6 Famous Historical Institutes in India

We may know the top institutes names all over the country but most of us forget to acknowledge the oldest universities which actually were the reason for the other recent universities. Many of the old ones, till date is a dream destination for a large number of (smart) students, duh!

Here is a small list of the top six historical institutions across the country. Most of them were built during the British rule.

  1. Serampore College
      Photo by PIN 712201, CC BY-SA 4.0

Established in 1818, the Serampore College is one of the oldest functioning institutes in the country. The college was founded by three English missionaries and is located in West Bengal.

William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward, also known as the Serampore Trio, is the reason for this institution to exist. This university till date provides the country with thousands of scholars each and every passing year.

This institute is known for its equality rights as their aim from the very beginning was to educated people from every ‘caste, color or country’. This indeed was a big deal in the 19th century. Along with this, the educational institute’s aim was to train people for the Ministry for the growing churches all across the country.

Before the construction of the college, the Serampore Trio worked a lot in providing education to children. Children here not only included the Native Indians but also aspiring female students.

  1. Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
indian-institute-of-technology-roorkee Photo by pradeepsz, CC BY-SA 2.0  

Indian Institution of Technology Roorkee, also known as IITR is once again one of the oldest institutions in the country. Along with being one of the oldest educational institutes, this university also takes the 7th rank in all the IIT Engineering colleges in India.

The Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, located in Uttarakhand, was originally established in 1847. It was formally known as the Thomason College of Civil Engineering. The institute then was later converted in an institution in 1949 and was entitled as the University of Roorkee. It eventually changed into an IIT institute in 2001.

The British Indian, Sir James Thomason founded the university, currently known as the IIT Rooker.

The first Indian to pass out of this college was in 1852 making it an important event in the history of the institution. The college was known for its stringent cut-offs, especially for Native Indians. The admission was directly under the control of the Public Works Departments (PWD) and students were promised with a post in the PWD or the irrigation department.

  1. Allahabad University
allahabad-universityPhoto by Adam Jones, CC BY-SA 2.0  

Established on 23rd September 1887, the University of Allahabad takes the third place in the list. It is the fourth oldest University in the country. This college was functioning under the University of Calcutta before it got credited as an institute itself.

Sir John Hewett, with the ‘Allahabad University Act’ opened the University’s Senate Hall in 1912.

Also, known as the Allahabad University today, this learning center was once known the ‘Oxford of the East’. This title was given due to the outstanding potential of students accompanied with its scholarly graduates.

This University is a part of the making for scholars like Chandra Shekhar, Motilal Nehru along with Madan Lal Khurana.

  1. University of Mumbai
university-of-mumbaiPhoto by Stefan, CC BY-SA 2.0 The oldest campus in Maharashtra along with one of the first three state Universities, this Institution is located at Kalina at Santacruz, Mumbai. The first campus was located in South Mumbai which is also known as the Fort Campus. After the Bombay Association’s petition, the University was established in 1857 which later was modeled on various different universities in Britain. The University today is also referred as ‘MU’, i.e. Mumbai University. Providing over 342,000+ graduates each year, this university is known for providing the largest number of graduating students each year. It along with this is also one of the largest institutes, on the basis of number of students, in the world. The University not only provides Bachelor degrees but also Masters and Doctoral along with various other diplomas.  
  1. IIT Kanpur
iit-kanpur   Photo by Amar, CC BY-SA 2.0  

The Indian Institute of Technology was established in 1959 and is one of the first IIT colleges created in the country. Located in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh the college is usually referred as IIT Kanpur or IITK.

The Act of Parliament in 1959 was how IIT Kanpur got established and believe it or not, this renowned college actually started in a room. The room apparently was in the canteen building of another institute in the Agricultural Gardens in Kanpur, the Harcourt Butler Technological Institute.

The IIT College moved on the Grand Trunk Road in Kanpur after 4 years (1963).

The central library is named after the first director, P.K. Kelkar. In the initial ten years, nine United States universities helped the college set up. It helped the IIT Institute, under the Kanpur Indo-American Programmer, with research laboratories along with various different academic programs.

  1. Savitribai Phule Pune University
savitribai-phule-pune-universityPhoto by Niranjan Basarkar, CC BY-SA 3.0  

This university is not only a historical university but also one of the geographically largest institutions. Spreading over an area of 411 acres, this university was founded in 1948, almost immediately after the country’s independence.

This college not only has 46 different academic departments but also has been given the highest ratings for its performance by the NAAC, i.e. the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

The university was originally known as the Pune University until recently in November 2014 got named after Savitribai Phule and then changed to Savitribai Phule Pune University.

She was a social reformer and till date is acknowledged for her hard work towards women empowerment and education.

Along with the large area, the place has its own historical significance. The center of learning once witnessed a war. Various incidents from the Battle of Khadki had taken place where the stands today. This war was during the Third Anglo-Maratha War.

Besides all this, the university’s main building was originally the Governor’s house which was constructed in 1864.


These are some of the renowned historical institutes that not only provide us with a large number of aspiring students but also remind us about our history and where we come from. These institutions not only help in the well-being of the students as individuals but also in the development of the country as a society.

Rohit Agarwal
Rohit is an expert travel writer. He loves nature and picturesque destinations. His stories are a plethora of knowledge and experiential information for the readers across the globe. You can read more about them on Trans India Travels.



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