India as a country in southern Asia is rich in history. Archaeological evidence that exists shows that it was one of the areas where the early man had settled. On the other hand, the modern India that we see today underwent different transformations to be where it is today. Different empires came, conquered and as well overthrown. Below is a quick in-depth look at the ancient history of India in terms of governance, culture and traditions.
This dates back to around 5000 BCE. The period is subdivided into three periods; the early period which was between 5000 and 4000 BCE, the middle period between 4000 and 2900 BCE and the mature period which 2900 and 1900 BCE. During this time, the people worshipped many gods and performed rituals to appease the gods. The Indus valley civilization however began to decline between 1700 and 1500 BCE when the Aryans invaded the region and brought in their culture.
The influence of the Aryans between 1700 and 150 BCE is referred to as the vedic period. At this time, the society was divided into four different classes; the scholars and priests, the warriors, the farmers and the laborers. The people were strongly religious which gave birth to the present day Hinduism. In this period, kingdoms hereby known as Mahajanapadas emerged before Buddhism came in. The sixteen kingdoms include Assaka, Anga, Kashi, Vatsa, Malla, Vriijji, Kamboja, Gandhara, Panchalaz Kosala, Kuru, Matsya, Avanti, Shurasema, Chetya and Magadha.
The Maurya empire led by Chandragputa Maurya in 321 BCE took over India after Alexander the Great left India. Between 298 and 272 BCE, Chandragputa’s son called Bundsara reigned and extended the empire in every part of India. Bindusara’s son, Ashoka then took over and reigned between 269 and 232 BCE. He did embrace the Buddhism teachings in India. However, his reign came to an end after depleting the kingdom’s treasury in the name of giving lavishly to Buddhism communities.
The Invasions. This happened between 185 BC and 320 AD and the Parthians, Barctricians, Kushans and Shakas invaded central Asia for trade. This give rise to introduction of the Saka era and kingdom as well as issuance of gold coins.
After the invasions, India divided further into smaller kingdoms such as the Kushan empire. During this time, the Gupta empire rose up between 320 and 550 CE. In his tenure, the cultural aspect was at peak. Science, mathematics, astronomy, engineering and religion among many others flourished. Even Buddhism was spread everywhere at this time.
The Gupta empire declined slowly by slowly as weaker and weaker emperors inherited the reign. Due to this, the empire was replaced by Harshavardhan who took over the reigns and ruled for about 42 years. The Northern India prospered faster while he was on power. His reign came to an end after Huns invaded his kingdom.
Later, a commander called Muhammad Bin Qasim took over a portion of the Norther India in 712CE.
The Chola empire also reigned between the 9th century AD and 13th century AD. Having been founded by Vijayajaya, the temples became social and cultural centers.
The Kakatiya dynasty was established in 11th century by Andhra. The dynasty was set in Warangal town and had many Kakatiya kings like Prola I and II, Mahadeva, Rudradeva and Pratapadudra among many others.