Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

Ancient History of India- Complete Notes for UPSC, Free Download

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Ancient History of India Notes

1.What Is History

2.The Stone Age

3.Chalcolithic (Stone Copper Age)

4.Harappan Civilisation (3300BCE- 1300BCE)

5.Various aspects of Harappan Civilisation

6.The decline of Harappan culture

7.Vedic Culture

8.Later Vedic Phase

9.The Mahajanapadas

10.Persian and Greek Invasions

11.Religious Traditions: Jainism, Buddhism And Shramanism

12.Mauryan Empire(321BC-185BC)

13.Understanding Mauryan society

14.Sources of Mauryan History and Ashoka’s Edicts

15.Post Mauryan Age

16.Megalith and Sangam Age

17.Age of Satvahanas

18.The Gupta Empire (from 240AD to 455AD)

19.India during its Golden Age

20.The Deccan states of Ancient India (300-750 AD)

21.The Post Gupta Age

Magadha Empire Map
Magadha Empire (544-320 BCE): Ancient India's Glorious Kingdom (Ancient History Notes)
Magadha Empire The Magadha Empire was a significant ancient Indian kingdom, renowned for its contribution...
Megalith And Sangam Age
Megaliths: Ancient Stones & Their Mysteries (UPSC Exam Notes)
Megaliths Megaliths are large stone structures built a long time ago, during the Stone and Bronze Ages....
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Everything You need to know about Padmagupta when Prepraring for UPSC
A court poet of the Parmara king Sindhuraja (r. 990s CE). Padmagupta is the author of a Sanskrit epic,...
The-Deccan-State-Of-Ancient-India-99Notes-Upsc
The Deccan states of Ancient India (300-750 AD)
After the fall of Kushanas in the North and Satvahana in the south, several minor powers emerged, as...
Post-Gupta-Age-99Notes-Upsc
Post Gupta Period UPSC Notes for IAS Exam
Post Gupta Period The Post-Gupta period marks a transformative era in Indian history, characterized by...
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Golden Age of India: Gupta Period Notes for UPSC
The Gupta Age was a Golden age of Economy, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Astronomy and Art, even...
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Gupta Empire - Golden Age of India: History, Expansion, Major Rulers, Administration & Decline
Gupta Empire The Kushanas and the Satvahanas became weaker in the middle of the 3rd century after providing...
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Satavahana Dynasty: History, Rulers, Administration, Society, Art & Architecture- UPSC Notes
Satavahana Dynasty Satvahanas  succeeded the Mauryan Empire in Deccan and Central India. They are considered...
Megalith And Sangam Age
Sangam Age: Literature, Map, & Dynasties [UPSC Exam Notes]
Sangam Age The Sangam Age, a significant era in ancient Tamil history, is renowned for its rich cultural...
Post Mauryan Period
Post Mauryan Period: Shunga, Kanva Dynasties & More [UPSC Notes]
Post Mauryan Period The period from 200 BCE onwards is known as Post-Mauryan Period. It did not witness...
Magadha Empire Map
Magadha Empire (544-320 BCE): Ancient India's Glorious Kingdom (Ancient History Notes)
Magadha Empire The Magadha Empire was a significant ancient Indian kingdom, renowned for its contribution...
Megalith And Sangam Age
Megaliths: Ancient Stones & Their Mysteries (UPSC Exam Notes)
Megaliths Megaliths are large stone structures built a long time ago, during the Stone and Bronze Ages....
Everything-You-Know-About-Padmagupta-99Notes-Upsc
Everything You need to know about Padmagupta when Prepraring for UPSC
A court poet of the Parmara king Sindhuraja (r. 990s CE). Padmagupta is the author of a Sanskrit epic,...
The-Deccan-State-Of-Ancient-India-99Notes-Upsc
The Deccan states of Ancient India (300-750 AD)
After the fall of Kushanas in the North and Satvahana in the south, several minor powers emerged, as...
Post-Gupta-Age-99Notes-Upsc
Post Gupta Period UPSC Notes for IAS Exam
Post Gupta Period The Post-Gupta period marks a transformative era in Indian history, characterized by...
India-During-Its-Golden-Age-99Notes-Upsc
Golden Age of India: Gupta Period Notes for UPSC
The Gupta Age was a Golden age of Economy, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Astronomy and Art, even...
The-Gupta-Empire-99Notes-Upsc
Gupta Empire - Golden Age of India: History, Expansion, Major Rulers, Administration & Decline
Gupta Empire The Kushanas and the Satvahanas became weaker in the middle of the 3rd century after providing...
Age-Of-Satvahanas-99Notes-Upsc
Satavahana Dynasty: History, Rulers, Administration, Society, Art & Architecture- UPSC Notes
Satavahana Dynasty Satvahanas  succeeded the Mauryan Empire in Deccan and Central India. They are considered...
Megalith And Sangam Age
Sangam Age: Literature, Map, & Dynasties [UPSC Exam Notes]
Sangam Age The Sangam Age, a significant era in ancient Tamil history, is renowned for its rich cultural...

Ancient History of India

The ancient history of India starts from the stone age where early humans utilized stone tools, evolving through the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic Periods. This journey saw the emergence of agriculture and settled life, culminating in the sophisticated Indus Valley Civilization around 2500 BCE, known for its urban planning and technological advancements. Following its decline, the Vedic period began, introducing the Vedas, the foundation of Hindu philosophy, and establishing the social and religious framework that would influence Indian society for centuries. Successive periods saw the emergence of great empires like the Maurya and Gupta, under whose reign science, mathematics, literature, and art flourished. This era is marked by iconic texts such as the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Mahabharata, and by monumental architectural achievements, showcasing the profound and enduring legacy of India’s ancient History. 

The study of Ancient History of India is important for UPSC civil services exam preparation, offering both depth an intrigue. We have provided well designed Ancient History notes to simplify the syllabus , ensuring a smoother learning journey for UPSC Aspirants. Important topics under Ancient History of India are given Below :

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

1.What Is History

The word history is derived from the ancient Greek word ‘Historia’, which translates into ‘an inquiry. Thus the knowledge acquired by the investigation of the events of the past is history. In simple terms, it is the enquiry of the ‘human past’.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

2.The Stone Age

The Stone age refers to the prehistoric period during which stone tools were the most prevalent form of articles used by early man. The use of stone tools started about 2.5 million years ago with the arrival of the early humans (‘Homo Habilis’ and Australopithecus). They were one of the earliest bipedal primates and used tools to hunt primarily.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

3.Chalcolithic (Stone Copper Age)

Chalcolithic is made from two Greek words, khalkos and lithos, meaning copper and stone, respectively. It dates from 6,500 years ago to around 2500 years ago. This marks the beginning of the use of metalwork technology. For the first time, people started using metals along with stone tools.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

4.Harappan Civilisation (3300BCE- 1300BCE)

Harappan civilisation was the first urban culture in the Indian subcontinent. It was a bronze age culture that flourished in the Northwestern Indian subcontinent. It was earlier known as the Indus valley civilisation as most sites discovered were near the Indus valley river system.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

5.Various aspects of Harappan Civilisation

Town Planning Harappan civilisation features very impressive and very well-planned structures of the towns.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

6.The decline of Harappan culture

Around 1900BCE, cities like Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Kalibangan experienced a gradual decline. This era is referred to as the Late Harappan period and is divided into two phases – a Transitional Phase(1900-1700BCE) and a Cemetary H phase (1700-1300BCE).

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

7.Vedic Culture

The Vedic civilisation started with the advent of the Aryans in around 1500 BC, which coincided with the Late Harappan period (associated with the decline of the Indus valley civilisation). Aryans spoke Sanskrit, which is considered the origin of most of the current languages of the Indian subcontinent and is said to be a part of Indo-European languages, which is the origin point of most European languages and Persian.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

8.Later Vedic Phase

The later Vedic period extended roughly from 1000 B.C. to 600 B.C., during which some Vedic tribes had migrated from the 'Sapta Sindhu' region to the upper Ganga Valley and other adjacent areas. The history of the later Vedic phase is based primarily on Vedic texts, which were compiled after the age of Rigveda.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

9.The Mahajanapadas

‘Janapada’ (spelt as Janpad) comes from the Sanskrit root Jana meaning a tribe, and pada meaning feet. Thus, ‘Janapada’ means the area where the people of the ‘Jana’ tribe set their foot.

Everything You Need To Know About Ancient History

10.Persian and Greek Invasions

In the 6th century BCE, India's northwest was a site of conflict between various principalities. Kambojas, Gandharas and Madras fought with each other. Since there was an absence of a powerful overarching kingdom, the principalities of the northwest could not be organised into one kingdom. This area was also wealthy and easily entered through passes in the Hindukush. Due to these reasons, foreign rulers invaded India.

Why History of Ancient India Important?

Ancient History of India is an important part of the history of the Indian subcontinent, and understanding its Ancient history and culture is crucial for UPSC CSE preparation. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Ancient History of India is an important part of the syllabus for the UPSC CSE exam, and a good understanding of ancient India can help you score well in the exam.
2. Ancient History notes will play a significant role in the development of the cultural and intellectual traditions of modern India, and understanding ancient India can help you understand the present-day context of India.
3. History of ancient India made significant contributions to the world in the fields of art, literature, science, and philosophy, and understanding these contributions can help you understand India’s place in the world.
4. Ancient History of India is closely linked to the history of the Indian subcontinent as a whole, and understanding ancient India can provide a deeper understanding of the region’s past and present.

Importance of Ancient History of India:

  1. Ancient History of India is an essential part of the syllabus for the UPSC CSE exam, and a good understanding of ancient India can help you score well in the exam.
  2. Ancient History played a significant role in the development of the cultural and intellectual traditions of modern India, and understanding ancient India can help you understand India’s present-day context.
  3. Ancient History of India made significant contributions to the world in the fields of art, literature, science, and philosophy, and understanding these contributions can help you understand India’s place in the world.
  4. Ancient history of India is closely linked to the history of the Indian subcontinent as a whole, and understanding ancient India can provide a deeper understanding of the region’s past and present.

Topics covered under Ancient History of India

Ancient India refers to the history of the Indian subcontinent from the earliest civilizations to the emergence of Rajputs in India. Introduction of paper is the major differentiating point in the ancient and medieval history.

The ancient history of India is divided into several periods, including the Stone Age, Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BCE – 1300 BCE), the Vedic Period (1500 BCE – 500 BCE), the Maurya Empire (321 BCE – 185 BCE), and the Gupta Empire (320 CE – 550 CE).

1. The Stone age:

The Stone Age refers to the prehistoric period during which stone tools were the most prevalent form of articles used by early man. The use of stone tools started about 2.5 million years ago with the arrival of the early humans (‘Homo Habilis’ and Australopithecus). They were one of the earliest bipedal primates and used tools to hunt primarily.

2. The Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilisation was one of the earliest and most advanced civilizations in the world, with major cities such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was characterized by its sophisticated urban planning, advanced technology, and diverse cultural practices.

3. The Vedic Period

The Vedic Period saw the emergence of the Vedas, the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism, and the development of Hinduism as a religion. The Maurya Empire, under the rule of Emperor Ashoka, was a period of outstanding political and cultural achievements. Ashoka is known for his policies of non-violence and religious tolerance and his contributions to the spread of Buddhism.

4. Later Vedic Period

The later Vedic period, or post-Vedic age, extended roughly from 1000 B.C. to 600 B.C., during which some Vedic tribes had migrated from the ‘Sapta Sindhu’ region to the upper Ganga Valley and other adjacent areas. The history of the later Vedic period is based primarily on Vedic texts, which were compiled after the age of Rigveda.

5. The Mauryan Empire

The Mauryan Empire existed in the 4th-3rd century BCE, it had a profound impact on the cultural and religious sphere. Buddhism spread not only in India but also to the other parts of Asia in this period. This period features the largest empire that India saw, under the able leadership of kings like Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.

6. The Sangam Age

One of the greatest repositories of literature in India was created in the 2nd century BCE to 3rd Century BCE. This is known as the Sangam Age. After the decline of Sangam kingdoms, several other kingdoms like the Pallavas and Chalukyas emerged.

7. The Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire, which followed the Maurya Empire, was a period of outstanding cultural and scientific achievements. The Gupta Empire is known for its advances in mathematics, science, and literature and its achievements in art and architecture.

8. The Foreign Invasion:

Foreign invasions also played a significant role in ancient India’s history. Alexander invaded western part of India in the 4th century BCE. After him, several central Asian tribes like Saka, Kushana, and Hunas arrived in several waves till 5th Century CE.

Overall, ancient India made significant contributions to the world in the fields of art, literature, science, and philosophy. Its legacy can still be seen in the cultural and intellectual traditions of modern India.

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