India. India is one of the most mysterious countries on Earth and is home to 1.3 billion people and the bustling country offers a wide range of urban and rural lifestyles. The ancient culture of the vast South Asian country has enthralled researchers and explores alike for centuries. The epic accounts of Krishna and Radha are rooted in mysticism and rivals the Western equivalent, Romeo and Juliet. Equally intriguing, the Vedas, a collection of hymns and religious texts, detail droves of ancient battles and technologies (see our recent article on Vimanas to learn more) that have since been lost by humanity.
Typically, when we think of India we imagine the congested streets – the chaotic intermingling of pedestrian and vehicle that would make Westerners heads spin. Perhaps we imagine the thriving urban centers of Mumbai or Delhi. Regardless, India is home to scores of stunning and awe-inspiring ancient sites that are shrouded in mystery; structures that even their state of ruins, stand proudly bearing testimony to the golden era of Kings and dynasties. Many of these sites were once palaces and full-fledged colonies inhabited by adept civilizations and have long since been abandoned. We have compiled list of lesser known sites of ancient India that are architectural wonders – a testimony to the ingenuity and skills of a long forgotten epoch of humanity.
Unakoti has remained one of India’s best kept secrets. Uninhabited and often unknown to tourists, Unakoti in Tripura is a stunning complex comprised of massive sculptures hewn into sandstone. These carvings are scattered among ruins of ancient temples in a manner that seems haphazard and whimsical in nature. It is believed that the historic Shaiva pilgrimage destination dates back to the 7th to 9th centuries AD, if not sooner and the site retells the narrative of Shiva’s journey to Kashi.
According to Wikipedia, “The images found at Unakoti are of two types: namely rock-carved figures and stone images. Among the rock cut carvings, the central Shiva head and gigantic Ganesha figures deserve special mention. The central Shiva head known as Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava is about 30 feet high including an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high.”
The once prosperous capital city of the kingdom of Vijaynagar, now rests in abandoned ruin and wonder. Spanning over 15.5 miles, Hampi is a village in northern Karnataka, India. It was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime and the ruins of Hampi are listed under the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The ancient city supported over 500,000 inhabitants and has been identified as one of the largest cities in the ancient world.
Hampi is home to several megalithic ruins and the well known, iconic Vimana sculptures. The Vitthala Temple found at the ancient site is thought to be an artists rendition of the ancient flying device – a technological achievement of the ancient world that has long been the epicenter of rigorous debate and skepticism since the texts were translated.
Growing up, I was intrigued to learn the history of Hungarian tyrant Vlad Draculea. Also known as Vlad the Impaler, the twisted monarch served as the basis for the vampiric chronicles of Dracula. The Chiktan fort is a desolate, abandoned structure that rests in an eerie state atop a steep hill and one can’t look at the structure without feel as though they are witnessing the basis of an Indian equivalent of Dracula.
The ancient complex is located deep within a valley, close to the Indus river, with the omnipresent mountains looming in the background. The Chiktan fort was erected the 16th century and the unfortunate neglect and natural forces have reduced the fort to rubble. It is commonly considered to be haunted and the site has called to and drawn in researchers and explores alike for centuries.
Established in 1573 by King Madho Singh, Bhangarh is a deserted Indian town that is best known for its stunning historical ruins. The massive complex displays the incredible ingenuity of the ancient architects. Bhangarh was abandoned shortly after having been constructed due to a local magician having shrouded the structure in a curse. Locals say that a house built in the area is prone to roof collapses and that anyone who dares to venture in the site after dark has never returned.
According to Wikipedia “Entry to Bhangarh is legally prohibited between sunset and sunrise. A signboard posted by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), which is a Government of India organization, specifies the instructions. While the board is written in Hindi, the instructions on it roughly translate into: “Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited. Legal action would be taken against anybody who does not follow these instructions”. Some other rules are there according to which no one is allowed to graze their animals after sunset.”
Martand Sun Temple
Resting in ruin atop a plateau in Anantnag, Jummu and Kashmir, the Martland Sun Temple was built to recognize and immortalize the ancient sun god, Surya. Built during the 8th century CE, Martand is synonymous Sanskrit name for the Hindu Sun-god. The temple was destroyed by Islamic ruler Sikandar Butshikan in the early 15th century, and its destruction saw the onset of a slow descent into decay.
According to Wikipedia “The Martand temple was built on top of a plateau from where one can view whole of the Kashmir Valley. From the ruins and related archaeological findings, it can be said it was an excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture, which had blended the Gandharan, Gupta, Chinese, Roman, Syrian-Byzantine and Greek forms of architecture.”
About the Author: Andrew is the founder and editor in chief of Lost Origins. He is also the host of the radio show that falls under the same moniker. Andrew has been researching ancient mysteries, alternative historical theories, and lost civilizations for over fifteen years and started Lost Origins to provide a sounding board for authors and researchers to share their theories and concepts with the world. He lives in Denver with his family.