Lost Ancient Indian cities

Archaeological surveys and excavations reveal the precious history of mankind and many civilizations that rest under the layers of soil or water. Many prominent cities of ancient India that were once thriving but now lost have been found by the Archaeological Society of India. The tyranny of nature and man-made disasters like war are the reasons of the fall and destruction of these cities.

The coastline of India is 7,500 km long and the history of India is about 5,000 years old. Every ancient civilization used to flourish either on the banks of the river or close to the river. But most of the water of the country is still unexplored and might be hiding an abundance of archaeological treasures. So, let us find out some of the interesting historical cities and towns that were once full of life.

Once a very flourishing city and the capital of the early Chola kings in Tamilakkam, Puhar is now a small town located on the banks of the Kaveri River in the Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu. As most of the ancient cities in India faced some kind of natural disaster, the same happened in Puhar. The city was washed away with the tsunami of around 500 AD. Puhar is also known by the name of Poompuhar and in some of the ancient literature the town is also called Kaveripoompatinam.
A well-planned town and two districts, Maruvurpakkam close to the sea and Pattinappakkam on its west side, are the prominent features of Puhar. The two districts were separated by gardens and orchards. Maruvurpakkam was close to the beach and so was preferred by most of the travelers as well as merchants.

Vijayanagra Empire
Vijayanagra Empire was founded in 1336 by princes Harihara I and Bukka Raya I of Sangama dynasty. It is now located around modern Hampi in Karnataka. Vijayanagra Empire was one of the strongest empires in India with Vijayanagra as its capital city. The city thrived to a great extent under the rule of Krishnadevaraya and became an important place for the national as well as international trade. But, an attack by the Deccan Sultans destroyed this mighty empire and the city started to fall in 1565. The set back was so strong that the empire was never able to recover and finally it was conquered by the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golkonda in 1646. The city is now just ruins and listed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Muziris was the port city that existed in around 1st century AD in southern India. The floods of the Periyar in 1341 AD is supposed to be the cause of its destruction. The exact location of the city is still not known but it is believed that the city must be located around present day Kodungallur. Also, the period during which the port was created is not clear, but as per scientific findings it is clear that the port existed before 1500 BC. Muziris port was very prominent for its international trade with West Asia, East and parts of Europe.

Lothal is an important site from the Indus Valley era and located in the present day Gujarat. Lothal was discovered in 1954 and it was excavated between 1955 and 1960 by the Archaeological Society of India. It was the first city in the world to have docks. This port city was about 2000 years ahead of the Greeks in navigation. People of the city were skilled in many techniques of metallurgy and bead-making.

Dwarka, the city of Lord Krishna located in the state of Gujarat, is one of the seven most ancient cities in India. Vishwakarma on the orders of Lord Krishna built this beautiful city that was well planned and located on the banks of River Gomati. It is believed that just after the death of Lord Krishna, the entire city was submerged by the sea. Archaeological surveys in early eighties found this legendary place.


Kalibangan is located in Rajasthan on the southern banks of the Ghaggar (Ghaggar-Hakra River). Kalibangan is popular for its agricultural techniques and ploughed fields that are still used today. The city is even linked to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. As per archeological findings of the ASI, it has been found that there were two phases of development between the period of 3500 BC and 2500 BC and the second phase between 2500 BC and 1750 BC. The first settlement collapsed due to an earthquake in 2600 BC and the reason of destruction of the second phase was drying up of the river.

Pattadakal was once a beautiful town situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River in Karnataka but now listed in the list of World Heritage Sites. Pattadakal was the capital of the Chalukya dynasty. The city has ten temples and a Jain sanctuary built by Chalukyas. The temples show fusion of different Indian architectural styles such as four of the temples are constructed in the Dravidian style, four in the Nagara style (found in the temples of northern India) and one temple, Papanatha, is constructed in a mixed architectural style. Also, along the northern course of the river are located nine Shiva temples and one Jaina basadi that are considered very sacred. There are many other historical monuments in Pattadakal such as monolithic stone pillar bearing inscriptions that make it a great tourist place.

Vasai is located in north of Mumbai, Maharashtra and now it is a part of Vasai-Virar city. The city has a fort that was built by the Portuguese and later on taken over by the Maratha army in 18th century. After this, the British took over the Vasai along with many other regions. Vasai is now becoming a well-known hub for pharmaceutical machinery and engineering units.