Archaeological Tourism – The Indian Cities That Are Lost In History

They are built, then they flourish … before they become forgotten; This has been the fate of many cities since ancient times. Few names have remained immortal through legend or literature, while other names remain completely hidden until chance leads to the discovery of these mysterious capitals and their return from the dead.

These cities were once fully populated, but they became deserted due to wars, natural disasters, or climate change for very long years. These cities stand as a witness, reminding mankind that everything perishes in the end. The mysterious monuments of these lost cities, which are beautiful in most cases, aroused the imagination of millions of travelers, curious about history, and treasure hunters from around the world. If you’re in the mood to explore relics of bygone ancient civilizations, here are some of the most amazing lost cities. These astonishing effects have quickly taken their place on the Indian tourism map, and there is no doubt that they will spark your curiosity.

The Indian government is promoting archaeological tourism for the sake of preserving historical sites along with increasing popular interest in antiquities; This includes visits to archaeological sites, museums, or special centers to raise archaeological awareness, re-photograph historical events, or re-discover original products, festivals, or theaters. Many of these cities were known, while some were discovered many years after their destruction. Here is a list of some of the lost Indian cities:

Archaeological Tourism – The Lost Indian Cities, History Forgot But I Found


Muziris is a faded shade of its old image. Once was one of the largest cities in the world, and the most crowded and densely populated port in the world … is now just a spot struggling to get closer to the situation of rural areas. In the first century BC, Muziris was one of the most important commercial ports in the country that exported spices, especially black pepper.

Paliam Nalukettu Museum
Paliam Nalukettu Museum (Image courtesy of Muziris Heritage Limited/Kerala Tourism)

It was said that this city was richer than Rome during the monarchy. According to what was stated in the texts; The city used to receive ships of foreign merchants, who were sailing on the Periyar River, which would come loaded with gold and went loaded with pepper or black diamonds; As it was called. Aaron Nair, a common traveler on the Holiday iQ website, recommends visiting the city because coconut palms, red-tiled homes, countless lakes, and beaches will make a long-lasting impression on any visitor.

Jews History Museum - Archaeological Tourism
Jews History Museum, Muziris

The importance of spices and their trade led the Arabs in later periods to keep the road leading to the city of Muziris secret, as the Greek sailor Hippalus did not discover a direct way to Kerala until AD 40, and the Romans followed after that, according to Manu Pillai, author of the book «Ivory Throne: News Travancore House », a book that explores the life and works of Saitho Lakshmi Bai, the last queen of the Travancore Dynasty in southern Kerala.

Also read, Top 3 Places To Explore In Rajasthan


If you drive for seven hours north of the city of Ahmedabad, and in the depths of the arid province of Kutch, you will pass an island located in the middle of the salt flats, where there is a huge city in the time of the Harappan people, and it is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Indus Valley civilization, according to UNESCO. Dolafira rises to the ranks of the ancient valley cities, Egyptian and Chinese urban cities, and Mesopotamia.

Dholavira 1

More than 4 thousand years ago, Dolafira was one of the largest cities of its time, and what we see now is a fortified quadruple-shaped city in the heart of a harsh, barren land that was once a prosperous metropolis for about 1,200 years (from 3000 BC to 1800 BC). And it was overlooking the sea before the level fell.

Dholavira Archaeological Site Excavation
Dholavira Archaeological Site Excavation

The site of the city, which has been excavated and explored, demonstrates the skill and ingenuity of the Harban people in establishing a high-level system in city planning in terms of using ideal proportions, establishing connections and links between established areas for specific purposes, as well as the shape of the streets, and establishing an effective water conservation system that succeeded in supporting Life for more than 1,200 years under a harsh hot climate. It also shows the facilities, the hierarchical shape of the streets, and the utilization of space and empty spaces well, such as allocating land for industries, land for administrative buildings, in addition to infrastructure such as the sewage system, the advanced urban life that people used to live in that city.


Rakhigarhi, which preceded the most famous city of the Indus Valley Civilization, was one of the oldest human settlements of that era. The city is located on the dry bed of the Sarasvati River, which was once a flowing stream and is believed to have dried up around 2000 BC. Archaeological explorations and scientific data indicate that the position of the city of Rakigari in the Indus Valley Civilization was more important than that of the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan.

A skeleton from Rakhigarhi on display in the National Museum
One of 11 skeletons found from Rakhigarhi

One finds history in the corners of the village, where the ancient past is manifested in fields or courtyards, or mud pools, or trenches that were dug in order to establish the foundation of a house. The village, which is located in the state of Haryana, 150 kilometers from Delhi, made headlines after the DNA of a woman who lived in this place about 4,500 years ago indicated the origins of the ancient Indians, about which there is much controversy. 

The study, which has been published in the scientific journal Cell, is the result of a five-year excavation at Rakigari. And DNA samples that were extracted from that woman showed that she belonged to a people now known as the ancestors of most of the inhabitants of South Asia. The studies indicated that she was not of the Aryan race, as the genes of the “shepherds of stepa” were not found in her DNA, indicating that the Aryan migration to the region occurred after the collapse of the Indus Valley civilization. 

rakhigarhi indus valley civilization
Rakhigarhi Indus valley civilization

Studies have shown a continuous genetic connection from the ancients, who used to hunt and gather, even the inhabitants of South Asia today. The size of the tools reveals a well-mapped city under the rubble, with wide roads, brick drainage systems, sacrifice altars, pottery vessels and statues, weights, bronze tools, combs, copper hooks for fishing, needles, and pottery seals.

A gold foundry was also found containing about 3,000 unpolished semi-precious stones. Also found were many tools used in polishing these stones and a blast furnace. A burial site was found containing 11 skeletons, with their heads facing north. Near the skulls of these skeletons were tools of daily use. On the left wrist of each of the three skeletons, which are women, had bracelets of snails, and near one of those structures was a golden bracelet. Among the items found were fishing gear, toys, silver items, traces of cotton clothing, and seals.

Therefore, the city is one of the places that every traveler will want to visit, looking to learn details about the Indus Valley civilization and how it flourished for more than two thousand years.


For some time, Adichtenlor has been the arena for polemical theories that have been circulated and debated around the world. These theories addressed some of the most important questions related to the history of the human race. Not just the history of India. The effects of Adichtenlor, which began in Chennai or Madras, as it was known then, presented a challenge to the brightest minds in Calcutta, Berlin, Paris, London, Australia, and Ithaca in New York State where Cornell University is located.

Adichanallur Archaeological Site

In the archaeological site in Adeshtenlur, near the sleepy town of Karon Ghulam, there is not much evidence of past greatness, as 4 archaeological exploratory expeditions: German, French, British, and finally Indian, revealed hundreds of burial jars, which are likely to be thousands of years old. Years, along with skeletal remains, and thousands of tools made of iron and bronze, among them were golden weapons and jewelry. These relics were shipped to Chennai, Calcutta, Berlin, and Paris. A newly constructed building designated as a museum has been erected on the site in Adichtenlore and is awaiting the return of these relics.

Interest in Adeshtenlur on the part of Tamil enthusiasts, heritage lovers, and supporters of Dravidian ideology has returned after the recent discovery of an urban agglomeration in the village of Kizadi in Sivaganga Province dating back to the era of Singham (from 300 BC to 300 AD). In addition to the skeletons, several golden wreaths were found at each end, with a hole to tie them around the forehead, as well as on a number of small bronze statues of buffaloes, goats, tigers, and elephants.

Adichanallur Aerial View

An examination of the age of samples of what was found using carbon revealed that they date back to the period between 905 BC and 696 BC. While some burial jars contained the skeletons of people of Tamil origin, others have been found in the remains of people from Australia, South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean basin.

Kalibangan or Kalibanga , Rajasthan

Another interesting site is the Kalpangan archaeological site, which is part of the ancient Indus Valley civilization that dates back about 5,000 years. Thanks to the discovery of the city, which was one of the cities of the Indus Valley civilization, to Luigi Pio Tesitori, an Italian scholar and expert in Indian studies, who began excavating the city in 1969.

Kalibangan 2 Main street
Image courtesy: Kalibangan – Wikipedia
Kalibangan pre Harappan painted pottery
Kalibangan pre-Harappan painted pottery

The Indus Valley civilization, which is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dates back to the pre-general era (current); That is, more than two thousand years ago. This civilization was not less in stature than the ancient Egyptian civilization and the civilization of Mesopotamia, where it flourished for more than a thousand years before disappearing for an unknown reason. Archaeological explorations in Kalybangan have resulted in the discovery of Harappan seals, human skeletons, unknown texts, copper bracelets, beads, coins, toys, pottery, snails, wheels, and ornaments.

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Archaeological Tourism The Indian Cities That Are Lost In History



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