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Poompuhar Town in Tamil Nadu

20 Most Ancient Cities In India That Would Take You Back In Time (2022)

India is known for its rich culture, heritage, and vast history. Indian history dates back to the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, which goes back to 2500 BC. Thus, the country is home to many ancient cities in the world. Though these cities have turned modern and busy now, they still shed light on the Indian rich culture and take you back in time.

20 Most Ancient Cities In India That Would Take You Back In Time

If you are interested to know more about these ancient cities in India or want to visit any of them then read further and know about the 20 most ancient cities in India that would take you back in time.

1. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi comes at the topmost cities when considering the most ancient cities in India. The history of this city in Uttar Pradesh dates back 5000 years and beyond that.

Varanasi or Banaras is mostly known as the City of Lights or Kashi. The city is located on the west bank of the Ganga River in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi silk is extremely popular all over the country. Moreover, the gold and silver threadworks of this city are also highly famous. One more famous thing about Varanasi is the Banarasi Paan.

Varanasi has so many amazing things to offer. You can explore antique temples that date back 500 to 1000 years old, shop for local items, and witness the holy Ganga Aarti in Varanasi.

Best Time To Visit: October to March

2. Delhi, New Delhi

Another famous ancient city in India is Delhi. The history of Delhi dates back to the period of the Mughal dynasty. This was known as Indraprastha and was the site of the Pandava’s capital, as mentioned in Mahabharata( the great Hindu epic). Five dynasties ruled Delhi in ancient periods. It is believed that ancient Delhi came into existence in 800 BCE b King Dhilu. Delhi is known for its rich past that goes back to the 11th century.

In Delhi, you can explore Chandni Chowk, visit Akshardham temple, Hanuman Temple, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, and many more attractions.

Best Time To Visit: March to April, October to November

3. Kolkata, West Bengal

Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, is a historical city in India. It is the capital city of West Bengal and is also a metropolitan city in India. Though Kolkata has become a developed city in the country and is now regarded as the “City of joy”,  it is one of the most known ancient cities in India. Here Maa Durga and Goddess Kali are honored and worshipped a lot. Howrah Bridge connecting Kolkata to Howrah is one of the best things to witness here. You can enjoy delicious street food, finger-licking Bengali sweets, and desserts, and also witness Asia’s largest flower markets at Mallik Ghat in Kolkatta.

Best Time To Visit: October to April

4. Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh is a holy city that is known for its numerous temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha. Mathura is a city where Lord Krishna lived in his childhood and it is known for its rich history and culture. Vrindavan is near Mathura and is also famous amongst Krishna’s devotees The Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan attracts lots of tourists from far and wide. You can also visit the Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple and Keshi Ghat.

Best Time To Visit: November to March

5. Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh

Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Rama and is an ancient city known to be originated in the 6th century BCE. This is a place of religious importance to the Hindu and Jain devotees. Ayodhya has countless temples and riverside ghats. The city is filled with a spiritual ambiance. You can visit Treta Ke Thakur, Moti Mahal, Guptar Ghat, and many more places here.

Best Time To Visit: October to December

6. Lothal, Gujarat

Lothal in Gujarat is another ancient city in India and was once an important trade center. It is located between Bhogavo and Sabarmati rivers in Gujarat. The city was first discovered in 195. The most dominating feature of Lothal is the unique dockyard. Several rare antiquities like beads, jewelry, pottery, and seals are found at this site.

However, the city was abandoned eventually due to constant storms and floods.

Best Time To Visit: October to January

7. Madurai, Tamil Nadu

When we are talking about the ancient cities in India, how can we forget Madurai in Tamil Nadu? The history of this city dates back over 4, 000 years. This city has numerous temples among which Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple is the finest one. This temple is known for its architectural brilliance. Some of the tourist attractions of Madurai include Gandhi Mandapam, Samanar Hills, Kooda Azhagar Temple, Gandhi Museum, etc. You should try out local foods, especially Murugan Idli Kadai when you are in Madurai.

Best Time To Visit: October to March

8. Puhar, Tamil Nadu

Puhar, also known as Poompuhar is located near Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. This was once ruled by the Chola Kings. It was a port capital to the kings. This ancient city of Puhar also finds a mention in several texts in Tamil and poetic works, and also in Greco-Roman manuscripts. In 1910 it was revealed that Phar was a well-planned city with the remains of beautiful temples, buildings, brick figures, and copper coins.

Some of the best places to visit in Puhar include Poompuhar Beach, Puhar Lighthouse, Sri Naganathawamy Temple, Poompuhar Temple, etc.

Best Time To Visit: October to March

9. Dwarka, Gujarat

Out of the many ancient cities in India, Dwarka in Gujarat is one of the most ancient ones. This city has a spiritual aura and is considered to be a part of the Char Dham Yatra. There are several religious monuments and exclusive temples that talk about the rich Indian culture. A lot of pilgrims come to the city every year. The Nageshwara Temple is located here, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Many tranquil beaches attract many nature lovers to  Dwarka. Some other best places in the city are Badkeshwar Mahadev Temple, Rukmini Temple, Sharda Peeth, etc. You can also enjoy the camel ride here.

Best Time To Visit: November to February.

10. Kalibangan, Rajasthan

Kalibangan is an ancient city situated in the Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan. This town is set on the banks of River Ghaggar. Harappan remains can be found in the city and that is what makes the place one of the prominent tourist attractions in the state. Kalibangan served as an important provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilization. Kalibangan is known for having the world’s earliest attested plowed field.

Some of the attractive places where you can visit Kalibangan are Junagarh Fort, Archaeological Museum, Hanumangarh, etc. You can take home some of the most fascinating terracotta toys from here.

Best Time To Visit: October to March

11. Puri, Odisha

Puri is an ancient city in Odisha known for Jagannath Temple, which is a part of the Char Dham Yatra. The city stands next to the Bay of Bengal and is a prominent pilgrimage site for Hindus. Every year millions of devotees visit the Puri Jagannath Temple. The temple has the largest kitchen in the world. This beautiful city in Odisha is also blessed with an amazing sea beach and Casuarina forests.

You can visit the Jagannath Temple and admire the architectural brilliance and feel refreshed at the beach in Puri.

Best Time To Visit: October to March.

12. Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

Generally considered a holy city in India and a well-known Hindu pilgrimage site, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh is also another ancient city that you must visit in India. Ujjain has a history that goes back to 700 BCE. It is known as the ‘Temple City” and has numerous temples that draw many devotees towards them. It has one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and is known to be an abode of Lord Shiva. The city rests on the banks of the Shipra River and is the site of the Kumbh Mela.

Ujjain is known for its spiritual importance. You can visit Mahakaleshwar temple, witness Shipra Aarti, and take a bath in the sacred Shipra River while you are in Ujjain.

Best Time To Visit: October to March

13. Patna, Bihar

Patna is another ancient city in India that would surely take you back in time. It was earlier known as Pataliputra during the Maurya reign and was also the capital city of the Magadha Empire. Now Patna, the capital city of Bihar is the biggest city in the state. It is situated on the southern bank of the River Ganges.

Some of the most important tourist destinations in and near Patna are Nalanda, Rajgir, Pawapuri, Vaishali, and Bodh Gaya. Other destinations include Sher Shah Suri Masjid, Kargil Chowk War Memorial, Shitla Mata Temple, Kumhrar, Chairaiyatanad Flyover, Gurudwara Gobind Ghat, Mahavir Mandir, Patna Museum, Golghar, and Mahatma Gandhi Setu.

Best Time To Visit: October to March

14. Hampi, Karnataka

If you are looking for a beautiful ancient city in India, then Hampi in Karnataka is one of the best options for you. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. This ancient city is on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and once was considered one of the richest cities in the world. Many temples and historical monuments from the glorious past are found in this region.

If you are visiting this ancient city in Karnataka then do not forget to visit the most admiring Virupaksha Temple, Sanapur Dam, trek to the Matunga and Anjuna Hills, and explore the ancient ruins of Hampi. You will surely have a memorable trip to Hampi.

Best Time To Visit: October to February.

15. Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, formerly known as Tanjore is an ancient religious site known for its architecture and art. Thanjavur is famous for its unique Tanjore paintings. The rich heritage of this city dates back to the 18th century. Many paddy fields are found in Tanjavur and thus, it is also known as the ”Rice Bowl Of South India”.

The prime attraction of this city includes the Living Chola Temples, which are listed among the World Heritage Monuments by UNESCO. Some other important places are Brihadeeswarar Temple, Saraswathi Mahal Library,  Sivangangai Poonga, and Schwartz Church.

Best Time To Visit: November to March

16. Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh is an important city in India. This is also listed among the top 20 ancient cities in India that would take you back in time. It was ruled by seven ancient kingdoms in the past.

The Gwalior Fort is one of the most beautiful monuments in Gwalior. Apart from this, you can also have a wonderful time at Madhav National Park. You can also get soaked in the beauty of Sasbahu Temple, admire Jai Vilas Palace Museum, and visit Teli Ka Mandir.

Best Time To Visit: October to March.

17. Pushkar, Rajasthan

Pushkar is a holy town in the Ajmer District in Rajasthan. It is also an ancient city in India. Pushkar holds religious significance to Hindus and Sikhs. The city is known for Camel Fair, which is a 7-day fair characterized by camels, horses, and cattle. This city is also famous for its numerous temples dedicated to Lord Brahma.

One of the major attractions of Pushkar is the Man Mahal which stands on the bank of Lake Sarovar. You can take a holy dip in Pushkar lake, visit Brahma Temple, go on a hike to the Savitri Temple, and enjoy the Camel Fair at Pushkar.

Best Time To Visit: November to March

18. Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh

One more ancient city in India that is known for its rich heritage and legacy is Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh. Prehistoric weapons and tools of Bronze have been found here. Kannauj was made the capital of Harsha’s reign. Many renowned travelers like Fa Hien visited this place. Kanya Kubja was the old name of this ancient city.

If you are visiting Kannauj, you get a sacred chance to take a holy dip in the Ganga River, visit Government Archaeological Museum, Siddheswar Temple(500 years old), stroll in the famous Vijay Market, and visit Lak Bahosi Bird Sanctuary.

Best Time To Visit: October to February

19. Vadodara, Gujarat

Earlier known as Baroda, Vadodara in Gujarat is located on the banks of Vishwamitri. The history of Vadodara dates back to 81 AD. This city houses Gujarat’s largest college and many other institutes of national importance.

Some of the prime attractions of this place are Lakshmi Vilas Palace, Sayaji Baug, Sursagar Lake, Kabirvad Island, Baroda Museum, and Picture Gallery.  This beautiful city would take you back in time with its rich culture and heritage.

Best Time To Visit: October to March

20. Kollam, Kerala

Kollam in Kerala is an ancient port city and is located on the Malabar Coast of Kerala. Earlier it was known as Quilon. Many merchants, missionaries, and explorers visited this place from around the world. If you love nature and want to know more about the history of ancient India then you should visit Kollam once in your lifetime.

You can take a lovely boat ride along the tranquil backwaters here, immerse yourself in the exquisite Palaruvi waterfalls, visit Jatayu’s Earth Center, and explore some of the best ancient temples in Kollam.

Best Time To Visit: October to February.

Plan A Trip To These Ancient Cities In India and Feel The Glorious Past!

Visit any of the above-mentioned ancient cities in the most beautiful country of India and have an insight into the rich history, culture, heritage, and diversity of this incredible country. We assure you that you will surely travel back in time and feel the glorious past when you visit any of these most ancient cities in India.

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