Historical Places


Ahichhatra: originally Ahikshetra in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh was once the capital of Panchalas.

Aihole: in Karnataka contains chief sites of Chalukyan architecture— nearly 50 structural stone temples important in the development of Hindu architecture and sculpture.

Ajanta Caves: 106 km north of Aurangabad in Maharashtra State. These are rock-cut Buddhist caves, 29 in number. These caves represent a record of unique painting, sculpture and architecture of the period from about the 2nd century BC to about 7th century AD.

Amaravati: is the legendary capital of Svarga. Also a historical site near modern Vijaywada, believed to have flourished under the Satavahana dynasty.

Arikamedu: was a sea-port near Pudducherry in Chola times.

Ayodhya: a few miles from modern Faizabad, near Lucknow, was capital of the Kosala and the Solar kings of ancient India. Rama was the most prominent among them.

Badami (or Vatapi): in Karnataka is well-known for Chalukyan sculpture found in the cave temples here. These are groups of Hindu temples dating back to 7th or 8th century and are examples of pure Dravidian architecture. Besides cave temples and rock-cut pillared halls, there is also the famous Malegitti Sivalaya temple.

Belur: in Karnataka is famous for its elaborately sculptured Cheena Kesava temple of the Hoysala period.

Bhubaneswar: in Odisa is known for ancient temples viz., Rajarani; Lingraja; Brahmesvara.

Bodh Gaya: is situated six miles south of Gaya in Bihar State on the western bank of the Lilajan river and connected by two metalled roads. It is famous as the place where Buddha got enlightenment. There are modern monasteries, rest houses and museum.

Chidambaram: a town 240 km south of Chennai known as Tillai in ancient time, was once the capital of the Chola kingdom. Its temples are among the oldest in India and are gems of Dravidian architecture. It is famous as the abode of Natraja, the Dancing Siva.

Daulatabad: near Aurangabad in Maharashtra State is famous for rockcut 12 century fortress near the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Elephanta Caves: on the island of the same name near Mumbai harbour are rock-cut caves of the 7th and 8th century.

Ellora Caves: about 24 km north-west of Aurangabad in Maharashtra State are about 34 caves excavated in the face of a hill.

Fatehpur Sikri: 37 km from Agra in Uttar Pradesh was the city founded by Akbar in 1569 but abandoned soon after. The place contains a number of places, shrines, mosques. The most notable among them is Buland Darwaza, 53 m high and built to commemorate the conquest of Khandesh.

Halebid: in Karnataka, 14 km from Belur, is well-known for its elaborately sculptured temples of the Hoysala period. The monuments rank among the masterpieces of Hindu art.

Hampi: in Karnataka, 11 km from Hospet railway station, is the ruined capital of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Harappa: in Montgomery district of Punjab, now in West Pakistan, is known for excavations carried out here showing signs of Indus Valley Civilization.

Junagadh: in Gujarat is one of the most ancient cities of India. It is situated below the Girnar Hill. The temples on the Hill are known for their architecture and paintings.

Kalibangan: in Rajasthan where recent excavations brought to light the varied achievements of Indus Valley Civilisation—town planning and use of burnt bricks.

Kanauj: Capital of Harshavardhan.

Kanchipuram: or the “Golden City”, 72 km south-west of Chennai is known for Kailashnath temple. It was the capital of successive dynasties of Hindu rulers.

Kanheri: 32 km from Mumbai is known for its Buddhist caves dating back to the 1st century AD.

Kanyakubja: or modern Kannauj is an ancient city. It was the cultural centre of northern India from the seventh century to the time when the Muslims came.

Kapilvastu: a small ancient kingdom in the north of India; associated with Mahatma Buddha.

Khajuraho: in Chhattarpur in Madhya Pradesh is famous for its group of highly ornate mediaeval Hindu temples.

Kusinagar: in the district of modern Gorakhpur, is the place where Buddha died.

Lothal: ancient town, situated on the sea-plain of former Saurashtra, 720 km south-east of Mohenjo-Daro. The excavation made here represent the Indus Valley Civilization.

Madurai: popularly known as the “City of Festivals”, was till the 14th century the capital of the Pandyan kingdom which had sea-borne trade with Rome and Greece. It is famous for Minakshi temple.

Mamallapuram (now Mahabalipuram): Situated 85 km from Chennai, it is known for rock-cut temples, monolithic figures and carvings of the 7th and 8th centuries AD. The chief points of interest here are the Five Rathas or temples modelled as chariots—“Arjuna Ratha”, “Draupadi Ratha”, “Dharamraja’s chariot” etc. Also famous for Shore temple.

Mandu: In Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the largest mediaeval city sites. It has extensive remains—fortifications and palaces—a synthesis of Hindu and Muslim styles in architecture and painting; Jama Masjid (of Mandu).

Mithila: was the home of the three scholar sages—Gargi, Maitreya and Kapila. It was the capital town of Raja Janak’s territory.

Mohenjo-daro: in the Larkana district of Sind (now in Pakistan) is the site of excavation revealing pre-Aryan Indus Valley Civilization.

Nalanda: in Bihar was the seat of an ancient Buddhist University. It contains a group of Buddhist temples and monasteries.

Palitana: in Saurashtra is famous for its holly hill Shatrunjaya. It is the most sacred place for Shvetambara Jains.

Pandharpur: is in Sholapur district (Maharashtra State). It stands on Bhima river and is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage in the State.

Prabhas Patan: (or Som Nath) in Gujarat State is the site of the famous Som Nath temple which was destroyed by Mahmud Ghazni.

Pragjyotishpur: was the capital of an ancient tribal kingdom in Kamarupa or modern Assam. (It is the new capital of Assam State).

Rajgir: 10 km south-west of Nalanda by road is an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. It was the capital of Bimbisara in ancient times. The Buddha preached at Rajgir, and so did Mahavir, the great preceptor of the Jains.

Sanchi: in Madhya Pradesh is famous for the largest and the most wellpreserved Buddhist Stupa (33 m in diameter and 12.8 m in height).

Sarnath: near Varanasi is the place where the Buddha delivered his first sermon after he became the “Enlightened One”. The place is known for Buddhist temples and remains.

Seringapatam: in Karnataka was the ancient capital of Tipu Sultan. (Now known as Seringapatnam.)

Somnathpuram: in Karnataka is known for temples of Hoysala period, Kesava temple.

Sravanabelgola: in Karnataka is famous for its Jain temples and the colossal statue of Gomateswara—19.8 m high erected in 983, the tallest monolithic in the world.

Srirangam: an island on the Cauvery river two miles north of Tiruchirapalli. It contains one of the largest temples in south India of the Vijayanagar period.

Sringeri: in Karnataka is a place of pilgrimage on the banks of Tung river where the great philosopher Sankara founded one of the principal maths (monasteries).

Tamralipti: A flourishing sea port in ancient India.

Tanjore: was the capital of Cholas. It is situated in the delta of the Cauvery in Tamil Nadu. Also known for Brihadeeswara temple.

Taxila: ancient capital of Gandhara and one of the most renowned cities of ancient north-west India.

Tirupati: in Andhra State, situated about 160 km to the north-west of Chennai is one of the holiest places in South India. This hill temple of Sri Venkateswara is an example of early Dravidian architecture and is one of the finest in the south.

Ujjain: known to be the seat of king Vikrama, is situated on the Sipra in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the seven sacred cities also known as Avanti. The Oriental Museum here has some valuable manuscripts and pieces of sculpture. Mahakaleshwar temple here is known as a pilgrimage centre.

Vaishali: in the district of Muzaffarpur in Bihar was the capital of famous Vaishali kingdom in ancient times. It was the capital Lichchavis also.

Vatapi: Refer Badami.

Vikramasila: was a great Tantrik University established by the Pala King Dharampala in 810. It was a hotbed of moral corruption, socery and idolatry. In 1198, the soldiers of Ikhtiar Khilji raised the structure to the ground and killed all the monks in the university.