Chapter 1 Ancient India

The Early Man

▸ The fossils of the early human being have been found in Africa about 2.6 million years back, but there are no such evidence in India. So, it appears that India was inhabited later than Africa.
▸ The recent reported artefacts from Bori in Maharashtra suggest that the appearance of human beings in India was around 1.4 million years ago.
▸ The evolution of the Earth’s crust shows four stages. The fourth stage is divided into Pleistocene (most recent) and Holocene (present).
▸ Man is said to have appeared on the Earth in the early Pleistocene.
▸ The early man in India used tools of stone roughly dressed by crude clipping. This period is therefore, known as the Stone Age, which has been divided into
▸ The Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age
▸ The Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age
▸ The Neolithic or New Stone Age

The Palaeolithic Age (500000 BC-9000 BC)

▸ The Palaeolithic culture of India developed in the pleistocene period or the ice age.
▸ It seems that Palaeolithic men belonged to the Negrito race. Homo Sapiens first appeared towards the end of this phase.
▸ Palaeolithic men were hunters and food gatherers. They had no knowledge of agriculture, fire or pottery, they used tools of unpolished, rough stones and lived in cave rock shelters. They are also called Quartzite men.
▸ This age is divided into three phases according to the nature of the stone tools used by the people and change in the climate.
▸ Early or Lower Palaeolithic
▸ Middle Palaeolithic
▸ Upper Palaeolithic

The Mesolithic Age (9000 BC- 4000 BC)

Phases of the Palaeolithic Age
▸ It intervened as a transitional phase between the Palaeolithic Age and the Neolithic Age.

Age Tools Climate Sites
Early Hand axes, cleavers and choppers Humidity decreased Soan valley (Punjab)
Middle Flakes-blades, points, borers and scrapers Further decrease in humidity Valleys of Soan, Narmada and Tungabhadra rivers.
Upper Scrapers and burin Warm climate Caves and rockshelters of this age have been discovered at Bhimbetka near Bhopal.

▸ In this age, climate became warm and dry, which brought about changes in fauna and flora and made it possible for human beings to move to new areas.
▸ The Mesolithic people lived on hunting, fishing and food- gathering. At a later stage, they also domesticated animals.
▸ The characteristic tools of the Mesolithic Age are microliths, pointed cresconic blades, scrapers, etc made up of stones.
Adamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and Bagor in Rajasthan provide the earliest evidence for the domestication of animals.
▸ The people of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic ages practiced painting. Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh is a striking site of Pre-historic painting of Mesolithic age.

The Neolithic Age (4000 BC-1800 BC)

▸ The people of this age are characterised by the use of polished stone tools. They particularly used stone axes.
▸ It is interesting that in Burzahom dogs were buried with their masters in their graves.
▸ The Neolithic settlers were the earliest farming communities. They produced ragi and horse-gram (kulathi). Neolithic sites in Allahabad district are noted for the cultivation of rice in the sixth millenium BC. They domesticated cattle, sheeps and goats. They wove cotton and wool to make clothes.
▸ Hand made pottery and use of potter wheel first appeared during the Neolithic age.
▸ Neolithic men lived in caves and decorated their walls with hunting and dancing scenes. They knew the art of making boats. In the later phase, people lived a more settled life and lived in circular and rectangular houses made of mud and reed.
▸ Koldihwa in UP revealed a three fold cultural sequence: Neolithic, Chalcolithic and iron age. Mehargarh in Baluchistan is the oldest Neolithic site in India (7000 BC).
▸ Important sites include Chhotanagpur region, Central India and South of the Krishna river. Belan valley of Vindhays and middle part of the Narmada valley shows all the three phases of Stone age.

Chalcolithic Culture (1800 BC-1000 BC)

▸ The end of the Neolithic period saw the use of metals. Copper was the first metal to be used.
▸ Chalcolithic culture refers to the stone-copper phase. People also used hand-axes and other objects made up of copper ware.
▸ Chalcolithic people were primarily rural communities. They domesticated animals and practised agriculture. They were not acquainted with burnt bricks and lived in thatched houses. They venerated the mother Goddess and worshipped the bull.
▸ The people of Chalcolithic culture were the first to use painted pottery. Black and red pottery painted with white line design was most popular.
▸ The Malwa ware is considered the richest among the Chalcolithic ceramics.
▸ Important sites of this phase are spread in Rajasthan, Maharashtra,West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh etc.

Indus Valley Civilisation

▸ Indus civilisation is one of the four earliest civilisations of the world along with the civilisations of Mesopotamia (Tigris and Euphrates), Egypt (Nile) and China (Hwang Ho).
▸ The civilisation forms part of the proto-history of India and belongs to the Bronze age.
▸ The most accepted period is 2500- 1700 BC (by Carbon-14 dating). It can be divided into following sub-parts
▸ Early Phase 2900-2500 BC
▸ Middle (mature) Phase 2500-2000 BC
▸ Later Phase 2000-1750 BC
Dayaram Sahni first discovered Harappa in 1921.
RD Banerjee discovered Mohenjodaro or Mound of the Dead in 1922.

Nomenclature of Indus Valley Civilisation

Indus Valley Civilisation as it flourished along the Indus river.
Harappan Civilisation named by John Marshall after the first discovered site, Harappa.
Saraswati-Sindhu Civilisation as most of the sites have been found at the Hakra-Ghaggar river.

Geographical Spread

▸ The civilisation covered parts of Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, West Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Maharashtra.
Mundigak and Shortughai are the two sites located in Afghanistan.
▸ West-Sutkagendor on Makran coast (Pak-Iran Border) East-Alamgirpur in Uttar Pradesh (River Hindon).
▸ North-Manda in Jammu (River Chenab). South-Daimabad in Maharashtra (River Pravara) are major sites.
Some New Discoveries
▸ Ganverivala in Pakistan by Rafeeq Mugal.
▸ Rakhigarhi in Sind (Haryana) by Rafeeq Mugal.
▸ Dholavira on bank of river Luni in Gujarat excavated by RS Bist and JP Joshi is largest and latest excavated site in India.
▸ Bhirrana oldest Harappan site has said to be the mounds at Bhirrana village on the banks of Ghaggar river.

Town Planning

▸ It was not uniform. A unique feature was the grid system i.e. streets cutting across one another at right angles, dividing the town into large rectangular blocks.
▸ The towns were divided into two parts: upper part or citadel and lower part.
▸ The fortified citadel on the Western side housed public buildings and members of ruling class.
▸ Below the citadel on the Eastern side, lay the lower town inhabited by the common people.
Underground Drainage System connected all houses to the street drains made of mortar, lime and gypsum. They were covered with either brick or stone slabs and equipped with its ‘Manhole’. This shows developed sense of health and sanitation.
The Great Bath (Mohenjodaro) It was used for religious bathing. Steps at either end leads to the surface. There were changing rooms alongside.
The Granaries (Harappa) six granaries in a row were found in the citadel at Harappa.
▸ Houses were made up of burnt bricks. They were often two or more storeyed, varied in size, with a square courtyard around, which had a number of rooms. Windows did not face the main streets. They had tiled bathrooms.
Lamp-posts were erected at regular intervals. It indicates the existence of street lighting.
Indus Cities At a Glance

City Province River Bank Year of Discovery Archaeologist(s)
Harappa Pakistani Punjab Ravi 1921 Daya Ram Sahni
Mohenjodaro Sind Indus 1922 RD Banerjee
Sutkagendor Baluchistan Dasht 1931 Aurel Stein
Rangpur Gujarat Meedar 1931 MS Vats
Chanhudaro Sind Indus 1931 MG Majumdar
Ropar Indian Punjab Sutlej 1953 YD Sharma
Lothal Gujarat Bhogava Sabarmati 1957 SR Rao
Kalibangan Rajasthan Ghaggar 1959 BB Lal
Alamgirpur Uttar Pradesh Hindon 1974 YD Sharma
Banawali Haryana Ghaggar 1974 RS Bisht


▸ It was the backbone of the civilisation. The soil was fertile due to inundation in the river Indus and flooding.
▸ The Indus people sowed seeds in the flood plains in November, when the flood water receded and reaped their harvests of wheat and barley in April, before the advent of next flood.
▸ They used wooden plough share (ploughed field from Kalibangan) and stone sickles for harvesting.
▸ Gabarbands or nalas enclosed by dam for storing water were a feature in parts of Baluchistan. Grains were stored in granaries.
Crops Produced wheat, barley, dates, peas, sesamum, mustard, millet, ragi, bajra and jowar. At Lothal and Rangpur, rice husks were found.
They were First to Produce Cotton in the world, which Greek called as Sindon derived from Sind. A fragment of woven cotton cloth was found at Mohenjodaro.
▸ Well irrigation is evident from Alladinho, dams and irrigation canals from Dholavira. Sugarcane was not known to Indus people.

Domestication of Animals

▸ Animal rearing was practiced , evident from the discovery of the Humped Bull.
▸ They domesticated buffaloes, oxens, sheep, asses, goats, pigs, elephants, dogs, cats etc.
▸ Camel bones are reported at Kalibangan and remains of horse from Surkotada.


▸ Agriculture, industry and forest produce provided the basis for internal and external trade.
▸ Trade was based on barter system. Coins were not evident, bullock carts, pack animals and boats were used for transportation.
▸ Weights and measures were made of limestone, steatite etc. generally in cubical shape. They were in multiple of sixteen.
▸ Several sticks inscribed with measure marks have been discovered. It points that linear system of measurement was in use.
▸ Foreign trade flourished with Mesopotamia or Sumeria (Iraq), Central Asia, Persia, Afghanistan and Bahrain.
▸ Sumerian text refers to trade with Meluha (Indus). Dilmun (Bahrain) and Makan (Makran coast) were two intermediate stations.
▸ Lothal (artificial dockyard), Surkotada, Sutkagendor, Prabhas, Bhatrao, Kalibangan, Dholavira, Daimabad were coastal towns of the civilisation.
Towns Associated with Different Industries
▸ Daimabad Bronze industry.
▸ Lothal Factory for stone tools and metallic finished goods.
▸ Balakot Pearl finished goods, bangle and shell industry.
▸ Chanhudaro Beads and bangles factory. It was the only city without a citadel.
Major Exports were agricultural products, cotton goods, terracotta figurines, pottery, steatite beads (from Chanhudaro), Conch-shell (from Lothal), ivory products, copper etc.
Major Imports

Gold Kolar (Karnataka), Afghanistan, Persia (Iran)
Silver Afghanistan, Persia (Iran), South India
Copper Khetri (Rajasthan), Baluchistan, Arabia
Tin Afghanistan, Biha
Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire Badakhshan (Afghanistan)
Jade Central Asia
Steatite Shaher-i-Sokhta, Kirthar hills
Turquoise Iran
Amethyst Maharashtra

Art and Craft

▸ Harappans used stone tools and were well acquainted with bronze. Bronze was made by mixing copper (from Khetri) with tin.
Bead Making and jewellery of gold, silver precious stone were made. Cotton fabrics were used in summers and woollen in winters.
▸ Both men and women were very fond of ornaments and dressing up.
Pottery both plain (red) or painted (red and black) pottery was made. Pots were decorated with human figures, plants, animals and geometrical patterns and ochre was painted over it.
Seals were made of steatite pictures of one horned bull, buffalo, tiger, rhinocerous, goat and elephant are found on the seals. They marked ownership of property.
Mesopotamia seals were found from Mohenjodaro and Kalibangan; Persian seal was obtained from Lothal. Most important one is the Pashupati seal.
Metal Images Bronze image of a nude woman dancer (identified as devadasi) and stone steatite image of a bearded man (both are obtained from Mohenjodaro).
Terracotta Figurines Fire baked clay was used to make toys, objects of worship, animals (monkey, dogs, sheep, cattle, humped and humpless bulls), cattle toys with movable head, toy-carts, whistle shaped like birds and both male and female figurines.
▸ They played dice games. Gambling was their favourite time pass. No clear evidence of music.

Religious Practices

Chief Female Diety A terracotta figure where a plant is shown growing out of the embryo of a woman, represents Mother Goddess (Goddess of Earth).
Chief Male Diety Pashupati Mahadeva (Proto-Shiva), represented in seals as sitting in a yogic posture on a low throne and having three faces and two horns. He is surrounded by an elephant, a tiger, a rhino and a buffalo and two deers appear at his feet.
▸ Lingam and yoni worship was prevalent. Trees (pipal), animals (bull, birds, dove, pigeon) unicorn and stones were worshipped. No temples have been found, though idoltary was practiced.
▸ Indus people believed in ghosts and evil forces and used amulets for protection against them. Fire altars are found at Lothal and Kalibangan.
▸ Evidence of snake worship is also found.

Burial Practices

▸ General practice was placing the dead body in the in North-South direction.
Mohenjodaro Three forms of burial were Complete, Fractional and Post Cremation.
Kalibangan Two forms of burial- Circular and Rectangular Grave.
Surkotada Pot-burial, Dholavira Megalithic burial.
Lothal Double burial.
Harappa East-West axis; R-37 and H cemetery.


▸ It was pictographic in nature. Fish symbol is most represented.
▸ Overlapping of the letters show that it was written from right to left in the first line and then left to right in the second line. This style is called Boustrophedon.

Decline of the Civilisation

The Harappan culture flourished about till 1800 BC, then it began to decline. There is no unanimity among historians, regarding the exact reason for the decline of this urban civilisation. There aremany different theories that show the decline of the Indus culture.
Decline of Indus Civilisation (Different Views)

External Aggression Wheeler, Piggot and Gordon-Childe
Inundation MR Sahani
Epidemic KVR Kennedy
Tectonic Disturbances (e.g. Dholavira) Marshall and Raikes
Sudden decline Wheeler
Climatic change RL Stein and AN Ghosh
Deforestation, Scarcity of resources, Ecological Imbalances Fairservis
Flood (e.g. Mohenjodaro) Marshall, SR Rao, Maickey
The Destruction due to change in course of River Ghaggar GF Holes

Important Harappan Sites

Harappa (Gateway city) Two row of six granaries with brick platform, work men’s quarter, stone symbol of lingam and yoni, virgin-Goddess, clay figures of Mother Goddess, wheat and barley in wooden mortar, copper scale and mirror, vanitybox, dice. Sculpture Dog chasing a deer (bronze), nude male and nude dancing female (stone), red sand stone male torso.
Mohenjodaro (Mound of the Dead) The great bath, The great granary (largest building), multi-pillared assembly hall, college, proto-Shiva seal, clay figures of Mother Goddess, Dice. Sculpture Bronze dancing girl, steatite image of bearded man.
Kalibangan (Black Bangle) Decorated bricks, bangle factory, wheels of a toy cart, wells in every house.Remains of a massive brick wall around both the citadel and lower town (lower town of Lothal is also fortified), bones of camel, tiled floor. Mother Goddess figurines are absent here.
Chanhudaro (Lancashire of India) Inkpot, lipstick, carts with seated driver, ikkas of bronze, imprint of dog’s paw on a brick. Only city without citadel.
Daimabad Bronze images of charioteer with chariot, ox, elephants and rhinoceros.

The Aryan and the Vedic Age

Original Home and Identity

▸ The word Aryan literally means of high birth. Veda means mantra and slokas and also knowledge and conscience.
▸ The location of the original homeland of the Aryans is still controversial, but the most accepted theory is that they migrated from Central Asia in several groups between 2000-1500 BC and settled in Eastern Afghanistan, modern Pakistan, Punjab and Western UP.
▸ This region is popularly known as the land of seven rivers or ‘Sapta Sindva’ (the Indus, its five tributaries Vitasta, Askini, Vipas, Parushni, Sutudri and the Saraswati).
Note The Central Asian theory is also proved by the Boghazkai Inscription (Turkey), which mentions four Vedic Gods : Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Nasatya.

Rigvedic or Early Vedic Period (1500-1000 BC)

▸ Early Vedic people had knowledge of rivers Yamuna, Saraswati, (Nanditara) and Ganga. Ocean was mentioned as Samudra (referred to collection of water and not sea) snow mountains (Himvat) and desert land (Dhawa). So, they lived in Sapta Sindva region.
▸ Aryans came into conflict with the indigenous inhabitants called Dasas (early branch of Aryans) and Dasyus (Original inhabitants). Dasyuhatya or slaughter of Dasyus is repeatedly mentioned in the Rig Veda.
Rivers Mentioned in the Rig Veda

Sindhu Indus
Vitasta Jhelum
Askini Chenab
Parushni Ravi
Vipas Beas
Shutudri Sutlej
Gomati Gumal
Krumu Kurram
Ghaggar Drishadvati Ghaggar
Suvasthu Swat
Kubha Kabul
Nandi tara Saraswati
Sadanira Gandak
Gumal Gomati

City Archaeological Finds

Amri Actual remains of rhinoceros.
Alamgirpur Impression of cloth on a trough.
Lothal (Manchester of Indus Valley Civilisation) Rice husk, fire altars, grinding machine, tusks of elephant, granomy, terracotta figure of horse and seal, dying vat, painted jar (bird and fox), teracotta ship, houses with entrance on main streets, impressions of cloth on some seals, modern day chess, instrument for measuring 180, 90 and 45 degree angles.
Ropar Buildings made of stone and soil. Dog buried with humans. One inscribed steatite seal with typical Indus pictographs; oval pit burials.
Banawali Oval shaped settlement, only city with radial streets, lack of systematic drainage pattern. Toy plough, largest number of barley grains.
Surkotada Both citadel and lower town fortified with stone wall. First actual remains of horse bones. Cemetry with four pot burials.
Dholavira Only site to be divided into three parts. Giant water reservoir, unique water harnessing system, dams and embankments, a stadium, rock-cut architecture.
Sutkagendor Two fold division of township Citadel and Lower Town.

The Dasarajna War
▸ This battle was fought on the bank of the Parushni river (Ravi), Sudas, the son of Divodas and the Bharata king of Tritsu family won over an alliance of ten tribes (Five Aryans and Five non-Aryans) and killed their leader Purusukta.
▸ The battle broke out due to a dispute between Vashistha (priest of Bharatas) and Visvamitra (priest of alliance).


▸ Aryans followed a mixed economy consisting of both agriculture and pastoralism.
▸ They possessed better knowledge in agriculture ploughshare is mentioned in Rig Veda. It was made up of wood and was drawn by the ox. They were acquainted with sowing, harvesting, threshing and knew about different seasons.
▸ The reference of cow in the Rig Veda shows that Rigvedic Aryans were predominantly pastoral people. The term for war in the Rig Veda is Gavishthi or search for cows. The horse was almost as important as cow.
Cow was the standard unit of exchange. Gold coins like Nishka, Krishna and Satmana were also in use. Godhuli was used as a measure of time and Gavyuti as measure of distance.


▸ The election of the king was by the tribal assembly called Samiti.
▸ Several tribal or clan based assemblies existed such as the Sabha, Samiti, Vidatha and Gana.
▸ The Samiti was the National Assembly of the people, while the Sabha was Council of Elders.
▸ King was assisted by many functionaries. Most important functionary was the Purohita, the religious advisor of the king, followed by the Senani, the head of the army.
▸ The voluntary offerings to the chief by the people was called Bali.
▸ There was no regular or standing army. However, there were groups of infantry and charioteers.
▸ Weapons made of stone, wood, bone and metal were used.


▸ Kinship was the basis of society’s structure. People gave their primary loyalty to the tribe, which was called Jana.
▸ An other term that stands for tribe in the Rig Veda is Vis.
▸ Vis was divided into grama. When grama clashed with one another, it caused the Sangrama or war.
▸ The term family (Kula) is rarely mentioned in the Rig Veda. Patriarchial family structure was prevalent.
Varna was the term used for colour of people, which were classified into four Varnas.
Brahmins (teachers and priests), Kshatriyas (rulers and administrators), Vaishyas (merchants and bankers), Sudras (artisans and labourers).

Rigvedic Gods

▸ Rigvedic people believed in nature worship and not in erecting temples or idol worship. They performed Yajnas in open areas.
Soma was considered to be the God of plants and an intoxicating drink is named after him.
▸ The ninth mandala of the Rig Veda i.e. ‘Soma Mandala’ is attributed to Soma.
▸ Some female divinities such as Aditi and Usha, represented the appearance of the dawn.
Types of Deities

God Associated Field
Indra/Purandar (Most Important) Breaker of Forts
Agni Fire God
Varuna Water God and upholder of natural order
Surya God with Seven horse driven chariot
Savitri God of light to whom Gayatri Mantra is addressed
Mitra Solar God
Pushan God of marriage, also guarded roads
Vishnu One, who covered Earth in Three steps-Upakrama
Rudra God of Animals
Dyaus Eldest God and Father of the World
Ashwin/Nastya God of health, youth and immortality
Sindhu River Goddess
Yama God of death
Marut Personified storm

Types of Marriages

Eight types of marriages were in practice during the Vedic period :

Brahma Marriage of a duly dowered girl to a man of the same class.
Daiva A daughter is given to a sacrificial priest, as a part of his fee.
Arsa A token bride-price of a cow is given in place of the dowry.
Prajapatya The father gives the girl without dowry and without demanding the bride-price.
Gandharva Love marriage.
Asura Bride was bought from her father.
Rakshasa Marriage by capture .
Paishacha Marriage by seduction.

Important Rituals

Rajasuya—The king’s influence was strengthened by rituals. The king performed this sacrifice, which was supposed to confer supreme power on him.
Asvamedha—A king performed the Asvamedha, which meant unquestioned control over the area, in which the royal horse ran uninterrupted.
Vajapeya—A king performed the Vajapeya or the chariot race, in which the royal chariot was made to win the race against his kinsmen.

Later Vedic Age (1000-600 Bc) (Painted Greyware Phase)

▸ Later Vedic texts refer to rivers Narmada, Sadanira etc. Vindhya mountain and territorial division of India into Aryavarta (Nothern India), Madhyadesa (Central India) and Dakshinapatha (Southern India). Aryans expanded from Punjab over the whole Western UP covered by Ganga-Yamuna Doab (Aryavarta).
▸ The expansion towards East is indicated in a legend of Satapatha Brahmana i.e. how Videha Madhava migrated from the Saraswati region, crossed Sadanira and came to the land of Videha (modern Tirhut).


▸ Formation of large kingdoms; for all practical purposes, Kingship became hereditary. Assembly lost its importance and royal power increased at their cost. Vidhata totally disappeared. Women were no longer permitted to attend assemblies.
▸ The term Rashtra indicating territory, first appeared in this period.
▸ Taittariya Brahmana refers to the theory of divine origin of kingship.
▸ Satapatha Brahmana refers to Twelfth Ratninas or civil functionaries of the time.
Twelve Ratninas (Shatapatha Brahmana)

Purohita The Priest
Mahishi Chief Queen
Yuvaraja Crown Prince
Suta/Sarathi The Royal herald/the Charioteer
Bhagadugha Tax collector
Akshavapa Accountant
Palagala Friend of king
Govikarta Head of forest department
Senani The General
Gramani Head of the village
Kshatri Gateman/Chamberlain
Sangrahitri Treasurer

▸ There was development of judiciary. Kings administered the criminal court. Serious crimes were the killing of an embryo, homicide, the murder of a Brahmin, stealing of gold and drinking sura. Treason was a capital offence.


▸ The fourfold division of society became more clear. Initially based on occupation, it later became hereditary.
Brahmin—The growing cult of sacrifice enormously added to the power of Brahmins.
Kshatriyas They constituted the warrior class.
Vaisyas—They were the agriculturalists, cattle rearers, traders, artisans and metal workers.
Shudras—Lowest in the social hierarchy and born to serve the upper three varna.
▸ The Ashram system was formed to attain four purusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha). Jabala Upanishada gives the earliest reference to four ashramas i.e. the stages of life—Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa.
▸ Position of women declined. Aitareya Brahmana states that daughter is the source of misery while a son is the protector of family. Maitrayani Samhita mentions three evils— liquor, woman and dice. Polygamy became frequent.
▸ However, some of the women had got higher education as indicated by the Yajnavalkya-Gargi dialogue in Vrihadarnyaka Upanishada.
▸ In this period, pratiloma vivah was not permitted.


▸ Agriculture became the chief economic activity. Manure was wheat, rice, barley, beans and seasum.
▸ New occupational group emerged, such as fisherman, washerman, dyers, doorkeepers and footmen.
▸ Tin, silver and iron was now known to the people.
▸ Merchants were organised into Guilds, as indicated by the terms-Ganas (corporations) and Sresthins (eldermen).


▸ Rituals became important in the cult of sacrifice.
▸ Prajapati became the supreme God. Vishnu was conceived as the preserver and protector of people.
▸ Pushan, responsible for well being of cattle, became the God of Shudras.
▸ Towards the end of the Vedic age, a section of society began to resent the priestly domination.
16 Sanskaras
1. Garbhadhana 9. Karnachhedana 2. Pumsavana 10. Vidyarmbha 3. Simantonnayan 11. Upanayana 4. Jatakarma 12. Vedarambha 5. Namakaran 13. Samavaratana 6. Nishkramana 14. Vivaha 7. Annaprashana 15. Vanprastha 8. Chudakarma 16. Antyesti

The Vedic Literature

▸ The word Veda comes from the word Vid, means to know or knowledge.
▸ Vedic texts are divided between Sruti (based on hearing) and Smriti (based on memory).
▸ Veda are divided into Samhitas.

Rig Veda

▸ One of the oldest religious text in the world.
▸ Collection of hymns, composed around 1700 BC, contains 1028 hymns and is divided into 10 mandalas.
▸ II to VII are the earliest mandalas, each of which is ascribed at a particular family of Rishi Gritsamad, Visvamitra Vamadeva, Atri, Bhardwaja, Vashistha. VIII mandala is ascribed to Kanvas and Angiras. IX mandala is the compilation of Soma hymns.
▸ The Xth mandala contains the famous Purushasukta hymn which explains that the four varnas were born from the mouth, arms, thighs and feet of the creator Brahma.
▸ The IIIrd mandala contains the Gayatri Mantra. which was compiled in the praise of Sun God Savitri.
Saraswati is the deity river in the Rig Veda.

Sama Veda

▸ Sama Veda derives its roots from ‘saman’, which means melodies. It is a collection of melodies. The hyms of the Sama Veda were recited by Udgatri at the Soma sacrifice.
▸ It contains Dhrupad Raga.

Yajur Veda

▸ Deals with the procedures for the performance of sacrifices. The beliefs and rituals of non-Aryans are written in it.
▸ Two text of Yajur Veda
Shukla (White) Yajur Veda
Krishna (Black) Yajur Veda

Atharva Veda

▸ It is a book of magical formulae. It contains charms and spells toward off evil and disease.

The Upanishadas

▸ The term Upanishadas is the knowledge acquired by sitting close to the teacher (Guru).
▸ Also called Vedarita, because they denote the last phase of Vedic period.
▸ They are spiritual and philosophical in nature and they reveal the aim of Vedas. They define the doctrine of Karma, Atman (soul), Brahma (God), origin of universe.
▸ There are 108 Upanishadas and the period of 800 BC to 500 BC is known as period of Upanishadas. 11 are predominant and they are called mokhya Upanishadas.


▸ These are the prose commentaries on various vedic hymns. They explain the Vedas in an orthodox way. They explain the hidden meaning behind the hymns. They are ritualistic by nature.
▸ The most important is the ‘Shatapatha Brahmana’ attached to the Yajur Veda. It recommends one hundred sacred paths.

The Aranyakas

▸ The sages dwelling in the forests explained the Vedic scriptures to their pupils in the form of Aranyakas. These have magical power and they form the concluding part of Brahmanas. It provides details of the rishis, living in jungle.


▸ They are the limbs of the Vedas. These are treaties of Science and Arts.
▸ Shiksha (deals with pronounciation) (phonetics).
▸ Kalpa (deals with rituals)
▸ Vyakarana (Grammar)
▸ Nirukta (Etymology)
▸ Chhanda (Metrics)
▸ Jyotisha (Astronomy)
▸ Panini wrote Ashtadhyayi (4th century BC) on Vyakarana.


There are four Upavedas—
Dhanurveda (Upaveda of Yajur Veda) : Deals with art of warfare.
Gandharvaveda (Upaveda of Sama Veda) : Deals with art and music.
Shastrashastra : Deals with military technology (associated with Atharva Veda)
Ayur Veda (Upaveda of Rig Veda) : Deals with medicine.


Six systems of Hindu philosophies, given by six philosophers of ancient India.

Nyaya (analysis) Gautama Vaisesika Kannada
Sankhya Kapila Yoga (application) Patanjali
Purva Mimansa Jaimini Uttar Mimansa Vyasa


▸ These include mythology, cosmogony, various legends, folk beliefs, law codes and miscellaneous topics.
▸ It refers to the change in the mode of worship (from sacrifice to idol worship), and visual appeal of deities as against worship of ideas.


Sutra literature is divided into three classes
Srauta Sutra (dealing with large public sacrifices).
Griha Sutra (dealing with rituals connected with birth, naming, marriage).
Dharma Sutra (explain social and local customs).


Mahabharata, written by Ved Vyas, is older than the ‘Ramayana’. Originally, the Mahabharata consisted of 880 verses then it was raised to 24000 verses. The final compilation brought the number of verses to 100000.
Ramayana written by Valmiki originally consisted of 6000 verses, which was raised to 12000 and finally 24000 verses.


Dharma Shastra is the other name for the Smritis, which are the law books written in sloka form.
▸ The important Smritis are Manav Dharma Shastra, Vishnu Dharma Shastra, Yajnavalkya Smriti and Narada Smriti.
Manav Dharma Shastra or Manusmriti is the oldest and most famous. Manu is supposed to be the first king and law maker.
▸ Later on, some minor Smritis and commentaries like the Mitakshara were compiled.

Pre-Mauryan Age

▸ The material advantages brought about by the use of the iron implements in Eastern UP and Bihar in 6th century BC helped in the formation of large territorial states.
▸ Use of iron tools in agriculture produced surplus, which could be taxed by the princes to finance their military and administrative needs.
▸ Thus, many Janapadas sprung up in the 6th century BC, the larger of which were called Mahajanapadas.

The Mahajanapadas

▸ The Anguttara Nikaya of Suttapitaka, Mahavastu (Buddhist literature) and Bhagavati Sutta (Jain literature) mentions the list of 16 Mahajanapadas. They were of two types
Non-Monarchial/Republican States Kamboj, Kuru, Koliyas (Ramgrama), Malla, Moriya (Pipplivana), Shakya (Kapilvastu), Vajji (Panchal), Lichchhavis (Vaishali), Bhaggas (Sumsumasa), Kalamas (Kesaputta), Videhas (Mithila), Jnatrikas (Kundalgrama).
Monarchical States Anga, Avanti, Chedi, Kashi, Kosala, Gandhara, Magadh, Matsya, Sursena, Vatsa.
▸ People now owned stronger allegiance to the Janapada or territory than the jana or tribe they belonged to.
Asmaka was the Southernmost Mahajanapada.
Vatsa was earlier a Kuru clan.
Vajji was confederacy of eight republican clans.

The Republican States

▸ The republics, unlike the monarchies were ruled by tribal oligarchies and the Brahmanas had no place.
▸ The ruling class belonged to the same class and varna. Lichchhavis are said to be the oldest republic in the world.


Raja (King), Uparaja (Vice-King), Senapati (Commander) and Bhandagarika (treasurer).
Mahajanapadas and their Capitals

1. Gandhara (Between Kabul and Rawalpindi). Taxila
2. Anga (Bhagalpur and Mungher in Bihar). Champa
3. Magadha (Patna and Gaya district of Bihar). Girivraj, Rajagriha (Bimbisara); Patliputra (Udayin); Vaishali (Shishunaga); Patliputra (Ashoka)
4. Kasi (Varanasi district, UP). Varanasi
5. Vajji (Vaishali district, Bihar). Vaishali
6. Malla (South of Vaishali district, UP). Kusinagara and Pava
7. Chedi (river Ken, Bundelkhand area). Sothivati-nagar or Shuktimati
8. Vatsa (river Yamuna, Allahabad and Mirzapur district in UP). Kaushambi
9. Kosala (Eastern UP). Sravasti and Ayodhaya (Saket)
10. Kuru (Ganga Yamuna doab, Delhi-Meerut region). Hastinapur and Indraprastha
11. Panchala (Ganga-Yamuna doab, Rohilkhand). Ahichhatra, Kampilya
12. Matsya (Jaipur-Bharatpur-Alwar district). Viratnagar/Bairath
13. Surasenas (Mathura region). Mathura
14. Asmaka (river Godavari) (near Paithan in Maharashtra). Patna or Patali
15. Avanti (Malwa). Ujjain (Northern capital), Mahismati (Southern capital)
16. Kamboja (Hazara district of Pakistan). Rajapur or Hataka

Magadha Empire

▸ The period from 6th century BC to 4th century BC saw the struggle for supremacy amongst the four Mahajanapadas- Magadha, Kosala, Vatsa and Avanti.
▸ Ultimately, Magadha emerged as the most powerful and prosperous kingdom in the North India.
▸ The founder of Magadha was Jarasandha and Brihadratha. But, the growth started under the Haryankas, expansion took place under the Shishunagas and Nandas and reached its zenith under the Mauryas.
Extent Former districts of Patna, Gaya and parts of Shahabad.
Causes of the Rise of Magadha
▸ Advantageous geographical location of the capital cities.
▸ Abundance of natural resources such as iron, helped in preparing effective weapons.
▸ The alluvial soil of the Gangetic plains and sufficient rainfall were very conducive for agriculture produce.
▸ Unorthodox character of Magadhan society and ambitious rulers.

Haryanka Dynasty

Bimbisara (544 BC- 492 BC)
▸ He built the capital city Rajgir (Girivraja), which was surrounded by five hills, the openings in which were closed by stone walls on all sides. This made Rajgir impregnable.
▸ He was contemporary to Gautama Buddha and Mahavira and the first king to have standing army and makaira, for which he is known as Seniya.
▸ He defeated Anga King Brahmadatta and strengthened his, own position by matrimonial alliances.
▸ His three wives belonged to royal family of Koshala ( Mahakosaladevi, sister of Prasenjit ruler of Kashi), Lichchhavi ( Chellana, sister of Chetaka) and Madra clan of Punjab. ( Khema, daughter of Madra king).
▸ He sent his personal physician, Jivak to his rival Avanti king Chandapradyota Mahasena of Ujjain, to cure him of jaundice.
▸ The Gandhara ruler of Taxila, Pukku Sati, sent on embassy to Bimbisara.
Ajatashatru (492 BC- 460 BC)
▸ He was son of Chellana and Bimbisara. He occupied the throne by killing his father.
▸ He adopted an aggressive policy of expansion and gained complete control over Kasi.
▸ He defeated his maternal uncle Prasenjit, king of Kosala and married his daughter Vijjira.
▸ He destroyed Vaishali (capital of the Lichchhavis) after a protracted war of sixteen years, by sowing the seeds of discord amongst the people of Vaishali.
Sunidha and Vatsakar Ajatashatru’s diplomatic ministers, Mahashilakantaka a war engine, which catapulted big stones and Rathamusala a kind of chariot with a mace; helped him to defeat the Lichchhavis.
▸ He fortified Rajagriha to meet the threat from Avanti. He also built the fort of Rajagriha and Jaladurga (a water fort) at Patali village on the bank of river Ganges.
▸ He patronised the first Buddhist Council and Buddha died during his reign.
Udayin (460 BC-444 BC)
▸ Son and successor of Ajatashatru.
▸ He built the fort upon the confluence of the Ganga and the Son rivers at Pataliputra (Patna), thus, transferred the capital from Rajgriha to the new city Pataliputra.
▸ Udayin was succeeded by weak rulers Anuruddha, Munda and Naga Dasak.

Shishunaga Dynasty(412 BC-344 BC)

Shishunaga was the minister of Nag-Dasak and was elected by the people.
▸ He destroyed the Pradyota dynasty of Avanti. This ended the hundred year old rivalry between the two states and Avanti became a part of Magadh. He temporarily shifted the capital to Vaishali.
Kalashoka (Kakavarin)
▸ He succeeded Shishunaga.
▸ He transferred the capital from Vaishali to Pataliputra and convened the second Buddhist Council in Vaishali (383 BC).
▸ Sabakami was the President of this council.

Nanda Dynasty (344 BC-323 BC)

It is considered to be the first non-Kshatriya dynasty and ruled for 100 years.
Mahapadmananda, the great conqueror and founder of the Nanda dynasty, also known as ‘Ekarat’, ‘Eka-chhatra’ (sovereign ruler) or Sarvakshatrantaka i.e. uprooter of the Kshatriyas (by Puranas) Ugrasena i.e. owner of huge army (Pali texts). He is also described as ‘‘ The first empire builder of Indian History.’’
▸ He conquered Koshala and Kalinga (and from here, he brought an image of the Jina as victory trophy).
▸ Succeeded by his eight sons, last one being Dhanananda.
Dhanananda (The Last Nanda Ruler)
▸ Alexander invaded North-Western India during his reign (326 BC), but the huge army of Dhanananda deterred Alexander from advancing towards Gangetic valley.
▸ He is probably referred to as Agrammes or Xan-drames in the Greek texts.
Chandragupta Maurya, assisted by Kautilya overthrew Dhanananda to establish Mauryan dynasty in 321 BC.

Foreign Invasions

Iranian Invasion
▸ The archaemenian ruler of Iran, took advantages of the political disunity on the North-West frontier of India.
Cyrus of Persia (588 BC-530 BC) was the first foreign conqueror, who penetrated well into India. He destroyed the city of Capisa (North of Kabul). He enrolled Indian soldiers in the Persian Army.
Darius I, grand son of Cyrus invaded North-West India in 516 BC and annexed Punjab, West of Indus and Sind.
Xerxes, the successor of Darius, employed Indians in the long war against the Greeks.
Impacts of Iranian Invasion
▸ Iranian contact gave an impetus to Indo-Iranian trade.
▸ There was cultural exchange in the form of Kharoshthi script from Iran to India. Some of Ashoka’s inscriptions in North-West India were written in this script.
▸ Iranian influence is perceptible in sculpture, e.g. the bell-shaped capitals.
Alexander’s Invasion
▸ Alexander, the king of Macedonia destroyed the Iranian empire. From Iran, he marched towards India, attracted by its great wealth and divided polity.
▸ Alexander conquered Kabul in 328 BC. He moved to India through the unguarded Khyber pass and reached Orhind near Attock in 326 BC.
Ambhi, the ruler of Taxila, readily submitted to Alexander. He got the first and strongest resistance from Porus.
▸ Alexander defeated Porus in the Battle of Hydaspas on the banks of the river Vitasta (Jhelum), but was impressed by his bravery, so he restored to Porus, his kingdom and made him his ally.
▸ After the Battle of Sakala, Alexander proceeded upto Beas with a view to conquer the East, but his fatigued army refused to cross the river.
▸ So, he was forced to retreat. He placed the North-Western India under the Greek Governor Selucus Nikator.
▸ He remained in India for 19 months (326-325 BC) and died in Babylon (323 BC) at the age of 33 years.
Impacts of Alexander’s Invasion
▸ Opening up of new trade routes between North-West India and Western Asia.
▸ Indians learnt from the Greeks in the fields of coinage, astronomy, architecture and sculpture (Gandhara school).
▸ Many Greek settlements were established, like Alexandria in Kabul and Sind, Boukephala in Jhelum.
▸ Alexander’s invasion paved the way for the expansion of the Mauryan empire in that area.
▸ His historians have left valuable accounts related to Indian geography, social and economic conditions, which enable us to build the Indian chronology of the times.
Pre-Mauryan Society
▸ Division of society into four classes necessitated the formation of Dharmasutras.
▸ Shudras were ill-treated, while all privileges were cornered by the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas.
▸ Restrictions were imposed on women and they were not entitled to education or the Upanayana ceremony.
▸ Dharmasutras condemned Vaishyas for lending money.
Pre-Mauryan Economy
▸ Agricultural production increased. Varihi and Sali were new varieties of rice; Karisa, Nivartan and Kulyavapa were units of land measurement; Sita was the state’s land.
▸ Development of industry and crafts. Sreni was the guild or corporation.
▸ Spurt in trade. Sartha referrred to caravans and Sresthi to bankers. Anathapindaka, was a Sresthi of Sravasti, who donated Jetuvana Vahana to the Buddha. Mendaka was another rich Sresthi of Rajagriha.
Pottery Northern black polished ware was used.
Immediate Causes of the Rise of Heterodox Sects
▸ Division of the society into four varnas.
▸ Reaction of the Kshatriyas to the Brahmins supremacy.
▸ The desire of the Vaishyas to improve their social position, with an increase in their economic position.
▸ To preserve cattle wealth.
▸ Desire to go back to simple life. The use of Sanskrit in Vedic texts was not understandable to the masses.

Religious Environment

The 6th century BC was the period of great religious upheaval or intellectual revolution. of the various sects that emerged in this period, Jainism and Buddhism were the most prominent. This marked the beginning of second Urbanisation in India, also known as the age of the Buddha.


▸ It was founded by Rishabhnath. He is described as an incarnation of Narayana in Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata Purana.
▸ There were 24 Tirthankaras (guru), the first one was Rishabhnath (emblem-bull).
▸ Rig Veda mentions two Tirthankaras- Rishabh Dev and Arishtanemi.
▸ The 23rd Tirthankara was Parsavanath ( symbol-serpent). He was the prince of Banaras, who abandoned the throne and led the life of a hermit. He died at Sammet Sikhar/Parasanath hill in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.
▸ The 24th Tirthankara was Vardhaman Mahavira (Emblem-lion).

Life of Mahavira

▸ VardhmanMahavira or Jina (conqueror) was born to Siddhartha (head of Jnatrika clan) and Trishla (Lichchhavi princess and sister of Chetak) in 540 BC at Kundalgram near Vaishali in Bihar.
▸ He was married to Yashoda and had a daughter Priyadarsena, whose husband Jamali became his first disciple.
Renunciation at the age of 30, he became an ascetic and joined an order founded by Parsavanath, but left it later. He wandered for six years with Gosala (founder of Ajivika Sect).
Kaivalya (perfect knowledge) attained at the age of 42, under a sal tree at Jimbhika grama in Eastern India on the banks of the river Rijupalika.
First Sermon at Pava to his eleven disciples known as Ganddharas. He also founded a Jain Sangha at Pava.
Death at the age of 72 in 468 BC at Pavapuri near Rajagriha.
▸ He became the head of a sect Nirgranthas (free from fetters), later called as ‘Jinas.’
▸ He was called the Jaina or Jitendriya (one who conquered his senses); Kevalin (perfect learned), Nirgranthas (from all bonds), Arihant (blessed one) and Mahavira (the brave).

Teachings of Mahavira

▸ Rejected the authority of the Vedas and did not believe in existence of God.
▸ He believed that every object possesses a soul, so he professed strict non-violence.
▸ Attainment of salvation by believing in penance and dying of starvation.
Universal brotherhood (equality) and non-belief in caste system.
▸ He believed in karma and transmi- gration of soul.

Jaina Philosophy

Syadavada All our judgements are necessarily relative, conditional and limited. It is the theory of ‘may be’ and seven modes of prediction are possible. Absolute affirmation and negation is wrong.
Anekantavada Doctrine of mayness of reality.
Three Ratnas (Way to Nirvana) :
▸ Right faith (Samyak Vishwas)
▸ Right knowledge (Samyak Jnan)
▸ Right conduct (Samyak Karma)
Five Cardinal Principles
▸ Non-injury (Ahimsa).
▸ Non-lying (Satya).
▸ Non-stealing (Asteya).
▸ Non-possession (Aparigraha).
▸ Observing celibacy (Brahmacharya).
▸ Mahavratas-monks, who observed the five principles.
▸ Anuvratas lay members who observed the five principles. The first four principles were given by Parsavanath, while the fifth was added later by Lord Mahavira.

Five Instruments of Knowledge

▸ Mati jnana—Perception through activity of sense organs including the brain.
▸ Avadhi jnana—Clairvoyant perception.
▸ Shruta jnana—Knowledge revealed by scriptures.
▸ Manahparyaya jnana—Telepathic knowledge.
▸ Keval jnana—Omniscience or Temporal knowledge.

Sects of Jainism

▸ After the death of Mahavira, during the reign of king Chandragupta Maurya, a severe famine led to a great exodus of Jaina monks from Ganga valley to the deccan. This migration led to a great schism in Jainism.
Bhadrabahu, who led the emigrants, insisted on the retention of the rule of nudity, which led Mahavira establish the sect of the Digambaras.
Sthulabhadra, the leader of the monk, who remained in the North allowed his followers to wear white garments termed as the Svetambaras.

Jain Church

Arya Sudharman, one of the disciple of Mahavira, became the Thera (Potiff) of Jaina Church after his death. Later, he was succeeded by Jambu, Sambhutavijaya and Bhadrabahu (contemporary to Chandragupta Maurya).

Spread of Jainisim

▸ In later times, Jainism was chiefly concentrated in two regions :
▸ Gujarat and Rajasthan-Svetambara sect.
▸ Mysore—Digambara sect.

Importance of Jainism

Led to the growth of many regional languages like Suraseni, out of which grew the Marathi, Gujarati, Rajasthani and Kannada.
Causes Behind the Decline of Jainism
▸ Extreme observance of ahimsa, penance and austerity.
▸ No patronage from later kings.
▸ The Jainas did not make any efforts to spread their religion.
Jaina Councils

Council Year Venue Chairman Developments
First Jaina 300 BC Council Pataliputra Sthulabhadra Chandragupta Maurya Compilation of 12 Angas to replace 14 Purvas.
Second Jaina AD 512 Council Vallabhi Devridhigani Kshmasramana Final compilation of 12 Angas and 12 Upangas.


Founded by Gautama Buddha (also called Sakyamuni or Tathagata) known originally as Siddhartha.

Gautam Buddha

▸ He was born ( Symbol-lotus and bull) in 563 BC at Lumbini (Sakya tribe of Kapilvastu) on Vaiskha Purnima day in Kshatriya clan.
▸ His father Suddhodhana was the Saka ruler, his mother Mahamaya died after 7 days of his birth, so he was brought up by stepmother Gautami.
▸ Married at 16 to Yashodhara, enjoyed the married life for 13 years and had a son named Rahul.
▸ Great Renunciation or Mahabhinishkramana ( Symbol-horse) at the age of 29 years after witnessing four scenes in a sequence (old man, sick man, dead body and an ascetic).
Nirvana or enlightenment (symbol-Bodhi tree) at 35 years of age at Uruvella (Bodh Gaya) under a pipal tree on the banks of Niranjan (Phalgu) river on the 49th day of meditation.
▸ First Sermon or Dharmachakra Pravartana (symbol-8 spoked wheel) at Sarnath, where his five disciples had settled.
▸ Death at the age of 80 years in 483 BC at Kusinagar in UP in the Malla republic (Mahaparinirvana).
Major Events of Buddha’s Life

Events Symbols
Janma (Birth) Lotus and Bull
Mahabhinishkramana (Renunciation) Horse
Nirvana/Sambodhi (Enlightenment) Bodhi tree
Dhramachakra pravartana (First Sermon) Wheel
Mahaparinirvana (Death) Stupa

Teachings of Buddha
(a) Four Noble Truths (Arya Satyas)
1. The world is full of sorrows (Sabbam Dukkam). 2. The cause of sorrow is desire (Dwadash Nidan/Pratitya Samutpada). 3. If desires are conquered, all sorrows can be removed (Nirvana). 4. This can be achieved by following the 8-fold path (Ashtangika Marga).
▸ The second truth, is based on Buddha’s doctrine of Paticheha Samutpada or Pratitya Samutpada i.e. law of dependent origination or causation.
(b) Eight-Fold Path (Ashtangika marga)
▸ Right understanding
▸ Right thought
▸ Right speech
▸ Right action
▸ Right means of livelihood
▸ Right effort
▸ Right mindfulnes awareness
▸ Right concentrations meditation
(c) Three Jewels (Triratnas)
▸ Buddha (the enlightened)
▸ Dhamma (doctrine)
▸ Sangha (order)
(d) Code of Conduct
▸ Do not covet the property of others
▸ Do not commit violence
▸ Do not use intoxicants
▸ Do not speak a lie
▸ Do not indulge in corrupt practices
(e) Belief in Nirvana
▸ Also known as moksha or salvation. It refers to a belief in the concept of ultimate bliss, whereby the person gets freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
(f) Belief in Ahimsa
▸ Law of Karma and Madhya Marga/Madhyama Pratipada (the middle path).
Buddhist Sangha
It consisted of monks (Bhikshus or Shramanas) and nuns, who acted as a torch bearer of the dhamma. The worshippers were called Upasakas.
Sects of Buddhism
Vajrayana Its followers believed that salvation could be attained by magical power, which they called vajra.
▸ The chief divinity of the sect is Taras. Bengal and Bihar (Eastern India) was the main area of its concentration.
Hinayana (the Lesser Vehicle).
Mahayana (the Greater Vehicle).
Buddhist Scriptures
Hinayana Literature (in Pali)
Vinaya Pitaka rules of monastic discipline for monks.
Sutta Pitaka collection of Buddha’s sermon.
Abhidhamma Pitaka Philosophies of Buddha’s teachings.
Causes of the Decline of Buddhism
▸ Incorporation of rituals and ceremonies, it originally denounced.
▸ Reform in Brahamanism and rise of Bhagavatism.
▸ Buddhists took up the use of Sanskrit (earlier Pali), started practicing idol worship, receiving offerings and huge donation.
Importance of Buddhism
▸ Promotion of trade and commerce.
▸ Stressed upon the Doctrine of Ahimsa.
▸ Improvement in condition of women and down trodden sections.
▸ Spread of Indian culture to other parts of Asia.
▸ Promotion of Pali language and education through Residential Universities (Taxila, Nalanda).
Spread of Buddhism
Mahayanism in Central Asia, China and Japan, Hinayanism in Ceylon, Thailand and other parts of South-East Asia.
▸ King Ashoka sent Buddhist missions under his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka.
▸ Kanishka was the patron of Mahayana sect of Buddhism.
Buddhist Councils

First Council 483 BC Saptaparni cave, Rajgriha Mahakassaapa Ajatashatru (Haryanka Dynasty) Compilation of Sutta Pitaka and Vinaya Pitaka by Ananda and Upali respectively.
Second Council 383 BC Vaishali Sabakami Kalasoka (Shisunaga Dynasty) Monks were split into Sthavirmadins and Maha sanghikas.
Third Council 250 BC Patliputra Mogaliputta Tissa Ashoka (Maurya Dynasty) Compilation of Abhidhamma Pitaka.
Fourth Council AD 72 Kundalvan, Kashmir Vasumitra (Chairman) and Ashwaghosha (Vice-Chairman) Kanishka (Kushan Dynasty) Division of Buddhists into Hinayana and Mahayana.

Some Famous Buddhist Scholars
Ashvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Buddraghosha, Dinnaga and Dharmakirti.
▸ Vajrapani (holds thunderbolt). ▸ Avlokitesvara/Padmapani (lotus bearer).
▸ Manjushri (holds books describing 10 paramitas). ▸ Kshitigrha (guardian of purgatories).
▸ Maitreya (the future Buddha). ▸ Amitabha/Amitayusha (The Buddha of heaven).
Buddhist Architecture
Buddhism takes the credit for
First human statues to be worshipped.
Stone-pillars depicting the life of Buddha at Gaya, Sanchi and Bharhut.
Gandhara art and the beautiful images of the Buddha.
Cave architecture in the Barabar hills at Gaya and in Western India around Nashik.
Art pieces of Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda.
▸ Traditional names of buddhist places.
Stupa relics of Buddha or some prominent monks.
Chaitya Prayer hall.
Vihara residence.

Similarities between Buddhism and Jainism

▸ Both opposed Brahmanical domination and caste system, but upheld the essence of Vedas, preached truth, non-violence, celibacy and detachment from material comforts, believed in karma and rebirth and were liberal towards women.
Differences between Buddhism and Jainism

Buddhism Jainism
Followers Monks Lay man
Salvation Moderate one Extreme one
Spread Died in India, but spread to foreign lands Confined to India and survived
Ahimsa Liberal Policy Over-emphasis
Soul Did not believe in soul Believed in soul

Other Heterodox Sects

Sect Founder Theory
Ajivikas Gosala Maskariputra (Makhali) Believed in fate called ‘Niyati’
Amoralism Purana Kassapa Sankhya Philosophy
Lokayata or Ajita Keshakambalin Charvaka School Uchchedavada (annihilationism)
Hindu Vaisesika Pakudha Katyayana School Sorrow, happiness and life are indestructible like Earth, water etc.

Buddhist Universities
Buddhist Universities Location Founder

Nalanda Badagaon, Bihar Kumargupta-I
Vikramshila Bhagalpur, Bihar Dharmapala (Pala ruler)
Somapuri North Bengal Dharmapala (Pala ruler)
Jagadal Bengal Ramapala (Pala ruler)
Odantpuri Bihar Sharif, Bihar Gopala (Pala ruler)
Vallabhi Gujarat Bhattarka (Maitrak rule)

The Mauryan Empire

Origin of Mauryas

Mudrarakshasa—Mauryas were connected with the Nandas and were called them Vrishal/Kulhina (of low clan).
Buddhist Tradition Chandragupta was a Kshatriya (Sakya clan). The region was full of peacocks (mors), so became famous as ‘Moriyas’.
Puranas They belonged to the Moriya clan (low caste).
▸ Junagarh rock inscription of Rudrada- man (AD 150) suggests that Mauryans might have been of Vaishya origin.


Literary Sources
Arthashashtra of Kautliya (Chanakya or Vishnugupta) Written in Sanskrit by Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya, it is a treatise on state craft and public administration under Mauryas. The book is in 15 parts.

Buddhist Literature

▸ Ashoka vadana and Divyavadana Information about Bindusara and Ashoka’s expeditions to Taxila.
▸ Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa (Sri Lankan chronicles) Ashoka’s role in spreading of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Jatakas Socio-economic conditions of Mauryan period.
▸ Sthaviravali Charita or Parisisthaparvan of Hemachandra (A biography of Chanakya) Chandragupta’s conversion to Jainism.
▸ Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta in Sanskrit, an account of prevailing socio-economic conditions and about how Chandragupta overthrew the Nandas with the help of Chanakya.
Indica of Megasthenese Socioeconomic and administrative structure under Mauryas; Indians free from slavery; 7-castes system and usuary in India.
Various Edicts of Mauryan Age

Edicts Content Location
A. Rock Edicts
14 Major Rock Edicts Ashoka’s principle of government and policy of Dhamma. Kalsi (Dehradun, Girnar (Gujarat), Yerragudi (Andhra Pradesh), Mansehra (Pakistan), Sopara (Bombay), Dhauli and Jaugada (Orissa), Shahbazgarhi (Pakistan).
Two separate Kalinga Edicts Kalinga War and new system of administration after war (All men are my children – Dhauli). Dhauli or Tosali and Jaugada (Orissa).
Minor Rock Edicts Personal history of Ashoka and summary of his Dhamma. South and central parts of the empire.
B. Pillar Edicts
7 Pillar Edicts Appendix to the Rock Edicts. Delhi topra, Delhi-Meerut, Rampurva, Lauriya-Araraj, Lauriya-Nandangarh and Allahabad-Kosam.
C. Other Edicts
Queen’s Edict Refers to Karuvaki mother of Tivala/Tivara, the 2nd Queen. On Allahabad Pillar
Bhabru Edict Ashoka’s faith in Buddhism Bairat (Rajasthan)
Nigalisagar Pillar Edict Stupa of Buddha at Kanakamuni was enlarged. Nigalisagar (Nepal)
Rummindei Pillar Ashoka visited Lumbini and reduced land tribute. Rummindei/Lumbini (Nepal).
3 Barbara cave Edicts Donation to Ajivikas. Barbara hills (Gaya, Bihar).

Puranas Chronology and lists of Mauryan kings.
Others Account of Diodorous, Pliny, Plutarch (Chandragupta as Androcottus), Arrian and Justin (Chandragupta as Sandrocottus).

Epigraphical Evidences

Ashoka’s Edicts and Inscriptions Ashoka’s edicts were first deciphered by James Princep in 1837. It was written in Prakrit language and 3 scripts viz Kharoshthi in North-West, Greek and Aramaic inWest and Brahmi in Eastern India.
Quick Digest
▸ Inscriptions of Skandgupta and Rudradaman are also found at Girnar. The pillar Edict VII is the last edict to be issued by Ashoka.
▸ Mahasthan and Sohgura copper plate inscriptions issued by Chandragupta Maurya, deals with relief measures adopted during famine.
▸ Latest discovery-3 Ashokan minor rock edicts from Sannati village (Karnataka).

Chandragupta Maurya (321 BC-298 BC)

▸ Also called as Sandrocottus/ Androcottus by Greek scholars.
▸ He entered into an alliance with Parvartaka and with the help of Chanakya, he dethroned the last Nanda ruler Dhanananda and founded the Mauryan dynasty with the capital at Pataliputra.
▸ Chandragupta defeated Selucus Nikator, the general of Alexander in North-West India in 305 BC. Selucus surrendered a vast territory in return for 500 elephants. Hindukush became the boundary between the two states. There was a matrimonial alliance between them.
▸ Selucus also sent the Greek Ambassador, Megasthenese, to the court of Chandragupta Maurya.
▸ Chandragupta embraced Jainism and went to Chandragiri hill, at Sravanbelagola with Bhadrabahu, where he died of slow starvation (Salekhna).
▸ Chandragupta was the first Indian ruler to unite the whole North India. Both trade and agriculture flourished during his reign. Weights and measures were standarised, money came into use and sanitation and famine relief measures were undertaken by the states.

Bindusara (298 BC-273 BC)

▸ Greeks called him Amitro Chates (derived from Sanskrit word Amitraghata i.e. slayer of foes); Vindupala (Chinese texts;), Sinhasena- Jain text; Bhadrasara (Yayu Purana).
▸ He extended the kingdom further to the Peninsular region of India as far South as Mysore.
Antiochus I, the Selucid king of Syria, sent his Ambassador, Deimachus to his court.
Pliny mentions that Ptoleny Philladelphus of Egypt sent Dionysius as his Ambassador to the court of Bindusara.
Taranath—the Buddhist monk, credits him for conquering the land between the two seas.
▸ Antiochus I sent some sweet wine and dried figs to Mauryan court on Bindusara’s request, but denied to send a sophist explaining that Greek law forbid a sophist to be sold.
▸ He patronised Ajivika sect.

Ashoka (273 BC-232 BC)

▸ He was the greatest Mauryan ruler; Governor of Taxila and Ujjain previously. His rule extended to the whole of sub-continent except to the extreme South. It also included Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Kashmir and valleys of Nepal.
▸ A Buddhist text Dipavasma says that he usurped the throne after killing his 99 brothers, except the youngest one, Tissa in the war of succession that lasted for four years.
▸ He fought Kalinga War (261 BC) in the 9th year of his rule. The miseries of war caused deep remorse to Ashoka, and therefore he abandoned the policy of physical conquest (Bherighosa) in favour of cultural conquest (Dhamma ghosha).
▸ However, Ashoka retained Kalinga after conquest. This proves that he was not an extreme pacifist and changes in his policies were mainly for administrative purposes.
▸ He embraced Buddhism under Upagupta.
▸ He sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Ceylon as Buddhist missionaries with a sapling of original pipal tree.
▸ He inaugurated the Dhammayatras from the 11th year of his reign by visiting Bodh Gaya; also appointed Dhamma Mahamatras (officers of righteousness) to spread the message of Dhamma.

Ashoka’s Dhamma

▸ It was a code of conduct and a set of principles to be adopted and practiced by the people to build up an attitude of social responsibility and preserve the social order. It ordained to pay respect to elders, mercy to slaves and emphasised truth, non-violence and tolerance.

Later Mauryas

▸ Following the death of Ashoka, the Mauryan dynasty lasted for 137 years, the empire was divided into Western and Eastern parts.
Brihadratha, the last Mauryan ruler, was assassinated in 184 BC by his Brahmin Commander in-chief, Pushyamitra Shunga, who established the Shunga dynasty.

Mauryan Administration

▸ The Mauryan state was a welfare state, with highly centralised government.
Central Administration King was the Nucleus, assisted by Mantri Parishad, which included :
Yuvaraj the crown Prince
Gopa the Purohit Chief Priest
Senapati Commander-in-Chief of Army and other ministers.
Provincial Administration

Provinces Capital
Uttarapatha (North) Taxila
Avantipatha (West) Ujjain
Prachyapatha (West) Kalinga
Dakshinpatha (South) Suvarnagiri
Central Province Pataliputra

Some Important Rock Edicts

MRE I Prohibition of animal sacrifice
MRE II Refers to Cholas, Pandyas, Satya putras and Kerala putra (kingdom of South) and care for man and animals
MRE III Liberality to Brahmins
MRE IV Non-violence; courtesy to relations
MRE V Appointment of Dhamma Mahamatras
MRE VII Tolerance among all sects
MRE VIII Dhammayatras
MRE IX Charity, kinship, Dhamma
MRE XII Religious tolerance
MRE XIII Kalinga war; Bheri Ghosa to Dhamma Ghosa

Art and Architecture

▸ Mauryan art is classified into two groups by Ananda Coomaraswamy 1. Popular/Folk Art Sculptures of Yaksha and Yakshini e.g. Yaksha of Parkham (Mathura); Yakshini from Vidisha (MP) and Didarganj (Patna). 2. Royal/Court Art Royal Palace of Chandragupta Maurya at Kumharar, Patna (Fa Hien referred it as the creation of God), city of Patliputra Ashokan pillars; stupas and caves.
▸ Mauryans introduced stone masonry on a large scale.
Pillars represent the masterpiece of Mauryan sculpture e.g.
▸ Single lion capital Rampurva and Lauriya Nandangarh.
▸ Four lion capital at Sarnath and Sanchi.
▸ Carved elephant at Dhauli and engraved elephant at Kalsi.
Causes of the Fall of the Mauryan Empire
Brahmanical reaction (HP Shastri), financial crisis, oppressive rule, weak successors; highly centralised administration (Romila Thapar); Pacific policy of Ashoka (HC Ray Chaudhary); Partition of the empire are some of the probable causes of decline of Mauryan empire.
Stupas were built throughout the empire, to enshrine the relics of Buddha e.g. Sanchi and Bharhut.

Significance of MauryanRule

▸ The emblem of Indian Republic has been adopted from the lion capital of Ashokan pillar at Sarnath.
▸ Many Gurukuls and Buddhist monasteries (Taxila and Banaras) developed with royal patronage.
▸ Literary developments e.g. Arthashashtra (Kautilya); Kalpasutra (Bhadrabahu), Katha Vastu (Buddhist text), Bhagwati Sutra, Acharanga Sutra and Dasavalik (Jaina text).

Post-Mauryan Period

Mauryans were succeeded by many ruling dynasties from Central Asia in North-West India and by native rulers (Shungas, Kanvas, Satvahanas) in the Eastern, central and Deccan region of India.

Foreign States

The Indo-Greeks

▸ A series of invasions began in about 200 BC. The weak Mauryan king failed to restrict them. The first to invade India were the Indo Greeks, who ruled Bactria lying South of the Oxus river in the area covered by North Afghanistan. They occupied a large portion of North-Western India and moved upto Ayodhya and Pataliputra.
▸ The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander (165-145 BC) or Milinda. He had his capital at Sakala (modern Sialkot in Punjab). He invaded the Ganga Yamuna doab. He was converted to Buddhism by Nagasena. Menander and Nagasena’s conversation were recorded in the book Milindapanho or ‘the questions of Milinda.’
▸ They were the first rulers in India to issue coins. The Greek rule introduced features of Hellinistic art in the North-West frontier of India. e.g. Gandhara art and Military Governorship.
▸ The Sanskrit term for astrology Horshastra is derived from the Greek term horoscope.

The Shakas or Scythians (AD Ist to 4th Century)

▸ The Greeks were followed by the Shaka.
▸ There were five branches of Shakas ruling from Afghanistan, Punjab, Mathura, (where it ruled for about two centuries.), Ujjain (rules over) Western India and Deccan.
▸ A king of Ujjain, who called himself Vikramaditya defeated Shakas. An era called the Vikram Samvat is recorded from the event of his victory over the Shakas i.e. 57 BC.
▸ The most famous Shaka ruler in India was Rudradaman (AD 130-150).
▸ He repaired the Sudarshan lake in the semi arid zone of Kathiawar and issued the first ever longest inscription in Chaste Sanskrit at Junagarh.
▸ Other important Saka ruler in India were Nahapana, Ushavadeva, Chastana, Ghamatika etc.
Sudarshana Lake
▸ It was constructed by Pushyagupta the Governor of Saurashtra under Chandragupta Maurya.
▸ Tushasp constructed dam on the lake during the reign of Ashoka Maurya. First reconstruction by Governor Survishakh under Saka Satrap Rudradaman and second by Chakrapalit under Skandgupta.

The Parthians (AD 1st to 3rd Century)

▸ Originally, the Parthians lived in Iran, from where they moved to India and replaced Shakas.
▸ They occupied only a small portion of North-Western India as compared to the Greeks and Shakas.
▸ The most famous Parthian king was Gondophernes, in whose reign St Thomas came to India for the propagation of Christianity.

The Kushanas (AD 1st to 3rd Century)

▸ The Kushanas (Yuechis or Tochanians) replaced the Greeks and Parthians. They were nomadic people from steppes of North Central Asia. Their empire included a good part of Central Asia, portion of Iran, a portion of Afghanistan, almost the whole of Pakistan and North India.
▸ The first Kushana dynasty was founded by Kujala Kad-phises. Wima Kadphises (the 2nd ruler) issued gold coins in India. Kanishka founded the 2nd Kushana dynasty.

Kanishka (AD 78-101)

He was also known as Second Ashoka and was the most famous Kushana ruler. He had two capitals–Purushpur and Mathura.
▸ Kanishka started an era in AD 78, which is now known as Saka era and is used by Government of India.
▸ He patronised the fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir, where the doctrine of Mahayana form of the Buddhism was finalised.
▸ Kanishka patronised the following persons : Ashwaghosha Buddhacharita Nagarjuna Madhyamik sutra Vasumitra Chairman of the fourth Buddhist Council Charaka Charakasamhita.
▸ The last Kushana ruler was Vasudeva I. This shows that successors of Kanishka bore typical Indian names as Vasudeva.

Impacts of Central Asian Contact

▸ The Shaka-Kushana phase registered a distinct advance in building activities. The use of burnt brick for flooring and that of tiles for both flooring and roofing, construction of brick well and red ware pottery became prevalent.
▸ They introduced better cavalry and tunic, trousers and long heavy coat and also. They also brought cap, helmets, and boots, which were used by warriors. The Kushanas were the first rulers in India to issue gold coins. Kanishka controlled the famous silk route in Central Asia.
▸ The Kushana empire gave rise to Gandhara and Mathura Schools of Art. The famous headless erect statue of Kanishka shows artistic creations of Mathura School. Vatsyayana wrote Kamasutra in this period.

Gandhara School of Art

▸ It exhibits the influence of Greek and Roman art; patronised by Shakas and Kushanas. The school specialised in Buddha and Bodhi-sattva images, stupas and monasteries. They used blue schist stone.
▸ Buddhas of this school of art are gentle, graceful and compassionate.

Mathura School of Art

▸ The Buddha of the Gandhara School of Art were copied here, but in a refined way.
▸ The majority of creations consisted of nude, seminude figures of female, Yakshinis or Apsara in an erotic pose.
▸ The image exhibited not only masculinity and energetic body, but also grace and religious feeling.

Amaravati School of Art

▸ Lord Buddha depicted in the form of a Swastika mark. Also depicted Buddha in the human form for the first time.
▸ The ornate bull or ‘Nandiswara’, situated in the Amareswara temple, is also an Amaravati piece of art.

Native States

The successors of Ashoka were weak kings, so Mauryan empire gradually declined. The last ruler of Mauryan dynasty was killed by his own commader-in-Chief Pushyamitra Shunga who founded the Shunga dynasty.

Shunga Dynasty (185 BC-73 BC)

Pushyamitra Shunga ruled from Vidisha (MP). He defeated Bactrian king, Dematrius and conducted two Ashvamedha Yajnas (Chief priest- Patanjali). He is considered to be the prosecutor of Buddhism.
▸ However, the Buddhist Stupa at Bharhut was built during his reign.
▸ The Greek Ambassador Heliodorus visited the court of fifth Shunga king Bhagabhadra and set-up a pillar in honour of Lord Vasudeva near Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh).
▸ Shunga king Agnimitra was hero of Kalidasa’s Malvikagnimitram.
▸ The Shungas marked as the revival of Hindu culture, Sanskrit language and Bhagavatism.
▸ The great Sanskrit Grammarian, Patanjali was patronised by them.
▸ The famous book on Hindu Law Manusmriti was compiled during this period.
Later Kings Vasumitra, Vajramitra, Bhagabhadra, Devabhuti. All of them were Brahmanas.
Shunga Art Bharhut Stupa, gateway railing surrounding the Sanchi Stupa built by Ashoka, Vihara, Chaitya and Stupa of Bhaja (Poona), Nasika Chaitya, Amaravati Stupa etc.

Kanva Dynasty (73 BC-28 BC)

▸ Kanva was a minor dynasty founded by Vasudeva, who killed the last Shunga king Devabhuti. Its capital was at Patliputra.
Bhumimitra and Narayana succeeded Vasudeva. All the rulers were Brahmins.
▸ The last ruler, Susarman, was killed by Andhra king Simuka.

The Cheti Dynasty of Kalinga

▸ The Hathigumpha inscription of Kharavela—the third ruler of the dynasty, gives information about the Chetis. Kharavela pushed his kingdom upto Godavari in the South, and recovered the Jaina image from Magadha.
▸ He was a follower of Jainism. He constructed residential caves for Jain monks on the Udaygiri hill near Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.

The Satavahana Dynasty

▸ The Satavahanas are considered to be identical with the Andhra, who are mentioned in the Puranas.
▸ The earliest inscriptions of the Satavahanas belong to the first century BC, when they defeated the Kanvas and established their power in parts of Central India.
▸ They were successors of Mauryas in the Deccan and Central India.
▸ The founder of this empire was Simuka, after the assassination of last Kanava King Susarman.
Gautamiputra Satakarni (AD 106-130) was the greatest ruler of this dynasty.
▸ Assumed the title of raja-raja and maharaja.
▸ His capital was at Paithan or Pratisthan on the banks of the river Godavari in Aurangabad district.
Vasishthiputra Sri Satkarni, the 24th ruler, married the daughter of Saka Satrap Rudradaman, but was twice defeated by him.
Yajna Sri Satkarni (AD 165-194), the later king of Satavahanas, ‘recovered North Konkan and Malwa from Shaka rulers. His coins figured ‘ship with double mast’.
Pulamayi III was the last Satavahana ruler, succeeded by Ikshavakus in the 3rd century BC.

Important Aspects of the Satavahanas

▸ They issued mostly lead coins (apart from copper and bronze). Satavahanas were the first rulers to make land grants to Brahmins. There is an instance of grants being made to Buddhist monk, which shows they also promoted Buddhism.
▸ Satavahana rulers called themselves Brahmins. Gautamiputra Satkarni boasted that he was a true Brahmin.
▸ They performed Vedic rituals and worshipped Gods like Krishna, Vasudeva and others.
▸ Stupas at Nagarjuna konda and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh became important seats of Buddhist culture under the Satavahanas.
▸ In the Satavahana phase, many chaityas e.g. Karle caves in Western deccan, Nashik and Kanheri and Viharas were cut out of solid rocks in the North-Western Deccan. The official language of Satavahanas was Prakrit and the script was Brahmi.
▸ Provinces were called Ahara, and the officials were known as Amatyas and Mahamatyas.

The Age of the Guptas

▸ The fall of Kushana empire towards the middle of AD 3rd century led to the establishment of the empire of the Guptas.
▸ Although the Gupta empire was not as large as the Mauryas, it kept North India politically united for more than a century.
▸ Their period is generally regarded as the Golden Age of Hinduism.
▸ Guptas belonged to the Vaishya caste.
Sri Gupta was the founder of Gupta dynasty. Sri Gupta was followed by his son Ghatotkacha and was followed by his son Chandragupta. Both assumed the title of Maharaja.

Chandragupta I (AD 319-335)

▸ He greatly raised the power and prestige of his dynasty by his matrimonial alliances and conquests.
▸ He married the Lichchhavi princess Kumara Devi and issued Chandragupta I Kumaradevi type gold coins (Dinaras).
▸ Chandragupta-I is also said to have started a new era Gupta Era, which starts from 26th February AD 320, the coronation date of Chandragupta I.
▸ He established his authority over Magadha, Saketa and Prayaga.
▸ He was the first Gupta king to adopt the title of Maharajadhiraja. He issued gold coins.

Samudragupta (AD 335-380)

▸ Son and successor of Chandragupta I. He was a great conqueror.
▸ The long inscription in the pillar of Allahabad (Prayag Prasasti) enumerated by his court poet Harisena informs about the people and the countries that were conquered by Samudragupta. Because of his bravery and generalship, he came to be called the Napoleon of India by VA Smith.
Virasen was his Commander- in-Chief during Southern campaign. Vasubandhu, a famous Buddhist scholar, was his minister. Samudragupta’s arms reached as far as Kanchi, Tamil Nadu, where the Pallavas were compelled to recognise his suzerainty.
▸ Samudragupta annexed the territories after defeating the monarchs in North India, but did not annex territories in South India. His authority over Java, Sumatra and Malaya island proves that he maintained a strong navy.
▸ Samudragupta is said to have composed numerous poems of high merit. Some of his coins represent him playing the Veena. He also performed Ashvamedha sacrifices.
The Allahabad pillar inscriptions mention the title Dharma Prachar Bandhu i.e. he was the upholder of Brahmanical religion.
▸ According to Chinese sources, Meghavarman, the ruler of Sri Lanka, sent a missionary to Samudragupta for a permission to build a Buddhist temple at Gaya.
▸ He was a Vaishnavite.

Chandragupta II (AD 380-415)

▸ According to Devi Chandraguptam of Vishakhadutta, Samudragupta was succeeded by Ramagupta.
▸ Ramagupta was a coward. He surrendered his queen Dhruvadevi to the Saka invader. He was also the only Gupta ruler to issue copper coins.
▸ Chandragupta II, the younger brother of Ramagupta, invaded the enemy’s camp, killed the Saka ruler and Ramagupta; occupied the throne and married Dhruvadevi.
▸ He proved to be a great ruler and extended his empire by conquests and matrimonial alliances. He married Kubernaga of Naga dynasty and married his daughter Prabha-Vatigupta, with the Vakataka prince Rudrasena II.
Mehrauli Iron Pillar Inscription (Delhi) claims his authority over North-Western India and a good portion of Bengal. It says that the king defeated the confederacy of Vangas and Vahilkas (Bulkh). Virasena’s Udaygiri cave inscription refers to his conquest of the whole world.
▸ Chandragupta II conquered Western Malwa and Gujarat, from the Shaka Kshatrapas Rudra Simha III. The conquest gave Chandragupta the Western sea coast, famous for trade and commerce. This contributed to the prosperity of Malwa and its Chief city Ujjain. Ujjain was made the second capital by Chandragupta II.
▸ He issued silver coins (first Gupta ruler to issue silver coins) and adopted the title Vikramaditya and Sakari in memory of his victory.
▸ The court of Chandgragupta II at Ujjain was adorned by nine scholars known as Navaratna, including Kalidasa and Amarsimha.
Harisena was the court poet and the minister.
Fa Hien—The Chinese piligrim visited India at his time.

Kumaragupta (AD 415-455)

▸ He founded the Nalanda University.
▸ Worshipper of Lord Kartikeya.
▸ In the last year of his reign, the empire was invaded by the Turko-Mongol tribe, the Hunas. During the war with the Hunas, Kumaragupta died.

Skandagupta (AD 455-467)

▸ He repulsed the ferocious Hunas attacks twice. The heroic feat entitled him the title Vikramaditya (also mentioned in the Bhitari Pillar Inscription).
▸ During his period Sudarshana lake was repaired and its embankments were rebuilt.
▸ The continuous attack of the Hunas weakened the Guptas economy and the decline of empire began soon after the death of Skandagupta.

Reasons of the fall of Gupta Empire

▸ The weak successors of Skandagupta could not check the growing Huna power.
▸ Rise of feudatories in Bihar, Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.

Gupta Administration

▸ Gupta administration was highly decentralised and quasi-feudal in character.
▸ Gupta Kings adopted pompous titles such as Parameshvara, Maharajadhiraj, Parambhattarka, which signify that they ruled over the lesser kings in their empire. The practice of appointing Kumara (crown prince) came in vogue.
▸ Kings were assisted by Mantriparishad/ Mantrimandal (Council of Ministers) as referred in the Prayag Prasasti.
Administrative Units and their Heads

Unit Headed by
Bhukti (province) Uparika
Vishayas (district) Vishyapati
Nagar/Peth (sub-district) Purapala/Nagar
Village Gramika

City Administration Paura was the council responsible for city administration. It included the President of the city corporation, Chief representative of the guild of merchants, a representative of the artisans and the Chief Accountant. It comprised of local representatives.
Army Military Chariots receded into the background and cavalry came to the forefront. The Gupta empire maintained a large standing army, but essentially the military organisation was feudal in character.
Senabhakta It was a form of tax i.e. the army was to be fed by the people whenever, it passed through the countryside. Forced labour or Vishti was also practised in royal army.
Revenue Land revenue was the chief source of state’s income. It varied from 1/4 th to 1/6 th of the produce. The number of taxes increased.
Gupta Kings, their Titles and Coins
Gupta Kings Titles Gold Coins (Dinaras)

Chandragupta I Maharajadhiraja or king of the kings Kumaradevi type
Samudragupta Kaviraj (Prayag Prasati), Ashvamedha, Vikram, Param Bhagvat, Sarva-rajoch Chetta (uprooter of all kings). Dhanurdhari-Archer, Garud, Axe, Ashvamedha, Vyagnra hanam (Tiger killing), Veena Vadan, Playing flute type.
Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, Sakari Devagutpa/Devashri/Devaraja, Narendra Chandra Sinh Vikram, Param Bhagvata etc. Ashvarohi, Chhatradhari, Chakra-Vikram type etc.
Kumaragupta Mahendraitya, Ashvamedha Mahendra and Mahendra Sinh Gajarohi, Khadgadhari, Gajarohi Sinh-nihanta, Khang-nihanata, (i.e. rhinocerous slayer) Kartikeya and Apratighmudra type.
Skandagupta Vikramaditya, Kramaditya, Param Bhagvat, (on coins); Shakropama (Kahaum Pillar inscription); Devaraja (Arya Manjushri Mula Kalpa). Archer king and queen, Chhatra and horseman type.

▸ During the Gupta’s rule, land grants (Agarhara and Devagrahara grants) also included transfer of royal rights over salt and mines, which were earlier states monopoly during Mauryas. Judiciary For the first time, civil and criminal law were clearly defined and demarcated.
Coinage Guptas issued the largest number of gold coins, which were called dinaras in their inscriptions. Silver coins were called the Rupayakas.
Important Officials

Maha Pratihari Chief usher of Royal Palace
Dandapashika Chief officer of the Police department
Mahaprajapati Chief officer of elephant corps
Vinayasthitisthapak Chief officer of religious affairs
Mahashvapati Chief of Cavalry
Mahadandanayaka Minister of Justice


The Supremacy of the Brahmins continued They accumulated wealth on accounts of numerous land grant and claimed many privilege.
▸ The position of the Shudras improved, and they were permitted to listen epic, puranas and to worship a new God, Lord Krishna.
▸ Varna system got strengthened due to the large scale proliferation of castes, chiefly because of assimilation of foreigners into the Indian society, absorption of tribal people into Brahminical society through land grants and transformation of guilds into class due to the decline of trade and urban centres.
▸ The Position of women declined; The first example of immolation of widow after death of her husband (Sati) appeared in Gupta times. (Also referred in the Eran inscription, which mentions that the wife of Goparaja, Commander of Bhangupta, performed Sati). Polygamy and pre-puberty marriages were common. Women were not given the right to property except for stridhana, in the form of garments and jewellery.


Bhagavatism centred around the worship of Vishnu or Bhagavad.
▸ Bhagvad Gita was written in this period. It preached the doctrine of incarnation or Avatar.
▸ Idol worship in the temple became a common feature. The Gods were unified with their respective consorts. Thus, Parvati got associated with Shiva and Laxmi with Vishnu.
▸ Gupta kings followed a policy of tolerance towards the different religious sects.
▸ There was an evolution of Vajrayanism as well and Buddhist tantric cult.
Buddhism no longer received royal patronage in the Gupta period.


Land was classified into five groups :
▸ Khila — Waste land
▸ Kshetra Bhoomi —Cultivable land
▸ Vastu Bhoomi — Habitable land
▸ Charagah Bhoomi — Pasture land
▸ Aprahata Bhoomi — Forest land
▸ According to Pahadpur copper plate inscription of Buddhagupta, state was the exclusive owner of land.
▸ Poona plates of Prabhavati Gupta refers to the land survey conducted during the period.
▸ Pushtapala was the officer incharge for maintaining records of all land transactions.
Trade There was a decline in trade with the Roman empire after AD 3rd century, while the South-East Asian trade increased.
▸ Ports on West coast to trade with Mediterranean and West Asia—Bharoach, Chaul, Kalyan and Cambay.
▸ Ports on East coast to trade with South-East Asia—Tamralipti, Ghantashala and Kandura.
Bhaga King’s share in the produce, to be paid by cultivators. Bali (Earlier a voluntary offering) an additional and oppressive tax during Gupta period. Bhoga Periodic supplies of fruits, firewoods etc., which the villagers had to furnish to the king. Uparika An extra tax levied on all subjects.

Gupta Art

Gupta period is also called The Golden Age of Ancient India.
Samudragupta is represented on his coins playing the Veena and Chandragupta II is credited with maintaining in his court, nine luminaries or great scholars viz, Kalidasa, Amarsimha, Dhanavantri, Varahmihira, Vararuchi (Vartika-a comment on Ashtadhyayi), Ghatakarna, Kshapranak, Velabhatt and Shanku.
▸ Over two metre high bronze images of the Buddha of Gupta period has been recovered from Bhagalpur.
▸ For the first time, we get in the Gupta period images of Vishnu, Shiva and some other Hindu Gods.
▸ Buddha sitting in Dharmachakra mudra (Sarnath) and Buddha images of Bamiyan belong to this period.
Brahminical Image The Great Boar (Varah) carved in relief at the entrance of a cave at Udayagiri.
Paintings Ajanta paintings and paintings at Bagh (Madhya Pradesh) are of this time. They belong to the Buddhist Art.
▸ In this period the Gandhara School of Sculpture was replaced by regional centres at Banaras, Pataliputra and Mathura.
Stupas—Mirpur Khas (Sindh), Ratnagiri (Orissa) and Dhammekh (Sarnath).

Gupta Architecture

▸ The Gupta age marks the beginning of main style of temple architecture in India namely the Nagara and Dravida style (shikhar style) with Garbhagriha (shrine room in which the image of God is kept).
▸ Square sanctum sanctorum and a pillared porch.

Religious Literature

Hindu Texts Many old religious books were re-written e.g. Vayu Purana, Vishnu Purana, Manu Smriti (translated into English under the title of ‘‘Institutes of Hindu law’’ William Jones), Ramayana and Mahabharata.
New Text Narad Smriti, Parashar Smriti, Katyana Smriti and Brihat Smriti.
Jain Texts Nyayavartam written by Sidhsena.
Buddhist Texts Abhidharma Kosha written by Dignaga, Vishudhimagga written by Buddhghosa.
Mrichchakatikam (i.e. the clay cart) is the love story of a poor Brahmin Charudatta and virtuous courtsean Vasantasena. The work is notable for its realistic depiction of city life.
Quick Digest
▸ Brahmasidhanta, was translated into Arabic under the title ‘‘Sind Hind’’.
▸ Ritusamhara, Meghdootam and Raghuvamsham are epics and not plays.
▸ Bhasa wrote 13 plays in this period.
▸ There was a development of Sanskrit grammar based on Panini and Patanjali. Amarkosha was compiled by Amarasimha.
Other Literary Works
Author Book

Sudraka Mrichchakatikam
Bharavi Kiratarjuniya
Dandin Dasa Kumar Charita and Kavyadarshan
Bhasa Svapnavasavadattam, Charudatta
Vishakhadatta Mudrarakshasa Devi Chandraguptam
Vishnu Sharma Panchtantra and Hitopodesha
Amarismha Amarkosh
Iswara Krishna Sankhya Kanika
Vatsyayana Kamasutra (earliest book on sex)
Bhattin Ravan Vadha
Varahamihira Panchasiddhantika, Brihad Samhita

Astronomy (Science)

▸ Aryabhatta, the great mathematician wrote Aryabhatiyam and Surya Siddhanta. He placed the value of first line number and the use of zero (‘0’).
Varahamihira wrote Panchsiddhantika and Brihadsamhita. He said the Moon moves round the Earth and Earth together with the Moon, move round the Sun.
Brahmagupta was a great mathematician. He hinted the law of gravitation in Brahma Siddhanta. Vagabhatta was a distinguished physician.
Dhanvantri was famous for the knowledge of Ayurveda.
▸ Romaka Siddhanta, a book on astronomy was compiled.
Palakapya wrote Hastyagarveda, a treatise on the disease of elephants.
Bhaskara wrote Mahabhaskarya and Laghu Bhaskarya.

The Harsha Period

Pushyabhuti/ Vardhana Dynasty

▸ Harsha belonged to Pushyabhuti dynasty, which ruled from Thaneswar. Pushyabhutis were the feudatories of Guptas, but had assumed independence after Hunas’ invasion.
Prabhakar Vardhana (AD 580-605) was its first important ruler succeeded by Rajyavardhan (AD 605-606).
▸ Grahavarman (Maukhari ruler of Kannauj), husband of Rajyashri (sister of Rajyavardhana) was murdered by Devagupta (ruler of Malwa) in alliance with Shashanka (ruler of Bengal).
▸ Rajyavardhana killed Devagupta but was himself killed by Shashanka in AD 606.

Harshavardhan (AD606-647)

▸ Harsha, also known as Siladitya, ascended the throne in AD 606 and from this year, Harsha Era began.
▸ Harsha made Kannauj his capital.
▸ The early history of Harsha’s reign is constructed from a study of the book Harshacharita.
▸ Harsha is called the last great Hindu emperor of India, but he was neither a staunch Hindu nor the ruler of the whole country.
▸ In Eastern India, he faced opposition from Shaivite king Shashanka of Gauda, who cut off the Bodhi tree of Bodhgaya.
▸ Harsha defeated Dhruvasena II, the Maitraka ruler of Vallabhi.
▸ Harsha was defeated in Deccan by Pulakesin-II, the Chalukyan king of Vatapi. Harsha’s administration became more feudal and decentralised.
▸ The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang visited India during Harsha period. He informs us that the revenue of Harsha was divided into four parts, one for the king, second for the scholar, third for the officer and fourth for religious purposes.
▸ Harsha used to celebrate a solemn festival at Prayag after every five years.
▸ After the death of Harsha in AD 657, the empire once again broke up into petty states and the throne was usurped by his minister Arunashva.
▸ Harsha was a Shaivite. He also granted revenue of 200 villages for the maintenance of Nalanda University. It is said that Harsha brought ‘5 indies’ under his control (Punjab, Kannauj, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa).

Tripartite Struggle

The struggle for supremacy between the Palas, the Gurjara – Pratihara and the Rashtrakutas for the possession of Kannauj (Farrukhabad District, UP) at the end of AD 8th century is known as the Tripartite struggle in history.

Art and Architecture

Vesara/Deccan Style
▸ It was started by the Chalukyas.
▸ Examples include Vesara style temples at Aihole (town of temples), Jinendra temple (Meguti temples), Vishnu temple, Lad Khan temple (God Surya), Durga temple, Nagara style temple at Pattadakal, Papanatha temple, Dravida style temple at Pattadakal, Virupaksha temple and Sangamesvara temple.
Pallava Art/Dravida Style
▸ The Shikhara had influence of Java, Cambodia and Annam. Examples of Pallava Arts :
▸ Bhairawkona temple
▸ Ananteshwar temple at Undavalli
▸ Mandapa temple
▸ Ratha temple of Mamallapuram
▸ Kailashnath and Vaikunth
▸ Perumal Temple at Kanchi
▸ Shore Temple at Mamallapuram
Pallava Sculpture Based on Buddhist tradition e.g. descent of the Ganges and Arjuna’s penance at Mamallapuram.
Rashtrakuta Style
The rock-cut temple of Kailash (Shiva) at Ellora, was built by Krishna I.
Hoyasalas Style
Temple of Hoyasaleshwar at Dwarsamudra.
Other Dynasties and Rulers

Dynasty Capital Founder Famous Rulers Other Features
Palas(Eastern India) Pataliputra,Gaur Gopala Dharma Pala Revived Nalanda University and founded Vikramshila Universsity defeated Bhoja (Pratihara) amogvarsha (Rashtrakuta) and won kannauj.Devapala won Orissa and Assam.Mahikala defeated by Rajendra Chola. They traded with South-East Asia and were replaced by Senas in Bengal.
Gurjara Pratiharas (SW Rajasthan)(AD 733-1019) 1. Jodhpur2. Malwa Harichandra Mihir Bhoja He worshipped Lord Vishnu and adopted the title Adi Varaha. They originated in Geyanta region of Rajasthan.
Vakatakas (Deccan and Central India) Vatsagumla,Paunar Vindhyashakti Pravarsena I performed four Ashvamedha Yagyas. Chandragupta II married his daughter Prabhavati to the Vakataka king Rudrasena.
Eastern Gangas ofOrissa Kalingnagar,Cuttack AnantavarmanChodagong Deva Narshima Deva I built the Sun temple at Konark. Anantavarman built the Jagannath temple at Puri.
Western Gangas(AD 350-999) Kolar, Talakal KonganivarmanMadhava Dunvirta Constructed Jain monuments at Sravanbelagola.
Senas of Bengal Vikrampura,Vijaypura Vijaysena BallasenaLakshmansena They were overthrown by Deva dynasty.
Hoysalas Dwarasamudra Vishnu Vardhan Vira Ballal defeated the Chalukyan ruler Somesvara IV. Hoysala art and architecture was of a high standard. The minute carving of Hoysala temple is their most attractive feature.
Rashtrakutas(AD 750-1142) Manyaket orMalkhed Dantidurga (earlier served the Chalukyas of Badami) Amogvarsha He is compared to Vikramaditya in giving patronage to men of letters.He wrote the Ist Kannad Poetry, Kavi Rajamarg and also wrote Prashnottar Mallika.Krishna II constructed Kailash temple at Ellora in Dravidian sytle.Krishan III set-up Pillar of victory and a temple at Rameshwaram. Rashtrakutas are credited with the building of cave shrine of Elephanta. It was dedicated to Mahesh and (Trimurti) counts among the most magnificient art creations of India.
Pallavas(AD 560-903) of Tondainadu (land of creepers) Kanchi Simhavishnu Narasimhavarman-I (AD 630-668) occupied Chalukayan capital at Vatapi and assumed the title Vatapikonda. They were orthodox Brahmanical Hindus.Both the Chalukyas and Pallavas tried to establish their supremacy over land between Krishna and Tungabhadra.
Chalukyas ofBadami Vatapi (Badami) Pulakesin I Pulakesin-II He was contemporary of Harsha and was able to check Harsha in conquering Deccan, but was defeated and killed by Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman-I.The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang visited his kingdom. Many of the painting and sculptures of the Ajanta and Ellora caves were completed during Chalukyan Art developed the Deccan or Vesara style. They perfected the art of stone building, that is stones finally joined without mortar.
Chalukyas ofKalyani Kalyani Tailap II (defeated the Parmar king Munj) Somevara I (AD 1043-1068) He shifted the capital from Manyakhet to Kalyani.Vikramaditya IV (AD 1070-1126) He started the Chalukya- Vikram era. Bilhana, the writer of Vikramdevacharita and Mitakshara in Yagyavalkya Smriti, adorned the court of Vikramaditya IV.
Yadavas Devagiri Bhillana Ramchandra Ramachandra was defeated by Malik Kafur.

Sangam Age (AD First-Third Century)
▸ The land South of Krishna river was divided into three kingdoms

Kingdom Location Capital Emblem Famous Port Famous Rulers Other Features
Chola (Cholama ndalam) North- East ofPandyas between Penner and Vellar rivers. Uraiyur (famous for cotton trade and Puhar) Tiger Puhar Elara was the earliest known Chola king. He conquered Sri Lanka and ruled over it for 50 years.Karikala founded the capital city Puhar/Kaveripatnam and constructed embankment along Cauveri river.(kallanai) The Cholas maintained an efficient Navy.Their economy was based on trade of cotton cloth. The Chola kingdom was destroyed by the attack of Pallavas from the North.
Chera Part of Kerala andTamil Nadu Vanji or Karur Bow Muzris Todi,Bandar Udiyangera is one of the earliest known Chera rulers. This title of Udiyangera, was given to him because it is said that he served both the armies of Kurukshetra War. Senguttuvan/Red Chera, was the greatest Chera king. He invaded the North and crossed Ganga. He is remembered for building a temple of ‘Kannagi’-the Goddess of chastity and founded the famous Pattini cult. It has well-established trade with Romans and also set-up two regiments at Muzris to protect their interests. They built the temple of Augustus at Muzris.
Pandya Southernmost part of India Madurai Carp (fist) Korkai,Saliyur Mudukudumi was the earliest known Pandyan ruler.Nedunjelian was the most important king of Pandya. He accused Kovalan of theft. As a result, the city of Madurai was laid under a curse by Kannagi (Kovalan’s wife). This kingdom was first mentioned by Megasthenes, who says that their kingdom was famous for pearl and was ruled by a woman. Also finds mention in the Ramayana and Mahabharata .

▸ The Pandyan kings profited from trade with Roman empire and sent embassies to Roman emperor- Augustus and Trojan.
Sangam Regions
Panchtinai Inhabitants Occupation (five Tamllreglons)

Kurinji (hilly backwoods or monlane) Kurvar, Velar Hunting, Gathering
Palai(Pastoral trad) Eyinar, Maravar Cattle lifting, Highway Robbery
Mullai (Pastoral trad) Ayar, Idatyar Shifting Agriculture, Animal husbandry
Marutam (Wetland) Ulavar, Vellalar Plough Agriculture
Neital(littoral/coastal) Paratavar, Valayar Fishing, Salt extraction

Sangam Literature

▸ The word Sangam is associated with a college or assembly of Tamil scholars and poets, flourished under the royal patronage of the Pandyan kings.
▸ The whole Sangamage is called Golden or Augustan age. According to Tamil sources, the father of Tamil literature is ‘ Agastya.’
Tamil Sangams

San­gams Venue Chairman Surviving Text
1st Ten-Madurai Agastaya
2nd Kapatapuram Agastaya Alvai (founder)Tolakap- piyan (later chairman) Tolakap- pfyam (Tamil Grammar)
3rd North Madurai Nakkirar Ettutogai Patinenki lakanakku, Pattu-Pattu

Important Sangam Works

▸ Tolkappiyam by Tolkappiyar (Tamil Grammar).
▸ Tirukkural or Kural by Tiruvalluvar is sometimes called the Fifth Veda or Bible of the Tamil land. It explains the doctrine of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
▸ Aggatiyam comprises grammar of letters and life, in three parts, written by saint Aggatiyar.


Silappadikaram meaning, the jewelled anklet by Ilango Adigal is an epic, dealing with love story of Kovalan and Madhavi, also called Illiyad of Tamil Poetry.
Manimekalai is one of the two greatest epics and a sequel to Silappadikaram, written by Seetalai Sattannar.
Sevaga Chintamani (Sivaga Sindamani), a third epic by a Jaina Tiruttakadeva. It has elements of Jainism.
Bharatman was written by Perudevanar.

Sangam Economy

The land was very fertile with proper irrigation facilities. The chief local God was Murugan, also called as Subramaniya.
Revenue Terminologies
▸ Karai Land tax
▸ Irai Tribute paid by feudatories and booty collected in war
▸ Iravu Extra demand or forced gift
▸ Ulgu Custom duties
▸ Variyar Tax collector
▸ Variyam A well-known unit of territory yielding tax

The Cholas

▸ The ancient capital of Cholas was Palayarai.
Vijayalaya revived the Chola empire in the AD 9th century. He took the title of Narkesari.
Aditya Chola defeated the Pallava king Aparajit, captured Tondamandalam and took the title of ‘Maduraikonda.’ He built a Siva temple at Tanjore.
Parantaka I established his authority over the North-Eastern part of Sri Lanka. His copper-plate inscription informs us about the administration of the Cholas.
Rajaraja I (AD 985-1014) attacked Sri Lanka. He permitted the Shailendra king to build the Churamani Buddhist Vihara at Nagapattanam. He himself built the Rajarajeshwara temple (Saiva temple) at Tanjore. He is known as Rajaraja-The Great in history.
Rajendra I (AD 1014-1044) conquered the complete Sri Lanka and made Anuradhapur as his capital.
▸ He defeated the Pala king Mahipala and took the title of Gangaikondacholam and he also built the Cholamandalam lake and the city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram. He won the Java, Sumatra and Malaya areas from the Shailendra king.
Rajendra III was the last king of the dynasty.

Other Aspects of the Cholas

Administration The Chola empire was divided into mandalams and then into valadus. The most important feats of Chola administration was local-self Government. Each village was divided into 30 wards. Several committees were constituted under the Gram Sabha for various purposes.
▸ Cholas maintained a strong navy. Kasu or Kalanju was their gold coin.
Literature Bentak Madhav wrote commentary on Rig Veda in this period.
Jayanodar wrote Phalingtuparni and Shekilar wrote Periyapuranam in the court of Kullotunga I.
Kamban, Kuttana and Pugalendi were considered as three gems of Tamil Poetry. Kamban wrote Ramavataram and Kamba Ramayana.
Architecture The dancing figure of Shiva called Nataraja was made during Chola period.
▸ The Chola style of architecture is called Dravida Style in the temples, the vimana or the tall pyramid tower dominated the whole structure of the shrine. Gopurams and Garbhagriha are the two other important structures.
▸ The best specimens of the temple are Vijayala-Choleshwar and the Nageshwar Koranganatha temple.
Chola Temples

Temple Location Builder
Kailashnath temple Kanchipuram King Rajasimha
Vrihadeshwar temple Tanjore Rajaraja I
Koranganatha temple Srini wasanllur Parantak I
Airawteshwar temple Darasuram Rajaraya II
Kampahreshwar temple Tribhuvan Kullotung III
Gangaikonda Cholapuram Gangaikonda Cholapuram Rajendra I

Religious Developments Vaishnavism

▸ Lord Vasudeva was first worshipped in Western India. Besnagar inscription (2nd century BC) states that the cults received royal patronage. Soon, Vasudeva was identified with Narayana and Krishna.
Chandogya Upanishada gives first reference to Lord Krishna as the son of Devaki and student of Rishi Ghor Angiras. Matsya Purana refers to the ten incarnations of Vishnu.
▸ This cult emphasised on Bhakti and Ahimsa.


▸ Shiva is identified with the Rig Vedic God Rudra. He was worshipped in form of linga (phallus).
Matsya Puranas and Anusashan festival of Mahabharata refers to lingam worship. Gundimallam linga is the oldest idol of Shiva, excavated from Renugunta in Andhra Pradesh.
Mahabhashya of Patanjali mentions Saiva cult as Shiva Bhagvat. Vamana Purana refers to four schools of Saivism—Pasupati, Saiva, Kapalika and Kalmukha.
▸ Pasupatal is the oldest, cult founded by Lakulisa.
Kapalika is the tantric cult who worship Mahakal, Kapala bhrit and Bhairav.
▸ Kalmukha another tantric cult, flourished in Karnataka.
▸ Aghoris worshipped Goddesses Sitala and Kali.
▸ Kanphata or Gora khnati cult was propounded by Gorakhnath in Eastern Bengal.
▸ Suddhasaiva cult was expounded by Srikanat Sevacharya.
▸ Virasiva or Lingayat cult was founded by Basava.
Rashtrakutas built the Kailasa temple of Ellora and the Kushana kings inscribed Shiva and Nandi on their coins.

Shakti Dharma

▸ It refers to the worship of the female deity. It is first mentioned in the Mahabharata.
▸ The Tantric Devi hymn in the 10th mandala of the Rig Veda is devoted to the worship of Goddesses.


▸ This religion was founded by Jesus Christ. He was born to Mother Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem near Jerusalem. His birth day (25th December) is celebrated as the holy festival, Christmas.
▸ His first two disciple, Andrews and Peter, were hanged in AD 33 by the Roman Governor Portius.
Bible is the holy book of Christians and the sign of ‘Cross’ is their holy symbol.


Hazrat Muhammad Saheb founded the Islamic religion. He was born to Amina (mother) and Abdullah (father) at Mecca in AD 570.
▸ He was married to Khajida (a widow) at the age of 25 yrs. His daugher, Fatima, was married to Ali Hussain.
▸ Hazrat Muhammad attained supreme knowledge or enlightment in AD 610 in the Hira Cave near Mecca. His teachings are compiled in the Holy Kuran.
▸ 24th September (AD 622), the day Hazrat Muhammad started his journey from Mecca to Medina marks the beginning of the Hijri Era.
▸ He died on 8th June, AD 623 and was buried at Medina.
▸ After his death, Islam divided into the Shia and the Sunni cults. His successors were known as Khalifa.
▸ The Turkish ruler, Mushtafa Kamal Pasha, ended the designation of Khalifa.
▸ The birthday of Muhammad Saheb is celebrated as Eid-mild-un-Nabi.


Parsi religion was founded by Prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra). His teachings are compiled in the holybook- Zend Avesta. His followers believed in one God-Ahur.
Some Important Temples of Ancient India

Jagannath temple, Puri Narsinghdev Ganga
Sun temple of Konark Yasho Varman Ganga
Kandariya and Mahadev temple, Khajurao Krishna-I Chandela
Kailash temple of Ellora Krishna-I Rashtrakuta
Elephanta Narsingh Varman-I Rashtrakuta
Mamallapuram temple Narsingh Varman-II Pallava
Kailashnath temple of Kanchi Narsingh Varman-II Pallava
Baikuntha Perumal Temple of Kanchi Narsingh Varman-II Pallava
Jain temple of Dilwara Vimala Minister of Solanki ruler


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