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Top 10 Mysterious lost Civilizations that once existed

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Understanding our past is what historians and anthropologists seek to do. Looking back we will witness civilizations rise and fall, as humanity walks down a very repetitive path of construction and destruction. Still, there are some ancient cultures that seem incredibly alien to us, legends and strange encounters cast nothing but shadow over some of these peoples. Some are said to be very advanced and tranquil only to vanish with some cataclysm and others, despite stories and accounts of encounters, never seem to have existed.

Let's take a look at top 10 Mysterious lost Civilizations that once existed:

1. The Clovis Civilization

We do not know much about the Clovis culture, this prehistoric Native American culture is believed to have existed in North America. Its name comes from Clovis site, an archaeological site located near the town of Clovis, New Mexico. Artifacts found on this site in the 1920s consist of stone blades and bone. It is believed that these people came from Siberia to Alaska across the Bering Strait by the end of the last ice age. Whether it was or not the first culture in North America no one knows. The Clovis culture has gone rather abruptly. Is it because they too hunted and destroyed their own food supply? Or is it because of climate change, disease or predators? Or did the members of this culture are simply dispersed to join other Native American tribes? Or was the fall of a meteorite was the cause of their disappearance?

2. Easter Island Civilization

The people of Eastern Island represent another classic "lost" civilization, famed in part for its enigmatic, enormous stone statues of human heads (called Moai) lined up along the island's coastline. How did this thriving Polynesian civilization disappear after centuries of monument-building and navigating hundreds of miles of ocean waters to go from island to island? Jared Diamond sums up what many scientists now believe in his book Collapse, which is that the Easter Islanders were incredibly sophisticated, but their methods weren't sustainable. During the time they settled Easter Island, possibly between 700-1200 AD, they used up all the island's trees and agricultural resources, and then had to move on.

3. The Mycenaean Civilization

Unlike the Minoan, Mycenaean flourished not only through trade but also through conquest, to the point where their empire spanned nearly all of Greece. The Mycenaean civilization has experienced five centuries of dominating power before disappearing around 1100 BC. Several Greek myths are centered around this civilization, like that of the legendary King Agamemnon who led the Greek army during the Trojan War. The Mycenaean civilization was rich culturally and economically, and has left behind many artifacts. It is not clear why they disappeared: earthquake, invasions, or may be peasant revolts!

4. The Indus Valley Civilization

One of the great civilizations of the ancient world is called simply the Indus or Harappan civilization. Thousands of years ago, it may have boasted up to 5 million people, almost 10 percent of the world's population, spread over a region that encompassed parts of today's India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. But its grand walkways (with sophisticated roadside drainage), metallurgy shops, and massive, multistory, brick hives of houses were abandoned over 3,000 years ago. It's likely that this ancient civilization, like the Maya, suffered from gradual changes in rainfall patterns that made it difficult for its peoples to raise enough food for their massive population.

5. The Olmec Civilization

There once flourished the great pre-Columbian civilization of the Olmecs. The first traces of civilization dates back to 1400 BC. In the city of San Lorenzo, there is one of the three main centers of the Olmecs with Tenochtitlan and Potrero Nuevo. The Olmecs were master builders. One found on these sites large monuments of giant stone heads. This civilization laid the foundation of all Mesoamerican cultures that followed. It is believed that the Olmecs were the first to develop a writing system, they would probably have invented the compass and the Mesoamerican calendar. They knew the use of bloodletting, did human sacrifices and invented the concept of the number zero. This civilization was not discovered by historians until the mid-19th century. Its decline occurred due to climate changes caused by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes or perhaps harmful agricultural practices.

6. The Minoan Civilization

Minoan Civilization arose on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands and flourished from approximately 3650 to 1400 BCE. It belongs to a period of Greek history and arose in the 20th century. Minoan refers to the mythical King Minos. Over the course of time, the cities and palaces were built and rebuilt becoming increasingly complex. One of these was that palaces of Knossos, the labyrinth associated with the legend of King Minos (from which the civilization gets its name). It is now an important archaeological center.

7. The Nabataean Civilization

The Nabataean civilization flourished in southern Jordan, Canaan region and northern Arabia from the 6th century BC. The Semitic people built the breathtaking city of Petra, carved into the sandstone cliffs of Jordan Mountains. We also know about their talents in hydraulics and their complex system of dams, canals and reservoirs that enabled them to grow in a desert region. No written record has reached us and we know close to nothing of their culture. This however was a thriving civilization thanks to its geographical position which allowed them to create a network for the exchange of ivory, silk, spices, precious metals, precious stones, incense, sugar, perfume and medicines. Unlike other civilizations of the time, the Nabataeans were not aware of slavery and each contributed to the tasks of the city.

8. The Maya Civilization

The Maya are perhaps the classic example of a civilization that was completely lost, its great monuments, cities and roads swallowed up by the central American jungles, and its peoples scattered to small villages. Though the languages and traditions of the Maya still survive up to the present day, the civilization's peak was during the first millennium AD, when their greatest architectural feats and massive agricultural projects covered a vast region in the Yucatán — today, an area stretching from Mexico to Guatemala and Belize. One of the largest Mesoamerican civilizations, the Maya made extensive use of writing, math, an elaborate calendar, and sophisticated engineering to build their pyramids and terraced farms.

9. The Aksum Empire

The Aksum Empire began establishing itself in the first century AD in the area where Ethiopia is now located. Legend has it that this is the birthplace of the Queen of Sheba. Aksum was an important trading center where we ivory exported, resources, agriculture and gold to the Roman Empire and to India. It was a rich society and the first African culture to issue its own currency, which at the time was a sign of great power. The most distinctive monuments are his steles of Axum, gigantic carved obelisks playing the role of funeral terminals for kings and nobles. The first Aksumite worshiped many gods, the main one being Astar. Then, in 324, King Ezana II was converted to Christianity and became Axum therefore a fiercely Christian culture. According to local legend, a Jewish queen named Yodit defeated Aksumite Empire and burned churches and books. Others believe that it is a pagan queen Bani al-Hamwijah would have caused the decline of the empire.

10. The Khmer Empire

Most people have heard of the magnificent temple Angkor Wat in Cambodia. But it was only one small part of a massive urban civilization during the Khmer Empire called Angkor. The city flourished during the late middle ages, from 1000-1200 AD, and may have supported up to a million people. There are a lot of good reasons why Angkor may have fallen, ranging from war to natural disaster. Now most of it lies beneath the jungle. A marvel of architecture and Hindu culture, the city is mysterious mostly because we still aren't certain how many people lived there. Given all the roads and canals connecting its many regions, some archaeologists believe it may have been the biggest urban site in the world at its height.

posted Aug 31 by Kavyashree

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India is an incredible land with a rich and diverse wildlife. Did you know that 4% of India’s land is under forests? There are about 515 wildlife sanctuaries in India which are home to 1180 different species of birds, 350 species of mammals, 30000 different kinds of insects and more than 15000 varieties of plants. Phew! You will be simply mesmerized by the natural beauty at wildlife sanctuaries. 

Let's take a look at top 10 National Parks in India that you must visit once:

1. Kaziranga National Park, Assam

The amazing world of the north-east! It boasts of being a world natural heritage site as declared by UNESCO. Spread over 858 sq. Km around the Brahmaputra River, this magical sanctuary, is most famous for the endangered One-horned Rhino. 2/3rd of the world’s population of these Rhinos lives in this forest. This is also the abode of 60% of the India’s wild buffalo population. Characterised by vast stretches of savannah grasslands, wetlands and chars of river islands formed by the shifting course of the river, you can find a sizeable population of birds here. Though you have a jeep safari which takes you around, we recommend that you explore this wonder via an elephant safari. It would be a priceless memory to view the rhinos grazing with the buffaloes and deer while you enjoy the ride treading through the tall grass.

2. Sunderbans National Park, West Bengal

The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is the showpiece attraction of coastal West Bengal. Although an encounter with the famed Royal Bengal tiger is not guaranteed, a boat cruise on the muddy rivulets meandering through dense mangrove forests is sure to thrill you to no end. Home to one of the largest concentrations of royal Bengal tigers on the planet, the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is a network of water channels and semi-submerged mangrove forests that collectively form the world’s largest river delta. Tigers (officially estimated to number close to 300) lurk in the impenetrable depths of the mangrove forests, and also swim the delta’s rivulets. Although they sometimes kill villagers and their cattle, tigers here are typically very shy and sightings are thus rare. Nevertheless, cruising the waterways through the world’s biggest mangrove  sanctuary (now a Unesco World Heritage Site) and watching wildlife – whether it be a spotted deer, a 2m-long water monitor of a luminescent kingfisher – is a world away from your usual urban chaos.

3. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

The famous white tigers of Rewa were discovered in this forest and Bandhavgarh is considered to be the home of these tigers. However, no white tigers have been spotted since 50 years here. This forest is spread over 105 sq. kms on the Vindhya Hills in Madhya Pradesh. It boasts of having highest density of the royal Bengal tiger population in the country. Apart from the tigers you can get spectacular views of other majestic creatures like Nilgai, Chital, Chinkara, Wild Boar, Chausingha and more. With 250 species of birds and 22 different species of mammals, this national park has a lot to offer for nature lovers.

4. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Striped tigers majestically roam an expansive savannah, moody elephants double as unexpected roadblocks, gharial crocs bask on the banks of limpid green rivulets, and hundreds of eyes spy on you from the primal depths of an evergreen forest. Established in 1936 as India’s first national park, Corbett takes its name from the legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett (1875–1955), who put Kumaon (the district in which the forest lies) on the map with his celebrated book The Maneaters of Kumaon. Covering an area of more than 1300 sq km, this terai wildland is home to nearly 200 tigers, about 300 wild elephants, sloth bears, langur monkeys, rhesus macaques, peacocks, otters, gharials and several species of deer among other animals. The varied landscape of the park – ranging from dense vegetation to rolling grasslands – is an added draw.

5. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Comprising 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges, this famous park, open from October to June, is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan. At its centre is the amazing 10th-century Ranthambhore Fort, scattered around which are a number of ancient temples and mosques, hunting pavilions, crocodile-filled lakes and vine covered chhatris. The most famous resident of the park is of course the tiger. However, getting an accurate figure on the number of tigers comes down to who you believe – the park probably has around 32 tigers. Spotting one is a matter of luck; you should plan on two or three safaris to improve your chances. The only way to travel into the core of the national park is by going on the safari. These safaris are usually done in open-top canters and Gypsys. But remember there’s plenty of other wildlife to see including more than 300 species of birds.

6. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Kanha National Park is one of the most sought after National Parks in India. Centrally located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Kanha is famous as a Tiger Reserve among the wildlife enthusiasts. Kanha is divided into two wildlife sanctuaries namely Hallon and Banjar, of 250 and 300 sq. km respectively. The park is densely populated with Bengal tiger, Barasingha, Indian leopards, the sloth bear, and Indian wild dog. It also houses swamp deer, which is a subspecies of the Great Swamp Deer of Sundarbans and is found nowhere else except Sundarbans. Kanha also nestles more 1000 species of exotic flowers that are one of its kind. This wildlife sojourn is one of the most favourite among the tourists who flock this park to get a glimpse of the wildlife in its real allure.

7. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka

Bandipur National Park, is located in Karnataka, which is easily accessible from Mysore, Bangalore and Ooty. Once upon a time, this wildlife sanctuary was used as the private ground for hunting by the Maharajas of Mysore. Spread across 874 sq. km, Bandipur National Park is surrounded with Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala and Nagarhole National Park. This park houses elephants, spotted deer, gaurs (bison), antelopes and numerous other native species. The lush greenery is particularly mesmerizing after the onset of the monsoon, however, October to May remain the best time to visit. Explore this wildlife sanctuary in an early morning jeep safari, and you will be treated with some magnificent sights to remember.

8. Mudumalai National Park, Tamil Nadu

In the foothills of the Nilgiri Mountains in Tamil Nadu, this 321sq km forest reserve is like a classical South Indian landscape painting brought to life – thin, spindly trees and light-slotted leaves concealing spotted chital deer and grunting wild boar. The showcase species in Mudumalai is the striped royal Bengal tiger. There are around 50 tigers lurking in these jungles – giving Mudumalai the highest tiger density anywhere in the country. However, as in any other nature reserve, you will have to be extremely lucky to actually spot one. Overall, though, the reserve is the best place to spot wildlife in Tamil Nadu. The creatures you are most likely to see are deer, peacocks, wild boar, langurs and giant Malabar squirrels. There’s also a significant chance of sighting wild elephants (the park has several hundred) and gaur or the Indian bison.

9. Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh

Easily spotted is the one horned rhinoceros, reintroduced into Dudhwa National Park following its complete disappearance from these areas. This is also where hordes of handsome barasinghas (swamp deer), the state animal, play hide-and-seek amidst magnificent swathes of grassland. The 680sq km Dudhwa National Park is located 75km north of Lakhimpur. The park itself is barely 10km from its closest township Palia Kalan – also the stretch along which the very limited accommodation options are located – and about 25km to Gaurifanta on the Indo-Nepal border. The best way to access its wildlife is through twice-daily safaris offered by the Forest Department. The elephant safari, conducted only early mornings, lasts up to an hour and is limited to the rhinoceros enclosure at Salukhapur. The jeep safari, which takes up to three hours, can be enjoyed both early morning and late afternoon. A Gypsy is everyone’s vehicle of choice to negotiate the terrain inside the park and can be hired locally. You’ll do well to book ahead as there are a limited number available.

10. Periyar National Park, Kerala

Located near Thekaddy in Kerela, Periyar National Park is famous for its endangered flora and fauna. Nestled amidst two rivers Periyar and Pamba, this wildlife sanctuary habitats both tigers and elephants in plenty. Spread over an area of 925 sq. km, this park was declared as Periyar National Park in the year 1982. What makes this wildlife one of its kind is its location. While you have two rivers gushing in, it is also surrounded by the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of Western Ghats bordering Tamil Nadu. Along with 24 Royal Bengal tigers, Periyar also have few white tigers in the park that will leave you with some spellbinding experience. Periyar also houses variety of species of bird, some of which are rare and migratory.

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