Ancient Indian History
(600,000 – 60,000 BC)
Hand axe & cleaver industries
Pahalgam, Belan valley (U.P),
Bhimbetka, Adamgarh, 16 R Singi Talav
(150,000 – 40,000 BC)
Tools made on flakes
Bhimbetka, Nevasa, Pushkar, Rohiri hills of upper sind
(45,000 – 10,000 BC)
Tools made on flakes & blades
Rajasthan, Parts of Belan & Ganga Valley (U.P).
(10,000 – 7000 BC)
Parallel sided blades of chert, chalcedony, jasper, agate
Bagor (Raj), Langhnaj (Guj), Sarai Nahar Rai, Chaopani Mando, Mahdaha,
Damdama (U.P), Bhimbetka, Adamgarh.
(8000 BC – 2000 BC)
Mehrgarh (Pak) Gufkral & Burzahom
(J&K), Mahgara, Chopani Mando, Kodihwa in Belan Valley (U.P.) Chirand (Bihar).
Distinct painted pottery
Fire worship widespread.
Cultures: Ahar culture (oldest), Kayatha,
Malwa culture, Salvada culture, , Prabhas culture, Rangpur culture & Jorwe culture (newest).
Copper Hoard Culture
Harpoons, Antennae swords,
(Ochre coloured pottery)
Pottery with bright red slip & painted in black.
All over gangetic plain with same regions as that of copper hoard culture.
• Ahar people (Aravalli region) – distinctive black & red ware decorated with white designs.
• Prabhas & Rangpur wares have a glossy suface due to which they are called lusturous red ware.
• Jorwe culture (Maharashtra) – painted black on red but has a matt surface treated with a wash.
Select Harrapan Cities (Chalcolithic Age)
Great granary, 40 % of total seals found here; Seals usually made of steatite depicting elephant, bull, unicorn, rhinoceros; figurines – torso
“Mound of the dead”; largest of all cities; Great Bath; granary; city was flooded occasionally, figurines of yogi, bronze dancing girl, seal bearing Pashupati.
[S.R. Rao]. Earliest cultivation of rice; Fire altars
[A. Ghosh]. Fire Altars showing cult sacrifice;
[R.S. Bisht] Fire Altars;
Evidences of cotton;
Indus Valley Civilization
Indian Religious Books
Divided into sarga, pratisarga, manvantantar, vamsa (genealogical list of kings) & vamsanucharita. 18 main puranas & 18 subsidiary puranas.
Meaning “knowledge”. Rigveda (hymns), Yajurveda (sacrificial formulae), Atharvaveda (magical charms & spell), Samveda. Vedas are called aparusheya (not created by man) & nity
About 200 in number. Deal with philosophy. Oldest & most important are Chhandogya & Brihadranyaka. Other important are Kathak, Isa, Mundaka, Prasna etc. Do not believe in sacrificial ceremonies.
Talks about vedic hymns, their application, stories of their origin. Each Brahmana is associated with one of the four VedasAitareya brahmana is associated with Rig Veda & Satapatha Brahmana with Yajur veda.
Meaning ‘the forest books’. They discuss philosophical meditation & sacrifice.
Evolved for proper understanding of the Vedas. Six in all: Siksha (phonetics), Kalpa (rituals), Vyakarna, Nirukta (Etymology) Chhanda (metrics) & Jyotisha.
Advaita Vedanta of Adi Sankara.
Ancient Books & Authors
Mudrakshasha (Chandragupta Maurya defeating the Nandas); Devichandraguptam
Malavikagnimitram (Pushyamitra Sunga)
Gudavaho (Yasovarman of Kannauj)
Vikramanakadevacharita (Chalukya king Vikramaditya)
Dvayashraya Mahakavya; Sapta Sadhana
Meghaduta; Raghuvamsa; Kumarasambhava; Vikramorvasiyam
Uttarama-Charita; Malati Madhava
Panchsiddhantika; Suryasiddhanta; Brihatsamhita
Karpuramanjari; Bala Ramayana; Bala Bharata; Kavyamimamsa;
Bhuvana Kosha; Haravilasa
Adinathacharita (Jaina Narrative)
Shantinathacharita (Jaina Narrative)
Parsvanathacharita (Jaina Narrative)
Siddhanta Shiromani [4 parts – Lilavati, Bijaganita, Grahaganita &
Gola (on Astronomy)]
Rajmariganka (On Astronomy)
Chikitsakalika or Yogamala
Nitishastra (On Polity)
Nitisara (On Polity)
Sushruta Samhita (encyclopedia on surgery)
Charaka Samhita (Teachings of Atreya)
Buddhacharita, Vajrasuchi, Suandarananda
Sanskrit. Says that a dam on the sudarshana lake was constructed by Pushyagupta a governor of Chandragupta Maurya
Sanskrit. Composed by Harisena
Mentions Harsha defeat by Pulakeshin II.
Composed by Ravikriti Vishnuvardan son of King.
Most famous Pratihara king.
Proves Rig Veda to be more than 1400 BC old.
Indra, Varuna, Mitra, two Nasatyas mentioned
Achievements of the king
Achievements of the king.
Mehrauli Iron Pillar
Composed by Vatsabhatti.
Bhitari Stone pillar
Rajendra I (Chola)
His conquests (annexed whole of SriLanka)
Chola village assemblies
Near Vidisa (MP). Mentions Heliodorus the ambassador of king Antialcidas called himself Bhagvata & erected garudadhvaja in his honour of Vasudev.
I Buddhist Council
500 BC at
Record the Buddha’s sayings (sutra) and codify monastic rules (vinaya). Rajgaha is today’s Rajgir
II Buddhist Council
383 BC at
The conservative schools insisted on monastic rules (vinaya). The secessionist Mahasangikas argued for more relaxed monastic rules.Rejection of the Mahasanghikas
III Buddhist Council
Purpose was to reconcile the different schools of
Buddhism. Presided by Moggaliputta Tissa
IV Buddhist Council
Division into Hinayana & Mahayana. Theravada Buddhism does not recognize the authenticity of this council, and it is sometimes called the “council of heretical monks”.
V Buddhist Council
recite all the teachings of the Buddha and examine them in minute detail to see if any of them had been altered
VI Buddhist Council
P.M. U Nu
Nastika Shools of Indian System of Philosophy
Believes only in materialism. No life beyond death, no soul no god.
The names of two tirthankaras, Rishabhanath & Aristhanemia finds mention in Rig Veda. Twenty third was Parsva, son of Ishvaku king Asvasena. Said to have flourished 300 yrs before Mahavira. Mahavira, the last Tirthankara born in Kundagrama near Vaisali. His father Siddhartha was the head of Jnatrika clan & mother Trisala was the sister of Chetaka, a Lichchhavi noble. Chetaka’s dauthter was married to Bimbisara the king of Magadha. Mahavira was married to Yasoda. Left home at 30 & attained Kaivalya at 42. He accepted 4 doctrines of Parsava & added celibacy to it. Chandragupta Maurya patronized it. Passed away at Pawapuri.
Gautama (known as Siddhartha as prince) was born in Lumbini near Kapilvastu to
Suddhodhana, the king of Sakya republic & Mayadevi who died seven days after his birth. Gautama was married to Yasodhara from whom he had a son Rahul. 6 years of meditation led to enlightenment. First sermon in Sarnath known as ‘Set in motion the wheel of law’.
Eight fold paths. Buddhism denies efficacy of vedic rituals & superiority of brahmanas.
Followers were upasakas & bhikshus. Died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar.
Astika Schools of Indian System of Philosophy
Five elements – Earth, water, air, fire, Ether.
Accepts all categories of Vaisesika & adds one Abhava (negation).
Oldest of all. Twenty five basic principles first being ‘Prakriti’. Gives doctrine of 3 qualities – virtue (sattva), passion (rajas) & dullness (tamas)
Salvation through: Yama (self control), Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara (restrain), Dharana (steady mind), Dhyana & Samadhi.
Recognises Vedas as final authority.
Adi Sankara is protagonist. Ultimate reality ‘Brahma’ is one. Highest level of truth is that the whole world that exists is Maya. Ramanuja (founder of Sri Vaishnavism) differed from Sankara on his commentaries on Upanishads & Gita.
Forms of Marriage
Duly dowered girl to a man of the same class
Father gives daughter to a sacrificial priest as a part of his fee
A token bride price of a cow & a bull is given in place of the dowry
Father gives girl without dowry & without demanding the bride price
In which bride was bought from her father
Marriage by capture, practiced especially by warriors.
Marriage by seduction
Daiva marriage was considered ideal 7 paisacha the worst.
Dynasties of Ancient Northern India
Founded after overthrowing the Brihadrathas. He also annexed Anga
Conquered Lichhavis of Vaisali. Also defeated Prasenajit of Kosala. Succeded by Udayani who founded Pataliputra.
People elected Sisunga as Udayani & his 3 successors were unworthy
Barber but a great military genius. Defeated many dynasties.
Defeated Persian King Darius III & marched to India through Khyber pass. King of Taxila offered help.
Educated by Chanakya at Taxila. ‘Parisistha Parvam’ a jain text describes that he defeated the Nanda king & became ruler of Magadha empire. Defeated Greek, Selecus who had succeded Alexander in the eastern part. Selecus sent Megasthenes to his court.
He appointed his two sons, Sumana at Taxila & Ashoka at Ujjain. Ptolemy Philadelphous of Egypt sent Dionysius to his court.
Known as devanampiya & piyadasi. Edicts were in Greek &
Aramaic in Afghanistan, Prakrit language & Kharosthi script in
Pakistan. Prakrit language & Brahmi script in other areas. Rock
Edict XIII (Kalinga war) Bhabru Edict (Buddhism as his religion) VII (all sects desire self control & purity) XII (equal respect to all religion) II (Dhamma – Common code of conduct). Succeded by 6 Mauryan kings from Dasaratha to Brihadratha.
Army chief of Maurya king Brihadratha killed him while he was reviewing the army. Succeded by Agnimitra, Jethmitra & Vasumitra. Last king was Devabhuiti.
Hathigumpha inscription on Udaigiri hills near Bhubneshwar refers his achievement till 13th year. Ruled Kalinga.
Satvahanas also known as Andhras. Succeeded by Krishna, Satkarni I, Satakarni II, Gautamiputra Satakarni, Pulmavi II, Sri Yajna Satakarni.
Ruled in Pakistan region. Converted to Buddhism by Nagasena. Milindapanho is related to their conversation.
Sakas also known as Scythians were driven out of their original home land by Yueh Chi who later came to be known as Kushanas.
Nahapana ruled in western India.
Junagarh Rock Inscription talks about him. He undertook the repairs of the Sudarsan dam built by Pushyagupta, governor of Chandra Gupta Maurya. Ujjaynii was capital. Dynasty came to an end with the last king being defeated by Chandragupta II in 390
Also called Kujula Kadphises. Kadphises I was succeded by his son Wema Kadphises or Kadphises II – devotee of Shiva.
73 – 101 AD
Succeded Kadphises II. Capital of his vast empire was Purushapur or modern Peshawar.
The Guptas & Later Period
AD 320 AD
Sri Gupta was the first Gupta king followed by Ghatotkacha. Chadragupta I was Ghatotkacha’s son.
Son of Chandragupta I. Undertook south India campaign. Meghavarna, King of Srilanka sent an embassy to his court to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya.
Son of Samudtragupta & Duttadevi. Married his daughter Prabhavatigupta to Rudrasena II of Vataka dynasty. Defeated Sakas & took the title of Vikramaditya.
Kumaragupta I, Skandagupta (Inflicted a crushing defeat on the Hunas; repair of the dam on Sudarsana lake built by chandragupta maurya & earlier repared by Rudradaman I.
From the decline of Gupta & the rise of Harsha there flourished four major kingdoms in north India: Guptas of Magadha, Maukharis (around Kanauj), Maitrakas
(Saurashtra – Vallabhi as capital), Pushyabhutis of Thaneshwar (Uttaranchal).
606 – 647 AD
Son of Prabhakarvardhana of Pushyabhuti of Thaneshwar. Brother of Rajyavardhana & Rajyasri (sister married to Maukhari king, Grahavarman of Kanauj, later killed by Sasanka of Gauda). Also known as Siladitya. Gauda was later divided between him & Bhaskarvarman, the king of Kamarupa.
Vatakas (Deccan) – Vindhyasakti*, *Pravarasena*. Replaced by Chalukyas. Rashtrakutas – Dantidurga I*. They succeded Chalukyas of Badami.
Western Gangas (Mysore) – Konkanivarman Dharmamahadhiraja*
Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi – Mayursarman*, *Kakusthavarman*
Pallavas of Kanchipuram – Simhavishnu, Mahendravarman , *Narsimhavarman*
Later Kanauj was ruled by Yashovarman (discussed in Vakpati’s Gaudavaho)
After Nagabhatta I came Vatsaraja who defeated Dharmapala but was in turn defeated by Rashtrakuta king Dhruva. Dhramapala taking advantage installed his nominee chakrayudha at Kanauj
Defeated Chakrayudha & captured Kanuaj & defeated
Dharmapala. Ramabhadra succeded him
Succeded his father Ramabhadra. Defeated Rashtrakuta king
Krishna II. He was devotee of Vishnu & took the title of
Adivaraha. He was followed by great ruler Mahendrapala I
Elected by people to end Matsyanyaya (internal disorder). Next was Dharmapala who installed Chakrayudha at Kanauj but was defeated by Dhruva.
Most mighty pala king.
Dantidurga was succeded by his uncle Krishna I (built Kailasha)
Defeated both the Pratihara king Vatsaraja & Pala Dharampala. Was succeded by Govinda III & later Amoghavarsha I. Later came Indra III (defeated pratihara Mahipala I) & Krishna III
Ruled by single dynasty from the time of Mahabharata upto middle 7th century till Bhaskaravarma (ally of Harsha). Dynasty came to an end after his death.