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History of India

Home » Indian History
History of India began sometime in 2500 BC with the now extinct Indus Valley civilization. The Dravidians formed the predominant civilization who later migrated to the south. The Aryan invasion from the North made a major impact in the history of India all around: in language, cultural practices, knowledge and other things. Around 500 BC the people of the North knew how to make the iron implements. Increasing number of wars were fought across various regions in those times. The Gupta Dynasty is a landmark in the history of India with the Hinduism flourishing.
The great epics of India Ramayana and Mahabaratha are priced as classics and also as setting example of behavioral codes. Passion for goodness and love is reflected in both. Mahatma Gandhi in modern times sought to perpetuate these virtues and is revered all over the world for his nonviolent movements. His measures all in peace released India from the clutches of the British.
Remains of the Homo erectus found at Narmada Valley proves that human habitation began in India past some 2 to 5 lakhs years ago. This period is also referred to as the Pleistocene period. The Mesolithic period lasted some 25000 years. Modern humans appeared and settled on this continent past some 12000 years ago. Rock Shelters of Bimbetka in Madhya Pradesh proves the first settlements past some 9000 years. The Mehrgarh findings past 7000 years are ntoed in the present day Balochistan in Pakistan. Remains of Neolithic culture has been found in the Indus Valley region around 6000 BC . The Indian subcontinent on Northern side, now in Pakistan, has been inhabited for over two million years; Remains of the earliest hominid has been excavated from Soan River Valley. Mohenjo Daro and Harappa are the two noted major Indus Valley civilizations.
The bronze age started around 3500 BC; Copper, bronze, lead and iron implements were made. Beginning of the urban civilization began with the Indus valley civilization. They had the know how of making bricks; road side drainage, and multistoried houses were made. Climatic changes as a result of deforestation possibly lead to fall of this civilization.

Vedic Period

Vedic period lasted some 1000 years, from 1500 BC . The Vedas of sacred texts of Hinduism were written in Vedic Sanskrit. The Indo Aryan migration brought on a profound change in the culture and life of the country.
The Vedic society led a pastoral life. Rigveda was the first one to appear. The Aryans took to agriculture thereafter. The community structure was based on the four Varnas or sects to carrying out line of profession. The epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha also appeared around this time. Iron is first mentioned in AtharvaVeda as the black metal. Painted Grey Ware appeared in around 600 BC .
By 500 BCE, there were sixteen small kingdoms in the Indus valley area that flourished as urban centres. The language of the learned was Sankrit and of the commons was Prakrit. The Upanishads were written around this time. Budhism and Jainism began in this phase. Preached in Prakrit, they had immense influence on the lives of the common people.

The Greek Invasion

In 520 BC Ahaemenid Empire extended to the North West India now in Pakistan. 334 BC This has been conquered by Alexander the Great, This caused a mix of Greek and Persian culture. This has paved the way for the Mahayana Buddhism.

The Maghadha Empire

This became prominent among the sixteen kingdoms known as Mahajanapas. The capital has been Pataliputra. Shishunaga dynasty, Nanda dynasty and Maurya dynasty followed in succession.
Under the wisdom Chanakya Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Dynasty. The entire region came under a singular law. He conquered regions as far as Persia; he is also credited with spreading Jainism to far off southern regions.
Bindusara succeeded Chandragupta maurya. His son Ashoka the Great endeavoured to widen his kingdom with success. But the aftermath of war and entry into Kalinga moved his heart. He sought to be nonviolent. He is responsible for spreading Buddhist ideals in East Asia. This in fact paved the way for development of Asia in later years.
Around 230 BCE, it has been a golden time in Central India. Satakarni Dynasty ruled the North India. The south was rules by Pandyan Kingdom, Cholas, Kadambas, Pallavas and Chalukyas.

Northwestern Hybrid Cultures

IndoGreek Kingdom: King Demetrius invaded in 180BCE and it was ruled for over two centuries by the Greek Kings. Present day Pakistan and Afghanistan were also in this kingdom.


They are of European origin, who came from Siberia through Kashmir. Indo-Parthians conquered present day Afghanistan and Pakistan regions.

Indo Sassanid

The Sassanid empire extended to the borders of the present day India, there has been great mingling of the Persian and Indian cultures: Indo Sassanid Culture.
Roman Trade with India: Emperor Augustus conquered Egypt in 1 CE and started trading with India. Yearly some 120 ships reached Indian shores from Myos Hormos.

The Gupta Dynasty: 4th and 5th Centuries Their rule unified North India. Chandragupta 1,Samudragupta, Chandragupta II were noted rulers of the dynasty. This is the phase of Hindu renaissance. The Gupta Dynasty fell under attack from the Huns of Central Asia.

The Classical Age

This began in the seventh century. The Rajputh Dynasty survived until the British India. By the thirteenth century Trade with other nations was in full swing. The Indian Ocean trade with the Roman Empire was considerable.

The Islamic Sultanates

India was a sought after destination for the priced diamond mines and rich spices. This induced the establishment of the Islamic empires: Sultanates. They arrived at Kerala in South India from Persia.

In 12th and 13th centuries Arabs, Turks and Afghans invaded North India. The Delhi Sultanate was found in the 13th century.

In the first half of the 16th century Ghenghis Khan swept over the North India and established the Mughal Empire which lasted for over two centuries.

Akbar the great is a noted ruler of the Mughal Dynasty. They favoured cultural admixture. The kings married off from the local royal families.

Regional Kingdoms

Sprang up by 17th and 18th centuries. The Mughal power waned. Shivaji founded the Maratha Kingdom. In the end the Afghan army conquered the Maratha in the battle of Panipat in 1761. In the third Anglo Maratha war the maratha were conquered by the Mysore rose toe to power as the kingdom of the south. This has been founded by the Wodeyar dynasty. Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan overcame the Wodyears. Hyderabad was ruled by Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda in the late sixteenth century. Mysore and Hyderabad became princely states during the rule of the British.

The Colonial Era

Vasco Da Gama's arrival in India in 1498 set a new trend in Europe in trading with India. The Portuguese started trading centres at Goa, Daman, Diu and Bombay. The British and the Dutch arrived next. They set up a place in Surat. The French also reached the scenario. The Indian kings often fought among themselves. Such rivalries made it easy for the Europeans take the control over. Finally India fell into the hands of the British mostly. The French established their colonies at Pondicherry and Chandernagore. The Portuguese made their colonies at Goa, Daman and Diu. The Dutch set up their colonies at Travancore.

The British Rule

In 1617 the Mughal Emperor Jahangir gave permission to the British East India Company to trade in India. Later they were given duty free operation in Bangladesh by the Mughal Emperor Farruk Siyar. Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal resisted such a move.

The battle of Plassery followed as a result. This has been lead by Robert Clive. He defeated the Nawab. This has been the first siege of land in India by the British. The Company appointed Robert Clive as the Governor in 1757. Later in a battle with Mughal Emperor Sha Alam II They won the administrative rights over Bengal. The changed the taxation laws to their favour. The Feudal like system was perpetuated. By the middle of the nineteenth century the British East India Company ruled most part of India. They succeeded in "dividing and ruling" taking advantage of the myriad of battles between the small kingdoms of India.

Indian Mutiny

The first attempt to gain freedom from the foreign rule is called Indian Mutiny. This has been in 1857. The leader of the movement Bahadur Shah Zafar, was caught and exiled. His children were beheaded.

The Independence Movement

There were Indian counselors appointed to help the British Viceroy. Provincial Councils with Indian members were set up. Their role in making laws in legislative councils were important. Since 1920 Mohandas Gandhi and others began his nonviolent measures which brought free to the country in 1947. Mahatma Gandhi as he is called, rose to rank of world leaders, noted for his measures as calling for wearing simple hand made hand spun cloth and making own salt from sea, which left the British monopolies meaningless.

Freedom and Division

The internal rife among the Hindus and the Muslims deepened over years . Minority Muslims were not fond of Hindu reign that may follow independence.
The independent British Indian territory was divided into India and Pakistan in 1947. The communal clashed between muslims, Sikhs and Hindus left some 500000 dead. About 12 million people migrated to the country of their choice, India or Pakistan then marking one of a historical migration.
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