Did you know that India was once the breeding ground for the Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest civilizations in the world? Knowing this fact, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that India is much more than the exotic place that the European books describe it to be. It is a country which embraces the old and the new, the history and the modernity at every little nook and cranny you come across. India has many sites of archaeological wonders to visit. As a person, whose life revolves around the question ‘Where to go next?’ if you are looking for a travel destination which would surprise you with its bounty of archeological sites, from forts to ancient universities, India is the place to be for someone like you.
Here are the six archeological wonders of ancient India which are the major tourist attractions of the country and the world:
Archaeological Wonders of Ancient India: Konark Sun Temple, Odisha
The famed Sun Temple of Odisha was built in the 13th century by the rulers of the Ganga Dynasty. This historical monument was initially a constructed as a dedication to the Sun God, and now it is named as one of the prestigious archaeological wonders of India. Even though there was a river beside this holy place in the days of yore, now the land outside stands barren. The temple reminds tourists of a chariot with exactly twelve wheels having been carved at the side out of stone. The ancient philosophers utilized this space as a sundial to read the time. The archaic Kalinga architecture would make you reminisce about how hard it would have been to carve the entire temple out from nothing but rubble.
Archaeological Wonders of Ancient India: Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan
A proud member of the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO, the Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajasthan has left its mark on the world by virtue of being among the hugest forts in the world. Once ruled by the Sisodia Rajput king Rana Kumbha, it was once the capital city of Mewar. The hill on which the fort is located covers a distance of about 36 km, which makes it the second longest wall after the Great Wall of China, not only in Asia but also the world. You will find hundreds of Hindu and Jain temples here along with scenic views of the Aravalli range of mountains. Even though the present-day capital of Rajasthan has been changed to Udaipur, the fort has managed to freeze the charm and old-world elegance emanating out of the mixture architectural style of the Rajputs and Persians. It ranks among the top archaeological wonders of ancient India.
Archaeological Wonders of Ancient India: Hampi Ruins, Karnataka
One of the lesser known travel sites of India, the Hampi ruins with its ‘Group of Monuments’ are nevertheless listed as one of the most prominent UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the country. The temple complex of Virupaksha is the site around which the historic city of Vijayanagar started to develop. The city is now a major tourist attraction by virtue of inviting thousands of devotees every year for pilgrimage. All the three towers of Virupaksha consist of nine tiers and soar high with at the height of 160 feet. The Vithala temple, on the other hand, draws the attention of the locals and the tourists due to the 56 musical pillars that reverberate with a captivating musical tone each and every time one happens to strike a column.
Archaeological Wonders of Ancient India: Nalanda University, Bihar
One of the most ancient educational centers and trading locations in the world, Nalanda originated as a Buddhist Monastery in the Magadha kingdom, which came to be known as Bihar in the recent years. The Pala and Gupta dynasties celebrated the educational advancements made by the scholars at the university. It is believed that Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese traveler had once graced the university with his presence for two years. The expansive space of the university accommodated thousands of teachers and students at one point in time. Just the library at this institution had to be separated into three buildings in order to stock all the books and manifestos. People came from Turkey, China, Persia, and Korea to absorb knowledge from this seat of learning. Unfortunately, the fame and prestige of the university took a blow when Hinduism replaced Buddhism as the popular religion. The invader Bakhtiyar Khilji hit the final nail in the coffin of this university when he destroyed the library and ransacked the building.
Archaeological Wonders of Ancient India: Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
The Sanchi Stupa is a curious blend of the Buddhist and Indian architectural styles and exemplifies the rich historical past when the two cultures came together to create such beautiful masterpieces. It is safe to say that this monument has contributed into making the otherwise unremarkable state of Madhya Pradesh in central India a major tourist attraction. The topmost point of the monument has a harmica and the numerous railings and stairways add to its beauty. Everywhere you look; there will be motifs and designs with the figure of Buddha being associated with inanimate things such as trees–a fitting tribute to the Buddhist set of beliefs.
Archaeological Wonders of Ancient India: Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan
Rajasthan is the travel destination that everyone must visit if they want to marvel at the beautiful historical edifices. However, the grandeur and majestic charm of the Jaisalmer Fort is nothing like you have ever seen. Rawal Jaisal, a Rajput king, offered his patronage to the construction of this Fort in the 12 th century. However, the Rajput reign was short-lived as the famed ruler Khilji conquered this Fort. Jaisalmer is noticeable even from far as it is located on the Trikuta Hill right in the middle of the desert of Thar. Just the fact that the entire Rajput clan called this Fort their home once should give you an idea of how expensive it is. This tourist attraction is famous for its yellow sandstone, which led to the bestowal of the name ‘Golden Fort’ upon this place. If you are a bibliophile, you might want to check out the library of Granth Bhandar that contains scriptures as old as from the 13th century.
India is a sweet medley of variegated traditions, cultures, and practices which ultimately contributed to the construction of such beautiful and historically valuable monuments which ensure that the rich heritage is always preserved. After visiting any one of these archeological wonders, you would know the reason why the country is often championed as being ‘Incredible India’ and would want to come back again and again.