived with gold and departed with pepper. The Muziris Heritage Project is one of the India’s biggest archaeological findings. Various artefacts belonging to countries like Yemen, Egypt, Roman and West Asia have also been found by the archaeologists.

cities-lost-through-time

5. Vasai, Maharashtra

Vasai has been renamed several times. The Portuguese called it Bacaim, the Marathas called it Bajipur, the British changed it to Bassein and today it is known as Vasai. The ancient port city of Sopara, which was an important trading centre under the rule of Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, was taken by the Portuguese. Eventually over the next two centuries, they expanded the fort and turned it into a vibrant port city. With its temples, mosques, historic churches, hot water springs and beautiful beaches, Vasai is a magnificent epitome of Mumbai’s history.

cities-lost-through-time

6. Dwarka, Gujarat

Dwarka is among the most holy and sacred cities of India. According to mythology, Lord Krishna founded the holy city of Dwarka, which was subsequently submerged under the sea. It is believed that Dwarka has submerged six times and the modern day Dwarka is seventh such city to be built in the area. Fossils have been found in Bet Dwarka and marine archaeological explorations have discovered a large number of stone structures randomly scattered over a vast area. Findings suggest that this ancient city was one of the busiest port centres on the west coast of India.

cities-lost-through-time

7. Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu

Poompuhar was once a flourishing ancient port city and served as the capital of the early Chola kings for a few years. It is located at the mouth of the Cauvery River and much of the town is believed to be washed away by a powerful sea storm and the erosion that followed after in 500 AD. The National Institute of Ocean Technology conducted some underwater surveys in 2006 and discovered the submerged remains of the ancient port city.

cities-lost-through-time

8. Lothal, Gujarat

The world’s earliest known dockyard is believed to be in Lothal and it was a thriving and vital trade centre of the Indus Valley Civilization. The dock spans an area of 37 meters from east to west and approximately 22 meters from north to south. Structures like dwarfed walls, wells, drains, paved floors and baths can still be seen although the flood wiped off the town during that time. Lothal was established in 3700 BC and believed to be abandoned in 1900 BC. It was discovered in the year 1954 and was excavated between 1955 and 1960. It is one of the India’s most important archaeological sites from the Indus Valley Civilization.

cities-lost-through-time

9. Pattadakal, Karnataka

Situated on the bank of river Malaprabha, Pattadakal is one of the World Heritage sites in India. The Virupaksha temple, which was built by Queen Lokamahadevi in 745, is one of the popular tourist destinations. Pattadakal represents the high point of the eclectic style of art with its harmonious blend of Dravidian and Nagara architectural forms. It was developed under the Chalukya dynasty. The site has a Jain sanctuary and several 8th century Shiva temples.

cities-lost-through-time

10. Vaishali, Bihar

Probably the first republic of the world, Vaishali was an ancient prosperous metropolis. It was the capital of powerful Republic of Lichchhavis in the 6th century BC. Vaishali is also the birthplace of Lord Mahavira. Lord Buddha visited this place several times and announced his impending death here. Thus, this place is closely associated with Buddhism. Vaishali had been a heavily populated city in Buddha’s time.

cities-lost-through-time

References and Recommended Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Ankita B (author) on October 16, 2020:

Thank you Denise for your lovely comments. I am glad that you enjoyed reading about these fascinating archaeological sites. Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 16, 2020:

I love these fascinating archeological sites. At one time I thought I would like to be an archeologist but I went into art instead. Still, I love reading about them and the findings.

Blessings,

Denise

Ankita B (author) on October 16, 2020:

Thank you Devika for your kind comments which I always appreciate. I am happy to know that you found this article interesting.

Devika Primic on October 16, 2020:

You have informed me of beautiful cities of India. It is interesting to know of other cities of India but forgotten makes me wonder?

Ankita B (author) on October 15, 2020:

True, Danny. All these sites are a proof ancient architectural excellence. Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I appreciate your insightful comments always.

Danny from India on October 15, 2020:

Ankita, the places you mentioned are really of great value and evokes pride among all Indians. These places not only held great importance but were architectural masterpieces too.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

I appreciate your generous comments Linda. Thank you very much for reading and commenting. These discoveries fascinate me as well.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you Rosina for your lovely comments. I am very happy to know that you enjoyed reading this article and also loved the photos.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you Kalpana for reading and commenting. I truly appreciate your kind comments.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 14, 2020:

This is a very interesting article. I love learning about what archaeologists and historians discover. Thank you for sharing the information, Ankita.

Rosina S Khan on October 14, 2020:

A superb account of forgotten cities in India. The illustrations showing the ruins of these cities were exciting to observe. Thank you, Ankita for sharing a good article.

Kalpana Iyer from India on October 14, 2020:

Interesting! Lovely pictures too. Never been to any of these cities even if I am close to a few of them

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you MG for your appreciative comments. I am so glad that you found this article interesting and enjoyed reading it.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 14, 2020:

Very interesting collection and very well presented. I have been out of India for so many years but after reading your article I think I must come back and have a look at these cities.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you very much Lorna. I am happy to know that you enjoyed this article. Yes, we can learn so much from the ruins of ancient cities and castles.

Lorna Lamon on October 14, 2020:

I thoroughly enjoyed the historical content of this article which was so well researched. I have always been fascinated by the ruins of old cities and castles. We can learn so much from their past.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

I appreciate your kind comments, Anupam. Thank you so much. Take care.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on October 14, 2020:

Good research dear Ankita. Thanks for sharing. God bless you.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you Sowrabha for reading and commenting. I am glad that you enjoyed reading this article and found it interesting.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on October 14, 2020:

Hi Ankita! I found this a well researched article on a fascinating topic. These cities seem to be highly developed and am glad that you took us down the ages to a surprisingly developed past. Thanks Ankita!

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you Pamela for your encouraging words. It is always wonderful to visit these sites which were once inhabited. I am delighted that you enjoyed reading this article.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you Liz for your kind comments. Yes, there are many more ancient cities in India forgotten by time. I am pleased to know that you liked reading this article.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

I appreciate your generous comments, Eman. Thank you very much for reading and commenting.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you so much John for your kind comments. I am glad that you enjoyed reading this article along and loved the photos.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you Jay for reading and commenting. Yes, it is estimated that Dwarka was established in 1500 BC. I am happy that you found this article interesting.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 14, 2020:

This is a very good, well-written article, Ankita. I found it so interesting, and I guess I really have never thought about cities that no longer exist. This is a thought provoking article and I would like to visit some of these sites that had cities at one time.

Ankita B (author) on October 14, 2020:

Thank you very much, Chitrangada. I am so glad that you enjoyed reading this article. I appreciate your lovely comments.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 14, 2020:

This is a very well-illustrated and interesting article. I had no idea that there were so many cities like this in India.

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on October 14, 2020:

Very informative article. Thank you for sharing all this information about these interesting places in India.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 14, 2020:

Ankita, thank you for sharing information about these ancient Indian cities. Very interesting and the photos are wonderful.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on October 14, 2020:

Fascinating. Have archaeologists placed a date on when ancient Dwarka was built or inhabited?

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 14, 2020:

This is an excellent article, with valuable information about the Indian history, civilization and archeology. You have provided the information about the lost cities, in an easy to understand manner.

Have been fortunate to visit some of them. Thanks for sharing the educational article.