Fall in the rupee below the 68-mark and a possible cut in India's credit outlook by global rating agency S&P, among other local factors, weighed heavily on the market, which witnessed relentless selling.
Globally, weak European opening ahead of monetary policy decisions in Japan, the eurozone and UK on September 5 and US employment data on Friday as well as rumours of missile attack by US Navy on Syria too kept the market under pressure.
The Indian currency again crossed the 68 mark and fell to a low of 68.27 before closing at 67.63 a dollar, down 163 paise, or 2.47 per cent.
Realty, finance, FMCG, infra, PSU bank, media, service and energy shares suffered heavy losses.
The 50-share index initially hit a high of 5,580.95, but later it fell back to 5,323.75 before ending at 5,341.45, posting a sharp loss of 209.30 points, or 3.77 per cent, from its last close.
Top five Nifty losers were Axis Bank (9.42%), IndusInd Bank (8.57%), DLF (6.84%), PNB (6.68%) and RInfra (6.35%).
However, overcoming the all-round gloom some shares managed to end with gains. These included Lupin (2.51%), Cairn (1.27%), Coal India (1.18%) and M&M (0.26%).
Turnover in the cash segment shot up to Rs 11,400.89 crore from 9,654.42 crore yesterday. A total of 6,262.44 lakh shares changed hands in 62,45,255 trades. The market capitalisation stood at Rs 57,56,512 crore.