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[Ancient History of India ] UPSC


Section A: Prehistoric India
1. Introduction to Prehistory
2. Palaeolithic Age in India
3. Mesolithic Age in India
4. Neolithic Age in India
5. Chalcolithic Age in India
6. List of Important Prehistoric Sites in India
Section B: Indus Valley Civilization
1. The Discovery & Extent of Indus Valley Civilization
2. Chronology of Indus Valley Civilization
3. Origin & Salient Features of Indus Valley Civilization
4. Sites of Indus Valley Civilization
o Harappa
o Mohenjo-Daro
o Dholavira
o Rakhigarhi
o Suktagendor
o Surkotda
o Balakot
o Banawali
o Kalibangan
o Lothal
o Chanhu
o Daro
o Rangpur
o Other sites of Indus Valley Civilization
5. Social Life at Indus Valley Civilization
6. Economy of Indus Valley Civilization
7. Decline of Indus Valley Civilization Section
C: Vedic Era
1. Who were Aryans?
2. The Rig-Vedic Settlements
3. The Geography in Vedic Texts

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4. Rig Vedic Polity
5. Rig Vedic Society
6. Rig Vedic Economy
7. Rig-Vedic Gods Social System in Later Vedic Age
8. Vedic Terms
9. Comparison of Vedic and Harappan Civilizations
10. Basics of Vedic Literature
11. Shruti Literature
a. Vedas
b. Brahamanas
c. Aranyakas
d. Upanishads
12. Smriti Literature
a. Vedanga
b. Shatdarshana
c. Nyaya
d. Vaisheshika
e. Samkhya
f. Yoga Mimansa
g. Vedanta
13. Epics
14. Purana
15. Upaveda
Section D: Maurya Empire
1. Sixteen Mahajanapadas
2. Rise of Janapadas
3. Magadha Empire
a. Brihadrath Dynasty
b. Pradyota dynasty
c. Haranyaka Dynasty
i. Bimbisara
ii. Ajatshatru
d. Shishunaga Dynasty
e. Nanda Dynasty
f. Maurya Empire
i. Chandragupta Maurya
1. Chanakya
ii. Bindusara
iii. Asoka
1. Asokas Edicts & Inscriptions
iv. Life in Maurya Empire
Section E : Buddhism
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1. Why New Religions?
2. Meaning of Buddha
3. Life of Gautam Buddha
4. Buddhas Teachings
5. Buddhist Literature
6. Buddhist Scholars
7. Buddhist Councils
8. Hinayana & Mahayana
9. Bodhisattva
10. Buddhist Shrines
Section F : J ainism
1. Who is a Jain?
2. Who is a Tirthankara?
a. Rishbhdev
b. Parshvanath
c. Mahavira
3. Jain Literature
4. Objective Questions on Jainism
Section G: India After Mauryas
1. Shunga (Sunga) Dynasty
2. Kanva dynasty
3. Mahameghavahans of Kalinga
4. Indo-Greek Rulers of Ancient India
5. Sakas Rulers of Ancient India
a. Satrap System of Ancient Sakas in India
6. Indo-Parthian Kingdom Section
H: The Kushana Empire
1. Kushana Empire
2. Kanishka I
a. Mathura School of Art
b. Gandhara School of Art
Section I: Saatvahana Empire
1. Satavahana Empire
Section J : Gupta Empire
2. Origin of Imperial Guptas
3. Political History of Imperial Guptas
a. Samudragupta
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b. Chandragupta Vikramaditya
i. Navaratnas of Chandragupta Vikramaditya
4. Gupta Administration
5. Society and Economy during Gupta Era
6. Religion in Gupta Era
7. Temple Art During Gupta Period
8. Inscriptions of Gupta Era
9. Literature in Gupta Era
a. Kalidasa
10. Later Guptas
11. The Huna Invasions
12. Contemporary Dynasties of Guptas
Section K : Reign of Harsha and Later
1. Life of Harsha Vardhana
2. Administration and Legacy of Harsha Vardhana
3. Changes in Society in Early Medieval India
Section L : Middle Kingdoms
1. Chalukyas of Badami
a. Temple Architecture of Chalukyas of Badami
2. Rashtrakuta Empire
3. Chalukyas of Kalyani
a. Temple Architecture of Chalukyas of Kalyani
4. Hoysala Empire
a. Temple Architecture of Hoyasala Empire
5. Yadavas of Devagiri Section
M : Sangam Literature
1. Sangam Literature
Section N: Kingdoms of South
2. Pandya Kingdom
3. Chera Kingdom
4. Chola Empire
a. Outline of Chola Empire
b. Early Cholas
c. Medieval Cholas
d. Later Cholas
e. Chola Architecture
5. Pallava Confederacy
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a. Pallava Architecture

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Date:
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Introduction to Prehistory
2011- 05- 04 08:05:55 GKToday
Cont ent s
Advent of writ ing
Archaeology & Et hnoarcheology
Origin of Man
Prehist oric Period: Classif icat ion
Concept : Absolut e and Relat ive Chronology
The past of humankind has been divided int o t wo broad cat egories viz.
Prehistoric and historic. Prehist oric period belongs t o t he t ime bef ore t he
emergence of writ ing and t he hist oric period t o t he t ime f ollowing it . It has
been so f are believed t hat Modern Humans originat ed in Af rica and have lived
on our planet f or around 150,000 years. In recent t imes, t here have been some
challenges t o t his t heory.
The ant hropologist s have long t heorized t hat humans emerged f rom Af rica
and int o East and Sout heast Asia around 60,000 years ago; t here has been a
signif icant lack of f ossil evidence t o support t hese claims. The earliest skull
f ossil evidence in t he region had dat ed back 16,000 years and was f ound in
t he early 20
th
cent ury. In August 2012, a new skull was found that dates back to
46,000 to 63,000 years. This discovery has bolstered the genetic studies that point
to modern humans inhabiting Laos and the surrounding environs at that time,
according to a report of the anthropological discovery published in the latest edition
of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The skull has
been found in Tam Pa Ling, "the Cave of the Monkeys" in northern Laos. It
helps fill in this mysterious gap in the fossil record.
Advent of writing
But , man learnt writ ing only about 5000-8000 years ago. Writ ing most likely
began as a consequence of polit ical expansion in ancient cult ures, which
needed reliable means f or t ransmit t ing inf ormat ion, maint aining f inancial
account s, keeping hist orical records, and similar act ivit ies. It has been
concluded t hat around t he 4
th
millennium BC, t he complexit y of t rade and
administ rat ion out grew t he power of human memory, and writ ing became a
more dependable met hod of recording and present ing t ransact ions in a
permanent f orm. The earliest record of human writ ing may be t he Dispilio
Tablet, dat ed t o t he 6
th
millennium BC.
So, we humans have not learnt writ ing f or
a long t ime, even t oday 10-12 % of the
Human Population is illiterate. So,
writ t en hist ory gives us account of only
0.1% of human hist ory. Then, bef ore t he
invent ion of print ing t echnology in t he
medieval period, writ t en document s were
f ew and f ar bet ween, and many of t hem
have been lost due t o being writ t en on perishable mat erials like t ree bark,
palm leaf , papyrus and clot h. This means t hat t he st ory of humankind has t o
be reconst ruct ed largely wit h t he help of non-lit erary or archaeological
sources. These sources comprise object s t ools, weapons, ornament s,
st ruct ures and art ist ic creat ions which were produced and used by humans
and which have survived t he ravages of t ime.
Archaeology & Ethnoarcheology
Like ot her creat ures, we humans also had t o adapt ourselves t o t he
environment , but unlike ot her beings, we have done so wit h t he aid of
t echnology and mat erial cult ure (mat erial object s like t ools, weapons, ut ensils,
houses, clot hes, ornament s, et c). Since, t he component s of environment such
as landscape, climat e, f lora and f auna also t ends t o change over t ime,
archaeologist s have t o reconst ruct past environment s as well. Moreover, t he
biological remains of men have cont ribut ed t o t he underst anding of not only
his biological evolut ion but also cult ural evolut ion. Archaeology, t hus, is a mult i-
disciplinary st udy involving disciplines like geology, palaeont ology,
palaeobot any, biological ant hropology and archaeological chemist ry.
Then, t he cult ural changes t ake place at an uneven pace in dif f erent regions.
In many part s of t he world, f or example in India, prehist oric ways of lif e have
survived more or less unchanged int o modern t imes. The discipline, under
which we st udy t he non-indust rialized societ ies, especially t hose pract ising
hunting-gathering, fishing, primitive cultivation and pastoralism, is known as
et hnoarchaeology. This st udy cont ribut es t o int erpret ing t he archaeological
record.
Origin of Man
The origin of man begins in t he Miocene period, around t went y million years
ago, when t he great apes, f rom whom t he humans evolved, f lourished in large
areas of t he Old World. Prot o humans appeared in t he Pliocene period, around
f ive million years ago, and t heir cult ural evolut ion largely t ook place during t he
Pleist ocene period, which began about t wo million years ago. While biologically
humans dif f er f rom t he ot her apes in t heir upright post ure, abilit y t o walk on
t wo f eet or hind limbs, ext remely versat ile hand, and an unusually powerf ul
brain, cult urally t hey dif f er in t heir abilit y t o manuf act ure and use t ools.
Prehistoric Period: Classif ication
The prehist oric period is divided int o t hree ages, namely t he st one, bronze
and iron ages. These ages, besides being t echnological st ages, also have
economic and social implicat ions. The St one Age is divided int o t hree periods,
viz. Palaeolit hic, Mesolit hic and Neolit hic. The suf f ix lit hic indicat es t hat
t echnology in t hese periods was primarily based on st one. Economically the
Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods represent the hunting-gathering stage while the
Neolithic represents the stage of food production, i.e. plant cultivation and animal
husbandry.
Concept: Absolute and Relative Chronology
Chronology of t he past can be eit her relat ive or absolut e. Relat ive chronology
dat es prehist oric event s in relat ion t o ot her event s and geological deposit s.
The relat ive chronology t ells us if a part icular event is earlier or lat er t han
anot her event . On t he ot her hand, t he Absolut e chronology dat es event s and
phenomena in solar calendar years. The t echniques such as Radiocarbon,
K/Ar, f ission t racks, t hermoluminescence, TH230/U234 and dendrochronology
are t he t echniques of absolut e chronology. Out of t hen, t he dendrochronology
is applicable only t o a period of a f ew t housand years and only in t he f ew
areas where old wood samples have been preserved. Then, t he radiocarbon
dat ing can dat e event s up t o sixt y t housand years old. The ot her met hods
can, however, dat e event s belonging t o t he ent ire prehist oric period. However,
t heir applicat ion is dependent on t he availabilit y of suit able mat erials such as
volcanic ash and rock at archaeological sit es.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Palaeolithic Age Prehistory of India
2011- 05- 04 14:05:10 GKToday
Cont ent s
Lower Palaeolit hic Era
Sohanian cult ure
Acheulian cult ure
Middle Palaeolit hic Era
Tools of middle Palaeolit hic Era
Import ant Middle Palaeolit hic Sit es in India
Upper Palaeolit hic Era
Tools of Upper Palaeolit hic Era
Bhimbet ka Rock Shelt ers
Import ant Palaeolit hic sit es in India:
Palaeolit hic Age spanned f rom 100000 years ago t ill 10000 years ago. It is
divided int o 3 ages viz. Lower Palaeolit hic age which spans t ill 100000 years
ago. Middle Palaeolit hic which spans f rom 100000 years ago t ill 40000 years
and upper Palaeolit hic which spans f rom 40,000 years t o 10000 years ago.
Palaeolit hic t ools were club, sharpened st one, chopper, hand axe, scraper,
spear, Bow and arrow, harpoon, needle, scrat ch awl et c. The t ools made were
generally of hard rock quart zit e so t he Palaeolit hic man was called Quart zit e
Man. The t erm Palaeolit hic was coined by archaeologist John Lubbock in 1865.
It lit erally means "Old St one Age." It was marked by t he hunt ing gat hering
nat ure. Most Palaeolit hic sit es in India developed in t he Pleist ocene period.
Lower Palaeolithic Era
The earliest human set t lement s in sout h Asia have been ident if ied wit h an
abundance of st one t ool assemblages. The oldest known t ools used by
human beings were t he simple cores and f lakes, and t hey have been report ed
f rom t he Siwalik Hills at Riwat , near Rawalpindi in Pakist an. These t ools dat e
back t o as old as t wo million years. However, t he earliest reliable st one t ool
assemblages belong t o t wo dist inct cult ural and t echnological t radit ions viz.
t he Sohanian Cult ure and t he Acheulian cult ure, which we st udy under t he
lower Palaeolit hic cult ures.
Sohanian cult ure
The name is derived f rom t he Sohan river, a t ribut ary of Indus. The sit es of
Sohanian cult ure were f ound in t he Siwalik Hills in Nort h-west India and
Pakist an. The art ef act s of t hese st ages were f ound in t hree river t erraces
which were correlat ed wit h t he phases of t he f our-f old Pleist ocene glaciat ion.
These st ages have been named T1, T2 and T3. The animal remains f rom t his
deposit included horse, buf f alo, st raight -t usked elephant and hippopot amus,
suggest ing an environment charact erized by perennial wat er sources, t ree
veget at ion and grass st eppes. The t ools included t he pebble choppers,
blades et c.
Acheulian cult ure
Acheulian cult ure, named af t er French sit e of St . Acheul, was t he first effective
colonization of the Indian subcontinent and is almost synonymous wit h t he lower
Palaeolit hic set t lement s in India. The Acheulian cult ure was a hunt er-gat herer
cult ure t hat adapt ed t o a variet y of climat es including but not limit ing t o
west ern Rajast han, Mewar plain, Saurasht ra, Gujarat , Cent ral India, Deccan
plat eau, Chot a Nagpur plat eau and t he East ern Ghat s, nort h of t he Cauvery
river. Read more about Acheulian Culture here.
Middle Palaeolithic Era
The Acheulian cult ure was slowly t ransf ormed int o
t he middle Palaeolit hic by shedding some of t he
t ool t ypes and by incorporat ing new f orms and
new t echniques of making t hem.
In some parts of the world, the middle Palaeolithic
culture is associated with the Neanderthal man
(Homo sapiens neanderthalensis), however, no
physical remains of Neanderthal man have been found in India.
But , what has been f ound in India are t he st one t ools very similar t o t hose
f ound wit h t his hominid species in Europe and ot her regions.
The first general observation about the Middle Palaeolithic era is that in comparison
to the lower Palaeolithic era, the distribution of sites is sparse. The reason f or t his
is t hat t he middle Palaeolit hic cult ure developed during t he upper Pleist ocene,
a period of int ense cold and glaciat ion in t he nort hern lat it udes. In t hose t imes,
t he areas bordering glaciat ed regions experienced st rong aridit y. However,
generally, t he middle Palaeolit hic populat ions occupied t he same regions and
habit at s as t he preceding Acheulian populat ions.
Tools of middle Palaeolit hic Era
Middle Palaeolit hic t ools were primarily made on f lakes and blades made by
f inely t rimming t he edges. Some of t hem were used f or manuf act uring t he
wooden t ools and weapons and also f or processing animal hide. There are
lit t le hint s of use of wooden shaf t s. In comparison t o t he lower Palaeolit hic
era, t he t ools in middle Palaeolit hic became smaller, t hinner and light er. Then,
t here was also a signif icant change in t he choice of raw mat erial f or making
t ools. While quart zit e, quart z and basalt cont inued t o be used, in many areas
t hey were replaced or supplement ed by fine-grained siliceous rocks like chert
and jasper. Tool Fact ory sit es at chert out crops occur at many places in
cent ral India and Rajast han.
Import ant Middle Palaeolit hic Sit es in India
Luni valley, around Didwana, Budha Pushkar in Rajast han
Valleys of t he Belan, Son river, Narmada river and t heir t ribut aries in
cent ral India
Some sparse sit es in Chot a Nagpur plat ea, Deccan plat eau and East ern
Ghat s
Upper Palaeolithic Era
Upper Palaeolit hic cult ure developed during t he lat er part of t he upper
Pleist ocene. The Upper Palaeolit hic period has recorded a rich panorama of
f ossils in t he peninsular rivers of India. One import ant discovery is of t he
ostrich egg shells at over 40 sit es in Rajast han, Madhya Pradesh and
Maharasht ra, which shows t hat ost rich, a bird adapt ed t o arid climat e, was
widely dist ribut ed in west ern India during t he lat er part of t he upper
Pleist ocene.There were very import ant changes in t he Palaeolit hic-
environment which had it s own impact on t he dist ribut ion and living ways of
t he humans. Some of t hem were as f ollows:
There was ext remely cold and arid climat e in t he high alt it ude and
nort hern lat it udes.
There was ext ensive f ormat ion of desert s in Nort h west India
The drainage pat t ern of west ern India became almost def unct and river
courses shif t ed "west wards".
Veget at ion cover over most of t he count ry t hinned out during t his
period.
Coast al areas of sout h-east ern Tamil Nadu, Saurasht ra and Kut ch
developed quart z and carbonat e dunes as a result of t he lowering of
t he sea level.
During t erminal Pleist ocene sout h-west erly monsoons became weak
and t he sea level decreased by scores of met res.
Due t o t he harsh and arid climat e, t he veget at ion was sparse t hough t he
f aunal f ossils show presence of grasslands. The human populat ion f aced
rust icat ed f ood resources and t hat is t he reason t hat t he number of Upper
Palaeolit hic sit es is very limit ed in t he arid and semi-arid regions. The most
opulent archaeological evidence of t his period comes f rom t he Belan and Son
valleys in t he nort hern Vindhyas , Chot a Nagpur plat eau in Bihar , upland
Maharasht ra, Orissa and f rom t he East ern Ghat s in Andhra Pradesh.
Tools of Upper Palaeolithic Era
The t ools of Upper Palaeolit hic Era are essent ially charact erized by blade and
t hey show a marked regional diversit y wit h respect t o t he ref inement of
t echniques and st andardizat ion of f inished t ool f orms. The middle Palaeolit hic
t radit ion cont inued but in t his period we see t he parallel-sided blades st ruck
f rom st andardized prismat ic cores. Furt her, t he prot ot ypes of t raps, snares
and net s were probably used during t he upper Palaeolit hic t imes. The bored
st ones and grinding slabs have also been f ound giving hint s t o advancement s
in t he t echnology of t ool product ion. The bored st ones are st ill used by
f ishermen as net sinkers in riverine f ishing and marine f ishing. The Upper
Palaeolit hic set t lement s also show a dist inct t rend of being associat ed wit h
permanent sources of wat ers. The use of grinding st ones might have been f or
processing plant f oods such as wild rice.
The earliest f orm of art is f ound in t he f orm of ost rich egg shell pieces
engraved wit h cross-hat ched designs f rom t he upper Palaeolit hic period.
Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
Bhimbet ka rock shelt ers are locat ed in Raisen Dist rict of Madhya Pradesh, 45
km sout h of Bhopal at t he sout hern edge of t he Vindhyachal hills. These
served as shelt ers f or Palaeolit hic age man f or
more t han 1 lakh years. This is t he most exclusive
Palaeolit hic sit e in India which cont ains t he rock
carvings and paint ings. These paint ings belong t o
t he Palaeolit hic, Mesolit hic ages, Chalcolit hic,
early-hist oric and even medieval t imes.
Bhimbet ka is a World herit age Sit e.
Please not e t hat it was earlier considered t o be a Buddhist sit e and was lat er
recognized as Palaeolit hic sit e by Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar who is now also
called "f at her of rock art in India ". Bhimbet ka Rock shelt ers were included in
t he world herit age list in 1970
Important Palaeolithic sites in India:
Lingsugur in Raichur dist rict , Karnat aka was t he f irst sit e t o be
discovered f rom India.
Lidder river Pahalgam , Kashmir
Sohan valley Punjab,
Banks of River Beas, Bangagnga
Sirsa Haryana,
Chit t orgarh and Kot a, Rajast han,
River Wagoon, Kadamali basins Rajast han.
River Sabaramat i and Mahi basins (Rajast han & Gujarat ),
Basins of river t apt i, Godavari, Bhima and Krishna
Koregaon, Chandoli and shikarpur (Maharasht ra),
River Raro (Jharkhand),
River Suvarnrekha (Orissa),
Ghat prabha River Basin (Karnat aka).
Pahalgam , Jammu & Kashmir
Belan Valley, Allahabad
Sinsgi Talav, Didwana , Nagaur Rajast han
Hunsgi, Gulbarga in karnat aka.
At t irampakkam in Tamilnadu
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Mesolithic Age in India
2011- 05- 04 14:05:41 GKToday
Cont ent s
Most import ant Change
Tools of Mesolit hic Era
Changes in Lif e- Mesolit hic Era
From Nomadism t o Sedent ary set t lement s
First Disposal of dead and making of Graves
Emerging art s
Food Product ion
Mesolit hic Era: Import ant Point s
The t ransit ion f rom t he Palaeolit hic period t o Mesolit hic period is marked by
t ransit ion f rom Pleist ocene period t o Holocene and f avourable changes in t he
climat e. The climat e became warmer and humid and t here was expansion of
f lora and f auna cont ribut ed by increased rainf all. This led t o availabilit y of new
resources t o humans and t hus t he human beings moved t o new areas. This
period is marked wit h increased populat ion, t hough core economy of t his
period cont inued t o be based on hunt ing and gat hering.
Most important Change
The early period of Mesolit hic age marks t he hunt ing, f ishing and f ood
gat hering which t urn t o hunt ing, f ishing, f ood gat hering as well as
domest icat ing t he animals.
One more important fact about the Mesolithic era in India is that the first human
colonization of the Ganga plains took place during this period. There are more than
two hundred Mesolithic sites found in Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and
Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh. This era also marks the dramatically increased
settlement in deltaic region of Bengal, the areas around Mumbai and other places
of western coast of India.
Tools of Mesolithic Era
The t ools are Mesolit hic Era are smaller in size and bet t er in f inishing (more
geomet ric) t han t he Palaeolit hic age and are called Microliths. These
microlit hs are t iny t ools of one t o f ive cent imet res lengt h, made by blunt ing
one or more sides wit h st eep ret ouch. The main t ool t ypes are backed blades,
obliquely t runcat ed blades, point s, crescent s, t riangles and t rapezes. Some of
t he microlit hs were used as component s of spearheads, arrowheads, knives,
sickles, harpoons and daggers.
They were f it t ed int o grooves in bone, wood and reed shaf t s and joined
t oget her by nat ural adhesives like gum and resin. Hunt ing-gat hering way of lif e
was slowly replaced by f ood product ion f rom about 6000 B.C. Thus we see
t hat t he use of t he bow and arrow f or hunt ing had become common in t his
period, which is evident f rom many rock paint ings. The Bored st ones, which
had already appeared during t he upper Palaeolit hic, became common during
t his, and t he Neolit hic and Chalcolit hic periods. These are believed t o have
been used as weight s in digging st icks and as net sinkers. Similarly, shallow
querns and grinding st ones also occur at several sit es. These new
t echnological element s led t o enhanced ef f iciency in hunt ing, collect ion and
processing of wild plant f oods.
Changes in Lif e- Mesolithic Era
From Nomadism t o Sedent ary set t lement s
There were some more int erest ing changes in lif est yle of t he Mesolit hic era
humans. The f avourable climat e, bet t er rainf alls, warm at mosphere and
increased f ood securit y led t o reduct ion in nomadism t o seasonally sedent ary
set t lement .
First Disposal of dead and making of Graves
The sedent ary set t lement s lead t o beginning of t he t radit ion of various ways
of int ent ional disposal of t he dead. The first evidence of intentional disposal of
the dead comes from Mesolithic Era. Mesolit hic human burials have been f ound
at Bagor in Rajast han, Langhnaj in Gujarat , Bhimbet ka in Madhya Pradesh et c.
The dead were buried in graves bot h in ext ended and crouched posit ion. In
some cases t wo individuals were buried in a single grave. The dead were
occasionally provided wit h grave of f erings which include chunks of meat ,
grinding st ones, st one, bone and ant ler ornament s, and pieces of haemat it e.
Emerging art s
The Mesolit hic man was a lover of art , evident f rom t he paint ings in several
t housand rock shelt ers in t he Vindhyan sandst one hills in cent ral India. The
paint ings have been f ound in bot h inhabit ed and uninhabit ed shelt ers. The
paint ings are made most ly in red and whit e pigment s, made f orm t he nodules
f ound in rocks and eart h. The subject mat t er of t he paint ings are most ly wild
animals and hunt ing scenes, t hough t here are some relat ed t o human social
and religious lif e such as sex and child birt h.
Food Product ion
The hunt ing-gat hering way of lif e was slowly replaced by f ood product ion
f rom about 6000 B.C. The core economic act ivit ies were now included hunt ing,
f owling, f ishing and wild plant f ood gat hering. The first animals to be
domesticated were dog, cattle, sheep and goat and the first plants to be cultivated
were wheat and barley. This new subsist ence economy based on f ood
product ion had a last ing impact on t he evolut ion of human societ y and t he
environment . In t he humid lands, ext ending f rom t he middle Ganga valley t o
China and Sout heast Asia, rice cult ivat ion and domest icat ion of pig was
accomplished probably around t he same t ime because rice and pig exist ed in
wild f orm in t his region. The cult ivat ion of yams and t aro also t ook place in t his
region. Domest icat ed animals proved t o be usef ul not only f or meat but also
f or milk, hide, agricult ural operat ions, and t ransport .
Mesolit hic Era: Import ant Point s
Agricult ure had not f ully developed.
The earliest evidence of domest icat ion of animals has been provided by
Adamagarh in Madhya Pradesh and Bagor in Rajast han. A st udy has also
suggest ed cult ivat ion of plant s around 7000-6000 years back near
Sambhar lake in Ajmer Rajast han.
The Pachpadra basin and Sojat Area of Rajast han is a rich Mesolit hic
sit es and lot of microlit hs have been discovered.
Bagor in Rajast han is t he almost largest Mesolit hic sit e in India. Anot her
major Mesolit hic sit e in Rajast han is Tilwara.
In Guajarat some places on t he banks of river Sabarmat i are Mesolit hic
sit es which include t he Akhaj, Valsana, Hirpur, Langhanj et c.
Sarai Nahar Rai in Allahabad-Prat apgarh of Ut t ar Pradesh is a Mesolit hic
sit e. Ot her sit es in Ut t ar Pradesh are Morhana Pahar and lekkahia.
In Madhya Pradesh Bhimbet ka along wit h Adamgarh are major Mesolit hic
sit es.
In Jharkhand Chhot a nagpur plat eau is a major Mesolit hic sit e in India.
In Orissa Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundergarh is a major Mesolit hic sit e in
India.
In sout h India Godavari basin is rich in microlit hs,
The rock paint ing of Mesolit hic period is f ound in Adamgarh, Bhimbet ka
of Madhya Pradesh and Prat apgarh, Mirzapur of Rajast han. Apart f rom
t he animals, hunt ing scenes, t he Mesolit hic sit es have also paint ing of
social lif e, sexual act ivit y, child birt h, rearing of children and burial
ceremony.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Neolithic Age in India
2011- 05- 04 14:05:21 GKToday
Cont ent s
Mehrgarh Cult ure
First Period
Second Period
Third Period
Fourt h Period
Fif t h Period
Sixt h Period
Sevent h Period
Eight h Period
The Neolit hic period began around 10700 t o 9400 BC in Tell Qaramel in
Nort hern Syria. In Sout h Asia t he dat e assigned t o Neolit hic period is 7000 BC
and t he earliest example is Mehrgarh Cult ure.
The human set t lement s in t he Mesolit hic era got more sedent ary and t his was
t he beginning of est ablishment of villages. Man now could keep cat t le, sheep
and goat s and prot ect crops f rom pest s. In due course, as t he ef f iciency of
agricult ural product ion improved, some f armers were able t o generat e surplus
f ood. As a consequence, a sect ion of t he populat ion were f reed f rom t he t ask
of f ood product ion and t heir t alent s and energies were divert ed t o t asks such
as t he product ion of pot s, basket s, quarrying of st one, making of bricks,
masonry and carpent ry.
This was t he beginning of t he new occupat ions such as t he oil presser,
washerman, barber, musician, dancers et c. This t ransit ion f rom hunt ing-
gat hering t o f ood product ion is called t he Neolithic revolution. Around
6000BC, t he smelt ing of met als such as Copper began which was used f or raw
mat erial t o be used in t ool product ion. Lat er, Tin was mixed wit h cooper and
bronze appeared which st ronger met al t han bot h t in and copper was. Use of
bronze for tools led to the invention of wheel which revolutionized transport and
pottery production.
The Neolithic period began around 10700 to 9400 BC in Tell Qaramel in Northern
Syria. In South Asia the date assigned to Neolithic period is 7000 BC and the
earliest example is Mehrgarh Culture. Mehrgarh is the oldest agricultural settlement
in the Indian subcontinent.
Mehrgarh Culture
Mehrgarh is t he oldest agricult ural set t lement in t he Indian subcont inent
Agricult ure-based Neolit hic set t lement s. Despit e being t he agricult ure
set t lement , it used only st one t ools, so is why placed in Neolit hic Era. It
f lourished in t he sevent h millennium B.C.
Mehrgarh is locat ed on t he Bolan River, a t ribut ary of t he Indus, at t he east ern
edge of t he Baluchist an plat eau overlooking t he Indus plain. The Mehrgarh
cult ure has been divided int o 8 sub periods and f ollowing are import ant
f eat ures of t hese sub-periods:
First Period
Earliest period of Mehrgarh is charact erized by polished st one t ools,
microlit hs and bone t ools. In t his phase t he subsist ence economy
consist ed of a combinat ion of hunt ing, st ock-breeding and plant
cult ivat ion.
The domest icat ed animals comprise cat t le, sheep, goat and wat er
buf f alo while t he cult ivat ed plant s comprise several variet ies of wheat
and barley.
The houses were made of mud and mud-bricks.
Mult iple rooms wit hout doors are believed t o have been used f or st oring
grain.
The dead were buried under the floors of the houses where people lived.
Some of t he skelet ons which were buried have been f ound sprinkled wit h
red ochre.
Necklaces of microbeads of st eat it e along wit h beads of t urquoise,
lapis lazuli and sea shell, st one axes and microlit hs have also been
f ound in t he graves.
In two cases, bodies of young goats were also found.
There was no pot t ery at t his st age but basket s coat ed wit h bit umen
were used.
Second Period
This period has lef t evidences of handmade, basket -impressed coarse
ware. There was emergence of wheel-made pot t ery paint ed in reddish
and black color wit h simple st raight and curved lines, rows of dot s and
crisscrosses.
Sickles made of st one bladelet s, set obliquely in wood handles wit h
bit umen as t he adhesive mat erial, may have been used f or harvest ing.
Met al t echnology st art ed , evident f rom t he discovery of a copper ring
and a bead .
Terracot t a human f igurines and bangles also appear.
Third Period
Improved f arming around 3000 BC is evident f rom a new variet y of
barley, viz. Hordeum sphaerococcum, which can be grown only in irrigat ed
f ields.
The presence of cotton seeds suggests the possibility of the use of this fibre
for textile manufacture.
The Vessels were now decorat ed wit h paint ings of birds and animals as
also wit h geomet ric designs. Oat s and anot her variet y of wheat was
added t o t he agricult ure.
St one bead manuf act uring and copper smelt ing st art ed.
Fourth Period
Emergence of polychrome pot t ery wit h a t all goblet wit h wide mout h and
a pedest al base as a new shape.
Ext ensive use of t imber in t he const ruct ion of houses, of f emale
t erracot t a f igurines wit h pendulous breast s and of st amped seals of
t erracot t a and bone.
Emergence of commercial t ransact ions.
Fif t h Period
A marked decline in polychrome decorat ion on pot t ery.
Sixt h Period
Dramat ically increase in pot t ery st yles and t he f irst evidence of pot t ery
kilns.
Pipal leaf and humped bull designs appear on pot t ery which ant icipat e
Harappan mot if s.
Prolif erat ion of t erracot t a f igurines, improved f emale f igurines.
Seventh Period
Richness and variet y of t erracot t a f igurines very much similar t o t he
Indus Valley Civilizat ion.
Medial part it ion of t he hair suggest ing t he popular pract ice among Hindu
women.
Terracot t a bulls wit h prominent humps and rams made in alabast er.
Designs of swast ika, crucif orms and running animals on t erracot t a
f igurines.
Emergence of monument al archit ect ure evident f rom a large brick
plat f orm.
Eight h Period
St ruct ured graves, semi-precious st one beads and a bronze shaf t -hole
axe.
Cigar Snapped handmade Brick st ruct ures wit h f ire places, st one blade
indust ry using f lint , composit e st ickle, grinding st ones, bone t ools,
Pot t ery et c.
In April 2006, it was announced in t he scient if ic journal Nat ure t hat t he oldest
(and f irst early Neolit hic) evidence in human hist ory f or t he drilling of t eet h in a
living person was f ound in Mehrgarh. Mehrgarh is now seen as a precursor t o
t he Indus Valley Civilizat ion. "Discoveries at Mehrgarh changed t he ent ire
concept of t he Indus civilizat ion,"
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chalcolithic Age in India
2011- 05- 04 14:05:55 GKToday
Chalcolit hic is also known as Eneolit hic period which saw t he use of t he met als
among which t he Copper was f irst . It is called Chalcolit hic which means use of
st one and well as copper was prevalent in t his period. The earliest
set t lement s of t he Chalcolit hic period range f rom t he Ganget ic basin t o
Chhot anagpur Plat eau. The economy of t his period was based upon
agricult ure, st ock raising, hunt ing and f ishing. Limit ed number of Copper and
bronze t ools have also been recovered.
The presence of paint ed pot t ery is a hall mark of t he Chalcolit hic period.
The burial pract ice was anot her st riking f eat ure and t he dead were
buried in a part icular direct ion all over a part icular area.
The largest sit e of t he Chalcolit hic period is Diamabad sit uat ed on t he
lef t bank of t he Pravara River.
The pot t ery ranges f rom Red ware , deep red ware t o deep brown and
black, Pict ographic red and black and polished red.
Some Chalcolithic Cultures:
Ahara Culture: The sit es of Ahar Cult ure were Aahar (Rajast han),
balat hal, Gilund et c. The dist inct ive f eat ure is black and red ware.
Kayatha Culture: Locat ed in Chambal and it s t ribut aries, t he st urdy red
slipped ware wit h chocolat e designs is main f eat ure
Malwa Culture: Narmada & it s t ribut aries in Gujarat . One of t he largest
Chalcolit hic set t lement s.
Svalda Culture: The well-known sit es are in Dhulia dist rict of
Maharasht ra.
Prabhas & Rangpur Culture: Bot h of t hem are derived f rom t he
Harappa cult ure. The polished red ware is t he hall mark of t his cult ure.
Important Observations about Chalcolithic Culture

The lower Palaeolit hic sit es were not f ound on t he plains of Indus,
Saraswat i, Brahmaput ra and Ganga because probably mat erial in t he
f orm of st one was not available over t here. As St one was t he major
indust ry of t he t ime. Then, in nort hern India , Mesolithic sites have not
been recorded.
The main difference between the Lower Paleolithic and upper Paleolithic was
that in Lower Paleolithic quartzite was mainly used while in upper Paleolithic
crypto-crystalline silica was mainly used.
In Kashmir, the people of Neolithic settelements used to bury dogs wit h t heir
mast ers .
Apart from the stone tools, there is one side in India which gives evidence of
Bone tools in Paleolithic Era. It is Muchchat t a Chint amanu Gavi. It s locat ed
in kurnool .
Cult ivat ion of cot t on was a main f eat ure of Mehrgarh as well as Indus
Valley Civilizat ion.
The Earliest evidence of Rice cult ivat ion has come f rom Belan Valley
The Middle Palaeolit hic Indust ry based upon st one was locat ed in
sout hern Thar desert in Rajast han and it was called Luni industry.
The most common animal in t he cave paint ings of Palaeolit hic and
Mesolit hic era was was deer.
The people of Gilund in Rajast han were NOT aware of bricks.
The Banana, Coconut , areca nut et c. Came f rom Sout h East Asia
around 2000 BC
Articles from General Knowledge Today
List of Important Prehistoric Sites in India and their
location
2013- 05- 20 10:05:23 GKToday
Import ant Prehist oric Sit es in India and t heir locat ion
Sit e Name Locat ion Period
Timargarh Swat alley Pakist an Chalcolit hic
Ahar Udaipur, Rajast han Chalcolit hic
Chandoli Maharasht ra Chalcolit hic
Ganeshwar Sikar, Rajast han Chalcolit hic
Ghaligai
Cave
Swat valley Chalcolit hic
Gilund Rajast han Chalcolit hic
Guf kral Kashmir Chalcolit hic
Inamgaon Bhima river syst em in Maharast ra Chalcolit hic
Nevasa Maharast ra Chalcolit hic
Diamabad Maharast ra
Largest Jorwe cult ure sit e,
Chalcolit hic
Adamgarh
Narmada Valley Hoshangabad,
Madhya Pradesh
Mesolit hic
Birbhanpur
Banks of Damodar River in West
Bengal
Mesolit hic
Chopani
Mando
Allahabad Ut t ar Pradesh Mesolit hic
Lekhania Mirzapur Mesolit hic
Morhana
Pahar
Narmada valley UP Mesolit hic
Jalalbhalli Karnat aka Mesolit hic
Sarai
Nahar Rai
Prat ap Garh , UP Mesolit hic
Teri group Chennai, TN Mesolit hic
Brahmagiri Karnat aka Neolit hic
Burzahom Kashmir Neolit hic
Gumla Peshwar Neolit hic
Koldihwa Allahabad Neolit hic
Mehrgarh Pakist an Neolit hic
Napchik Manipur Neolit hic
Anjira Surb valley, Baluchist an Neolit hic
Daojali
Hading
Nort h kachhar hills Assam Neolit hic
Mundigak Af ghanist an Neolit hic
Rana
Ghundai
Baluchist an Neolit hic
Chirand Bihar Neolit hic and Chalcolit hic
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Discovery & Extent of Indus Valley Civilization
2011- 05- 04 15:05:32 GKToday
"A long march preceded our arrival at Haripah, through jangal of the closest
description.... When I joined the camp I found it in front of the village and ruinous
brick castle. Behind us was a large circular mound, or eminence, and to the west
was an irregular rocky height, crowned with the remains of buildings, in fragments
of walls, with niches, after the eastern manner.... Tradition affirms the existence
here of a city, so considerable that it extended to Chicha Watni, thirteen cosses
distant, and that it was destroyed by a particular visitation of Providence, brought
down by the lust and crimes of the sovereign"
This was t he f irst narrat ion of t he Harappa Civilizat ion by an
Englishman Charles Masson in 1842. The coss is around 2 miles and it has
been used as a unit of lengt h in India since Vedic Times.
However, t he discovery of Charles Masson could not at t ract any archeological
int erest f or many years.
In 1872, Sir Alexander Cunningham published t he f irst Harappan seal.
About half a cent ury lat er in 1912 more Harappan seals were discovered by J
Fleet . Lat er an excavat ion campaign was carried out under Sir John Hubert
Marshall and t his culminat ed in t he discovery of a Civilizat ion at Harappa by
Sir John Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vat s, and
at Mohenjo-Daro by Rakhal Das Banerjee, E. J. H. MacKay, and Sir John
Marshall.
Extent of the Indus Valley Civilization
The cent re of t he civilizat ion was in Sind and Punjab in undivided India, f rom
t his cent re, t he civilizat ion spread t owards all direct ion. In West t he last ext ent
is seaboard of Sout h Baluchist an at t he Sukt agendor which can be called it s
west ern border. In east Alamagirpur in Ut t ar Pradesh (Dist rict Meerut ) can be
called it s East ern Border. In Nort h it ext ended up t o Manda in Jammu &
Kashmir and in sout h it ext ended up t o Bhagvat rav in Narmada Est uary of
Gujarat . However, lat er at Diamabad (Dist rict Ahamed Nagar Maharasht ra)
was t he sit e where f our f igurines of Bronze on t he bank of Pravara River
f ound. This pushed t he civilizat ion's ext ension in f urt her sout h. Indus civilizat ion
remnant s have been discovered f rom as f ar sout h as Mumbai in Maharasht ra
St at e.
Observations
Most set t lement s in Indus Valley Civilizat ion are on banks of rivers.
As f ar as ext ension is concerned, t he Indus civilizat ion was largest of t he
f our ancient urban civilizat ions of Egypt , Mesopot amia, Sout h Asia and
China
It covered an area of around 13 Lakh square kilomet ers.
This area is triangular in shape and no ot her ancient civilizat ion was
ext ended t o such a large area.
Remains of t he sit e f irst f ound at Harappa so it is also called Harappan
Civilizat ion.
Modern dat ing met hods keep t he civilizat ion t o be ranging f rom 2900 t o
2000BC.
The people of t his civilizat ion were def init ely in t ouch wit h t he ot her
civilizat ions most prominent ly being t he Mesopot amian civilizat ion.
The dif f erence between names of Harappan Civilization and Indus Valley
Civilization
Bot h t he names are cot erminous. Harappa is an archaeological sit e in Punjab,
Pakist an and t his was t he f irst sit e where t he remains of t he civilizat ion were
f irst f ound. That is why it is called Harappan Civilizat ion.
Since it st art ed in t he river valley of t he Indus River and largest concent rat ion
of t he set t lement s has been f ound along t he course of t his river, it was called
Indus Valley Civilizat ion.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chronology of Indus Valley Civilization
2011- 05- 04 15:05:56 GKToday
The chronology of the rise and fall of the Harappan civilization has been an issue of debate
and controversy. Substantive work was done by Marshall who dated this civilization between
the 3250-2700 BC. The modern research based upon the C-14 dating or radiocarbon
dating has placed it between the 2900 BC to 2000 BC.
However, recent excavations by the Harappa Archaeological Research Project have been
able to build on these earlier studies to define at least five major periods of development.
This latest project was started by the University of California and it was named
University of California-Berkeley Project which started in 1986 under the leadership
o f Dr. George F. Dales a t Harappa in Pakistan. Dr. Dales died in 1992 and the
Government of Pakistan named it as Harappa Archaeological Research Project.
Website: http://www.harappa.com
These five periods represent a continuous process of cultural development where new
aspects of culture are balanced with long term continuities and linkages in many crafts and
artifact styles.
Period 1 : Pre-harappan or Ravi aspect : 3300 BC - c. 2800 BC
Period 2 : Kot Diji or Early Harappa: c. 2800 BC - c. 2600 BC
Period 3A: Harappa Phase A c. 2600 BC - c. 2450 BC
Period 3B : Harappa Phase B c. 2450 BC - c. 2200 BC
Period 3C : Harappa Phase C 2200 BC - c. 1900 BC
Period 4 : Harappa/Late Harappa Transitional c. 1900 BC - c. 1800 BC (?)
Period 5 : Late Harappa Phase c. 1800 BC (?) - < 1300 BC
Please don't cram these dates. The only thing should be kept in mind is that the civilization
dates back to around 3300 BC to 1300 BC.
The researches have made it clear that the Harappan Civilization was definitely in
contact with the Mesopotamian civilization in 2600 BC.
The most accepted timeline for development from the Neolithic period to early historic
period through Harappa Civilization is as follows: (all dates are approximates)
Early Food Producing Era: 6500 - 5000 B.C.
Regionalization Era: 5000 - 2600 B.C.
Indus Civilization - Harappan Culture Integration Era : 2600 - 1900 B.C.
Late Harappan Period: 1900 - 1300 or 1000 B.C.
Post-Indus Tradition, Painted Grey Ware +1200 - 800 B.C.
Northern Black Polished Ware: + 700 - 300 B.C.
Early Historic Period : 600 B.C.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Origin & Salient Features of Indus Valley Civilization
2011- 05- 04 15:05:39 GKToday
The quest ion about t he origin of t he Indus valley civilizat ion is largely
unanswered. Various researches have linked signif icant ly t he origin of Indus
Valley civilizat ion t o t he Neolit hic sit e of Mehrgarh. Mehrgarh which lies on t he
"Kachi Plain" of Baluchist an in Pakist an is a Neolit hic sit e. Mehrgarh was a
cent re of t ransf ormat ion f rom t he hunt er gat herer t o f arming (wheat and
barley are f ound) and herding (cat t le, sheep and goat s were reared).
Apart f rom t his, a Neolit hic set t lement has been f ound in Sout h India which is
cont emporary wit h t he Early Indus valley Civilizat ion. These sit es were
charact erized as Neolit hic sit es by Bruce Foot at sin Karnat aka such as
pikkalilal, Ut nur, Kupgal, Kodekal, pallavoy. Ash mounds have been f ound and
t hey have given t he evidence t hat cat t le were herded t here. This along wit h
views of some ot her scholars indicat es t hat t his was a "Dravidian Civilizat ion".
However, Mehrgarh dat es back t o 7000 BC and as early as 5000 BC, t rade
links wit h Arabian Sea coast and wit h cent ral Asia have been est ablished. So
in t he light of t hese evidences it has been made clear t hat Foundat ion of Indus
valley civilizat ion was laid in t he Neolit hic period.
Bef ore we move t o t he each sit e and set t lement s of t he civilizat ion let 's have
a look at some basic common f eat ures of t he urban cent ers of t he
Civilizat ion. These f eat ures vary lit t le f rom place t o place.
The f irst common f eat ure is Indus script on seals. This script has not
been deciphered yet , so not much inf ormat ion is available about t he
social lif e, cust oms et c.
The second most import ant f eat ure is t own planning. The main f eat ures
of t own planning were use of baked as well as sundried bricks, well
planned st raight roads and a syst em of drainage.
A f ort if ied cit adel at most of t he cit ies. The number of t he cit adels
varies.
Houses wit h kit chens and wells, t anks or wat er reservoirs.
Use of st andard weight s and measurement t hroughout t he civilizat ion.
Presence of wheel made pot t ery.
The Pract ice of burying t he dead.
Salient Features of Harappa and Mohen Jo-dero
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are 500 kms apart f rom each ot her. These, along
wit h Dholavira, are called t he nucleus cit ies of t he civilizat ion. Harappa, t he
f irst discovered sit e of t his civilizat ion was on
bank of river Ravi, while Mohenjo-Daro was on
banks of Indus River. Each of t hem has t wo
prominent mounds where excavat ions t ook
place. Not able f indings at Harappa are rows of
granaries, Cit adels, Furnaces and a crucible t o
melt t he bronze. Not able f indings at Mohenjo-
Daro are t he magnum opus Great Bat h, uniform
buildings and weights, hidden drains and other
hallmarks of the civilization. This is the site where most
unicorn seals have been found. Mohenjo- Daro is also sometimes known as largest urban
centre of the civilization.
Great Bat h
The most famous building found at Mohenjo- Daro is a great bath. It is a 6x12 meter
specimen of beautiful brick work. The water for the bath was provided from a well in an
adjacent room. The floor was made up of bricks. Floor and outer walls were bituminized
so that there is no leakage of water. There are open porch's on four sides of the bath.
There is use of Burnt bricks, Mortar and Gypsum in the Great bath but NO use of st one
is there.
The largest building found at Mohenjo- Daro is a granary. Then, there was also a pillared
hall for social gatherings. The other notable findings at Mohenjo- Daro are instruments of
cotton weaving, Bronze figurine of dancing girl, evidence of violence and killing, seal of
the mother goddess, the figurine of beared man, the seal of Proto Shiva, a seal in which a
man is sacrificing a woman with his knife.
Observations about other sites
Third import ant cent re of t he civilizat ion is Dholavira in t he Rann of
Kut ch area. The sit e is relat ively newly discovered and here t he
hist orians f ound a t ant alizing signboard wit h Indus script .
Dholavira is dif f erent f rom Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro on
t he account t hat it s drainage syst em is much more
elaborat ed t hen t hese t wo cit ies. While t he t wo cit ies had
t wo mounds each, leading t o conclusion t hat t here were
t wo cit adels, Dholavira had t hree cit adels. Each of t hese
t hree cit adels of Dholavira was improved t han Harappa
and Mohenjo-Daro and had an inner enclosure as well.
The Dholavira is t he largest Indus Valley Sit e in
independent India. The second largest is Rakhigarhi near
Hissar in Haryana. Near Hissar, t here is anot her sit e called
Banawali where Barley was a common crop in Indus valley
t imes.
The west ernmost sit e Sukt agendor is locat ed near present borders of
Iran and it was an import ant coast al / port t own. Anot her import ant port
t own was Lot hal. One more coast al cit y was Balakot , which is locat ed
near Karachi in Pakist an.
The presence of horse has been doubt f ul in Indus Valley Civilizat ion. The
sit e where t he hist orians were able t o collect some bones of Horse is
Surkotada in Bhuj area of Gujarat .
The Kalibangan sit e in t he Hanumangarh dist rict of Rajast han has given
evidence of both Pre- harappan and harappan civilization. Here the historians have
found a ploughed f ield and bones of camel. The peculiar type of circular and
rect angular graves is another feature of Kalibangan. In terms of town planning,
Kalibangan was not as developed as Harappa, Mohenjo- Daro and Dholavira
because here we neit her f ind use of baked bricks nor a drainage syst em.
A different kind of town planning we found at Lothal; this city was divided into 6
sections and each section had a wide platform of earthen bricks. Lothal and
Rangpur are two sites where historians found rice husk. The magnum opus of Lothal
is an artificial dock. Lothal's dockthe world's earliest known, connected the city to
an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities
in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert of
today was a part of the Arabian Sea.It was a vital and thriving trade centre in
ancient times, with its trade of beads, gems and valuable ornaments reaching the
far corners of West Asia and Africa.
A bead making factory has also been found in Lothal. A seal from Iran has been
found which indicates its link with overseas countries.
Then, Lothal is different from other sites of Indus Valley Civilization in terms of town
planning that it has entry to the houses on the main street while in other sites have
shown lateral entry.
The only city in the Indus Valley civilization which does not have a citadel was
Chanhu Daro, located some 130 kilometers south of Mohenjo- Daro.
Alamagirpur was the eastern boundary of the Indus Valley Civilization. The
evidences say that this site developed in mature Harappan phase. Kot Diji and
Amri were pre- harappan sites.
The above inf ormat ion has been summarized below:
Dholavira : Signboard, 3 cit adels wit h improved inner enclosure
Sukt agendor, Lot hal and Balakot : Coast al Cit ies and Port Towns
Surkot da : Horse Bones
Kalibangan: Ploughed Field, Bones of Camel, Circular and Rect angular
Graves, Neit her Baked Bricks nor a Drainage syst em.
Lot hal: 6 sect ions in cit y, Art if icial dockyard, Ent ry f rom t he main st reet
inst ead of lat eral ent ry t hat was common, The vase depict ing a t hirst y
crow as been f ound at Lot hal.
Lot hal and Rangpur: Rice Husk
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Harappa
2011- 05- 04 15:05:07 GKToday
Bot h Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are approximat ely 500 kms apart f rom each
ot her. Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Dholavira are called t he nucleus cit ies of
t he civilizat ion. Since it was locat ed on t he old course of t he Ravi River, t he
Harappans had easy access t o t rade net works, aquat ic f ood as well as wat er
f or drinking and cult ivat ion. This is one of t he reasons t hat t he Harappa was
occupied f or a long period of t ime. Harappa marked t he meet ing of t he rout es
coming f rom t he east leading t o t he Iranian plat eau.
Location:
Harappa was an Indus civilizat ion urban cent er. It lies in Punjab Province,
Pakist an, on an old bank / bed of t he River Ravi. The lat est researches have
revealed t hat t he cit y was have been surrounded by ext ensive walls.
Archaeological Sequence
The archaeological sequence at Harappa is over 13 met res deep, spanning
t he period bet ween t he f ourt h and second millennium BCirca The hist oricans
have def ined t he f ollowing f ive phases of chronology at Harappa:
Ravi Aspect of t he Hakra phase Circa 3300-2800 BC
Kot Dijian (Early Harappan) phase Circa 2800-2600 BC
Harappan Phase Circa 2600-1900 BC
Transit ional Phase Circa 1900-1800 BC
Lat e Harappan Phase Circa 1800-1300 BC
Important Findings
Harappa was t he f irst sit e of t he civilizat ion t o be excavat ed in 1921. The
excavat ion t eam was led by Daya Ram Sahni. Harappa was a gat eway cit y
and a meet ing point of several rout es. The mat erial remains f ound at Harappa
are t ypical Indus charact er which include t he pot t ery, chert blades, copper or
bronze implement s, t erracot t a f igurines, seals and sealing, weight s, et c. Two
rows of six granaries wit h brick plat f orms (t ot al 12) have been f ound in
Harappa. There have been evidences of cof f in burial have been f ound. There
are t wo mounds, west ern and East er,
The west ern mound of Harappa represent ed a cit adel which was 420 met ers
X 196 met ers in area and on a elevat ed plat f orm wit h t he height of 13.7-15.2
met ers and t his cit adel was reinf orced by bast ions. Out side t his cit adel have
been f ound somet hing like workmen's quart ers. 16 f urnaces have been f ound
wit h t he cow dung ash and charcoal. A crucible used f or smelt ing bronze was
also f ound at Harappa.
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Mohenjo-Daro
2011- 05- 04 15:05:32 GKToday
Mohenjo-Daro was a most important Harappan city.
The meaning of Mohenjo-Daro is "Mound of the dead" and Mohenjo-Daro is the best
known Indus site.
It is located in Sindh, Pakistan, next to the Indus River.
Here the Great Bath, uniform buildings and weights, hidden drains and other
hallmarks of the civilization were discovered in the 1920's.
At Mohenjo-Daro the most unicorn seals have been found.
Due to a rising water table, most of the site remains unexcavated, and its earliest levels have
not been reached. The Mohenjo-Daro also has two mounds. The western mound is lower
which was a citadel with 200 m X 400 m and eastern is a bigger which was having the relics
of a buried city of size 400x800 meters.
Mohenjo-Daro was the largest city of the Indus valley civilization. Both Harappa and
Mohenjo-Daro can be called the capital cities of the civilization.
Great Bath: The most famous building found at Mohenjo-Daro is a great bath. It is a
6x12 meter specimen of beautiful brick work. It has a tank with 11.88x7.01 lengths and
breadths and 2.43 meters depth along with steps on the north and south sides. The
water for the bath was provided from a well in an adjacent room. The floor was made
up of bricks. Floor and outer walls were bituminized so that there is no leakage of
water. There are open porch's on four sides of the bath.
Granary: A granary has been found which the largest building of the Mohenjo-Daro
is. This granary is divided into 27 rooms of different size and shape.
Assembly Hall : A square pillared hall with 90X90 ft is another important building
found at Mohenjo-Daro. The scholars agree that this pillared hall was a site for social
gatherings.
All houses have a courtyard , kitchen and a well. All houses at Mohenjo-Daro have proper
arrangements of light air and drainage.
Mohenjo-Daro has shown an extensive usage of bricks.
The Evidences at Mohenjo-Daro:
A piece of woven cotton along with spindle whorls and needles has been found.
A bronze figurine of a dancing girl has been found.
Mohenjo-Daro has also given evidence of violence leading to death.
A seal representing the Mother Goddess a plant growing from her womb has been
found.
A figurine of a bearded man has been found at Mohenjo-Daro
A seal with a picture suggesting Pashupati Mahadev has been found at Mohenjo-
Daro.
A seal which shows a woman to be sacrificed by a man with a knife in hand has been
found at Mohenjo-Daro.
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Rakhigarhi
2011- 05- 04 15:05:11 GKToday
Rakhigarhi is located in the Hissar district of Haryana. The excavations were carried out by
ASI in 1997 under the leadership of Prof. Surajbhan & Acharya Bhagwan Dev.
Not much has been published but this site gives evidences of two cultures early
harappan and mature harappan. The most important finding is an inscripted seal.
About 150 kilometres from Delhi , Rakhigarhi is located on the dried bed of
Saraswati-Drishadvati rivers First major excavation at Rakhigarhi was carried out
for three winters in 1997-1999 by a team led by Amarendra Nath Spread over an area
of approximately 130 hectares, it is the largest Indus Valley Civilisation site in the
country . Two levels of Early (3500 BC 2600 BC) and Mature Harappan (2600 BC
1800 BC) civilization have been found at Rakhigarhi. Both the phases have yielded a
rich haul of artifacts It is a necropolis which has yielded burials, important for the
study of any civilization. The ASI has located only one other burial site, at Kalibanga,
under Saraswati-Drishadvati project.
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Suktagendor
2011- 05- 04 15:05:29 GKToday
Suktagendor was located around 55 kms from the shore of Arabian Sea on the Bank of
Dasht River near the Iran Border. It was an important coastal town.
Suktagendor is considered to be the western border of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Excavations at Suktagendor has revealed a twofold division of the township.
It was originally a port and later cut off from the sea due to coastal upliftment.
The conclusion has been drawn up that Suktagendor had relationships with Babylon.
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Balakot
2011- 05- 04 15:05:12 GKToday
Balakot is situated on the bank of Somani Bay near Karachi. Balakot was a coastal city of the
Indus Valley Civilization.
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Kalibangan
2011- 05- 04 15:05:54 GKToday
The location of Kalibangan is Pilibangn, between Suratgarh and Hanumngarh in
Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan. It was excavated by A Ghosh in 1953 and later by BB Lal
& B K Thapar in 1961. It has given the evidence of both Pre harappan culture in the lower
layer and harappan civilization in the upper layer.
Kalibangan means black bangles.
The most important discovery of Kalibangan is a ploughed field.
A wooden furrow has been found, 7 fire altars in a row have been found and they
suggest the practice of sacrifice.
Bones of camel have been found at Kalibangan.
At Kalibangan a tiled floor which bears the intersecting signs of circles has been
found.
The burials have been found in two types of pits viz. circular graves and rectangular
graves.
The bricks used in Kalibangan were earthen ones and Kalibangan was not as better planned.
There was no drainage system in Kalibangan.
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Banawali
2011- 05- 04 15:05:32 GKToday
Banawali is located in Hissar district of Haryana. It has provided two phases of culture
during excavations viz. pre harappan and harappan.
High quality barley has been found at Banawali.
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Lothal
2011- 05- 04 15:05:13 GKToday
Located in the Dhalka taluk of Ahmadabad of Gujarat. Lothal was excavated by S R Rao in
1957.
Lothal has shown a different kind of town planning. The city was divided into six
sections and each section was built on a wide platform of unripe bricks.
Rice husk has been found in Lothal.
Apart from Lothal there is only one site where rice husk has been found and that is
Rangpur.
An artificial dockyard is found in Lothal which has given an indication that the place
was an important sea link.
A doubtful terracotta figure has given some evidence of a horse.
A bead making factory has been found in Lothal. Lothal is another site which has
given evidence of direct trade contact with Mesopotamia.
A seal from Iran has been found which indicates its link with overseas countries.
Lothal is a site in which the entry to the houses have been found on the main street
while in other sites of Harappa have shown lateral entry.
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Chanhu Daro
2011- 05- 04 15:05:34 GKToday
Chanhu Daro is situated 130 kms south of Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh and there has been found
a single mound. It was discovered by N G Majumdar in 1931 and was later excavated on a
large scale by Mackay in 1935-36.
Chanhu Daro is the only harappan city which does not have a fortified citadel.
The Chanhu Daro has given evidence of factories of various figurines, seals, toys,
bone implements so it has been interpreted that it was a settlement with lots of
artisans and was an industrial town.
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Rangpur
2011- 05- 04 15:05:54 GKToday
It is located 50 kms from Ahmadabad in Gujarat.
The important finding of this settlement is rice husk.
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Other sites of Indus Valley Civilization
2011- 05- 04 15:05:15 GKToday
It was the eastern boundary of the Indus Valley Civilization. The evidences say that this site
developed in mature harappan phase.
Kot Diji:
Kot Diji was a pre-harappan site and located on the left bank of River Sindh.
This city was destructed by Force or some fire.
A tar is the major object found here. Statues of bull and mother goddess are other
things found in Kot diji.
Amri:
Amri was also a pre-harappan culture. It has given an impression of pre and post harappan
culture.

Ropar:
Ropar in Punjab was excavated under Y D Sharma. There is another site Bara near Ropar,
which shows an evidence of the decaying culture of pre harappan era.
Mittathal:
Mittathal is located in the Bhiwani district of Haryana. A terracotta cartwheel has been
found. Weights of stones have also been found. The evidence of residence outside a Citadel
have been found in Mittathal. The site gives evidences of rise, flourishing and fall of Harappa
civilization.

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Social Life at Indus Valley Civilization
2011- 05- 05 03:05:18 GKToday
Cont ent s
Language
Religion
Prot oshiva or Pashupat i
Linga Worship
Tree Worship and ot her rit uals
Talisman
Food:
Dress:
Sport s and Ent ert ainment s:
Tools, arms and weapons:
Science & Technology
Burial Pract ice
Language
Regarding t he language of t he Indus Valley Civilizat ion, we don't have a great
deal of knowledge because t he Harappa script has not been deciphered. The
script was writ t en f rom right t o lef t () and t his is somet hing on which
almost all scholars agree. Here are some more guess works done:
The language might be prot o-Sanskrit or prot o-Dravidian, nobody
knows.
The harappan inscript ions are on Seals, copper t ablet s, bone, ivory but
NOT on Bricks.
Religion
Most prominent religious f igures of t he Indus Valley Civilizat ion are Unicorn,
Pashupat inat h, Seven mot hers (sapta matrika) and compound creat ures. The
lat er t hree are now inculcat ed in Hindu religion. The mot her goddess was
dominant shows t hat t he society was predominantly matriarchal. There
was a division of labour and societ y was diversif ied and st rat if ied. The people
were scholars, art isans, t raders, warriors and businessmen.
Protoshiva or Pashupati
The Pashupat i is t he only possibly male deit y of Indus Valley Civilizat ion, as
depict ed on various seals. This deit y is surrounded by 4 wild animals and t his
gives an indicat ion t hat it is Pashupat inat h or a
prot ot ype of Lord Shiva. The deit y is surrounded
by 4 animals viz. an elephant , a t iger, a buf f alo
and a rhinoceros. Apart f rom t his t here 2 deer's
beneat h t he seat of t he deit y. The headdress of
t he deit y has t wo horns. It wears as number of
bangles and has a pect oral round t he neck, and
an inscript ion of seven let t ers appears at t he t op.
This represent at ion has at least t hree concept s
which are usually associat ed wit h Shiva viz., t hat
he is
Trimukha (t hree-f aced)
Pashupat i (Lord of animals)
Yogisvara or Mahayogi.
The f irst t wo aspect s are apparent f rom t he seal it self . The deit y is sit t ing
cross-legged in a Padmasana post ure wit h eyes t urned t owards t he t ip of t he
nose which evidence t he Yogisvara aspect of t he deit y. The deit y is always
nude save f or a cinct ure round t he waist .
Linga Worship
St one symbols of bot h male and f emale sex organs f ound at Indus Valley
Civilizat ion gives in indicat ion t hat Phallus or Linga worship was in pract ice.
Tree Worship and other rituals
The peepal t ree has been depict ed on many seals which gives a sense t hat it
might be a sacred t ree. Humped bull was a venerat ed animal and t here are
evidences of snake worship and snake charmers. No temples, No special
places of worship, no castes. The people had a sense of art s and craf t s and it
is proved by t he t oys, f igurines, bangles, st one st at ues, met al st at ues, et c.
The people were expert in making seals.
Talisman
On a seal is depict ed a six-rayed mot if which may signif y t he sun. Swast iks
and cross signs were harbingers of good luck. A shell inlay, shaped like a heart ,
was probably used as a Talisman in t he Indus Valley.
Food:
The evidences of bot h veg and nonveg lif e have been f ound at Indus Valley
Civilizat ion. There are evidences of cult ivat ion of Wheat , Barley, Rice, Dat e,
melon, lemon et c. people were cat t le herders and used milk and milk product s.
There are evidences t hat people made sweet s. Half burnt bones give
evidence of nonveg lif e.
Dress:
A f igure of a bearded man has been f ound in Mohenjo-Daro which indicat ed
t hat t hey used sewn clot hing's. The clot h used t o cover t he t orso in t he upper
part of t he body in such as way t hat it kept right hand Free. There are
evidences t hat t hey people t ook int erest in cosmet ics and had great
aest het ic sense. Men kept long hair and kept bread or also shaven beard. The
people of Indus valley civilizat ion were aware of Bronze mirrors, Ivory Combs,
ant imony rods but NOT hair dyes.
Sports and Entertainments:
The large number of t erracot t a f igurines and t oys such as cart , bull, elephant ,
monkeys, chariot s; whist les et c. indicat e t hat t he children ent ert ained
t hemselves. There are no clear evidences of Music in t he civilizat ion; however,
t he f inding of a dance girl bronze f igurine gives some insight about t he social
ent ert ainment .
Tools, arms and weapons:
They are made up of Copper and Bronze. They were unaware of t he use of
Iron.
Science & Technology
The Harappan civilizat ion was t he womb of mat hemat ics f rom where both the
concept of numbers and the numerical system originated. The numerical syst em
developed by t he Harappan included symbols f or most numbers and several
innovat ions f or mat hemat ical manipulat ions such as addit ion and
mult iplicat ion. The Harappan numerical syst em is decimal and addit ive
mult iplicat ive in usage. There are symbols f or numerical f or 4 t o 100, 1000 and
t heir derivat ives. The numerical syst em which was f irst used by t he Harappan
lat er f ound it s way int o ot her ancient civilizat ion. These people are known t o
have const ruct ed t he world's f irst t idal port at Lot hal at t he head of t he gulf
company. They possessed a high degree of knowledge relating to the ebb
and f low of tides and carried on brisk overseas t rade wit h ot her civilizat ions.
They were also conversant wit h t he medical sciences and used various herbs
and drugs t o t reat diseases. The people of Indus valley Civilizat ion pract iced
Trephination which is kind of medical int ervent ion making a burr hole in t he
skull t o t reat migraines and ment al disorders. The evidences of Trephinat ion
have been f ound at Lot hal, Kalibangan and Burzahom but not at Harappa or
most ot her sit es.
Burial Practice
Surkot da and Dholavira are t wo sit es of Indus Valley Civilizat ion where t he
burial pract ice resembled t he megalit hic burial pract ice. Burzhahom is a
Neolit hic sit e and here pract ice of burying dogs wit h t he mast ers was
common.
Why Indus Valley Civilization is known as Terracotta Civilization?
Because most of t he it ems f ound t here are of t erra cot t a such as ut ensils,
t oys et c. Indus Valley Civilizat ion is also known as Terracot t a civilizat ion.
These people are known t o have used t he ornament al t erracot t a ut ensils,
decorat ed wit h human f igures, birds and animals and geomet rical pat t ern.
Some ut ensils have been decorat ed wit h lines, angles, and circles; some have
been decorat ed wit h birds, animals, leaves and f lowers. These t erra cot t a
ut ensils are smoot h and shining and it has amazed what kind of base or
varnish was used by t hose art ist s t hat even af t er t housands of years t he
shine is st ill t here. The base is generally red wit h decorat ive lines in black.
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Administration & Economy of Indus Valley Civilization
2011- 05- 05 03:05:44 GKToday
Cont ent s
Administ rat ion in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Economy in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Agricult ure in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Animal Husbandry in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Transport at ion in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Foreign Af f airs in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Consumer Af f airs in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Finance, Business and Indust ry in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Met allurgy in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Pot t ery
Seals in Indus Valley Civilizat ion
Administration in Indus Valley Civilization
Cit ies are t he symbols of t he Indus Valley civilizat ion charact erized by t he
densit y of populat ion, close int egrat ion bet ween economic and social
processes, t ech-economic development s, caref ul planning f or expansion and
promot ion of t rade and commerce, providing opport unit ies and scope of work
t o art isans and craf t smen et c. This was a sort of urban revolut ion, which could
not have been possible wit hout t he st rong cent ral aut horit y, specialized
economic organizat ion and socio-cult ural unit y. The size and archit ect ural
complexit y of all large Harappancit ies mean somet hing in t erms of a socio-
cult ural development . The lay-out of t he st reet s, t he presence of a large-
scale drainage syst em wit h it s requirement f or const ant t ending, t he
monument al cit adels, all can be t aken as an indication of tendencies toward a
strong central government.
Anot her f eat ure of Harappan urbanizat ion was t he elaborat e craf t
specializat ion and t he cont act s wit h ot her reasonably dist ant part s of asia.
But t he great est challenge t o t he archaeologist s is t heir f ailure t o get any
idea of t he Harappan urban inst it ut ions. For example, we almost know not hing
about t he f orm of t he st at e and t he economic inst it ut ions.
Marit ime commerce wit h Mesopot amia was a part t o t heir lif e, but t he
knowledge of inner working of t hese complex Harappan urban economic
inst it ut ions complet ely eludes us.
Economy in Indus Valley Civilization
The economy of Indus Valley Civilizat ion was based upon agricult ure as well
as t rade. Commerce was import ant and t here were links f rom overseas
places.
Agriculture in Indus Valley Civilization
The agricult ure was in f lourishing condit ion which was due t o t imely and good
rains. They sowed many crops including t he rice, wheat , cot t on, barley et c.
Ot her crops were dat es, melon, pea et c. Predominantly Rainf ed Crops as
Irrigat ion was based upon t he rainwat er but also t he sources of irrigat ions
were available. Wheat and barley were the most important Harappan Crops. In
Harappa, 3 principle variet ies of Wheat were sown; t hree variet ies of barleys
were also sown. The cult ivat ion of lent ils, must ard, linseed, Sesamum has
been f ound. The Finger millet , Ragi, Bajra, Jawar were cult ivat ed and it seems
t hat t hey dif f used f rom Af rica.
Animal Husbandry in Indus Valley Civilization
The humped bull was domest icat ed animal, ot her were buf f alo, pigs,
elephant s, donkeys, goat s and sheep's. Only Surkot ada has given an evidence
of domest icat ion of Horse. Generally Horse is absent in t he civilizat ion.
The goat s, cows and Sheep were commonly domest icat ed in t he mat ure
harappan phase but t he evidences of Buf f alo have not been f ound in t hat
much quant it y.
Transportation in Indus Valley Civilization
The cart s and chariot s were means of t ransport . For sea t rade big boat s
were t here t o serve t he purpose.
Foreign Af f airs in Indus Valley Civilization
It has been est ablished t hat t his civilizat ion had relat ionships wit h
Mesopot amia civilizat ion. In various cit ies of Mesopot amia, t he harappan
seals have been f ound which prove t hese relat ionships. The descript ion of
Meluha in t he Mesopot amian lit erat ure ref ers t o India. The Mesopotamian
records mention the word Meluha for Indus region. The ancient name of t he river
Indus was Meluha. Sindhu is Sanskrit name, given by Hindus (Aryans), who
invaded India.
Consumer Af f airs in Indus Valley Civilization
The weight s and measurement s were calibrat ed t o a considerable ext ent .
The measures were st andardized and perhaps t here is binary syst em in use.
A scale made up of Elephant t usk has been f ound at Mohenjo-Daro and
Lot hal.
Finance, Business and Industry in Indus Valley Civilization
There was use of many kinds of met als including Gold, Silver, Copper, Lapis
Lazuli , Turquoise, Amet hyst , Alabast er, jade et c. It has been guessed t hat
among t he precious st ones in t he Harappan civilizat ion; Jade came f rom
Cent ral Asia, Turquoise came f rom Iran , Amet hyst came f rom Maharasht ra
and Lapis lazuli came f rom Af ghanist an.
A Jewellery hoard has been f ound at Allahdino, an Indus valley Sit e near
congregat ion of Indus river and Arabian sea. It has a necklace of 36 carnelian
beads, Bronze spacer beads and a coper bead covered wit h Gold f oil and 20
Gold lumps.
The t rade was mult if acet ed. It was operat ed on int raregional as well as
int erregional basis and had a guild syst em coupled wit h nomadic t rade. There
are no evidences of monet ary exchange.
Well developed st oneware indust ry. The manuf act uring of t he st one bangles
was most prevalent in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Harappan civilizat ion had
an Economic Zone. This economic zone was along t he bank of t he Sirhind
river.
Metallurgy in Indus Valley Civilization
These people were aware of Gold, Silver, Copper, Brass, Bronze and Tin but
did not know much about Iron.
Copper was t he most widely used met al.
Ganeshwar in Sikar Dist rict of Rajast han is supposed t o be t he supplier of
Copper t o t he cit ies of Indus Valley; however, t he largest hoard of Copper
came f rom Gungeria.
Pottery
A large variet y of pot t ery, bot h plain and decorat ed, has been f ound.
Harappanwares were shaped on a pot t er's wheel. The pot t ers wheels, being
made of wood, have not survived.
The kilns in which t he pot s were baked have been uneart hed. The heat ing was
skilf ully cont rolled as most of t he pot t ery was caref ully f ired. Once t he vessel
was shaped on t he wheels, t he ochre was paint ed over it . Then t he designs
were paint ed on t his red surf ace wit h a brush in black.
The black colour was derived f rom magnif erous haemat it e.
The designs include a series of int ersect ing circles (a pat t ern exclusively
f ound in Indus cult ure), t ree placed in met opes, mot if resembling a large
comb, chessboard pat t ern, t riangles, solar device, et c. f igures of animals,
birds, snake or f ish occur rarely. Animals are shown wit h grass and birds on
t rees. No human f igure is depict ed on t he pot t ery f rom Mohenjodaro but a f ew
pot t ery pieces discovered f rom Harappa port ray a man and a child.
At lot hal a vase a paint ing probably depict ing t he f olk t ale t he t hirst y crow and
on anot her jar f rom t he same sit e he has ident if ied t he depict ion of t he f olk
t ale t he cunning f ox.
Seals in Indus Valley Civilization
The seals were used t hroughout t he lengt h and breadt h of t his civilizat ion.
Made of st eat it e, t hese seals range in size f rom 1cm t o 5cm. t wo main t ypes
are seen
First , square wit h a carved animal and inscript ion
Second, rect angular wit h an inscript ion only.
The square seals have a small perf orat ed boss at t he back while t he
rect angular ones have a hole on t he back of t he seal it self .
The seals were very popular; more t han 1200 seals have been f ound at
Mohenjodaro alone. The most remarkable one is t he Pashupat i seal depict ing
shiva seat ed on a st ool f lanked by an elephant , t iger, Rhinoceros and buf f alo.
Below t he st ool are t wo ant elopes or goat s.
On one seal a goddess st ands nude bet ween t he branches of a pipal t ree,
bef ore which kneels a worshipper. Behind t he worshipper st ands a human
f aced goat and below are seven devot ees engaged in a dance.
A scene very of t en repeat ed on seals shows a man holding back t wo roaring
t igers wit h his out -st ret ched arms. This is similar t o t he Sumerian Gilgamesh
and his lions.
The animal most f requent ly encount ered on Indus seals is a humpless bull,
shown in prof ile wit h it s horns superimposed on each ot her and point ing
f orward. For t his f eat ure it has generally been called a unicorn.
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Decline of Indus Valley Civilization
2011- 05- 05 03:05:32 GKToday
There are various theories of collapse of the Harappan civilization. The main theories are:
Environmental Changes:
It declined because of the change in the course of the rivers and because the rivers dried up.
The decline theory of environment degradation was given by John Marshall. The dogma
says that cutting of forests for agricultural and timber for fuel may have resulted in the
barren land and silting of rivers. Another version of the same story says that it declined and
decayed because of the Floods in the rivers. It has been postulated that in Saraswati region,
the civilization declined mainly because of the shifting of the river channels. However, the
decline was not sudden and took several hundred years.
Aryan Invasion:
There is a theory that is based upon a Shloka in Rig Veda (VI.27.5). This Shloka says:
In aid of Abhyavartin Cayamana, Indra destroyed the seed of Varasikha.
At Hariyupiyah he smote the vanguard of the Vrcivans, and the rear fled freighted.
This sloka mentions Hari-yupiah which has been linked to Harappa. Further it has been
argued by the scholars that settlements in Baluchistan region were put under fire by the
barbaric Aryans and invaders. There are found around 6 groups of human skeletons in
Mohenjo-Daro which gives an indication that the civilization was subject to the foreign
invasions. However, Wheeler says: It is not susceptible to proof and no serious value.
The harappan civilization got disappeared in 1300 BC and the vacuum created was filled by
numerous civilizations.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Who were Aryans?
2011- 05- 05 03:05:04 GKToday
Cont ent s
Meaning of Veda
Aryans a Linguist ic Group
Sanskrit was t he language of Aryans
Sanskrit and Indo-European Languages
Sanskrit as a Scheduled Language and Classical Language
Meaning of Veda
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The above Shloka f rom Rig-Veda 8.19.5 was t ranslat ed by many scholars. The
f irst t ranslat ion was done by Grif f it h (1888). It lit erally means:
"The mortal who hath ministered to Agni with oblation, fuel, ritual lore, and
reverence, skilled in sacrifice."
Grif f it h t ranslat ed as "rit ual lore". Veda means t o know. Veda means
knowledge. In Sanskrit Vidya is Knowledge and it derived f rom Veda. Veda
does not mean t o be t he mant ras or samhit as or sholkas only. It is knowledge
and conscience. Avest a which is t he oldest Zoroast rian Text has shown some
similarit y wit h Rig Veda.
Aryans a Linguistic Group
It was init ially proposed by t he German scholar Max Muller t hat Aryans
belonged t o a race. However, he lat er det ract ed and declared emphat ically
t hat t he t erm Aryans, in scient if ic language, is ut t erly inapplicable t o race.
Aryan means language and not hing but language. It is now accept ed t hat
Aryan was not a race but was basically a linguistic group.
Sanskrit was t he language of Aryans
In 1786, Sir William Jones, in his f amous address t o t he Asiat ic societ y of
Bengal, t ried t o prove def init e relat ion bet ween t he Vedic Sanskrit and some of
the principle languages of Europe and Asia such as Greek, Latin, Gothic, Celtic,
Lithuanian, German , Persian, etc. The scholars have given a common name
Indo-European t o t his group of languages and t he people speaking t hem were
known as t he Indo-Europeans or Indo-Aryans.
On t his basis it has been surmised t hat Aryans spoke the common language and
shared the common home, dispersed or emigrat ed t o various part s of t he
world, including India.
The Aryan migrat ion of India is recorded in no written document, and it cannot
yet be traced archaeologically, alt hough recent ly some advance have been
achieved in t his respect t oo, but it is nevert heless f irmly est ablished as a
hist orical f act on the basis of comparative philogy.
Sanskrit and Indo-European Languages
The Indo-European languages of which Sanskrit in it s Vedic f orm; is one of t he
oldest members, originated outside India, and t he only possible way by which a
language belonging t o t his f amily could be carried all t he way t o India was t he
migrat ion of t he people speaking it .
Sanskrit as a Scheduled Language and Classical Language
Sanskrit is one of t he 22 languages of India included in t he 8
th
schedule. In
2005, Sanskrit was made India's of f icial classical language. The f irst classical
language was Tamil, which was given t his st at us in 2004. India has 4 of f icial
classical languages "Tamil (2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada & Telugu (2008).
Sanskrit is primary literary language of Hinduism and early texts of Buddhism The
Classical Sanskrit is recorded dating back to 4
th
century BC (Panini's Grammar). The Pre
Classical Sanskrit is Vedic Sanskrit in which the oldest literature dates back to as old as
1500 BC. Sanskrit is a descendent of Proto Indo- European languages. Avesta which is the
oldest Zoroastrian Text has shown some similarity with Rig Veda.
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The Rig-Vedic Settlements
2011- 05- 05 03:05:34 GKToday
Cont ent s
Source of Our Knowledge
Sapt a Sindhu
The names and ident it y of t he 7 rivers
Archaeological Evidences in cont ext wit h Aryans
Most of t he Rig-Veda civilizat ion was cent red on t he River Saraswat i which is
now lost in t he Desert s of Rajast han. The Rig-Veda ment ions rivers Kabul,
Swat , Kurram, Gumal, Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, beas, Sut lej et c. which
proves t hat t he set t lement s were in Af ghanist an and Punjab as well. The
cradle of Rig-Vedic civilizat ion is called Sapt Saidhav Region.
Source of Our Knowledge
Our knowledge of t he Vedic Civilizat ion is based upon t he inf ormat ion derived
f rom t he Vedic lit erat ure. It consist s of 4 Vedas and Brahman. The Rig-Veda is
most ancient covering a period f rom 1500 BC t o 1000 BC and t his is called
Early Vedic Civilizat ion.
Sapta Sindhu
Most of t he Rig-Veda civilizat ion was cent red on t he River Saraswat i which is
now lost in Desert s of Rajast han. The Rig-Veda ment ions rivers Kabul, Swat ,
Kurram, Gumal, Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sut lej et c. which proves
t hat t he set t lement s were in Af ghanist an and Punjab as well. The cradle of
Rig-Vedic civilizat ion is called Sapt Saidhav Region. Sapt a-Sindhu meaning 7
rivers is t he t erm which gave birt h t o t he word "Hindu". Sapt a-Sindhu was
ref erred t o as Hapt a-Hindu by Persians et c. The t erm is f ound in Avest a of
Zoroast rians.
The names and identity of the 7 rivers
Scholars are not of same opinion on t he names and ident it y of t he seven
rivers of Sapt a Sindhu. There is a verse in Nadist ut i sukt a of Rigveda , hymn
of praise of rivers which ment ions t he f ollowing 10 rivers: Ganga, Yamuna,
Saraswat i, Sut udri, Parusni, Asikni, Marudvrdha , Vit ast a , Arjikiya , Susoma.
The Shut udri was Sut lej, Parushni was Ravi, Asikni was Chenab and Vit ast a
was Jhelum. The majorit y of t he scholars believe t hat Sindhu & Saraswat i
(locat ed in Rajast han) were t he most popular and sacred rivers of t hat era.
Some scholars are of t he opinion t hat t he hymns in praise of t he Saraswat i
are probably some of t he oldest , composed more t han 8000 years ago. The 5
rivers Sut udri, Parusni, Asikni, Vit ast a, Vipas all were t ribut aries of Sindhu
River. Toget her wit h Sarasawt i and Sindhu, t hese 5 rivers const it ut ed t he
Sapt a Sindhu. However Saraswat i has been ment ioned as sapt asvasa, which
means she wit h 7 sist ers. So, This f urt her leads t o a group of 8 Rivers.
Rig-Vedic Name Modern Name
Sindhu Indus
Vit ase Jhelum
Askini Chenab
Purushni Ravi
Vipas Beas
Sut udri Sat luj
Gumal Gomat i
Krumu Kurram
Drishdvat i Ghagghar
Archaeological Evidences in context with Aryans
The init ial knowledge about t he dispersal of Aryan groups was based only on
comparat ive philology. Lat er some small archaeological inf ormat ion has been
f ound which includes t he 60 t housand horse bones and some chariot s. Horse
was t he best f riend of Aryans and it made t hem able t o make inroads in Asia.
Archaeological evidence of t he horse and horse specif ic have been uneart hed
in sout hern Tajikist an and in t he Swat valley in Pakist an. Then, t he grey
pot t ery of t he Nort h East Iran is also one of t he represent at ive evidence of
arrival of Aryans, because t he Caspian region was t he place where t he grey
pot t ery independent ly originat ed.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
The Geography in Vedic Texts
2013- 05- 22 17:05:20 GKToday
Cont ent s
The count ry of Aryans
The Rivers
The Mount ains
The Seas
The Desert s
Name of t he Places, Cit ies and Towns
Based on t he geographical dat a in t he Vedic lit erat ure, we can analyse about
t he Aryan expansion in India.
The country of Aryans
The Aryans used t he t erm Sapta Saindhavas as t he region where t hey
set t led down. They used t his t erm in t he cont ext of count ry. The count ry of
t he Aryan was also designat ed as Aryavart a in t he latter Script ures. The Rig-
Vedic Aryans had not yet est ablished set t lement s in t he sout hern India.
The Sapt a Saindhavas count ry of t he Rig Vedic period was bounded by t he
Himalayas and Tibet in t he east , Turkist an in t he nort h, Af ghanist an, in t he
west and t he Aravallis in t he sout h. The Ganga and t he mount ains of t he
Vindhya were t he barriers not easy t o cross in t hose days.
The Rivers
When t he early Rig Vedic hymns were writ t en, t he f ocus of Aryan cult ure was
t he region bet ween t he Yamuna and Sut udri (Sut luj), and along t he upper
course of t he river Saraswat i. The Saraswat i river is now an insignif icant
st ream, losing it self in t he desert of Rajast han, but t hen it f lowed broad and
st rong. Out of thirty-one river mentioned in the Vedic texts, about twenty-
five names occur in the hymns of the Rig-Veda alone. In t he Nadist ut i, t he Rig-
Veda enumerat es several st reams most of which belong t o t he Indus syst em.
The Mountains
The Rig Vedic people knew about t he Himalayas but did not mention about the
land south of the Yamuna, and they did not mentioned the Vindhyas Mountains or
Satpura even. The ot her hills ref erred t o are Arjika, Mujavant , Silament
(Suleman range), et c., which were all ridges of t he Himalayas.
The Seas
The ref erence of seas in t he early rig Vedic t ext is doubt f ul. However, in t he
lat er-Vedic lit erat ure, Samudram act ually means t he sea. There are
ref erences t o east ern and west ern oceans in t he Sat apat ha Brahmana, which
indicat e acquaint ance wit h t he Bay of Bengal and t he Arabian Sea in t he lat er
Vedic era.
The Deserts
The Rig Vedic Aryans were not f amiliar wit h any kind of desert . However, an
implied ref erence t o Maru as t he count ry of desert mounds near Kurukshet ra
has been t raced in Tait t iriya Aryanka.
Name of the Places, Cities and Towns
Vedic culture was essentially a rural culture, and cit ies had not emerged;
no import ant place name is hence recorded. In t he Rig-Veda it was because of
the migratory nature of the tribes and in t he lat er-Vedic period of t he
regions comes t o be known by t he names of t he t ribes who cont rolled t hem.
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Rig Vedic Polity
2011- 05- 05 03:05:04 GKToday
Cont ent s
Tribes and t he Dasarajana Yudha
Jana and Rajana
The Grama and t he Vajrapat i
Taxat ion : The Bali
Milit ary & Spy f unct ionalit ies
The Earliest Tribal Assembly - Vidhat a
Sabha and Samit i
The Gana or t he Republic
The Parishad
List of Import ant Of f icials of Vedic Civilizat ion
Tribes and the Dasarajana Yudha
The ent ire t errit ory of t he Vedic Aryans was divided int o a number of t ribal
principalit ies, ruled normally by t he leaders. The Bharat as were t he most
import ant Aryan t ribe, af t er whom t he India came t o be known as Bharat a. In
connect ion wit h t he f amous Dasrajna Yudha or t he battle of ten kings,
ment ioned in various hymns of t he Rig-Veda, many import ant Vedic t ribes and
t heir personalit ies are f ound ment ioned.
Jana and Rajana
The t ribe was known as Jana. The chief of t he t ribe was a Rajan. Rajan was
prot ect or of t he t ribe and it s cat t le. He f ought wars on behalf of his Jana.
Rajan was used f or t he t ribal chief who was primarily a milit ary chief t ain
leading t he t ribe in wars f or t he sake of t aking possession of cows and ot her
cat t le wealt h but not taking over possession of territories. This implies
t hat t he concept of land territory was completely absent in early Rig
Vedic Era. Aspect s of Land Territ ory during Vedic Era
The Grama and the Vajrapati
The t erm Gram, appearing 13 t imes in t he Rig-Veda, does not ref er t o a
village, but is essentially a military tribal unit. A war or bat t le was t hus
called Sangrama. The Vrajapati was in charge of commonly held t ribal
past ure land and was t he leader of t he f amily. Vajrapat i used t o lead in t he
bat t les, and lat er became synonymous wit h t he Gramani who himself
originally was t he head of t he t ribal unit called grama.
Taxation : The Bali
The Rajan could not have an elaborat e administ rat ive machinery because t he
nat ure of t he Rig Vedic economy. An economy in which t he surplus was very
small, t he Rajan received only bali, i.e. of f ering t o a prince or t o a god f rom
t he conquered people. However t hese t ribut es were neit her regular and nor
st ipulat ed and hence cannot be called a t ax.
Military & Spy f unctionalities
There was no regular st anding army. The milit ary f unct ions were invest ed in
t he Vedic assemblies. All t he t hree persons viz. t he Vrajapat i, Kulapa (head of
t he f amily) and t he Gramani f unct ioned as milit ary leaders. The Rajan held t he
Spies called Spasa t o keep an eye on t he conduct of t he people.
Ugra and Jivagribha were t wo of f icials probably meant f or dealing wit h t he
criminals. The Madhyamasi seems t o have act ed as a medit at or in disput es.
There were no code of law in t he early Vedic era.
The Earliest Tribal Assembly - Vidhata
Vidhat a appears f or 122 t imes in t he Rig-Veda and seems t o be t he most
import ant assembly in t he Rig Vedic period. Vidhat a was an assembly meant
f or secular, religious and milit ary purpose. The Rig-Veda only once indicat ed
t he connect ion of woman wit h t he Sabha whereas Vidhat a is f requent ly
associat ed wit h woman women act ively part icipat ed in t he deliberat ions wit h
men. Vidhat a was t he earliest f olk assembly of t he Aryans, perf orming all
kinds of f unct ions- economic, milit ary religious and social. The Vidhat a also
provided common ground t o clans and t ribes f or t he worship of t heir gods.
Sabha and Samiti
The t erm Sabha denot es bot h t he assembly (in early Rig-Vedic) and t he
assembly hall (Lat er Rig-Vedic). Women who were called Sabhavati also
at t ended t his assembly. The ref erences t o samit i come f rom t he lat est books
of t he Rig-Veda showing t hat it assumed import ance only t owards t he end of
t he Rig-Vedic period. Samit i was a f olk assembly in which people of t he t ribe
gat hered f or t ransact ing t ribal business. It discussed philosophical issues and
was concerned wit h religious ceremonies and prayers. Ref erences suggest
t hat t he Rajan was elect ed and re-elect ed by t he Samit i. The dif f erent iat ions
bet ween Sabha and Samit i
The Gana or the Republic
A Gana was a assembly or t roop. The leader of t he gana is generally called
Ganapat i .
The Parishad
The early parisad seems t o be a t ribal milit ary assembly, part ly, mat riarchal
and part ly pat riarchal. However, t he variet y of t he ref erences lead t o t he non-
Vedic charact er of t he parisad. In lat er-Vedic period, it t ended t o become
part ly an academy and part ly a royal council dominat ed by t he priest s, who
f unct ioned as t eachers and advisers.
List of Important Of f icials of Vedic Civilization
Of f icial Rig Vedic Tit le
King Rajan
Priest Purohit a
Commander Senani
Of f icer in Charge of Past eur lands Vrajapat i
Police Of f icers Jivagribha
Spy Spasa
Head of t he Village Gramini
Head of t he f amily Kulapa also called Dampat i
Mediat or in Disput es Madhyamasi
Tax Colllect or Bhagadugha
Treasurer Sangrahit ri
Chief Queen Mahishi
Chariot eer Sut a
Messenger Palagala
Account ant Akshvapa
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Rig Vedic Society
2011- 05- 05 03:05:31 GKToday
Cont ent s
Pat riarchy in Vedic societ y
The Evolut ion of Varna Syst em in Vedic societ y
Marriage and women in Vedic societ y
Educat ion in Vedic societ y
Inst it ut ion of Got ra in Vedic societ y
Amusement s and ent ert ainment s in Vedic societ y
House holding in Vedic societ y
Eat ing Habit s in Vedic societ y
Dress code in Vedic societ y
Healt h and hygiene in Vedic societ y
The f amily was t he basis of t he social st ruct ure in Rig Vedic societ y. The Jana
or t he t ribal societ y was given import ance. There is anot her t erm ment ioned in
Vedic t ext is Vis which means a clan. Vis consist ed of many gramas, which
was a t ribal unit meant f or f ight ing (Samgrama). The societ y was divided int o
smaller gramas. Whenever t here was a clash bet ween gramas, it was a
Sangrama.
Patriarchy in Vedic society
The f amily was a joint unit and pat riarch societ y and birt h of a son was
desired repeat edly. The inst it ut ion of marriage was est ablished. St at us of
women was equal t o men and t hey received t he Upanayan samskaras. They
st udied Vedas and some of t hem composed Vedic Hymns. There was
presence of practice of polygamy as well as Polyandry.
The eldest male member of t he f amily was known as Kulapa (prot ect or of t he
f amily). The social st ruct ure was based on kinship, which was rat her simple.
Terms f or f at her, mot her, brot her, sist er, son and daught er exist ed dist inct ly
but nephews, grandsons and cousins were known by a common t erm naptri.
Father's and mother's were known by a common term
The Evolution of Varna System in Vedic society
There was Varna syst em, which was mainly based upon t he color. Init ially t he
society had only Aryans, who were f air in color. They conquered t he
indigenous people who were dark in color and once conquered t hey were used
as slaves and called "Dasa". The Dasyu have been ident if ied as t he enemies
of t he Aryan Vedic t ribes. A relat ion bet ween Dasa and Dasyu has not been
est ablished; however, Dasyu seams t o be derived f rom Iranian Dahyu which
means a t ribe.
In t he lat er Vedic era, t he t ribal societ y was divided among 3 groups Warriors,
priests and common public. Lat er t he f ourt h division Shudras appeared in
t he lat er Rig Vedic societ y. The division of 4 Varnas viz. Brahman, Kshat riya ,
Vaishya and Shudra was initially not very sharp and based upon the
occupation BUT later became sharp and based upon birth.
Marriage and women in Vedic society
Despit e of t he pat riarchal charact er of t he f amily, t he posit ion of women was
much bet t er in t he Rig Vedic period t han in lat er t imes. They could at t end
assemblies and of f er sacrif ices along wit h t heir husbands. Five women have
been ment ioned as composers of hymns out of which Ghosha, Lopamudra
and Apala are f amous. Girls were normally married of f af t er pubert y (bet ween
t he age of 16 and 17). Unmarried girls grew up in t he home of t heir parent s.
Some unmarried woman like Visvavara and Apala of f ered sacrif ices on t heir
own. There are also evidences of widow remarriage in t he Rig-Veda. Marriage
as an inst it ut ion was well.
Education in Vedic society
In t he early Rig-Vedic era, ent ire inst ruct ion was given orally. Art of writ ing
does not seem t o have developed yet . In t he well-known Gayat ri mant ra t here
is a prayer t o savit ri f or t he st imulat ion of t he int ellect . There were women
t eachers. Many of t hem possessed t he highest spirit iual knowledge. Mait reyi
and Gargi were gif t ed scholars. Rishis who composed hymns f ounded t heir
own schools separat ely t o t each t heir pupils and every person among t he vis
was ent it led t o learn Vedic mant ras.
In t he lat er-Vedic phase, wit h t he development of varnaasramas, educat ion
began wit h an invest it ure ceremony (upanayan). Since Upanayan was conf ined
t o t hree upper Varnas, t he sudras were not ent it led t o educat ion. Somet imes
girls were also encouraged. When t eacher was sat isf ied wit h t he st udent , last
sermon called snat akopadesa (kind of convocat ion) was delivered.
Institution of Gotra in Vedic society
Got ra or cowpen was a mechanism f or widening social t ies a new relat ionship
were est ablished bet ween hit hert o unrelat ed people. It is possible t hat
animals were herded in common and such a place was known as got ra and
f rom t his it acquired t he charact er of an exogamous inst it ut ion.
Amusements and entertainments in Vedic society
Music, bot h vocal and inst rument al, was well known. We have been t old t hat
t he Vedic Aryans played on t he Vina and f lut e Vana t o t he accompaniment of
drums and cymbals. Some aut hors claim t hat Dhrupad of Indian classical
music originat ed in Vedic Era.
Dancing was common. The chariot race was a f avourit e sport and source of
ent ert ainment . Chariot race was a symbolic source of polit ical aut horit y of t he
king. The f ascinat ion of gambling and t he ruin caused by it s addict ion f ind
ment ion in t he Rig-Veda.
House holding in Vedic society
The Griha sut ra prescribes a code of conduct , which gives a f airly good idea
of t he manners and et iquet t e of t he lat er-Vedic age. A guest (at it hi) was
welcomed at all t imes and special guest s, like t he guru, t he king, and t he
f at her-in-law, et c. were given special t reat ment . Respect f or t he elders self -
rest raint , moral purit y, abst inence of all kinds and f ait hf ulness were some of
t he virt ues. Cleanliness was a passion. Daily bat h, washing of t he f eet and
hands every now and t hen, and purif ying t he at mosphere wit h Vedic mant ras
were a part of rit ual when rit ualism acquired special signif icance in t he lat er-
Vedic age. It became one of t he many sources of t he development of
hierarchy and t he supremacy f or t he Brahmanas.
Eating Habits in Vedic society
The main cereal produced by t he Rig Vedic people was Yava or barley.
Wheat and rice where not known to them. Godhuma or wheat is ment ioned
in several lat er-Vedic t ext s only. Yava was also a generic t erm f or various
kinds of cereals. In lat er-Vedic t imes we have evidence of rice (Vrihi), bean-
pulse (masa), sesamum (t ila), millet (syamaka), kidney bean (mudga) must ard
(sarshapa), et c. Milk, Milk product s and cat t le meat was popular. Alcoholic
drinks were known and common. Soma and Sura are t wo int oxicat ing liquors.
Sura may be a kind of beer and Soma was accept able t o Gods.
Dress code in Vedic society
Two pieces of clot h were normally worn- t he upper garment was called
uttariya and t he lower one was known as antariya. The dress f or t he male
and t he f emale did not dif f er much.
Health and hygiene in Vedic society
Everyone aspired f or and everyone was blessed t o live f or a hundred years.
Epilepsy was common and it af f ect ed t he children as well. Superst it ions and
magical charms were employed t o cure t he diseases. Miraculous cures are
ascribed t o t he t win-gods, t he Ashvins, who are t he great healers of diseases
and expert s in t he surgical art . They were divine physicians who rest ored
eyesight and cured t he blind, sick and maimed.
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Rig-Vedic Economy
2013- 05- 22 18:05:48 GKToday
The importance of Cow
Rig Vedic economy was primarily pastoral . They domest icat ed Pashu
(which included cat t le, horse and even human beings), as opposed t o Mriga,
i.e. wild animals. Cat t le was synonymous wit h wealt h and a wealt hy person
was called Gomat.
Cat t le was so import ant t hat t he t erms of bat t le were derived f rom Gau
it self , such as Gavist i, Gosu, Gavyat , Gavyu. Godhuli was a measure of t ime.
Gopa and Gopat i were epit het s given t o t he king. Duhit ri was t he t erm used
f or daught er because she used t o milk t he cow. One of t he f our cat egories of
gods was known as Gojat a, i.e. cowborn.
When t he Vedic people encount ered buf f alo in India t hey called it Gauri and
Gavala or cow-haired.
The cat t le obt ained in raids were divided among t he f amilies. Cat t le f ormed
an import ant it em of donat ion and it may also have f ormed a part of bali, t he
t ribut e given t o t he raja by t he clan or vis members. The cat t le in general and
cow in part icular was t he main medium of exchange during the Rig Vedic
period.
The economy was based upon agricult ure. The people were well acquaint ed
wit h t he sowing, harvest ing, t hreshing and various agro seasons. The people
were past oral, Cow was revered but t he cows, and bulls were sacrif iced t oo.
The gif t s t o t he priest s were in t erms of number of Cows and women slaves
but NOT in measurements of lands.
Craf ts and Metallurgy
All kinds of craf t s were pract iced. There were pot t ers, Chariot makers,
carpent ers, and weaver and leat her workers. The met al work was known as
f ollows:
Copper was known as "Ayas"
Gold was known as Hiranya
Iron was also known as was known as Shyama or Krishna Ayas.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Rig-Vedic Gods
2011- 05- 05 03:05:10 GKToday
Cont ent s
The Worship of Nat ure
Rig Vedic Gods:
Indra:
Agni
Varuna
Soma
Visvedevas
Yama
Surya
Ot her Rig Vedic Gods
Apsaras
The Worship of Nature
The Aryans were solely t heist s. They cont emplat ion about lif e and t he world
was f rom t he spirit ual st andpoint . The Vedic Aryans believed in t he concept
of one in many. They worshipped t he f orces of nat ure, but at t he same t ime
believed in t he basic unit y of nat ure.
The Vedic people worshipped many gods not because of t he f ear of nat ural
phenomena but f or gaining t heir f avours. All t he nat ural phenomena such as
t he sky, t hunder, rain, air were believed t o be guided by t heir presiding deit ies,
while nat ural devast at ions were t aken t o be an expression of t heir wrat h. The
hymns of t he Rig-Veda were mainly sung f or t he glorif icat ion of t he gods in
order t o appease t hem. God was regarded as t he ruler, ordainer of t he period
of lif e, prot ect or of men and giver of happiness.
This implies t hat t he religion of the Vedic Aryans was a f orm of nature
worship. There were no places of worship like t emples. Nat ural phenomena
were conceived as t he expression of some spirit ual dif f erent appearances of
various gods. For t he dif f erent appearances of t he sky dif f erent deit ies were
imagined, such as Varuna, Indra, Mit ra, Dyus. Most of t hese nat ural event s
were personif ied and it was t he birt h of f irst myt hology in t he world.
Rig Vedic Gods:
The earliest divine power in Vedic lit erat ure is Dyaus. Dyu or Dyaus is t he
name of t he sky or heaven t hat shines, and is t he most ancient name f or t he
divine power among t he Aryans. It is t he same word as t he Zeus of t he Greeks
and t he Jupit er of t he Lat ins, t he Tiu of t he Saxons and t he Zio of t he
Germans, and t he name of t he Deit y among modern nat ions. Dyaus was
ref erred as Dyaus Pit r, which lat er became Ju-piter. Pit r means Prit hvi and
Dyaus was coupled wit h prit hivi and t he t wo Dyaus-Prit hivi are t he universal
parent s.
Indra:
Indra was t he most import ant divinit y and was lord of war. 250 hymns have
been devot ed t o only Indra in Rig Veda, which is highest f or any of t he Gods.
His ot her names are:
Car-warrior (Rat hest ha)
A winner ( Jit endra)
Soma Drinker (Somapa).
Indra is ment ioned as son pf Dyaus. He killed a demon Vrit ra, so he is known as
Vrit rahan. He dest royed t he f orest s so also known as Purandhar. He held t he
t hunderbolt (Vajra) wit h which he dest royed t he enemies. His wif e is Indrani or
Sachi (energy).
Agni
Agni is t he God of f ire and accept or of sacrif ices. He was considered t o be an
int ermediary bet ween Gods and men. 200 hymns have been devot ed t o only
Agni in Rig Veda while Agni is ment ioned in 218 hymns.
Varuna
Varuna is t he god of t he sky, of wat er and of t he celest ial ocean, as well as a
god of law called Rit a, and of t he Pat al Loka (Under world). He is one of t he
most prominent Devas in t he Rig-Veda, and lord of t he heavens and t he eart h.
46 hymns are dedicat ed t o Varuna in Rig-Veda.
Soma
Soma was prepared by ext ract ing juice f rom t he st alks of a cert ain plant , and
t he Soma God was god of t he plant s. 123 hymns are dedicat ed t o Soma and
most of t hem are f rom Soma Mandala.
Visvedevas
They are various Vedic gods t aken t oget her as a whole headed by Indra. 70
hymns are dedicat ed t o Visvedevas in Rig-Veda
Yama
Yama is considered t o have been t he f irst mort al who died and espied t he
way t o t he celest ial abodes, and in virt ue of precedence, he became t he ruler
of t he depart ed. He is t he guardian of t he world of Dead. His t win sist er is
Yami and bot h Yama and Yami are Children of Surya. Yamini means Night and
Yami is also known as Yamuna.
Surya
Surya is t he Sun God and 8 hymns are dedicat ed t o Surya in Rig-Veda.
Other Rig Vedic Gods
Savit ri: The Gayat ri mant ra is dedicat ed t o savit ri
Pusan: The guardian of t he Jungle Pat hs and Roads.
Vihsnu: A comparat ively minor god in Rig-Veda.
Vayu Wind God
Dyaus Fat her of Heaven
Adit i Goddess of Et ernit y
Marut s St orm spirit s
Gandhrava Divine Musicians
Ashvins Divine Doct ors
Rbhus t hree semi divine deit ies of Rig-Veda.
Apsaras
Dancers of t he celest ial Court s. Please not e t hat Rig Veda ment ions Apsara
as t he wif e of Gandharva. Rig Veda allows f or t he exist ence of more t han one
Apsara. The maiden Apsara is Urvashi who became t he wif e of king
Pururavas, f irst king of t he Somavamsha. Narrat ive of Urvashi and Pururavas
is f ound in t he Rigveda (X.95.1-18) and t he Shat apat ha Brahmana (XI.5.1)
Rudra Archer of Gods
Aranyanai Goddess of Forest s
Usha Goddess of Dawn
Prit hvi Goddess Eart h.
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Social System in Later Vedic Age
2011- 05- 05 03:05:35 GKToday
Cont ent s
General Changes
Changes in Economy
The Four Varnas
Types of Marriages in lat er Vedic Ages:
Anuloma and Prat iloma Vivah
Ashrama Syst em
Sacrif ices & Rit uals
Upnayana: perf ormed in t he eight h year t o conf er dvija st at us.
General Changes
The Sabhas and Samit is cont inued t o hold t he ground, however t he women
were not allowed t o sit in Sabha. Brahmins and Nobles t ook t he place.
The King became import ant and t errit orial aut horit y became import ant . The
t erm Rast ra which indicat ed a t errit orial count ry got prominent in t he lat er
Vedic Age.
Ashvamedha Yagya was considered t o aut horize t he unquest ioned aut horit y
over an area where t he Royal Horse could run. The levy of t axes st art ed and
became prominent and t he of f icer responsible f or t his f unct ion was sangrihitri.
The st anding army was not possessed by t he king even in Lat er Vedic period
and gramas must ered in t imes of war.
Changes in Economy
The lif e became sedent ary and t he domest icat ion of animals and cult ivat ion
increased. Cat t le were st ill t he currency and principle movable propert y. The
idea of privat e possession of lands st art ed t aking shape. Ironsmit hs, weavers,
jewelers, dyers, pot t ers, are t he new classes of art isans. Trade was also
boost ed.
The Gold piece of specif ic weight Sat amana was used as a currency rat e.
Use of Gold as currency is ment ioned in Sat apat ha Brahman. Nishka was
anot her popular currency. The ot her mat ellic coins were Suvarna and
Krishnala. Bart er syst em st ill exist ed.
Money lending as a t rade was prevalent .
The Four Varnas
The societ y was now divided int o 4 varnas viz. Brahmans, Kahst riyas, Vaish
and Shudras. Each of t hem was assigned it s dut y. The vaishyas were common
people who were responsible f or producing t he agricult ural commodit ies and
rearing of t he cat t le. The engaged in t rade and were called vaniks. Nagara
was used f or t he f irst t ime, which meant a cit y and beginning of t own lif e.
Types of Marriages in later Vedic Ages:
Marriage Type Descript ion
Brahma Vivah
Marriage of a girl wit h t he boy of same Varna wit h Vedic rit es
and rit uals
Daiva Vivah
When f at her donat ed his daught er t o a priest as a part of
Dakshina.
Arsa Vivah A t oken bride-price of a Cow and a Bull was given
Prajapat i
Vivah
Marriage wit hout dowry
Gandharva
Vivah
It was a kind of love marriage or swyamavara t ype
Asura Vivah Marriage by Purchase
Paisach Vivah
Seduct ion of a girl while sleeping or ment ally unst able due t o
a drink.
Rakshasha
Vivah
Marriage by abduct ion
Anuloma and Pratiloma Vivah
The marriage of a man of higher Varna wit h a girl f rom lower Varna was called
"Anuloma Vivah". It was allowed by t he sacred t ext s. The marriage of a girl of
higher Varna wit h a man of a lower Varna was called "Prat iloma Vivah" and it
was NOT allowed in t he t ext s.
Ashrama System
4 st ages of t he lif espan of 100 years were not est ablished in t he early Vedic
era. They were well est ablished in t he lat er Vedic era and 4 Ashrams were:
Brahamcharya Ashram: The f irst 25 years were set f or st udent lif e
Grihast ha Ashram: The age f rom 25 t o 50 years was kept f or having a
f amily and discharging t he worldly dut ies such as giving birt h t o children
and raising t hem
Vanaprast ha Ashram: Age f rom 50-75 years was f ixed f or part ial
ret irement and living lif e in f orest s.
Sanyas Ashram: The last age of 75-100 years was f ixed f or complet e
ret irement f rom t he world.
Please not e t hat 4
th
ashram has not been ment ioned in early Vedic t ext s. The
Sanyas ashram is ment ioned in Jabala Upanishad.
Sacrif ices & Rituals
Rajsuya: This sacrif ice conf erred supreme power t o King.
Asvamedha: Unquest ioned cont rol over an area
Vajapeya: It was a chariot race in which t he Royal Chariot was t o win
race against t he kinsmen. This elevat ed t he Raja t o a Samrat .
Garbhdharana: The concept ion ceremony.
Pumsayam: Rit ual t o procure a male child.
Sement onayam: Rit ual t o ensure saf et y of t he child in womb.
Jat akarma: Birt h ceremony perf ormed prior t o cut t ing t he umbilical chord
of t he newborn inf ant
Culakarma: perf ormed in 3
rd
year of t he baby's lif e
Upnayana: perf ormed in the eighth year to conf er dvija status.
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Vedic Terms
2011- 05- 05 04:05:58 GKToday
Vedic Term Meaning
Aghanya Not t o be killed
Agnyadheya ceremony which preceded t he public rit uals in Vedic Era.
Akshavapa account s of f icer
Amaju Lif elong unmarried girl
Bhagadugh carpent er
Bhishaka Doct or or Vaidya
Charmana Blacksmit h
Dat ra Sickle
Duhit ri Milker of cow and also a daught er
Gaura Buf f alo
Gavisht i a f ight f or cows.
Gocarman a measure of dist ance
Got ra A kinship unit
Hiranyakara Goldsmit h
Jansaya Gopa Tribal Chief
Kinsmen of t he King Sajat a
Kulala Pot t er
Purapat i responsible f or def ense.
Rat hakara Chariot maker
Samgavan A measure of t ime
Sarabha Elephant
Sat daya Compensat ion f or manslaught er
Sira Plough
Sit a Furrows
Spas Spies
Takshan / Tesht ri carpent er
Varat ra leat her st rap of t he Plough
Vrihi Rice
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Comparison of the Harappa and Vedic Civilizations
2013- 05- 22 19:05:06 GKToday
The sources of inf ormat ion of t he Harappan civilizat ion are mainly
archaeological, while t he Vedic cult ure is most ly known f rom t he lit erary
sources.
Harappans are said t o have been t he original inhabit ant s of India while
t he Aryans are believed t o have come t o India f rom cent ral Asia.
The Harappan civilizat ion was urban in nat ure, Vedic cult ure was rural
and past oral. At best t he Rig Vedic Aryans lived in f ort if ied places
prot ect ed by mud walls; and t hese cannot be regarded as t owns in t he
Harappan sense.
In t he Indus civilizat ion t rade, int ernal and ext ernal, craf t s as well as
indust ries were t he main sources of economy, Vedic Economy was
init ially post oral and lat er became based upon agricult ure and cat t le
rearing.
The agricult ural operat ions, including t he ploughing of f ields, were bet t er
known t o t he lat er-Vedic people.
Indus people did not know t he use of iron. It was purely a copper-bronze
cult ure, while t he Vedic cult ure in it s lat er phase is replet e wit h
ref erences t o iron.
The horse, which played a decisive role in t he Aryan syst em of warf are,
was not known t o t he Indus people. A f ew bones of horse and t erracot t a
f igure of a horse-like animal have been uneart hed f rom surkot ada.
Indus people were basically peace loving. Their arms (swords, daggers,
arrow-heads, spears) were primit ive in nat ure. Aryans were warlike
people and were conversant wit h all kinds of t radit ional arms and armour
and had devised a f ull-f ledged science of war.
Aryans worshiped Varuna, Indra, adit i and a large number of ot her
deit ies which st ood f or t he principal phenomena of nat ure. They
perf ormed sacrif ices and of f ered milk, ghee, et c. t o t heir gods. The
Harappans worshipped Pashupat i, mot her goddess, animals , snake and
nat ure. The f ire-alt ars were discovered f rom only one Harappan sit e at
Kalibangan.
The Harappans pract iced eart h burials whereas t he Aryans pract iced
cremat ion.
Harappan pot t ery called black or red pot t ery was wheel made and very
dist inct ive in nat ure. The dist inct ive Aryan pot t ery is known as PGW
(paint ed grey ware).
The Harappans were short st at ured, black in complexion, Aryans were
t all, well-built and handsome.
The Harappans at e all birds and animals including cow and calf . They
at e wheat , barley and bread. The Aryans pref erred Barley, milk and it s
product s, specially ghee or but t er and enjoyed Soma drink.
Cot t on was t he basic f abric of t he Harappans while t he Aryans put on
woollen garment s t oo.
Vedic Sanskrit is t he mot her of all non-Dravidian languages , Indus script
st ill remains undeciphered.
It was quit e clear t hat Indus people were lit erat e whereas t he Vedic
people were illit erat e (In t erms of writ ing) because t here is not a single
word f or writ ing in any of t he Vedic t ext s.
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Basics of Vedic Literature
2013- 05- 22 19:05:45 GKToday
The Vedas are said t o have been passed on f rom one generat ion t o t he next
through verbal transmission and are, t heref ore, also known as Shrut i (t o
hear) or revelat ion. The t erm Vedic lit erat ure means t he f our Vedas in t heir
Samhit a and t he allied lit erat ure based on or derived f rom t he Vedas. We
classif y t he Vedic lit erat ure int o t he f ollowing cat egories:
The f our Vedas i.e. t he Rig, Sama, Yajur and At harva and t heir Samhit as.
The Brahmanas at t ached t o each Samhit a.
The Aranyakas.
The Upanishads.
The basic material or mantra text of each of the Vedas is called
"Samhit a". Some post Vedic t ext s are also known as "Samhit as" such as
Asht avakra Git a, Bhrigu Samhit a, Brahma Samhit a, Deva Samhit a, Garga
Samhit a, Kashyap Samhit a, Shiva Samhit a and Yogayajnavalkya Samhit a.
Shruti and Smriti
The Vedic lit erat ure is broadly divided int o t wo cat egories viz. Shrut i and
Smrit i.
Shrut i is "t hat which has been heard" and is canonical, consist ing of revelat ion
and unquest ionable t rut h, and is considered et ernal. Shrut i describes t he
sacred t ext s comprising t he cent ral canon of Hinduism viz. Vedas,
Brahmanas, Aranyakas, & Upanishads.
Smirit i lit erally means "that which is remembered, supplementary and may change
over time". It is aut horit at ive only t o t he ext ent t hat it conf orms t o t he bedrock
of Shrut i and it is entire body of the post Vedic Classical Sanskrit
literature. It comprises Vedanga, Shad darsana, Puranas, Itihasa, Upveda,
Tantras, Agamas, Upangas.
There is anot her post Vedic class of Sanskrit lit erat ure called Epics which
includes Ramayana and Mahabhart a.
It 's wort h not e t hat , there is not a distinct divide between Shruti and Smriti. Both
Shruti and Smriti can be represented as a continuum, with some texts more
canonical than others.
Click Here to Read about Shruti Literature
Click Here to Read about Smriti Literature
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Veda
2011- 05- 05 03:05:34 GKToday
Cont ent s
Rig-Veda
Yajurveda
Sam Veda:
At harva Veda:
The f our Vedas come under t he Shrut i cat egory and are considered sacred
script ures. Lat er t ext s like t he various shast ras and t he it ihaasas f orm Smrut i.
Rig-Veda
Rig-Veda is known as t he oldest religious t ext in t he world. It is also known as
"First t est ament " of mankind. It was composed around 1700 BC. Last hymns
were composed bet ween 1500-1200 BC. It 's a collect ion of hymns by a number
of priest f amilies. It is organized in 10 books which are called Mandalas. The
f irst and 10
th
Mandalas are t he youngest and t he longest books. Second t o
Sevent h Mandalas are oldest part s of Rig-Veda but t he short est books. 8
th
and 9
th
books are of mixed ages.
Rig-Veda is neit her a hist orical nor a heroic poem but is mainly a collect ion of
hymns by a number of priest ly f amilies. These were recit ed at t he t ime of
sacrif icial rit es and ot her rit uals wit h ut most devot ion. The Rig-Veda cont ains
1017 (1028, including 11 hymns of t he Valakhilya recession) hymns (Sukt a) and
is divided int o t en mandalas. The f irst and t he t ent h Mandalas are said t o
have been added lat er as t heir language dif f ers slight ly f rom t he ot her eight
Mandalas.
Yajurveda
"Yajus" means "sacrif icial f ormula" and Yajurveda is t he book of sacrif icial
prayers. It cont ains t he rituals of the Yajnas. It is est imat ed t o have been
composed bet ween 1,400 and 1000 BC.
It prescribes t he rit uals f or perf orming dif f erent sacrif ices. It was t he manual
of t he Adhvaryus. Adhvarus wre the people prepared the ground and the altar,
offered the sacrificial victims and poured out the libations.
There are t wo dist ant f orms of t his Veda. In t he oldest , t he inst ruct ions about
rit uals are mingled wit h t he verses f rom t he Rig-Veda. The chief recession of
t his is t hat t aught by a school of t eachers called t he Tait t t iriyans. This was
called Black Yajurveda.
At a lat er dat e ot her scholars called t he Vajasaneyins separat ed t he
explanat ory mat t er f rom t he verses t o be recit ed and hence were called whit e
(Shukla) Yajur-Veda, t he ot her being called t he black (Krishna) Yajur-Veda.
This implies t hat t he Krishna Yajurveda includes t he Brahmana prose
discussions wit hin t he Samhit a (no Brahman) while t he Shukla Yajurveda has
separat ely a Brahmana t ext , t he Shat apat ha Brahmana.
World's oldest prose lit erat ure of t he Indo-Europeans is cont ained in
Yajurveda.
Sam Veda:
"Saman" means melody and it cont ains t he Ryt hmic compilat ion of Hymns f or
Rigveda. It ranks next in sanct it y and lit urgical import ance t o t he Rigveda. It
cont ains 1549 hymns which are meant t o be sung at t he soma sacrif ice by a
special class of Brahmans called "Udgat ris". It has t hree shakhas or
recensions:
Kaut huma : Panchvish Brahmana
t he Jaiminiya : jaiminiya Brahmana
Rvyanya : Shadvish Brahmana
There are t wo Aranyakas : Chadogya Aranyaka and jaiminiya Aranyaka.
Chadogya Aranyaka has Chadogya Upnishad and Jaiminiya Aranyaka has
Jaiminiya Upnishad. Gandharveveda is Samveda's Upveda is is a t echnical
t reat ise on Music, Dance and Drama. It is also called Nat ya Shasht ra.
Atharva Veda:
At harva-Veda is ent irely dif f erent f rom t he ot her t hree Vedas and is
chronologt ically t he last of t he f our. It is import ant and int erest ing as it
describes t he popular beliefs and superstitions of the humble folk.
Atharvaveda contains the magic spells, incorporates much of early traditions of
healing and magic that are paralleled in other Indo-European literatures.
For a very long t ime it was not included in t he cat egory of t he
Vedas.'At harvan' was a legendary Rishi and is considered t o have sung t he
At harvaveda. He is also said t o have f irst inst it ut ed t he f ire-sacrif ice or yagna.
At harvaveda was mainly composed by t wo groups of rishis known as t he
At harvanas and t he Angirasa, hence it s oldest name is t harvgirasa.
There are t wo surviving recensions or Shakhas known as aunakya (AVS) and
Paippalda (AVP).
Gopat h Brahmana is t he Brahmana of Yajurveda.
There are t hree Unishads viz. Prasna, Mundaka and Mandukya.
Sat yamev Jayat e, India's Mot t o comes f rom Mundaka Upanishad.
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Brahmanas
2011- 05- 05 04:05:29 GKToday
The Brahmanas are t he prose t ext s which explain t he hymns in t he Vedas,
give explanat ion and applicat ions and relat ed st ories of t heir origin. They also
have some st ories relat ed t o t he cert ain persons relat ed t o t he Vedic Text .
The f ollowing t able shows t he major Brahmans of Vedas.
Rig-veda
Ait reya
kaushit aki
Samkhyana
Yajur-Veda
Kast haka
kapilst hakat ha
Mait rayani
Tait riya
Sam veda
Panchvisha
Shadvisha
Jaiminiya
At harvaveda
Gopat h
Following is the list of Brahmans:
Rig-Veda: Ait areya Brahmana & Kaushit aki Brahmana
Aitareya Brahmana: Somet imes it is also known as Ashvalayana
Brahmana. It is older t han Kaushit aki in st yle and cont ent . The
legendary aut hor ascribed f or t his Brahmana is Mahidas Ait areya.
It is of Shakala shakhas of Rig-Veda
Kaushitaki Brahmana : It is of t he Vat kal or Bashkala shakhas of
Rig-Veda and somet imes also known as nkhyana Brahmana. It
is younger in cont ent and st yle.
Samveda
Jayminiya Brahmana
Tandyamaha or Pancavimsa Brahmana
Sadvimsa Brahmana
Samavidhana Brahmana
Arseya Brahmana
Devat adhyaya or Daivat a Brahmana
Mant ra or Chandogya Brahmana
Samhit opanisad Brahmana
Vamsa Brahmana
Jayminiya Arseya Brahmana
Yajurveda
Kat haka Brahmana
Krishna: t he Brahmanas are int egrat ed int o t he samhit as:
Mait rayani
Carakakat ha
Kapist halakat ha
Tait t iriya Brahmana
Shat apat ha Brahmana
Atharvaveda
Gopat ha Brahmana
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Aranyakas
2013- 05- 22 19:05:05 GKToday
The Aranyakas were writ t en in Forest s and are concluding part s of t he
Brahmans. Aranyakas don't lay much emphasis on rites, ritual and sacrifices but
have philosophy and mysticism. So t hey have moral science and philosophy. It
also provides t he det ails of t he rishis who lived in jungles.
Aranyakas were writ t en mainly f or t he hermit s and st udent s living in t he
jungles. Please not e t hat Aranyakas are t he concluding port ion of t he
Brahmanas or t heir appendices. They lay emphasis not on sacrif ices but on
medit at ion. They are in f act , opposed t o sacrif ices and many of t he early
rit uals. Their st ress is on moral values. They f orm a bridge bet ween way of
work (karma marga) which was t he sole concern of t he Brahmanas and t he
way of knowledge (gyan marga) which t he Upanishads advocat ed.
The Aitareya Aranyaka is appended t o t he Ait areya Brahmana of t he
Rig-Veda. The Sankhyayana or Kaushit aki Aranyaka is t he concluding
port ion of t he Kaushit aki Brahmana of t he Rig-Veda.
In t he black YajurVeda, t he Tait t riya Aranyaka is only a cont inuat ion of
t he Tait t t riya Brahamana. In t he whit e YajurVeda, t he 14t h book of t he
Sat apat ha Brahmana is in name only an Aranyaka- t he Brihdarnayaka.
For t he SamaVeda, t he only Aranyakas are t he f irst Aranyaka-like
sect ions of t he Chhandogya Upanishad, which belongs t o t he
Tandyamaha Brahmana, and t he Jaimniya Upanishad Brahmana, which
is not hing but an Aranyaka of t he Jaiminiya or Talavakara school of t he
SamaVeda and comprises t he well Known Kena (or Talvakra) Upanishad.
There are no Aranyakas of Atharvaveda
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Upanishad
2011- 05- 05 04:05:57 GKToday
Cont ent s
Ait areya Upanishad
Bhadrayaka Upanishad
Tait t irya Upanaishad
Chndogya Upanishad
Kena Upanisahda
sa Upanishad
vet vat ara Upanishad
Kat hopnishad
Mukt ika Upnishad
Mandkya
Prana
The word Upanishad means to sit down near someone and denot es a st udent
sit t ing near his guru t o learn. Event ually t he word began t o be used f or t he
secret knowledge impart ed by t he guru t o his select ed pupils. A number of
t reat ises were prepared, f irst orally and t hen in writ ing, and were called by t he
same name of Upanishad. Today Upanishads specif y philosophical knowledge
and spirit ual learning.
The main motto of the Upanishads is "Knowledge Awards Salvation"
Upanishads are called Vedant a (t he end of t he Veda) f irst ly, because t hey
denot e t he last phase of t he Vedic period and secondly, because t hey reveal
t he f inal aim of t he Veda.
The Oldest Upanishads are Brhadaranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads which
dat e as back as t he f irst millennium BC. Lat est were composed in t he
medieval and early modern period. The lat est Upnishad is Mukt ik Upnishad
and was recorded by Dara Shikoh.It dat es t o 1656. Dara Shikoh was son of
Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and is known t o have t ranslat ed f if t y Upanishads
int o Persian. There are 108 Upanishads and t hey are also called Vedanga.
"Upa" means nearby and "sada" means sit . So Upanishads cont ain t he
knowledge impart ed by t he gurus t o t heir disciples.
There are 108 Upanishad. 11 are predominant and they are called "Mukhya
Upanishads". They are as f ollows:
MukhyaUpnishad Veda
Ait areya Rig-Veda
Bhadrayaka Shukla Yajurveda
Tait t irya Krishna Yajurveda
Chndogya Sam Veda
Kena Sam Veda
a Shukla Yajurveda
vet vat ara Krishna Yajurveda
Kaha Krishna Yajurveda
Muaka At harva Veda
Mkya At harva Veda
Prana At harva Veda
Aitareya Upanishad
Ait areya Upanishad should be not ed f or one of t he 4 Mahavakyas viz.
"Prajanam Brahama" or "Consciousness is Brahman". The Four Mahavakyas of
Vedas are as f ollows:
Prajnanam Brahma - "Consciousness is Brahman" (Ait areya Upanishad of
t he Rig Veda)
Ayam Atma Brahma - "This Self (At man) is Brahman" (Mandukya
Upanishad of t he At harva Veda)
Tat Tvam Asi - "Thou art That " (Chandogya Upanishad of t he Sama
Veda)
Aham Brahmasmi - "I am Brahman" (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad of t he
Yajurveda)
Bhadrayaka Upanishad
It is cont ained in t he Shat pat h Brahman. It cont ains t he f ollowing Famous
Shloka:




1.3.28.
The meaning of t he above Shloka is : Lead Us From the Unreal To the Real, Lead Us
From Darkness To Light, Lead Us From Death To Immortality, OM , Let There Be Peace Peace
Peace
Taittirya Upanaishad
This Upanishada is associat ed wit h t he Tait t iriya school of t he Yajurveda. The
Tait t iriya Upanishad describes t he various degrees of happiness enjoyed by
t he dif f erent beings in creat ion
Chndogya Upanishad
This Upanishad is associat ed wit h t he Kaut huma Shakha of t he Samaveda.
Along wit h Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, t he Chandogyopanishad is an ancient
source of principal f undament als of Vedant a philosophy.
Kena Upanisahda
"Ken" lit erally means 'by whom'. It belongs t o t he Talavakara Brahmana of
Sama Veda and is t heref ore also ref erred t o as Talavakara Upanishad.
sa Upanishad
It is one of t he lat est Mukhya Upanishads, dat ing approximat ely t o Mauryan
t imes.
vetvatara Upanishad
Upanishads are sources of serious philosophical t hought ; however, t his
Upanishad dif f ers f rom ot her Upanishads by explaining t he same principles in
a very simple, easy-going and poetic way.
Kathopnishad
It was translated by Max Mller in 1879. It was rendered in verse by Edwin Arnold as
"The Secret of Death". The central story is immortality and covers the story of
encounter of Nachiketa, son of sage Vajasravasa, with Yama, God of death.
Muktika Upnishad
This Upanishad deals wit h t he Para Vidya and Apara Vidya. The Para Vidya is
knowledge t hat leads t o Self Realizat ion , Apara Vidya deals wit h everyt hing
else or t he mat erial knowledge. Mundaka Upanishad is not able as t he source
of t he phrase Sat yameva jayat e (3.1.6)
Mandkya
Mandukya is t he Short est Upnishad. It cont ains t welve verses expounding t he
myst ic syllable Aum, t he t hree psychological st at es of waking, dreaming and
sleeping, and t he t ranscendent f ourt h st at e of illuminat ion.
Prana
Six pupils int erest ed in knowing divinit y or Brahman come t o sage Pippalada
and request s him t o clarif y t heir spirit ual doubt s. Theref ore, t his Upnishad is in
Quest ion Answer f ormat .
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Vedanga
2011- 05- 05 04:05:47 GKToday
Cont ent s
Shiksha (Phonet ics)
Kalpa (Rit ual Canon)
Vyakaran (Grammar)
Nirukt a (explanat ion)
Chhanda (Vedic met er)
Jyot isha (Ast rology)
Vedangas are six auxiliary disciplines associat ed wit h t he st udy and
underst anding of t he Vedas. They are as f ollows:
Shiksha (Phonetics)
It s aim is t he t eaching of t he correct pronunciation of t he Vedic hymns and
mant ras. The oldest phonet ic t ext books are t he Prat ishakyas (prt ikhya),
describing pronunciat ion, int onat ion of Sanskrit , as well as t he Sanskrit rules of
sandhi (word combinat ion), specif ic t o individual schools or Shakhas of t he
Vedas.
Kalpa (Ritual Canon)
It cont ains t he sacrif icial pract ice and syst emat ic sut ras. There are t hree
kinds of Sut ras part of Kalpa:
rautastras, which are based on t he Shrut i, and t each t he
perf ormance of t he great sacrif ices, requiring t hree or f ive sacrif icial
f ires
Smartastras, or rules based on t he Smrit i or t radit ion. The
Smart ast ras have t wo classes viz.
Grhyasut ras, or domest ic rules : They are basically t reat ing t he
rit es of passage, such as marriage, birt h, namegiving, et c.,
connect ed wit h simple of f erings int o t he domest ic f ire.
Dharmasutras or customs and social duties: The
Dharmast ras are t he f irst f our t ext s of t he Dharmasast ra
t radit ion and t hey f ocus on t he idea of dharma, t he principal guide
by which Hindus st rive t o live t heir lives. The Dharmast ras are
writ t en in concise prose, leaving much up to the educated reader to
interpret.The most important of these texts are the sutras of
pastamba, Gautama, Baudhyana, and Vasiha.
The Dharmast ras can be called t he guidebooks of dharma
as t hey cont ain t he rules of conduct and rit es as pract iced in
t he Vedic schools. They discuss about t he dut ies of people
at dif f erent st ages of lif e like st udent hood, householdership,
ret irement and renunciat ion. These st ages are also called
ramas. They also discuss about t he rit es and dut ies of
kings, judicial mat t ers, and even personal pract ices like t he
regulat ions in diet , of f enses and expiat ions, daily oblat ions,
and f unerary pract ice.
Vyakaran (Grammar)
Vyakaran includes t he Adhyy, of Panini. Most of t he work of very early
Indian grammarians ranging t o 8t h cent ury BC is lost . There are 4 part s of
Panini's Grammar:
ivastra: Contains phonology (notations for phonemes specified in 14 lines)
Aadhyy: Contains morphology (construction rules for complexes)
Dhtupha:Contains list of roots (classes of verbal roots)
Gaapha: Contains list of classes of primitive nominal stems
Nirukta (explanation)
It is t radit ionally at t ribut ed t o Yska, an ancient Sanskrit grammarian. It deals
wit h et ymology, part icularly of obscure words, especially t hose occurring in
t he Veda
Chhanda (Vedic meter)
It measures and divides Vedic Mant ras by number of padas in a verse, which
is called Padas. Number of padas divides each verse, hymn, or mant ra and
number of syllables divides each pada. There is a dist inct t axonomy on t his
basis. For example a Gayat ri Chhanda has 3 padas of 8 syllables cont aining
24 syllables in each st anza. Similarly, Anuup has 4 padas of 8 syllables
cont aining 32 syllables in each st anza. Anust up is t he t ypical shloka of
classical Sanskrit poet ry
Jyotisha (Astrology)
It describes rules f or t racking t he mot ions of t he sun and t he moon and t he
f oundat ion of Vedic Jyot ish.
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Shatdarshana
2011- 05- 05 04:05:38 GKToday
Cont ent s
Nyaya:
Vaisheshika
Samkya
Yoga
Mimansa
Vedant a:
Hindu philosophy is t radit ionally divided int o six st ika (ort hodox) schools of
t hought , or daranam, which accept t he Vedas as supreme revealed
script ures. The st ika schools are:
1. Samkhya, an at heist ic and st rongly dualist t heoret ical exposit ion of
consciousness and mat t er.
2. Yoga, a school emphasizing medit at ion, cont emplat ion and liberat ion.
3. Nyaya or logic, explores sources of knowledge (Nyya St ras).
4. Vaisheshika, an empiricist school of at omism.
5. Mims, an ant i-ascet ic and ant i-myst icist school of ort hopraxy.
6. Vedanta, t he last segment of knowledge in t he Vedas, or t he 'Jnan'
(knowledge) 'Kanda' (sect ion). Vedant a came t o be t he dominant current
of Hinduism in t he post -medieval period.
Of t he hist orical division int o six darsanas, only t wo schools, Vedant a
and Yoga, survive.
The basic inf ormat ion about t hem is as f ollows:
School Aut hor Beginning Main Book
Nyaya Gaut ama
6t h Cent ury
BC
Nyayasut ra
Vaisheshika Kanaad
6t h cent ury
BC
Vaisheshik Sut ra
Sankya Kapil
6t h cent ury
BC
Sankya Sut ra
Yoga Maharishi Pat anjali
2nd cent ury
BC
Yog Sut ra
Poorva Mimansa Jaimini
4t h Cent ury
BC
Poorva Mimansa
Sut ra
Ut t ar Mimansa or Badrayan or Maharishi 4t h cent ury Ut t ar Mimansa
Vedant a Vyas BC Sut ra
Nyaya:
Lit erally means recursion. It is based on t ext s known as t he Nyaya Sut ras,
which were writ t en by Aksapada Gautama f rom around t he 2nd cent ury AD.
Nyaya Sut ras say t hat t here are f our means of at t aining valid knowledge:
percept ion, inf erence, comparison, and verbal t est imony. Click here t o read
more about Nyaya Philosophy.
Vaisheshika
It was proposed by Maharishi Kanaad. It post ulat es t hat all object s in t he
physical universe are reducible t o a f init e number of at oms. The school deals
in det ail wit h "Padart h" or Mat t er. Read More Here
Samkya
Samkya or Samkhya means Enumerat ion. The f ounder of t he Sankya school
of Philosophy was Maharishi Kapil. The school denies t he "exist ence of God"
and post ulat ed t hat t here are t wo realit ies Purusha and Prakrit i. Purusha is t he
consciousness and Prakrit i is t he phenomenal realm of mat t er. Read More
Here.
Yoga
Founder of t his school of Philosophy was Pat anjali. Yuj means "cont rol" and
Yoga also mean t o "add". Rja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakt i Yoga,
and Hat ha Yoga are it s main branches. The Yogasut ras of Pat anjali which
mainly post ulat e t he Raj Yoga , dat e back t o Mauryan Period while Hat hayoga
was int roduced by Yogi Swat marama. The major dif f erence bet ween Raj Yoga
and Hat hayoga is t hat Raja Yoga aims at cont rolling all t hought -waves or
ment al modif icat ions, while a Hat ha Yogi st art s his Sadhana, or spirit ual
pract ice, wit h Asanas (post ures) and Pranayama. So Raj Yoga st art s f rom
Mind and Hat hyoga st art s f rom Body. Read more here
Mimansa
Mimansa means invest igat ion or enquiry. The primary enquiry is int o t he nat ure
of dharma based on close t heology of t he Vedas. it has t wo divisions, Poorva
Mimansa and Ut t ar Mimansa. Ut t ar Mimansa is t reat ed as
anot her vedanga "Vedanta". The poorva Mimansa was post ulat ed by Jamini. The
ideology of Poorva Mimansa was t o count eract t he challenge by Buddhism
and vedant a which marginalized t he Vedic sacrif ices. This school got
moment um in Gupt a period and reached it s climax in 7-8t h cent ury. Sabara
and Kumaril Bhat t a were t wo main int erpret at ors. It was one of t he major
f orces t o decline Buddhism in India , but lat er it self was eclipsed by Vedant a.
Read more here
Vedanta:
Vedant a means Veda end or t he purpose or goal of t he Vedas. It was given
by Badrayana or maharishi Vyasa who is one of t he 7 chiranjivis and wrot e
"Mahabharta". Read more here
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Nyaya Philosophy
2013- 05- 22 20:05:18 GKToday
Lit erally means recursion. It is based on t ext s known as t he Nyaya Sut ras,
which were writ t en by Aksapada Gautama f rom around t he 2nd cent ury AD.
The basic t heme of t his darshana is acquiring t he Valid Knowledge. The
syst em is based upon Logic. On t his basis, t he knowledge can be valid or
invalid.
There are f our means of obtaining valid knowledge viz.
percept ion (prat yaka),
inf erence (anumna),
comparison (upamna) and
verbal t est imony (abda).
Invalid knowledge includes
memory (smt i),
doubt (saaya),
error (viparyaya) and
hypot het ical reasoning (t arka).
The f ollowers of Nyaya believed t hat obt aining valid knowledge was t he only
way t o obt ain release f rom suf f ering. They t heref ore t ook great pains t o
ident if y valid sources of knowledge and t o dist inguish t hese f rom mere f alse
opinions. The most import ant cont ribut ion made by t his school is it s
met hodology. This met hodology is based on a syst em of logic t hat has
subsequent ly been adopt ed by t he majorit y of t he Indian schools.
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Vaisheshika Philosophy
2013- 05- 22 20:05:28 GKToday
Vaisheshsika is a kind of At omism. It was proposed by Maharishi Kanaad. It
post ulat es t hat all object s in t he physical universe are reducible t o a f init e
number of at oms. The school deals in det ail wit h "Padart h" or Mat t er.
Vaisheshika syst em developed independent ly f rom t he Nyaya, but t he t wo
event ually merged because of t heir closely relat ed t heories. In it s classical
f orm, however, t he Vaishesika school dif f ered f rom t he Nyaya in one crucial
respect : where Nyaya accept ed f our sources of valid knowledge, t he
Vaishesika accepted only perception and inf erence.
Vaisheshika is also dif f erent f rom t he Modern At omic Theory because
Vaisheshika says t hat t he behaviour of t he at oms is guided by t he Supreme
being.
The Vaisheshika School classif ied t he mat t er or padartha int o six cat egories:
Dravya (substance): There are nine subst ances viz. pt hv (eart h), ap
(wat er), t ejas (f ire), vyu (air), kaa (et her), kla (t ime), dik (space),
t man (self ) and manas (mind). The f irst f ive are called bhtas
(Panchabhutas) t he subst ances having some specif ic qualit ies so t hat
t hey could be perceived by one or t he ot her ext ernal senses.
Gua (quality): There are 17 Gunas or qualit ies of mat t er. The Gunas
are diferent from Dravya. While a Dravya is capable of existing independently
by itself, a gua(quality) cannot exist so. The 17 Gunas are rpa (colour),
rasa (t ast e), gandha (smell), spara (t ouch), sakhy (number),
parima (size/dimension/quant it y), pt hakt va (individualit y), sayoga
(conjunct ion/accompaniment s), vibhga (disjunct ion), parat va (priorit y),
aparat va (post eriorit y), buddhi (knowledge), sukha (pleasure), dukha
(pain), icch (desire), dvea (aversion) and prayat na (ef f ort ). To t hese
Praast apda added anot her Gunas such as gurut va (gravit y), dravat va
(f luidit y), sneha (viscosit y), dharma (merit ), adharma (demerit ), abda
(sound) and saksra (f acult y). (By reading this you can imagine the
knowledge level of our sages 5000 years ago J
)
Karma (activity): Act ivit y is a f eat ure of t he some of t he Dravyas.
ka (et her), kla (t ime), dik (space) and t man (self ), t hough
subst ances, are devoid of karma (act ivit y)
Smnya (generality): When a propert y is f ound common t o many
subst ances, it is called smnya.
Viea (particularity) : By means of viea, we are able t o perceive
subst ances as dif f erent f rom one anot her. As t he ult imat e at oms are
innumerable so are t he vieas
Samavya (inherence): Samavaya is basically cause and t he ef f ect by
t wo subst ances. Acording t o Praast apda, it is t he relat ionship exist ing
bet ween t he subst ances t hat are inseparable, st anding t o one anot her
in t he relat ion of t he cont ainer and t he cont ained
One more cat egory was lat er added called abhva (non-exist ence). Here, t he
f irst t hree cat egories are def ined as artha (which can perceive) and they
have real objective existence. The last t hree cat egories are def ined as
budhyapekam (product of intellectual discrimination) and they are logical
categories.
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Samkhya Philosophy
2013- 05- 22 20:05:16 GKToday
Samkhya means Enumerat ion. The f ounder of t he Sankya school of
Philosophy was Maharishi Kapil. There is some dist inct f eat ure of t his
philosophy:
It st rongly proponent s Dualism. There are only t wo realit ies viz. Purusha
and Prakriti.
By Purusha t hey mean Consciousness and by Prakrit i, t hey mean
subst ance or realm of mat t er.
Jiva or lif e is t hat st at e in which purua is bonded to prakriti through
the glue of desire, and t he end of t his bondage is moksha.
The above t hree point s lead t o t he conclusion t hat t his school does not
believe in t he exist ence of God.
At t he same point , it does not describe what happens af t er moksha
and does not ment ion anyt hing about Ishwara or God, because af t er
liberat ion t here is no essent ial dist inct ion of individual and universal
purua. So what happens af t er Moksha is irrelevant t hing f or t his school.
But at t he same t ime, t hough godless, t he Sankhya believes in t he
doct rine o Karma and of t ransmigrat ion of souls.
This philosophy adversely af f ect ed t he Tant ra sadhana a lot .
Samkhya School of philosophy, the dualism consists of fundamental difference
between consciousness and matter. It is different from the dualism in west,
because in that the dualism differentiates between mind and body.
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Yoga Philosophy
2013- 05- 22 20:05:05 GKToday
Yuj means "cont rol" and Yoga also mean t o "add". This philosophy is very
close t o Samkhya and can be easily dist inguished as
Yoga= Samkhya + Divinit y.
Thus, yoga school accept s t he samkhya psychology and met aphysics, but is
more t heist ic t han t he samkhya, because it also includes the divine entity t o
t he samkhya's element s of realit y.
Pat anjali is widely regarded as t he compiler of t he f ormal yoga
philosophy. The yoga phislosophy of Pat anjali is also known as Raja
Yoga. The ot her branches include Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti
Yoga, and Hatha Yoga.
Raja Yoga is a syst em f or cont rol of t he mind. As per Pat anjali Yoga is def ined
as : -
:, which means t hat Yoga is t he inhibition of the modif ications of the
mind. Swami Vivekananda t ranslat ed t he sut ra as "Yoga is restraining the mind-
stuff from taking various forms".
Hindu philosophy dist inguishes seven major branches of Yoga:
Rja Yoga (Classical Yoga), a syst em of yoga codif ied by Pat ajali and
classif ied as one of t he six st ika ("ort hodox") schools of Hindu
philosophy.
Jnana yoga, (buddhi-yoga) cent red on t he f acult y of discernment and
'virt ually ident ical wit h t he spirit ual pat h of Vednt a'.
Karma-yoga, in which t he world of everyday work becomes t he t ool by
which self is t ranscended.
Bhakti-Yoga t he pat h of devot ed service t o God.
Tantra-yoga f ocused on t he t echniques and psycho-physical t eachings
cont ained wit hin a body of t ext s called t ant ras.
Mantra-yoga, one of t he most ancient f orms of yoga in which t he
psycho-acoust ical propert ies of t he spoken word are used t o
concent rat e t he mind.
Hatha yoga, a syst em of physical purif icat ion designed t o reint egrat e
and re-balance t he mind and body in preparat ion f or Raja-yoga (f irst
described by Yogi Swat marama).
Ashtanga Yoga
The Yogasut ras of Pat anjali lat er became t he basis of Ashtanga Yoga. This
eight -limbed concept derived f rom Pat anajali's Yogasut ra is a core
charact erist ic of pract ically every Raja yoga variat ion t hat is pract iced t oday.
These eight limbs are as f ollows:
Five Yama: Yama ref ers t o t he f ive "abst ent ions". These abst ent ions
are
Ahimsa (non-violence)
Sat ya (Trut h, non-lying)
Ast eya (non-covet ousness)
Brahmacharya (non-sensualit y, celibacy)
Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
Five Niyama: The Niyama ref ers t o f ive "observances". These are
Shaucha(purit y)
Sant osha(cont ent ment )
Tapas (aust erit y)
Svadhyaya (st udy of t he Vedic script ures t o know about God and
t he soul), and
Ishvara-Pranidhana (surrender t o God).
Asana: Asana means t o be seat ed. Pat anjali's Sut ras ref ers t o t he
seat ed posit ion used f or medit at ion.
Pranayama ("Suspending Breat h"): Prna, breat h, "yma", t o rest rain
or st op. Also int erpret ed as cont rol of t he lif e f orce.
Prat yahara ("Abst ract ion"): Wit hdrawal of t he mind or senses f rom an
object or event .
Dharana ("Concent rat ion"): Fixing t he at t ent ion on a single object .
Dhyana ("Medit at ion"): Int ense cont emplat ion of t he nat ure of t he object
of medit at ion.
Samadhi ("Liberat ion"): merging consciousness wit h t he object of
medit at ion.
Hathayoga Versus Rajayoga
The Yogasut ras of Pat anjali which mainly post ulat e t he Raj Yoga, dat e back
t o Mauryan Period while Hat hayoga was int roduced by Yogi Swat marama. The
major difference between Raj Yoga and Hathayoga is that Raja Yoga aims at
controlling all thought-waves or mental modifications, while a Hatha Yogi starts his
Sadhana, or spiritual practice, with Asanas (postures) and Pranayama. So Raj
Yoga starts from Mind and Hathyoga starts from Body.
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Vedanta
2011- 05- 05 04:05:11 GKToday
Cont ent s
Advait a
Vishisht advait a
Dvait a
Dvait dvait a
Shuddhdvait a
Achint ya Bhedbheda
Purndvait a or Int egral Advait a
Modern Vednt a
Vedant a means Veda end or t he purpose or goal of t he Vedas. It was given
by Badrayana or Maharishi Vyasa, who is one of t he 7 chiranjivis and wrot e
"Mahabhart a".
Sub-schools of Vedanta:
Advaita
It s proponent wes Adi Sahnakara and his Guru Gaudapada. The essence of
t his Vedant a is t hat "Brahman is the only reality, and the world, as it appears, is
illusory."
Vishishtadvaita
It s proponent was Rmnuja. The basic t heory is t hat "jvtman is a part of
Brahman, and hence is similar, but not identical. Brahman, matter and the individual
souls are distinct but mutually inseparable entities". Vishisht advait a advocat es
Bhakt i t o at t ain God.
Dvaita
The proponent of t he Dvait a was Madhwchrya.
This t heory is also known as Tat vavd - The Philosophy of Realit y. It
ident if ies God in t he Brahman (Universe) and it s incarnat ions such as Vishnu
and Krishna. It says t hat all individual souls (jvt mans) and mat t er as et ernal
are mut ually separat e ent it ies.
Dvaitdvaita
The t heory of Dvait dvait a was given by Nimbarka. It is based upon t he early
school of Bhedbheda of Bhaskara. It says t hat jvt man is at once t he same
as yet dif f erent f rom Brahman. The jiva relat ion may be regarded as dvait a
f rom one point of view and advait a f rom anot her. This school ident if ies God in
Krishna.
Shuddhdvaita
The proponent of Shuddhdvait a was Vallabha. It says t hat World is Leela of
God t hat is Krishna and he is Sat-Chid-Aananda. It ident if ies Bhakt i as t he
only means of liberat ion. Vallabha was also a f amous saint of Pusht i Marg. He
won t he f amous debat e of Brahmavad over Shankars.
Achintya Bhedbheda
The proponent of Achint ya Bhedbheda was Chait anya Mahaprabhu.
Chait anya Mahaprabhu was a f ollower of t he Dvait a vedant a of Sri
Madhwacharya. The doct rine of Achint ya Bhedbheda or inconceivable and
simult aneous one-ness and dif f erence st at es t hat t he soul or energy of God
is bot h dist inct and non-dist inct f rom God and he can be experienced t hrough
a process of long devot ion. It ident if ied God in Krishna. This Philosophy is
f ollowed by ISKCON.
Purndvaita or Integral Advaita
The proponent of Purndvait a was Shri Arubindo. He propounded t his doct rine
in his "The Lif e Divine". synt hesized all t he exant schools of Vedant a and gave
a comprehensive resolut ion int egrat ing cues f rom t he West ern met aphysics
and modern science. Sri Arubindo is known t o be one, who rest ored t he
umbilical cord of t he Vedant ic exegesis wit h t he Vedas.
Modern Vednta
The proponent of Modern Vednt a was Swami Vivekananda. His phislosophy
says t hat t he c ondit ions of abject povert y should be removed; only t hen will
people be able t o t urn t heir minds t oward God.
School Name Propounders
Advait a Adi Sahnakar and his Guru Gaudapada
Vishisht advait a Rmnuja
Dvait a Madhwchrya
Dvait dvait a Nimbarka
Shuddhdvait a Vallabha
Achint ya Bhedbheda Chait anya Mahaprabhu
Purndvait a or Int egral Advait a Shri Arubindo
Modern Vednt a Swami Vivekananda
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Epics
2011- 05- 05 04:05:34 GKToday
Ramayan: Created by Maharishi Valmiki. Consists of 24,000 verses in seven books
(Kandas) and 500 sargas) and tells the story of Rama. Verses in the Ramayana are
written in a 32-syllable meter called anustubh and ranges in 50000 lines in total.
Valmiki is also regarded as India's First Poet. Father Kamil Bulke, author of
Ramakatha, has identified over 300 variants of Ramayana. It inspired Tulsikrita
Ramayan "Ram Charit Manas" in 1576 by Tulsi Das.
Mahabharta: The Mahabharta is attributed to Maharishi Vyas and the tale known as
Bharta is a shorter version of 24,000 verses, while the Mahabharta contains 1 Lakh
verses and 1.8 million words which makes it 10 times longer than "Iliad and Odyssey
combined" and 4 times of Ramayana.
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Purana
2011- 05- 05 04:05:10 GKToday
They are lat e descript ions of ancient legends and consist of hist ory of t he
universe f rom creat ion t o dest ruct ion, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages,
and demigods, and descript ions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and
geography. They are colored wit h superst it ions and also represent a corrupt
f orm of Hindu Philosophy. 18 major Puranas are as f ollows:
Agni Purana which has 15,400 verses
Srimad Bhagavata Purana which has 18,000 verses. The most celebrat ed
and popular of t he Puranas, t elling of Vishnu's t en Avat ars. It s t ent h and
longest chapt er narrat es t he deeds of Krishna, int roducing his childhood
exploit s, a t heme lat er elaborat ed by many Bhakt i movement s.
Bhavishya Purana which has 14,500 verses
Brahma Purana which has 24,000 verses
Brahmanda Purana which has 12,000 verses; includes Lalit a
Sahasranamam, a t ext some Hindus recit e as prayer
Brahmavaivarta Purana which has 18,000 verses
Garuda Purana which has 19,000 verses
Harivamsa Purana which has 16,000 verses; more of t en considered
it ihsa
Linga Purana which has 11,000 verses
Markandeya Purana which has 9,000 verses; includes Devi Mahat myam,
an import ant t ext f or Shakt as, Short est Purana.
Matsya Purana which has 14,000 verses
Narada Purana which has 25,000 verses
Padma Purana which has 55,000 verses
Skanda Purana which has 81,100 verses, t he longest Purana
Surya Puarana
Vamana Purana which has 10,000 verses
Vayu Purana which has 24,000 verses
Vishnu Purana which has 23,000 verses
Apart f rom t he above t here are Kurmi Purana, Shiv Purana also.
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Upaveda
2011- 05- 05 04:05:30 GKToday
Upaveda means applied knowledge and are traditional literatures which contain the subjects
of certain technical works. They are as follows:
yurveda: Deals in Medicine and associated with the Rigveda
Dhanurveda: Deals in Archery and associated with the Yajurveda
Gndharvaveda: Deals with Music and Dance and associated with the Samaveda
Shastrashastra: Deals with military technology and associated with the Atharvaveda
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Mahajanapada
2011- 05- 05 04:05:08 GKToday
Cont ent s
Kasi
Kosala
Anga
Magadha
Vajji or Vriji
Malla
Chedi or Chet i
Vat sa
Kuru
Panchala
Mat sya
Surasena
Assaka
Avant i
Gandhara
Kamboja
In t he 6t h cent ury BC, t here exist ed 16 large st at es in India which are known as
16 Mahajanpadas. They are Kasi, Kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji or Vriji, Malla,
Chedi or Chet i, Vamsa or Vat sa, Kuru, Panchala, Machcha or Mat sya,
Surasena, Assaka or Ashmaka , Avant i, Gandhara & Kamboja. The names of
at least 9 among t hem are given in t he Vedic Lit erat ure.
Panini in t he 4
th
cent ury BC ment ions as many as 22 dif f erent Janpadas, but
also ment ions 3 most import ant viz. Magadha, Kosala and Vat sa.
Following is t he Brief Descript ion of t he 16 Mahajanpadas:
Kasi
Its Capital was Banaras
Kasi was locat ed on t he conf luence of Ganga and Gomt i rivers and
somewhere around t oday's Varanasi.
Kosala
Its capital was Shravasti
Kosala was locat ed in t he East ern Ut t ar Pradesh. It covers t oday's
dist rict s Faizabad, Gonda, Bhahraich et c. and was bordered by River
Gomt i on t he west , River Sadaniva in t he east , Nepal hills in t he nort h
and River Syandika in t he Sout h.
Anga
Its Capital was Champa
It covered t he modern dist rict s of Munger and Bhagalpur in Bihar It was
lat er annexed t o Magadha by Bimbisar. Magadh was on it s west and
Raja Mahal hills on t he west .
Magadha
Its capital of Girivraja or Rajgriha
It covered t he modern dist rict s of Pat na, Gaya, Shahabad of Bihar. It
was bordered by River Son non Nort h and Ganga on Sout h.
Vajji or Vriji
Its capital was Vaishali
It was locat ed on t he nort h of River Ganga in Bihar. The seat of 8
smaller clans / kingdoms called "Athakula" out of which Lichhavais,
Janat riks, Videhas were very import ant . It was separat ed f rom Kosala
f rom river Gandak.
Malla
Its Capital was Kushinagar, Pawa
It covered t he modern dist rict s of Deoria, Bast i, Gorakhpur in East ern
Ut t ar Pradesh.
Chedi or Cheti
It was locat ed in t he Bundelkhand division of Madhya Pradesh regions t o
t he sout h of river Yamuna and along river Bet wa or Vet ravat i. It s capit al
was Sukt imat i or Sot t hivat i locat ed somewhere near Banda in Ut t ar
Pradesh.
Vatsa
Its capital was Kausambi
It covered t he modern dist rict s of Allahabad and Mirzapur in Ut t ar
Pradesh.
Kuru
Its Capital was Indraprastha / Hastinapur / Isukara
It covered t he modern Haryana & Delhi-Meerut -Ghaziabad region. It s
east ern border was River Yamuna.
Panchala
Its Capital was its capital were Ahichhtra (Western Panchal) and
Kampilya (eastern Panchala).
It covered modern day Rohilkhand division & Upper Ganget ic Plains of
t oday's Ut t ar Pradesh & Ut t arakhand.
Matsya
Its Capital was Viratnagar
It was locat ed in t he Alwar, Bharat pur, Jaipur dist rict s of Rajast han.
Surasena
Its Capital was Mathura
It was locat ed on t he junct ion of Ut t arpat ha and Dakshinpat ha around
Mat hura of Today.
Assaka
Its capital was Potali, Potana or Podana
Locat ed on t he banks of t he Godavari River. It s capit al was Pot ali,
Pot ana or Podana, which now lies in t he Nandura Tehsil, Buldana dist rict
in t he Indian st at e of Maharasht ra and it was t he only Mahajanapada
sit uat ed t o t he sout h of t he Vindhya Range, and was in Dakshinapat ha
Avanti
Its capital was Ujjain & Mahismati
Locat ed on present day Malwa region. It was divided int o t wo part s by
t he Vindhyas, t he nort hern part had it s capit al at Ujjayini and t he
sout hern part had it s cent re at Mahishmat i.
Gandhara
Its capital was Taxila:
Covered t he regions bet ween Kabul and Rawalipindi in Nort h West ern
Provinces, Peshawar, t he Pot ohar plat eau and on t he Kabul River.
Kamboja
Its capital Rajpur
It was locat ed around Punchh area of Kashmir.
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Rise of Janapadas
2011- 05- 05 04:05:53 GKToday
The late Vedic era ends where epic era starts. Most of the historical information about that
period we get from Puranas, epics such as Mahabharta and Ramayana. However, the
information is delusive, exaggerated and fragmented so, not much reliable info is
available. The dates assigned to the Vedic period & Iron Age is 1200300 BC. We came
to know about some Mahajanpadas in Vedas. For example, the earliest reference to the
Magadha people occurs in the Atharva- Veda where they are found listed along with the
Angas, Gandharis, and Mujavats.
We have many sources to know about various Janpadas, Kings, Dynasties, Events that
happened near the rise of Buddhism and Jainism. However, the information from 1500 BC
to 6- 7
th
century BC is so much confusing that none of the scholars has been able write
clearly about the history of those times.
Rise of Janpadas:
We start our study from 1500 BC. We know that in contrast with urban culture of the Indus
Valley Civilization, the society in Vedic period was rural , where smallest political unit was
a Vis. However, some later Vedic texts detail about the Janpadas such as Kuru, Panchala,
Matysa, Kunti, Kikata, Jayminia, Kashi, Magadha, Anga, Kamboja etc. The first question
arises is, why and how the Janpadas developed.
In Early Vedic era, there was no taxing, No standing armies and no
importance to territorial powers.
The rise of Janpadas is mainly attributed to the establishment of settled agriculture
communities. The development of an agriculture based economy led to increase in crops
and cattle wealth coupled with use of iron in technology. The society was now totally
divided into 4 varnas. Based upon occupation, new labour class and landed classes also
emerged. The landed class was known as Gahapatis. The trade flourished and the towns
which were either located on trade routes such as Mathura or located near the banks of
rivers such as Magadha and other Mahajanpadas. This t ransit ion also saw an
emergence of t axing, st anding army, t errit orial powers et c.
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Magadha
2011- 05- 05 04:05:01 GKToday
Most important Mahajanpada was Magadha. Magadha was located near today's Patna &
Gaya. The first notable thing about Magadha was its geographical location which gave its
rulers a locational advantage to acquire more and more power. Magadha was located
between Ganga River in North, Son River in West, Vindhya ranges in south and Champa
in East. The three sides protected the territory and it was not easy for any invader to
invade Magadha so easily. The earliest capital of Magadha was Girivraja.
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Brihadrath Dynasty
2011- 05- 05 04:05:32 GKToday
The earliest known king of Magadha is Brihadrath. Name of Brihadrath appears in Rig-
Veda (I.36.18, X.49.6). Magadha is mentioned in Atharvaveda. The puranic sources say
that Brihadrath was the eldest son of Vasu. According to Ramayana, Vasu founded
Vasumati and Grivraja. The Brihadrath dynasty was founded by Brihadrath. His son was
Jarasandha.
Name of Jarasandha appears in Mahabharta and Puranas many times.
Jarasandha was inimical to Yadavas and that is why he is mentioned as a villain in
the Mahabharta. Jarasandha was a powerful king and a devotee of Shiva who at
the time of his birth was in two pieces of human body born to two wives of
Brihadrath. These two pieces were thrown into the forest on the order of
Brihadrath. In the Forest, a Rakshashi known as Jara found these two pieces.
When she joined them, they became one and thus the name Jarasandha (one
who was joined by Jara was given).
In the Mahabharta war, Jarasandha was killed by Bhima. The time period assigned to
Jarasandha is approximately 1760 BC. He was succeeded by Sahadev who also got
killed in the epic war of Mahabharta.
The Brihadrath Dynasty ended approximately 8
th
century BC.
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Pradyota dynasty
2011- 05- 05 04:05:42 GKToday
The Vayu Purana mentions that the Brihadrath dynasty was taken over by the Pradyota
dynasty, which ruled Magadha for 138 years. The time assigned to Pradyota dynasty is
approximately 800 - 682 BC. The Pradyota dynasty is mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina
texts as well. They write that the Pradyota dynasty kings used to kill their fathers as a
tradition to become kings. So patricide was common in Magadha.
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Haranyaka Dynasty
2011- 05- 05 04:05:19 GKToday
Most traditions agree that people get annoyed by this bloody tradition and a civil revolt
uprooted the Pradyota dynasty. After uprooting the Pradyota dynasty, which dynasty ruled
is a difficult question to answer. The Jain texts say that people rose up against the bloody
feudalistic tradition and made Shishunaga the king. While Buddhacharita by Avaghosa
mentions that it was Bimbisara of the Haranyaka Dynasty which succeeded the Pradyota
dynasty. Two Important Kings of this dynasty have been discussed here:
Bimbisara
Ajatshatru
End of Haranyaka Dynast y:
Ajatshatru faced the same fate as his father. He was killed by his son Udayin. Not only
these remarkable kings of the Haranyaka Dynasty were victims of Patricide, but also later
kings shared the same fate. Udayin was succeeded by Anuruddha by Assassination, his
son Munda & his son Nagdasaka also shared the same fate. This dynastic feuding
triggered a revolt and the people thrown these Haranyaka Dynasty rule and imposed
Shishunaga as ruler. This was the foundation of Shishunaga Dynasty.
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Bimbisara
2011- 05- 05 04:05:14 GKToday
Bimbisara was the first great king of the Haranyaka Dynasty. Most sources agree that
Bimbisara was son of Bhattiya who made his son Bimbisara, a king at the age of 15
years.
Bimbisara was the most remarkable king of the pre Mauryan dynasties of Magadha. He
was a man with clear perspectives. He used the policy of marital alliances to expand his
kingdom, a tradition which was not yet seen in any dynasty. He also used a policy of
sending envoys to strengthen the bilateral relationships.
He send Jivaka, a Vaidya (doctor) to the king of Avanti who was suffering from a
disease most probably jaundice.
He also received an ambassador from the King of Taxila.
Bimbisara had 4 wives. These wives were a result of Bimbisara's Policy of dynastic
alliances. His chief queen was Khema. The 4 queen of Bimbisara were
1. Kosaladevi, sister of Pasendi or Prasenjit of Aiksvaka dynasty. Kashi was given to
Bimbisara as a dowry gift in his marriage with Kosaladevi.
2. Chellena the daughter of Cetaka or Chetaka, the Licchhavi King of Vaishali who was
brother of Trishla, mother of Mahavira.
3. Khema or Kshema was daughter of Madra King of Punjab.
4. Vaidehi was daughter of Videha King.
This proves that Bimbisara used matrimonial alliances to expand his kingdom. For
example Kosaladevi brought Kasi under his rule, however, Kashi later became the cause
of hostility between his son Ajatshatru and his brother in law Pasendi.
Bimbisara was great in military skills as well. He defeated Brahamdatta of Anga and
annexed Anga in Magadha. Further territories were also annexed to Magadha by
Bimbisara.
Was Bimbisara a Jain or Buddhism follower?
Both Traditions call him as their followers. Bimbisara was contemporary of both
Mahavira and Buddha. The Jain texts mention that he was a disciple of Lord
Mahavira. The Buddhist texts mention that he met Buddha before enlightment.
Buddha promised him to visit his capital after he gets enlightment. He was a
patron of Buddha and as a mark of goodwill; he presented the Bamboo Grove
(karanda venu vana) to the Sangha.
However, Bimbisara's life ended with a tragedy. He was imprisoned by his son Ajatshatru
who starved him to death. So, like many of predecessor kings he was also a vict im of
pat ricide.
Legacy of Bimbisara:
In Bimbisara, we find a very efficient politician who had a clear vision of the political
situation at his time. His success is attributed to a large extent to the matrimonial
alliances he made. He was known as Shrenik as per the Jain texts, which means that
he had a large standing army. He is supposed to be one of the first kings to have a
large standing army. After becoming a king at the age of 15 years, he not only
expanded the empire but also patronized both the rising religions at that time. His
success was also due to the efficient administration machinery, in which the rajbhats
or Mahamattas i.e. Royal officers were divided into many classes.
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Ajatshatru
2011- 05- 05 04:05:58 GKToday
Cont ent s
Kasi a disput ed t errit ory
Mahshilakant aka & Rat hamusala
Ajat shat ru and First Buddhist Council
Legacy of Ajat shat ru:
The period assigned t o Ajat shat ru's rule is 491 BC t o 461 BC. He was son of
Bimbisara's wif e Vaidehi so, t he Buddhist t ext s ment ion his name as Vaidehi
Putra Ajatshatru. Ajat shat ru was NOT t he only son of Bimbisara. There were
many sons and daught ers f rom his all wives but Ajat shat ru proved t o be
dominant . He killed his f at her by st arving him t o deat h, t his is what Buddhist
t radit ions say. However, Jaina t ext s say t hat he was not involved in pat ricide.
But , most scholars agree t hat he brought t he lif e of his f at her t o a t ragic end.
The Buddhist t ext s relat ed t hat he af t er st arving his f at her t o deat h,
expressed remorse in f ront of Buddha, who said him, "Go and no sin
more..".
He was inst igat ed f or t his crime by Devadatta. Devadatta was a dist ant cousin
of Buddha who want ed t o usurp Sangha.
The killing of Bimbisara brought enmit y bet ween Ajat shat ru and Pasendi, t he
king of Kosala. His sist er Kosaladevi died of shock of his husband's t ragic end.
Pasendi immediat ely conf iscat ed Kashi, which was given as a gif t t o
Kosaladevi in marriage.
Kasi a disputed territory
Kasi remained a disput ed t errit ory bet ween Pasendi and Ajat shat ru f or a long
t ime. The disput e was solved and result was in f avor of Ajat shat ru, who not
only absorbed Kasi t o his kingdom Magadha but also got daught er of Pasendi
named Vajira.
Ajat shat ru expanded his t errit ories by f ight ing a war wit h Licchhavis also.
There were many reasons f or his enmit y t owards t he Licchhavis such as his
half bot hers were shelt ered by Licchhavis, t rade on t he banks of river Ganga,
a mine of gems near Ganga and most import ant t he rising power of
Licchhavis, which Ajat shat ru want ed t o dest roy. The war / st ruggle cont inued
f or 16 years and ended in f avor of Ajat shat ru who absorbed t he Licchhavis in
his empire.
During the times of Ajatshatru, both Buddha and Mahavira attained
Nirvana. Makkhali Gosala or Gosala Maskariputta, t he f ounder of Ajivikas pat h
also at t ained Nirvana during t he t ime of Ajat shat ru.
Mahshilakantaka & Rathamusala
Mahshilakantaka & Rathamusala were t wo war equipment s used (invent ed) by
Ajatshatru against Licchhavis. The Mahshilakant aka was an engine kind of
equipment which eject ed big st ones. The Rat hamusala was a Chariot which a
musala (mace or blade) at t ached at bot h sides of chariot which when ran,
caused a lot of casualt ies. It was also known as scyt hed chariot , which was
invent ed by Ajat shat ru.
Ajatshatru and First Buddhist Council
Ajat shat ru shared t he relics of Buddha and enshrined t hem in a st upa. He also
renovat ed 18 Buddhist Monast eries. Immediat ely af t er t he deat h of Buddha,
Ajat shat ru sponsored t he First Buddhist Council, which was organized in a hall
erect ed by him out side t he Sattaparnaguha Cave or Sattapani caves in
Rajgir. This meet ing was presided by Elder Mahakassapa. In t his council
Ananda recited Sutta Pitaka and Upali recited Vinaya Pitaka.
Legacy of Ajatshatru:
Ajat shat ru built a f ort at Pat aliput ra and so is known as f ounder of Pat na.
Many t ext s ment ion t hat is son Udayin developed Pat aliput ra as a cit y. It is
said t hat Under Udayin Pat aliput ra became prosperous cit y which lat er
became world's largest cit y under Mauryas. .
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Shishunaga Dynasty
2011- 05- 05 04:05:30 GKToday
Shishunaga was the founder of this dynasty. He was an amatya / officer / governor of the
last Haranyaka ruler Nagdasaka. After this coup d'tat Shishunaga made Grivraja his
residence and deputed his son to Banaras. Shishunaga was succeeded by Kalasoka.
During Kalasoka, Pataliputra became the capital of Magadha. In Puranas he is mentioned
as Kakavarna and in Sri Lankan texts he is mentioned as Kalasoka.
Kalasoka & Second Buddhist Council:
The second Buddhist Council was sponsored by Kalasoka at Vaishali in 383 BC.
This council was invited by a Buddhist monk Yasa, who saw the local monks of
Vaishali following the teaching laxily. The dispute was on 10 Points such as storing
salt in horn, eating after midday, eating once and going to villages for alms,
eating sour milk after one's meal etc. It was not settleed and Buddhism sects
appeared for the first time. President of this council was Sabakami.
The last rulers of Shishunaga Dynasty were 10 sons of Kalasoka who ruled
simultaneously. Out of them one son Nandivardhana is mentioned in Puranas.
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Nanda Dynasty
2011- 05- 05 04:05:58 GKToday
Mahapadmananda was the first ruler of the Nanda Dynasty. There are several theories
about the birth of Mahapadmananda. The Purana theory say that Mahapadmananda was
son of Nandivardhana & a Shudra Woman. Another theory says that there was a good-
looking barber, who won the heart of a queen who subsequently killed the king.
Mahapadmananda was a son of this barber. Whatever may be correct but this was the line
which started the trend of lowborn (as of contemporary conditions) rule started in
Magadha.

Meaning of Mahapadmananda
Mahapadmananda had a large army and that is why he is called Ugrasena.
His army might have been so large that it could be arranged in a Lotus shape :
Padmavyuh
He might have been so wealthy that his wealth was in Padama, a unit of
counting equivalent to a million multiplied by a billion.
Mahapadmananda subdued all the major powers such as Ikasvakus, Kurus,
Panchals, Kasis, Surasens, Maithilas, kalingas, Asmakas etc. and that is why
Puranas mention is name : Sarvakhstrantaka. (destroyer of all
Kshtras) equivalent to Parshurama.

The Nandas were the first Non Kshatriya rulers in the history of India. They were also the
first Empire Builders in the recorded history of India. Estimates say that the army of Nandas
was consisting of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 (or 80,000) cavalry, 2,000 (or 8,000) war chariots
and 3,000 (or 6,000) war elephants. Nanda ruled almost all parts of India for 100 years.
The last ruler was Dhana Nanda who was over thrown by Chandra Gupta Maurya thus
founding Mauryan Empire in 321 BC.

Invasion of Alexander:
Alexander, the great invaded India in 326 BC during the rule of Dhanananda. Dhanananda
is mentioned as Xandrames or Aggrammes or Ganderites in the Greek historical texts.
These texts mention that crossing the Beas was the last outpost of Alexander's army
which was insisted by Alexander to cross Ganga as well. But by hearing that Dhanananda
was waiting for them with 200, 000 army they were frightened and revoltedand thus
Alexander's army turned back. Alexander began his homeward journey in 325 BC and in
324 BC he died in Persia.
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Maurya Empire
2011- 05- 05 04:05:23 GKToday

After Alexander's invasion, India particularly North west region was in a state of ferment as
the people from this region tolerated the blows of the repetitive foreign invasions. On the
other side, the Nandas were not popular because of
its covetousness and greed leading to financial
extortions by Dhanananda. These conditions were
offering excellent opportunities for somebody to ride
the wave of popular discontent to overthrow the
unpopular rule. Chandragupta Maurya was that hero,
who tried his luck and due to his efforts coupled with
his spirit & boldness, India was politically united for
the first time in thousands of years.
Three most important Kings of this dynasty have
infused the sense of pride in every Indian.
Chandragupt a Maurya
Bimbisara
Asoka
The Mauryan King:
King was the supreme source of all powers and was center of all authorities, judiciary and
administration. The Mauryan Administration was highly centralized and King used to select
ministers, high official. A well planned system of supervision and inspection was there in
the Mauryan Administration.
The normal administrative machinery was as follows:

The Council of Ministers:
The King was assisted by the council of Ministers. The ministers were known as Mantrins.
The council of Ministers was called Mantriparishahda. The mantriparishadadhyakshya was
head of the Council of Ministers
akin to our Chief Ministers and Prime Minister. Composition of Mantriparishada was as
follows:
The Superintendents or Adhyakshas:
The second book of Kautilya Arthashastra (The Duties of Government Superintendents) or
Adyakshaprachara contemplates a ubiquitous bureaucracy which keeps in touch with all
sections of the society. These superintendents were called Adhyakshas. Adhyakshas
composed a highly skilled secretariat, divided into several departments. These
departments and their superintendents are listed as below:


Intelligence:
There was a well knitted espionage system in the Mauryan administration. The detectives
were known as Gudhapurushas. As per the Arthashastra, there were two kinds of spies viz.
Sansthana (stationary) and Sanchari (wandering). These spies were ears and eyes of the
King, who kept the king informed about all the details of the bureaucracy. The agents
included householders, merchants, disciples, ascetics, poisioners, Poisonous girls which
were called "Vishkanyas".
The ambassadors who were appointed in the foreign countries were also sort of spies.

Army:
The overall in charge of the Mauryan army was Commander in chief, who was
immediately junior to the King. He was appointed by the king. The army included 6 Lakh
infantry, 30,000 cavalry, 9000 war elephants, 1000 chariots and other things such as
transport equipments. There was a War Council which was further divided into 6 sub-
councils each with 5 members which formulated policy for infantry, cavalry, elephant
forces, chariots, navy and commiserate.
Navy, Transport in forces and commiserate were Mauryan innovations.
Transport
1. There was a separate department of road.
2. The width of the cattle tracks, pedestrians, chariots and other traffic
were different. There were trunk roads which were managed by the
department of Roads.
3. Trees were planted on both sides of the roads.
4. Inns were constructed at places on the road.
5. Nurseries and drinking water facilities such as wells, canals were
provided
Agriculture:
Sitadhyaksha was the chief of the Agriculture department. There was full- fledged irrigation
department as well. There was a network of canals which provided the water for irrigation
as per the measurements of the land i.e. requirements.
"Sudarshan Lake" at Girnar in Gujarat was constructed by Pushyagupta who was a
provincial governor of Chandragupta Maurya.
Rice of different verities was grown, Kondrava was a kind of coarse grain. Wheat, Pulses,
Saffron, Mustard, Linseed, Sesamum etc. were grown.

Reason of Decline of Maurya Empire:
There are several reasons of declining of the Mauryan Dynasty. Some of them are as
follows:
1. Immediately after the death of Asoka, the Mauryan dynasty was partitioned into two
parts viz. east and west. This partition disturbed the unity of the empire.
2. The successors of Asoka were weak rulers and they appeared to not been able to
handle the highly cent ralized tradition of domestic policy of the early Mauryas.
3. Some scholars say that pious policy of Asoka was responsible to the decline of the
empire as it undermined the strength of the empire. This theory is contradicted by
some scholars because Asoka only left policy of annexation but never dissolved or
weakened his army.
4. Some scholars say that a Brahminical revolution was a reason of decline; however
it is not accepted because Asoka, though patronized Buddhism, but never forced
his religion on others.
5. Some scholars say that there was a pressure on Mauryan economy, which is
evident from the low quality punch marked coins in the later Maurya period.
However, this idea is not adopted because foreign accounts give details of a
flourished economy.
6. Some scholars such as Romila Thapar say that Mauryan administration was highly
centralized and only a prudent ruler could handle this machinery.
7. Some scholars hold the oppressive policy of the later Mauryan for decline of the
empire.
Whatever may be the reason, one thing is clear that Maurya Administration was Highly
centralized administration.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chandragupta Maurya
2011- 05- 05 04:05:45 GKToday
Who was Chandragupta Maurya?
This account (purana) says that Chandragupta was a son of last Nanda Monarch
Dhanananda from his Shudra concubine Mura and that is why is name is Maurya.
This account has been rejected as well as accepted by many scholars.
As per the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Chandragupta was a scion of Moriya Clan, which
was branch of Sakyas Khat riyas. These Kshatriyas had received a share in the
relics of Buddha. Some other traditions link his ancestry to peacock tamers. So
there is no single theory about the ancestry of Chandragupta. One thing on which all
scholars agree is that he was from a "humble" background. He is mentioned in the
Greek texts as Sandrokyptos, Sandrokottos and Androcottus.
Young Chandragupt a:
Against there are several stories regarding the early age of Chandragupta. One
theory says that Chandragupta served the Nanda Army as a General or Senapati.
He, instigated by Vishnugupta or Chanakya revolted against his master but his
revolt failed. Vishnugupta, a Brahmin was insulted by Dhanananda by breaching a
social etiquette. When the revolt failed, both of them fled to safety.
T he Mahavamsa writes that Chandragupta while concealed in a woman's hut
overheard the woman scolding her child, who in the act of eating had burnt his
fingers by beginning from the center of the bread. She scolded the child and taught
him that hot bread should not be touched from the center and it should be broken in
pieces f rom t he corners. Chandragupta learnt from this story and transferred
himself to the North West.
Traditional accounts also mention a story, that Vishnugupta was a teacher at the
Taxila University. He found one day that Chandragupta was playing with children
and he delivered justice among the boys, one of who was acting a criminal.
Vishnugupta was impressed by his sense of justice. He took the boy to the king,
who impressed by his intelligence ordered to be trained at Taxila University. But in
the same event the king insulted Chanakya by breaching the etiquette and forced
him out. To take revenge Chanakya groomed the young Chandragupta at Taxila
University.
Some scholars say that he met Alexander when he was a young boy.
First of all, Chandragupta liberated North east from the Greek Governors and
Satraps who were appointed by Alexander. Alexander's death provided
Chandragupta an opportunity to give a death blow to the Greek Rule in parts of
India. After that he focused his attention on Magadha. Chanakya through diplomacy
aligned Chandragupta with a neighboring king Parvataka and the combined army
dethroned the Nandas and seized the Magadha. Nandas were spared their life and
let run with as much treasure as much a chariot can carry.
War wit h Selucus:
After death of Alexander, Selucus, one of the generals of Alexander became his
successor. He launched a campaign against India in 304 BC to recapture the
territories won by Alexander. He crossed Indus but his mission failed and an
alliance with Chandragupta ended the mission. By this treaty, Selucus returned the
Arachosia (Kandahar), Paropanisade (Kabul), Aria (Herat) and Gedrsoia
(Baluchistan) to Chandragupta. The alliance was cemented by Chandragupta.
Following were the acts that cemented the ties:
Chandragupta gave 500 war elephants to Selucus.
Selucus sent Megasthenes to Chandragupta's Court.
Possibly, there was a marital alliance in which son/ daughter of one was
married to daughter / son of other.
Ot her conquest s of Chandragupt a:
1. We know about Chandragupta's empire from the rock edicts and inscriptions
of Asoka and other rulers.
2. The Girnar Rock Inscription gives an indication that his empire was
expanded to the borders of modern Gujarat & Saurastra.
3. In south India we find Asoka's inscriptions and edicts, however, there are no
evidences that Asoka or Bindusara conquered these areas. However, some
sources say that Bindusara won the southern areas. So scholars agree that
the parts of South India were conquered by either Chandragupta or
Bindusara.
Lat er Lif e of Chandragupt a:
In the later years of his life Chandragupta abdicated his throne in favor of his son
Bindusara. He became a disciple of Bhadrabahu, a Jain saint. He is believed to
have spent his last years at Shravanabelagola. He is believed to have died by
practicing Santhara.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chanakya
2011- 05- 05 04:05:34 GKToday
Vishnugupta, Kautilya are other names of Chanakya. He was born around 350 BC and is
known for his being the chief architect of Mauryan empire and writing the pioneering
work in the Economics and Political Science that is Arthashastra. He is known as Indian
Machiavelli in the western world, which is wrong in the sense that Chanakya worked two
millenniums earlier than Machiavelli. Chanka was his father's name and Kotil was his
Gotra explaining his two names.
Chanakya was identified with Vishnugupta in a verse in his Arthashastra and also in
Panchatantra of Gupta age by Vishnu Sharma. Mudrarakshasha of Vishakhadatta
mentions that he was Dravid. Pali texts say that he was a Brahmin from Taxila.
1. Strabo (a Greek Geographer) gives him the name Palibrothus.
2. In Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta he has been depicted by names Piyadamus,
Vrishal, Chandrasiri & Kulihin.
3. In Mudrarakshasa , Chandragupta has been depicted as a weak insignificant young
man and Chanakya being the real ruler.
4. Historian Sir Thomas R. Trautmann has mentioned that Chanakya was born with a
complete set of teeth, which gave a sign that he would become a King. However his
teeth were broken so he would rule through someone else.
Chanakya mixed poison to the food eaten by Chandragupta Maurya, now king, in order to
make him immune. Unaware, Chandragupta feeds some of his food to his queen, who is in
her ninth month of pregnancy. In order to save the heir to the throne, Chnakya cut the
queen open and extracts the fetus, who is named Bindusara because he was touched by a
drop (bindu) of blood having poison.
Arthashastra:
Kautilya's Arthashastra was one of the great political books of the ancient world. Max
Weber recognized it as "truly radical 'Machiavellianism", however it is wrong because
Machiavelli's The Price (Il Principe) was published in the 16th century, while Kautilya wrote
Arthashastra long before birth of Jesus Christ. Despite of this Arthashastra is little known
outside India.
Art hashast ra is divided int o 15 books:
1.
2. Concerning Discipline
3. The Duties of Government Superintendents
4. Concerning Law
5. The Removal of Thorns
6. The Conduct of Courtiers
7. The Source of Sovereign States
8. The End of the Six-Fold Policy
9. Concerning Vices and Calamities
10. The Work of an Invader
11. Relating to War
12. The Conduct of Corporations
13. Concerning a Powerful Enemy
14. Strategic Means to Capture a Fortress
15. Secret Means
16. The Plan of a Treatise

These 15 books though tagged as theoretical by many scholars, have been accepted as
a source to describe the Mauryan Administration.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Bindusara
2011- 05- 05 04:05:30 GKToday
Chandragupta was succeeded by his son Bindusara. His other name is Amitraghata which
means destroyer of foes. The Greek scholars write him as "Amitrachates" or
"Allitrochates" . Chanakya served as Prime Minister of Bindusara for some years. Later,
Khallataka became his prime minister.
During the initial years of his reign Bindusara subdued a revolt in Taxila & Avanti.
At Avanti, he sent his son Asoka, the fearsome general and a great warrior right
from his childhood to subdue the revolt.
Bindusara had good foreign relations. He was friendly with the Greek King
Antiochos- I and asked him to send sweet wine, figs and a philosopher. The two
things were sent but third "a philosopher" was not sent as the land of the law at
Greece did not permit.
Deimachos was a Syrian ambassador who came in the court of Bindusara.
Bindusara ruled for approximately 25- 26 years and his succession was disputed
which ultimately gave India a great king called Asoka.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Asoka
2011- 05- 05 04:05:39 GKToday
Ashokavardhana or Asoka was governor of Taxila and Ujjain during the reign of his father
Bindusara. The Sri Lankan texts represent Asoka as "wading through a pool of Blood"
quoting that he terminated all 99 of his brothers except his uterine brother Tisya.
This has been disputed by the scholars. For example, Rock Edict V of Asoka
mentions about his brothers.
It may be a falsified version of his bravery by the Buddhist monks who might have
been interested in dark background of Asoka, who became the gentlest king after
his conversion.
Asoka's Names & Titles
1. Only inscriptions in the Maski edicts refer his name as Asoka.
2. Puranas refer his name as Ashokavardhana
3. Girnar Inscription of Rudradaman mentions him as Asoka Maurya.
4. In Babhru Inscription he refers himself as Piyadassi laja Magadhe (Piyadassi, King
of Magadha).
5. He assumes two titles Devanampiya and Piyadassi in his inscriptions.
Devanampriya Priyadarsi, Dhammarakhit, Dharmarajika, Dhammarajika,
Dhammaradnya, Chakravartin, Samrat, Radnyashreshtha, Magadhrajshretha,
Magadharajan, Bhupatin, Mauryaraja, Aryashok, Dharmashok, Dhammashok,
Asokvadhhan , Ashokavardhan, Prajapita,Dhammanayak, Dharmanayak all are his
titles.
Family:
The Buddhist texts mention his mother's name as Subhadrangi. His first wife was a
princess of Ujjaini called Devi or Vedisa. His two other wives were Karuvaki and
Asandhimitra. Asoka's only son mentioned in inscriptions is Tivara, who was born to
Karuvaki. The name of Karuvaki and Tivara are mentioned in Queen's edict.
Conquest of Kalinga:
Conquest of Kalinga is mentioned in Inscriptions. Kalinga was modern Orissa. Asoka's
coronation took place in 269- 68 BC and eight years after his coronation he campaigned
for Kalinga.
Conquest of Kalinga took place in 9
th
year of Asoka's reign.
Why Kalinga?
The Mauryan Empire was probably in friendly terms with the southern kings such as
Cholas and Pandyas. Kalinga was strategically located in the heart of his territory and that
is why his campaign to Kalinga was strategically important. Once Kalinga was won, there
was no much need to win over further territories.
The Kalinga war was a horrifying event. It mentions that hundred and fifty thousand people
were displaced, hundred thousand people were killed and many hundred thousands
perished.
The vivid description of Kalinga war is given in 13
th
Rock Edict.
After the war of Kalinga Asoka realized the gravity of war and the event had a profound
impact on his mind. He wowed to never wage such war and also directed his sons and
grandsons.
The 13
th
Rock edict mentions Asoka's remorse after the war and his changed
attitude from Dig- vajay to Dhammavijay.
Asoka adopted Buddhism in 9
th
year of his reign after winning Kalinga. He was inspired by
Nigrodha, a boy monk. Later, he came in contact with Moggaliput t a Tissa. Later his
brother Tissa, queen Karuvaki also adopted Buddhism.
Asoka and Third Buddhist Council:
Asoka sponsored the third Buddhist Council in 250 BC. This council was held at
Pataliputra. It was presided by Moggaliputta Tissa. Abhidhamma Pitaka was
established in this council.

Asoka & Buddhism: Dhammasoka
In the Bhabru edict Asoka says that he has full faith in Buddha, Sangha and Dhamma. But
he never forced his ideal on people. The Pillar Edict II says:
Dhamma sadhu, kiyam cu dhamme t i? Apasinave, bahu kayane, daya, dane, sace,
socaye.
The meaning is: Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma? (It includes) little evil,
much good, kindness, generosity, truthfulness and purity. In his Pillar Edict VII, he says
that all sects desire both self control and purity of mind. In the Major Rock Edict XII, he
directed and determined request for tolerance among different religious sects. He says
that he honors all sects and both laymen and monks. We can say that Asoka's Dhamma
is a moral code of ethics. Asoka propagated his Dhamma with zeal and earnestness of a
missioanry. He mentions in Minor Rock Edict I that as a result of his efforts for 1 year (or
more) "Human beings who were unmixed were cause to be mixed with Gods throughout
Jambudweepa. This was because of his well planned measures such as celestial
Chariots (Vimana), luminous balls of Fire (used for showing light in nights) and elephants.
Asoka abandoned the pleasure tours (vihara yatras) and hunting.

Deat h of Asoka:
Asoka died in 232 BC after a reign of 40 years. His policy of ahimsa partially contributed to
the decline of Maurya Empire. None of the successors of Asoka rose to his status. His only
son who was named in edicts was Tivara and there is a possibility that he died before his
father's death as not much is heard about him later. Jaluka was one of his sons who is
mentioned in Rajtarangini of Kalhana and became independent ruler of Kashmir. Kunala is
said to have reigned for 8 years but in southern traditions he is mentioned as a blinded
person. Ashokvadana says that Asoka was compelled to abdicate his throne in favor of his
Grandson Samprat i who was son of blind Kunala. Samprati was a great patron of Jainism
with his seat was at Ujjain. Another grandson Dasarat ha is mentioned in Vayupurana &
Matsya purana, who has been testified by scholars. It is possible that the empire was
partitioned into eastern and western parts, with Dasaratha getting eastern and Samprati
getting western parts.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Asokas Edicts & Inscriptions
2011- 05- 05 04:05:55 GKToday
The Edicts of Asoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Asoka, as well as
boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Asoka during his reign from 272 to 231 BC
dispersed throughout the areas of modern- day Pakistan, Nepal and India.
The first tangible evidence of Buddhism is represented by the rock and pillar edicts
of Asoka detailing wide expansion of Buddhism through the sponsorship of one of
the most powerful kings of Indian history.
These edicts mention that Buddhism reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many
Buddhist monuments were created in a wide area. Buddhism and the Buddha are
mentioned, the edicts focus on social and moral precepts rather than religious practices or
the philosophical dimension of Buddhism.
In these inscriptions, Ashoka refers to himself as "Beloved of the Gods" and "King
Priya- darshi."
The inscriptions found in the eastern part of India were written in the Magadhi
language, using the Brahmi script. In the western part of India, the language used is
closer to Sanskrit, using the Kharosht hi script , one extract of Edict 13 in the
Greek language, and one bilingual edict written in Greek and Aramaic.
These edicts were decoded by British archeologist and historian James Prinsep.
Major themes are Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism, the description of his efforts to
spread Buddhism, his moral and religious precepts, and his social and animal
welfare program.
Major Rock Edicts
Major Rock Edict I
Prohibits animal slaughter. Bans festive gatherings and killings of animals. Only two
peacocks and one deer were killed in Asoka's kitchen. He wished to discontinue
this practice of killing two peacocks and one deer as well.
Major Rock Edict II
Provides for care for man and animals, describes about Chola, Pandyas ,
Satyapura and Keralputra Kingdoms of South India
Major Rock Edict III
Generosity to Brahmans. Issued after 12 years of Asoka's coronation. It says that
the Yuktas (subordinate officers and Pradesikas (district Heads) along with Rajukas
(Rural officers ) shall go to the all areas of kingdom every five years and spread
the Dhamma Policy of Asoka.
Major Rock Edict IV
Dhammaghosa is ideal to the mankind and not the Bherighosa. Impact of Dhamma
on society.
Major Rock Edict V
Concerns about the policy towards slaves. He mentions in this rock edict " Every
Human is my child"Appointment of Dhammamahamatras is mentioned in this edict.
Major Rock Edict VI
Describes King's desire to get informed about the conditions of the people
constantly. Talks about welfare measures.
Major Rock Edict VII
Requests tolerance for all religions
Major Rock Edict VIII
Describes Asoka's first Dhamma Yatra to Bodhgaya & Bodhi Tree.
Major Rock Edict IX
Condemns popular ceremonies. Stress in ceremonies of Dhamma.
Major Rock Edict X
Condemns the desire for fame and glory. Stresses on popularity of Dhamma.
Major Rock Edict XI
Elaborates Dhamma
Major Rock Edict XII
Directed and determined request for tolerance among different religious sects.
Major Rock Edict XIII
Asoka's victory over Kalinga . Victory of Asoka's Dhamma over Greek Kings,
Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, Alexander and Cholas, Pandyas etc. This
is t he Largest Edict .
It ment ions Kamboj, nabhaks, Bhoja, Andhra et c.
Major Rock Edict XIV
Describes engraving of inscriptions in different parts of country.
Separate Edicts :
They were f ound at sit es in Kalinga
Separat e edict I : Asoka declared all people are my sons
Separat e Edict II : proclamation of edicts even to a single person.
Other Edicts
Queen Edict :
mentions about second queen of Asoka
Barbara cave Inscript ion:
giving away the Barbara cave to Ajivika sect
Kandhar Bilingual Rock Inscript ion:
Expresses satisfaction over asoka's policy
Pillar Edicts:
Asoka's 7 pillar edicts have been found at Topra (Delhi) , Meerut, Kausambhi, rampurva,
Champaran, Mehrauli. Minor pillar edicts have been found at Sanchi, Sarnath, Rummindei,
Nigalisagar.
Pillar Edict I
Asoka's principle of protection to people
Pillar Edict II
Defines dhamma as minimum of sins, many virtues, compassion, liberality,
truthfulness and purity
Pillar Edict III
Abolishes sins of harshness, cruelty, anger, pride etc
Pilar Edict IV
Deals with duties of Rajukas
Pilar Edict V
List of animals and birds which should not be killed on some days and another list
of animals which have not to be killed at all occasions. Describes release of 25
prisionars by asoka.
Pilar Edict VI
Dhamma Policy
Pilar Edict VII
Works done by Asoka for Dhamma Policy . He says that all sects desire both self
control and purity of mind.
Other Pillars
Rummindei Pillar Inscript ion: Asoka's visit to Lumbini & exemption of Lumbini
from tax.
Nigalisagar Pillar Inscript ion: It was originally located at Kapilvastu. It mentions
that Asoka increased the height of stupa of Buddha Konakamana to its double size.
Sources of Pillar Stones:
The spotted and white sandstone was sourced from Mathura. Buff colored
Sandstone and Quartzite was sourced from Amravati.

Language of Inscriptions:
Three languages have been used viz. Prakrit, Greek and Aramaic. 4 scripts have
been used Prakrit inscriptions were written in Brahmi and Kharoshthi. Rest
written in Greek or Aramaic. The Kandahar Rock Inscription is bilingual. The
inscriptions found in Pakistan area are in kharoshthi script.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Life in Maurya Empire
2011- 05- 05 05:05:45 GKToday
Social Life:
There was a well developed "caste" system as per the accounts of Megasthenes.
Megasthenes writes that there were 7 castes viz. philosophers (he indicated Brahmins),
farmers, soldiers, herdsmen, craftsmen, magistrates and soldiers. So based upon this
account we can figure out that the caste system was based upon "occupation" rather than
birth.
The marriage and polygamy both were present. Polygamy was confined to Royal classes.
Normal people could marry to other women if there was no "son". The women had their
property in the form of Stridhana which included bridal gift.
Women enjoyed high status. The women were appointed as assistances and bodyguards
of King. Offenses against women was punishable.
There was no slavery in the sense that people used to work as dasa, out of their own
compulsions. No Arya including a Shudra could be made dasa forcibly. The 14th book of
Arthashastra Secret Means (Aupanisadika) deals with a number of rites and practices.
Art:
The age of Mauryas is known to have contributed to arts significantly. The palace of
Chandragupta Maurya at the Pataliputra was mostly made up of wood. The traces of this
palaces have been found at Kumhrar near Patna. It's a 80 pillar hall which speaks of
Mauryan Palace art.
A large number of Stupas were built in Mauryan Era, many of them by Asoka. The
Buddhist tradition writes that Asoka built 84000 Stupas.
The rock cut caves of Mauryan era are at Barabar hills, located near Gaya and
they are oldest surviving Rock Cut caves.
The Nagarjuna Hills rock cut caves are of Asoka and his successors.
The barabar caves have been cut of granite and are large halls which provided
place for worshippers.
The Asokan Pillars are Monolithic and mostly used Hard sandstone procured from
Chunar near Varanasi.
They were finely chiseled and highly polished.
A Coomaraswamy has categorizes the Mauryan art into two distinct categories viz.
Royal art and popular art.
The Yaksha image from parkam and Yakshini Image from Besnagar are examples
of Popular art. While, the pillars are example of Royal art.
Asoka erected a Pillar to mark the spot in Deer Park Sarnath near Varanasi, where
Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma and where the Buddhist Sangha was
founded. It has 4 lions standing back to back. The four lions symbolize the Power,
Courage, Pride and Confidence and rest on a Circular abacus which is girded by 4
animals. These 4 animals viz. Lion, Elephant, Horse, Bull are the guardians of 4
directions viz. North, East, South and West respectively. The Chakra with 24 spokes
has been chosen to be placed at the center of the Indian Flag on 22 July 1947. The
Chakra symbolized Dhammachakraparivartan.
Census
There was a proper system of census which registered all the details of the deaths and
births. Nagarika was the census officer who was responsible to keep a ready reference
data of the farmers, cattle, traders, cowherds etc. This was to ensure that proper tax is
levied.
Public health:
There were proper hospitals and Bheshajas (Doctors) appointed along with a team of
midwifes, nurses etc. Treatment was free universally. Food adulteration was a punishable
offense which invited a death sentence.
Crimes and Judiciary:
Suppression of crimes, maintenance of peace and protection of the subjects were the
chief duties of the King. The antisocial elements were called "Kantakas". There were two
kinds of courts "civils" and criminals. The civils courts were Dharmastheya
and the Criminal Courts were "Kantakashodhna". The idea of Kantakashodhna was to weed
out the antisocial elements.
The king was the source of Supreme Justice.
Death Sentences were common and Asoka's edicts detail that he gave additional
time to the persons under the Capital punishment to offer donations and repent so
that they get a better life in next birth.
Economy: Revenue & Taxes
There was an advanced concept of "responsibility accounting' which envisaged a
preparation of budget and activity planning, reporting on the revenue and expenditure,
responsibility for both the revenues and expenditures . The "full treasury" was guarantee to
the prosperity of state says Arthashastra. Treasury received revenues from farms, mines,
forests, pasture lands etc. Tributes were received when a prince was born.
Chief source for revenue was "land tax". It was to of the total produce and it was collected
by the revenue officers. The more productive lands and irrigated lands invited more tax.
All craftsmen (except royal) and traders paid taxes. Taxes were of two kinds viz. Bali &
Bhaga. The Bali was religious tribute. Bhaga was the part of the produce.
Asoka edict says that Lumbini was exempted from Bali and Bhaga was reduced to
parts of the reduce.
Bhaga which was 1/6
th
of the produce was called shadbhaga (6
th
part) or Rajbhaga (state
part).
Maintenance of the Royal palaces, members, ministers and public welfare were the main
avenues to use the revenue.
Foreign Trade:
Foreign Trade by means of the land and sea was prevalent, and it was regulated by
passports kinds of documents. Indigo, cotton and silk was most traded property.
Antiochus I with his joint rule with Selucus issued coins of Indian standard rather than
the Attic Standard.
This shows that the Mauryan Economy was world's largest economy and the
currency of Mauryas was accepted Worldwide and was main currency of those
time.
The trade routes were called Vanikpatha.
Provincial Administration:
The Whole empire was divided
into 5 provinces (probably). They
were as follows:
The Northern Province Uttarpatha
was having its capital at Taxila
and some mandals were Shakal,
Kandhar and Saurastra.
The Southern province
Dakshinpatha's capital was
Suvarngiri. The eastern
Prachyapatha was having its
capital at Toshali near Kalinga.
Magadha was the Central
province & Capital of the entire
kingdom.
The provinces were
administered by either a prince
or a member of the royal family
which was the viceroy of the king.
District Administration:
Each district was administered by 3 officers viz. Pradeshika, Rajuka, & Yukta.
Pradesika was senior and Rajuka was subordinate. Yukta was subordinate to both of them.
It was duty of the Pradesika to tour the kingdom every five year and collect details
of the administration.
Village Administration:
Village was the smallest unit of polity and it was called Grama. The head of the grama was
a Gramika. The Gramika was not a paid employee of the government but was elected by
the village people. The 10 villages were collectively headed by a Gopa and 100 villages
were collectively headed by a Sthanaka. Most disputes were solved by Gramika in Open
Panchayats.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Why New Religions?
2011- 05- 05 05:05:56 GKToday
The Later Vedic society was divided into 4 varnas viz. Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishyas and
Shudras. Birth had become the basis of varnas and two higher varnas viz. Brahmins and
Kshatriya were given privileges. The later period saw tensions rising in the varnas. The
two dominant varnas Brahmins and Kshatriya competed for dominance. Kshatriya acted as
rulers and the reacted against the domination of the priests of Brahmins.
There is a story in Jain Mythology that Vardhamana Mahavira was to be born as a son of a
Brahmin lady Devananda, but as all the Tirthankaras were Kshatriya by birth, Indra transferred
the baby in the womb of a Kshatriya queen Trishla. This story might be the part of a campaign at
that time which tended to prove the superiority of Kshatriya over Brahmins.

Both Gautam Buddha and Mahavira Jain basically disputed the authority of the Brahmins.
Apart from that India was now developing as a agro based economy. The importance of
trade increased and Vaishyas started getting more importance. The Vaishyas came at
third position after the Brahmins and Kshatriya and they looked for other religions which
could improve their position. The money lending was a trade in post Vedic era, but
Brahmins looked down upon this business. The vaishyas wanted some better religious
position and that is one of the regions that the trader community "vaishyas" provided
support to both Jainism and Buddhism.
There was practice prevalent in the Vedic era that was killing the cattle for sacrifices. This
ritual was not accepted in the new agro economy. In fact except Brahmins, almost all
common public was irked by the ritualistic practices of the post Vedic period based upon
exaggeration, superstition, Brahminical dominance. The position of Shudras got worse to
worst.
Sanskrit which was the prime language in the Vedic and post Vedic period now started
losing charm. Most people spoke Prakrit. The Position of women got inferior.
Buddhism and Jainism were the movements that started to reform the Hinduism.
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Meaning of Buddha
2011- 05- 05 05:05:57 GKToday
Buddhahood in Sanskrit is Buddhatva. In Pali is it called Buddhatta or buddhabhva. It is the
state of perfect enlightment attained by a Buddha. The perfect enlightment is
sammsambodhi in Pali. This refers to the universal and innate property of absolute
wisdom.
Is t here only One Buddha i.e. Gaut am Buddha?
The Buddhavamsa is a text which is part of the Pali Canon of Buddhism. It deals with the
life of Buddha. It mentions 29 Buddhas in all. The 27 Buddhas, preceded Gautam Buddha
and Maitreya, the 29th Buddha is next to come in future. Gautam Buddha was 28th Buddha.
The Buddhavamsa related that in the present Kalpa, there are 5 Buddhas.
1. Kakusandha
2. Kogamana
3. Kassapa
4. Gautama
5. Maitreya
The fifth Maitreya is a future Buddha. The first among these 5 Buddhas of the present Kalpa is
Kakusandha.
Kakusandha is mentioned in the Sanskrit Buddhist texts as Krakucchanda. In Tibet he is known as
Khorvadjig. He was born in Nepal, near Kapilvastu. He attained enlightment under a sirisa tree. The
second Budha of the present Kalpa was Kogamana. Third Buddha was Kassapa. In Sanskrit
Buddhist texts, he is known as Kasyapa. He was also born in Nepal and attained enlightment
under a Banyan Tree.
Buddhas of t he Ananda Te mpl e
Ananda Temple is located in Bagan, in Burma. This temple was built in 1105 AD during the reign of
Ki ng Kyanzi t t ha. It has four standing Buddhas which are adorned with gold leaf and each
Buddha image faces a direction. Kakusandha is North facing, Kassapa is South facing,
Konagamana is East facing & Gautama is west facing.
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Gautam Buddha
2011- 05- 05 05:05:19 GKToday
Gaut am Buddha f ounded Buddhism and is known as Supreme Buddha or
ammsambuddha or samyaksabuddha. He was born in Lumbini, a lit t le
principalit y of Kapilvast u in modern day Nepal. His childhood name was
Siddhart ha. He was son of Shuddodhana a leader of t he Shakya clan. The
capit al of t his Sakya clan was Kapilvast u and it was not a monarchy but a sort
of Republic. Queen Mahamaya was t he name of mot her of Gaut am Buddha.
The birt h of Buddha is celebrat ed as Vesaka in some count ries. In India, it is
Buddha Purnima.
Queen Mahamaya died soon af t er his birt h and Maha
Prajapat i or Prajapat i Gaut ami raised him. He was a
prince so he had lived his early childhood in luxury. His
f at her wished him t o be a great king and so he was
shielded f rom t he religious t eachings or human
suf f erings. However, as a child Gaut ama used t o be
absorbed in philosophical musings. He got married at
t he age of 16 wit h Yashodhara. She gave birt h t o a
Son, Rahula. At t he age of 29, while going t o meet his
subject s he encount ered human suf f erings such as old
age, deat h and diseases. He used t o ask his chariot eer
Channa about t hese suf f erings. He deeply depressed by t he t rut h t hat human
lif e is moment ary and one has t o suf f er a lot . He lef t his home at t he age of
29 years, so t hat he could overcome old age, illness and deat h by living a lif e
of an ascet ic. This is called "t he great depart ure' or Mahabhinishkramana.
He f irst went t o Rajgriha Rajgaha or Rajgir. He st art ed begging alms over
t here and living lif e of an ascet ic. The King Bimbisara af t er a request f rom
Shuddodhana, launched a search and Siddhart ha was recognized by t he men
of Bimbisara. Bimbisara of f ered him a t hrone, but Gaut ama ref used. He lef t
Rajgir but promised Bimbisara t o visit his capit al Magadha, lat er. Siddart ha
st udied under t wo hermit s Alara and Udaka. He achieved high knowledge and
was asked t o succeed Udaka, but he was not sat isf ied wit h t he pat h and his
goal so he ref used.
The experiment s wit h t he lif e of ascet ics could not bring desired f ruit s f or
Gaut ama. He lef t t he Udaka, and moved on wit h 5 companions who were led
by Kaundinya. They set out f or more aust erit y. They t ried enlight ment
t hrough t ot al deprivat ion of possessions including f ood. This led him t o
st arving near deat h condit ion, and one day he collapsed int o a river and
almost drowned. This led him t o reconsider t he pat h. He st art ed moving away
f rom ascet ics and moving closer t o medit at ing and t his is called t he Middle
Pat h, t he pat h of having oneself away f rom ext reme self -indulgence and
ext reme self -mort if icat ion. He accept ed milk and rice pudding f rom a village
girl called Sujat a.
While medit at ing under a Pipal t ree on t he bank of river Niranjana at Gaya, he
came across t he desired t rut h, at t he age of 35 years and af t er 49 days of
medit at ing. He was now called Buddha or "Shakyamuni Buddha" which means
t he Buddha of Shakya Clan.
The f irst disciples of Buddha af t er becoming enlight ened were t wo merchant s
named Tapussa and Bhallika. Af t er becoming enlight ened, he sought t o f ind
his f ormer t eachers Arada and Udaka t o t each t hem, but t hey had died. He
t hen looked f or Kaundinya and ot her companions.
Gaut ama Buddha now preached his f irst sermon which deals wit h t he Four
Noble Trut hs and t he Noble Eight f old Pat h, t he core pillars of Buddhist
t eaching regarding t he int rinsic suf f ering of exist ence and how t o deal wit h it .
This was called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. Kaundinya & 4 ot hers
became t he f irst human beings t o be t aught Buddha 's t eaching and become
an arhat (spirit ual pract it ioner). This event t ook place at Deer Park near
Varanasi.
Two gems of Buddhism viz. Buddha and Dhamma ware now ready. The f ive
disciples and Buddha f ormed t he f irst union of Buddhism, which is called
Sangha. So, wit h t he f ormat ion of a Sangha, t he t hree gems of Buddhism
(Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha) were complet ed. The reaming years of lif e,
Buddha t ravelled many part s of t he count ry, est ablished t he Sangha, and
propagat ed his t eachings. Thousands of people joined Sangha and t hese
Sanghas spread in many part s. As promised previously Buddha now t ravelled
t o Magadha, t he capit al of King Bimbisara. During t his visit Sariput t a(who lat er
f ounded Theravada t radit ion) and Mahamoggallana became Buddha's
disciples. Sariput t a, Mahamoggallana, Mahakasyapa, Ananda and Anuruddha
comprised t he f ive chief disciples. His t en f oremost disciples were complet ed
by t he quint et of Upali, Subhot i, Rahula, Mahakaccana and Punna. Rahula was
his son, who became disciple at t he age of 7. Buddha's parinirva happened
at Kuinagara at t he age of 80 years.
Symbols of 5 great events of Buddha's Lif e
Event Symbol
Buddha's Birt h Lot us & Bull
The Great Depart ure (Mahabhinishkramana) Horse
Enlight ment (Nirvana ) Bodhi Tree
First Sermon (Dhammachakraparivart an) Wheel
Deat h (Parinirvana) St upa
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Buddhas Teachings
2011- 05- 05 05:05:05 GKToday
Four Noble Trut hs:
Four noble truths were taught by Buddha in Dhammachakraparivartan. They are the core
teachings of Buddhism.
1. Dukkha or "Sorrow" : The world is full of sorrow and everything from birth to death
brings sorrows in life.
2. Dukkha Samudaya or Cause of Sorrow : The cause of sorrows is desire. It is the
un- fulfillment of human desires which leads him to the vicious cycle of births and
rebirths.
3. Dukkha Nirodha or Prevent ion of Sorrow: It is possible to prevent sorrow. Man
can get rid of sorrow by triumphing over the desires.
4. Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipada Magga or The pat h of Prevent ion of Sorrow:
Man can avoid Dukkha by avoiding extremes of life and following middle path or
Madhyam Patipada. The life of moderation and self control along with pursuance of 8
fold path is essential to prevent the Dukkha.

Eight Fold Pat h or Astangika marg:
The eight fold path was recommended to eliminate the human misery. It basically
comprises of 3 basic divisions of Wisdom (Pragya Skanda), Ethical Conduct (Sheel
Skanda) And Concentration (Samadhi Skanda). Following table represents the eight fold
path:


Concept of Nirvana:
The concept of Nirvana in Buddhism is entirely different from the Hinduism. Buddhism
denied the concept of Moksha, however it defines Nirvana has to getting rid of Cycle of
Death and birth. It is achieved in the lifetime itself and not after death. To achieve nirvana
one should follow moral code of Conduct.
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Buddhist Literature
2013- 05- 23 12:05:30 GKToday
Cont ent s
Tripit aka
Sut t a Pit aka
Vinaya Pit aka
Abhidhammapit aka
Jat akas
Milinda Panha
Dipavamsa
Mahavamsa
Mahavast u
Buddha Charit a
Mahvibhsa st ra
Lalit avist ara
Divyavadana
Udanavarga
Udana
Bodhi Vamsa
Tripitaka
Tripit aka or Three Basket s is a t radit ional t erm used f or various Buddhist
script ures. It is known as pali Canon in English. The t hree pit akas are Sutta
Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka.
Sut t a Pit aka
It cont ains over 10 t housand sut t as or sut ras relat ed t o Buddha and his close
companions. This also deals wit h t he f irst Buddhist council which was held
short ly af t er Buddha's deat h, dat ed by t he majorit y of recent scholars around
400 BC, under t he pat ronage of king Ajat asat ru wit h t he monk Mahakasyapa
presiding, at Rajgir.
It s sect ions are:
Digha Nikaya: Comprises t he "long" discourses.
Majjhima Nikaya: Comprises t he "middle-lengt h".
Samyutta Nikaya: Comprises t he "connect ed" .
Anguttara Nikaya : Comprises t he "numerical".
Khuddaka Nikaya: Comprises t he "minor collect ion".
Vinaya Pit aka
The subject mat t er of Vinay Pitaka is t he monast ic rules f or monks and nuns. It
can also be called as Book of Discipline.
Suttavibhanga: The basic code of Monast ic discipline is known as
Patimokkha. It cont ains 227 rules f or f ully ordained Monks called bikkhus
(Maha vibhanga) and 311 rules f or f ully ordained nuns called Bikkhunis
(Bikkhuni Vibhanga) They are cont ained in Suttavibhanga, one of t he
part s of Vinay Pit aka.
Khandhaka: Khandhaka is the second book of Vinay Pitaka. It has two volumes
viz. Mahavagga and Cullavagga. Mahavagga deals with the awakening of Buddha
and his great disciples. Cullavagga deals with the first and second Buddhist
councils and establishments of community of Buddhist nuns and rules for Buddhist
community.
Parivara: Parivara is the last book of Vinaya Pitaka. It covers the summary of
analysis of rules mentioned in first two books of Vinay Pitaka. Its is latest book and
seems to be later than the Fourth Buddhist Coincil in Ceylon. It also contains
questions and answers.
Abhidhammapit aka
Abhidhammapit aka deals wit h t he philosophy and doct rine of Buddhism
appearing in t he sut t as. However, it does not cont ain t he syst emat ic
philosophical t reat ises. There are 7 works of Abhidhamma Pit aka which most
scholars agree t hat don't represent t he words of Buddha himself . The 7 books
are
Dhammasangani : It cont ains a mat rix which list s t he classif icat ion of
Dhammas or ideas.
Vibhanga : It has 18 chapt ers dealing wit h dif f erent t eachings of
Buddhism. It is in 3 volumes and t hird volume is in quest ion answer
f ormat .
Dhatukatha: It has a mat rix and various t opics.
Puggalapannatti : It has a mat rix which deals wit h t he list of t he persons.
Kathavatthu: It cont ains t he debat es and comment ary on t hoese
debat es.
Yamaka : Yamaka has quest ions in pairs and underst anding.
Patthana : It also cont ains t he quest ions and answers.
Jatakas
Jat akas are very much close t o f olklore lit erat ure and t hey cont ain t he t ales
of previous birt hs of Buddha in poems. The Jat aka have also ben ment ioned
in t he Khuddaka Nikaya. There are 547 poems. In Sanskrit it is called
Jatakamala, In Khmer t hey are known as cietak, and in Chinese t hey are called
Sadok.
Milinda Panha
Milinda Panha means "Quest ions of Milinda". It cont ains t he dialogue of Indo-
Greek king Meander and Buddhist monk Nagasena. It has been writ t en in
second t o f irst cent ury BC and init ially writ t en in Sanskrit . There is only one
copy in Sri Lankan Pali of t his work. It was print ed in t he 6t h Buddhist council in
1954.
Dipavamsa
The meaning of Dipavamsa is "Chronicle of Island". It is the oldest historical
record of Sri Lanka. It is believed t o have been compiled around 3rd or 4t h
cent ury BC somewhere in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka during t he reign of King
Dhatusena of Sri Lanka, t he f irst Mauryan King of Sri Lanka. The Avukana
Buddha statue was erected by King Dhatusena in Sri Lanka.
Dipavamsa is one of t he most import ant works in Pali Lit erat ure. It det ails t he
t oot h relic and Bodhi Tree's arrival in Sri Lanka. It also deals wit h t he arrival of
Buddha's t eaching and preachers in Sri Lanka. It ment ions t hat Buddha visit ed
Kelaniya and Dighavapi in Sri Lanka.
Mahavamsa
Mahavamsa is t he most import ant Pali epic poem. Mahavamsa means "Great
Chronicle". It 's a hist orical poem in Pali Language which deals about t he Kings
of Sri Lanka. The f irst version of Mahavamsa dat es back t o 3-4t h cent ury BC
during t he reign of King Vijaya. The Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa, Culavamsa
(small chronicle) all t oget her are somet imes known as Mahavamsa. It deals
wit h t he royal dynast ies of not only Sri Lanka but t he whole Indian
subcont inent and is known as world's longest unbroken hist orical account s.
The consecrat ion of Asoka and det ails of Selucus and Alexander have been
det ailed in it .
Mahavastu
Mahavast u means t he "Great Event ". It 's a work in prose and verse and is
writ t en in Sanskrit , Pali and Prakrit . It det ails t he miracles & earlier lives of
Buddha.
Buddha Charita
Buddha Charita is an epic st yle Sanskrit work by Ashavaghosa and was
compiled in second cent ury BC. Dharmaraksa who is known t o have t ranslat ed
many works of Buddhism in Chinese, t ranslat ed t his work in Chinese in 420AD.
It mainly deals wit h Buddha's Lif e. Asvaghosa also wrot e a Sanskrit Drama
"Sariput ra Prakaran" which deals about Sariput t a or Sariput ra t he disciple of
Buddha.
Mahvibhsa stra
It s an early Sanskrit work on Buddhism. Vibhasa means a compendium and has
3 prongs. It is at t ribut ed t o vasumit ra and deals wit h not only Buddhism but
also Vaisheshika and Samkya philosophies.
Lalitavistara
In Sanskrit Lalit is a Lot us. Lalit vist ara is a Sanskrit t ext t hat deals wit h t he
biography of Buddha.
Divyavadana
Divyavadana means divine t ales. It cont ains ant hology in 38 st ories and is a
sankrit t ext which deals wit h Mauryan and Sunga Hist ory. The Asokavadana is
a st ory in it which deals wit h t he legends of Asoka.
Udanavarga
Udanavarga is an early Buddhist sanskrit t ext . It has verses at t ribut ed t o
Buddha and his disciples.
Udana
Udana is a Pali t ext included t here in t he Sutta Pitaka's Khuddaka Nikaya. It
cont ains t he st ory of "Blind men and Elephant ".
Bodhi Vamsa
Bodhi Vamsa is a mix Sanskrit Pali t ext which was composed by Upat issa
under t he rule of Mahinda IV of Sri Lanka in 10t h cent ury AD. It describes t he
arrival of branch of Bodhi t ree in Sri Lanka and many ot her t hings which
ment ioned in Mahavamsa.
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Buddhist Scholars
2011- 05- 05 05:05:06 GKToday
Cont ent s
Avaghosa
Nagarjuna:
Asanga & Vasubandhu:
Buddhaghosa
Dignga or Dinnaga:
Candrakrt i or Chandrakirt i:
Dharmakirt i
The most import ant t urning point in t he expansion of Buddhism in India was
t he emergence and conversion of Asoka t he Great (304232 BC). He
embraced Buddhism af t er 8 years of his coronat ion, he became a Buddhist
and made it his st at e religion in 260 BC. He convened t he t hird Buddhist
council, which was held in Pat aliput ra in t he presidency of Moggaliputta Tissa.
He launched a vigorous campaign t o propagat e Buddhism which could be
called Asoka's Dhamma. The main scholars of Buddha are as f ollows:
Avaghosa
Avaghosa is t he Great est Indian Poet Prior t o Kalidasa. he is known as f irst
Sanskrit Dramat ist . His epics rivaled t he cont emporary Ramayana. He wrot e
Buddhist t ext s in Classical Sanskrit . He was t he court writ er and religious
advisor of Kushana king Kanishka. His main works are Buddhacharita,
Mahalankara (Book of Glory) and Saundaranandakavya (det ails t he lif e of
Nanda).
Nagarjuna:
Nagarjuna f ounded t he Madhyamika school of Mahayan Buddhism. He was
cont emporary of Sat avahana King Gaut amiput ra. He was born in a Brahmin
f amily in Nagarjunkonda in modern Andhra Pradesh. Due t o his birt h in Brahmin
f amily and lat er conversion in Buddhism, it can be just if ied t hat his early work
was in sanskrit and not in Pali or Hybrid sanskrit . Most import ant work
is Mlamadhyamakakrik , which means Fundament al Verses on t he Middle
Way. His t heory is also known asShunyavad "empt iness".
Asanga & Vasubandhu:
Bot h were half brot hers and proponent s
of Yogachara and Abhidhamma Teachings. They were f rom modern Peshawar
in Pakist an. Most import ant work of Vasubandhu was Abhidharmamoksha.
Buddhaghosa
Buddhaghosa lived t he 5t h cent ury AD and is known t o be one of t he great est
Pali scholar. His name means " Voice of Buddha". Considered t o be most
import ant comment at or of t he Theravada. Det ails of his lif e have been
described in Mahavamsa and Buddhaghosuppatti. Please
not e Buddhaghosuppatti was not his work. He is said t o have gone t o Sri Lanka
f rom India's Magadha and set t led in Anuradhapura. The most import ant work
is Visuddhimagga.
Dignga or Dinnaga:
He is considered t o be t he f ounder of Buddhist logic.
Candrakrti or Chandrakirti:
he was a disciple of Nagarjuna and a scholar at t he Nalanda Universit y.
Prasannapad is his main work which means happy words or clear words
Dharmakirti
Dharmakirt i lived in 7t h cent ury AD and was primary t heorist of Buddhist
Sankya. He was a t eacher at t he Nalanda Universit y and a poet . He has
writ t en Seven Treat ises on Valid Cognit ion. He has been called "Kant of India'.
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Buddhist Councils
2011- 05- 05 05:05:31 GKToday
Cont ent s
First Buddhist Council: 400 BC
Second Buddhist Council : 383 BC
Third Buddhist Council: 250 BC
Fourt h Buddhist Council: 72AD
Fif t h Buddhist Council: 1871
Sixt h Buddhist Council : 1954
6 Buddhist councils have been convened. Here is a short descript ion:
First Buddhist Council: 400 BC
Held soon af t er t he mahaparinirvana of t he Buddha, around 400 BC
under t he pat ronage of king Ajat shat ru wit h t he monk Mahakasyapa
presiding, at Rajgriha, in the Sattapani Cave.
The idea was t o preserve Buddha's t eachings (Sut t a) and rules f or
disciples (Vinaya). Ananda , one of t he great disciples of Buddha recit ed
Sut t as and Upali, anot her disciple recit ed Vinaya. Abhidhamma Pit aka
was also included.
Second Buddhist Council : 383 BC
It was held in 383 BC. This idea of t his council was t o set t le a disput e on
Vinaya Pit aka, t he code of discipline.
The disput e was on 10 Point s such as st oring salt in horn, eat ing af t er
midday, eat ing once and going t o villages f or alms, eat ing sour milk af t er
one's meal et c. It was not set t les and Buddhism sect s appeared f or t he
f irst t ime.
The subgroups were Sthaviravada, Mahasanghika and Sarvastivada.
It was held at Vaishali under t he pat ronage of King Kalasoka and t he
presidency of Sabakami.
St haviravada f ollowed t he t eachings of t he elders and Mahasanghika
became ext inct lat er.
St haviravada lat er cont inued t ill 3rd Buddhist council.
Third Buddhist Council: 250 BC
Third Buddhist council was held in 250 BC at Pat aliput ra under t he
pat ronage of King Asoka and under t he presidency of Moggaliput t a
Tissa. The t eachings of Buddha which were under t wo basket s were
now classif ied in 3 basket s as Abhidhamma Pit aka was est ablished in
t his council, and t hey were known as "Tripit aka". It also t ried t o set t le all
t he disput es of Vinaya Pit aka.
Fourth Buddhist Council: 72AD
The Fourt h Buddhist Council was held at Kundalvana, Kashmir in 72 AD
under t he pat ronage of Kushan king Kanishka and t he president of t his
council was Vasumit ra, wit h Avaghosa as his deput y. This council
dist inct ly divided t he Buddhism int o 2 sect s Mahayan & Hinayan.
Anot her Fourt h Buddhist Council was held at Tambapanni (one name of
Sri Lanka) at Aloka Lena under t he pat ronage of Vattagamani-Abaya.
However, most scholars agree t hat t his was not eligible t o be called a
Council as it was not under a king but a local chief t ain. This council is
also relat ed t o t he cruel policy of Vat t agamani-Abaya t owards Jains, as
it is said t hat a jain premises was dest royed and a Mahayan t emple was
built .
Fif th Buddhist Council: 1871
Fif t h Buddhist Council t ook place in 1871 under t he pat ronage of King
Mindon in Mandalay, Burma. It was presided by Jagarabhivamsa,
Narindabhidhaja, and Sumangalasami. The idea was t o recit e all t he
t eachings of t he Buddha and examine t hem syst emat ically if any of
t hem was dropped or alt ered.
Sixth Buddhist Council : 1954
The Sixt h Buddhist Council was held in 1954 in Burma at Kaba Aye, in
Yangoon under t he pat ronage of Burmese Government led by Prime
Minist er U Nu. Const ruct ion of Maha Passana Guha, which is very much
similar t o India's Sat t apanni Cave where t he f irst Buddhist Council had
been held, was aut horized by t he government . It was aimed t o preserve
t he genuine Dhamma and Vinaya Pit aka. It held under t he presidency of
Mahasi Sayadaw and Bhadant a Vicit t asarabhivamsa. 500 buddhist
scholars f rom 8 count ries part icipat ed in t his council.
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Hinayana & Mahayana
2011- 05- 05 05:05:50 GKToday
Hinayana & Mahayana
A Yana is a vehicle. A Hinayana is a lesser vehicle while a Mahayan is a Great vehicle.
Hinayana:
Also called "Deficient Vehicle", the "Abandoned Vehicle", or the "Defective Vehicle". It
believes in the original teaching of Buddha. Don't believe in Idol Worship and try to attain
individual salvation through self discipline and meditation. Stharvivada or Thervada is a
Hinayana sect, which follows the "doctrine of elders". Asoka Patronized Hinayan and Pali
the language of masses was use by the Hinayan scholars.

Mahayana:
This sect believes in the heavenliness of Buddha and believes in Idol Worship. It is also
called Bodhisat t va Vehicle. Mahyna Buddhism spread from India to China, Japan,
Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Mongolia. Zen, Pure Land,
Tiantai, and Nichiren, Shingon and Tibetan Buddhism are traditions of Mahayana.
Fundamental principles of Mahyna doctrine were based on the possibility of universal
liberation from suffering for all beings (hence the "Great Vehicle") and the existence of
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas embodying Buddha Nature. It allows salvation to be
alternatively obtained through the grace of the Amitbha Buddha by having faith and
devoting oneself to mindfulness of the Buddha. Believes in Mantras.

Major Dif f erence bet ween Hinayana & Mahayana:
Both adopt one and the same Vinaya, and they have in common the prohibitions of the
five offenses, and also the practice of the Four Noble Truths. Those who venerate the
bodhisattvas and read the Mahyna sutras are called the Mahynists, while those who
do not perform these are called the Hnaynists
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Bodhisattva
2011- 05- 05 05:05:47 GKToday
A Bodhisattva means one who has essence of enlightment. Anyone who has a
spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all is a Bodhisattva. It's a very
popular subject in Buddhist art. A bodhisattva is bound to enlightment and refers to all who
are destined to become Buddhas in this life or another life. There are celestial
bodhisattvas which are manifestations of Gautam Buddha. Important 8 Bodhisattvas are as
follows:
1. Avalokit evara
Avalokitevara encompasses all Buddhas. In China he is known as Gunshyn Ps , in
tibetan as Chenrezig, in Thai as Avalokitesuarn. He is said to incarnate in Dalai Lama. he
is depicted as holding a lotus flower. He is depicted as female also. A cave wall painting
of Avalokitevara is devoted in Ajanta Caves as Padmapani.
1. Manjusri:
He is known as Wnsh in Chinse, Jampelyang in Tibetan and is a menifestation of great
wisdom and meditation. Majur is depicted as a male bodhisattva wielding a flaming
sword in his right hand.
1. Samant abhadra
Samantabhadra means Universal Worthy and he is associated with meditation. Known as
Fugen Bosatsu in Japanese and very popular in Japan among the Tendai and Shingon
sects. His manifestation is Action and he is key figure in Flower Garland Sutra.
1. Ksit igarbha
Ksitigarbha is usually depicted as a Buddhist monk in the Orient / East Asia. Ksitigarbha
means Earth Womb. he is regarded as Bodhisattva of Earth or Hell beings or Mortals. He
is regarded as guardian of children and patron deity of deceased children and aborted
fetuses in Japanese culture. he carries a staff.
Ksitigarbha, Samantabhadra, Manjusri, and Avalokitesvara are the principal
Bodhisattvas of East Asian Mahayana Buddhism.
1. Mait reya
Answer of the above question is Maitreya. Maitreya will be successor of Gautama
Buddha. He is also known as Ajita Boddhisattva. He holds a "water phial" in his left hand.
Earliest mention of Metteyya is in the Digha Nikaya 26 of the Pali Canon. It is said that he
will arrive when oceans will decrease in size (that is why keeps a Kumbha or philial in his
hand) and will rule the Ketumati Pure Land (Varanasi). Budai or laughing Buddha is
claimed to be an incarnation of Maitreya. Budai was a Chinese Zen monk who lived during
the Later Liang Dynasty (907923 CE) in China. In Japanese, he is called Hotei and is one
of the 7 Lucky Gods of Japan.
1. Vajrapani
Vajrapani is depicted as one of the 3 protective deities around Buddha, other are Manjusri
and Avlokiteshwara. Vajrapani manifests Buddha's power, Manjusri manifests Buddha's
wisdom and Avlokiteshwara manifests Buddha's compassion. In Japan a dharma
protector called Nio is also Vajrapani.
1. Sadparibht a
Sadparibhta is a Bodhisattva which manifests "never disparaging" spirit.
Akasagarbha
Akasagarbha is boundless as space. He is known as twin brother of Ksitigarbha. He is
menifestation of wisdom.
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Buddhist Shrines
2011- 05- 05 05:05:53 GKToday
Ast amahast hanas:
Astamahasthanas are 8 great holy places. 4 are as follows:
1. Lumbini: Birth of Buddha.
2. Bodhgaya: Enlightment of Buddha.
3. Sarnath: First sermon or Dhammachakraparivartan
4. Kushinagar: Death or mahaparinirvana
Along with them, Sravasti, Sankasya, Rajgir and Vaishali are known as Astamahasthanas.
Amaravat i:
Amarawati in Andhrapradesh's Guntur district is also known as Dhanyakataka or
Dharanikota and was the site of a great Buddhist Stupa built in pre- Mauryan times, ruled
by Satavahana kings.
Nagarjunkonda
Nagarjunkonda is near Nagarjun Sagar in Andhra Pradesh. Once, it was home to more
than 30 Buddhist Viharas (Buddhist universities and monasteries), attracting students from
as far as China, Gandhara, Bengal and Sri Lanka. Nagarjunkonda was one the largest
and most important Buddhist centers in South India from the second centuary BC until the
third century AD. It was named after Nagarjuna, a renowned Buddhist scholar and
philosopher, who had migrated here from Amaravati to propagate and spread the
Buddha's message of universal peach and brotherhood. Remains were discovered in
1926 by archaeologist AR Saraswati in 1926.
Ajant a Caves
Ajanta Caves are 31 rock cut caves from 2nd to 8th century AD, located in Aurangabad.
The first caves called Chaityas were created during Satavahana Dynasty. Cave No. 1 has
the painting of Padmapani and Vajrapani. Painted narratives of the Jataka tales are
depicted on the walls.
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia. The temple complex was built by Suryavarman II and
it was first devoted to Vishnu and later to Buddhist.
Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya was known as Bodhimanda, Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana and Mahabodhi
till 18th century when Bodh Gaya name became popular. It has the Mahabodhi temple and
Bodhi tree. It became Unesco world heritage site in 2002.
Bodhi Tree
It's a Pipal Tree (Ficus Religiosa) and known as Bo in Sri Lanka. Located in Bodh Gaya.
Under this tree Gautama attained enlightment. The current tree is a descendent of the
original tree. There are other Bodhi trees as well viz. Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the
Bodhi t ree (Bo) or also known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi planted in 288 BC in
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka and both of them have been propagated from the original tree. It
is also known as oldest living Human Planted tree in the world with a known planting date.
Borobudur
Borobudur is located in Indonesia and comprises six square platforms topped by three
circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. It's a
world Heritage site. There are 3 Buddhist temples which are known as Borobudur Temple
Compounds.
Bamyan Caves:
They are located in Afghanistan and have statues represented the classic blended style
of Gandhara art of 6th century, They were the largest examples of standing Buddha
carvings in the world, before they were blown by dyanamite by Taliban in 2001.
Ellora Caves
Ellora Caves represent Buddhist, jain and Hindu Rock cut temples built by Rastrakuta
Kings. Earliest Buddhist cave is Cave 6; most caves of Buddhism are Viharas. Cave
number 10 is a Chaitya hall also known as Chandrashala or Vishwkarma Cave and also
known as carpenter's cave. At heart of this cave is a 15 ft statue of Buddha seated in a
preaching pose.
Pushpagiri Universit y:
Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri are the part of the Puspagiri University which flourished till
11th century in Orissa. They lie atop the Langudi hills in Jajpur and Cuttak of Orissa.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Jain
2011- 05- 05 05:05:26 GKToday
A Jain is a follower of Jina. A Jina is a victor or Conqueror.
The Jains are followers of certain ascetics who obtained omniscience and who preached a
doctrine which promises a super mundane bliss of eternal salvation. Jainism originated
centuries before Buddhism, but revived by Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankar of Jainism.
The religion is one of the oldest and actually has no evidence of its dates of origin. The Jain
theology says that it is the oldest religion which has no beginning and no end.
Kevalya Gyana
Kevalya Gyana or Kevala Nana (in Prakrat) is "absolute knowledge", "Enlightenment" and
"Omniscience". It is the highest form of knowledge that a soul can attain. A person who has
attained Kevala Gyana is called a Kevalin. To get a status of a Jina, attaining Kevalagyana is
required first.
Jain Cosmology & Concept of Universe:
Mahapurana a great Jainism text, composed by Acharya Jinasena during the rule of
Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha and completed by his pupil Gunabhadra says that
"Some foolish men declare that Creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was
created is ill-advised, and should be rejected. If god created the world, where was he
before creation? If you say he was transcendent then, and needed no support, where is he
now?"
The Jain cosmology says that world is made up of 6 Dravyas or substances:
1. Jiva:All living substances.
Ajiva: Ajiva includes all Nonliving substances.
2. Pudagala: This means matter
3. Dharma-Tattva: This means Principle of Motion
4. Adharma tattva: This means principle of Rest
5. Akasa : This means space
6. Kala : This means time.
Samsra
Samsra, as per Jain faith is worldly life characterized by continuous rebirths and
reincarnations in various realms of existence. The mundane existence is full of suffering and
misery and hence is worth renunciation. Moksa is the only liberation from Samsra.
Mahavratas


Ahimsa is the fundamental principle of Jainism. Most Jains are
vegetarians and this practice shows their faith in the principle of
Ahimsa. Apart from that there are 5 Mahavratas.
1. Non-violence (Ahimsa)
2. Truth (Satya)
3. Non-stealing (Asteya)
4. Chastity (Brahmacharya)
5. Non-possession/Non-attachment (Aparigraha)
Tri Ratnas
Triratnas are
1. Samyak Gyan : means right knowledge
2. Samyak darshana : Means right view
3. Samyak Acharana: Means right conduct.
Jain Sects
Jain Samgha could not maintain its unity after 200 years of Mahavira's Parinirvana. It split in
Digambar sect and Shwetambar Sect during the Mauryan Era. The Digambar sect observed
the tenets of religion strictly and the monks remained naked. Shwetambar sect were liberal
and they wore white clothes.
Jain Sangeeti
The conferences of Jainism are called Jain Sangeeti. The first jain Sangeeti was convened in
300 BC and this conference was headed by Sthoolbhadra.
The second Jain Sangeeti was called in 512 AD and was held in Vallabhi Gujarat. The
chairman was Devardhi Kshammaramana.
Jain Symbol
Jain Emblem or Jain Symbol was adopted in 1975, at the auspicious occasion of 2500th
Nirvana anniversary of Lord Mahavira. This emblem is used in almost all of the Jain
magazines, wedding invitation cards, Jain festival cards, and every magazine with links to
events related to Jain society. Use of this emblem helps to create a culture showing
dedication and trust for the religion and the values that are represented by the emblem. The
pic shows the features of the Jain emblem.
Royal Patrons of
Jainism
Asoka's Grandson
Samprati
King Kharvela of
Orissa: set up jain rock
cut cave.
Gangs, Kadambs,
Chalukyas,
Rastrakutas had
patronized Jainism.
King Amoghavarsha
of Rastrakuta
dynasty became a Jain Monk. He wrote Ratnamalika.
The Chalukyan period rock cut caves at badami and aihole
have the figures of Jain Tirthankaras.
Samatabhadra in Kanchi preached this religion.
The Dilwara Jain temples at Mount Abu were built by
Chalukya Dynasty kings between 11 to 13
th
century.
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Tirthankara
2011- 05- 05 05:05:32 GKToday
What is a Tirthankara?
A Tirtha is a religious pilgrim place. Most tirths in India of any religion are based upon the
banks of Rivers. A Tirtha in Sanskrit is derived of Tir, which is a bank of river. A Tirtha is a
ford or a shallow coastal part of a water body which can be easily crossed.
The idea of a Tirtha is to cross the river of human miseries.
A Tirthankara is a founder of a Tirtha. He achieves the enlightment and then shows the path
to others. A Tirthankar achieves Moksha or liberation at the end of his human life.
We all know that there are 24 Tirthankaras of Jainism. The first Tirthankara was
Rishabhdev and Last 24
th
Tirthankara was Mahavira.
24 Tirthankaras
Tirt hankar Birt hplace;
Consecrat ion
Symbol Tree Place Of
Nirvan
1 Lord Rishabha
(Adinath)
Vinittanagari;
Palitana
Bull Vata
(Banyan)
Ashtapad
(Kailasha)
2 Ajitnath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Elephant Saala Samet Sikhar
3 Sambhavanath Savathi;
Sravasti
Horse Prayala Samet Sikhar
4 Abhinandannath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Monkey Priyangu Samet Sikhar
5 Sumatinath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Red Goose Sala Samet Sikhar
6 Padmaprabha Kausambi;
Sammet Shikharji
Lotus Chhatra Samet Sikhar
7 Suparshvanath Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji
Swastika Sirisha Samet Sikhar
8 Chandraprabha Chandrapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Moon Naga Samet Sikhar
9 Pushpadanta Kanandinagari;
Sammet Shikharji
Crocodile Sali Samet Sikhar
10 Sheetalnath Bhadrapura Or
Bhadilapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Kalpavriksha
Or
Ficus
Religiosa
Priyangu Samet Sikhar
11 Shreyansanath Simhapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Rhinoceros Tanduka Samet Sikhar
12 Vasupujya Champapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Female
Buffalo
Patala Champapuri
13 Vimalnath Kampilyapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Pig Jambu Samet Sikhar
14 Anantnath Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Porcupine Asoka Samet Sikhar
15 Dharmanath Ratnapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Vajra Dadhiparna Samet Sikhar
16 Shantinath Gajapura Or
Hastinapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Deer Nandi Samet Sikhar
17 Kunthunath Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Goat Bhilaka Samet Sikhar
18 Aranath Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Fish Amba Samet Sikhar
19 Mallinath Mithila;
Sammet Shikharji
Kalasa Asoka Samet Sikhar
20 Munisuvrata Rajagriha;
Sammet Shikharji
Tortoise Champaka Samet Sikhar
21 Nami Natha Mithila;
Sammet Shikharji
Blue Water-
Lily
Bakula Samet Sikhar
22 Neminatha Sauripura And Ujjinta
(Ujjain);
Mount Girnar (Girnarji)
Conch Vetasa Mount Girnar
23 Parshva Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji
Snake Dhataki Samet Sikhar
24 Mahavira Kundagrama Or
Kshatriyakund ;
Rijubalika
Lion Teak Pava Puri

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Rishbhdev
2011- 05- 05 05:05:54 GKToday
Rishbhdev is also known as Rishabh, Adinath, Adishwar or Kesariya Ji. He was born at
Ayodhya in the Ikshwaku Kula or clan. In Hinduism he is known to be an avatara or
incarnation of Vishnu. The name of Rishabh's parents has been mentioned in the Bhagvata
Purana.
His parents were King Nabhi Raja and Queen Marudevi.
Two sons of Rishabhdeva are worth mention. One was King Bharata, a Chakravarti Samrata
and another is Bahubali. Bharta was the king, after whose name India is called Bharat
Varsha. Please note that in Hindu Mythology Bharata is mentioned as son of Dushyanta.
However, some sources say that Bharata was eldest of a hundred sons of a saintly king by
the name of Rishbhdev. The Jain theology calls Rishabh a Tirthankara and Bharat a King,
whose younger brother was Bahubali.
Bahubali was Bahu Bali, one with enormous strength in his arms.
The mytholog ical stories relate that Bharat wanted to attack on the king dom of Bahubali and
both brothers nearly readied for a war. The minister neg otiated and it was decided that the two
brother only contest personally throug h Jal Yuddha,
Malla Yuddha and Drishti Yuddha. Bharata struck him first, but when it was Bahubali turn, he
respected the elder brother and did not strike him and became a renunciant. Some years later,
Bharta won the meru parvata and hoisted a flag there. But, when he reached the z enith, he
found many flag s out there. So he felt insig nificance and also became a renunciant.

The Sign of Rishbhdev is a Bull and achieved nirvana on the Kailasa Mountain of the
Himalayas as per digambar canons and as per shwetambar canons he achieved
nirvana on Ashtapad mount.
Please note that 20 out of the 20 Jain Tirthankara attained Niravana at Summet
Shikhar or Shikharji located near Giridih, in Jharkhand, one of the most sacred
places for Jains in the world
Vasupujya attained nirvana at Champapuri in north Bengal; Neminatha on Mount
Girnar in gujrat; and Mahavira, the last, at Pavapuri near patna in Bihar.
Bahubali is also known as Gomateshwara. There are 5 monolithic statues are present in
Karnataka, out of which 57 f eet at Shravanabelagola in Hassan Dist rict was creat ed in
981 AD and his highest . The location of other statues are : Karkala in Udupi District,
Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada District, Venur in Dakshina Kannada District, Gommatagiri
in Mysore District.
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Parshvanath
2011- 05- 05 05:05:14 GKToday
Parshva was the son of king Ashvasena and queen Vama of Varanasi. He renounced
the world and became an ascetic when he was 30 years old. He achieved Nirvana on
the Sammet Sikhar, now named Parshvanatha after him. He has 108 names. He lived
in Varanasi around 800 BC.
Prvantha is only Jain Tirthankar which is always represented with the hood of a
nga shading his head. Two Yakshas viz. Yaksha Dharanendra and the Yakshi
Padmavati are often shown flanking him.
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Mahavira
2011- 05- 05 05:05:20 GKToday
Mahvira was the 24th and last Tirthankara, known as Vira or Viraprabhu, Sanmati,
Ativira,and Gnatputra in many texts and Arugan or Arugadevan in Tamil texts. He is known
as Nigantha Ntaputta in Buddhist Pali Canon. Historial dates assigned to Mahavira are
599-527 BC and he was born in to King Siddartha and Queen Trishala on the 13th day under
the rising moon of Chaitra, which is celebrated as Mahavir Jayanti and falls in March or
Early April.
His name was Vardhamana and he despite of being a prince, had exhibited a virtuous
nature.
He started engaging in meditation and immersed himself in self-contemplation. At the age of
30 he renounced his kingdom and family, gave up his worldly possessions, and spent twelve
years as an ascetic. During these twelve years he spent most of his time meditating. He
attained the Kevalya Gyan (Omniscience) and devoted the rest of his life to preaching the
eternal truth of spiritual freedom to people around India. At the age of 72 years and 4.5
months, he attained Nirvana in the area known as Pawapuri on the last day of the Indian and
Jain calendars, Dipavali.
Kundagrama where Mahavira was born is located in Muzaffarpur Bihar.
Father of Vardhamana, Siddarth was head of Gyatrika Kshtriyas.
His Mother Trishla was a Licchhavi princess and sister of ruler Chetak.
Chetaka's daughter later married powerful King of Magadha , Bimbisara.
Mahavira's Gotra was Kashyapa.
Family of Mahavira was called in Sanskrit Jnatri and in Prakrit Naata. The male
members of the family were called Jnatriputras or Naataputtas.
The most notable text about Mahavira is Kalpasutra by Acharya Bhadrabahu I.
The first Sanskrit biography of Mahavira was Vardhamacharitra by Asaga
Mahavira was married to Yasoda. A daughter was born to Mahavira and Yasoda whose
name was Anojja or Priyadarsana.
Priyadarsana later married to a nobleman Jamali and became mother of a daughter Sesvati.
Now here it is a controversy. The digambar Jain tradition is of the view that Mahavira had
never married. He lived a life of an ascetic even as a boy and his parents were alive when he
became a monk. The author has placed both the views and has no intention to hurt any
Jainism follower.

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Jain Literature
2011- 05- 05 05:05:59 GKToday
Jain Literature
Jain Literature is called Jain Agamas. They are canonical texts of Jainism based on
Mahavira's teachings. There are in all 45 texts.
12 Angas: They are as follows:
cranga stra
Strakrtanga
Sthnnga
Samavynga
Vykhyprajapti or Bhagavati stra
Jntrdhrmakathh
Upsakadah
Antakrddaah
Anuttaraupaptikadah
Pranavykaranani
Vipkaruta
Drstivda (This Anga had disappeared by the time second
sangeeti was organized in 512 AD. The remaining Angas
were written down in Ardhamagadhi (Jain Prakrit)
Language.
12 Upanga Agams: Upanga Agamas are explanations to Angas
6 Chedasutras: These are texts related to behavior of Monks and Nuns.
4 Mlastras: These are texts which provide a base in the earlier stages of the
monkhood
10 Prakrnaka stras: These are texts on Independent or miscellaneous subjects
2 Clikastras: These are texts which further enhance or decorate the meaning of
Angas

The Jain Literature
Shauraseni and Ardhamagadhi (Jain Prakrit ) (Most ancient ):
Agamas and sutras,
Sanskrit :
Tatvartha Sutra of Uma Swati, Jain Puranas, Koshas, Shravakacharas,
Mathematics, and Nighantus.
Apbhramsa: Most of the known Apabhramsha texts are of Jain origin, they
include Kahas, rasas, and grammars
Tamil:
Tirukural, Cilappatikaram and Jivakachintamani
Hindi: Ardha- kathanaka, Chhah- dhala, and Mokshamarga Prakashaka
Kannada: Vaddaradhane
Gujarat i: Bharata- Bahubali Ras (it is considered to be the first Gujarati Book).

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Shunga (Sunga) Dynasty
2012- 01- 09 12:01:36 GKToday
Magadha Empire under Asoka was ext ended f rom t he f oot of t he Hindu Kush
t o t he borders of t he Tamil count ry. Af t er t he Kalinga war, Asoka became a
monk and expansion of Buddhism in ot her count ries t ook place during his t ime.
None of t he lat er Mauryas was ef f icient t o keep such a vast empire int act .
The Last Maurya: Brihadratha
The sources of hist ory af t er Mauryas are scant . There was no account
lef t by Kaut ilya and Megast henes about t he lat er Mauryas.
Our knowledge about t he lat er Mauryas is based upon Puranas, Jain
and Buddhism texts.
Dif f erent Puranas give dif f erent account s of Asoka's successors.
The account given by Vayu Purana says t hat Asoka was succeeded by
Kunala while t he Mat sya Purana says t hat Asoka was succeeded by
Suyasas.
But all Purana account s as well as Harchacharita of Banabhat t a says-
t hat t he last Mauryan ruler was Brihadrat ha.
Pushymitra Shunga f ounds Shunga dynasty
Brihadrat ha was a weak ruler and his Senapat i Pushymit ra Shunga while
a parading t he ent ire Mauryan army bef ore Brihadrat ha t o show him t he
st rengt h of t he army assassinat ed him and t his was t he end of t he
Mauryas.
Pushyamit ra Shunga f ounded t he Shunga dynast y in around 185-183 BC.
Capit al of Shunga Dynast y Was Pat aliput ra and it s major cent ers were
Ujjain, Mat hura, Saket , Sanchi, and Kapilvast u. Vidisha was capit al of
lat er Shunga rulers.
West Bengal and part s of Bangladesh, some part s of nort hern Orissa,
Chhat t isgarh and Madhya Pradesh .
In Sout h India, t he cont emporary of Mauryas & Shungas were
Saat vahanas, Pandyas, Cheras and Cholas.
The ext ent of Saat vahana was modern Andhra Pradesh, Pandyas was
Tamil Nadu and Karnat aka and Cheras was Kerala (Cheras derived f rom
Keralaput ra).

Rulers of Sunga Dynast y
Pushyamit ra Sunga (185 BC TO 151 BC)
Agnimit ra : (149 BC -141 BC)
Bhagabhadra (114 BC -83 BC)
Devabhut i (87-73 BC)
Pushyamitra Sunga (185 BC TO 151 BC)
Pushyamit ra Shunga t he f ounder and hero of t he Shunga dynast y.
He was viceroy of t he Mauryas at Ujjain and was a real war hero.
He was not happy wit h his king Brihadrat ha, who f ailed in cont aining t he
Yavanas and at t acks f rom t he west ern sides.
He is credit ed t o repulse t he t wo at t acks of Greeks and also conquest
over Vidarbha.
The f irst of t hese at t acks f rom Greeks, which were repulsed by
Pushyamit ra Shunga, was under Demetrius and another was under
Meander.
Pushyamit ra is also known t o have repelled t he Kalinga's king Kharvela
conquest .
He perf ormed Ashvamedha Yagna.
The Ayodhya Inscript ion of Dhandeva ment ions t hat he perf ormed t wo
Ashwamedha Yagyas (Horse Sacrif ices).
As per t he Puranas, Pushyamit ra Shunga reigned f or 36 years.
Some evidences say t hat Pushyamit ra Shunga dest royed many st upas
of Asoka. But t here are also evidences t hat Barhut St upa was built
during t he Shunga Empire only.
Pushyamit ra was succeeded by his son Agnimit ra.
Agnimitra : (149 BC -141 BC)
Agnimit ra was t he second king of Shunga dynast y, who succeeded his
f at her Pushyamit ra Shunga.
He had a short reign of 8 years.
He is t he hero of Malvikagnimitram of Kalidasa in which he has been
ref erred t o as Raja.
By t he t imes of Agnimit ra, Vidarbha had become independent of t he
Maurays.
Agnimit ra was succeeded by Vasumit ra around 131 BC.
Who succeeded Vasumit ra , not much det ails are available. Dif f erent
account s ment ion t he name of dif f erent kings such as Andhraka, Pulindaka,
Ghosha or Vajramit ra. The last rulers of Shunga dynast y were Bhagabhadra
and Devabhut i, about whom we have some det ails
Bhagabhadra (114 BC -83 BC)
We know about t he king Bhagabhadra by a Heliodorus pillar, which has
been f ound in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh near modern Besnagar.
Heliodorus was a Greek ambassador and he dedicat ed t his pillar t o God
Vasudeva (Vishnu).
The Heliodorus pillar has a surmount ed f igure of a Garuda.
Devabhuti (87-73 BC)
Devabhut i was t he last Shunga Ruler who was killed by his own minist er
Vasudeva Kanva in around 73 BC.
Vasudeva Kanva t hus assassinat ed t he last ruler of Shunga Dynast y
and f ounded t he Kanva Dynast y.
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Kanva dynasty
2012- 01- 09 12:01:32 GKToday
The last ruler of t he Shunga Dynast y was killed by Vasudeva Kanva.
The Kanvas were Brahmins and considered t hemselves as descendent s
f rom Rishi Kanva.
Vasudeva killed Devabhut i in around 72 BC and t his is also t est if ied by
Harchacharit a.
At t he t ime of Vasudeva Kanva's accession, t he Shunga kingdom was
already f inished as t he Punjab region was under t he Greeks and most
part s of t he Ganget ic planes was under dif f erent rulers.
One of t he Shunga rulers named Sumit ra who rules around 133 BC was
killed by Muladeva who f ounded t he independent Kosala Kingdom.
Vasudeva was succeeded by Bhumimit ra.
Bhumimit ra af t er reigning f or 14 years was succeeded by his son
Narayana, who was succeeded by Susharman.
Much det ail about t hese kings has been ascert ained only on the basis of
Numismatics.
Only t hese 4 kings of t he Kanva dynast y are known.
This dynast y is said t o have been overt hrown by t he Sat avahana
dynast y.
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Mahameghavahans of Kalinga
2012- 01- 09 12:01:31 GKToday
Af t er t he decline of Mauryas, Kalinga rose t o power around 1
st
cent ury
BC in t he area of modern Odisha. We best know about t he Third ruler of
t his dynast y, named '' Kharvela''. Kharvela is known t o have revived t he
past glory of Kalinga.
Kharvela (209-170 BC)
King Kharvela belged t o t he epic t ime Chedi dynast y.
His capit al was Kalinganagara.
We know about Kharvela f rom Hathigumpha inscription, f ound in a
cave in Udayagiri near Bhubaneswar.
The army and milit ary of Kalinga was reinst at ed by Kharvela.
Kharvela led successf ul campaigns against t he kingdoms of Magadha,
Anga, and Sat avahana.
The Kalinga Kingdom was expanded t ill Ganga t o Kaveri f rom nort h t o
sout h by Kharvela.
Kharvela was a Jain f ollower, but despit e being a Jain f ollower he never
hesit at ed in warf are.
He pat ronized t he Jaina ascet ics by making provision f or t heir
maint enance, const ruct ing t he house/dwellings.
Hat higumpha inscript ion
Hathigumpha inscription is ascribed to Kharvela, and belongs to 2nd century BC. It is a
17 lines inscript ion in Brahmi found at Udayagiri hills, Bhubneshwar, Orissa, 6 miles
away from the place where Dhauli edit of Asoka was located. The inscription says that it
is dated 165th year of Maurya kings and 13th year Kharvela reign, and gives a
biographical sketch of the king. It says.
1. In the first year the king rebuilt the capital of Kalinga.
2. In the second year, he destroyed the capital of Musikas, a tribe of Hindus of Indus
river area.
3. In 4th year he subdued the Rastrakas and Bhijakas, the tribes near modern berar
area.
4. In the 5th year he extended a canal built by the Mauryas.
5. In the 8th year, he advanced till Barabar hills and defeated the king of Rajgriha.
6. In the 9th year he built the ''Mahavijayaprasad'' place of great on both the banks of
the river Pranchi.
7. In the 12th year he subdued the Brihaspatimitra of Magadha.
8. He built magnificent temple at Bhubneshwar.
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Indo-Greek Rulers of Ancient India
2012- 01- 09 12:01:18 GKToday
We should know t hat during t he last t wo cent uries of BC era, Nort hwest and
nort hern Indian subcont inent was ruled by more t han 30 Hellenist ic kings. The
knowledge about t hese has been at t ained via t he coins issued by t hem. The
areas under t hese Hellenist ic Kings were Taxila, Pakist an's, Punjab
Pushkalavat i (Peshavar) & Sagala.
Indo-Greek rulers have been ment ioned ''Yavanas'' in t he Indian
lit erat ure.
Some of t he kings of indo-Greek dynast ies are brief ed here.
Antiochus II
Demetrius I of the Bactria (2000-180 BC)
Apollodotus I
Apollodotus II
Menander II
Antiochus II
Approximat ely in 250 BC, Diodot us, who was a governor of Bact eria,
proclaimed his independence. He was one of t he f irst such independent
rulers.
Ant iochus II, who was a king of t he Hellenist ic Seleucid kingdom, marched
t owards India and def eat ed t he India king Subhagsena is Kabul in around
206 BC.
Demetrius I of the Bactria (2000-180 BC)
Demet rius I of Bact ria was son of Eut hydemus and conquered t he
ext ensive areas in Iran, Af ghanist an and Pakist an.
He is creat ed wit h real indo-Greek expansion in India and has also been
ref erred in Greek Sources as "King of Indians".
His coins bear legends in Greek and Prakrit writ t en in Greek and
Kharosht hi script . The coins were issued in silver and one of t he coins
was known as "Heracles".
His capit al was Sakala (Sialkot Pakist an) which he named Eut hydemia in
memory of his f at her.
His coins have been f ound in several part s of modern Pakist an,
Af ghanist an and cent ral asia.
Apollodotus I
Apollodot us I was t he indo Greek ruler who ruled around 174-165 BC in
t he west ern and sout hern part s of t he indo-Greek Kingdoms covering
t he area f rom Taxila in Punjab t o Sindh.
Apollodot us I was t he f irst king who ruled in India only and t his is said t o
be real f ounder of t he indo-Greek kingdom of India and known as f irst
"Real Indo Greek".
He was one of t he generals of t he Demet rius I of Bact ria.
We come t o know about apollodot us I t hrough t he bilingual Indian
st andard square coins by him.
The animals such as elephant and bull are depict ed in his coins.
Apollodotus II
Apollodot us II ruled in Punjab 80-65 BC and was an import ant ruler.
He is said t o have re-conquered t he Taxila. He seems t o be of same
dynast y of which meander belonged t o.
Menander II
Menander II reigned around 90-85 BC in Gandhara, nort h of modern
Pakist an and part s of Af ghanist an.
It was Meander who has been ment ioned as t he mighty Yavana King of
Sakala.
His capit al Sakala was locat ed in modern Punjab and ref ers t o Sialkot ,
Pakist an
In t he ''Milindapanho'' dialogues bet ween t he Meander II and Nagasena
have been recorded.
He was Buddhist indo-Greek ruler and is t he only indo-Greek ruler who is
great ly respect ed in India.
The coins of Meander have been engraved wit h "Dhammachakka" of
Buddhism.
He issued Gold Coins also and one of t he coins are known as "At hene
Promachus".
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Sakas Rulers of Ancient India
2012- 01- 09 13:01:25 GKToday
The indo-Greek rule in India was primarily dest royed by t he Sakas.
Sakas were t he Scyt hians, which ref er t o ancient Iranian people of
horse-riding nomadic past oralist s.
In Sanskrit t hey are ref erred as Sakas.
The 2
nd
cent ury BC saw an upheaval in t he Cent ral Asia. The invasion by
t he Cent ral Asian nomadic t ribes and t ribes f rom t he Chinese region was
responsible f or t he migrat ion of t he Sakas t owards India.
Maues (80-65 BC)
Maues or Moga was t he earliest Shaka ruler.
He est ablished Shaka power in Gandhara and ruled around 80-60BC.
His capit al was ''Sirkap'' and he issued a large number of copper coins
and f ew silver coins.
Some sources indicat e t hat he assumed t he t it le of '' maharaja mahatma
'' and his coins are bearing t he images of Indian deit ies' viz. Shiva, and
Buddha.
He used Greek and Kharosht hi in coin legends.
Moga inscription
Moga inscript ion ref ers t o t he Taxila copper plat e. Taxila copper plat e was
f ound in area of Taxila in modern Pakist an. Taxila copper plat e bears a
precise dat a and it is writ t en in Kharosht hi.
This inscript ion is ascribed t o Shaka king Moga.
It was t he Taxila Copper Plat e which has ment ioned about t he
dedicat ion of a relic of t he Buddha Shakyamuni t o a Buddhist monast ery
by t he Shaka ruler Patika Kusulaka.
Pat ika Kusulaka is also ment ioned in Mat hura lion capit al.
Azes-I & Azes II
Maues and his successors were able t o conquer large t he areas of
Gandhara, t hey were unsuccessf ul against t he indo-Greek kings
remaining behind t he Jhelum river in east ern Punjab.
But it was Azes-I who put an end t o t he remnant of t he Greek rule in
India.
Azes-I annexed t he kingdom of t he Indo-Greek Hippost rat os af t er a long
resist ance.
In 58 BC, Azes-I f ounded t he Azes Era, which coincides wit h t he Vikram
Era in India.
Azes-I was succeeded by Azilises, who was succeeded by Azes II.
There are some coins issued joint ly be Azes-I and Azilises and joint ly
issued by Azilises and Azes II.
Azes II reigned bet ween t he 35 and 12 BC and he is considered t o be t he
last Shaka ruler and was lost t o Kushanas.
Kushanas led t o t he f oundat ion of Kushana Empire in Nort h West India.
Bimaran casket
Bimaran casket was f ound in Jalalabad, Pakist an bet ween 1833 t o 1838. This
casket is import ant because it was f ound having t he coins of Azes II.
It f eat ures t he represent at ions of Buddha surrounded by India deit ies
Brahma and Indra as bodhisat t vas.
The Buddha is st anding post ure wit h bundled hair and wears a dhot i.
It was f ound in a st eat it e which was having some inscript ions.
The Bimaran casket is t he First & Earliest known image of t he Standing
Buddha.
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Satrap System of Ancient Sakas in India
2012- 01- 09 13:01:41 GKToday
The pressure f rom t he Part hians (Iranians) and lat er f rom Kushanas, t he
Shakas got divided int o 5 branches wit h t heir dif f erent seat s of power at
dif f erent places in modern Pakist an, India, and Af ghanist an. These rulers were
known as sat raps and Mahasat raps. Thus Shakas are known t o have
prolif erat ed t he Sat rpa syst em, which was direct ly inf luenced by t he
Achaemenid and Seleucid administ rat ions. The sat raps were in Kapisa in
Af ghanist an. Taxila in west ern Punjab, Mat hura, Ujjaini and upper deccan.
Kapisa satraps
The Moga inscript ion or copper plat e ment ions t wo names Liaka
Kusulaka and his son Patika Kusulaka.
They ruled Chuksha and Pusha Pura.
Pat ika Kusulaka had adopt ed t he t it le of "Mahadandapati".
Bot h of t hem were st raps under Moga.
Mathura satraps
First known sat raps of Mat hura are Hagana and Hagamasa.
One of t heir successor named "Rajuvula" has been ment ioned as
Mahasat rapa in t he Mora inscription , t hat was f ound near Mat hura.
Ot her sat rapas are Sodasha, Sivadat t a, Sivaghosha.
Please not e t hat it were t he coins of t he Mat hura Sat raps which have
been engraved wit h St anding image which resembled Laxmi and Three
Elephant s.
Satrapas of Western India
First known sat rapa in t he West ern India was Bhumaka, who ruled in
Saurast ra.
Bhumaka's successor Nahapana was an import ant ruler of t he West ern
sat rapas. Some sources say t hat Nahapana was son of Bhumaka, yet
t he act ual relat ionship bet ween t wo is not verif ied.
The coins of Bhumka ment ion him as a Kshakarata Kshatrapa.
The coins shows t he symbol of t he lion-capit al.
These coins were f ound in Gujarat and rarely in Malwa which might
indicat e t he area of rule of t he Mat hura kasht rapas. It is also known t hat
some of t he inscript ions of t he Mat hura.
Kshat rapas were incised on a lion capit al. These show t hat t he t wo
f amilies were alike.
Please not e t hat it was Bhumaka, who has been discussed in the Periplus
of Erythrean Sea.
Ujjain Satrapas
Founder of t he Ujjaini Sat rapa is considered Cast ana or Shast ana or
Chast ana.
Chast ana is considered t o have won a bat t le against Saat vahanas.
Chast ana used 3 script s viz. Greek, Kharosht hi and Brahami, in his coin
legends.
He has been ment ioned as Tiastenes of Ozene (Chastana of Ujjain) in
Pt olemy's Geography.
Rudramadaman-I
Chast ana's son was Jayadaman and grandson was Rudradaman, who was a
real hero.
Rudradaman was a great f igure.
His exploit s are described in t he Junagarh Rock inscription dat ed
Shaka Year 72, which means 72+78 = 150 AD. (Christ ian era +78 = Shaka
Era).
He represent s himself as a Mahasat rapa. The Junagarh rock
inscription says t hat he was chosen as a prot ect or by all cast es and
t hus adopt ed t he ''Mahasat rapa'' t it le.
He def eat ed Sat vahana king "Saat karni" f or t wo t imes and t hus is
considered t o be t he great est of t he Shaka rulers.
The long rivalry bet ween Rudradaman and Saat karni was t ried t o be
done away wit h t he f amily relat ions (probably rudraman's daught er was
given in marriage t o t he Sat avahanas), but t his could not st op t he
enmit y bet ween t hem.
In one of t he wars, Saat karni's lif e was spared because of t he f amily
relat ions.
Rudradaman conquered Malwa, Saurast ra, Gujarat , Konkan end Yudehas
of Rajput ana.
Rudradamana is known t o be good in knowledge of Grammar.
The successors of Rudradaman ruled t ill t he end of t he 4
th
cent ury AD
and f inally lost t heir power t o t he Arab Chief t ains.
Yavanesvara was a Greek writ er who t ranslat ed t he Yavanajat aka f rom
Greek t o Sanskrit . It had inf luenced ast rology in India. This work was
done in t he t imes of Rudradaman.
Junagarh Rock Inscription
The Junagarh rock inscript ion is in Sanskrit . It is dat ed 72 Shaka Era or
150 AD. It credit s Rudradaman I wit h support ing t he cult ural art s and
Sanskrit lit erat ure and repairing t he dam built by t he Mauryans. This
ref ers t o t he repair of Lake Sudarshana, which was const ruct ed by
Mauryas probably t o cont ain t he f loods.
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Indo-Parthian Kingdom
2012- 01- 09 13:01:19 GKToday
Indo-part hian kingdom is also known as Gondopharid Dynasty. This dynast y
ruled Af ghanist an, Pakist an and nort hern India, during t he 1
st
cent ury AD.
Part hians were some Iranian t ribes and in t his t ribe, t he kings assumed t he
t it le Gondophares.
Gondophares-I
Gondophares-I seems t o be t he f irst rulers.
Since t he Part hians lived wit h Scyt hians f or quit e a long t ime, t he
f eat ures on coins mix up a lot .
Gondophares-I and St. Thomas : Some historians have linked
Gondophares- I to St. Thomas , also known as doubting Thomas, and who was one
of the 12 apostles of Jesus. However, the recent researched connect 4th ruler of the
indo Parthians called Gondophares- sases, with St. Thomas. The church of Kerala
has a tradition that St. Thomas came to India to spread the Christianity and
established the Ezharappallikal, or ''seven and half churches in India". Acts of
Thomas identifies his second mission in India with a kingdom ruled by King
Mahadwa, one of the rulers of a first- century dynasty in southern India. Marco polo
has written that St. Thomas was buried in India.
Af t er t he Gondophares, The Indo-Part hian rule in India ended and soon
Kushanas overpowered t hem.
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Kushana Empire
2012- 01- 09 13:01:47 GKToday
As per t he Chinese sources, t he Kushanas (ment ioned in Chinese t ext s as
Guishuang) were one of t he 5 t ribes of Yueh-Chi or Yuezhi.
Kushanas were also known as Tocharians.
They were nomadic t ribes and easternmost speakers of the Indo-
Europeans Languages which were called "Tocharian languages".
Their origin is connect ed t o China and also Cent ral Asia. The modern
Xiniang and Gansu of China are places where t hese t ribes t hrived
bef ore 2nd cent ury AD.
They were driven out by Xiongnu in around 170 BC.
The Const ruct ion of t he Chinese wall was a big f act or of t heir moving
away f rom t he Chinese regions and t hey moved t owards west and
sout h.
Import ant Kushana Kings are brief ed here:
Kujula Kadphises (AD 30-AD 80)
Vima Taktu or Sadashkana (AD 80 -AD 95)
Vima Kadphises: (AD 95-AD 127)
Kanishka I
Vsishka
Kanishka II
Kujula Kadphises (AD 30-AD 80)
Kujula Kadphises was t he f irst Yueh Chi chief who crossed t he Hindukush
Mount ains and laid down t he f oundat ion of t he Kushana Empire.
He est ablished himself in Kabul and Kashmir and is credit ed f or def eat
of Last Greek Kings.
He adopt ed t he epit het of Dharma-t hida.
Anot her epit het adopt ed by Kujala Kadphises was Sachdharmathida
which is cot erminous wit h Sat yaDharma St hit ha.
Bot h of t he above epit het s show t hat he was int erest ed in bot h
Buddhism as well as Shivait e.
Vima Taktu or Sadashkana (AD 80 -AD 95)
Vima Takt u or Sadashkana was / were son/ sons of Kujula Kadphises
and it is not sure who among t hem ruled af t er Kujula Kadphises or
whet her t his ref ered t o a single person.
He is considered t o be t he predecessor of Vima Kadphises as well as
Kanishka-I.
He is credit ed f or expansion of Kushana Power int o t he Nort h West of
India.
Vima Kadphises: (AD 95-AD 127)
The Rabat ak inscript ion is writ t en on a rock in t he Bact rian language and
t he Greek script . It was f ound in 1993 at Rabat ak, in Af ghanist an.
This inscript ion ment ions t hat Vima Kadphises was son of Vima Takt o
and t he f at her of Kanishka.
He was one of t he most import ant kings of t he Kushana Empire who is
best known f or issuing large number of Gold Coins.
Vima Kadphises was probably t he f irst to introduce the Gold Coins in
India in addit ion t o t he Copper and Silver coins.
This testif ies the prosperity of the Kushana Empire.
Vima is also known t o have maint ained t he Silk Rout e and t rade wit h all
sides including t he China, Alexandria, and Roman Empire.
Kanishka I
Kanishka-I was t he most power ruler of t he Kushana Empire and is known f or
his milit ary prowess. Click Here t o read more about Kanishka I
Vsishka
Kanishka-I was succeeded by Vsishka, who had a short reign who is
ident if ied wit h t he Vaskushana, Vajheska, Jushka in dif ef rent sources.
Jushkapura near modern Zukar was a cit y f ounded by him.
Kanishka II
Kanishka II was a successor of Vsishka and is known t o have assumed
t he t it le of Kaisar.
Kushana Administration and Lif e
The Kings of t he Kushana Empire had assumed eloquent t it les such as
Maharaj, Rajat iraj (King of Kings) et c.
One of t he successors of Kanishka was Vasudeva who is considered t o
be a Shiva worshipper and t he f igures of Shiva is f ound on his coins had
assumed t he t it le Shaono Shao Vasudeo Kushano.
These t it les were adopt ed f rom t heir predecessors Shakas and
appeared lat er in coins of all Kushana Kings and inscript ions.
Impact of Kushanas on Art and Culture
Kushanas are considered t o be t he great pat rons of art .
Two schools, viz. Mat hura School of Art and Gandhara School of Art
f lourished in t he Kushana Era.
Kushana had a cult ural inf luence of t he Hellenist ic Greeks and t his
impact is seen t hese schools of art s as well.
Kushana Empire : Some Important Points
The great st upa of t he Purushpura was not built on direct ion of
t he above ment ioned kings but was built on direct ion of
Agesilaos.
The Cap, Boot and helmet was int roduced in India by t he cent ral
Asian Tribes.
Kushanas (Yueh Chi Tribe) is considered t o have conduct ed t he
Horse t rade by sea wit h t he Koying kingdom of modern
Malaysia.
Largest number of copper coins was issued by t he Kushanas.
Charsada and Taxila were t he karvan cit ies in Post Maurya Era.
Asvaghosa was t he f irst Dramat ist who used Sanskrit in
composing t he plays.
Sindoor (Vermillion) and Bamboo was int roduced in India by
Chinese t raders.
India was known as Shen-t u in t he early Chinese t ext s.
The works of Avaghosa were Buddhacharit a, Mahalankara,
Saundaranandakavya (Saudarananda), Chandist rot ra,
Vajrasuchi.
Sun God has been depict ed on t he coins of Kanishka-1 and
Vsishka
Kujala Kadphises and Kanishka-I adopt ed and pat ronized t he
Buddhism, but Vima Kadphises adopt ed Shaivism and was a
Shiva Devot ee.
The 4 import ant schools of Jainism viz. Kot t aka, Varana,
Aryayudikiya and vesavadiya have been ment ioned in t he
Epigraphic Records of t he Kushana Period.
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Kanishka I
2012- 01- 09 13:01:25 GKToday
Kanishka-I was t he most power ruler of t he Kushana Empire and is known f or
his milit ary prowess.
Hi s main capital was Purushpura (Peshawar) and regional capit als
were Taxila (Pakistan) , Begram (Af ghanistan) and Mathura (India).
His dat e of accession is disput ed. However, most sources agree t hat
Kanishka was t he f ounder of t he Shaka Era of AD 78.
This has been ment ioned as Saka kala or Saka Nripa kala, probably
because he was t hought t o be a Shaka.
Under Kanishka, Kushana Empire reached it s climax and it ext ended
f rom Uzbekist an, Tajikist an t o Mat hura and Kashmir.
As per t he Tibet an Sources, Kanishka is considered t o have conf lict ed
wit h t he Pat aliput ra and Saket and had taken Avaghosa, the
Buddhist Monk to Purushpura.
A cit y kanishkpur in Kashmir is also connect ed t o Kanishka.
Kanishka conf lict ed wit h Chinese general of King Han Ho-t i, t he emperor
of Han Dynast y and def eat ed him in second at t empt .
He is also known t o have subjugat ed t he rulers of Khot an, Yarkand et c.
and is considered t o have est ablished a great kingdom only af t er t he
Mauryas in India.
He was a pat ron of Buddhism and convened t he 4th Buddhist council
in t he Kundalvana of Kashmir (or may be in Jalandhar) in 78 AD.
This council was headed by Vasumit ra and it marked t he collect ion of
Buddhist t ext s and engraving of t he comment aries on Copper sheets.
Some scholars are of t he view t hat t he Abhidhama Mahavishasa was
prepared in t he 4t h Buddhist council.
Some of t he scholars in t he Court of Kanishka were Parsva, Vasumit ra,
Asvaghosa, Nagarjuna, Charaka and Mat hara.
Charaka has been called the Court Physician of Kanishka, t hough it is
very much disput ed.
Sushrut a who wrot e Sushrut a Samhit a has also been connect ed t o
Kanishka.
It was Kanishka's t ime when Buddhism got divided bet ween t he
Hinayana and Mahayana. \
We know Sushruta, who had written Sushruta Samhita and Charak who had written
Charak Samhita. However, both of them were from the Kushan period, earlier than
the Guptas.
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Mathura School of Art
2012- 01- 09 13:01:17 GKToday
Cont ent s
Origin and Salient Feat ures of Mat hura School of art
Cent res of Product ion
Sculpt ing Feat ures
Not able Observat ions about Mat hura School of art
Mat hura School of Art Vs. and Gandhara School of Art
Origin and Salient Features of Mathura School of art
At Sanchi, Barhut or Gaya, Buddha was never depict ed in a
human f orm but was represent ed only as a symbol of eit her
t wo f oot print s or wheel. Art isans f rom Mat hura init ially
cont inued t he Mauryan sculpt ural f orms of t he Yaksha and
Yakshi, unt il a human image of Buddha appeared, which
was independent of ot her schools of art , but lat er
inf luenced by t he Gandhara School. Thus, Mat hura School
of art is purely indigenous st yle. Mat hura art reached it s
peak during t he Gupt a period (AD 325 t o 600).
The mat erial used in t his school was t he spotted red
sandstone. The Mat hura School of Art , not ed f or it s vit alit y
and assimilat ive charact er, was a result of t he religious zeal
of Brahmanism, Jainism and Buddhism. Images of
Vaishnava and Shaiva f ait hs are also f ound at Mat hura but Buddhist images
are f ound in large numbers. The images of Vishnu and Shiva are represent ed
by t heir weapons. Images of t he Buddha, Yakshas, Yakshinis, Shaivit e and
Vaishnavit e deit ies and port rait st at ues are prof usely sculpt ed.
Centres of Production
The t radit ional cent re, Mat hura, remained t he main art product ion sit e
whereas Sarnat h and Kosambi also emerged as import ant cent res of art
product ion.
Sculpting Features
The Jina Image and Indigenous st yle of
Buddha's image was a remarkable
f eat ure of Mat hura art . The
Sarvatobhadrika image of 4 Jinas
st anding back t o back belongs t o t he
Mat hura school. The St anding Buddhas
of t he Sravast hi Sarnat h and
Kausambhi belong t o t he Mat hura
School.
In Mat hura School, t here is boldness in
carving t he large images.
The f irst Mat hura image makers never
int ended t o sculpt an anat omically correct human Buddha. Their images were
a composit e of 32 major and 80 minor laksana, or marks. Lat er, t he Human
Buddha images evolved associat ed wit h humanly beaut y and heroic ideals.
Bot h sit t ing and st anding post ure of Buddha's st at ues were carved out in t he
Mat hura school.
Buddha image at Mathura is modelled on the lines of earlier Yaksha images
whereas in Gandhara it has Hellenistic features. The early images of t he Buddha
and t he Bodhisat t va are happy, f leshy f igures wit h lit t le spirit ualit y about
t hem. The block like compact ness and smoot h close-f it t ing robe, almost
ent irely devoid of f olds, are replicat ed in t he earliest st anding Buddha image
t hat belongs t o t he Mat hura school. The volume of t he images is project ed
out of t he pict ure plane, t he f aces are round and smiling, heaviness in t he
sculpt ural volume is reduced t o relaxed f lesh. The garment s of t he body are
clearly visible and t hey cover t he lef t shoulder. However, in t he second cent ury
AD, images got sensual wit h increased rot undness and became f lashier. The
ext reme f leshiness was reduced by t he t hird cent ury AD and t he surf ace
f eat ures also got ref ined. The t rend cont inued in t he f ourt h cent ury AD but
lat er, t he massiveness and f leshiness was reduced f urt her and t he f lesh
became more t ight ened. The halo around the head of Buddha was profusely
decorated.
Notable Observations about Mathura School of art
Mat hura School of art is purely indigenous st yle.
Spot t ed red sandst one has been used in t his school.
In t hese sculpt ures, Buddha was depict ed as Human and t he main
t heme was Buddha and Bodhisat t avas.
Bot h sit t ing and st anding post ure of Buddha's st at ues were carved out
in t he Mat hura school.
The Mat hura School of Art , not ed f or it s vit alit y and assimilat ive
charact er, was a result of t he religious zeal of Brahmanism, Jainism and
Buddhism.
Mat hura art , however, reached it s peak during t he Gupt a period (AD 325
t o 600).
The Jina Image and Indigenous t yle of Buddhas image was a remarkable
f eat ures of Mat hura art .
The Sarvat obhadrika image of 4 jain Jinas st anding back t o back
belongs t o t he Mat hura school.
The St anding Buddhas of t he Sravast hi Sarnat h and Kausambhi belong
t o t he Mat hura School.
The sit t ing Buddha of Mat hura School is in padmasana and soles of t he
f eet have been decorat ed wit h Tri rat na and Dharmachakra signs.
The presences of t he t wo at t endant s by t he side of Buddha who hold
Chanwars is a f eat ure of t he Mat hura school and t his f igure has been
lat er inspired t he images of Indian Deit ies.
Mathura School of Art Vs. and Gandhara School of
Art
Fact or Mat hura School Gandhara School
Origin
No f oreign Inf luence, however,
lat er it cross f ert ilized wit h t he
Gandhara School.
St rong Greek inf luence.
It s development t ook place
indigenously.
Was based on Greco-Roman
norms encapsulat ing f oreign
t echniques and an alien spirit .
It is also known as Graeco-
Buddhist School of art .
Init ially inspired by Yaksha
Images
Assimilat ing various t rait s of
Acamenian, Part hian and
Bact rian t radit ions int o t he
local t radit ion is a hallmark of
t he Gandhara st yle
Init ially inspired by Hellenist ic
f eat ures.
Mat erial Used Spot t ed Red Sandst one
Blue-grey Mica schist / Grey
Sandst one
Image
Feat ures
Early period: Light volume
having f leshy body
Finer det ails and realist ic
images
Lat er Period: Flashiness
reduced.
Buddha carved out in various
Mudras.
Not much at t ent ion t o
det ailed sculpt ing. Buddha is
st out
Curley hair, anat omical
accuracy, spat ial dept h, and
f oreshort ening
Buddha is somet imes t hin
Halo
The halo around t he head of
Buddha was prof usely
decorat ed.
Not decorat ed, generally.
Images are less expressive
The images are very
expressive,
Amaravati School of art
The t hird t ype of sculpt ure art t hat Flourished during t he Kushana t ime was
Amaravat i School of art in t he Andhra Pradesh. Whit e Marble was used in t his
art and t he t hemes were Buddhas lif e and Jat akas t ales. The curly hairs of
Buddha is a f eat ure t hat is inf luenced by t he Greeks. In t his school, t he Kings,
Princes, Palaces et c. have got prominence.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Gandhara School of Art
2012- 01- 09 13:01:47 GKToday
Cont ent s
Salient Feat ures
The Various Mudras of Buddha in Gandhar Art
Major Cent res
Mat hura School of Art Vs. and Gandhara School of Art
The Gandharan Buddha image was inspired by
Hellenistic realism, t empered by Persian, Scyt hian,
and Part hian models. Sculpt ors const ruct ed
Buddhist images wit h anatomical accuracy,
spatial depth, and f oreshortening. In t his art ,
Buddha's curls were alt ered int o wavy hair. The
Buddha or Gandhar art is somet imes very t hin,
which is opposit e in Mat hura art . It looks like t he
Mat hura, Gandhara art s cross-f ert ilized in due
course of t ime, and t he bulky Mat hura Buddha
gradually gave way t o t he slender elegance of t he
Gandharan image. The result of t his synt hesis
ennobled, ref ined, and purif ied t he Buddha image
t hat appeared in t he Gupt a period. This Gupt a st yle
became t he model f or Sout heast Asian Buddha
images.
Salient Features
Gandhara School was based on Greco-Roman
norms encapsulat ing f oreign t echniques and an
alien spirit . It is also known as Graeco-Buddhist
School of art.
The f oreign inf luence is evident f rom t he sculpt ures
of Buddha in which t hey bear resemblance t o t he
Greek sculpt ures. Grey sandst one (Blue-grey Mica
schist t o be precise) is used in Gandhara School of
Art .
The Bamyan Buddha of Af ghanist an were t he
example of t he Gandhara School. The ot her
mat erials used were Mud, Lime, St ucco. However,
Marble was NOT used in Gandhara art . Terracot t a
was used rarely. Bimaran Casket has yielded t he earliest specimen of
t he Gandhara Art .
The Various Mudras of Buddha in Gandhar Art
In all t he Buddha depict ed in t he Gandhara Art is shown making f our t ypes of
hand gest ures and t his is a remarkable f eat ure in t his art . The gest ures are as
f ollows:
Abahayamudra : Don't f ear
Dhyanamudra : medit at ion
Dharmachakramudra: a preaching mudra
Bhumisparshamudra: Touching t he eart h.
Major Centres
Jalalabad, Hadda, Bamaran, Begram & Taxila were t he main cent ers where
art pieces of Gandhara School have been f ound. Bot h Shakas and Kushanas
were pat rons of Gandhara School. The head of t he Buddha mat ched very
much wit h Greek God Apollo.
Mathura School of Art Vs. and Gandhara School of
Art
Fact or Mat hura School Gandhara School
Origin
No f oreign Inf luence, however,
lat er it cross f ert ilized wit h t he
Gandhara School.
St rong Greek inf luence.
It s development t ook place
indigenously.
Was based on Greco-Roman
norms encapsulat ing f oreign
t echniques and an alien spirit .
It is also known as Graeco-
Buddhist School of art .
Init ially inspired by Yaksha
Images
Assimilat ing various t rait s of
Acamenian, Part hian and
Bact rian t radit ions int o t he
local t radit ion is a hallmark of
t he Gandhara st yle
Init ially inspired by Hellenist ic
f eat ures.
Mat erial Used Spot t ed Red Sandst one
Blue-grey Mica schist / Grey
Sandst one
Image
Feat ures
Early period: Light volume
having f leshy body
Finer det ails and realist ic
images
Lat er Period: Flashiness
reduced.
Buddha carved out in various
Mudras.
Not much at t ent ion t o
det ailed sculpt ing. Buddha is
st out
Curley hair, anat omical
accuracy, spat ial dept h, and
f oreshort ening
Buddha is somet imes t hin
Halo
The halo around t he head of
Buddha was prof usely
decorat ed.
Not decorat ed, generally.
Images are less expressive
The images are very
expressive,
Amaravati School of art
The t hird t ype of sculpt ure art t hat Flourished during t he Kushana t ime was
Amaravat i School of art in t he Andhra Pradesh. Whit e Marble was used in t his
art and t he t hemes were Buddhas lif e and Jat akas t ales. The curly hairs of
Buddha is a f eat ure t hat is inf luenced by t he Greeks. In t his school, t he Kings,
Princes, Palaces et c. have got prominence.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Satavahana Empire
2012- 01- 12 13:01:17 GKToday
Cont ent s
Basic Inf ormat ion about Sat avahana Dynast y
Simuka
Kanha:
Sat karni-I
Sat karni II
Hala:
Gaut amiput ra Sat karni (Reign 78-102 AD)
Pulumayi-II
The Legacy of Sat avahana Kings
Sat avahanas: Administ rat ion, Economy and Lif e
Import ant Point s:
Basic Inf ormation about Satavahana Dynasty
Sat avahana f ollowed t he Mauryas in Deccan of India. Sat avahana dynast y
ruled f rom Pune in Maharast ra t o Coast al Andhra Pradesh in t he second
cent ury BC onwards. This dynast y was built up on t he ruins of t he Maurya
Empire and around 1
st
cent ury AD, t hey were t he most prominent in t he
Modern Andhra Pradesh Region.
They have been ment ioned as St avhanas, St akarns, Andhras and
Andhrabhrit yas in t he Puranas and Coins.
Most of t he inf ormat ion about t he Sat avahana kings is int erwoven wit h
myt hs and t he inf ormat ion has been collect ed by a large number of
coins mint ed in Lead, Silver and an alloy of copper.
The origin of Sat avahanas is a myst ery but t hey are considered t o be
Brahmins and most kings use t he names of t heir mot hers wit h t heir
names.
The coins issued by Sat avahanas had Bilingual legends. The name of
t he Kings was ment ioned in Prakrit as well as some sout h Indian
Language.
Sat avahana Kings promot ed Buddhism. Nagarjunkonda and Amaravat i l
became import ant Buddhist cent ers during t he Sat avahana Era.
Simuka
Simuka was t he f ounder of t he Sat avahana Dynast y and he is believed t o
have dest royed t he Shunga Power. He did so wit h t he aid of t he Rathikas and
Bhojakas. He reigned f or around 23 years and was beheaded by his brot her
Kanha, who succeeded him.
Kanha:
Kanha was t he second ruler of t he Sat avahana Dynast y. He ext ended t he
empire t o f urt her sout h. He was succeeded by Simuka's son Sat karni-I.
Satkarni-I
Sat karni-I or Sri Satkarni was son of Simuka and was a great ruler among t he
Early Sat avahanas. Naganika was t he name of his queen and he has been
described as t he Lord of Dakshinpatha. Kanha ext ended t he empire t o
f urt her sout h, Malwa and Narmada valley. He perf ormed Ashvamedha Yajna
and Rajsuya Yajna.
Satkarni II
Sat karni II was t he longest ruling king of t he Sat avahana Dynast y and dat e of
his accession is considered t o be 166 BC. He has been ment ioned in
t he Hathigumpha inscription of the kharvela, in which he is depict ed as
enemy of Kharvela. In t his inscript ion, it is ment ioned t hat Kharvela
disregarded Sat karni and dispat ched t o t he west ern regions an army of
st rong cavalry. Sat karni II was succeeded by Lamobodara f ollowed by Apilaka
and some ot her rulers like Hala.
Hala:
Hala was one more great king of t he Sat avahanas who was 17th King of t he
Sat avahana line. He had compiled t he "Gatha saptasati" or Gaha
Sattasai which mainly a t ext on love t heme. Gatha saptasati is in Prakrat . He is
also ment ioned in anot her t ext Lilavat i. These rulers were small rulers only and
are considered t o be under t he suzeraint y of Kanvas. The expansion of t he
Sat avahanas was checked just af t er Sat karni II. The Shakas pushed t hem
sout hwards and t he west ern Deccan was occupied by t he Shaka King
Nahapana.
Gautamiputra Satkarni (Reign 78-102 AD)
The lost power of Sat avahana was revived by Gaut amiput ra Sat karni who is
described as t he Destroyer of the Shaka, Pahalava and Yavana Power.
Gaut amiput ra Sat karni is known t o have made a t ot al and sharp recovery of
t he Sat vahans. His achievement s have been ment ioned in t he Nasik
Inscript ion, by his mot her Gaut ami. His empire ext ended f rom East ern Malwa,
West ern Malwa, Narmada Valley, Vidarbha, West ern Rajput ana, Saurast ra and
even Kalinga. Nasik Prasasti describes Gaut amiput ra as t he ruler of
t he Aparanta, Anupa, Saurashtra, Kukura, Akara, and Avanti. In sout h his reign
was up t o Kanchi in Sout h. He assumed t he t it le of raja-raja and Maharaja.
Af t er Gaut amiput ra Sat karni, t he Puranic inscript ion name ot her Sat avahanas
such as Pulumayi, Sri Sat karni, Siva Sri, Sivaskanda Sat karni , Madhaript ra
Sakasena, Sri Yajna Sat karni. One more import ant is Vasit hiput ra Pulumayi-II.
Pulumayi-II
Pulumayi-II is known as Vasit hiput t a or Vashisht hi Put ra Sat karni. He was son
of Gaut amiput ra Sat karni and was an ef f icient king like his f at her. He
ext ended t he power of Sat vahanas t o f urt her sout h and it was now ext ended
up t o Bellary dist rict of Modern Karnat aka. The Girnar Inscript ion of
Rudradaman ment ions t hat Rudradaman def eat ed t he Dakshinapat hpat i
Sat karni t wice, but did not kill him because of t he close f amily relat ionship.
This has been corroborat ed as "t hat Pulumayi-II was married t o daught er of
Rudradaman. (However, t here is conf usion in t his) Pulumayi-II has been
described in largest number of inscript ion and t his proves t hat he had a vast
empire. In t he evening of Pulumayi-II 's lif e, t he Shakas revived under
Chastana. The last Sat avahana Ruler was Pulumayi-IV. Not many det ails
have been f ound about him except t hat he built a t ank in Vepura.
The Legacy of Satavahana Kings
Sat avahanas are considered t o be t he f lag bearers of Aryanism to Deccan.
They were t he f irst Native Indians who had issued t he coins wit h port rait s of
t heir kings. All t he coins of Sat avahanas used Prakrit dialect and also on
backside t he sout hern language (Telugu or Kannada). Prakrat seems t o be t he
of f icial language of Sat avahanas. The Sat avahanas worshipped t he Hindu
Deit ies such as Rama, Krishna, Vasudeva et c. but t hey also pat ronized t he
Buddhism. The Nagarjunkonda and Amaravat i became t he import ant cent ers
of Buddhism during t he reign of Sat avahanas and t heir successors.
Saat avahana Built many Chait ya and Viharas. Most of t hem were rock cut
f rom t he solid rock in Nort h West ern Deccan and Maharasht ra. The Karle
Chait ya of 1
st
cent ury BC is one of t he most import ant Chait ya. The Viharas
of t he 1 cent ury AD at Nasik bear t he inscript ion of t he Gaut ami Put ra
Sat karni and Nahapana. The Amaravat i St upa was built in t he reign of
Sat avahanas.
Satavahanas: Administration, Economy and Lif e
Sat avahanas administ rat ion was simple and inspired by t he Mauryas. The King
was t he prot ect or of t he religion and had divine at t ribut es. He possessed t he
qualit ies of ancient Gods. The Kingdom was divided int o t he Janpadas and
subdivided int o Aharas. The ruler of each Ahara was an Amat ya.
Ahara was divided int o Grama which was under t he headmen called Gamika.
Two f eudat ories viz. Mahasenapati and Mahataravalara were creat ed in t he
Sat avahana Dynast y.
King was called Rajan or Raja and he had t he right t o mint t he coins.
A Senapat i was appoint ed as t he provincial governor.
Gandhika have been ment ioned as t he t raders of perf ume and t hey
were prosperous.
Gautamiputra Satkarni is claimed to have re-established the f our
f old Varna System and this
The most import ant f eat ures of t he st at e f ormat ion under Sat avahanas
were:
It was a result of a cont inuous process.
It was inf luenced by Mauryan Administ rat ion
It was inf luenced by Nort h India
Uddiyan was an important wool making center.
Gaulmikas were administ rat ors of t he rural areas under t he
Sat avahanas.
Important Points:
Sat avahanas ruled in Modern Andhra Pradesh , but most of t he inscript ions of
Sat avahanas have been f ound in Maharasht ra.
Nanaghat Inscription of Naganika (wif e of Sat karni-I) has been f ound
near Pune (Dist rict ).
The Two cave inscript ions f ound at Nasik are of Gaut amiput ra Sat karni.
At Nasik, Inscript ion of Pulumayi II has been f ound.
The Karle cave inscript ion is of Vashisht iput ra Pulumayi II.
The of f ice of the Amatya appears or the f irst time in the
Satavahana inscriptions.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Origin of Imperial Guptas
2013- 05- 23 13:05:57 GKToday
The one cent ury gap bet ween t he ext inct ion of Kushana & Sat avahanas
(around 220-230 AD), t ill t he rise of t he Imperial Gupt a Dynast y a cent ury lat er,
is known t o be one of t he darkest in t he whole of hist ory of India. Af t er t he
disint egrat ion of t he Mauryas, t he Kushanas kept t he Nort h unit ed and
Sat avahanas kept t he Deccan unit ed. Furt her sout h t here were t hree Cheras,
Pandyas and Cholas. In nort h, t he Malvas, Yaudheyas, Kunidas et c.
cont ribut ed t o t he ext inct ion of Kushanas and in Deccan, t he Vakat as and
Ikshwaku cont ribut ed t o t he deat h of Sat avahana dynast y. This
dark period of one cent ury was f ollowed by a dawn of classical age which is
also known as t he Golden Age of Indian History. The classical age ref ers t o
t he period bet ween 320 AD t o 550 AD when India was unit ed again under t he
Gupt a Dynast y. This period marks t he cryst allizat ion of Hindu Cult ure and
known f or development s in all walks of lif e including t he science, t echnology,
engineering, art , dialect ic, lit erat ure, logic, mat hemat ics, ast ronomy, religion
and philosophy. The f ounder of this dynasty was Sri Gupta. But t here were
ot her early Gupt as ment ioned in many inscript ions such as Shiva Gupta in
Nasik Inscription and Puru Gupta in Karle Inscription. The origin of Gupt a
is shrouded in myst ery.
Though, t he earlier origins of t he f amily of t he Gupt as are not t raceable, yet it
is now almost accept ed t hat t he Gupt a Kings were of a Got ra known as
Dharana. It is st at ed in t he Poona Copper Plat e Inscript ion of Prabhavat igpt a.
Prabhavat igpt a was a Vakt aka queen who was daught er of Chandra Gupt a II
and his wif e Kubernaga, who was f rom t he Naga f amily. The views of t he
dif f erent scholars regarding t he origin of t he Gupt as have been summarized in
t he f ollowing t able:
Scholar View
A.S. Alt ekar
Gupt a were vaishyas as t he ancient t ext s ment ion t hat
t he surname ending wit h Gupt a were Vaishyas.
Dr. H C
Raichaudhury
Gupt as were Brahmins
R C Tripat hi Gupt as were Brahmins
Dr. V Upadhyaya,
Hira Chand Ojha
Gupt as were Kshat riyas
K P Jayaswal &
Dasharat ha
Sharma
Gupt as were Jat s and same Got ra st ill exist s in
Rajast han
R C Mazumdar Gupt as were f rom Ikshwaku Clan
D. R. Regmi They are closely relat ed t o t he Abhira Kings of Nepal.
The Kshat riya Origin of t he Gupt as has been maint ained on t he account t hat
Chandragupta II wedded to a princess named Kumara Devi, who belonged
t o an ancient Licchhavi clan. The Licchhavi clan was celebrat ed during t he
period of Bimbisara and Ajat shat ru but f or next 9 cent uries t he hist ory is lost .
Theref ore, it is t he marriage of Kumaradevi wit h t he Chandragupt a II, which
has been t he basis of argument s t hat Gupt as were Kshat riyas.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Political History of Imperial Guptas
2013- 05- 23 13:05:26 GKToday
Cont ent s
Sri Gupt a (240-280 AD)
Ghat ot kacha: (c. 280-319 A.D.)
Chandragupt a I (c. 319-335 AD)
Gupt a Era
Samudragupt a: (335-380 AD)
Chandragupt a-II (Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya)
Kumaragupt a I (415-455 AD)
Skandagupt a: (455-467 AD)
The founder of Gupt a dynast y was Sri Gupt a. But t here were ot her early Gupt as
ment ioned in many inscript ions such as Shiva Gupt a in Nasik
Inscript ion and Puru Gupt a in Karle Inscript ion. The origin of Gupt a is shrouded
in myst ery. The brief descript ion about t he Kings of Imperial Gupt as is as
f ollows:
Sri Gupta (240-280 AD)
Sri Gupt a was t he f ounder of t he Gupt a dynast y. The det ails about t he Sri-
Gupt a, t he f irst ruler of t he Gupt a Dynast y come f rom t he account s of ITsing
who came t o India in around 690 AD. Sri Gupt a has been ident if ied wit h Che-li-
ki-to of ITsing, who as per his det ails, had built a t emple 500 years back f rom
is visit f or Chinese Pilgrims. Some of t he scholars are of t he view t hat Sri-
Gupt a was a f eudat ory of t he Kushanas.
Ghatotkacha: (c. 280-319 A.D.)
Ghat ot kacha was son of Sri Gupt a and he succeeded him af t er his deat h. Not
many det ails are available about Ghat ot kacha.
Chandragupta I (c. 319-335 AD)
Chandragupt a-I was son of Ghat ot kacha and is considered t o be t he real
f ounder of Gupt a Empire. He was most powerf ul monarch and assumed t he
t it le of Maharajadhiraj. The earlier kings were given t he t it les Maharaja only.
Chandragupt a I can be called t he f irst independent ruler of t he Gupt a
Dynast y. He was married t o Licchhavi princes Kumara Devi and t his helped him
t o get inf luence and ext end t he dominion. Samudragupt a was born of t his
dominion. This is proved by t he inscript ions of Samudragupt a, in which he
proudly described himself as Licchavidauhit ra, but not at Gupt aput ra.
Gupt a Era
Chandragupt a-I ascended t o t he t hrone in 319-320 AD. The Valabhi Era of
Gujarat has been ident if ied cot erminous wit h t he Gupt a Era. The Valabhi kings
were f eudat ories of t he Gupt as and t hey might have used it as era of t heir
overlords. Dr. Fleet has t reat ed wit h t his at lengt h and has est ablished t hat
beginning of t his era is Saka era 242, which means 242 +78 = 320 AD. This
coincides wit h t he Nepal Era of Jaydev-I t hat is 320 AD.
The f irst year of t he Gupt a Era may be t aken as February 26, 320 AD t o March
13, 321 AD, of which t he f irst dat e is coronat ion of Chandragupt a.
Samudragupta: (335-380 AD)
Samudragupt a was son of Chandragupta I and Kumaradevi. He ascended
t he t hrone in 335 AD. Bef ore his deat h, probably 4 or 5 years back,
Chandragupt a-I had publicly announced t hat Samudragupt a would be his heir
apparent and t hus abdicat ed t he t hrone in his f avor. This was just if ied by t he
killer inst inct s of Samudragupt a who displayed a great er degree of skill in t he
art s of bot h peace and war. Read more about Samudragupt a here
Chandragupta-II (Chandragupta Vikramaditya)
Chandragupta II, the great was son of Samudragupt a and Dat t a Devi. Not
much is known about t he charact er but t he corroborat ed f act s about his lif e
prove t hat he was a st rong, vigorous ruler and was well qualif ied t o govern
and ext end his empire. Read more about Chandragupt a-II here.
Kumaragupta I (415-455 AD)
Chandragupt a II was succeeded by his son Kumaragupt a I or Mahedraditya.
The period assigned t o him is 415-455 AD and his reign spanned f or a long
period of 40 years. He was an able ruler and t here is no doubt t hat his empire
suf f ered no diminut ion but ext ended. Like his grandf at her, he celebrat ed t he
horse sacrif ice (Ashvamedha) as an assert ion t o his paramount supremacy.
The records f urnish t hat at t he close of his reign, Kumaragupt a's dominion
suf f ered severely f rom t he invasion of Huna Hordes, all over Nort h India. The
invaders f rom Sout h India also dist urbed him. He issued coins wit h images of
killing a lion. He also issued a coin which bear t he pict ure of Kart ikeya.
Skandagupta: (455-467 AD)
Kumaragupt aI was succeeded by Skandagupt a. Skandagupt a was t he last
powerf ul king of t he Gupt a Empire. He assumed t he t it le of Vikramadit ya,
Devraj and Sakapan and subdued t he invaders (Pushyamit ras and Hunas) and
brought back t he peace and glory of his f at her. He f aced invasion of Whit e
Huns, t he cent ral Asian t ribes. He issued 4 t ypes of Gold coins and 4 t ypes of
Silver coin. Bhitari Inscription det ails about t he prowess of Skandagupt a.
Af t er his deat h in 467 AD, t he Gupt a empire declined rapidly.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Samudragupta
2013- 05- 23 13:05:27 GKToday
Samudragupt a (reign 335-380 AD) was son of Chandragupta I and
Kumaradevi. He ascended t he t hrone in 335 AD. Bef ore his deat h, probably 4
or 5 years back, Chandragupt a-I had publicly announced t hat Samudragupt a
would be his heir apparent and t hus abdicat ed t he t hrone in his f avor. This
was just if ied by t he killer inst inct s of Samudragupt a who displayed a great er
degree of skill in t he art s of bot h peace and war. But t his nominat ion was
perhaps not liked by many and coins of an obscure prince Kacha say t hat
t here was some t rouble over t he succession.
Samudragupt a was t he great est ruler of t he
Gupt a Dynast y and ruled t ill around 380 AD.
The west ern scholars equat e him wit h
Napoleon and call him Indian Napoleon due
t o t he ext ensive milit ary conquest s. His court
poet and minist er Harisena composed t he
Allahabad pillar Inscript ion or Prayag Prasast i.
The Pillar was an Asokan Pillar erect ed by
Asoka six cent ury bef ore him.
This Inscript ion is a eulogy of Samudragupt a
and ment ions about t he conquest s of
Samudragupt a and boundaries of t he Gupt a
Empire. As per t his inscript ion, Samudragupt a def eat ed 9 kings in Nort h, 12
Kings in Sout h, reduced all t he Atavika states t o vassalage. It also ment ions
t hat more t han f ive st at es in t he f ront ier st at es surrendered and accept ed his
suzeraint y. He had close cont act wit h t he kingdom of Ceylon and Sout h East
Asian colonies. The eulogy of Harisena describes him as hero of 100 bat t les.
He perf ormed Ashvamedha Yajna, t his has been t est if ied by a seal of
Samudragupt a bearing a Horse. This was probably f irst Ashvamedha af ter
Pushyamitra Shunga.
He is depicted in his coins playing Veena. He allowed t he king of Ceylon t o
build a monast ery at Bodhgaya.
Anot her t erm used by Harisena f or him is Kaviraja, which t est if ied him as a
pat ron of poet ic art s and a poet himself . Samudragupt a also assumed t he
t it le of Vikramanka. The reign of Samudragupt a was f rom Brahmaput ra t o
Chambal and f rom Himalaya t o Narmada in sout h and he subdued t he Shakas
and Kushanas. The dominion under t he direct government of Samudragupt a in
t he middle of t he 4
th
cent ury was t hus comprised of all t he populous and
f ert ile areas of t he Nort hern India.
He est ablished diplomat ic relat ions wit h t he Kushana Kings of Gandhar and
Kabul and also t he Buddhist king of Ceylon.
In 330 AD, Meghavarna, the Buddhist King of Ceylon had sent t wo monks,
one of whose was his brot her t o visit a monast ery built by Asoka. But t hey got
scant hospit alit y and ret urned wit h complaint s. Lat er, Meghavarna sent a
mission laden wit h gems and gif t s t o Samudragupt a wit h a request t o built a
monast ery on t he Indian Soil. The f lat t ered Samudragupt a gave permission.
This monast ery was built near t he Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya. The purpose
was recorded in a copper plat e and it described t he monast ery wit h a height
of 3 st ories and cont aining 6 halls.
When Huen Tsang visit ed it he saw it occupied by Thousands of Monks and it
ext ended ample hospit alit y t o visit ing monks.
Shaka embassy to Samudragupta:
The Saka dynast y which was overt hrown in 395 had been originally f ounded in
t he f irst cent ury by a chief named Bhumaka. Bhumaka was f ollowed by
Nahapana and Nahapana was dest royed by an Andhra King Gautamiputra
Satkarni in 125 AD. However, t he local government f ell int o t he hands of
Chastana and his descendants. In t he Middle of t he second cent ury, Sat rap
Rudradaman who was grandson of Chast ana def eat ed his Andhra Rival
Vashishtiputra Satakarni, who was event ually married t o his daught er.
Rudradaman f irmly est ablished his power in west (Malwa, Kut ch, Sindh, Konkan
and ot her part s). The capit al of Chast ana and his descendant s was Ujjain,
which was one of t he import ant commercial cent ers.
Samudragupt a was not able t o undert ake t he conquest of t he west and had
received an embassy f rom Rudrasena, descendant of Rudradaman. But t he
rivalry did not ended and Chandragupt a II, son of Samudragupt a f inally
crushed his west ern rivals.

Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chandragupta-II (Chandragupta Vikramaditya)
2013- 05- 23 13:05:55 GKToday
Cont ent s
Chandragupt a-II (Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya)
Chandragupt a II and Mahrauli Inscript ion
Observat ions of Fa Hien's visit during Vikramadit ya reign
9 Gems (Navrat nas) of Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya
Amarsimha
Dhanvant ri
Harisena
Kalidasa
Kahapanaka
Sanku
Varahamihira
Vararuchi
Vet albhat t a
Kumaragupt a I (415-455 AD)
Skandagupt a: (455-467 AD)
Chandragupta-II (Chandragupta Vikramaditya)
Chandragupta II, the great was son of Samudragupt a and Dat t a Devi. Not
much is known about t he charact er but t he corroborat ed f act s about his lif e
prove t hat he was a st rong, vigorous ruler and was well qualif ied t o govern
and ext end his empire.
Bef ore Chandragupt a II, his elder brot her Ramagupt a ascended t he t hrone
af t er deat h of Samudragupt a. Through, not many det ails about Ramagupt a
are available; t he drama Devichandraguptam of Vishakhadatta gives an
account t hat at Shringararupakam, Ramagupt a was badly def eat ed by a
Saka chief t ain. To secure t he people, he agreed t o surrender his queen
Druvadevi t o t he Sakas. Chandragupt a II object ed t his and, Chandragupt a-II in
disguise of queen Druvadevi ent ered enemy's camp and killed t he Saka king
t o rest ore t he huge empire, queen and t he dynast y. Ramagupt a is port rayed
in t his drama as a Coward king and impot ent . Chandragupt a II killed his brot her
and married t o his widow, Druvadevi.
Chandragupt a reign covered a wide t errit ory
whose nort hern limit was Vahlakas Count ry,
Sout hern Limit was t he Ocean, West ern Limit
was t he Mout h of Indus and East ern Limit was
Vanga. Marraiage alliances and conquest s
were one of t he ways of Chandragupt a II t o
ext end his power and kingdom. His daught er
Prabhavat i was married t o a Vakt aka prince.
The prince died in due course and his young
son became t he ruler but t he virt ual ruler was
Prabhavat i. This helped Chandragupt a II t o
exercise indirect rule over t he Vakt at aka Kingdom also. The most important
event of Chandragupta II's reign was conquest of Sakas. He dest royed
t he Saka chief t ain Rudrasena III and annexed his kingdom.
His vict ory over Malwa helped in prosperit y of t he Malwa region and Ujjain
became a commercial hub. Some scholars call Ujjain his second capit al.
Chinese t raveler Fa Hien had visit ed India during t he t ime of Chandragupt a II.
Numerous scholars and art ist s adorned t he court of Chandragupt a.
Chandragupta II and Mahrauli Inscription
The Mahrauli Iron Pillar was originally placed on a hill near t he Beas and was
brought t o Delhi by a King of Delhi
the Gupta Empire by Radhakumud Mookerji
. This
pillar credit s Chandragupt a wit h t he f ollowing:
Conquest of t he Vanga Count ries by his bat t ling alone against t he
conf ederacy of t he enemies unit ed against him.
Conquest of Vahlakas in a f ight t hat ran across seven mouths of
Sindhu.
Spread his f ame t o sout hern seas.
At t ained Ekadhirajjyam (Unit ed Kingdom) by prowess of his arms.
This pillar was est ablished by Chandragupt a as Vishnupada in t he honor
of Lord Vishnu.
Observations of Fa Hien's visit during Vikramaditya reign
Pat aliput ra was considerably neglect ed by t he warrior kings like
Samudragupt a and Vikramadit ya, but it cont inued t o be a magnif icent
and populous cit y t hough out t he reign of Chandragupt a II.Lat er
Pat liput ra was reduced t o reigns in t he wake of t he Hun invasions in t he
6t h cent ury. However, Pat aliput ra was rebuilt and revived by Shershah
Suri as t oday's Pat na.
The account s of Fa Hien give a cont emporary account of t he
administ rat ion of Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya. Fa Hien (337 ca. 422 AD)
was so much absorbed in his quest f or Buddhist books, legends, and
miracles t hat he could not ment ion t he name of t he might y monarch in
whose rule he lived f or 6 years. The pict ure he depict ed cannot solve all
t he queries of t he hist orians of t oday yet , t hey give a vivid pict ure of t he
st at e of t he count ry.
At Pat aliput ra, he saw and was impressed by Asoka's palace so it is
sure t hat Asoka's palace was in exist ence even in t he Gupt a Era. He
also describes about 1 st upa and 2 monast eries nearby , also ascribed
t o Asoka. He ment ioned about 600-700 monks living t here and learning
t heir lect ures f rom t eachers f rom all quart ers. He ment ions t hat t owns
of Magadha were largest in t he area of Ganget ic Plains and he calls it
cent ral India. He ment ions t hat t here were a lot of charit able inst it ut ions,
rest houses, and t here was an excellent Free Hospit al in t he Capit al
which was endowed by benevolent cit izens. The poor and helpless
pat ient s suf f ering f rom all kinds of illnesses were t aken care of and
doct ors at t ended t hem and t hey were given f ood and medicine as per
t heir want s.
This depict ion proves t he earliest f oundat ion of Charit y and t his charit y
was f irst of it s kind in t he word which spoke of charact ers of t he cit izens
of t he Gupt a Era. India's is great as f ar as Charit y was concerned and as
we are t old, earliest charit able hospit al in Europe or anywhere else in t he
word was opened in 10t h cent ury.
Fa Hien f urt her explains t hat t he populat ion of t he west ern part (Malwa)
lived happily and did not worry. He ment ions t hat t hey don't have t o
regist er t heir household and not t o have at t end any magist rat e. People
did not lock t heir houses. The passport s and t hose who were willing t o
say may st ay and t hose willing t o go may go did not bind t hem. Fa Hien
f urt her ment ions t hat no one kills t he living t hings, or drinks wine or eat s
Onion or garlic. They don't keep pigs and f owls, t here is no dealing of
cat t le, and t here are no but chers. Only Chandals did all t hese.
Fa Hien ment ions about t he Chandala, who dwelt apart and t hey were
required t o keep a piece of wood as a warning of t heir approach so t hat
ot her f olk might not get pollut ed. Chandals were t he only of f enders of
Dharma, as per Fa Hien. About administ rat ion, Fa Hien ment ions t hat t he
aut horit ies int erf ered as lit t le as possible wit h t he subject and t hey were
lef t f ree t o prosper and grow rich in t heir own way.
Fa Hien st udied Sanskrit f or 3 years at Pat aliput ra and t wo years at t he Port
of Tamralipti wit hout let or hindrance. The Roads were clear and saf e f or t he
passengers. The account s of Fa Hien give a clear indicat ion t hat India was
probably never governed bet t er t han t he era of Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya.
The prosperit y of t he Indians and t ranquilit y of t he empire have been t est if ied
by t he account of Fa-Hien and his unobst ruct ed it inerary all around gives t he
det ails about t he Golden Era of Mother India.
9 Gems (Navratnas) of Chandragupta Vikramaditya
Chandragupt a II was known f or his deep int erest in art and cult ure and nine
gems or Navrat na adorned his court . The various f ields of t hese 9 gems prove
t hat Chandragupt a gave pat ronage t o art s and lit erat ure. Brief descript ion
about t he nine Rat nas is as f ollows
Amarsimha
Amarsimha was a Sanskrit lexicographer and a poet and his Amarkosha is a
vocabulary of Sanskrit root s, homonyms and synonyms. It is also called
Trikanda as it has 3 part s viz. Kanda 1, Kanda 2 and Kanda 3. It has 10
t housand words in it .
Dhanvant ri
Dhanvant ri was a great Physician.
Harisena
Harisena is known t o have composed t he Prayag Prasast i or Allahabad Pillar
Inscription. The t it le of t his inscript ion of Kavya, but it has bot h prose and
verse. The whole poem is in one sent ence including f irst 8 st anzas of poet ry
and a long sent ence and a concluding st anza. Harisena in his old age was in
t he court of Chandragupt a and describes him as Noble, and asks him "You
Prot ect all t his eart h".
Kalidasa
Kalidasa is t he immort al poet and playwright of India and a peerless genius
whose works became f amous worldwide in modern world. Translat ion of
Kalidasa's works in numerous Indian and Foreign Languages have spread his
f ame all of t he word and now he ranks among t he t op poet s of all t imes.
Rabindranat h Tagore, not only propagat ed t he works of Kalidasa but also
expounded t heir meanings and philosophy t hat made him an immort al poet
dramat ist s.
Kahapanaka
Kahapanka was an ast rologer. Not many det ails about him are f ound.
Sanku
Sanku was in t he f ield of Archit ect ure.
Varahamihira
Varahamihira (died 587) lived in Ujjain and he wrot e t hree import ant books:
Panchasiddhantika, Brihat Samhita, and Brihat Jataka. The
Panchasiddhant aka is a summary of f ive early ast ronomical syst ems including
t he Surya Siddhant a. Anot her syst em described by him, t he Pait amaha
Siddhant a, appears t o have many similarit ies wit h t he ancient Vedanga
Jyot isha of Lagadha. Brihat Samhit a is a compilat aion of an assort ment of
t opics t hat provides int erest ing det ails of t he belief s of t hose t imes. Brihat
Jat aka is a book on ast rology which appears t o be considerably inf luenced by
Greek ast rology.
Vararuchi
Vararuchi is t he name of anot her gem of Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya who was
a grammarian and Sanskrit scholar. Some historians have identif ied him
with Katyayana. Vararuchi is said t o be t he aut hor of Prakrit Prakasha, which
is f irst Grammar of Prakrit Language.
Vet albhat t a
Vet albhat t a was a magician.
Kumaragupt a I (415-455 AD)
Chandragupt a II was succeeded by his son Kumaragupt a I or Mahedraditya.
The period assigned t o him is 415-455 AD and his reign spanned f or a long
period of 40 years. He was an able ruler and t here is no doubt t hat his empire
suf f ered no diminut ion but ext ended. Like his grandf at her, he celebrat ed t he
horse sacrif ice (Ashvamedha) as an assert ion t o his paramount supremacy.
The records f urnish t hat at t he close of his reign, Kumaragupt a's dominion
suf f ered severely f rom t he invasion of Huna Hordes, all over Nort h India. The
invaders f rom Sout h India also dist urbed him. He issued coins wit h images of
killing a lion. He also issued a coin which bear t he pict ure of Kart ikeya.
Skandagupt a: (455-467 AD)
Kumaragupt aI was succeeded by Skandagupt a. Skandagupt a was t he last
powerf ul king of t he Gupt a Empire. He assumed t he t it le of Vikramadit ya,
Devraj and Sakapan and subdued t he invaders (Pushyamit ras and Hunas) and
brought back t he peace and glory of his f at her. He f aced invasion of Whit e
Huns, t he cent ral Asian t ribes. He issued 4 t ypes of Gold coins and 4 t ypes of
Silver coin. Bhitari Inscription det ails about t he prowess of Skandagupt a.
Af t er his deat h in 467 AD, t he Gupt a empire declined rapidly.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
9 Gems (Navratnas) of Chandragupta Vikramaditya
2013- 05- 23 13:05:21 GKToday
Cont ent s
Amarsimha
Dhanvant ri
Harisena
Kalidasa
Kahapanaka
Sanku
Varahamihira
Vararuchi
Vet albhat t a
Vet albhat t a was a magician.
Chandragupt a-II was known f or his deep int erest in art and cult ure and nine
gems or Navrat na adorned his court . The various f ields of t hese 9 gems prove
t hat Chandragupt a gave pat ronage t o art s and lit erat ure. Brief descript ion
about t he nine Rat nas is as f ollows
Amarsimha
Amarsimha was a Sanskrit lexicographer and a poet and his Amarkosha is a
vocabulary of Sanskrit root s, homonyms and synonyms. It is also called
Trikanda as it has 3 part s viz. Kanda 1, Kanda 2 and Kanda 3. It has 10
t housand words in it .
Dhanvantri
Dhanvant ri was a great Physician.
Harisena
Harisena is known t o have composed t he Prayag Prasast i or Allahabad Pillar
Inscription. The t it le of t his inscript ion of Kavya, but it has bot h prose and
verse. The whole poem is in one sent ence including f irst 8 st anzas of poet ry
and a long sent ence and a concluding st anza. Harisena in his old age was in
t he court of Chandragupt a and describes him as Noble, and asks him "You
Prot ect all t his eart h".
Kalidasa
Kalidasa is t he immort al poet and playwright of India and a peerless genius
whose works became f amous worldwide in modern world. Translat ion of
Kalidasa's works in numerous Indian and Foreign Languages have spread his
f ame all of t he word and now he ranks among t he t op poet s of all t imes. Here
we should not e t hat Rabindranat h Tagore, not only propagat ed t he works of
Kalidasa but also expounded t heir meanings and philosophy t hat made him an
immort al poet dramat ist s.
Kahapanaka
Kahapanka was an ast rologer. Not many det ails about him are f ound.
Sanku
Sanku was in t he f ield of Archit ect ure.
Varahamihira
Varahamihira (died 587) lived in Ujjain and he wrot e t hree import ant books:
Panchasiddhantika, Brihat Samhita, and Brihat Jataka. The
Panchasiddhant aka is a summary of f ive early ast ronomical syst ems including
t he Surya Siddhant a. Anot her syst em described by him, t he Pait amaha
Siddhant a, appears t o have many similarit ies wit h t he ancient Vedanga
Jyot isha of Lagadha. Brihat Samhit a is a compilat aion of an assort ment of
t opics t hat provides int erest ing det ails of t he belief s of t hose t imes. Brihat
Jat aka is a book on ast rology which appears t o be considerably inf luenced by
Greek ast rology.
Vararuchi
Vararuchi is t he name of anot her gem of Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya who was
a grammarian and Sanskrit scholar. Some historians have identif ied him
with Katyayana. Vararuchi is said t o be t he aut hor of Prakrit Prakasha, which
is f irst Grammar of Prakrit Language.
Vetalbhatta
Vetalbhatta was a magician.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Gupta Administration
2013- 05- 23 13:05:10 GKToday
There was an ef f icient administ rat ion est ablished in t he Gupt a Empire. All
powers were cent red in t he Kings but , t he rulers did not int erf ere in t he
administ rat ions of t hose regions which accept ed t heir suzeraint y. Elaborat e
administ rat ion syst em was evolved in t he regions which were under t he direct
cont rol of t he Gupt a Kings. The element of divinit y was at t ached t o t he kings
and t hey were looked as Gods and God's represent at ives. The Kings adopt ed
high-sounding t it les such as Maharajadhiraj, Paramabhattaraka, Chakravarti,
Paramesvara et c. The King was assist ed by a council of Minist ers. The
minist er's of f ice was almost heredit ary. The supreme judicial power was
invest ed in t he King but t he Mahadandnayaka carried out t he judicial f unct ions.
The Gupt a Kings creat ed t wo new classes Sandhivigrahika (Minist er of War
and Peace) and Kumaramat yas (Of f ices of t he crown Prince). Civil and
criminal crimes were demarcat ed in Gupt a Empire.
The f ollowing t able present s t he list of import ant of f icials:
Of f icial Funct ions
Mahabaladhikrita Commander in Chief
Mahadandnayaka Chief Just ice
Mahapratihar Maint ainance of Royal Palaces
Mahasandhivigrahika or
Sandhivigrahaka
War and Peace
Dandpashika Head of Police depart ment
Bhadagaradhikreta Royal Treasury
Vinaysthitisansthapaka Educat ion Depart ment
Sarvadhyaksha Inspect or of all cent ral depart ment s
Mahashwapati Cavalary
Mahamahipalapati Elephant s
Vinayapura
One who represent ed guest s t o Kings
court
Yuktapurusha Account s of war boot y
Khadyapakika Royal Kit chen
Ranbhandagarika Arms and ammunit ions st ores
Mahanarpati Inf ant ry
The empire was divided int o a number of provinces, which were called
Bhuktis. Each Bhukti was f urt her divided int o Vishaya or Bhoga which was
also known as Adhisthana or Pattana. The smaller level was Vithi which
ref erred t o a Tehsil.
A Bhukt i was placed under Uparaka and Vishaya under Vishayapati. The
village level disput es were solved by t he village headmen called gramapati or
gramadhyaksha and t his was t he smallest administ rat ion unit . Kutumbis and
Mahattaras are ot her words used f or similar village level of f icers. Chief s of t he
Guilds were called Nagarseths who represent ed t he Guild in t he urban t rading
circles. The Sart havaha also represent ed t he t rading communit ies. The
Prat hamakulika represent ed t he craf t ing communit ies (art isans) and
Prat hamakayast ha represent ed Government of f icial communit y.Pustapala
were junior (dist rict level) record of f icers. The t erms Nivartana, Kulyavapa
and Dronavapa were used f or Land measurement s. The Araghatta or Ghati
Yantras were t he inst rument s of irrigat ion which were known earlier and now
became more popular in Gupt a Era.
Types of Taxes in Gupta Era
Bali: The Bali which was volunt ary in Maurya era and was given t o t he
King became compulsory in Gupta Era.
Bhaga: King's share in all produce of t he cult ivat ors. It was 1/6
th
part of
produce.
Bhoga: Bhoga ref ers t o t he t ax in kind of gif t s, f lowers, woods, f ruit s
et c.
Hiranya: This was t het ax paid in cash (Gold) Hiranya means Gold.
Halivakara: Hal means a Plough, so Halivakra was a kind of t ax slab,
t hose who owned a plough used t o pay t ax.
Kara: It might have been some irregular t ax charged f rom villagers.
Shulka: It was cust om or t oll t ax very much similar t o Chungi in modern
t imes.
Udinanga: It might be a social securit y kind of t ax.
Klipta: It was relat ed t o sale and purchase of lands.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Society and Economy during Gupta Era
2013- 05- 23 13:05:57 GKToday
Cont ent s
Cast e Syst em
Int ernat ional Trade:
Agricult ure:
Occupat ion:
Guild Syst em during Gupt a Empire
Caste System
As Fa Hien, ment ions t hat Chandals lived at t he out skirt s of t he societ y in
miserable condit ions and were segregat ed f rom t he societ y proved t hat in
Gupt a Era t he cast e syst em had cryst alized and became very rigid wit h
Brahmins get t ing t he t op posit ion in t he societ y.
International Trade:
Gupt a had a f lourishing Roman Trade. The Trade cont act s developed during
t he Kushana Period cont inued and Chandragupt a II's conquest in west ern India
f urt her added t o t his t rade. The people were prosperous and t hey were f ree
t o grow and f lourish. The imporant port t owns were Brigukachchaha,
Kalyana & Sind, which were bulk t rade cent ers wit h Romans.
Ujjain had become a major commercial cent er and it was linked t o sout hern
and nort hern India. Nasik, Pait han, Pat aliput ra, Benares were ot her major t rade
cent ers. Trade was badly af f ect ed by t he Huna Invasions. Silk, Leat her goods,
Fur, Iron Product s, Ivory, pearl, Spices and Indigo were major export it ems.
The Port of Tamralipt i was a good source of Trade wit h East Asia. Most of
t he commodit ies were t axed One Fif t h of t he value as a t oll in int ernat ional
Trade.
Agriculture:
Agricult ure was t he main occupat ion in Gupt a Empire and t here was no
government al int erf erence. The land was f ert ile and means of irrigat ion were
simple.
Occupation:
Gupt a period had many clot h cent ers and silk indust ry wit nessed a signif icant
development during t his period. The Mandsor Inscript ions gives account t hat
Gupt a people were helped t o a great ext ent f or t he growt h of Silk Indust ry.
Gold, silver and Copper was used in making ornament s and issuing coins. The
Gold coins show t he pomp, power and prosperit y of t he empire.
The Coins of Samudragupt a and Kumaragupt a issued af t er t he Ashvamedha
depict t he horse t ied t o a Yupast ambha. The coins of Chandragupt a-II bear
Garuda preying a snake.
Guild System during Gupta Empire
In ancient hist ory, t he glimpses of guild syst ems are seen in Jatakas Tales.
Guilds ref er t o organizat ions of art isans, and t raders, which have high place in
t he societ y. In Gupt a Era, t he act ivit ies of Guilds were increased and t hese
act ivit ies are recorded in various lit erat ure, inscript ion, clay seals et c. There is
a ment ion of Guild of architects in Raghuvamsa. The Indore Copper plate
inscript ion ment ions about a guild of oilmen. The Mandsor Inscription
ment ions t he guild of silk weavers. The guild syst em declined af t er t he Gupt a
Period.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Religion in Gupta Era
2013- 05- 23 14:05:41 GKToday
There were several changes in Hindu religion during t he Gupt a Era. Buddhism
was generally prevalent in Nort hern India including Kashmir, Af ghanist an and
Swat Valley t wo cent uries prior t o Christ ian era and 2 cent uries af t er it .
Jainism was prevailing but did not at t ain much popularit y. Hinduism never
ceased t o exist and ret ained t he large share of bot h t he popular as well as
Royal Favor. It is evident f rom t he coins of Kadphises II, the Kushana
emperor who adopted Hinduism wit h such a great deal t hat he repeat edly
put images of Shiva on his coins and described himself as a devot ee of Shiva.
The development of t he Mahayana School of Buddhism f rom t he t ime of
Kanishka was in it self a t est imony t o t he reviving power of Brahminical
Hinduism. This newer Buddhism was very much common t o t he Hinduism. The
revival of t he Sanskrit was f irst made possible by t he west ern Sat raps as
evident f rom t he Girnar inscript ion of Rudradaman, t he Saka King who
regist ered his achievement s in elaborat e Sanskrit . The Gupt a Emperors made
t he Sanskrit f ost ered by t he Sat raps in t he 4
th
and 5
th
cent ury AD.
In Gupt a empire bot h Buddhism and Hinduism received support and t he Gupt a
Kings were perf ect ly t olerant about t he t hree religions prevalent at t hat t ime,
but t hey were beyond doubt zealous Hindus who were guided by t he Brahmin
advisors and skilled in t he Sanskrit language.
The Jainism remained conf ined t o t he merchant communit ies of west ern India.
Christ ianit y had also arrived in India but it was conf ined t o t he Malabar Region.
Changes in Hinduism during Gupta Era
However, Hinduism also underwent some import ant changes during t hese
t imes. The sacrif ice was replaced by Worship and mediat ion of t he Brahmins
was somewhat replaced by Devot ion and Bhakt i. The Shakti cult emerged in
the Gupta era, which was based upon t he f act t hat t he male can be
act ivat ed only t hrough union wit h f emales. Theref ore, t his was t he beginning
of worship of wives / consort s of Indian Gods such as Lakshmi, Parvat i, Durga,
Kali and ot her goddesses. The worship of Mother Goddess, which was prevalent
in the Harappan India, finally got incorporated in the Hinduism by Guptas times.
By t he end of 5
th
cent ury, Tant rism had also become prominent .
Rise of Occult Practices
The emergence of Tant rism and worship of f emale deit ies also led t o occult
pract ices, which kept sexual union in t he cent er. The sexual rit es st art ed
becoming prominent and now t hey st art ed t aking shape of religious sexualit y,
which reached it s zenit h in India by t he end of t he 6
th
and 7
th
cent ury, as
evident f rom numerous t emple art s cent ered on t he religious sexualit y in t hat
era.
Rise of six schools
The six schools of Hindu Philosophy viz. Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankya, Yoga,
Mimansa and Vedanta st art ed t aking def init ive shape because of t he
philosophical debat es bet ween t he Hindu and Buddhist s on t he quest ion of
presence of God, at t aining salvat ion, karma, f at e, Birt h and Deat h and rebirt h.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Temple Art in Gupta Period
2013- 05- 23 14:05:49 GKToday
Cont ent s
Dasavat ara t emple, Deogarh Ut t ar Pradesh
Bhit argaon Temple
Dhamekha St upa
Ot her Temples
Salient f eat ures of t he Gupt a Temples:
Gupt a Period is called t he "Golden age of India" or t he "Classical Age of India"
part ially due t o t he unprecedent ed act ivit ies and development in t he art s,
archit ect ure, sculpt ure, paint ing and lit erat ure.
During Gupt a Era, t he rock cut archit ect ure reached it s zenit h and t his era
marked t he beginning of the
Free Standing temple Architecture. Most of t he t emples built in t he Gupt a
era were carved wit h represent at ion of Gods
(mainly avat ara of Vishnu and Lingams) and
Goddesses. The most import ant t emple of
Gupt a era is Dasavatar Temple of Deogarh,
Uttar Pradesh.
Following is a brief descript ion of t he t emples
& St upas of t he Gupt a Era:
Dasavatara temple, Deogarh Uttar Pradesh
Dasavat ara t emple is locat ed in Deogarh Village in Lalit pur t own in Ut t ar
Pradesh. The t emple was discovered by Captain Charles Strahan and was
named so by Alexander Cunningham. It depict s t he 10 avat ara of Vishnu. It
is a large and elaborat e edif ice wit h t ypical t emple art of Gupt as (wit hout
Shikhara) and cubical Garbhagriha. This t emple has also been linked t o t he
"Sarvatobhadra temple" ment ioned in t he Vishnudharmot t ara Purana by
several scholars.
Bhitargaon Temple
Bhit agaon Temple is locat ed in Kanpur Dist rict of Ut t ar Pradesh. It is t he
oldest remaining Hindu t emple, and was built in t he Gupt a Era in 6t h cent ury.
Dhamekha Stupa
The Dhamekha st upa is locat ed at Sarnat h, 13 km away f rom Varanasi. It
marks t he deer park or Rishipattana where Buddha gave his f irst sermon. As
per an inscript ion dat ed 1026 AD, recovered f rom t he sit e, it s older name is
Dharmachakra St upa. Archeologist , Alexander Cunningham in search of a relic
casket bored a vert ical shaf t t hrough it cent er down t o t he f oundat ion and at
a dept h of around 91 cent imet er he f ound a slab wit h an inscript ion.....Ye
Dharma Hetu Prabhava Hetu.....writ t en in Brahmi script . This inscript ion is of 6t h
or 7t h cent ury. Below t his, one more st upa made of mauryan bricks has been
f ound which gives in indicat ion t hat Asoka might have commissioned it .
Other
Temples
Ot her
t emples of
t he Gupt a
Era are as
f ollows:
Vishnu Temple of Tigawa Jabalpur
Shiva Temple of Bhumara
Parvat i Temple of Nachria Kat hura
Mukund Darra Temple of Kot a
Lakshaman Temple of Raipur
Shiva Temple of Koh.
Bhit ari Temple at Ghazipur
Salient f eatures of the Gupta Temples:
In Gupt a period, t he basic, charact erist ic element s of t he Indian t emple
consist ing of a square sanct um sanct orum and a pillared porch had emerged.
The Shikhara was not much prominent in t he early Gupt a t emples but
was prominent in lat er Gupt a era. There was a single ent rance or
mandapa or Porch.
Gupt a st yle t emple was modeled on t he archit ect ural norms of t he
Mat hura school.
Some Ot her Not es about Gupt a Temples
Sanchi t emple at Tigwa has a f lat roof .
Dasavat ar Temple at Deogarh , Bhit argaon t emple and Mahadev
Temple at Nachna Kut har have a square t ower of Shikhara.
Manyar Mat h at Rajgriha is a circular t emple of Gupt a Era.
Main st yle of t emple archit ect ure in i.e. Nagara st yle and Dravida st yle
act ually began f rom t he Gupt a era.
The earliest st one t emple wit h Shikhara is Dasavat ar Temple at
Deogarh.
The Bhit argaon t emple at Kanpur is ent irely made up of Bricks.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Inscriptions of Gupta Era
2013- 05- 23 14:05:06 GKToday
Gupt a era is known f or a large number of pillar inscript ions erect ed at a
number of places. Out of t hem t wo most import ant are
Prayag Prasasti : Also known as (Allahabad Pillar Inscript ion) of
Samudragupt a. Composed by Harisena. Very simple and ref ined
Sanskrit in Champu kavya style.
Garuda Pillar: Garuda Pillar ref ers t o t he Mahrauli Pillar Inscript ion/
Mahrauli Iron Pillar) of Chandragupt a II.
Mandsaur Inscription: It is ascribed t o Vat t asbhat t a.
Eran St one Inscript ion of Samudra Gupt a
Sanchi st one inscript ion and Mat hura st one inscript ion.
Nalanda Inscript ion
Gaya Copper Plat e (Speaks of Samudra Gupt a)
Udayagiri Cave Inscript ion (Speaks of Chandragupt a II & Kumaragupt a)
Junagarh Rock inscript ion speaks of Skandagupt a.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Literature in Gupta Era
2013- 05- 23 14:05:48 GKToday
Cont ent s
Kalidasa
Bhravi
Bhat t i
Magha:
Sudraka
Vishakhadat t a:
Dandin
Bhat rihari:
Ishwar Krishna:
Vyasa
Vat syayana
Some Smrit i works of Gupt a Era
Sanskrit lit erat ure reached it s climax in t he Gupt a period. This era is known f or
equal writing of prose and poetry. Sanskrit became t he Ligua franca of India
in t hat era. The f inal edit ing of t he Ramayana and Mahabhart a t ook place in
Gupt a Period. Puranas, Smrit is and Dharmashasht ra lit erat ure was developed
in t he Gupt a period. Yajnavalkyasmrit i is almost regarded as t he of f icial law
book of Guptas. Naradasmrit i was also writ t en during t he Gupt a period. All
t he successive redact ions in t he Manu's Dharmashastras were carried out in
Gupt a Period.
Kalidasa
The t rue beaut y and grandeur of t he lit erat ure in Gupt a Era can be seen in t he
kavyas. The great est among all t he names is Kalidasa who lived in 4t h cent ury
CE and was cont emporary of Chandragupt a II. His earliest product ion was
Rit usamhara. But earliest drama was Malvikagnimit ram. Meghaduta is
pioneer Dutakavya in Sanskrit literature. Kumarasambhava and
Raghuvamsa have t he epic grandeur. Kumarasambhava deals wit h t he union
of Shiva and Parvat i and birt h of t heir son Kart ikeya who dest royed Tarakasur.
Raghuvamsa described t he lif e and career of 28 kings of Raghu Dynast y which
included Rama. The Prakrit Poem Set ubandha is believed t o have been
writ t en/ revised by Kalidasa f or king Pravarsena. Malvikagnimit ra,
Vikramovarshiyam and Abhijanan-Shakunt alam are t hree plays penned by
Kalidasa. Please note that Kalidasa's style was imitated by Ceylon King
Kumaradasa who has written Janakiharana. Kalidasa wrot e Malvikagnimit ra
which account s t he celebrat ion of Vasant ot sava (Spring f est ival). Read more
about Kalidasa here.
Bhravi
Bhravi is best known f or Kiratarjuniya, writ t en around 550 CE. Kirat is Shiva
who speaks t o arjuna in f or f orm of a mount ain dwelling hunt er. This epic st yle
Kavya is considered t o be among t he great est works in Sanskrit which is
known f or complexit y of t he Sanskrit .
Bhatti
Bhat t i or Bat sabhat t i is best known f or Bhaikvya which is also known as
Rvaavadha and was writ t en in t he 7t h cent ury CE.
Magha:
iupla-vadha was writ t en by Magha in 7t h cent ury AD and is one of t he 6
Sanskrit Mahakavyas. It was inspired by t he works of Kalidasa, Bharavi and
Dandin, all of t hem, as t he aut hor says but surpasses Bharavi in his st yle and
wordplay.
Sudraka
Mrichhakatika means a "lit t le clay cart '. It is a Sanskrit play writ t en by
Shudraka in t he 2nd cent ury AD. Art hur W. Ryder t ranslat ed it in 1905 as The
Lit t le Clay Cart . It 's a play f ull wit h romance, sex, court polit ics and comedy. It
depict s t he st ory of a poor man Charudat t a wit h a nagarvadhu Vasantsena.
The play seems t o be a reworked version of Daridracharudatta, anot her play.
udraka seems t o be an Abhira King Indranigupt a who used Shudraka as his
pen name.
There is a descript ion of a civil court in Mrichhakat ika, whose headquart ers
were at Nalanda.
Vishakhadatta:
We know about only t wo plays of Vishakhadat t a viz. Mudrrkasa and t he
Devichandragupt am. Out of t hem Mudrrksasa is t he only surviving play.
Devichandragupt am is survived in f ragment s only. Mudrarakshasha means
"Ring of t he Demon". It narrat es t he ascent of Chandragupt a Maurya t o
t hrone. Rakshasha is t he last Minist er of Nandas who is lured in
Chandragupt a's side, by Chanakya.
Dandin
Dandin had writ t en Kavyadarshana and Dasakumarcharit a. He lived in Kanchi
and is best known f or Dasakumarcharita "The Tale of t he Ten Princes" which
depict s t he advent ures of 10 princes. Dasakumarcharit a was f irst t ranslat ed in
1927 as Hindoo Tales and The Advent ures of t he Ten Princes
Bhatrihari:
Bhart hari was a f if t h cent ury Sanskrit aut hor who wrot e Vakyapadiya , a
t reat ise on Sanskrit Grammar and Satakatraya which is also known as
Nitishatak and has 100 verses on philosophy. Bat rihari seems t o be a King but
many scholars say t hat he was not a king but a court ier serving t he king.
Ishwar Krishna:
His main work is Sankyakarika. It was a comment ary on Samkhya Philosophy.
Vyasa
Vyasa has writ t en Vyasabhasya , it was a comment ary on Yoga philosophy
Vatsyayana
Vat syayana was t he aut hor of Nyaya Sutra Bhashya, which was t he f irst
comment ary on Gautama's Nyaya Sutras. Kamasut ra is a t reat ise on Human
Sexual behavior and makes t he part of t he Kamashasht ra. The f irst
t ransmission of t he Kama Shashra is at t ribut ed t o Nandi, t he bull of Shiva, as
per t he t radit ions. The Nandi bull is Shiva's doorkeeper and he overheard t he
lovemaking of t he Gods and recorded his ut t erances, f or benef it of
humankind. However, Kama sut ra seems t o be t he f irst t reat ise on t he
principles / advices in sexualit y.
Some Smriti works of Gupta Era
Parashara (100-500 CE)
Kat yanayan (400-600 CE)
Pit amaha (400-700 CE)
Pulat sya (300-700 CE)
Vyasa (200-500 CE)
Harit a (400-700 CE)
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Kalidasa
2013- 05- 23 14:05:26 GKToday
Cont ent s
Works of Kalidasa
Mlavikgnimit ram
Abhijnakunt alam
Vikramrvayam
Raghuvama
Kumrasambhava
Rit usamhara
Meghadut a
There are several st ories about lif e of Kalidasa, t hough none of t hem seems
t o be aut hent ic. However, t he most f amous st ory about lif e of Kalidasa says
t hat Kalidasa was an illit erat e idiot and was a dumb f ool t o st art wit h. A king's
daught er was a very learned lady and t he st ory goes as she want ed t o marry
only a person who will def eat her in "Shastarthaa" (script ural debat e).
However, if anyone is not able t o def eat her, would be black f aced and kicked
out of t he count ry.
The idea was enough t o irk t he Pundit s. Nobody want ed t o get his f ace
blackened and sent out of t he count ry, so t hese wit t y people t ook Kalidasa t o
her. These Pundit s spot t ed Kalidasa cut t ing a branch of a t ree on which he
was sit t ing himself .
They t old t he princess t hat Kalidasa does only mut e or symbolic debat es. The
debat e st art ed and t he princess showed him one f inger, which she meant t hat
"Shakti is One". However, Kalidasa t ook it s meaning t hat she will poke his one
eye and he showed him t wo f ingers. The princess t ook t his answer t o be a
valid one manif est ing t hat Shakti is in duality (Shiva and Shakti).
Cont inuing t he debat e, princess showed her f ive f ingers manif est ing t hat
t here are 5 element s eart h, wat er, f ire, air, and void. Kalidasa manif est ed it as
t hat she will slap him. So, in answer he showed her his Fist . The princess again
t ook t his as a valid answer as she manif est ed t hat all f ive element s combine
and make t he body or srust i.
Thus, she married wit h Kalidasa. But af t er marriage she came t o know t hat it
was a f raudulent marriage and t hus kicked him out of t he house. Af t er t his
humiliat ion, Kalidasa st raight away went t o Kali's t emple and dedicat ed himself
t o Kali. Goddess Kali was appeased and grant ed him prof ound wisdom and art
and speaking abilit y. He ret urned home and his wif e spoke t hese words:
asti kashchit vaag-vishesha
Which lit erally mean you are an expert now in speaking?
These t hree words spoken by his wif e are t he opening words of his t hree
great works as f ollows:
Asti : Kumarasambhavam st art s wit h asti-uttarasyaam dishi
kashchit : Meghdoot st art s wit h kashchit kaantaa
Vaag : Raghuvamsha st art s wit h vaagarthaaviva
Please not e t hat t he above st ory may be neit her hist orically correct nor t here
are any evidences t o prove it . It goes as it is J, so no need t o prove it .
Works of Kalidasa
Mlavikgnimit ram
Mlavikgnimit ram is t he Sanskrit play, which depict s Agnimit ra as it s hero.
Malvika is a maid servant whom Agnimit ra f alls in love. This was known t o his
chief queen, who imprisions her. Lat er it was known t hat Malvika was of a royal
birt h and she was accept ed as queen of Agnimit ra. Mlavikgnimit ram gives
account of Rajsuya Yajna of Pushyamit ra Shunga, f at her of Agnimit ra.
Abhijnakunt alam
Abhijnakunt alam is a Sanskrit play which depict s t he st ory of Dushyant a,
king of Hast inapur, and Shakunt ala, daught er of t he sage Vishwamit ra and t he
apsara Menaka.
Vikramrvayam
Vikramrvayam is a Sanskrit Drama which depict s t he love st ory of Puruvas
a Vedic King and Urvashi. Puruvas is chosen t o ref lect t he qualit it es of
Chandragupt a Vikramadit ya. Pururavas is a myt hological ent it y represent ing
Sun and Vikramadit ya means t he "Glory of Sun".
Raghuvama
Raghuvama is a Sanskrit epic poem t hat is a long (19 Sargas) narrat ion of
genealogy of Lord Rama's Raghu Vamsa beginning wit h King Dileep up t o
Agnivarna.
Kumrasambhava
Kumrasambhava is an epic poem which has 17 sirgs, ot of which only 8 are
accept ed as his aut horship. Kumara or prince is Kart ikeya and it ref ers t o birt h
of Kart ikeya, son of shiva and Parvat i af t er a lot of Tapasya t o win Shiva who
had already won Kamdeva (God of Love). Kart ikeya lat er killed Tarakasur
demon who was blessed t hat he would not be killed by any ot her t han son os
Shiva and Parvat i.
Rit usamhara
Rit usamhara is again a mini epic poem in Sanskrit which has 6 Sargas. These
Sargas ref er t o 6 seaosns (Rit u) viz, Grisma (Summer) , varsha (Rains),
Sharad (Aut umn), Hemant a (Cool), Sisira (Wint er) and Vasant ha (Spring). It
ment ions t he f eelings, emot ions and experiences of lovers in 6 seasons.
Rit usamhara is considered t o be t he earliest work of Kalidasa.
Meghadut a
Meghadut a means a messenger of Clouds. It 's a poem wit h 11 st anzas. The
t heme of Meghadut a is a Yaksha, who is subject of Lord Kubera (King of
Wealt h). His wif e is wait ing f or him at Mount Kalidasa. Kubera at some place in
cent ral India exiled t he Yaksha and he wishes t o send his message t o his wif e.
For t hat , he convinces a cloud t o t ake his message and pass it on t o his wif e.
The poem narrat es about t he beaut if ul sight s and visual percept ions he would
come across while going nort hwards t o t ake t his message t o his wif e.
The t rue beaut y and grandeur of t he lit erat ure in Gupt a Era can be seen in t he
kavyas. The great est among all t he names is Kalidasa who lived in 4t h cent ury
CE and was cont emporary of Chandragupt a II. His earliest product ion was
Rit usamhara. But earliest drama was Malvikagnimit ram. Meghaduta is
pioneer Dutakavya in Sanskrit literature. Kumarasambhava and
Raghuvamsa have t he epic grandeur. Kumarasambhava deals wit h t he union
of Shiva and Parvat i and birt h of t heir son Kart ikeya who dest royed Tarakasur.
Raghuvamsa described t he lif e and career of 28 kings of Raghu Dynast y which
included Rama. The Prakrit Poem Set ubandha is believed t o have been
writ t en/ revised by Kalidasa f or king Pravarsena. Malvikagnimit ra,
Vikramovarshiyam and Abhijanan-Shakunt alam are t hree plays penned by
Kalidasa. Please note that Kalidasa's style was imitated by Ceylon King
Kumaradasa, who has written Janakiharana. Kalidasa wrot e
Malvikagnimit ra which account s t he celebrat ion of Vasant ot sava (Spring
f est ival).
Articles from General Knowledge Today
The Later Guptas
2013- 05- 23 14:05:26 GKToday
Skandagupt a Vikramadit ya was t he last great Gupt a Ruler. He ascended t o
t he t hrone on 455 AD and is known t o have crushed t he Whit e Huna Invasion in
t he f irst or early years of his reign it self . Twelve year reign t ill his deat h in 467
AD was f illed wit h wars wit h Hunas and t his led t o weakening t he economy of
his empire which is evident f rom t he low quality of Coins issued during his
and his successor's reigns.
The whit e Hunas invaded f rom t he nort h-west ern sides in around 455 AD.
Skandagupt a was t he mat ure years and ripe experience, inf lict ed upon t hose
barbarians, and gave t hem such as decisive def eat t hat India was saved f or
some t wo decades. However, in 465 a f resh swarm of nomads again poured
across t he f ront iers and is known t o have occupied t he Gandhara. Af t er deat h
of Skandagupt a in 467 AD t here were repeat ed at t acks on t he heart of t he
dominions and t he empire succumbed t o t he repeat ed at t acks of t he
f oreigners.
Successors of Skandagupta
Who was successor of Skandagupt a is a myst ery. The genealogy has been
corroborat ed f rom f our royal seals f rom Nalanda and one f rom Bhit ari t hat
Purugupt a succeeded Skandagupt a. When Skandagupt a passed away, t he
empire perished but t he dynast y remained. It is t hought t he Skandagupt a
could not leave any male capable heir and was succeeded by his half brot her
Purugupt a, who was son of Kumaragupt a I and Queen Ananda. The lat er kings
/ princes were Kumaragupt a III, Buddhagupt a and Narsihmgupt a. In t he
west ern provinces of Malwa, t he names of rajas Buddhagupt a and
Bhanugupt a are f ound. They cover t he period of around 484 t o 510 AD. The
deat h of Buddhagupt a is t hought t o have occurred in around 495 AD.
It was f ollowed by t he accelerat ed f eudalizat ion of t he st at e st ruct ure, and
t he lat er of t hese t wo princes (or Kings) occupy a dependent posit ion
probably subordinat e t o t he Huna Chief t ains.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Huna Invasions
2013- 05- 23 14:05:15 GKToday
Cont ent s
The Huna Invasions on India during Gupt a Era
Toramana : The early whit e Huna King
Mihirkula: The Huna Tyrrant
Who was Yasodharman?
The Huna Invasions on India during Gupta Era
The Hunas had poured down f rom t he st eppes of Cent ral Asia t hrough t he
Nort hwest ern passes and devast at ed t he smiling cit ies of India. These cent ral
Asian hordes were in f our cardinal direct ions t hey were known as f ollows:
Nort hern Huna - Black Huna
Sout hern Huna - Red Huna
East ern Huna - Celest ial Hunas
West ern Hunas - White Hunas.
The nomad Mongol t ribes known as Huns have f ound f irst ment ion in t he
Bhishma parva of Mahabhart a. As per Dr V. A. Smit h, t he sholkas t hat ment ion
t he Hunas must have been placed af t er edit ing in 4
th
or 5
th
cent ury AD. In
Mahabhart a t hese t ribes have been ment ioned as Malechhas and Malechhas
included several t ribes such as Sakas, Yavanas, Savaras, Savaras, Paundras
and Kiratas,Khasas, Chivukas, Pulindas, Chinas etc. Practice of Polyandry was
common in Hunas (several husbands one wife).
The Hunas moved west wards and divided int o t wo major st reams. One
direct ed t owards t he valley of Oxus (t oday known as Amu Darya, a boundary
bet ween Iran and Cent ral Asia and in Indian t ext s known as Vaksu) and
anot her t owards Volga River (West wards t owards Europe). The lat t er are
t hought t o have poured int o East ern Europe and f orced t he Got hs t o t he
sout h and causing t he Got hic wars, indirect ly. Hunas f illed t he land bet ween
Volga and Danube but t hey could not make f ull use of t heir advant ageous
posit ion. The Hunic Empire in Europe was f inished wit hin 20 years by a f resh
swarm of barbarians f rom Nort hern Asia.
However, t he Asiat ic domain of t he Hunas last ed a bit longer. In Persia (Iran),
t he f ormer are known t o have at t acked t he Sassanid King of Persia, Peroz I
and capt ured him. Peroz I was killed in t he hands of Hunas and t hese Hunas
assailed t he Kushan Kingdom of Kabul and t hen f rom f rom t here poured int o
India. Around 500 AD, Hunas under a chief t ain Ramanila is known t o have
conquered Gandhara. About Ramanila, we know only t hrough his coins. Lat er,
t he Huna Power in Punjab regions is known t o have consolidat ed under
Toramana.
Toramana : The early white Huna King
We know about t he 6t h cent ury Whit e Huna King Toramana f rom Kura
Inscript ion in which his name is ment ioned as Rajadhiraja Maharaja Toramana
Shahi Jaula. He has also been ref erred in Rajt arangini. The silver coins of
Toramana are very much similar t o t he Gupt a Kings. It is t hought t hat
Toramana invaded t he Gupt a Empire wit h t he help of a scion of t he Gupt a
f amily called Harigupt a. Moreover, t he f eudal st ruct ure of t he administ rat ion
was a f acilit at ing f act or f or Huna's conquest . Toramana acquired t he Malwa
region by 510 AD and t he local prince Bhanugupt a was unable check him.
Toramana was succeeded by Mihirkula, his son.
Mihirkula: The Huna Tyrrant
Mihirkula means "one f rom t he Sun Clan", In Persian Mihirkula ref ers t o Mehr
Gul t hat also ref ers t o Sun Flower. Mihirkula came t o power in 510 AD and was
an antibuddhist, known f or his cruelt y against t he Buddhist s. He dest royed t he
t emples and monast eries and was t yrannical t o t he Buddhist s. His reign
ext ended up t o Gwalior. His cont emporary Gupt a King was Narsimhgupt a
Baladit yaraja II.
Narsimhgupt a Baladit yaraja II is known t o have a devout Buddhist . He f ought
wit h Mihirkula and was support ed by Yasodharman of Malwa in t his f ight .
Mihirkula was def eat ed, capt ured by Yasodharman but was allowed t o t ake
ref uge in Kashmir where he died short ly af t erwards, probably due t o a f at al
at t ack by a King of Kashmir. This was t he end of Whit e Hunas in India. The
year was 528 AD. Thus, Yashidharman is credited to check the Huna
expansion in India.
Who was Yasodharman?
We know about Yasodharman f rom t he Mandsor Inscription and Bijaygarh
Inscription of Bayana near Bharat pur, in Rajast han, which was erect ed /
creat ed by Vishnuvarhana, son of Yasodharman. He init ially is t hought t o
have been f riendly wit h t he Gupt as but lat er t urns t heir enemy and carried his
vict orious arms. However, not many det ails are known about Yasodharman. He
appeared and disappeared quickly, most probably by 540 AD.
Af t er t he Hunas were checked, t he Gupt a Empire dest royed int o many part s
and several kings appeared in t he scene all over nort h India. By t he mid of t he
6t h cent ury Gupt as lost t he cont rol over t he Magadha also. There were many
cont emporary dynast ies of t he Gupt as and probably most ancient of t hem is
Maukharis.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Contemporary Dynasties of Guptas
2013- 05- 23 14:05:43 GKToday
Cont ent s
Maukharis Dynast y
Naga Dynast y
Magha Dynast y
Vakt at aka Dynast y
Cont emporary Dynast ies of Gupt as Include t he f ollowing:
Maukharis Dynasty
Maukharis or Mokharis or Mukharas is an ancient f amily, which seems t o be t he
vassals of Gupt as earlier. This dynast y was concent rat ed around modern
Ut t ar Pradesh and a port ion of Sout hern Bihar.
Naga Dynasty
Naga f amily became prominent in Modern Ut t ar Pradesh and Gwalior by t hird
cent ury AD and remained in exist ence t ill end of 4
th
cent ury. The prominent
rulers of t his dynast y are Nagadat t a and Achyut a. The Mat hura and Gwalior
dominions of t he Nagas was annexed t o Gupt a Kingdom by Samudragupt a.
Magha Dynasty
Magha dynast y ruled around Kaushambi and t hey were cont emporary of
Gupt as. The rulers such as Nava is known by coins only.
Vaktataka Dynasty
Vakt aka dynast y was t he most import ant f ollow up dynast y of t he
Sat avahanas and t hey ruled in modern Maharast ra and Madhya Pradesh.
They were cont emporary of Gupt as. Vindhyashakt i, whose name is derived
f rom t he Vidhya Mount ains, f ounded Vakt aka dynast y. Pravarasena was an
able ruler who is also known t o be t he real f ounder of t his dynast y. One of t he
import ant ruler of t his dynast y was Rudrasena I who is ment ioned in t he
Allahabad Pillar Inscript ion. Rudrasena I was f ollowed by Prat hivisena I. During
t he campaign of Chandragupt a II against t he west ern Sat raps, Chandragupt a
II is considered t o have alliance of Prat hivisena I and lat er cement ed t his t ie
wit h a marit al alliance giving his daught er Prabhavat igupt a t o Rudrasena II, t he
prince of Vakt aka Family. The capit al of Vakt at aka during t he reign of
Prat hivisena and Rudrasena II was Nandivardhana, which is near modern
Nagpur.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Harsha Vardhana
2013- 05- 23 15:05:54 GKToday
Cont ent s
Family of Harsha
Coronat ion of Harsha and Annexat ion of Kannauj
Conquest s of Harsha
Conf lict wit h Pulkesin II
Conquest of Ganjam:
Territ ories of Harsha:
The period assigned t o Harsha or Harsha Vardhana ( ) reign is 606AD unt il
648 AD. For Harsha's period, t hough t he hist orians have t he ordinary
numismat ics and epigraphic sources, t here are t wo most import ant sources
(lit erary Works), which shed light on t his era's polit ical and social condit ions.
The f irst is a book of t ravels compiled by Chinese Pilgrim Huen Tsang,
who visit ed almost all part s of India f rom 630 AD t ill 643-644 AD. Apart
f rom t he narrat ive, t he work is supplement ed by biographies of t he
pilgrim, which is writ t en by his f riend Hwui-li, and t his provides some
addit ional inf ormat ion.
The second is Harshacharita aut hored by Banabhatta. Banabhat t a was
a Brahmin who st ayed in t he court of Harsha and enjoyed his pat ronage.
Apart f rom t he above, t he of f icial Chinese hist ory document s also provide
some det ails about t he reign of Harsha.
Family of Harsha
The f amily of Harsha is linked t o Pushyabhut i of Thenshwar. In t he lat er part
of t he 6t h cent ury, t he Raja of Thaneshwar, Prabhakarvardhana raised
himself against t he neighbors including t he Hunas set t led in t he Nort h West ern
Punjab and also t he clans of t he Gurjars. He assumed t he t it le of
Maharajadhiraj and Parama Bhattaraka. This was t he beginning of t he Vardhana
Dynast y in t he nort h India. The Mot her of Prabbhakarvardhana was a princess
of t he Gupt a lineage and t his probably st imulat ed t he royal ambit ions of
Prabhakaravardhana.
There were t wo sons of Prabhakarvardhana, t he elder Rajyavardhana and
younger Harshavardhana. In 604 AD, Prabhakarvardhana had sent a large
army led by Rajyavardhana t o at t ack t he Huns at t he Nort h West ern f ront iers
and sent his younger son Harsha wit h a cavalry. While Rajyavardhana
advanced int o t he Hills, Harsha lingered in t he f orest s of t he f oot hills of t he
mount ains.While he was employed in t he f orest s, he got t he news of t he nearh
deat h illness of his f at her. He needed t o ret urn and as he ret unred, assuming
t hat Rajyavardhana might have been killed, t he court men f avored Harsha t o
be t he next King. Prabhakarvardhana had died. Meanwhile Rajya Vardhana
ret urned. Wit hout any st ruggle, he t ook place of his f at her at t his point of
t ime.
The sist er of t hese t wo brot hers named Rajyashri was married t o t he
Maukhari King Grahavarmana of Kannauj. Since, at t he t ime of t he deat h of
Prabhakarvardhana, Rajya Vardhana was engaged in t he bat t le against t he
Hunas, a king of Gupt a lineage Devagupt a of Malwa at t acked t he Maukharis
and killed Grahavarmana. The windowed Rajyashri was conf ined in jail and
probably mis-used by t he at t acker.
The young King Rajyavardhana vowed t o seek avenge and he led a t en
t housand cavalry t o at ack t he Malwa King. The King of Malwa was def eat ed
wit hout much ef f ort , but t he vict ory became sad soon af t er as a Gaur King
Shashanka who had come t o help Devagupta killed Rajyavardhana.
Rajyavardhana was inveigled t o a peace conf erence by f air promises by
Sashaanka and was killed t here.
Coronation of Harsha and Annexation of Kannauj
The son of Rajyavardhana was t oo young t o assume cares of t he
government and t he court men did not hesit at e t o of f er t he crown t o Harsha.
When Harsha became t he king, t he t asks bef ore him were t o:
Take avenge of his brot her's killing
Free Rajyashri f rom prison.
The assassins were able t o escape and Rajyashri was about t o burn herself
alive wit h her at t endant s. However, Harsha chased t hem, guided by t he t ribals
and was able t o t race her in t he Vindhya Jungles. Shashanka escaped, t hough
his kingdom was lat er annexed t o t hat of Harsha's. However, Shashanka
remained a headache f or Harsha f or a longer period. Son of Rajyashri was
also an inf ant and t his was t he reason t hat Kannauj was also annexed wit h t he
kingdom of Harshavardhana.
Conquests of Harsha
Harsha was a brave king who
had t he desired abilit y and
energy t o bring all India
"under an umbrella". He
overran t he nort hern India,
went f rom east t o west and
subdued all who were not
obedient . In around f ive
years, he had conquered t he
nort hwest ern regions as well
as a large part of Bengal.
This was enough t o raise his
army st rengt h f rom f ive
t housand war elephant s t o
f if t y t housand war elephant s
and t went y t housand cavalry
t o one lakh cavalry. His great
career of vict ory cont inued
unt il 643 AD and t he last
at t ack was on t he
inhabit ant s of Ganjam on t he
Coast of Bay of Bengal.
Conf lict with Pulkesin II
However, his long career of vict ory was eclipsed by one great f ailure against
Pulkesin II.
Pulkesin II, t he great est of t he Chalukya dynast y vied wit h Harsha and was
able t o st op t he ambit ions of Harsha t owards sout h.
If Harsha was Uttarpathapati, Pulkesin II, t he Chalukya King of Vat api was
able t o raise himself t o t he rank of lord paramount of t he Sout h and called
himself Dakshinapathapati. Harsha, unable t o endure t he exist ence of such a
powerf ul rival in sout h, planed t o overt hrow Pulkesin II and advanced t owards
sout h wit h t roops f rom all part s of his reign. However, his ef f ort f ailed. The
passes on t he Narmada River were guarded so ef f icient ly t hat Harsha
accept ed t hat river as his sout hern f ront ier. This was somet ime in 620 AD
(some sources say 635AD).
Conquest of Ganjam:
The last conquest of Harsha was t he Ganjam in modern Odisha. Harsha was
not able t o annexe init ially because of his enmit y wit h Shashanka. However,
Ganjam was conquered in 642-643 AD and af t er t hat , Harsha became cont ent
t o sheat he t he sword. The later part of Harsha's life is almost an imitation to the
Great Asoka Maurya, but it t ook 37 years and numerous conquest s t o Harsha
t o adopt t he Asoka rout e.
Territories of Harsha:
The reign of Harsha was f rom whole of basin of Ganga including Nepal, t o t he
Narmada in Sout h. Harsha ruled on t he pat t ern of t he Gupt a Kings and t he
local administ rat ion remained in t he hands of t he local Kings. From King of
Kamarupa in Assam t o King of Vallabhi in Gujarat , several local kings at t ended
t he court s of Harsha. Harsha was the last true Hindu King of Northern India.
Click here t o Read about Administ rat ion & Legacy of Harsha
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Administration & Legacy of Harsha
2013- 05- 23 15:05:34 GKToday
Cont ent s
Int erest in Lit erat ure
Banabhat t a
The religion of Harsha
Prayag Assembly
Bhandi
Simhanada
We know about t he administ rat ion of Harsha most ly f rom t he account s of
Huen Tsang, who was most impressed by t he Civil Administ rat ion. The
principal source of revenue was t he rent of t he crown lands, which was 1/6t h
of t he produce. The of f icials were remunerat ed by land grants and t he t ax
administ rat ion was not so rigid. The crime was rare t hough unlike t he
narrat ions of Fa Hien, t he rout es were less saf e. This evident f rom t he f act
t hat Huen Tsang was st opped and loot ed by t he robbers. The punishment s
were severe t han t he Gupt a rulers. The nose, ears, hands, f eet of t he
criminals were mut ilat ed and deat h sent ence prevailed.
Interest in Literature
Harsha was a great pat ron of t he lit erat ure and was an accomplished
calligraphist and aut hor of reput at ion. He has writ t en t hree ext ant Sanskrit
Plays viz. Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarsika and one grammat ical work. His
plays are as f ollows:
Nagananda: Nagananda has an enlight ening Buddhist legend f or it s
subject and is one of t he best works of t he Indian Drama. It describes
t he st ory of t he Jimut avahana's self -sacrif ice t o save t he Nagas.
Ratnavali: Rat navali is a great drama, which narrat es t he st ory of a
princess called Rat navali and a king called Udayana. Ratnavali is
probably the earliest textual ref erences to the celebration of Holi,
the f estival of colors.
Priyadarsika: Priyadarsika is anot her great play by Harsha.
Banabhatta
Banabhat t a is considered t he great est ornament in t he lit erary circle of
Harsha. Bana's Kadambari is not only t he most celebrat ed prose romance in
Sanskrit , but also t he best work wit h universal appeal. Similarly Harshacharit a,
is probably f irst work of it s kind is t he biography of his great hero Harsha. The
work is not only the f irst attempt of Biography Indian literature but also an
aut hent ic work. There are t wo more works at t ribut ed t o Banabhat t a viz.
Chhandakasthtaka and Parvatiparinaya. Please not e t hat Banabhat t a did not
complet e Kadambari. His work was lat er f inished by his son Bhushanbhat t a
(or
maybe Pulindabhata)
and t hus Kadambari is divided int o t wo part s viz.
Purvabhaga and Uttarbhaga, ascribed t o t he f at her and son respect ively.
The religion of Harsha
In Harsha, we f ind a learned king who was well versed in t he doct rine of
Sammitiya School, an of f shoot of t he Vat siput riya school of Early Buddhism.
Af t er t he Ganjam conquest , Harsha st art ed showing t he f avor f or t he quiet est
t eachings of Buddhism. He f avored t he Hinyana initially and Mahayana later.
We f ind in him a great devot ee of Buddhism, who enf orced t he Buddhist
t radit ions wit h ut most st rict ness. He f orbade the slaughter of any living
thing. Use of animal f lesh was a punishable of f ense in his reign. The
benevolent inst it ut ions based upon Asoka's model were est ablished t hrough
his empire. Numerous monast eries were erect ed in t he closing years of his
empire. Huen Tsang describes about t he numbers of t he monks occupying t he
monast eries t o be around t wo Lakh !
Fat her of Harsha was a Sun Devot ee, his remot e ancest or Pushyabhut i was a
Shiva f ollower, his brot her Rajyavardhana and sist er Rajyashri were Buddhism
devot ees, but Harsha was benevolent of all t he t hree and erect ed t emples
also. However, t he in t he closing part of his reign, his f avorit e was t he f ait h of
Buddhism. We f ind King Harsha's aut ograph in Baanskhera inscription of
Haryana.
Prayag Assembly
Every f ive years, Harsha called f or an assembly at Prayag. This ceremony
began wit h t he worship of Surya, Shiva and Buddha (a t est imony t o his
t olerance t o all f ait hs), and af t er t hat he use do charit able dist ribut ion. It is
t old t hat every Buddhist monk was given 100 pieces of gold, a pearl and
cot t on clot he. He also used t o donat e t he clot hs and ornament s he wore and
t hen asked his sist er Gayat ri f or clot hs and ornament s.
Bhandi
Bhandi was a leading noble of Kannauj and on advice of t he polit ical leaders of
Kannauj; he of f ered t he crown of Kannauj t o Harsha af t er deat h of
Grahavarmana. Bhandi was lat er described as one of t he chief of f icers of
Harsha. When Harsha chased Shashanka f or release of his sist er, t hrough
Bhandi only Harsha could know t hat his sist er has been released and
Shashanka has escaped.
Simhanada
Simhanada was t he General of t he Harsha's army and his Prime Minist er.
When Harsha was preparing t o conquest t he Sout h, Simhanada warned him
about t he dreadf ul consequences. This was f or t he f irst t ime t hat Harsha did
not pay at t ent ion t o his seasoned councilor and paid t he price f or t he same
when Pulkesin II def eat ed him.
Out of all t he powers of t he Deccan, t he most dominant power up t o some
250 AD was Andhra, t he Saatvahana Dynasty. Af t er some 3 cent uries of t he
ext inct ion of t he Saat vahana, no specif ic inf ormat ion is available. During
t hose t imes, t he Maharasht ra region was ruled by t he Rast rakut a dynast y
which up t ill mid of t he 8t h cent ury became a powerhouse of Deccan.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Changes in Society during Early Medieval India
2013- 05- 23 16:05:21 GKToday
Cont ent s
The rise of Indian Feudalism
Prolif erat ion of Cast es
Degradat ion of Marriage & Women
Development in Science and Lit erat ure
Development of local cult ures
Development of Vernacular Languages
Development of Regional Art & Cult ure
Cont ribut ion of Al-Beruni
The social changes in t he early medieval India were mainly t he product of
cert ain economic development s, such as land grant s and large scale t ransf ers
of land revenues and land t o bot h secular and religious element s, decline of
t rade and commerce, loss of mobilit y of art isans, peasant s and t raders,
unequal dist ribut ion of land and power et c.
The rise of Indian Feudalism
From t he post -Maurya period, and especially f rom Gupt a t imes, India's
polit ical and administ rat ive development s t ended t o f eudalise t he st at e
apparat us. This has been called Indian Feudalism.
Prolif eration of Castes
Increasing pride of birt h, charact erist ic of f eudal societ y, and t he
accompanying self -suf f icient village economy, which prevent ed bot h spat ial
and occupat ional mobilit y, gave rise t o t housands of cast es in India during t he
early medieval Period.
Degradation of Marriage & Women
The women's posit ion is f ar degraded f rom t hat in early eras. Marit al
inst it ut ion became rigid. The Smrit ichandrika and Smrit yart hasara gave
several rules. Read Here
Development in Science and Literature
During early medieval period, t here was a considerable development in t he
science and lit erat ure. However, t he qualit y of t he cont ent in t hem was not of
a high order. It was basically of general imit at ive and reproduct ive charact er.
Read about it here
Development of local cultures
The f oundat ion of various kingdoms and f ief doms whose people were
generally conf ined t o t hem only led t he development of localized
cult ure, making India a diverse geographical area.
The Hunas and ot her f oreign element s were absorbed int o t he Indian
societ y and cleared t he ground f or t he rise of larger def ined unit s such
as Rajput ana. Similarly, Bengal, which was earlier divided int o t wo part s
viz. Gauda and Vanga, lat er t he whole region was named af t er Vanga.
The inhabit ant s of t he dif f erent nat ions dif f ered in cust oms, clot hing
and language. For example, t he Kavalayamala (8t h cent ury) not es t he
exist ence of 18 major nat ionalist s and describes t he ant hropological
charact er of 16 peoples.
Development of Vernacular Languages
Though t he Sanskrit cont inued t o be used by t he ruling class at t he
higher administ rat ive levels, t his language lat er become complex,
verbose and ornat e. The Apabhramsha st art ed t o dif f erent iat e int o
prot o-Hindi, Prot o-Bengali, Prot o-Rajast hani prot o-Gujarat i, Prot o-
Marat hi, Prot o-Assamese, Prot o-Ordya, Prot o-Mait hili languages.
From t he 6
th
cent ury onwards, t he linguist ic variat ion became very f ast
because of lack of int er-regional communicat ion and mobilit y. In t he
t ribal areas, t he Brahmanas imposed various f orms of Sanskrit on t he
exist ing Aryan and Pre-Aryan dialect s. The consequent ial int eract ion
gave rise t o regional languages. The migrat ing Brahmanas also enriched
t he regional languages. This result ed in t he development of regional
script s and regional grammar.
Development of Regional Art & Culture
In t he f ield of art and archit ect ure, t his period ushered in a new age
marked by regional st yles in sculpt ure and const ruct ion of t emples,
which became part icularly prominent in sout h India f rom t he eight h
cent ury onwards.
The post -gupt a iconography prominent ly displays a divine hierarchy,
which ref lect s t he pyramidal rank in societ y.
The Vishnu, Shiva and Durga became t he supreme deit ies, lording over
many ot her divinit ies of unequal sizes. The Mahayajnas and danas
(donat ions) were gradually replaced by a syst em known as Puja. Puja
was int erlinked t o t he doct rine of Bhakt i, which became a dist inct
f eat ure of medieval religion. Bot h puja and Bhakt i became int egral
ingredient s of t ant ricism, which arose due t o t he accult urat ion of t he
t ribal people t hrough large-scale religious land-grant s.
Contribution of Al-Beruni
Al-beruni, who visit ed India wit h t he Turkish invader Mahmud Ghazni and
his army, has given a vivid account of India societ y during t hose t imes.
He visit ed India f requent ly and st ayed in dif f erent part s of t he count ry.
Assist ed by learned scholars of India, he t ranslat ed f rom Sanskrit a f ew
Indian works on ast ronomy, especially t he Paulisasiddhanta,
Brihatsamhita and Laghujatakam of Varahmihira.
Probably he was t he f irst t o int roduce t he t reasure of t he Sanskrit
lit erat ure t o t he Islamic world. His Tahkik-i-Hind (Realit y of Hindust an) is
t he most import ant work in which he gives a good graphic descript ion of
India, as he had seen. While narrat ing t he social condit ions of India
Alberuni observes t hat t he Hindu societ y was based on cast e syst em.
He describes t he inst it ut ion of marriage, t he posit ion of women, t he
Hindu f ast s and f est ivals. He observed t hat Hindus have numerous
books about all t he branches of science. He provides us long list s of
f amous books of Indians ast ronomy, medicine, alchemy, et c.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chalukyas of Badami
2013- 05- 23 16:05:15 GKToday
Cont ent s
Pulkesin I
Kirt ivarman I
Pulkesin II
Vikramadit ya I
End of Chalukyas of Badami
The most import ant source of hist ory of t he Badami Chalukyas Dynast y is t he
Aihole inscription of Pulakesin II writ t en by his court poet Ravikirt i in
Sanskrit language and Kannada script .
The Chalukyas seem t o be a race of Rajput s f rom Nort h who imposed t heir
rule upon t he Dravidian inhabit ant s of t he Deccan t ableland. The Royal
Emblem of Chalukyas of Badami was "Varaha". The earliest ref erence in
t his dynast y is of one Jayasimha, who has also been ref erred t o as Vallabha.
The f irst independent king of t his dynast y was Pulkesin I.
Pulkesin I
The real f ounder of Chalukyas of Badami was a chief t ain Pulkesin I, who
made himself mast er of a t own called Vat api, which is modern Badami in t he
Bijapur dist rict of Karnat aka in around 543 AD. He is said t o have claimed a
paramount posit ion by perf orming t he Ashwamedha Yajna. Pulkesin-his
descendant s and I are called Chalukyas of Badami. Pulkesin I assumed t he
t it les of Satyashraya, Vallabaha and Dharmamaharaja. He had overt hrown t he
Kadamabas.
The Badami Clif f inscription t ells t hat Pulkesin I perf ormed all of t he 5
yajnas which make a king paramount and t hey are Hiranyagarbha, Agnistoma,
Vajapeya, Bahusuvarna and Paundarika. Name of meaning of Pulkesin is "Hair of
Lion"
Kirtivarman I
The t wo sons of Pulkesin-I viz. Kirtivarman I and Mangaldesa ext ended t he
possessions of t he f amily bot h east ward and west ward. Kirt ivarman-I
complet ely subjugat ed t he Kadambs and secured t he ext ension of t he
Kingdom. Goa which was t hen known as Revatidwipa was annexed by
Kirtivarman I. His brot her Mangaldesa assumed t he responsibilit ies of t he
government af t er his deat h as his son Pulkesin II was t oo young at t he t ime of
his deat h. Some scholars say t hat t his succession was disput ed and Pulkesin II
overcame t his rivalry. He ascended t he t hrone in 608 AD. For t wo decades t his
able prince adopt ed a career of aggressive conquest s in all direct ions and
def eat ed t he Kings of Lat a (Sout h Gujarat ), Gurjara (Rajput ana), Malwa and
Kadamabas in t he west and Pallavas of Vengi in t he east .
Pulkesin II
Pulkesin II (610642 CE) is t he most celebrat ed ruler of t he Chalukyas of
Badami. He def eat ed t he Kadamabas of t he Banavasi, Alupas of modern
Sout hern Karnat aka, Maurya of Konkan and af t er a naval war capt ured Island
of Elephant a f rom t he Mauryas of Konkan. He also def eat ed t he Kosala,
Kalinga et c. in t he east . In down sout h, he def eat ed Mahendravarman-I. He
also def eat ed Harsha Vardhana on t he banks of t he Narmada. He also
assumed t he t it le of Dakshinpat heshwara around t he same t ime, on t he lines
of Harsha's t it le Ut t arpat heshwara. Read more about him here.
Vikramaditya I
In 655 AD, one of t he f ive sons of Pulkesin II known as Vikramadit ya I
at t empt ed t o rest ore t he unit y of t he Kingdom and was successf ul in t hrowing
Pallavas out of Vat api. The enmit y of t he Chalukyas cont inued by
Vikramadit ya I and he bef riended wit h ot her enemies of Pallavas. He
advanced t o Kanchipuram but was def eat ed by t he Pallavas. During t he reign
of Vikramadit ya I , one branch of t he Chalukyas was able t o est ablish it self in
Gujarat who in next 100 years of f ered vigorous opposit ions t o t he Arabs.
Vikramadit ya I was succeeded by his son Vinayadit ya, who cont inued t he
expedit ions. The reign of Vinayadit ya is assigned 680 AD t o 696 AD. His reign
was generally peacef ul. During t hose t imes, Persia was polit ically unst able
most ly due t o t he Arab Invasions.
End of Chalukyas of Badami
The successors of Vinayadit ya cont inued t o exist f or next half cent ury. The
last ruler was Kirt ivarman II who was also known as Rahappa. His reign was a
short period of 7 years f rom 746 AD t o 753 AD. The Chalukyas of Badami were
cont inuously dist urbed by t he growing powers of Rast rakut a and Pandyas and
f inally were dest royed by t hem. The blunder of Kirt ivarman II was t o undermine
t he rising power of Dant idurga, who est ablished t he Rast rakut a Empire.
Click Here t o Read about t he Temple Archit ect ure of Chalukyas of Badami
Not e: Famous writ ers in Sanskrit f rom t he West ern Chalukya period are
Vijnaneshwara who achieved f ame by writ ing Mit akshara, a book on Hindu law,
and King Somesvara III, a not ed scholar, who compiled an encyclopedia of all
art s and sciences called Manasollasa. The Karnat eshwara Kat ha, which was
quot ed lat er by Jayakirt i, is believed t o be a eulogy of Pulakesin II.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Temple Architecture of Chalukyas of Badami
2013- 05- 23 16:05:19 GKToday
Cont ent s
Ravana Phadi Cave
Badami Cave Temples
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
Lad khan Temple
Navbhramha Group of Temples, Alampur
Temples at Pat t adakal
The Badami Chalukya era was an import ant period in t he development of
Sout h Indian archit ect ure. Their st yle of archit ect ure is called "Chalukyan
archit ect ure" or "Karnat a Dravida archit ect ure". Nearly a hundred monument s
built by t hem, rock cut (cave) as well as st ruct ural, are f ound in t he
Malaprabha river basin in modern Bagalkot dist rict of nort hern Karnat aka. The
building mat erial t hey used was reddish-golden Sandst one f ound locally.
Though t hey ruled a vast empire, t he Chalukyan workshops concent rat ed
most of t heir t emple building act ivit y in a relat ively small area wit hin t he
Chalukyan heart land Aihole, Badami, Pattadakal and Mahakuta in modern
Karnataka state.
Ravana Phadi Cave
The earliest monument of Chalukyas of Badami is t he
Ravana Phadi Cave at Aihole, not f ar f rom Badami. It was
probably made around A.D. 550 and is dedicat ed t o Siva.
Ravana Phadi Cave is one of t he Earliest Rock Cut Temple
locat ed at Aihole, t he f irst capit al of t he early Chalukyas. At
Aihole, t hey built more t han 70 Hindu Temples lat er.
Badami Cave Temples
Badami cave t emples are locat ed at Badami. The red sandst one clif f s of
Badami of f ered a spect acular set t ing f or t he excavat ion of f our caves, three
Brahmanical and one Jaina (Parshwavanath). The largest and most
impressive of t hese is Cave 3, dedicat ed t o Vishnu. An inscript ion next t o a
Varaha depict ion st at es t hat Mangalesa, a brot her of King Kirt ivarman,
dedicat ed t he cave in A.D. 578. Members of t he royal f amily of Chalukyas
pat ronized many Chalukyan monument s. All of t hem were creat ed in sixt h and
7t h cent ury. The architecture is a mixture of the Nagara style and Dravida
style. Apart f rom t he above f our, t here is a f if t h nat ural Buddhist cave in
Badami.
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
Virupaksha Temple is locat ed in Hampi in Karnat aka on t he banks of
t he Tungabhadra river. Virupaksha Temple is dedicat ed t o Lord Shiva
and was creat ed by t he Chalukyas of Badami init ially in 8t h cent ury.
The t emple was improvised in Vijaynagar Empire. It is in t he
Virupaksha t emple at Hampi t hat f ull glory of t he Early Chalukyan art
can be seen. This t emple was was built in 735 AD by a queen of Vikramadit ya
II. To celebrat e t he vict ory over t he Pallavas of Kanchipuram.
Lad khan Temple
The Lad Khan t emple is t he earliest t emple of Aihole, which dat es
back t o 5
th
cent ury AD. An inscript ion on t his t emple says t hat it
was dedicat ed t o Durga. There is a Shiva ling out t here. The t emple
is known as Lad Khan af t er it s owner (in most recent t imes) at a place used as
cat t le sheds or houses. This t emple has a large porch and is made in a
Panchayat hall kind of design wit h 12 pillars. This was earliest experiment f or a
pillar based st ruct ures in t he t emple archit ect ure.
Navbhramha Group of Temples, Alampur
The Navabrahma Group of temples is locat ed at
Alampur in Andhra Pradesh. There are t ot al 9 t emples
and present a marvelous piece of art of t he Chalukyas of
Badami out side Karnat aka. These t emple are based
upon t he Nagara st yle and do not ref lect t he Dravidian
st yle of t emple archit ect ure (8 out of 9 are clearly Nagara
st yle). The Alampur t emples are t he f inest example of
t he Chalukyas of Badami Art . The Nava Bhramma t emples are Taraka
Bhramma, Swarga Bhramma, Padma Bhramma, Bala Bhramma, Garuda
Bhramma, Kumara Bhramma, Arka Bhramma, Vira Bhramma and t he Vishwa
Bhramma. These t emples are all enclosed in a court yard on t he lef t bank of
t he river Tungabhadra.
Temples at Pattadakal
Numerous t emples at Pat t adakal on t he bank of river Malprabha, some
kilomet ers f rom Aihole mark t he ret urn of t he Chalukya pat ronage t o
Karnat aka af t er several years of act ivit y in t he Andhra Pradesh. The f irst
t emple is Galagnat ha Temple which is in Nagara st yle similar t o t he Alampur
t emple.
Import ant Observat ions about t he t emples of Badami Chalukyas
These t emples are a mixture of Northern and Dravida style of
temple archit ect ure and represent a t ransit ion as well as
experiment at ion in t he t emple archit ect ure.
The t emples are locat ed on t he banks of River Tungabhadra and
Malprabaha in Karnat aka and Alampur in Andhra Pradesh , which is near
Kurnool.
The largest t emple of Chalukyas of Badami is Virupaksha Temple,
whose complex encloses 30 sub shrines and a large Nadi mandapa. This
was also earliest example of Shiva t emples, which have a Nandi pavilion
in f ront of t he t emple.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Rastrakuta Empire
2013- 05- 23 16:05:27 GKToday
Cont ent s
Dant idurga
Krishna I
Govinda II
Dhruva
Govinda III
Amoghavarsha
Successors of Amoghavarsha
Legacy of Rasht rakut as
Kailasanat ha t emple at Ellora
In t he mid of t he 8t h cent ury, Dantidurga , who was one of t he chief t ain of
ancient Rast rakut a f amily f ought his way t o t he f ront and overt hrew
Kirtivarman II, t hus bringing an end t o t he main branch of Chalukyas. This was
t he beginning of t he Rast rakut a Empire in Deccan.
Dantidurga
Dant idurga's reign is f rom 735 AD t o 756 AD. He is also known as Dant ivarman
or Dant idurga II. Just af t er occupying Vat api, he also carried out several
conquest s but became unpopular very soon and was deposed by his uncle
Krishna I. Dant idurga made Gulbarga his capit al and def eat ed t he Karnatbala
of t he Badami Chalukya (Kirt ivarman II). He also def eat ed t he kings of Lat a
(Gujarat ), Malwa, Kalinga, Nagas and assumed t he t it le of Rajadhiraja.
Krishna I
Krishna I is known f or complet ing t he est ablishment of Rast rakut a supremacy
over t he dominions of Chalukyas. Last Badami Chalukya Kirt ivarman II t hough
def eat ed by Dant idurga, but remained in power t ill 757 AD when he was
dest royed by Krishna I. This is ment ioned in t he copper plat e grant of Govinda
III. Krishna I is best known f or execut ion of t he most marvelous archit ect ural
work in India i.e. Kailas Temple at Ellora. Kailas Temple is t he most ext ensive
and most opulent example of rock cut archit ect ure in India.
Govinda II
Krishna I was succeeded by Govinda II, his eldest son. He became unpopular
soon and was excessively indulged in t he sensual pleasures. He lef t t he
administ rat ion t o his younger brot her Dhruva (Nirupama).
Dhruva
Dhruva was an able prince who cont inued t he wars wit h t he neighbors and
expanded t he f ront iers of Rast rakut a empire.
This was t he reign of Dhruva, when Rast rakut a emerged as one of t he great
powers in India.
Govinda III
Dhruva's son Govinda III was also one of t he most remarkable princes of t his
dynast y. The capit al of rast rakut a up t ill now was Nasik and it was shif t ed t o
Manyakhet a (Malkhed) by Govinda III. Govinda III's conquest s were up t o Cape
Camorin in sout h, Kannauj in Nort h and Banaras in Sout h. His rein was f rom 794
t o 814 AD.
Amoghavarsha
Govinda III was succeeded by his son Amoghavarsha or Amoghavarsha I or
Nrupathunga.
The reign of Amoghavarsha is f rom 800 t o 878 AD (t hough some scholars
says t hat his reign was 62 years), one of t he longest reigns. He was t he
great est ruler of t he Rast rakut a Empire. He indulged in const ant wars wit h t he
East ern Chalukyas of Vengi and remained successf ul. Amoghavarsha was a
pat ron of t he Jains and liberally pat ronized t he Digambara sect of Jains.
His cont ribut ion led t o rapid progress made by t he Digambara Jain sect in t he
9t h and 10 t h cent ury under Jinasena and Gunabhadra. (As evident f rom
Mahapurana). Bot h of t hese Digambar Jain monks enjoyed f avor of more t han
one monarchs and much responsible t o eclipse Buddhism.
The result was t hat Buddhism f inally disappeared f rom Deccan in t he early
12t h cent ury.
Amoghavarsha deeply loved his subject s and many historians have
compared him with Asoka.
Successors of Amoghavarsha
Amoghavarsha was succeeded by Krishna II. Though his period is 878 AD t o
914 AD but it seems t hat he st art ed ruling during his f at her's reign. He was
f ollowed by Indra II, who was succeeded by Amoghavarsha II.
Amoghavarsha II was assassinat ed by his brother Govinda IV, wit hin one
year of his rule. Govinda IV reigned t ill 935 AD. The f eudat ories of Govinda IV
revolt ed and deposed him. He was succeeded by Amoghavarsha III (also
known as Baddiga).
These all rulers were less import ant and f inally, t he dynast y came t o an end
as t he last ruler Kakka II (Karaka) was killed by Taila II or Tailpa II t he scion
of old Chalukya st ock in 973 AD.
Thus Taila II f ounded t he dynast y of Chalukyas of Kalyani which last ed f or 2
cent uries.
Legacy of Rashtrakutas
The reign of Rast rakut as of Manyakhet a was f rom 753 AD t o 982 AD. The
rast rakut as were great pat rons of archit ect ure. The Rast rakut a archit ect ure
was a splendid f orm of Rock cut archit ect ure. Most of t he shrines were
Buddhist caves such as Ellora and Elephant a at Maharast ra.
Kailasanatha temple at Ellora
Ellora caves, locat ed 30 km nort hwest of Aurangabad, make up one of t he
major cave t emple groups in India, belonging t o t he Rast rakut a period. In Ellora
t here are Buddhist , Hindu as well as Jain cave t emples, spread over a st ret ch
of 2 km. These are not just cave t emples but also t emples sculpt ed out of
rock and are much richer in st yle and det ail. Caves 1-12 are Buddhist , 13-29
are Hindu and 30-34 are Jain, excavat ed in t hat order. Most ext ensive and
sumpt uous of t hem all is t he Kailasanat ha t emple. It was carved out of single
solid granit e about 100 f eet high and t he t emple measures 150' X 100'. There
are f our main part s of t he t emple, and t hose are t he main shrine, t he ent rance
gat eway t o t he west , a Nandi pavilion and cloist er all round t he court yard.The
architecture style used in Kailasanatha temple was Dravida.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chalukyas of Kalyani
2013- 05- 23 17:05:52 GKToday
Cont ent s
About t he West ern Chalukya Empire or Chalukyas of Kalyani
Polit ical Hist ory of Chalukyas of Kalyani
Tailapa II
Sat yasraya
Someshwara I
Vikramadit ya VI
East ern Chalukya Empire: Chalukyas of Vengi
About the Western Chalukya Empire or Chalukyas of Kalyani
Af t er t he Chalukyas of Badami were dest royed by Dant idurga, t hey revived
af t er t wo cent uries in around 972-73AD. This was known as Chalukyas of
Kalyani and is supposed t o have t he same genealogy as t hose of t he
previous might y Chalukyas (t hough t his is disput ed). This was est ablished by
Tailapa-II who was one of t he f eudat ories of t he Rast rakut a. For 200 years
t hey remained in conf lict wit h t he Cholas and also t he east ern Chalukyas of
Vengi. The Hoyasala Empire f inally dest royed t hem in 12t h cent ury. The
empire of Chalukyas of Kalyani is also known as West ern Chalukya Empire.
This empire has a great cont ribut ion in t he modern Kannada lit erat ure as well
as Sanskrit lit erat ure.
Political History of Chalukyas of Kalyani
The last ruler of Rast rakut a Dynast y Kakka II (Karaka) was killed by Taila II
or Tailapa II t he scion of old Chalukya st ock in 973 AD. Thus Taila II f ounded
t he dynast y of Chalukyas of Kalyani which last ed f or 2 cent uries. For 200
years t hey remained in conf lict wit h t he Cholas and also t he east ern
Chalukyas of Vengi. They were f inally dest royed by t he Hoyasala Empire in
12t h cent ury. The empire of Chalukyas of Kalyani is also known as Western
Chalukya Empire. This empire has a great cont ribut ion in t he modern
Kannada lit erat ure as well as Sanskrit lit erat ure.
Tailapa II
Tailapa-II was one of t he f eudat ories of t he Rast rakut as. He rest ored t he
f amily of his ancest ors t o it s f ormer glory. Taila reigned f or 24 years and
during t hat t ime was able t o recover t he ancient t errit ory of his race except
t he Gujarat region. We know about his reign f rom t he Gadag records. He
pat ronized a Kannada poet Ranna who was one t he earliest poet s of Kannada
language. Ranna, Adikavi Pampa and Sri Ponna t oget her are called three
gems of Kannada literature.
Most of t he t ime, Tailapa II kept on f ight ing wit h Munja, a Paramara king of
Dhara. Munja was f inally capt ured and probably killed in capt ivit y. This was in
995 AD. Two years lat er Tailpa died and his crown was passed on t o his son
Sat yasraya
Satyasraya
The period of reign of Sat yasraya was 997 t o 1008 AD. Though, t o st ar wit h,
he adopt ed t he aggressive policy of his f at her had enmit y wit h t he east ern
Chalukyas and Cholas. His 11 years reign was dist urbed and was f inally f aced
t he disast rous consequence of a war wit h t he great Chola Rajaraja-I. Rajaraja-
I overran t he Chalukya count ry and loot ed and killed a large number of men,
women and children. Sat yasraya was f ollowed by Vikramadit ya V and
Jaysimha II. The next import ant king was Someshwara I.
Someshwara I
Someshwara I, who was also known as Ahavamalla or Trilokamalla reigned
f rom 1042 AD t o 1068 AD. The cont emporary Chola King was Rajadhiraja
Chola I who became Chola king in t he same year i.e. 1042. Someshwara I had
est ablished Kalyani as it s capit al.
He f aced t he at t ack of Rajadhiraja Chola-I, who overran init ially t he
Chalukyan capit al and demolished t he f ort s and erect ed t he pillars as a
memorabilia of t he vict ories, but t he Chalukyan count er at t ack f orced t hem
out . Under Someshwara-I , t he Chalukya army raided Chola capit al
Kanchipuram but it was repelled back. Finally in the battle of Koppam,
Rajadhiraja Chola was killed. But his younger brot her t ook t he command and
drove t he Chalukyas back. In t his at t ack, brot her of Someshwara-I was killed.
The reign of Someshwara I is known f or numerous wars.
This able king of t he West ern Chalukya Empire ended his lif e by drowning
himself in t he river Tungabhadra, due t o his inabilit y t o endure a f ever.
Someshwara I was succeeded by his elder son Someshwara II, but
Someshwara II was soon deposed by his younger brot her Vikramaditya VI,
whose reign is f rom 1076 - 1126 AD.
Vikramaditya VI
Vikramadit ya VI ascended t he t hrone in 1076 AD which marks t he beginning of
Chalukya-Vikram era. Vikramadit ya VI was one of t he ablest kings of t he
West ern Chalukyan Empire. He lef t t he maximum number of inscript ions, all in
Kannada.
He is t he hero of a hist orical poem (Vikramankadevacharit a) by Bilhana, a
Kashmir poet and reigned f or around half a cent ury in t olerable peace.
Vikramadit ya VI capt ured Kanchi in lat e in his career and engaged wit h serious
bat t les wit h a Hoyasala King of Dorsamudra known as Vishnu. In t he capit al
Kalyani during t he t imes of Vikramadit ya VI, a celebrat ed jurist of t he 12t h
cent ury called Vijnevara lived. Vijnevara has writ t en a t reat ise on
inherit ance which is among t he most inf luent ial legal t reat ises in Hindu Law
out side Bengal. The t it le of t his work was Mit ksar.
Mit kar is considered t o be an import ant comment ary on
Yajnavalkya Smrit i. Anot her work by Vijnevara is Dayabhaga,
which is also relat ed t o Hindu law. Deat h of Vikramadit ya VI was
f ollowed by a decline of Chalukya Empire. The West ern Chalukya
Dynast y ended in 1190, when most part s of it s t errit ory were
absorbed by Yadavas of Devagiri and Hoyasals of Dorsamudra.
The last King of West ern Chalukyan Empire was Someshwara IV.
Af t er his deat h, t he remaining t errit ories of t he West ern Chalukyan
Empire were absorbed by t he Great Hoyasala King Veera Ballala II.
Read here about t he Temple Archit ect ure of Chalukyas of Kalyani
Eastern Chalukya Empire: Chalukyas of Vengi
The origins of t he Chalukyas of Vengi go back t o t he t ime of Pulkesin II when
he had appoint ed his brot her Kubja Vushnu Vardhana as a Viceroy of Vengi
in around 620 AD. This developed as an independent kingdom f or a short
period and lat er remained under t he cont rol of f irst Rast rakut a and t hen
Cholas. They cont ribut ed t o t he growt h of t he Telugu literature.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Temple Architecture of Chalukyas of Kalyani
2013- 05- 23 17:05:16 GKToday
Cont ent s
Truket shwara Temple, Gadag
Temples of Lakkundi
Kasivisvesvara Temple, Lakkundi
Mahadeva Temple, It agi
Doddabasappa Temple, Dambal
Import ant f eat ures of t he Temples of t he West ern Chalukyas
While t he buildings of t he Chalukyas of t he Badami are cent ered in and around
Pat t adakal, Aihole, Badami & Alampur, t he buildings of t he West ern Chalukyas
are widely dispersed, which ref lect t he syst em of t he local government and
decent ralizat ion in t he West ern Chalukyan Administ rat ion.
The major improvement over t he previous Badami Chalukya t emple was t he
"Archit ect ural Art iculat ion" or ornamentation on the outer walls of the
shrine. The presence of Figure sculpt ure such as Heroes of Ramayana and
Mahabharat a and loving couples (Mit huna) was addit ional st ruct ure of t hese
t emples at t he earliest period. The West ern Chalukyan Temples are eit her
Ekakuta (one mandapa of one shrine) or Dvikuta (a common hall at t ached t o
t wo shrines). The st yle has charact ers of bot h t he Nort hern as well as
Dravidian t emple archit ect ure. This combinat ion of both of these style is
known as Vesara Style, also Central Indian Style, which is represent ed by
t he Hoyasala Temples.
Most of t he t emples of t he West ern Chalukyas are dedicat ed t o Shiva, some
of t hem dedicat ed t o Vishnu and Jain Tirt hankars also. The Hoysalas
archit ect ure was clearly inf luenced by t he West ern Chalukyan Archit ect ure.
Truketshwara Temple, Gadag
Gadag Style: The Gadag St yle ref ers t o the ornate columns in t he t emples.
This st yle originat ed in t he period of t he West ern Chalukya King Someshwara
I. The f inest example of Gadag st yle is Trikuteshwara Temple at
Gadag.
The hall mark of t he Gadag St yle of Ornat e pillars is visible in t he
Trukuteshwara Temple complex located at Gadag. This t emple
was creat ed during t he reign of Someshwara I in t he 11t h cent ury. The
t emple is dedicat ed t o Shiva and has t hree lingams mount ed on a
single st one. The ornat e pillars are locat ed in an exclusive Saraswat i Shrine in
t he t emple complex.
Temples of Lakkundi
Lakkundi is a t iny village in Gadag Dist rict of Karnat aka. Here, we f ind 50
t emples of t he West ern Chalukyan Empire, most import ant of which are
Mahadeva Temple and Kahi Visheveshwar Temple. The place is also a
source of around 30 inscript ions of t he Chalukyas, Kalachuris, Seunas,
Kadambas and Hoysalas.
Kasivisvesvara Temple, Lakkundi
Kasivisvesvara Temple, Lakkundi is one of t he most
ornat e t emples in Karnat aka. This t emple was init ially
built in t he West ern Chalukyan Empire and lat er
addit ions were done by Verea Ballala II, t he great
Hoyasala King. It 's a Dvikut a Temple.
Mahadeva Temple, Itagi
About 20 kilomet ers f rom Nakkundi is locat ed t he Mahadeva Temple
of It agi. It was built by one of t he commanders of the Western
Chalukya King Vikramaditya VI in 1112 AD. This t emple is one of t he
f inest example of "Dravida Art iculat ion" in Nagara st yle. This is
evident f rom t he pict ure of t he Shikhara of t he main shrine shown
here.
Doddabasappa Temple, Dambal
Doddabasappa Temple locat ed at Dambal in Karnat aka is one more
example of f ine West ern Chalukyan Art . This t emple is a variant of
Dravida style called t he karnatadravida Temple style. The t emple
is built on unint errupt ed 24 point ed st ar shaped f loor plan, which is
dif f erent f rom t he pre exist ing 6-12 and 24 int errupt ed st ar shaped
t emples.
Ot her West ern Chalukya Temples are locat ed at Kuknur, Lakmeshwar,
Bankarupa et c.
Important f eatures of the Temples of the Western Chalukyas
The west ern Chalukya t emples show an improvement over t he previous
experiment s. These t emples are show a t ransit ion f rom t he Nagara t o
Dravida st yle and creat e a new st yle Karnat adravida.
The ornat e columns are seen as one of t he most import ant f eat ures
and t hat is why some of t he t emples such as "Mahadeva Temple" are
called f inest in Karnat aka af t er Halebid.
The Temple plan in most of t he plans is st ar shaped. Most t emples are
dedicat ed t o Shiva and Nandi at t he ent rance of t he shrine appears as a
main f eat ure
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Hoysala Empire
2013- 05- 23 17:05:02 GKToday
A f amily or clan named Hoyasala had at t ained considerable power in t he
present day Karnat aka during t he 12t h and 13t h cent ury. This empire ruled
almost all t he present day Karnat aka bet ween t he 11t h t o mid of t he 14t h
cent ury. Their capit al was Belur which was lat er shif t ed t o Halebidu. This
period was a very import ant era f or t he development of t he art , archit ect ure
and religion in t he Sout hern count ries. The Hoyasala Empire cont ribut ed in t he
growt h of bot h t he Kannada and Sanskrit lit erat ure.
The earliest known king of t his empire is Nripa Kama II who lived around 1026-
1047 AD. He was probably a f eudat ory of t he Western Gang Dynasty and is
known t o have indulged in f ut ile wars against t he Cholas.
However, anot her early Hoyasala ruler Vinayadit ya
was a f eudat ory of Chalukyas of Kalyani.
Vinayadit ya was having f amily t ies wit h Western
Chalukyan King Someshwara I. His son Ereyanaga
t ried t o est ablish himself as an independent
monarch but was not successf ul. He was
succeeded by Veera Ballala-I who was also an
unimport ant ruler. The f irst not able great Hoyasala
king was Vishnuvardhana, who was also known as
Bittiga.
Vishnuvardhana
The period assigned t o reign of Vishnuvardhana or Bittiga is 1108-1152 AD.
He is best known f or t aking st eps t o consolidat e t he Hoyasala Empire.
He est ablished his capit al at Dorsamudra, which is modern Halebidu in
Karnat aka. Vishnuvardhana was younger brot her of Veera Ballala-I. He
assumed t he t it le of Talakadagonda and Veera Ganga. He built Nirt inarayana
t emple at Talakad and Chennakasava t emple at Belur. He was originally a Jain
and Jain religion enjoyed high f avour under his minist er Gangaraja's prot ect ion.
He carried out numerous conquest s and def eat ed t he might y kings of t he
Chola, Pandya and Chera kingdoms. It is said t hat under t he inf luence of
Ramanujacharya, Vishnuvardhana convert ed t o Hinduism and became a
Vashnavit e. This is evident by a number of Vishnu t emples, built during his
reign. He died in 1152 and his son Narsimha I ascended t he t hrone. Narsimha I
killed t he West ern Chalukyan ruler Tailapa III. He was succeeded by Veera
Ballala II.
Veera Ballala II
Veera Ballala II (11731220 AD) was anot her great est monarch of t he
Hoyasala Empire. He put t he Chalukyas of Kalyani t o en end by def eat ing
Someshwara IV. Af t er t his def eat Someshwara IV shif t ed his capit al t o
Banavasi, and t he Kalyani passed t o t he hands of Yadavas of Devagiri. Wit h
Cholas he had f amily relat ionships. The successors of Vera Ballala II were
most ly unimport ant rulers. The last great King was Veera Ballala III.
Veera Ballala III
Veera Ballala III was t he last great ruler of t he Hoyasala Empire. His reign was
f rom 1291 AD t ill 1343 AD. In 1310, t he commanders of Sult an Alauddin Khilji
had invaded t he Deccan devast at ing most of t he count ries. By 1318 Devagiri
was occupied by Sult an of Delhi and by 1336, almost all Hindu Kingdoms of t he
sout h except t he Hoyasala Empire were annexed t o t he Delhi Sult anat e. A
muslim Madurai Sult anat e was also f ormed in t hose years. Veera Ballala III
campaigned against t he muslims. He made Tiruvannamalai as his new capit al
and f ounded anot her capit al at t he banks of River Tungabhadra at
Hosapattana where his able commanders Harihara and Bukkaraya
(popularly known as Hakka and Bukka) f ounded t he Vijayanagar Empire in 1336.
Veera Ballala III was killed in one of t he bat t les against t he Delhi Sult an in 1343.
He was succeded by Harihara Raya I who f ounded t he Sangama Dynast y of
t he Vijayanagar empire. The f ollowing pict ure shows t he dynast ies in t he 12
th
cent ury in India.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Temple Architecture of Hoyasala Empire
2013- 05- 23 17:05:34 GKToday
Cont ent s
Chennakesava Temple, Belur
Hoysaleshwar Temple, Halebid
Chennakesava Temple, Somanat hapura
Import ant Feat ures of t he Hoyasala Temples
By t he 13t h cent ury, t he power of t he Cholas had declined. This was t he t ime
f or a great and sophist icat ed cult ure when marvellous t emples were built in
Karnat aka and part s of Tamil Nadu. Hoyasala inf luence was at it s zenit h
during t he 13t h cent ury and t he art ist s of t his empire f reely borrowed f rom t he
Chalukya and Chola t radit ions and creat ed a st yle unique in many ways.
Hoyasala hist ory is clear f rom t he t ime of King Vishnuvardhana, who ruled
f rom A.D. 1108 t o A.D. 1142. Inscript ions show t hat t he king, his wif e and his
minist ers were generous pat rons of t emples.
Chennakesava Temple, Belur
Vishnuvardhana, who defeated the imperial Cholas in A.D. 1116, in
the memory of establishment of his dynasty and this victory, built
a temple for Kesava, or Chennakesava, at Belur, and named it the
Vijayanarayana temple. The temple is a classic example of the
ornate style of temple art under the Hoysalas. They inherited a
rich tradition of temple building from the Chalukyas and the
Cholas.
Hoysaleshwar Temple, Halebid
Hoysaleshwar Temple was built bet ween A.D. 1121
and A.D. 1160 in t he area of Halebid, known t hen as
Dorsamudra, which was t he capit al of t he Hoysalas.
It was also built during t he reign of Vishnuvardhana.
The t emple is Dvikut a, means t wo shrines which are
called "Hoysaleswara" and "Shant aleswara".
Shant ala was queen of Vishnuvardhana. The t emple is best known f or
sculpt ures on t he out erwalls.
Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura
Chennakesava Temple, Somanat hapura was built by Soma, a commander of
t he Narsimha III. It is also one of t he f inest st ruct ures of t he Hoyasala
archit ect ure.
Important Features of the Hoyasala Temples
The Hoyasala built around 1500 t emples at 958 cent ers bet ween 1000
AD t o 1346 AD. The f inest t emples were commissioned during t he t imes
of Vishnuvardhana.
He was a subordinat e t o t he West ern Chalukyas and probably af t er
declaring independence want ed t o excel in t his art also. This is evident
f rom one of his inscript ions which says "built it f rom t he wealt h which he
amassed f rom t he sword".
The Hoyasala t emple archit ect ure was heavily inf luenced by t he
West ern Chalukyas, Cholas as well as Pallavas, t hough t here was a
depart ure f rom t he Chalukyan st yle.
This is evident f rom t he f act t hat in t he beginning, t he t emples were not
over decorat ed, but t he lat er t emples have t his f eat ure in almost of it s
t ot alit y.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Yadavas of Devagiri
2013- 05- 23 17:05:34 GKToday
The Yadavas of Devagiri were t he descendant s of t he f eudat ory nobles of
t he West ern Chalukyan (Chalukyas of Kalyani )Empire.
The most import ant t errit ory which t hey had under t hem was bet ween
Devagiri (Modern Dault abad) and Nasik and was known as Sevana or Seuna,
t hough t hey had inf luence in
modern Maharasht ra, Nort h
Karnat aka and part s of
Sout hern Madhya Pradesh.
They are known as
f ounders of Marat hi
Cult ure.
The name Seuna has been
used f or t hem in t he
Hoyasala and Kakat iya
inscript ions and seems t o be
probably derived f rom t he
name of Seunachandra, second ruler of t his dynast y.
This dynast y was f ounded by Dridhaprahara. His son Seunachandra ruled an
area of present Khandesh which was known as Seundesa.
Bhillama 1173-1191 AD
The f irst of Yadavas in t his line t o achieve import ance was Bhillama or
Bhillama V, who est ablished t he sovereign Seuna Kingdom and f ounded
Devagiri in 1187 AD. His t errit ory was bordered by Parmaras in Nort h, Kakt iya
in east , Hoyasals in Sout h and Solankis in west . The might y Devagari f ort
which was 184 met ers was capt ured by Alauddin Khilji in 1294 and was lat er
plundered by Malik Kaf ur again 1307, 1310 and 1318 was an import ant
landmark of his reign. Bhillama was killed in a bat t le wit h a Hoyasala Chief in
1191 AD. The second great ruler of t his dynast y was Singhana II.
Singhana II
Singhana II (1200-1246 AD) was t he most import ant ruler of t he Yadavas
Dynast y. He carried out several conquest s and expanded t he kingdom f rom
t he banks of Narmada t o Tungabhadra. He invaded Gujarat and ot her
count ries and made t he Yadavas Kingdom mat ching in ext ent t he realms of
t he Chalukyas and t he Rast rakut as. Singhana II was a great pat ron of f ine art s
and lit erat ure.
Sarangadeva, t he great aut hor of Sangita Ratnakar was an account ant in
t he court of Singhana II. His work Sangeet Ratnakara is considered t o be one
of t he most import ant works on Hindust ani as well as Classical Music.
Raja Ramchandra
The Yadavas of Devagiri, akin t o t he Hoyasals were dest royed by t he
Muslim invaders.
Raja Ramchandra was t he last sovereign Hindu Ruler of Deccan.
When Alauddin Khilji, sult an of Delhi crossed t he Narmada River, t he nort hern
f ront ier of Yadavas in 1294, t he Yadava Ruler Raja Ramchandra (1291-1309
AD) was obliged t o surrender and was ransomed his lif e by a large t reasure
t hat included 600 maunds of pearls, t wo Maunds of Diamonds, rubies,
emeralds and sapphires. (
One maund was around 40 Kilograms, though Maund was
officially pegged at 37.3242 kilograms in British India/ independent India
).The Sult an's
incursions were again repeat ed by Malik Kaf ur in 1309 and Ramchandra again
submit t ed t o t he invader.Af t er his deat h, his son in law Harpala revolt ed
against t he Muslim Sult an in 1318 and was def eat ed, t hen f layed (skinned)
alive and was decapit at ed. This was t he miserable end of t he Yadavas of
Devagiri.
Ramchandra like ot her Yadava rulers was a pat ron of art and lit erat ure. In his
court , t he celebrated Sanskrit author Hemadri or Hemadpant served as a
Chief Minist er. Chaturvarga Chintamani was his encyclopedic Sanskrit work.
Hemadpant introduced Modi script f or writing in Marathi f rom Ceylon and
has lef t some valuable hist orical sket ch of Yadava dynast y.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Sangam Literature
2013- 05- 23 17:05:05 GKToday
Cont ent s
Earliest Ext ant Tamil Work: Tolkppiyam
Earliest Tamil Work: Agat t iyam
Themes of Sangam Lit erat ure
Classif icat ion of Sangam Lit erat ure
Pat inenmlkanakku
Pat inenklkanakku
Impact of Sanskrit on Tamil Lit erat ure
The scient if ic analysis of t he Sangam lit erat ure says t hat t his work was
composed in 120-150 years and most of t he lit erat ure was composed f rom
100 AD t o 250 AD. This is ent ire dif f erent f rom what has been ment ioned in
t he Iraiyanar Akapporul and Sangam legend. There are 2289 poems available
under Sangam Lit erat ure now; many of t hem are very short having only 3-5
verses. 102 of t hem are anonymous. The number of poet s est imat ed is 473.
Earliest Extant Tamil Work: Tolkppiyam
Tolkppiyam is a work of Tamil Grammar, which is said t o be t he earliest
extant work of Tamil Literature. There are t hree books in Tolkppiyam viz.
Ezhuttadikaram, Solladikaram and Poruladikaram, and each of t hem are
composed of nine chapt ers. This work has divided t he Tamil Language int o
t wo t ypes' viz. Sentamil (Classical Tamil) and Kotuntamil (Spoken Tamil).
Sent amil is used in almost all lit erary works of t he Tamil Language.
Earliest Tamil Work: Agattiyam
However, t he f irst work on Tamil Grammar, which is not ext ant and is lost
irret rievably, is Agattiyam. Rishi Agast ya wrot e it . Tolakappiar who wrot e t he
above-ment ioned Tolkppiyam is said t o be a disciple of Rishi Agast ya. As
per t he Tamil t radit ions, Rishi Agasyt a invent ed t he Tamil Language and
brought it s synt ax f rom t he lord Shiva.
Themes of Sangam Literature
On t he basis of int erpret at ion and cont ext , t he Sangam lit erat ure can be
described int o t wo t ypes viz. Agam (inner) and Puram (out er). The t opics of
Agam are relat ed t o personal and human aspect s such as love and sexual
t hings. The t opics of Puram are relat ed t o human experiences and emot ions
such as Heroism, Valor, Et hics and Philant hropy. The poems have also been
classif ied on nat ure t hemes which are known as Thinai. The t hemes are as
f ollows:
Kurinji (Mount ianous Theme).
Mullai (Forest s Theme)
Marutham (Agricult ural Land Theme)
Neithal (Coast al Theme)
Paalai (Desert Theme)
The lit erat ure was lost and f orgot t en. The Tamil Scholars S V Damodaram
Pillai and U V Swamit ha Iyer brought it int o light . They print ed and published
dif f erent works such as Tholkappiyam, Nachinarkiniyar urai, Tholkappiyam
Senavariyar urai, Manimekalai, Cilappat ikaram, Pat t upat t u, and Purananuru in
dif f erent part s of t he 19t h cent ury, all wit h comment aries.
Classif ication of Sangam Literature
Broadly, we can divide t he Sangam lit erat ure in 2 part s viz.
Patinenmlkanakku and Patinenklkanakku. Out of t hem, t he
Patinenmlkanakku ref ers t o t he oldest surviving Tamil Poet ry of t he Sangam
Age, dat ing back t o 200 BC t o 100 BC while t he Pat inenklkanakku ref ers t o
t he collect ion of 18 poet ic works, which belongs t o Post Sangam period, and
dat e back t o 100 AD t o 500 AD. This classif icat ion has been f urt her
summarized as f ollows:
Sangam Lit erat ure
Oldest Ext ant work on Grammar
Tolkppiyam
Oldest concept ual work on Grammar
Agat t iyam
Published Works
Pat inenmlkanakku
(Sangam Period)
Pat inenklkanakku
(Post Sangam Period)
Tot al 18 Works Tot al 18 Works
Et t ut t okai
(The Eight
Ant hologies)
Pat t uppt t u
(The Ten Idylls)
Nalat iyar
Thinaimalai Nurru
Aimpat hu
Ainkurunu Tirumurukrruppat ai Nanmanikkat igai Tirukkural
Akananru Kuricippt t u Inna Narpat hu Thirikat ukam
Purannru Malaipat ukat m
Iniyavai
Narpat hu
Acharakkovai
Kalit t okai Mat uraikkci Kar Narpat hu Pazhamozhi Nanuru
Kurunt okai Mullaippt t u
Kalavazhi
Narpat hu
Siruppanchamulam
Narrinai Net unalvt ai
Aint hinai
Aimpat hu
Mut humozhikkanchi
Thinaimozhi
Paript al Pat t inapplai
Thinaimozhi
Aimpat hu
Elat hi
Pat irruppat t u Perumpnrruppat ai
Aint hinai
Ezhupat hu
Kainnilai
Porunarrruppat ai
Cirupnrruppat ai
Patinenmlkanakku
This is t he collect ion of t he Sangam Period works. Et t ut okai is a large volume
of t he poems which is consist ing of more t han 2000 poems. These works,
which are called "The Eight Ant hologies", are on def erent t hemes such as
Narrinai on love, Kurunt okai on love, Aiankurunuru on erot ic love et c. So most
works of Et t ukot t ai are of Agam st yle. Most works of Pat t uppt t u are of
Puram cont ext and t hey have works on seasons and pict uresque nat ure of
Tamil Count ry. They are based upon t he t hemes of t he nat ure.
Patinenklkanakku
Pat inenklkanakku is t he post Sangam work t hat is of Agam as well as Puram
cont ext . Some import ant point s of some of t hese works is as f ollows:
Naaladiyar was composed by Jain monks and t he t heme is t he
t ransient nat ure of lif e and yout h. It was work of Nalatiyar.
Nanmanikkatiga is t he collect ion of 100 songs of Vilambi Naganaar and
deals condit ions / emot ions of 4 t ypes of people who cannot sleep in t he
night and t hey are t hief , lovelorn, af t er money, and worrying about losing
money.
Inna Narpathu describes t he t hings which should be avoided by t he
people. It deals wit h t he t hings t hat bring unhappiness such as beaut if ul
but disloyal wif e, wealt h of a miser, lif e under a t yrant and a beaut if ul
f lower wit hout f ragrance.
Iniyavai Narpathu deals wit h t he t hings which should not be avoided by
a person and seek even in adverse sit uat ions such as learning even by
begging, advice of learned persons, healt hy children, and not covet ing
ot her's spouse.
Kalavazhi Narpathu deals wit h war and polit ics.
Ainthinai Aimpathu deals wit h human emot ions, love, separat ion,
lovers' quarrels.
Thinaimozhi Aimpathu also deals wit h t he Agam subject s such as love,
seperat ion, lover f ight s et c.
Same is wit h Aint hinai Ezhupat hu.
Same is wit h Thinaimalai Nurru Aimpathu .
Thirukkural is t he f irst work in all of t he Dravidian lit erat ure which deals
wit h t he ehics. It was aut hored by Thiruvalluvar. It is also known as
Kural and is a collect ion of 1330 couplet s.
Thirikatukam deals wit h herbal medicines.
Acharakkovai deals wit h t he personal behavior and correct met hods t o
f ollow.
Pazhamozhi Nanuru deals wit h t he charact er of t he person.
Siruppanchamulam deals wit h t he nat ure and combines t he benevolent
humans wit h benevolent neighbors.
Muthumozhikkanch deals wit h t he right behavior and chast it y.
Elathi deals wit h human qualit ies and also narrat es some herbal
medicines.
Kainnilai deals wit h t he agam concept s.
Impact of Sanskrit on Tamil Literature
The Tamil language and lit erat ure did not f lourish in isolat ion and was
inf luenced by Sanskrit . The Aryans had penet rat ed t he whole of t he Tamil
Land by 6t h cent ury AD and Post Sangam lit erat ure cont ains some t races of
Aryan Cult ure. Inf luence of Sanskrit is more on t he f ive epics of Tamil
Lit erat ure, which were writ t en bet ween 1st cent ury AD t o 9t h cent ury AD. Out
of t hem Silappatikaram, which was writ t en by Ilango Adigal, brot her of
Senguvat t an, a Chera King and who was a Jain monk is a highly regarded epic.
The ot her f our epics are
Manimegalai which is a Buddhist Religious Work
Civaka Chintamani which is a Jain Religious work
Valayapathi which is also a Jain work of 9t h Cent ury
Kundalkesi which is a Buddhist work of 5t h cent ury by Nagasena.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Pandya Kingdom
2013- 05- 23 17:05:37 GKToday
Cont ent s
Ext ent of Pandya Empire:
Capit als and Main Cit ies:
Visit of Marcopolo
Madura, t he Lat er Capit al of Pandyas
Polit ical Hist ory of Pandyas
First Pandya Empire
Sundara Pandyan
Jat avarman Sundara Pandyan
Invasion of Malik Kaf ur
Pandya Kingdom ref ers t o t he Pandyas of Mahabharat a Period about whom,
we only know f rom t he t radit ional legends and epics. Of t his ancient Pandya
Kingdom was a king known as Sarangdhwaj, had t aken
part in t he epic war of Mahabharat a. This Pandya Kingdom and it s landmarks
such as Rishabha Mount ain, Agast ya and Varuna Tirt has, Kumari,
Thamiraparni, Gokarni et c. f ind t heir place in Mahabharat a. The ot her
ref erences, which may or may not be hist orically correct , link t hem wit h t he
event s of Mahabharat a. In Mahabharat a, t he Pandya Kings were allies of t he
Pandavas.
However, t he Pandya Empire was a dynast y, which f inds it s place in Sangam
lit erat ure, and lat er sources show t heir rule t ill 15t h cent ury AD.
The t errit ory was also known as Pandya Country.
The Pandya kings adopt ed t he f ish or a pair of Fishes as t heir f amily crest .
Extent of Pandya Empire:
The Pandya count ry, as per t he t radit ions ext ended f rom t he Podukottai
dist rict t o Kanyakumari in sout h and Achankovil River in Kerala (west ) t o River
Vegai (Madura) in East . The kingdom was ordinarily divided int o 5 principalit ies
which were known as "Five Pandyas". The early days capit al of Pandyas is
Korkai.
Capitals and Main Cities:
Korkai, which is now an insignif icant village in Tamil Nadu, was t he
commercial capit al and import ant port of t he Pandya Kingdom. Korkai
has been a cradle of Sout h Indian Civilizat ion and as per t radit ions; it is
considered t he home of three brothers who were supposed t o have
f ounded t he Pandya, Chera and Chola Kingdoms.
Korkai was center of Pearl trade and t his t rade was t he chief source
of wealt h f or t he Pandya Kings. Today, Korkai is locat ed 6 kilomet ers
f rom t he coast . The shif t is because of t he silt ing up of t he delt a, which
rendered Korkai inaccessible t o ships. Af t er Korkai, t he commercial
capit al of t he Pandyas was shif t ed t o a new port of at a t own Old
Kayal, which were about one and half kilomet ers f rom t he mout h of
river Tambraparni and locat ed in present Tinnevely district.
Visit of Marcopolo
Marcopolo landed in Pandya Empire (at Kayal) in 13t h cent ury and impressed
by t he wealt h and magnif icence of t he King, Prince as well as people, t agged
it as the richest kingdom in existence. However, t he same silt ing process in
14t h cent ury caused t he abandonment of t he Kayal t oo, and t he Port uguese
were compelled lat er t o shif t t heir business t o a port of Tuticorin, which was
f ree f rom silt ing of Delt a. The capit al of Pandyas was lat er shif t ed t o Madura
(now Madurai).
Madura, the Later Capital of Pandyas
Madura, t he lat er capit al of Pandyas was t he central seat of Tamil Sangam
literature. Today, Madurai is one of t he oldest cont inuously inhabit ed cit ies.
Madura was locat ed on t he banks of River Vaigai in Tamil Nadu. As early as
3rd Cent ury BC, Megasthenes visit ed Madurai and quot ed t his cit y as
"Methora" in his document Indika. In Sangam lit erat ure, Madura f inds special
place in Mathuraikkanci, a Pat hinenmaelkanakku ant hology. This work praises
a Pandya King Nedunchezhiyan. Similarly Madura has been described by
Pliny, Ptolemy and Strabo t oo.
Political History of Pandyas
No cont inuous hist ory of t he Pandya Kings prior t o 12th century AD has been
clearly writ t en. In Maurya Period, t he Pandya Kingdom was independent . One
of t he Pandya Kings had sent an embassy t o August us Caesar. Pandya
Kingdom was well known t o Greeks and Romans f or it s pearl t rade. Many
Roman coins have been f ound on many places in Pandya Empire, which shows
an exist ence of a well-developed t rade bet ween t he Romans and Pandyas in
t he early cent uries AD.
First Pandya Empire
Post Sangam period, t he f irst Pandyan empire was est ablished by a King
named Kadungon, who def eat ed Kalabras in 6t h cent ury AD. The
successors of Kadungon indulged in f ight ing wit h t he nearby Chera and Chola
Kings. Huen Tsang, who visit ed in 6t h cent ury AD t raveled up t o Kanchi which
was sout hernmost point of his it inerary. He has ment ioned t he people of t his
area as Malakot t ai. Malakot t ai may ref er t o t he Pandyan kingdom. Huen
Tsang ment ions t hat t he people in t his reason lit t le cared f or learning; t here
were Buddhist Monast eries, which were almost in ruins.
The last Pandya King of t his f irst Pandyan Empire was Maravarman
Rajasimha II who ruled f rom 900-920 AD. He was a cont emporary of t he Chola
King Parantaka Chola I, who overran his kingdom and capt ured Madura.
Parant aka Chola-I af t er t his vict ory, earned t he t it le of Maduraikonda.
Rajsimha II f led t o Ceylon af t er t his def eat and ret urned t o Kerala, where he
lived in low prof ile under a Chera King.
The great Rajaraja Chola-I in 1000 AD, reduced t he Pandya Empire, akin t o t he
ot her kingdoms of Sout h, t o a t ribut ary and af t er t hat , it cont inued f or a
cent ury or even long under t he Cholas. In t he t urn of t he 13t h cent ury, a vassal
of Chola Empire named Jatavarman Kulasekaran I ascended t o t he Madura
Throne in 1290, t urned rebel t o Cholas. The Cholas invaded him and sacked
Madurai. Jat avarman Kulasekaran I surrendered t o t he Chola king Kulot hunga
wit h wif e and son and acknowledging his surrender, he was ret urned his
capit al. But during t his, t he ancient coronat ion hall of Pandyas in Madurai was
dest royed and it also dest royed t he records if any of t he previous Pandyas.
This was t he reason t hat t he hist ory of Pandyas lost in obscurit y.
Sundara Pandyan
To t ake revenge of t his assault , younger brot her of Kulasekaran, named
Maravarman Sundara Pandyan, who came int o power in 1216 AD, invaded
t he Chola Kingdom. The armies of Sundara Pandyan sacked t he cit ies of
Thanjaur and Uraiyur of Chola Kings and drove t he Chola kings out in exile. His
armies marched up t o Chidambaram and in memory of t his vict ory, Sundar
Pandyan conduct ed a Thulabaram at t he Chidambaram t emple and donat ed
wealt h equal t o his weight . But , vict ory of Sundar Pandyan over Cholas was
f ollowed by a march of t he Hoyasala army t owards Sri Rangapattam.
Kingdom of t he Cholas was ret urned af t er int erf erence of Hoyasala king
Veera Ballala III, but now Cholas accept ed suzeraint y of t he Sundar Pandyan.
This was t he revival of second Pandyan Empire.
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan
Af t er Maravarman Sundara Pandyan, we know about his successor
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan (1251-61). He was a might y conqueror who
invaded Ceylon and carried of f t he great boot y. The f amous t oot h relic of
Buddha was also included in t his boot y. Wit h t his vict ory Jatavarman Sundara
Pandyan was called "Second Rama" f or plundering t he Island of Sri Lanka.
He covered t he Srirangam t emple wit h Gold. He also conf lict ed wit h t he
Kakat iya Kings of Warangal.
Invasion of Malik Kaf ur
Early in t he 14t h cent ury, a disput e arose about t he succession of t he Pandya
t hrone and one of t he claimant s appealed t o t he Sult an of Delhi, Alauddin Khilji
f or help. This probably result ed in an invasion by t he Sult an's f orces in 1310
under Malik Kaf ur. Malik Kaf ur sacked, loot ed Madura and marched up t o
Rameshwaram, where he erect ed a mosque. Af t er t hat invasion, t he Pandya
kings ruled sporadically at undef ined t errit ories and a sort of conf usion was
t here. Malik Kaf ur was f ollowed by t wo ot her expedit ions f rom t he Delhi
Sult anat e in 1314 AD led by Khusrav Khan and in 1323 AD by Ulugh Khan. What
happened t o Pandyas af t er t hat , very lit t le is known. Lat er Muhammad Bin
Tughlaq creat ed a sout hern province and placed Sayyid Jalal-ud-Din Ahsan
as it s governor. In 1333 AD Sayyid declared his independence and creat ed
Madurai Sultanate. Madurai Sultanate was replaced by t he Nayak
governors, who kept on ruling unt il arrival of Brit ish.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chera Kingdom
2013- 05- 23 17:05:29 GKToday
Cont ent s
Sat yaput ras
Kerala
Insignia of Cheras: Bow and Arrow
First Cheras: Ut hiyan Cheralat han
Second Cheras (Lat er Cheras)
Not many det ails are available about t he pre-Christ ian era hist ory of t he
Chera, Keralaput ra and Sat yaput ra.
Satyaputras
The f irst hist orical evidence about Kerala is f ound in t he inscript ions of Asoka
who cit ed f our kingdoms viz. Choda (Chola), Pada, (Pandya), Ket ala Put o
(Keralaput ra), Sat iya Put o (Sat yaput ra) in t he sout h of his empire. Keralaput ra
and Sat yaput ra is ment ioned in t he Rock Edict II and Girnar
Inscript ion.However, it ref erred t o which t errit ory and which dynast y was
most ly unknown. The hist orians have ident if ied it wit h t he port ions of t he
Malaya Mount ains of t he West ern Ghat s and cert ain lowlands around t hose
areas. Sat yaput ra are ment ioned in t he Puranas and Tamil Lit erat ure as well.
In t he Asoka's edict s, t hey f ind t heir place wit h Cholas, Pandyas and
Keralaput ra.
This means t hat Sat yaput ra had rose t o prominent power by t he t ime of
Asoka. However, af t er t hat , t here are not many det ails available about t his
dynast y.
Kerala
The word "Kerala" is of Prakrat origin and is not available in Sangam t ext s.
The et ymological ident it y of Kerala and Chera link t hem but it was not cert ain
t hat whet her t he present Kerala was t he Chera Kingdom.
However, Pandyas, Cheras and the Cholas were ment ioned in surviving
Tamil Lit erat ure (comprising of Chilappat ikaram, Tirukkural et c),
complement ing t heir ment ion in t he exist ing Sanskrit Lit erat ure viz. Puranas,
Vedas, Ramayana and t he Mahabharat a. Few hist orians now believe t hat
ancient Chera Kingdom included t he t oday's Kerala but separat ed in 389 AD
and t he Chera Realm was rest rict ed t o Tamilnadu (around Coimbat ore) and
sout hern part s of Karnat aka.
Insignia of Cheras: Bow and Arrow
The Chera Kings adopt ed t he "Bow and arrow" as a crest or
cognizance of t heir dynast y. They released a f ew coins, which
were charact erized by a bow device engraved on t hem.
Though t he aut hent ic list of t he Rajas of Travancore and t hat
of Cochin is f rom beginning of 13t h cent ury & 15t h cent ury
onwards, yet t he Chera Dynast y is considered t o be t he t wo
dynast ies t hat ruled in t wo dif f erent eras. The First Chera dynast y ruled f rom
300 BC t o 300 AD in t he Sangam Era and anot her dynast y f rom t he 9t h
cent ury AD onwards. The only source of knowledge of t he f irst Chera dynast y
is Sangam Text . Cheras ruled in Nort h Travancore, Cochin and Sout hern
Malabar. Capit al of t he early Cheras was Vanchi Mut hur in Kizhant hur-Kandallur
and Karur Vanchi and t he lat er Cheras was Mhodayapuram,
Kulashekarapuram.
First Cheras: Uthiyan Cheralathan
First recorded King of t he Cheras is Ut hiyan Cheralat han, who ruled anyt ime
bet ween 1st t o 3rd cent ury AD. He f ought numerous bat t les and in one such
bat t le wit h Cholas, he was def eat ed and due t o humiliat ion, he commit t ed
suicide t hat was a common pract ice t hose days. The second king of t he
Chera Dynast y was Imayavaramban Nedum Cheralatan , who died in a
bat t le wit h Chola Kings. The next import ant ruler was Senguttuvan, who is
hero of a f amous Tamil Epic Silapathikaram. Sengut t uvan is best known
f or sending t he f irst embassy t o China f rom Sout h India. His capit al was Karur.
The navy of Senguvattan was the best navy in the world.
Second Cheras (Later Cheras)
Kulashekhara Alwar, a Tamil King in 800 AD, f ounded t he second Chera
Dynast y. He had unit ed t he part s of t he Modern Kerala and ruled f rom his
capit al Mahodayapuram t hat is t oday's Kodungallur. Kulashekhara wrot e
Perumal thirumozhi, one of t he most celebrat ed devot ional works of t he Tamil
Bhakt i cult . He renounced t he crown t o become a Vashnavit e saint and lived in
Srirangam.
Af t er Kulashekhara Alwar, all kings are insignif icant and some of t hem
became saint s. The last Chera King was Rama Varma Kulashekhara who
ruled f rom 1090 t o 1102 AD. His cont emporary Chola ruler was Kulothunga
Chola-I wit h whom he f ought a war. His lif e is shrouded in myst ery as af t er
t his war, he is supposed t o have lef t India and embraced Islam. This ended
t he Chera dynast y and t he rulers were conf ined t o t he area around
Travancore.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chola
2013- 05- 23 18:05:16 GKToday
Cont ent s
Early Cholas
Dark Period
Medieval Cholas
Lat er Cholas
As per t he t radit ions, t he Chola Count ry or Cholamandalam was t he area
bound on t he Nort h by t he Pennar, Sout h by t he Vellaru River, at East ern
Coast of Bay of Bengal f rom Nellore and Pudukot t ai t o west unt il Coorg. It s
most ancient capit al was Uraiyur, near t he Trichurapalli in Tamil Nadu.
Theref ore, t he heart land was t he f ert ile valley of t he river Cauvery.
The Chola dynast y is one of t he longest ruling dynast ies of Sout h India, and it
exist ed f rom 300 BC unt il lat e 13t h cent ury AD, t hough t he t errit orial limit s
kept varying f rom t ime t o t ime. This period of around 1500 years can be
divided int o 4 part s as f ollows:
Early Cholas
Dark Period
Medieval Cholas
Lat er Cholas
Early Cholas
The Early Cholas ref er t o t he Chola Kingdom of t he Sangam Age f rom 300 BC
t o 200 AD. Most of t he inf ormat ion about t his, we have in t he f orm of Sangam
Lit erat ure, legends and religious t ext s of Buddhism and Jainism. Most
siginif icant ruler of t he early Cholas is Karikala Chola. Read about Early Cholas
Here.
Dark Period
Af t er t his early Chola Kingdom f ell, t here is a dark period, in which t hey exist ed
but insignif icant ly.
Medieval Cholas
The rise of t he Medieval Cholas is f rom 850 AD when Vijayalaya Chola of
Thanjaur re-est ablished t he Chola Power in Sout h India. These Chola Kings
ruled t ill 1070 AD and t he Cholamandalam f lourished. The import ant rulers of
t hese Cholas included:
Vijayalaya Chola
Adit ya Chola I
Parant aka Chola I
Rajaraja Chola I
Rajendra Chola I
Rajadhiraja Chola
Rajendra Chola II
Virarajendra Chola
Read about Medieval Cholas Here
Later Cholas
From 1070 AD t ill 1279 AD, is t he period assigned t o t he lat er Cholas. During
t his t ime, t he Chola Empire reached it s Zenit h and became t he "Most
Powerf ul Count ry" of t he world. These Cholas colonized t he Sout h East Asian
Count ries and had t he most powerf ul army and navy of t he world at t hat t ime.
The siginif icant rulers of Lat er Cholas were as f ollows:
Kulot t hunga Chola-I
Vikrama Chola
Kulot t hunga Chola II
Rajaraja Chola II
Rajadhiraja Chola II
Kulot hunga Chola III
Rajaraja Chola III
Rajendra Chola III
Read about Lat er Cholas Here
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Early Cholas
2013- 05- 23 17:05:34 GKToday
Not much aut hent ic inf ormat ion is available about t he Early Chola Kingdom.
The main source of it s knowledge is t he Sangam Literature. The ot her
sources are Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, which is a work of an anonymous
merchant of Alexandria, works of Pt olemy, Mahavamsa- t he Buddhist Text of
Ceylon, Pillars of Asoka, Hat higumpha descript ion of Kharvela- t he Kalinga
King and ot her numerous st one inscript ions f ound at various part s in t he
Sout hern Peninsula.
Karikala Chola
The most signif icant Early Chola ruler is Karikala Chola, who ruled around 270
BC and is ment ioned in t he Sangam Literature. The meaning of his name
"Kari + Kalan" ref ers t o "Slayer of Elephant s" but also means "t he one wit h
burnt limbs". This indicat es a f ire accident in his early age, which lef t his legs
charred. One of t he Sangam Poems t est if ies t his. Karikala Chola is best known
f or winning t he f amous "Battle of Venni" in which bot h t he Pandyas and
Cheras were crushed by him. The current locat ion of Venni is near
Thanjaur.The "Bat t le of Venni" was a t urning point in his career and he was
est ablished as a f irm power in t he Sout h. Some legends say t hat he won t he
whole of Ceylon Kingdom, af t er t he Bat t le of Venni.
World's earliest water-regulator structure in stone at Kallanai (Grand
Anicut )on River Cauvery was built by Karikala Chola. It was const ruct ed mainly
t o divert t he wat er f rom Cauvery River f or irrigat ion. This dam st ands as a
huge mass of 329 met ers (1,080 f eet ) long and 20 met ers (60 f eet ) wide,
across t he main st ream of t he Cauvery and is a major t ourist at t ract ion t oday.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Medieval Cholas
2013- 05- 23 18:05:34 GKToday
Cont ent s
Vijayalaya Chola
Adit ya Chola I
Parant aka Chola I
Gandaradit ya Chola
Rajaraja Chola I
Rajendra Chola -I:
Rajadhiraja Chola 1018-1059 AD
Rajendra Chola-II (1051-1063 AD)
Virarajendra Chola (1063-1070 AD)
Trouble in Chola Kingdom
From t he Third cent ury AD t o 9t h Cent ury AD is t he int erregnum in t he Chola
Hist ory. The Chola hegemony over Pandyas and Cheras was lost af t er t he
close of t he Sangam Era and sout h India was dist urbed by t he predat ory
act ivit ies of t he Kalabhras.
Kalabras was probably a t ribal clan f rom t he Deccan and t hey did not speak
Tamil. They might be t he ascendant s of t he Saat vahana, whose empire had
demised by early 3
rd
cent ury AD. Kalabhras were pat rons of Buddhism and
also Jainism. The demise of t he Saat vahana dynast y in Deccan creat ed a
chaos and out of t his chaos t he Kalabhras t ried t o creat e a niche f or
t hemselves. They invaded t he sout hern Tamil count ries which were not in a
posit ion t o count er at t ack. The Pallavas drove out t he Kalabhras.
Lat er, most of t he Chola t errit ories were lost t o Pandyas and Pallavas. In t he
medieval period, Chalukyas rose t o power. The Cholas and Chalukyas kept
f ight ing over cont rol on Vengi Kingdom f or a longer period of t ime.
Vijayalaya Chola
The f irst medieval Chola ruler was Vijayalaya Chola who in 848 AD re-
est ablished t he Chola rule. His capit al was Thanjaur. Vijayalaya was a Pallava
f eudat ory. Because of t his vict ory, t he Cholas became powerf ul and
Vijayalaya wiped out bot h t he Pandyas and Pallavas f rom t he Thanjaur area.
Vijayalaya renovat ed Thanjaur and built solesvara t emple at Padukot t ai.
Aditya Chola I
Adit ya Chola I was son of Vijayalaya and he succeeded him af t er his deat h. He
was a great Shiva devot ee and built a number of Shiva Temples on t he banks
of river Cauvery. Wit h Cheras he had f riendly relat ions. He died in 907 AD and
his son Parantaka Chola I succeeded him.
Parantaka Chola I
The f oundat ion of t he Chola Kingdom by Vijayalaya and Adit ya Chola-I was
f urt her enhanced by Parantaka Chola I. His reign was f rom 907 AD t o 955 AD.
Just t hree years of ascending t o t he t hrone, he at t acked t he Pandyas and
capt ured Madura, and assumed t he t it le Madurakonda.
Gandaraditya Chola
Gandaraditya Chola was insignif icant ruler and
30 years f rom 955 AD i.e. 985 AD, t he Chola Count ry was ruled by 5 Chola
princes, all insignif icant . Finally, in 985 AD Rajaraja Chola I ascended t he
Throne.
Rajaraja Chola I
The birt h name of Rajaraja Chola-I was Arulmozhi varman. He was also
known as Arunmozhi udayar Periya Udayar. He was such an able King t hat f or
t he period of next 20 years, he achieved so many vict ories t hat when he died
in 1014 AD, he was beyond disput e t he lord paramount of Southern India.
His t errit ory included t oday's whole of Tamil Nadu, Karnat aka, part s of Andhra
Pradesh, part s of Orissa, whole of Kerala and Sri Lanka. The Rajrajeshwaram
temple at Thanjaur, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site was built
by Rajraja Chola . It is known as Brihadeeswarar Temple or Peruvudaiyar
Kovil , devot ed t o lord Shiva.
Rajendra Chola -I:
Rajendra Chola I succeeded his f at her Rajaraja Chola I in 1014 AD and reigned
t ill 1044 AD. He was an able son and prince. He cont inued t he ambit ious career
of his f at her and added more and more t errit ories t o t he Chola Dominions.
Know more here about t his Gangaikonda.
Rajadhiraja Chola 1018-1059 AD
Rajadhiraja Chola was declared crown prince / Co-regent as early as 1018 AD
during t ime of his f at her Rajendra Chola I. He ruled wit h f ull regal st at us and
was leader of t he most of t he milit ary conquest s of his f at her including t hat of
Ceylon. He emphasized his claim t o a paramount power by perf orming an
Ashwamedha Yajna. In 1059, he was killed in t he Battle of Koppam near
Mysore.
Rajendra Chola-II (1051-1063 AD)
Rajendra Chola II had declared himself t he King in t he battlef ield of Koppam
in 1054 AD. He was declared heir apparent by his elder brot her Rajadhiraja
Chola 3 years ago.
He was a great pat ron of dance and poet ry. He provided necessary support
f or a musical dance drama Rajarajeswara Natakam at t he Brihadeshwara
Temple at Thanjaur. In 1063, he was succeeded by Virarajendra Chola.
Virarajendra Chola (1063-1070 AD)
Virarajendra Chola was a signif icant Chola ruler who reigned f rom 1063-1070
AD. He was younger brot her of Rajendra Chola II and Rajadhiraja Chola. We
see t hat in a span of around 18-20 years, t here was a rapid succession in t he
Chola Kings as t hree brot hers ruled one af t er anot her. This gave an
opport unit y t o Someshwara-I t o launch a campaign against t hem. They
conf lict ed in 1066 but t he Chalukyas led by Someshwara I were again
def eat ed. In Virarajendra Chola we f ind a brave, able, wise and st rong King
who not only maint ained t he st at us of t he Cholas but also was able t o
increase t he in Chola st rengt h. He died in 1070 AD. In his lif e he pat ronized art s
and cared f or t emples of all deit ies specially Lord Vishnu. Virarajendra Chola
was succeeded by Athirajendra Chola who reigned only f or f ew mont hs of
1070 AD. There was a civil unrest in t he Chola kingdom and he was killed in t his
unrest .
Wit h t he deat h of At hirajendra Chola, t he dynast y of t he Vijayalaya Chola
came t o an end. The next Cholas (Lat er Cholas) were act ually a f resh blood
arising out of t he Chola-Chalukya marit al alliances.
Trouble in Chola Kingdom
The deat h of Virarajendra Chola in 1070 AD was f ollowed by t roubles in Chola
Kingdom. Furt her, Vikramadit ya VI, his son-in-law at t ained signif icant posit ion
and soon st art ed t aking t he Chola alliance as a liabilit y. When Virarajendra
died, t here was an uprising (probably religious) in Chola Kingdom. Af t er hearing
t his, Vikramadit ya VI went t o t he Chola Capit al and dest royed t he uprising.
Vikramadit ya VI remained at Gangaikonda Cholapuram f or around a mont h
and t hen ret urned t o his capit al. At Gangaikonda Cholapuram, he inst alled
Athirajendra as new King. However, wit hin a f ew mont hs, At hirajendra was
killed in a f resh out break of rebellion. His own people most probably killed him.
At hirajendra had no male successor. When At hirajendra died, Rajendra Chola
or Rajendra Chalukya, who was lat er known as Kulot t hunga Chola I, capt ured
Chola t hrone. This was t he beginning of a new line of Chola Kings, called Lat er
Cholas, who were of f spring's of Chola-Chalukya alliance.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Later Cholas
2013- 05- 23 18:05:32 GKToday
Cont ent s
Trouble in Chola Kingdom
Kulot t hunga Chola-I (1070 1120 AD)
Vikrama Chola 1120-1135 AD
Kulot t hunga Chola II 1133 AD 1150 AD
Rajaraja Chola II 1150 1173 AD
Rajadhiraja Chola II 1166 AD -1178 AD
Kulot hunga Chola III 1178- 1218 AD
Rajaraja Chola III 1216-1256 AD
Rajendra Chola III 1246 1280 AD
From 1070 AD t ill 1279 AD, is t he period assigned t o t he lat er Cholas. During
t his t ime, t he Chola Empire reached it s Zenit h and became t he "Most
Powerf ul Count ry" of t he world. These Cholas colonized t he Sout h East Asian
Count ries and had t he most powerf ul army and navy of t he world at t hat t ime.
Trouble in Chola Kingdom
The deat h of Virarajendra Chola in 1070 AD was f ollowed by t roubles in Chola
Kingdom. Furt her, Vikramadit ya VI, his son-in-law at t ained signif icant posit ion
and soon st art ed t aking t he Chola alliance as a liabilit y. When Virarajendra
died, t here was an uprising (probably religious) in Chola Kingdom. Af t er hearing
t his, Vikramadit ya VI went t o t he Chola Capit al and dest royed t he uprising.
Vikramadit ya VI remained at Gangaikonda Cholapuram f or around a mont h
and t hen ret urned t o his capit al. At Gangaikonda Cholapuram, he inst alled
At hirajendra as new King. However, wit hin a f ew mont hs, At hirajendra was
killed in a f resh out break of rebellion. His own people most probably killed him.
At hirajendra had no male successor. When At hirajendra died, Rajendra Chola
or Rajendra Chalukya, who was lat er known as Kulot t hunga Chola I, capt ured
Chola t hrone. This was t he beginning of a new line of Chola Kings, called Lat er
Cholas, who were of f spring's of Chola-Chalukya alliance.
Kulotthunga Chola-I (1070 1120 AD)
Rajendra Chola I, t he great Gangaikonda had a daught er named Ammanaga
Devi. She had been given in marriage t o t he East ern Chalukyas of Vengi king
Rajaraja Narendra. The of f spring of t his union was Rajendra Chola or Rajendra
Chalukya who lat er became Kulot t hunga-I.
Kulotthunga literally means the "upraiser
of fame of the (two) families".
A f ew years of Kulot t hunga Chola -I were spent in
suppressing t he uprisings. In Sri Lanka also, some part s had declared t heir
independence. Vikramadit ya VI did not accept t he accession on Chola t hrone
by Kulot t hunga and t his was a t rouble t o deal wit h.
Kulot t hunga Chola I led t wo milit ary campaigns in Kalinga and annexed some
part s of t he t errit ories of Sout hern Kalinga int o Chola Empire. The rivalry
bet ween Kulot t hunga and Vikramadit ya VI let Kulot t hunga assume a t it le "
Viruduraja Bhayankara" i.e. Fright ning f or t he Vikramadit ya, as his inscript ions
say. A war was f ought bet ween t he combined armies of Kulot t hunga &
Someshwara II and Vikramadit ya VI. This bat t le ended in conf usion.
Under Kulot t hunga, t he empire remained int act except Sri Lanka. St ill t he
boundary bet ween t he West ern Chalukya and Chola was Tungabhadra river.
He was succeeded by his son Vikrama Chola in 1120 AD.
Vikrama Chola 1120-1135 AD
As a prince, his f at her as Viceroy of Vengi appoint ed Vikrama Chola. He was
recalled in 1118 AD and was declared as Co-regent . He ruled wit h his f at her t ill
Kulot t hunga died in 1122 AD. The West ern Chalukyas had become prominent
and t hey annexed Vengi by at t acking t he East ern Chalukyas. His period as a
prince was more import ant f or, he led t he conquest s t o Kalinga. He was able
t o recover Vengi.
He assumed t he t it le of "tyagasamudra" and was a great devot ee of Shiva. He
was succeeded by his son Kulot t hunga Chola II in 1133 AD.
Kulotthunga Chola II 1133 AD 1150 AD
Kulot t hunga Chola II was son and successor of Vikrama Chola. There are no
signif icant warf are in his account . He was a pat ron of t he Chidambaram
t emples. His reign was generally peacef ul. He was succeeded by Rajaraja
Chola II in 1150 AD.
Rajaraja Chola II 1150 1173 AD
Kulot t hunga Chola III had made Rajaraja Chola II his heir apparent and
coregent in 1146 AD. The t errit ories remained int act , but t he weakness of t he
Kingdom administ rat ions had st art ed becoming apparent in his rule. He st ill
had f ull cont rol over t he Vengi, Kalinga, Pandya, Chera et c. t errit ories and also
invaded Sri Lanka, but t he closing years of his reign saw a civil Unrest in t he
kingdom, in t he f ormer Pandya Territ ories. Bef ore he died, he made
Rajadhiraja Chola II as his heir appparent and coregent in 1163 AD. During his
reign t he Airavat eswarar Temple at Darasuram near Kumbakonam was built . It
is a world herit age sit e t oday. He made grant s t o t he t emples at Tanjore,
Chidambaram, Kanchi, Srirangam, Trichy and Madurai. He was succeeded by
his son Rajadhiraja Chola II.
Rajadhiraja Chola II 1166 AD -1178 AD
Rajaraja Chola II was succeeded by Rajadhiraja Chola II, who was most
probably not his son. His reign is known f or f urt her weakness in t he Chola
Kingdom and uprising, f ollowed by independence of local f eudat ories
part icularly among t he Pandyas. The Pandyas were allowed t o rule as t hey
wished during t he reign of Kulot t hunga I, subject ed t o subordiness t o t he
Cholas. There was a civil war among t he Pandyas, which required Chola's
at t ent ion and int ervent ion. But , t he Pandyas st art ed gaining prominence and
t he cent ral Chola Kingdom got weakened day by day. Rajaraja Chola II was
succeeded by Kulot hunga Chola III in 1178 AD.
Kulothunga Chola III 1178- 1218 AD
Kulot hunga Chola III was able t o crush t he Pandyas in Madurai, Cheras of
Venad, Hoysalas of Mysore as well as t he Sinhala Kings of Sri Lanka. The
cent ury t ook a t urn and a Pandya vassal of Chola Empire named Jat avarman
Kulasekaran I ascended t o t he Madura Throne in 1290, t urned rebel t o Cholas.
The Cholas invaded him and sacked Madurai. Jat avarman Kulasekaran I
surrendered t o t he Chola king Kulot hunga III wit h wif e and son and
acknowledging his surrender, he was ret urned his capit al. But during t his, t he
ancient coronat ion hall of Pandyas in Madurai was dest royed and it also
dest royed t he records if any of t he previous Pandyas.
To t ake revenge of t his assault , younger brot her of Kulasekaran, named
Maravarman Sundara Pandyan, who came int o power in 1216 AD, invaded t he
Chola Kingdom. The armies of Sundara Pandyan sacked t he cit ies of Thanjaur
and Uraiyur of Chola Kings and drove t he Chola kings out in exile. His armies
marched up t o Chidambaram and in memory of t his vict ory, Sundar Pandyan
conduct ed a Thulabaram at t he Chidambaram t emple and donat ed wealt h
equal t o his weight .
But , vict ory of Sundar Pandyan over Cholas was f ollowed by a march of t he
Hoyasala army t owards Sri Rangapat t am. Kingdom of t he Cholas was
ret urned af t er int erf erence of Hoyasala king Veera Ballala III, but now Cholas
accept ed suzeraint y of t he Sundar Pandyan. This was t he revival of second
Pandyan Empire and decline of t he might y Chola Power.
Rajaraja Chola III 1216-1256 AD
When Rajaraja Chola III, son of Kulot hunga Chola III came int o
power in July 1216, t he Chola Kingdom had reduced t o a very small t errit ory
compared t o t he earlier Cholas. In t he graphic, t he green shaded area shows
t he t errit ories of Rajaraja Chola III in 1246 AD, 10 years prior t o his demise.
His reign was of cont inuous t roubles. The Pandyas had become t he import ant
power in Sout h and Vengi and ot her areas were now under t he Hoysalas. Since
Rajaraja III was now a vassal of Pandyas, he did not pay t ribut es t o t he
Pandyan overlord. The Pandyan army ent ered his Chola Capit al and Rajaraja
III f led. He was capt ured at Sendamangalam. The Hoyasala King Narsimha
int erf ered and t hen only t he Chola King was released. The Hoysalas at t acked
t he Pandya army and def eat ed t hem on t he banks of river Cauvery. For rest
of his lif e Chola King Rajaraja III was dependent upon t he Hoysals f or aid and
help. He recognized his son Rajendra Chola III as heir apparent in 1246 AD.
Rajendra Chola III 1246 1280 AD
Rajendra Chola III came t o power in 1246 AD, when his f at her was alive. He
t ried t o st op t he rapid decline of t he Chola Kingdom, but at t his t ime, t he
Hoysalas t urned host ile and Pandyas became powerf ul. The sudden t ide of
t he Sundar Pandyan and his able successors swept out t he Chola Kingdom.
Rajendra III f aced a war and def eat in t hat war in t he hands of Pandyas. The
remaining t errit ories of t he Cholas were annexed t o Pandya Territ ory and t he
new king was Kulasekara Pandyan I , who was in reign since 1268, but got t he
Chola t errit ories in 1280. The Chola Kingdom ended t hus wit h Rajendra Chola
III. Whet her Rajendra Chola III died in t he war or else, is a quest ion, which has
not been resolved.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Chola Architecture
2013- 05- 23 18:05:04 GKToday
Cont ent s
Special Feat ures of t he Chola Archit ect ure
Vijayalaya Cholisvara Temple, Thanjore
Koranganat ha Temple, Srinivasanallur
Muvarkovil, Pudukkot t ai
Tiruvalisvaram t emple, Tiruneveli
Brihadeeswarar Temple of Tanjore
Brihadisvara t emple, Gangaikondacholapuram
We have read above t hat in t he beginning of t he medieval period, t he Kings
did not direct ly pat ronize t he religious shrines and gave only indirect support .
Most of t he art works were produced by t he guilds of t he art ist s who were
act ually f unded by t he villages and monks.
The tradition of direct patronization of the temples began with the
Pallavas.
The Chola period saw t he culminat ion of t his t radit ion, which result ed in t he
most sophist icat ed buildings of t hat era. The Tamil Nadu t emples were f ully
evolved in t heir st yle and design by t he 8t h cent ury.
Special Features of the Chola Architecture
The dvarapalas, or guardian f igures, at t he ent rance t o t he mandapa, or
hall which st art ed f rom t he Palava period became a unique f eat ure of
t he Chola Temples.
The Dravidian St yle got f ully developed af t er a t ransit ion f rom t he rock
cut st rucut res of t he Pallava Period.
Early Chola t emples at t he Bank of river Kaveri were smaller and brick
made, in comparision t o t he colosus buuildings of t he Imperial Cholas.
The t emples of t he Imperial Cholas are covered wit h exquisit e well
composed sculpt ures and f rescoes.
Largest and t allest of all Indian t emples i.e. Siva Temple of Thanjore
was built in Chola Period.
Ganas, among t he sculpt ures at t he t emple, are t he most memorable
f igures made in Chola t emples
Vijayalaya Cholisvara Temple, Thanjore
Under Pallavas, some of t he f inest t emples had been creat ed at
Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. However, t he largest and most
impressive buildings were creat ed under t he Cholas post 850 AD,
when Vijayalaya Chola t ook t he cont rol of Tanjore. The earliest
Chola Temple we f ind at Nart hamalai, where Vijayalaya Chola
commissioned a t emple named "Vijayalaya Cholisvara" t emple, dedicat ed t o
lord Shiva.
Koranganatha Temple, Srinivasanallur
Koranganat ha Temple is locat ed at Srinivasanallur, in
Tiruchirapalli Dist rict , on t he banks of river Cauvery. This
t emple was built by Parant aka Chola -I . The base of t his
t emple has t he sculpt ed myt hical animals 'Yazhi' . Yazhi is a
recurring pattern and unique f eature of Chola
architecture.
Muvarkovil, Pudukkottai
"Muvarkovil" lit erally means t emple of t hree. It was commissioned by
Parant aka Chola -II or one of his f eudat ories. It has t hree shrines st anding side
by side, however, only t wo are ext ant now.
Tiruvalisvaram temple, Tiruneveli
Tiruvalisvaram t emple is t he f irst example where all f eat ures of
t he Chola t emple archit ect ure are seen. It is covered wit h well
compsoed sculpt ures and f riezes. Ent ire cornice of t he t emple
has been ornat ed wit h creepers and f oliage.
Brihadeeswarar Temple of Tanjore
Brihadeeswarar Temple or Peruvudaiyar Kovil or
Rajrajeshwaram t emple at Thanjavur is t he world's f irst
complet e "granit e" t emple. It was built by Rajraja Chola-I
and is a part of UNESCO's world Herit age sit es. The
Vimana or t he t emple t ower (known as Raja Gopuram) is
216 Feet in height and is one of t he t allest buildings of it s
kind. The Nandi is carved out of a single rock. This t emple has complet ed 1
millennium in 2010. It was dict at ed by lord Shiva t o Rajraja Chola I, when he
t riumphed Ilam (Sri Lanka) Island.
Brihadisvara temple, Gangaikondacholapuram
Brihadisvara t emple at Gangaikondacholapuram was made by King Rajaraja's
son Rajendra I, who assumed t he t it le "Gangaikonda". Gangaikonda
Cholapuram was const ruct ed by Rajendra Chola I t o commemorat e his
conquest over t he Chalukyas and ot her f eudat ories, Kalinga, Gangas, Palas
et c. . . . These vict ories led him t o assume t he t it le
Gangaikonda. Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erect ed as
a new capit al of t he Cholas, which served as a Capit al
of t he lat er Cholas unt il t he Chola dynast y came t o an
end in 1280. It is now a small village in Tamil Nadu. There
is a great Shiva Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
All t he f ut ure princes of t he Chola dynast y were coronat ed at t he
Gangaikonda Cholapuram af t er Rajendra Chola I. Now, only t he t emple at t he
Gangaikonda Cholapuram survives. A magnif icent Royal Palace of burnt bricks
was built over t here, which was lat er t urned t o ruins most probably by t he
Pandyas. When Rajendra Chola I died in 1044 AD, t he ext ent of t he Chola
Empire was t he widest in t he word and naval prest ige was highest . The
benevolent imperialism of t he Cholas was maint ained by his successor
Rajadhiraja Chola.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Pallava Confederacy
2013- 05- 23 18:05:13 GKToday
Cont ent s
The Pallava Conf ederacy
Polit ical Summary of Pallavas
Sivaskanda Varman
Simhavishnu
Mahendravarman-I
Narsimhmvarman-I
The Pallava Conf ederacy
Pallava lit erally means a Branch. The Pallavas were a prominent power in India
f or more t han 4 cent uries but t here are no records about t hem in t he
vernacular legends. They were f orgot t en unt il discovery of a copper plat e
grant in 1840. The name "Pallava" appears t o be ident ical t o Pahalva, t he
f oreign clan which is f requent ly ment ioned in t he Inscript ions and Sanskrit
lit erat ure. This led t o development of a t heory t hat t he Pallavas who became
a ruling dynast y of t he Sout h India might have come f rom t he Nort h West ern
Front ier of India. This t heory has been support ed on t he basis of t he f act t hat
t he Pahalavas were prominent in t he 2nd cent ury AD and were classif ied wit h
t he Sakas and Yavanas by t he local hist orians.
The ot her t heories say t hat Pallavas were earlier Feudat ories of t he
Saat vahana. Some ot her hist orians say t hat t hey are of f spring of Cholas in
one side and Naga Rulers of Ilam (Sri Lanka) on t he ot her. The Allahabad
Pillar inscript ion ment ions t he name of a king Vishnugopa whose realm was in
Kanchi. Several members of t he Pallavas bear t he same name.
The terms Tondaiyar and Tondaman (i.e. people of Tondamandalam)
have also been used f or t he Pallavas.
Political Summary of Pallavas
Sivaskanda Varman
The f irst Pallava about whom we hear is Sivaskanda Varman of second
cent ury AD. He was lord of many subordinat e chief s and was able t o perf orm
Ashwamedha, which was permissible t o only t he paramount sovereigns. Then,
we know about Hastivarman, who was def eat ed by Samudragupt a. The
t errit ories of t he Pallavas init ially were not very ext ensive and it was more or
less t aken as a predat ory t ribe like t he Kalabhras.
Simhavishnu
The pict ure about t he Pallava dynast y st art s get t ing cleared f rom
Simhavarman, who ascended t he t hrone in somet imes around 570 AD. He
was a great milit ary man and is known t o have def eat ed t he Tamil Count ries
and kings of Ceylon. His son Simhavishnu was t he f irst Pallava monarch
whose domain is believed t o have ext ended beyond Kanchipuram.
Simhavishnu was pat ron of Bharavi, t he great poet who wrot e t he f amous
Kiratrjuniya, t he dialogue bet ween Arjuna and Shiva and in which Shiva
blessed Arjuna wit h t he Pasupat a Shast ra. In t he early 7t h cent ury, t he
Pallavas succeeded in imposing t heir rule f or a f ew years upon t he whole of
t he West ern Chalukya Kingdom and at an unspecif ied dat e, t hey levied t ribut e
even f rom t he Kalinga t errit ories.
Mahendravarman-I
We know about a Pallava Monarch Mahendravarman-I , son of Simhavishnu
who encount ered wit h t he ambit ious Chalukya Monarch Pulkesin II. He was a
great pat ron of art and archit ect ure and 5 celled cave t emples at Pallavaram
were built during his reign. Mahendravarman-I wrot e Mat t avilasa Prahasana or
'The Farce of Drunken Sport ' . It s a one act play. The celebrat ed rock cut
t emples at Mahabalipuram which are commonly called "Seven Pagodas" was
excavat ed by t he Pallavas most probably under Mahendravarman I.
Narsimhmvarman-I
Mahendravarman I was succeeded by Narsimhmvarman-I in 630 AD, who was
equally brave and able prince.
He def eat ed is Chalukyan count erpart Pulkesin II in 642 AD and t hus t ook t he
revenge of his f at her's def eat . Pulkesin II was killed f ight ing him. He assumed
t he t it le "Vatapikonda" af t er def eat ing t he Chalukyan Monarch and sacking
t he capit al Vat api (Badami). Nayanmar saint s like Appar and
Tirugnanasambandar lived during his reign. Huen Tsang visit ed t he Pallava
kingdom during t he reign of Narsimhavarman-I. Among t he successors t he
import ant ones were Nripat unga who def eat ed a Pandya King Shrimara.
Articles from General Knowledge Today
Pallava Architecture
2013- 05- 23 18:05:00 GKToday
Cont ent s
Most import ant Feat ures of t he Pallava Archit ect ure
Mandagapat t u rock cut t emple
Kailasanat har Temple, Kanchipuram
Vaikunt ha Perumal t emple, Kanchipuram
Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
The myst ery of 7 Pagodas
While t he early Chalukyan ruled in t he Karnat aka, t he early Pallavas ruled in t he
Andhra Pradesh. Under t he ablest kings such as Mahendravarman, t hey
ext ended t heir t errit ories t o t he Tamil Nadu From t he t ime of great
Mahendravarman, f inest examples of Pallava art were creat ed in Tamil Nadu
such as Shore Temple and 7 pagodas of Mahabalipuram.
Today's Mahabalipuram was known as Mamalai (Green Hill) in ancient t imes.
Pallava King Mahendravarman successor Narsimhamvaraman was known as
"Mamalla" or "The warrior". This port cit y was named "Mamallapuram" af t er
Narsimhamvaraman. This was one of t he great est port s of ancient t imes and
here was a "cosmopolit an' cult ure where people rubbed t heir shoulders wit h
t he Romans. This is evident f rom t he roman coins f ound here and t races of a
roman colony locat ed here.
Most important Features of the Pallava Architecture
The Pallava archit ect ure shows the transition f rom t he Rock Cut
Archit ect ure t o t he St one built t emples.
The earliest examples of t he Pallava art are t he rock cut t emples of t he
7t h cent ury AD, while t he lat er examples are of st ruct ural t emples built
in 8t h and 9t h cent ury.
The rock cut relief s of t he Pallavas are t he earliest surviving royal
port rait s af t er t he Kushana images.
At t he end of 6t h cent ury, King Harsha ruled in t he Nort h and he pat ronized t he
Buddhist Inst it ut ions. In Sout h, Pallavas expanded t hemselves f rom t he much
of t he Andhra Pradesh of t oday t o much of Tamil Nadu. The Pallava Kings are
known t o be one of t he great est pat rons of t he art , music, archit ect ure, dance
and lit erat ure. King Mahendravarman was a poet and a playwright who wrot e a
sat ire on cont emporary lif e t it led "Mattavilasa Prahasana". Anot her King of
Pallava Dynast y named Rajsimha (Narsimhamvaraman) was such a great
lover of art t hat he used t he t it le "Kalasamudra" f or himself .
Mandagapattu rock cut temple
The earliest monument of
Mahendravarman was Mandagapat t u rock
cut t emple which was a single rock cut
t emple built wit hout any wood, brick or
met al. It is locat ed near Villupuram in Tamil
Nadu. This t emple has t he icons of large
Dwarapalas which lat er became a
charact erist ic of almost all sout h Indian
t emples.
However, one of t he most marvelous chapt ers
opened wit h t he reign of successor of
Mahendravarman i.e. Narsimhavarman "Mamalla" or
Rajsimha. During his reign at Mahabalipuram,
massive boulders were t ransf ormed int o a world of
divine. These are earliest st yles of t emples in Sout h
India. Kanchipuram was t he capit al of t he Pallavas
f rom 4t h t o 9t h cent ury. Huen Tsang visit ed t his cit y
and wrot e it a glorious cit y. Here, Buddhaghosa lived
in 6t h cent ury.
Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram
Kailasanat har Temple is best building creat ed during t he reign of Pallava King
Narsimhamvaraman. This t emple is one of t he most beaut if ul t emples in India
which has well balanced sculpt ures like a jewel box. This t emple is import ant
f or hist oric point of view because:
This t emple inspired Rajraja Chola I t o built anot her great beaut y
Brihadeshwar Temple at Tanjore.
The direct & close int ervent ion of t he rulers st art ed af t er creat ion of t his
t emple.
Thus, t he Kailasanat har t emple began a new t radit ion in India where t he kings
t ook deep int erest in building t he t emples wit h great st ruct ural design and
ant iquit y. This t emple has t he Lion Sculpt ors everywhere. Lion was t he insignia
of t he Pallavas.
Vaikuntha Perumal temple, Kanchipuram
Vaikunt ha Perumal t emple is locat ed at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. It was
built by Nandivarman. It is one of t he 108 Divya Desams (108 holiest Shrines of
Vishnu). The t emple was named "Parameshwara Vishnugriham" af t er t he
original name Parmeshwara of Nandivarman.
Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
Shore Temple is a granit e made t emple at
Mahabalipuram built during t he rein of
Narsimhavarman. This group of t emples is a UNESCO
World Herit age Sit e and is oldest st rucut ral t emple (in
cont rast wit h rock cut t emples) in India. It s a beaut if ul 5
st oryed t emple, which is a combined complex of 3
shrines; 2 dedicat ed t o Shiva and one t o Vishnu.
Importance of Shore Temple: The Shore Temple
marks t he culminat ion of t he archit ect ural ef f ort s t hat began wit h t he cave
t emples and monolit hic rat has.
The mystery of 7 Pagodas
7 Pagodas is a t erm associat ed wit h the Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram.
It is said t hat 6 more t emples were associat ed wit h it , all now submerged in
wat er. The legend is t hat prior t o Narsimhamvaraman, t he const ruct ion of t he
cave t emples had st art ed in t he t ime of Mahendravarman. But lat er t he order
f or f ree st anding st rucut res was given and 7 rathas (f ree standing temples)
were created. Af t er t he 2004 Tsunami, t he sand deposit s of around 500
met ers f rom t he Shore t emples were gulped by t he sea and a clear
arrangement of manmade st ruct ures was seen (TOI, February 26, 2005). The
ASI st art ed t he excavat ions and it was said t hat sonar syst em indicat ed man
made st ruct ures under t he sea.