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Ancient India

The Indus Valley Civilization existed in between 3000-1500 BC while the earlier Kot Diji cultures, of the pre-Indus period, existed in the period of approximately 3300-2800 BC. Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro were the greatest achievements of the Indus valley civilization. These cities are well known for their impressive, organized and regular layout. Then came Aryans who composed these evocative hymns to nature and celebrated life exuberantly referred to themselves as Aryas usually anglicised as Aryan meaning 'noble'. The 6th Century B.C. was the period of Magadh Kingdom. Chandragupta Maurya ousted the oppressive ruler of Magadh to find his own dynasty that existed from 322 - 298 B.C. The most famous Maurya King Ashoka the Great ruled from 273 - 232 B.C over a large kingdom stretching from Kashmir and Peshawar in the North and Northwest to Mysore in the South and Orissa in the East. He after witnessing the carnage at the battle field of Kalinga (269 B.C.) in Orissa, dedicated himself to Dharmma ( righteousness ). In the subsequent centuries, after the Ashoka empire disintegrated, India suffered a series of invasions, and often fell under the spell of foreign rulers - Indo Bactrians, the Sakas and others. After the next 400 years of instability the Guptas established their kingdom. Kalidas, the famous Sanskrit poet and dramatist, author of Abhijnana Shankuntalam, Kumarsambhavam and Meghadutam is believed to have adorned the Gupta court. Also the great mathematicians like Aryabhatta and astronomers like Varahmihir lived during this period. The dazzling wall paintings of the Ajanta caves too are traced back to this era. Cholas, Pandayas and Pallavas ruled over the southern part of India during the medieval period of India� history. Cholas ruled the territory of Deccan s (today the districts of Thanjavur and Tiruchirapally) while the Pandyas reined around present day Tirunelvelli and Madurai. Pallavas of Kanchi rose to prominence in the 4th Century A.D. and ruled unchallenged for about four hundred years. The Nayanar and Alvar saint poets belong to this period. The gemlike shore temples at Mahabalipuram date to this period. The Cholas overthrew the Pallavas were in the 9th Century and regained political primacy in south India. The 15th Century saw the decline of the Pandyas.

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3000 - 2600 BC - Harappa Civilisation
Indus Valley civilizations covering approx 1/2 million miles of Northern Indian subcontinent is the largest ancient civilization in history till now. Since both stone and copper are used it is a chalcolithicivil.The Indus Valley people are highly artistic and skilled.Their chief features include a highly organized urban setup and a strong economy.

The IVC economy is flourishing with extensive cultivation of wheat, barley. The Indus river is used for transport, weights are all very accurate and highly standardized and traders have own personalised seals. Harappa Civilisation - Fashion The exact origins of the IVC people is disputed but appears to belong to four ethnic types including the Protoaustioloids, Mediterraneans, Mongoloids and Alpines. People enjoy a comfortable life with a variety of luxuries like ornaments in agate and gold, cosmetics (kajal) and elaborate toys for children. Painting on pottery is skillful and covers various themes while small sculptures in terracotta (animals, toys), soft stone (bearded man) and metal jewels abound. The greatest artistic skill is in the seals. These engravings of animals, flowers and other symbols have artistic, religious and economic value . Harappa Civilisation - Town Planning The city of Mohenjo Daro is testimony to the town planning activities of the IVC. Cities are divided into lower dwellings & the Citadel which houses important buildings. The streets form a grid system and are of modulated
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width. Bricks of fixed sizes are used for building while stone and wood are also used.Municipal authorities who are responsible for the whole of the valley also regularly maintain a highly efficient drainage system.Buildings in the lower area are rather monotonous, being mainly functional rather than decorative. But many houses are 2 storeyed. Harappa Civilisation - Architecture Great Bath: Mohenjo Daro has a sophisticated system of water supply & drainage and its brickwork, is highly functional and the amazing part of it is - that it is completely waterproof. The granaries are also intelligently constructed, with strategic airducts and platform are divided into units. The Dock at Lothal is to be used for inland & foreign trade. Harappa Civilisation - Religion The culture and religion of the IVC overlap and perhaps repetitive symbols such as the pipal leaf and swastika have religious significance. Human dieties include a "proto type of Shiva" and a mother goddess. Animal symbols such as the bull and unicorn and those of tree spirits and water dieties are also common. These are images from the Harappan culture which existed in the Indus River Valley and which reached its peak around 2600 BC, shortly after the development of urban societies in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Additional information can be found on the " India and South Asia " Chronology.

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Vedic Era [1200-500 BC]
Rig Veda The Rig-Veda is a collection of over 1,000 hymns, which contain the mythology of the Hindu gods, and is considered to be one of the foundations of the Hindu religion. While the Rig is the oldest of the Vedas, there are three other Vedas. There is the Sama Veda, which is the "knowledge of chants" or a number of basic hymns recited at sacrifices. There is also the Yajur Veda or "knowledge of rites" which serve basically as a "how to make sacrifices" book. The final Veda is the Athara Veda, this Veda represents the knowledge given by Athara who was a sage. These Vedas were passed on orall

550 BC - Birth of Mahavira
Vardhamma Mahavira was not the founder of Jainism, but he reformed and refined previous teachings of the Jaina tradition. Mahavira was born in 599 BC in Kaundinyapura near modern Patna. Scholars debate the birth date and place. Some claim it to be as late as 490 BC in Kundapura near Vaishali or in Vaishali, which is in present day Bihar. Mahavira was born to a highranking family and received an education fit for a nobleman. He learned about literature, art, philosophy, and military and administrative sciences. Mahavira married a princess named Yasoda and had a daughter named Anojja. When Mahavira was 28, his parents died, and Mahavira wanted to abandon everything and everyone.

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To please his brother, Mahavira decided to stay at his home until the age of 30. For those two years, Mahavira practiced self-discipline and gave up luxuries by giving charity to beggars. When Mahavira left his family at the age of 30, he also gave up all property, wealth, and pleasures. He left his home and mediated, fasted, and went without water. After all this, Mahavira tore out his hair and wandered naked with a piece of cloth on his shoulder. Mahavira essentially became a homeless man. This did not bother Mahavira, because he was going to teach the Jain Religion. Vardhamma Mahavira became the 24th Tirthankara or "ford-maker" of the Jain or Jaina Religion. Mahavira traveled naked to various parts of northern India, teaching and preaching. These parts included Bihar, western Bengal, and western Uttar Pradesh. Mahavira attracted all kinds of people, including kings, queens, rich, poor and both men and women. Mahavira taught that the center of right conduct was the five great vows of which he preached until his death. Four were from the previous teacher Parshva, and the fifth was his own. The vows were (asteya) to not take anyone's private possessions, (satya) to always tell the truth, (aparigraha) to not own any property, (ahimsa) to not injure or annoy any living thing, and (brahmacarya) to have complete celibacy. Parshva let his followers wear clothing, but Mahavira did not want his followers to wear any. In this, Mahavira was very faithful to his teachings. The most noticeable extent of these vows was that Mahavira let vermin inhabit his body, because it was wrong to kill any living creature. Mahavira vowed to neglect his body and agreed to suffer all things that could happen. "Mahavira taught 73 methods for exertion in goodness by which many creatures, who believed in and accepted them, studied, learned, understood, and practiced them, and acted according to them, obtained perfection, enlightenment, deliverance, beatitude, and an end to all misery". This was the very extreme form of the vow. He gave up all he had and was celibate. Mahavira's quest, for himself and others, was to finally reach nirvana or salvation. Nirvana is the attainment of the blissful state of one's self and of total freedom from the cycle of birth, death, life, pain, and misery. The final step for Mahavira and all that follow him was the final removal of the karma or self. Mahavira attained nirvana the 13th year of his new Jain life. This happened while he was fasting, not drinking water for two days, and meditating. Not only did Mahavira attain nirvana but he also attained kevala. Kevala is the absolute knowledge and is the highest awareness. Vardhamma Mahavira finally died in 527 BC at the age of 72. Mahavira is believed to have become Siddha, never to go through the cycle of birth and death. Mahavira was able to rid himself of karma by destroying it and won his soul's salvation by never returning to earth.

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563 - 483 BC - Sidhartha Gautama, the Buddha
Sidhartha was born (c. 563 BC; Kapilavastu, Nepal) into the Gautama family of the Shakaya clan. The Shakayas were members of the priestlywarrior caste. In fact, Sidhartha's father was the head of the tribe so Sidhartha was a prince and seemed destined to rule. He lived a luxurious life and the received the best education his father's wealth could provide, but his father also sheltered him from life's hardships. He married a woman named Yashodhara and they lived in his father's house. Sidhartha was still protected from the trials of life. Yashodhara bore a son, and Sidhartha believed that he was happy. Then, during one of his few excursions from the protection of his father's palace, Sidhartha saw three things which opened the harsh realities of life to him. He saw an old man, suffering from the frailties of age. He saw a sick man, suffering from disease. He also saw a dead man, which shocked him greatly. He finally realized that the infirmities of old age, and the pain of sickness and death caused suffering that he had never experienced. This revelation caused him to begin a search for truth that drastically changed his life, and, eventually, the lives of millions. At the age of twenty-nine he left his home, his wife, his son, and his father. He gave up his claim to the succession of his father's throne and left the palace. He studied Yogic meditation with two Brahman hermits and achieved high cognitive states in both trance and meditation, but his desire for absolute truth was not satisfied. For the next six years, Sidhartha placed his body under severe asceticism, which included extreme fasting and suspension of breathing. These practices almost killed him, but they did not satisfy his search for truth. He finally ended his acetic lifestyle and began to eat. Sidhartha decided to meditate until the absolute truth would lie clearly in front of him. He meditated under a Bodhi tree where he sat facing east. At the age of thirty-five, on the night of the full moon, Sidhartha reached enlightenment and became an "enlightened one"--a Buddha (c. 528 BC) He had at last discovered the truth he had sought, and he immediately shared it with five ascetics who had practiced near him. After a few weeks of rest, he decided to teach the way to enlightenment to others and went to Deer Garden where he held his first sermon, " The turning wheel of Dharma." Sidhartha felt a strong call to teach others even though he could never teach the content of enlightenment, only the way of enlightenment. Buddha called his teachings "the middle way", because it was in the middle between asceticism and indulgence.

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For the next forty-five years he taught as the Buddha or "Shakyamuni" (sage of the shakaya"). He also established a community of monks called sanga. The Buddha died after forty-five years of teaching at the age of eighty.

India, 336 BC: Alexander has launched an attack on the Indian sub-continent.
[336 BC-323 BC] The throne of Macedon in south-east Europe has been occupied by Alexander. Having defeated the last of the Persian rulers and conquered the Acharmenian empire, Alexander has vowed to conquer the Indian satraps. His army has crossed the Hindukush mountains and is strengthening its position near Kabul. He has captured the fortresses of Massaga and Aornos. Alexander is from a far off land called Greece. This is reportedly beyond the horizon. The astonishing fact about this he is just 21 years old! It's known from wellplaced sources that he is planning to launch a major attack on the Pauravan king across the Jhelum river. The Pauravan king is planning a massive counter attack. Alexander defeats the Pauravan King India, 326 BC: Alexander moves through the dense jungles of Ohind. Then, having crossed the Indus river and secured the help of the Ambhi, king of Taxila, Alexander marches on to the Jhelum. The Pauravan king with an army of 30,000 soldiers, horses and elephants provided fierce resistance but was eventually defeated. When Alexander asked the Pauravan king to bow, the latter answered, "Act like a King". Impressed by the Pauravan king's efforts he has given him back his kingdom. Alexander leaves India Alexander has moved further. He concentrated on capturing the Chenab and Ravi plains upto Beas. This strategy of Alexander is typical of the great Greek rulers. Having conquered several tribes and satraps, Alexander has received many presents including brocades, gems, tigers, etc. He wanted to move further towards the Ganges valley, but has been stopped by his tired troops.

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So with a heavy heart, Alexander has retraced his steps to the Jhelum. He has been severally wounded while storming one of the citadels of the powerful tribe of Malavas. Through the desserts of Baluchistan and with terrible sufferings, he has reached Babylon. And in 323 BC , not very long after his return to Babylon, Alexander dies. "The hold of the great king [Alexander] on the Indian frontier slackened considerably in the fourth century BC. The arduous campaigns of Alexander restored the fallen fabric of imperialism and laid the foundation of a closer contact between India and the Hellenic world. The Macedonian empire in the Indus valley no doubt perished within a short time. But the Macedonian had welded the political atoms into one unit and thus paved the way for the permanent union under the Mauryas."

322 BC - Rise of the Mauryas, Chandragupta Maurya captures Magadha
Establishes First Indian Empire [322-298 BC] Chandragupta, with the help Chanakya (Kautilya), who is also known as the Indian Machiavelli, destroyed the Nanda rulers of Magadha and established the Mauryan empire. It is said that Chanakya met Chandragupta in the Vindhya forest, after being insulted by the Nanda king. Alexander's invasion prompted Indians to develop a centralised state. Chandragupta declared war and defeated Selucus Nicator, the Macedonian ruler of the Northwestern territories captured by Alexander the Great. Along with the the astute advice of Chanakya, Chandragupta also seized Punjab, Kabul, Khandahar, Gandhara and Persia from Seluces. Seluces' daughter was married to Chandragupta. "Selucus failed and had to conclude a treaty with Chandragupta by which he surrendered a large territory including, in the opinion of certain writers, the satrapies of Paropanisadai (Kabul), Aria (Herat), Arachosia (Qanadahar) and Gedrosia (Baluchistan), in return for 500 elephants. The treaty was probably cemented by a marriage contract. A Greek envoy was accredited to the Court of Pataliputra." An Advanced History of India by RC Majumdar, HC Raychaudhri & Kalinkar Datta The most important result of this treaty was that Chandragupta's fame spread far and wide and his empire was recognised as a great power in the

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western countries. The kings of Egypt and Syria sent ambassadors to the Mauryan Court. Chandragupta's birth shrouded in mystery Chandragupta Maurya's origins were shrouded in mystery. Having been brought up by peacock tamers, he could be of low caste birth. According to other sources, Chandragupta Maurya was the son of a Nanda prince and a dasi called Mura. It is also possible that Chandragupta was of the Maurya tribe of Kshatriyas. Mauryan Administration Maurya empire was the first really large and powerful centralised state in India. It was very well governed, with tempered autocracy at the top and democracy at the city and village levels. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador at the court of Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, had expressed his admiration for the efficient administration of the empire. His book 'Indica' is a collection of comments of other Roman & Greek travelers, and Megasthenes wrote about the prosperity of the Mauryan cities. He further reported that agriculture was healthy, water abundant and mineral wealth was in plenty. Speaking of the general prosperity, Megasthenes wrote, "the Indians, dressed in bright and rich colors, they liberally used ornaments and gems." He also spoke of the division of society according to occupation and the large number of religious sects and foreigners in the empire. Chandragupta Maurya's son Bindusara became the new Mauryan Emperor by inheriting an empire including the Hindukush, Narmada, Vindhyas, Mysore, Bihar, Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Baluchistan & Afghanistan.

298 BC: Bindusara becomes the new king of Mauryan Empire
[298 BC - 273 BC] After ruling for about twenty five years, Chandragupta left his throne to his son Bindusara and became a Jain ascetic. Bindusara inherited an empire including the Hindukush, Narmada, Vindhyas, Mysore, Bihar, Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Baluchistan & Afghanistan. He was called Amitraghata which means "slayer of foes" by Greek writers.

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Bindusara's Empire Bindusara extended his empire further as far as south Mysore. He conquered sixteen states and extended the empire from sea to sea. The empire included the whole of India except the region of Kalinga (modern Orissa) and the Dravidian kingdoms of the south. The Dravidians kingdoms of the Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras were very friendly with the Mauryan empire and so the king felt no need to conquer them. However, Kalinga was not friendly with the Mauryans and so a war was fought between the people of Kalinga and Mauryans led by Bindusara's son Ashoka. Administration during Bindusara's Reign Bindusara maintained good relations with Selucus Nicator and the emperors regularly exchanged ambassadors and presents. He also maintained the friendly relations with the Hellenic West established by his father. Ambassadors from Syria and Egypt lived at Bindusara's court. He preferred the Ajivika philosophy rather than Jainism.

272 BC - Ashoka's Reign, Ashoka coronated as Mauryan king
[273 BC - 232 BC] Ashoka, the most trusted son of Bindusara and the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, was a brave soldier. He was the most famous of the Mauryan kings and was one of the greatest rulers of India. During his father's reign, he was the governor of Ujjain and Taxila. Having sidelined all claims to the throne from his brothers, Ashoka was coronated as an emperor. Ashoka extended the Maurya Empire to the whole of India except the deep south and the south-east, reaching out even into Central Asia. 261 BC: The Kalinga War Ashoka succeeded in conquering Kalinga after a bloody war in which 100,000 men were killed, 150,000 injured and thousands were captured and retained as slaves. The sight of the slaughter involved in his conquest deeply distressed Ashoka and deeply affected his mind. This was a turning point in his life. He renounced war and sought peace in Buddha's preachings of love and ahimsa (non-violence). The war also developed in him a hatred for all kinds of violence. So he gave up hunting and slaughtering of animals. He became a strict vegetarian.

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Under his reign Buddhism spread to Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, Central Asia, Burma. For propagation of Buddhism, he started inscribing edicts on rocks and pillars at places where people could easily read them. These pillars and rocks are still found in India, spreading their message of love and peace for the last two thousand years. To his ideas he gave the name Dharma. Ashoka died in 232 BC. The capital of Ashoka pillar at Sarnath is adopted by India as its national emblem. The "Dharma Chakra" on the Ashoka Pillar adorns our National Flag.

180 BC - Fall of the Mauryas & Rise of the Sungas
Fall of Mauryas Emperor Ashoka ruled for 37 years. He died in 232 BC. During his reign he gave up war and preached peace in the kingdom. Seven kings (some say 10) followed Ashoka within a period of 50 years. The Mauryan empire was breaking up. There are different opinions about the fall of the kingdom. Some say that since the later part of Ashoka's reign was devoid of wars, the military were inactive and this weakened them. Others say after Ashoka there were no strong kings to rule such a vast empire. Life of People in Mauryan Empire Extract from "A History of India for Children" by Roshan Dalal: Many people were agriculturists. They grew rice, wheat, barley, pulses, cotton and vegetables. Others were artisans. They specialised in different crafts, as in the earlier period. Textiles, wooden, and ivory objects, perfumes, jewellery from semi-precious stones, items of iron and copper and the shining black pottery described earlier, were among the things they made. Traders and merchants carried goods to far-off places by land and sea. Soldiers defended the kingdom. Ministers and officials helped the king. Philosophers and religious people wandered through the kingdom in search of the truth about life and death, and why life existed. Sungas Dynasty The last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty was Brithadratha. He was killed by his own commander-in-chief Pushyamitra Sunga in 185 BC. With the fall of Mauryas, India lost its political unity. Pushyamitra Sunga became the ruler of the Magadha and neighbouring territories. The northwestern regions comprising Rajputana, Malwa and Punjab passed into the hands of the foreign rulers. The kingdom of Pushyamitra was extended upto
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Narmada in the south, and controlled Jalandhar and Sialkot in the Punjab in the north-western regions. Pushyamitra died after ruling for 36 years (187-151 BC). He was succeeded by son Agnimitra. This prince is the hero of a famous drama by India's greatest playwright, Kalidasa. Agnimitra used to hold his court in the city of Vidisa, modern Besnagar in Eastern Malwa. The power of the Sungas gradually weakened. It is said that there were ten Sunga kings. Kanva Dynasty (75BC - 30BC) The last ruler of the Sunga dynasty was overthrown by Vasudeva of the Kanva dynasty in 75 BC. The Kanva ruler allowed the kings of the Sunga dynasty to continue to rule in obscurity in a corner of their former dominions. Magadha was ruled by four Kanva rulers. In 30 BC, the southern power swept away both the Kanvas and Sungas and the province of Eastern Malwa was absorbed within the dominions of the conqueror.

30 BC - Rise of the Satvahana Dynasty
The Satvahana Dynasty After the decline of the Mauryan empire the Satvahanas established their kingdom in the Deccan. They were also known as Andhras. They first rose to power in present Maharashtra on the banks of the Godavari. The founder of the Satvahanas was Simuka. But the man who raised it to eminence was Satakarni I. The Satvahana dynasty began its rule in about 40 or 30 BC, and continued until the 3rd century AD. Satakarni I allied with powerful Marathi chieftain and signalled his accession to power by performing ashvamedhas (horse-sacrifice). After his death, the Satvahana power seemed to have been submerged beneath a wave of Scythian invasion.

AD 80-104: Reign of Gautamiputra
Gautamiputra Satakarni was the famous king during the Satvahana dynasty. He defeated the Sakas (Scythians), Yavanas (Greeks) and Pahlavas (Parithans). His empire extended upto Banavasi in the south, and included Maharashtra, Konkan, Saurashtra, Malwa, west Rajasthan and Vidharbha. His son, Vasishtiputra, ruled at Paithan on the banks of Godavari. Two other cities, Vaijayanti (in North Kanara) and Amravati (in the Guntur district), attained eminence during the Satvahana period. Kings succeeding
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Gautamiputra lost many of their territories. But the power of Satvahanas revived under Sri Yajna Satakarni, who was the last great king. After him, the empire began to decline. Some scholars say the there were 19 kings of this dynasty which ruled for 300 years, while others say there were 30 kings who ruled for 456 years. The dynasty came to an end about the middle of the third century AD. (after AD 220). Their empire broke up into small states ruled by the Abhiras, Chutus, Ikshvakus, Pallavas.

Extract from the book A History of India for Children Administration The Satvahana empire was divided into provinces called aharas, each under an amatya or minister. They had a large army. Women were prominent in social life, owned property and took part in assemblies. Religion The Satvahana rulers were said to be Brahmins. They worshiped Krishna, Vasudeva and other Vaishnava gods. But Buddhism also flourished. They gifted land to Brahmins and Buddhist monks. Architecture and art Many Buddhist chaityas (prayer halls) and viharas (monasteries) were carved out of solid rocks. The most famous chaitya is at Karle, in Maharashtra. The Satvahanas used Pratik, a form of Sanskrit, for their inscription and books.

50 AD - The Kushans and Kanishkas
The Kushans were a branch of the nomadic Yeuhchi tribe of China. The Yeuhchi tribe was in conflict with another tribe and so was forced to leave China. They came to Central Asia and then spread to Bactria, Paritha and Afghanistan. Gradually they were divided into five branches. One of these branches -- Kouel Chougang (Kushans) -- was superior to all. The Kushans under Kujala attacked the Parithans, took possessions of Ki-pin and Kabul and became the complete master of the Indian borderland.

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Kujala became the first king of the Kushans and was known as Kadphises I. He was a great warrior. He was succeeded by his son Wima Kadphises known as Kadphises II. He conquered the north-western region of India. He defeated Saka Satraps in the north-west. Punjab and Sind were his dominions. AD 120: Reign of Kanishka Kanishka was the most famous of the Kushan kings. It is not known how he became the king but he ascended the throne in AD 120. When Kanishka ascended the throne, his empire consisted of Afghanistan, Sind, Punjab and portions of the former Parithan and Bactrian kingdoms. His empire extended from the north-west and Kashmir, over most of the Gangetic valley. He annexed three provinces of the Chinese empire, namely, Tashkand, Khotan and Yarkhand. He was the only king who ruled over these territories. He had two capitals at Purushpura (Peshawar now in Pakistan) and at Mathura in west Uttar Pradesh. Kanishka proved that he was a great conqueror. Successors of Kanishka Kanishka's immediate successor was Vashiska who was then succeeded by Huvishka. Mathura became the centre of Kushans. Many monuments were erected during Huvishka's reign. The last great king of Kushans was Vasudev I. The Kushans were overthrown by the Sassanians of Persia in the north-west and the Guptas in the north. The rule of Kushans ended almost at the same time as that of the Satavahans in the south. Buddhism during the Kushans Kanishka embraced Buddhism towards the middle of his reign. He is said to have been Zoroastrian before he became Buddhist. He spent his resources in spreading Buddhism. Mahayana was the new form of Buddhism that was followed during this period where the Buddha was worshipped as God. Old monastries were repaired and many new ones were built. Art, Science and Literature Kanishka was a great patron of art and literature. A new form of art Gandhara Art was developed. Beautiful images of Buddha were developed in a Greek-Roman style. These images were carved in a realistic way, with graceful bodies and curly hair.

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Kanishka's court was adorned by many scholars like Ashvaghosha, Vasumitra, Nagarjuna and Charaka. Ashvaghosha was a great poet and a master of music. He wrote Buddhacharita, a biography of the Buddha. Charak was a great physician and he wrote a book Charak Samhita, which is based on the Ayurvedic system of medicine. 89-105 AD 148-170AD 152 AD 230 AD 276-293AD Kushan king repulsed by the Chinese General Pan Chao An-Shih-Kao translates a work by Kanishka's Chaplain China loses Khotan The Yueh chi king Vasudeva sends an embassy to China Sassanian conquest of parts of North-West India

320 AD - Chandragupta I establishes the Gupta dynasty
India Before the Guptas After the downfall of the Kushans in the north and the Satvanahas in the south, no great power rose in India. For nearly a hundred years, India was divided into many independent states and there was continuous struggle among themselves. There were kingdoms and republics, where the republics were ruled by the elected chiefs. In the south, Malwa and Khatiawar were ruled by Rudradaman. In Magadha the Lichhavis rose to prominence. The Nagas established their kingdoms in the northern India whereas the Pallavas established their kingdoms in the Southern India on the ruins of the Satvanaha empire. Gupta Dynasty After the Kushans, the Guptas were the most important dynasty. The information about Guptas is known from the archaeological remains, inscriptions and coins. Early in the beginning of the fourth century, a chief called Sri Gupta ruled a small kingdom in Magadha. He was then succeeded by his son Ghatokacha. They were mostly minor rulers in east Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Reign of Chandragupta I (AD 320-335) The first famous king of the Gupta dynasty was Ghatokacha's son Chandragupta I. He married Kumaradevi, the daughter of the chief of the Lichhavis. This marriage was a turning point to Chandragupta I. He got Patliputra in dowry from the Lichhavis. From Patliputra, he laid the foundation of his empire and started conquering many neighbouring states with the help of the Lichhavis. He ruled over Magadha (Bihar), Prayaga and Saketa (east Uttar Pradesh). His kingdom extended from the river Ganges to

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Allahabad. Chandragupta I also got the title of Maharajadhiraja (King of Kings) and ruled for about fifteen years. An important act of Chandragupta I was the holding of an assembly of councillors and members of the royal family at which Prince Samudragupta was formally nominated as the successor of the Gupta empire.

335-380 AD - Samudragupta conquers the North
Harishena's Inscription Samudragupta was the son of Chandragupta I and though the exact date of his birth is not known, it seems he must have ascended the throne after the death of his father Chandragupta I in AD 335. The information about his reign is on an inscription engraved on a pillar at Allahabad. The text of this inscription was recorded by Harishena, the court poet of Samudragupta. Part of the inscription was lost in the course of time. Harishena's inscription tells us about Samudragupta's various conquests and small kingdoms existing at that time. Samudragupta also left an extensive coinage which supports the information of the inscription. Samudragupta's Conquest Samudragupta was a great warrior. His passion of conquest was so great that he did not rest till he captured almost whole of India. It seems Samudragupta first waged wars against the neighbouring kingdoms of Shichchhatra (Rohilkhand) and Padmavati (in Central India), then ruled by Achyuta and Nagasena. Then he incorporated in the Gupta empire the kingdom of Kota kings by defeating him. He also waged wars against tribal states like those of Malvas, the Yaudheyas, the Arjunayanas, the Maduras and the Abhiras. The descendants of Kushanas, many chieftains of Sakas, the Ceylonese hastened to propitiate the great Gupta by offering homage and tribute or presents. Samudragupta's daring adventure was his military expedition to the south along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. He defeated Mahendra of Khosla, Mantaraja of Kurala, Mahendragiri of Pithapuram, Svamidatta of Kottura, Damana of Erandapalla, Vishnugupta - the Pallava king of Kanchi, Kubera of Devarashtrain the Vizagapatam district and Dhananjaya of Kushthalapur possible in North Arcot. Samudragupta did not go beyond the river Krishna. Towards the west, Samudragupta subdued Palaghat, Maharashtra and Khandesh. He did not annex any part of the Deccan to his empire as he knew that it would be difficult to control those territories situated so far from Patliputra.

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Samudragupta's territories extended from the Himalayas in the north to the river Narbada in the south and from the Brahamaputra river in the east to the Yamuna river in the west. Then there were other kingdoms like Assam, Nepal, Devaka, Kartipura. Samudragupta's Reign Samudragupta is considered as one of the greatest rulers in Indian history. He is also compared to Alexander or Napoleon as a conqueror. He performed Ashwamedha Yajna (horse sacrifice) after defeating nine kings in the north and twelve kings in the south to underline the importance of his conquest of almost the whole of India. He also assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja (King of Kings) and Chakravartin (Universal Monarch). Samudragupta was not a only a great warrior but also a great patron of art and literature. He gathered around himself a galaxy of poets and scholars, the most prominent ones being Harishena, Vasubandhu and Asanga. He himself was a great poet and musician. In one of his coins, he is shown playing the Veena. Samudragupta was a staunch believer of Hinduism and was a worshiper of Lord Vishnu. He also respected other religions like Buddhism and also allowed the Buddhist king of Ceylon to build a monastery at Bodh-Gaya.

380-413 AD - Chandragupta II comes to power
Empire of Chandragupta II Chandragupta succeeded his father Samudragupta. He got the title of Vikramaditya (son of power), so he is also known as Chandragupta Vikramaditya. Chandragupta II proved to be of the same military mettle of his father and brought large amounts of territory in Western India under the Gupta empire. From the inscription of the Mehrauli Iron Pillar of Chandragupta II situated in Delhi, it is learnt that he waged successful wars against several chiefs of Vanga (Bengal). However Chandragupta II's greatest achievement was the victory over the Saka Satraps of Malwa, Gujarat and Saurashtra. Chandragupta's Biggest Achievement Chandragupta marched against the Saka Satraps about AD 389. After six years of courageous fighting, he killed the Sakas chieftains. He killed Rudrasena III, a Saka king of West India. He annexed all the three kingdoms of Satraps under Gupta empire and made Ujjain a second capital, and called
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himself Vikramaditya -- a combination of words valour and sun. Chandragupta's empire had both the Arabian Sea coast and that of the Bay of Bengal under its control. He also captured Bactria and concluded marital alliances with the Nagas, Vakatakas and Kadamba dynasties. Like his grandfather, Chandragupta married the Lichhavi princess Kumaradevi. He gave his daughter Prabhavati in marriage to Rudrasena II, the Venkata king of Central India. Rudrasena had helped him in his campaign against the Saka Satraps. Administrations and Coins The account of administration of Chandragupta's reign is known from the Chinese pilgrim Fa Hein who came to India during that period. The administration was very well organised with very light taxes. The empire was divided into many provinces which were ruled by independent governors. The provinces were further divided into districts. Land revenue was the main source of income of the state and was normally one-sixth of the produce of the land. The emperor also issued a host of gold, silver and copper coins to celebrate his reign. His coins featured Vishnu and his garuda, as well as images of himself killing a lion, among others. Experts say that Chandragupta II's coin are of a finer quality than had been seen thus far. Chandragupta II was succeeded by his son Kumargupta who was also a great ruler.

415 AD - Accession of Kumara Gupta I 467 AD - Skanda Gupta assumes power

Reign of Kumaragupta [AD 415-455] Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya) was succeeded by his son Kumaragupta. Like his father, Kumaragupta was also a very great and able ruler. He was able to keep the vast empire, which extended from North Bengal to Kathiawar and from the Himalayas to the Nerbudda, intact. He ruled efficiently for nearly forty years. However, the last days of his reign were not good. The Gupta empire was threatened by the invasions of Pushyamitras. The Pushyamitras were a tribe of foreigners who were settled in Central India. However, Kumaragupta was successful in defeating the invaders and performed Ashvamedha Yajna (horse sacrifice) to celebrate his victory. He issued new coins with images of Lord Kartikeya.
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Skandagupta becomes the King Kumaragupta died in AD 455 and was succeeded by his son Skandagupta. During his reign, the invasions of the Huns became more frequent. Skandagupta repelled their early invasions and recovered most of the imperial provinces. Extract from An Advanced History of India In one of the inscription the goddess of royal fortune is said to have chosen him as her lord, having discarded the other princes. The full import of this passage is obscure. It is, however, certain that the superior ability and prowess of Skandagupta in a time of crisis led to his choice as ruler in preference to other possible claimants. Proud of his success against the barbarians, Skandagupta assumed the title of Vikramaditya. But the continuous attack of the Huns weakened the Gupta empire. Skandagupta died in AD 467. After his death, the Gupta empire began to decline. Decline of the Gupta Empire Inscriptions prove that the Gupta sovereignty was acknowledged in the Jabbalpur region in the Nebudda valley as late as AD 528, and in North Bengal till AD 543-544. Kumaragupta is known to have been ruling in AD 473-474, Buddhagupta from AD 476-495, Vainyagupta in AD 508 and Bhanugupta in AD 510-511. The Gupta empire became to disintegrate and till the middle of the sixth century AD, they had merely became petty chiefs.

892 AD - Rise of the Eastern Chalukyas
[600-1200] The Chalukyas rose to power in the Deccan from the fifth to eighth century and again from the tenth to twelfth century. They ruled over the area between the Vindhyan mountain and the river Krishna. The Chalukyas were sworn enemies of the Pallavas and rose to power in Karnataka. The first great ruler of the Chalukya dynasty was Pulakesin I. He founded Vatapi (modern Badami in Bijapur district) and made it his capital. He is said to have performed Ashwamedha Yagna (horse sacrifice). The kingdom was further extended by his sons Kirtivarman and Mangalesa by waging many successful wars against the neighbours including Mauryans of the Konkans. 608-642: Reign of Pulakesin II Pulakesin II was the son of Kirtivarman. He was the the greatest ruler of the Chalukya dynasty. He ruled for almost 34 years. In this long reign, he
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consolidated his authority in Maharashtra and conquered large parts of the Deccan from the banks of the Nerbudda to the reign beyond the Kaveri. His greatest achievement was his victory in the defensive war against Harshvardhan in 620. In 641, the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, visited the kingdom and said that the king was served by his nobles with perfect loyalty. However the last days of the king were not happy. Pulakesin was defeated and killed by the Pallav king Narasimhavarman in 642. His capital Vatapi was completely destroyed. End of Chalukya Dynasty Pulakestin was succeeded by his son Vikramaditya who was also as great a ruler as his father. He renewed the struggle against his southern enemies. He recovered the former glory of the Chalukyas to a great extent. Even his great grandson Vikramaditya II was also a great warrior. He actually entered the Pallava capital. In 753, Vikramaditya and his son were overthrown by a chief named Dantidurga who laid the foundation of the next great empire of Karnataka and Maharashtra, that of Rashtrakutas.

985 AD - The Chola Dynasty
850: The Cholas gained Importance The territory south, of rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra extending upto Cape Comorin is known as South India or Carnatic region. South India was divided into three kingdoms namely the Cholas, the Chera and the Pandyas of which Cholas was the most famous kingdom. The Cholas occupied present Tanjore and Trincnopoly districts with some adjoining areas. Till eight century the Chola kingdom was very small but gained importance from the ninth century onwards. The Chola dynasty rose to prominence when in 850 their ruler Vijayalaya defeated the Pallavas and snatched Tanjore from them. Then Tanjore became the capital of the Chola kingdom. In the ninth century Aditya Chola and Parantaka I were the successors of Vijayalaya. 985-1018: Reign of Rajaraja I The most important ruler of Chola was Rajaraja I. He was one of the greatest kings of the South India and was known as "Rajaraja the Great". Rajaraja I and his able son Rajendra, conquered nearly the whole of the present Madras Presidency. Rajaraja defeated the eastern Chalukyas of Vegi, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Gangas of Mysore. His kingdom extended from Cape in the north to Comorin in the south. He conquered Sri Lanka, the Maldive Islands and Sumatra and other places in Malay Peninsula.
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He was not only an able administrator but also a great builder. He built a magnificent temple at Tanjore and which is named as Rajarajeshwar after his name. 1018-1048: Reign of Rajendra Chola Rajendra Chola was also a able ruler like his father. He even went upto Bengal. He was victorious upto the banks of Ganges. He assumed the title of "Gangaikonda" (the victor of Ganges). On his way he built up a new capital called Gangaikondacholapuram. His greatest achievements was the conquest of Andaman and Nicobar islands. During his reign the kingdom was called the "Golden Age of Cholas." After his death the Chola kingdom began to decline. His successors were weak and so the kingdom started disintegrating.

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3000 - 2600 BC - Harappa Civilisation 1200 - 500 BC - Vedic Era 550 BC - Birth of Mahavira 563 - 483 BC - Sidhartha Gautama, the Buddha 327 BC - The Conquests of Alexander The Great 325 BC - Alexander The Great, still goes on 322 BC - Rise of the Mauryas, Chandragupta 298 BC - Bindusara Coronated 272 BC - Ashoka's Reign 180 BC - Fall of the Mauryas & Rise of the Sungas 30 BC - Rise of the Satvahana Dynasty 50 AD - The Kushans and Kanishkas 320 AD - Chandragupta I establishes the Gupta dynasty 360 AD - Samudragupta conquers the North 380 AD - Chandragupta II comes to power 415 AD - Accession of Kumara Gupta I 467 AD - Skanda Gupta assumes power 892 AD - Rise of the Eastern Chalukyas 985 AD - The Chola Dynasty

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