India is famous all over the world for its ancient culture and civilization. The Indus Valley Civilization, an early civilization of the ancient world, was contemporary with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. People from different countries have different opinions about which is the oldest city in the world. But if I talk about ancient India, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is one of the oldest cities in the world. In India’s ancient past there are several ancient cities in India that have been living uninterruptedly for thousands of years. Several dynasties and kingdoms ruled these cities throughout their ancient history. Here are some of the oldest cities and states.
Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
Mark Twain famously said: ‘Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together. Varanasi is one of the oldest ancient civilizations in India. Situated on the bank of the holiest river of India “Ganges”. The Rik Veda (1700- 1100 BC) also mentions this oldest city in India. According to many historians, Varanasi was prosperous in Europe more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire. Varanasi is also a significant city for Jainism and Hinduism. In 528 BC Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon to Varanasi Sarnath.
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Madurai (Tamil Nadu)
Madurai is the second-largest city in Tamil Nadu and one of the most important cities in ancient India. Another Ancient name in Madurai is Kudal, which means ‘a congregation of wise people, and Madurai was actually the center of scholars and religious teachers in southern India for hundreds of years. For 2500 years, Madurai was one of the major cities of South Indian culture and trade. Mentioned great traveler Megasthenes wrote this oldest city ruled by various empires ranging from Pandya and Chola to Karnata and finally by the British. The entire Madurai City is centered around the Meenakshi Amman Temple. According to history this temple was built around 600 BC and rebuilt in its present form in the 17th century. The Meenakshi Amman Temple is the Marvel of Madurai and one of the ancient temples in India.
The Lichiby Republic is an ancient state of India and probably the first republic in the world. Vaishali was the capital of this ancient kingdom and one of the important cities of India in that era. Vaishali is a great Buddhist shrine and the birthplace of Lord Mahavira. As well as Load Goutam Buddha came to this place three times and spent a long time here. Buddha also gave his last sermon at Vaishali and announced his Nirvana here. His relics were interred at the Stupa in Vaisali in 483 BC (currently in the Patna museum). The ancient capital was located in present-day Bihar
Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu)
One of the most important cities in South India is the city of Thanjavur. Formerly known as Tanjore, the beautiful city of Tanjavur is home to several important south Indian cultural, art, and religious sites. Thanjavur was the important capital during the Chola dynasty. This old city an ancient temple town in Tamil Nadu has been a cultural center for more than a millennium. Brihadeshwara temple this eleventh-century structure is one of the leading examples of Chola architecture and was built using some of the most advanced architectural techniques of the time. It is also home to some of the finest examples of Tamil architecture, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Great Temple.
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Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)
Ujjain is one of the most prominent ancient cities in middle India besides the Kshipra River. The city has long witnessed the rise and fall of the Maurya, Avanti, Nanda, and the Gupta Empire. Ujjain’s name has appeared in the writings of famous Indian writers like Kalidasa and in the literature of many other writers of that era. The century-old famous Mahakaleswar temple is located in the center of the city. Ujjain also hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh Mela held there every 12 years.
Please Note- Apart from these 5 Ancient Cities, there are many other old cities in Indian history. Like Rajgir, Patna, Hampi, Gour (Gadua), Pushkar, Ayodhya. The role of these cities was very important in ancient Indian history.