India is home to some of the most magnificent structures in the world. Places like Taj Mahal, Chittorgarh, Jaisalmer Fort, The Golden Temple, mesmerizes one with its splendour. However, in its basket of historical treasures,there are many stunning and awe-inspiring structures that even their state of ruins, stand proudly bearing testimony to the golden era of Kings and dynasties.
The ruins and abandoned places in India were once full-fledged colonies inhabited by a whole civilisations. These abandoned historical ruins have mysterious stories behind them. While some of these towns were known as ‘ghost towns’ some others were destroyed by war.
Presenting to you a list of Lesser known but architectural marvels of India, currently in the form of ruins
1. Unakoti, Tripura
Uninhabited, unexplored and largely unknown to tourists, Unakoti in Tripura is like a treasure hunt. There are hundreds of massive rock-cut sculptures and those made out of sandstone, besides scattered ruins of ancient temples make Unakoti a unique place. It lies in the middle of lush green forest and the largest part of the sculptures has buried beneath the earth and those were never excavated. It is believed, according to local legend, that the place was cursed by Shiva.
2. Hampi, Karnataka
Spread across 25 kms, once the capital of the prosperous kingdom of Vijaynagar, the ruins of Hampi are now the listed under the UNESCO World Heritage sites. In around 1500 A.D. Vijaynagar had 500,000 inhabitants, probably making it the second largest city in the world after Peking-Beijing and twice the size of Paris back then! It was later captured and destroyed by Muslim armies and abandoned ever since.
3. Ross Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Ross Island was the Administrative Headquarters for the Andaman and Nicobar islands before an earthquake rocked it in 1941. All that remains are the beautiful ruins of once what was a flourishing city that boasted of every modern amenity possible. The island has remnants of an opulent past in the ruins of the church, swimming pool and the chief commissioner’s residence with its huge gardens and grand ballrooms. There is also a cemetery and a small museum managed by the Indian Navy.
4. Chiktan, Ladakh
The Chiktan fort, a desolate, abandoned structure that lies atop a hill, is the Indian version of the castle of Count Dracula. The fort was built in the 16th century and was 9 storeys high. Unfortunately, today it stands in ruins as just walls and rubble. It gives the image of a castle with the backdrop of snow capped mountains. The view from the fort is equally spectacular.
5. Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu
Located at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island, the town was once a thriving tourist spot. This place was completely washed away in 1964 by a gigantic cyclone, killing as many as 1800 people submerging under a big wave. From temples to churches, houses, dharmashalas, roads and railway station, all were destroyed leaving no signs of life. It has religious significance as the Ram Setu, which connected India and Sri Lanka earlier.
6. Kalavantin Durg, Maharashtra
The fort of Kalavantin Durg lies near the city of Mumbai, in the Western Ghats. The origins of Prabalgad Fort are unknown but it is believed to have been built during the time of Buddha or in or around 500 BC for a queen named Kalavantin. Reputedly the most dangerous fortress in the world, Kalavantin Durg is at an elevation of over 2300 feet. Steps leading up to the fort have been cut into the rock face of the hill.
7. Kuldhara, Rajasthan
Kuldhara is a famous ghost town who’s bizarre history still hasn’t been solved. The people of the town mysteriously disappeared collectively around 300 years ago and were never seen since. It’s believed they left behind a curse bringing death to anyone who tried to inhabit it. It now stands as a strange testament to the weirdness of our towns.
8. Bhangarh, Rajasthan
Bhangarh, a deserted town in Rajasthan, was established in 1613 by King Madho Singh, son of great Mughal general, Man Singh of Amber. Bhangarh was abandoned soon after being built and supposedly after it was cursed by a magician. Local villagers say that whenever a house is built there its roof collapses. People say that nobody returned who stayed there after dark.
9. Martand Sun Temple, Jammu & Kashmir
Located on a plateau in Anantnag, Jammu & Kashmir, Martand Sun Temple is dedicated to the Sun god built by the King of Karkota Dynasty in the early 8th century AD. The temple was destroyed by Islamic ruler Sikandar Butshikan in the early 15th century, and it has stood in ruins ever since. The placement of the Temple enables a panoramic view of the beautiful Kashmir Valley. The Shrine is situated in the centre while the remains of the other structures are scattered around the premise. The Martand Sun Temple is one of the important archaeological sites in India.
10. Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh
This quaint little village situated on the banks of the Pennar River, in Andhra Pradesh, is home to some major historical structures. The Gandikota fort premises include small fortresses, a granary, two beautiful temples and a splendid mosque. All of these ruins speak of their prime even as the structures seem to be on the verge of crumbling. The two temples Raghunatha and Madhavaray of the 15th and 16th century respectively stand as a testimony to the Kakatiya and Vijaynagara architecture. This village is now only a tourist attraction.