Ancient Cities Of India You Must Visit At Least Once

Waquar Habib

Amaravati, Maharashtra

Amaravati, an ancient city on the banks of the Krishna river, was the capital of the Satavahana Dynasty from 230 BC to 220 BC. It is famous for its Amareswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Dhyana Buddha Statue in Amaravati | Shutterstock

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi, also known as Benares, is the spiritual capital of India and one of the oldest inhabited cities. It was founded by Lord Shiva 5,000 years ago and is a pilgrimage city for Hindus and Jains. It is famous for its silk and aarti at ghats.

A ghat at Varanasi | Shutterstock

Rajgir, Bihar

Rajgir is an ancient city believed to be 2,500-3,000 years old. It was the first capital of the Magadha kingdom and a significant Buddhist centre. The city is an important pilgrimage site surrounded by five hills. It is also the place where the ancient Nalanda University once stood.

Ghoda Katora lake in Raajgir | Shutterstock

Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

Ujjain is an ancient city located on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River in central India's Malwa region. It's 5,000 years old and was known as Ujjayini in ancient times. The city was the political centre of central India around 600 BCE and was a significant trade centre.

Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain | Shutterstock

Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh

Ayodhya, an ancient city in India, is considered one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. It is associated with the epic Ramayana, known as Saketa in ancient times. The city is situated on the banks of the River Sarayu and has an average elevation of 305 feet.

An ancient temple in Ayodhya | Shutterstock

Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Madurai was the capital of the Pandya Dynasty and was later conquered by other rulers. It's synonymous with the Meenakshi Temple and has been recorded in Tamil and Greek documents from the 4th century BC.

Meenakshi Amman Temple | Shutterstock

Vaishali, Bihar

Vaishali, an ancient city in Bihar, served as the capital of the Licchavi Republic. It was closely associated with the early histories of Buddhism and Jainism. Established in the 6th century BCE, Vaishali is the world's first republic and where Buddha preached his last sermon before his Nirvana.

Ancient Pillars of Ashoka in Vaishali | Shutterstock

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Thanjavur thrived under the patronage of Chola kings during the 12th and 13th centuries. Situated in the Kaveri River delta, it was the capital of the Chola empire. The Brihadisvara Temple is the most famous among its many ancient temples at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur | Shutterstock

Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh

Kannauj was once the capital of a powerful Hindu kingdom. It's known for producing attar, a perfume made using copper stills fueled by wood and cow dung, for over 400 years.

Ma Annapurna Temple In Kannauj | Shutterstock

Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi, a fortified city on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, served as the capital during four dynasties in the Vijayanagar city. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it boasts a rich history, ancient ruins, and stunning temples, including the Dravidian-style temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy.

Stone chariot at Hampi | Shutterstock

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