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India Facts

Time Periods Of Indian History

Prehistoric Period: ( 400000 BC - 1000 BC )

During this early period, man was basically a food gatherer. Fire was discovered, cultivation of plants and domestication of animals started, along with the first move towards communities.Metals like bronze and copper were used, tools became more sophisticated and the wheel was discovered.

Indus Valley Civilization : ( 2500 BC - 1500 BC )

This was a highly developed civilization where there was a social structure and agriculture was the mainstay of the economy. There is evidence of a pictographic script, worship of natural forces, and extensive use of metals like copper and bronze.

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The Vedas and Epics : ( 1500 BC - 600 BC )

At this time the Vedas were compiled. Worship was primarily of the forces of nature. The tribe Bharata came into evidence. The basic foundations of Hinduism were laid, and the great epics were written. Ritualistic and sacrificial practices started, a caste system emerged with the domination of the priests in the rural society which now fortified their camps.


Period of Transition : ( 600 BC - 322 BC )

The caste system increasingly became more rigid. Mahavira and Buddha were the great beings to be born in this period, whose ideologies continue to influence Indians. Iron implements were now used. Another important historical event was that Alexander crossed the Indus.

The Mauryan Empire : ( 322 BC - 185 BC )

Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan empire with the entire northern India coming under a central administration. Bindusara extended his kingdom, and Ashoka fought the Kalinga war and embraced Buddhism. The Grant Trunk Road was built.Pushyamitra Shunga founded the Shunga dynasty.

Time of Invasions : ( 185 BC - 320 AD )

The invasion of Bactrian, Parthians, Shakas and Kushans simultaneously opened Central Asia for trade, and the Old Silk Route came into existence. Gold was first used to make coins. Kanishka introduced the Saka era, and Buddhism became divided into two main streams.

The Deccan Period : ( 65 BC - 250 AD )

At this time the Ajanta and Ellora cave temples were built and an exchange between the south and the north was initiated, with the South being under the Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas.The vedic gods were superseded by the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Christianity came to India.


The Gupta Dynasty : ( 320 AD - 520 AD )

The Gupta dynasty was founded by Chandragupta,I,Samudragupta extended his kingdom and Chandragupta II campaigned against the Shakas.Shakuntala and Kamasutra were written. Aryabhatta made enormous strides in Astronomy. The Bhakti cult emerged in Hinduism.The Hunas invaded north-west India.

Age of Small Kingdoms : ( 500 AD - 606 AD )

While the North was splintered into warring kingdoms, the political scene became increasingly dynamic with migrations from Central Asia and Iran, the Hunas moving to north India.

Reign of Harshavardhana : ( 606 AD - 647 AD )

Harshawardhana built his short-lived empire and the capital moved from Thaneshwar to Kanauj Pulakesin II defeated Harsha with the collapse of Harsha's empire,and the disintegration into small kingdoms, with the Deccan becoming powerful. During this period,Hieun Tsang visited India.

The Southern Kingdoms : (500 AD - 750 AD)

The empire of Chalukyas, Pallavas & Pandyas dominated.The Zoroastrians fleed from Persia to India. The rabs annexed Sindh and the the Rashtrakutas emerged, as did the. Yadavas, Kakatiyas & Hoysalas with cave architecture developing to a degree of excellence.


Chola Empire : ( 9th Cen.AD - 13th Cen.AD )

Vijayalaya founded the Chola Empire which adopted a maritime policy. Rajaraja and Rajendra I expanded their empire, initiated local self-government.Temples became a major cultural and social focal point, with the worship of Shiva in the form of a lingam and the development of Nataraja. became a masterpiece. The Dravadian languages became increasingly more sophisticated.

Northern India : ( 750 AD - 1206 AD )

The Rashtrakutas became powerful. The Pratiharas ruled in Avanti and the Palas ruled Bengal. The Chalukyas Senas and Rajput clans all emerged as forces to reckon with. The temples at Khajuraho, Kanchipuram and Puri were built, and the art of miniature painting developed.

Turkish Domination : ( 1000 AD - 1206 AD )

Mahmud of Ghazni raided India in 1000 AD with Peshawar and Multan falling, and the ransacking of Somanath temple. The Rajput clans emerged as a force. Muhammad of Ghur invaded India in 1191 with Prithviraj defeating Ghur in the first battle of Terrain, but being overcome in the second battle of Terrain with the resulting fall of Delhi.

The Slave Dynasty : ( 1206 AD - 1290 AD )

The Delhi Sultanate was formed with Qutb-ud-din Aibak establishing the Slave Dynasty.

Iltutmish completed the monumental Qutub Minar. Raziya Sultan assumed power followed by Balban who created a strong, centralised government.


The Khilji Dynasty : ( 1290 AD - 1320 AD )

Jalaluddin Khilji established the Khilji Dynasty but was later murdered byAlauddin Khilji who succeeded him.Malwa, Gujarat & Rajasthan came in their control. Malik Kafur leads campaign to south-India, defeating the Yadavas, Kakityas and Hoysalas, while the Mongol invasion is successfully repelled

The Tughlaq Dynasty : ( 1320 AD - 1412 AD )

Ghyasuddin founded the Tughlaq Dynasty extending the Delhi Sultanate till Madurai. Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq succeeded his father, and further extended their area of domination to central Asia, though the Deccan and the South rejected their authority. Firoz shah Tughlaq succeeded Muhammad. Timur invaded India, ransacking and plundering Delhi.

The Sayyids & Lodhis : ( 1446 AD - 1526 AD )

The Sayyids controlled the Delhi Sultanate were finally defeated by the Lodhis who extended the rule of the Sultanate upto Bengal. The capital was shifted from Delhi to Agra, marking the beginning of the end of an era. While Islam gained influence and the use of Urdu spread, Ibrahim Lodhi was defeated by Babur in the first battle of Panipat

Vijayanagara and Bahamani Kingdoms : ( 1336 AD - 1689 AD )

Harihara and Bukka founded the Vijayanagara Empire, conflicting with the Bahamanis over Raichur-Doab, finally leading to the signing of a peace treaty. The Classical Age of South India begins. The Bahamani's, founded by Hasan Gangu, overcome the Vijayanagara kingdom Empire. Differences between Deccanis and Afaqis lead to the splintering of the Bahamani kingdom broke into five small kingdoms. The Gol Gumbaz was built during this time. Imadshahi conquered by Nizamshah, Barid Shahi annexed by Adilshah. And the consequent absorption into the Mughal Empire, which had grown increasingly more powerful.


The Mughal Empire ( 1526 AD - 1857 AD )

Babur founded the Mughal dynasty, and first introduced artillery to India. Humayun succeeded him and gained an empty treasury. Sher Shah defeated Humayun and there was an amalgamation of the Turko-Iranian culture. Akbar defeated Hemu in the second battle of Panipat, consolidating his empire. The Din-i-Ilahi came into existence, and the Ibadat-Khana (Hall of Prayer) was built. Jahangir succeeded his father, with Nur-Jahan taking an active part in politics. The East India company was formed.

Shah Jahan succeeded Jahangir. During this time, Mughal art reached its zenith with the building of the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and the Peacock Throne. Aurangzeb imprisoned his father, Shah Jahan and succeeded to the throne, leading to the end of a dynasty with his successors too weak to withstand the rising ascendancy of the British, who imprisoned Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the last Moghul emperor.

The Marathas : ( 1674 AD - 1819 AD )

Shivaji built the Hindavi Swaraj in the Deccan, checking the power of Adilshah and Nizam Shah, and signing a peace treaty with Aurangzeb. Shivaji was then imprisoned by Aurangzeb, and succeeded in fleeing. Aurangzeb executed Sambhaji and imprisoned Sahu, and finally the Marathas united under Peshwas, but were defeated at Panipat by Ahmed Shah Abdali with the East India company annexing the kingdom in 1819.

The East India Company : ( 1600 AD - 1857 AD )

After the arrival of the Europeans in India, the British formed the East India Company, acquiring it's first territory in Bombay. The Battle of Plassey where the British defeated Siraj-ud-daulah was followed by the Carnatic war where they defeated French troops, and after several Mysore and Anglo-Maratha wars, the British defeated the Marathas and Tipu Sultan. The East India Company's rule ended and the British Crown took over.

British India: ( 1858 AD - 1947 AD )

After the British Crown took over, Queen Victoria became the Empress of India. The British followed a policy of divide and rule, transforming India into a colonial economy, with development along the ruling nation's need structures with a series of devastating famines crippling the people. Indian nationalism finally led the political impetus for change , and the Indian National Congresswais formed. After the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a non-co-operation movement was initiated and Gandhiji was in the forefront of leading the freedom movement with the Dandi march to break the Salt Law. Subhash Chandra Bose founded the Forward Bloc and Jinnah became the president of the Muslim league. The Congress passed the Quit India resolution and as the fervour to realize the dream of an independent India grew, leading to the eventual transfer of power from the British.


Independent India (15th August 1947 -

Lord Mountbatten appointed as the last Viceroy oversees the traumatic partition of India and the emergence of two nations, India and Pakistan. As the largest democracy in the world, the constitution of the Government of India is prepared under the chairmanship of Dr.Ambedkar, with a parliamentary system of government and declared a secular state. The early pattern of development is on the model of a mixed economy. Modern Indian history includes India's post-Independence struggles and achievements and it's recognition in the international forum as a secular democracy that has made the transition to a mature economy with unlimited potential for growth.

Compiled by Romola Butalia

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.