Ten ruined sites across India that demand a visit

Withered in form but not in glory


March 8, 2019

/ By / New Delhi

Sadly shattered yet breathtakingly beautiful, these ruins of forts and churches show all the glory and menace of their past.

St Augustine’s Church, Goa


Gloriously standing out amongst all other well-kept whitewashed churches of Goa, the ruins of St Augustine’s Church in Old Goa are inviting and enticing. The ruins are of the church of St Augustine, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, and was once perhaps the biggest church in Goa, of which only excavated ruins and a dilapidated tower now exists.

Chiktan, Ladakh


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This castle like fort in Kargil district of Ladakh comes across as spooky as its abandoned surroundings. At the top of an isolated mountain, the Chiktan Fort was built in the 16th century, and is nine storeys high. Today it’s just walls and rubble, that stand gloriously ruined against the backdrop of snow capped mountains.

Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh


Tucked away in a corner in Andhra Pradesh, far from city life, the fort of Gandikota is sadly shattered yet impressively beautiful. At the entrance of the fort, there is a tiny village, the residents of which claim to be descendants of the fort’s former rulers. The grand compound of ruins is comprised of two temples and a mosque, which are rather impressive despite being worn down. There is also an old granary that has now been cemented from within. The star of the fort is at the top, a canyon which has been formed by the Pennar river cutting across the red sandstones around.

Rosary Church, Karnataka


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There are many facets that makes this abandoned church oh so beautiful! Firstly, it boasts of Gothic architecture and second, it is submerged in water, well at least during monsoons. It’s proximity to the Hemavati Dam is the reason why it gets knee deep in water. Built by French missionaries in the 1800s, the Rosary Church in Shettihalli in Karnataka, despite being half drowned stands tall and eerily beautiful.

Kuldhara, Rajasthan


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An abandoned town in Rajasthan, Kuldhara is famous for being haunted. In fact, it is for this reason it was disowned by all its inhabitants, who believe that a ghost still resides there. As per legend, about three centuries ago, all residents of the town started dying one after the other, forcing the ones left behind to think that the town as jinxed and ultimately fleeing it.

Hampi, Karnataka


The ruins of  Vijayanagara empire or the capital of the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar in Karnataka are a UNESCO world heritage site. The ancient empire, which is believed to be the second most populous city in the world in 1500, also has its mention in the holy Ramayana. Other than history enthusiasts and travellers, Hampi, a ancient city with architectural ruins, now also attracts adventure lovers who can indulge in rock climbing and bouldering here.

Harappa, Punjab


Located near Sahiwal in Punjab, this archaeological site is part of the Indus Valley Civilization, a Bronze Age civilization spanning India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Although there is not much left of the ruins in Harappa, the site is enough to excite history buffs. There is a museum in here, where the excavated artifacts from the ruins have been displayed.

Ross Island, Andaman


Located in the south Andaman district, Ross Island used to be a British settlement in the 19th century before it was abandoned in 1940s following an earthquake. Ruins from India’s colonial past now are a major attraction for tourists here. A British quarters, an old church and a few other buildings complete this ruined complex.

Bhangarh, Rajasthan


Not just another ruin reminiscent of India’s past, Bahangarh is said to be the country’s most haunted fort and that’s a reason more for its abandonment. Very few dare hearts visit the ruins in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. Entry into the fort is restricted between sunset and rise, and it is said to be cursed by a tantrik (priests who perform black magic).

Siri Fort, Delhi


The fort served the royals long ago, but now its ruins are for all to have. Built by Sultan Alauddin Khilji, said to be the most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty that ruled Delhi, Siri Fort or the remains of it stand tall in the neighbourhood of Khel Gaon Marg. Resembling a quintessential Turkish fort, Siri was built to defend the city from the ambush of the Mongols.

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  1. Harappa is located in that part of Punjab which is now in Pakistan. Incidentally, three Indus Valley archaeological sites in India contemporary with Harappa might interest readers. They are Lothal (Bronze Age port) and Dholavira (Water conservation systems), both in Gujarat, and Rakhigarhi (said to be the largest city then) in Haryana.

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