India, a land steeped in ancient traditions and diverse cultures, boasts a wealth of archaeological treasures waiting to be discovered. Beyond the iconic Taj Mahal and majestic forts, delve into the mysteries of the past by exploring these five captivating excavation sites.
Located around 43km from Kolkata, Chandraketugarh served as the kingdom of King Chandraketu. The place dates back to the 3rd century which was before the Mauryan era. A popular theory is that the area was part of the ancient kingdom of Gangaridai.
Archaeological studies claim that the place was once an important port city with massive walls and that people here were involved in several handicraft activities. Some of the artefacts recovered from this site include Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) relics, silver punch-marked coins and a few gold coins.
In 2014, an archaeological excavation found evidence of a 3000-year-old early Iron Age habitation at this village. The site is spread over 10-15 hectares along the banks of the river Nag. Pottery, slipwares, and stone and iron artefacts were discovered. Other prime findings included many bones and bone beads.
Surrounded by rainforests, this medieval town in Assam served as the capital of the mighty Ahom kingdom for almost a century. In 2019, a centuries-old tunnel was discovered in Sivasagar, which reportedly housed monuments dating back to the Ahom era.
In April 2022, a well was found at the sanctum sanctorum of the Shiva Dol, a group of structures comprising three Hindu temples. The excavation team also found evidence of water in the ancient underground royal well, which is believed to have been used by the priest in the Ahom period to collect water for worship.
Located around 210km from Bikaner, Kalibangān was built on the banks of the river Ghaggar, believed to be a remnant of the ancient Saraswati river. The town flourished from 3500 BCE to 1750 BCE and was discovered for the first time in the 1900s. Significant discoveries at the place include the world's first ploughed field and ritualistic fire altars.
One of the biggest sites of the Harappan civilisation, this area is located about 150km from Delhi and existed from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. Excavation began in 1963 and continues to this day. While excavating, the archaelogists discovered that Rakhigarhi was an exceptionally well-planned city with great roads and an urbanised sewage system. Several terracotta statues, bronze toys and other artefacts were unearthed.
The Haryana government has announced that it would give licenses to Rakhigarhi villagers to open homestays in the area. The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in 2020 announced that Rakhigarhi would be developed as an iconic site. A museum and interpretation centre is currently being developed.