We’ve heard tales of civilizations in our ancient texts, whose ruins haven’t been very easy to find. Using some of the most high end technology, SONAR radiation and other deep sea archaeological survey tools, we’ve been able to find truth in the tales from the Mahabharata and other ancient texts like Sangam Literature. Here are some civilizations who met their fate too soon, and Indian culture lost out on some history until light was thrown in recent times on findings from different locations around the Indian peninsula. Lets take a look at some of the lost civilizations that are today underwater, and some we’ve been able to uncover with hard evidence.
We’ve found Dwarka, so that says enough for how much our ancient texts like the Mahabharata were true. The island was found off the coast of the present day city of Dwarka in the state of Gujarat, India. The Mahabharata tells us in the story of Krishna slaying the demon Shalva that the island of Dwarka was attacked by Shalva. An entire city was found underwater. It is said that Krishna prayed to the sea to build the city of Dwarka in it, and on taking the sea’s permission, he literally ‘reclaimed’ 12 Yojans (ancient Indian method of measurement) of land from sea, on the westernmost shore of Saurashtra. It was a planned city divided into sectors separating shops and markets from residential areas with well built palaces, good roads and a full-fledged port showing the city was quite a super city. Below are some images I found here.
That’s not all. Dwarka was attacked with superior technology described as flying vehicles, the fight involved destructive weapons that were destroying the city, and one detail in the story intrigued me. When Krishna and Shalva were on the ground fighting face to face, Shalva could disappear from his sight and reappear somewhere else within seconds, making that an advantage for him. I can’t quite think of anything besides a teleportation device of some sort. Shalva also tried to show Krishna that he held his father Vasudeva hostage and threatened to kill him. In fact he severed his head in front of Krishna, but somehow Krishna figured it was an illusion. If Shalva was trying to create an optical illusion of some sort to scare Krishna in battle, we don’t know, but it’s not something we hear every day.
Shavla is attacked by Krishna. Shalva’s vimana awaits him
The remains of Dwarka were found just 70 feet into diving. Here’s a little something from Ancient Aliens that can give some historical perspective and details on the research. It follows into Kumari Kandam, which I will speak about later in the article. Watch from 2.31min.
Anyway, I don’t want to change the topic so read that story here.
2. Sunken city in the Gulf of Khambat
This is a city not too many people in the world give attention to, but is probably the oldest city we’ve ever found on earth! Some ruins from the city date as far back as 31,000 years! We’re talking about a civilization (first in the world) to have created pottery given the facts. It’s amazing to know that because of the treacherous location of the city in the Gulf of Khambat, we are unable to explore the expanses of the ocean here.
This is a little part of a research put out in detail on Graham Hancock’s website by Dr. Badrinaryan. More about him below, this is what we know about the gulf -
This gulf is 135 km long in a N-S direction and is more than 100km at its widest part. It is one of the roughest and most complicated seas of the world and covers an area of about 3000 sq.km. Several major rivers including the Narmada, Tapi, Sabarmathi, Mahi, Chathranji, etc. drain into it. It has a macro tidal range of 12m and the currents are up to 8 knots. The sea is often subjected to severe winds resulting in very rough conditions. These types of turbulence churn the seabed and produce enormous quantities of silt, making the sea water brownish and turbid, with the result that is that it is impervious to light rays. The combined effect of these conditions makes this part of the country unfit for diving and underwater operations and operating underwater videography impossible. Hence, only instruments operated on principle of sound, like sonar equipments and magnetic equipments could work here. This includes the Side Scan Sonar, Sub-bottom Profiler, Multibeam ecosounder, apart from marine magneto-meter.
In a marine survey by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in December 2000, the team with Chief Scientist Dr S Badrinaryan came across palaeo river channels in the sea, something unusual for the location. The team then found several frames of square and rectangular formations in the sea later on.
Here’s an image captured using sub-bottom profiler surveys.
Despite the torrential weather in the gulf, we STILL managed to gather artefacts ranging from the oldest fired pottery pieces obtained so far in the world, microlithic tools, and much more.
Reputed institutes have surveyed this and I’m sure they’re baffled as well — including institutes in India, Oxford, and Germany. Because of the results and how controversial this has turned out to be, it is said that pieces of wood and several fragments were sent for testing to different places and both results were no less than dating back to around 7,000 BC. Like Dr. D. P. Agrawal, chairman of the Paleoclimate Group and founder of Carbon-14 testing facilities in India stated in an article in Frontline Magazine that the piece was dated twice, at separate laboratories. The NGRI in Hyderabad returned a date of 7190 BC and the BSIP in Hannover returned a date of 7545–7490 BC. Some archeologists, Agrawal in particular, contest that the discovery of an ancient piece of wood does not imply the discovery of an ancient civilization. Agrawal argues that the wood piece is a common find, given that 20,000 years ago the Arabian Sea was 100 meters lower than its current level, and that the gradual sea level rise submerged entire forests. Some argue they may have come down from rivers that lead into the gulf. But Dr. Badrinaryan’s work strongly challenges this. Find more images and read about this in detail here.
I really hope we have the chance to learn in more detail about this city in the turbulent gulf of Khambat! Too little is known and that sucks.
3. The real ancient city of Mahabalipuram
Indra destroys the city in fury with lightning. The seas drown the rich and prosperous city of Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram. The gods were jealous of Mahabalipuram, which was then ruled by Bali or Mahabali. The word Puram literally means city or urban dwelling. The city was in the sea, and boasted of seven temples with seven pagodas. The present day city of Mahabalipuram hosted only one shore temple and the temple was the last of the temples that remains unsubmerged, according to local tales based on the mythological scenario at Mahabalipuram. After the 2004 tsunami that hit south-west Asia and Indonesia, rocks, artefacts and parts of the other temples were thrown upon by the shores of Mahabalipuram, which threw a new light on the stories written in ancient texts. The temples were real, and the city was a magnificent port, say some archaeologists.
Indra became jealous of this earthly city and sank it during a great storm, leaving only the Shore Temple above water. Fyson also recounts the assertion of local Tamil people that at least some of the other temples could be seen “glittering beneath the waves” from fishing boats.
The evidence to the actual building of these temples is not very clear. Mythology says something, and the ancient historical accounts say something else. One Englishman, Fyson D. R. lived in present day Chennai and wrote a book called ‘Mahabalipuram and the Seven Pagodas’. He writes peculiarly about one local myth. Here’s a small reference:
The six missing temples have continued to fascinate locals, archaeologists, and lovers of myth alike, and have recently returned to the archaeological spotlight. Many archaeologists have spent time of diving missions and put out several photographs of huge granite stone structures. Diving in challenging conditions, the team found the “foundation of walls, broken pillars, steps, and many scattered stone blocks,” said Kamlesh Vora, a marine archaeologist with the National Institute of Oceanography. More on this here.
Below are some images taken from Graham Hancock’s website. All images are courtesy Santha Faiia 2002 and were taken in rough sea conditions. Graham Hancock has also extensively covered this and you can check a few more images out here.
4. Kumari Kandam
We all know about this one. This continent of sorts is the long lost ‘Lemuria’ or ‘Atlantis’ for some, and was a very flourishing civilization according to Sangam literature as cited. Kumari Kandam is one of the biggest mysteries that doesn’t have any extremely foolproof evidence but lots of clues that lead to its existence as being on the surface at some point in time. This supersized landmass was said to connect India to Madagascar in the West and Australia in the East. This is a large amount of the Indian ocean if you go to see. The continent sunk during the rise and fall of the seabed, a natural occurence. According to Sangam Literature, three Tamil sangams of sages lasted around 9000 years on this continent that later left no known remains we’ve found today. You can easily find detailed information on Kumari Kandam in articles like this. Below is a map of the plotted civilization:
More from me, coming soon! Thanks for reading. Do check my other blogs out!
All references are given as links in the article. Credits go to the photographers and courageous researchers who’ve made accessing this info from deep seas so simple. :)