Lost treasures of Ancient India 1/5

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Ancient India refers to the period from prehistoric period through to medieval India. Some of the key empires of ancient India include:

The Indus Valley civilization (3300-1300 BC): This civilization was located in what is now Pakistan and northwest India. It existed at the same time as ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, and had a population at its peak of over 5 million people. Basically an agricultural society it also had an urban culture and large cities such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro with planned towns and cities with brick buildings. The inhabitants were skilled in metallurgy and various kinds of handicrafts and extracted copper, bronze, lead, and tin.

The Aryan civilization (or Vedic period) (c. 2000-500 BC) arose next. Hinduism developed and the Vedas and the Upanisads were written. Religion and morality grew in sophistication. The concepts of karma and reincarnation were introduced. The caste system was instituted. The religions of Jainism and Buddhism arose, partly in response to some of the strictures of Hinduism (such as the caste system).

The Maurya Empire (321-184 BC): This was a large empire centered along the valleys of the Indus and Ganges rivers, and extending from Aghanistan through to Assam. It enjoyed excellent trade, agriculture, finance, administration, and security. One of the Mauryan emperors, Asoka, was revolted by war and so took up Buddhism and a period of peace harmony) ensued. Asoka caused a series of edicts (setting forth his principles) to be carved on pillars which were placed at various important places in his empire. The Mauryan Empire was a time of great wealth and culture. The famous sculptures and paintings in the Ajanta caves come from this period.

The Gupta Empire (c. 320 to 550 AD) came after a period of disunity and trouble. Under the Gupta rulers, India again became a vast, unified, peaceful and prosperous country. It was a time of artistic and scientific achievements. Decimal numbers were introduced. Hinduism had a resurgence and Buddhism was reduced to an almost fringe religion in this its home country (it would expand greatly in east and southeast Asia).

The Age of the Rajut Warriors (6th to 12th centuries AD), the Muslim invasions (which led to the Mughal Empire) and the British Raj were important empires which arose after the end of ancient India