Ancient History of India: Download Ancient History of India Notes PDF

By Ashwini Shivhare|Updated : April 14th, 2023

Ancient History of India: India is a country with a long and fascinating history. From the early Indus Valley civilization to the powerful empires of the Mauryas and the Mughals, India's past is a story of great achievements, cultural exchanges, and struggles that have shaped the country's identity and contributed to the world's heritage.

History covers a good number of questions making it an important topic to cover in SSC exams. Around 2-3 questions are asked from History every year which surely makes it important for you to study the topic well.

In this article, we will delve into the ancient history of India, its origin, important topics, historical places and personalities, and resources to learn more about this captivating subject. Additionally, we have shared the Ancient History of India PDF at the end of this article, providing readers with easy access to study notes.

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Ancient History of India

India has a rich and diverse history that spans over 5,000 years. From the Indus Valley Civilization to the Mughal Empire, India has seen the rise and fall of many powerful kingdoms and empires. The ancient history of India is a subject of great interest to historians, archaeologists, and enthusiasts alike. In this article, we will explore some of the key aspects of ancient Indian history, including important personalities, historical places, books, temples, and builders.

Origin of Indian History

The earliest known civilization in India is the Indus Valley civilization, which emerged around 2600 BCE in the northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent. The civilization was characterized by advanced urban planning, drainage systems, and trade networks, and is thought to have influenced the development of the subsequent Vedic period.

The Vedic period, which spanned from 1500 to 500 BCE, is marked by the composition of the Vedas, the sacred texts of Hinduism, and the rise of the first Indian states and kingdoms. This period saw the development of Sanskrit, the classical language of India, and the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Ancient History of India PDF

Candidates can download the Ancient History of India PDF in English and Hindi from the link given below. In this pdf, we have incorporated the timeline of the ancient history of India and the list of important personalities. All the important information about the Ancient History of India has been provided in PDF to help the candidates revise these before appearing in upcoming exams such as SSC CGL, SSC CHSL, etc.

Important Topics of Ancient History of India

The ancient history of India encompasses a wide range of topics, from politics and religion to art, architecture, and science. Some of the most significant subjects include:

  • The rise and fall of empires: India has seen numerous powerful empires throughout its history, from the Mauryan empire, which dominated the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BCE, to the Gupta empire, which ushered in a golden age of literature, art, and philosophy in the 4th to 6th centuries CE.

  • Religion and philosophy: India has given birth to some of the world's major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, as well as important philosophical traditions, such as Yoga and Ayurveda.

  • Art and architecture: India boasts a rich tradition of art and architecture, including the famous cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora, the exquisite temples of Khajuraho and Hampi, and the Mughal monuments of the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.

  • Science and mathematics: Ancient India made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics, astronomy, and medicine, with scholars such as Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, and Charaka laying the foundations for modern scientific knowledge.

Ancient History of India Map

To understand the geographical scope of ancient India, it is helpful to consult a map. The Indian subcontinent is a vast landmass that encompasses present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and parts of Afghanistan and Myanmar. The map of ancient India shows the extent of various empires, kingdoms, and dynasties that ruled over the region throughout history. Given below is the Ancient History of India Map, showing important Harappan sites.


Ancient History of India Timeline

Indian history timeline provides a useful overview of the major events and periods that shaped the country's past. Here are some of the key milestones:

  • Indus Valley civilization (2600-1900 BCE)
  • Vedic Period (1500-500 BCE)
  • Mauryan Empire (321-185 BCE)
  • Gupta Empire (320-550 CE)
  • Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526 CE)
  • Mughal Empire (1526-1857 CE)

Ancient History India: Important Personalities

Throughout its history, India has produced many remarkable personalities who have left their mark on the world. Some of the most notable figures include:

  • Gautama Buddha: The founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha was born in Nepal in the 6th century BCE. He taught the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to attain enlightenment, which became the basis of Buddhism.

  • Emperor Ashoka: Ashoka was the third ruler of the Mauryan Empire, who reigned from 268 to 232 BCE. He converted to Buddhism after the brutal Kalinga War and became known for his policies of non-violence, religious tolerance, and social welfare.

  • Emperor Akbar: Akbar was the third Mughal emperor, who ruled from 1556 to 1605 CE. He was known for his religious tolerance, artistic patronage, and administrative reforms, which earned him the title of Akbar the Great.

  • Mahatma Gandhi: Gandhi was the leader of India's independence movement and a champion of non-violent resistance. He inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world, and his legacy continues to inspire people to this day.

AlexanderHe was the ruler of Macedonia in Greece. He attacked India in 326 BC and captured up to river Bias
AjatasatruSon of Bimbisara. He established the city of Pataliputra.
ArienGreek historian who wrote about Alexander’s Indian invasion.
AshwaghoshHe was a Buddhist monk who initiated Kaniskha to Buddhism and wrote Buddha Charita, Sutralankar and Sandaranand.
AmarSimhaSanskrit scholar in the court of Chandragupta who wrote Amarakosha.
AryabhattaHe analysed the reasons for Solar and Lunar eclipses and declared that the Earth is round. Wrote Aryabhattiyam.
BimbisarFounded the Magadhan Empire or Haryanka dynasty. He was the first influential king of ancient India.
BanabhattaCourt poet of Harshavardhana and author of Harsha Charita and Kadambari.
CharakHe was an Ayurvedic expert who wrote Charak-Samhita and established the Aitereya branch of Ayurvedic medicines.
AmoghavarshaHe was a famous Rashtrakuta ruler.
DhananandaHe was a powerful king of Magadha. Alexander did not go forward to invade Magadha only after hearing his reputation.
Darius IThe ruler of Iran (Persia) invaded India in the 6th century BC.
Gautami Putra ShatakarniHe was the most famous Satavahana king in the 2nd Century.
HarisenaHe was the writer of Pryaga Prashasti or Allahabad Pillar Inscription.
KharavelRuler of Kalinga in I century AD. The Famous Hathigumbha inscription belonged to him.
Kanishka (I century AD)Most powerful Kushan king. Started Shaka Era. Organised fourth Buddhist council at Kundalvan near Kashmir.
KarikalaChola ruler who founded the city of Puhar (Kaveri patanam) in the 1 century BC.
KautilyaAlso known as Vishnugupta or Chanakya. He wrote Arthasasthra, which is compared to ‘The Prince’ of Machiavelli.
KalidasFamous Sanskrit poet who wrote, Raghuvamsa, Kumara Sambhavam, Abhigyana Shakuntalam, Vikramorvashiyam and Malavikagnimitram. He also wrote Meghadootam and Ritusamharam.
KambanA Tamil poet of the 11th century who wrote Ramayan in Tamil.
Mihir BhojaFamous Prathihara ruler of the 9th century.
KalhanaFamous Kashmiri poet and historian. He wrote Raja Tarangini.
Marco PoloVenitian Traveller to India in the 13th century.
MenanderHe came to India as a foreign aggressor in II Century BC. MilindaPanho, a book written by Nagasena, is about him.
NagarjunaFamous Buddhist monk. He propounded the philosophy known as Madhyamika.
Makkali GosalaPhilosopher of 6th Century BC. He was the founder of the Ajivika sect.
MihirkulaHuna conqueror was defeated by Yashodharma.
Skand GuptLast mighty Gupta ruler.
ShushrutHe was a doctor of Ayurvedic medicine. He started the Dhanwantri branch and was an expert in Plastic Surgery.
Pulikeshin IIPulikeshin II was the most powerful king of Chalukyas of Vatapi who defeated Harshavardhana in the North and Mahendravarman in the South.
Pushya Mitra SungaHe killed the last Mauryan ruler and laid the foundation of the Sunga dynasty in 185 BC.
PlinyHe was a Roman historian who wrote Natural History. He wrote about the Mauryas of India.
PaniniSanskrit scholar especially in Grammar. He wrote Ashtadyayi.
VarahamihiraHe was a famous astronomer who wrote Brihat Samhita.
SankaracharyaHe was born in Kaladi in Kerala. He propagated Advaita Philosophy.

Ancient History India: Historical Places and Their Importance

India is home to many historical places that have great cultural, religious, and architectural significance. Some of the most important historical places in India include:

  • Taj Mahal: The Taj Mahal is a magnificent mausoleum in Agra, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Ajanta and Ellora Caves: The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are a series of rock-cut temples and monasteries in Maharashtra, dating back to the 2nd century BCE. They are renowned for their intricate carvings and paintings, which depict scenes from the life of Buddha and other deities.

  • Hampi: Hampi is an ancient city in Karnataka, which was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th to 16th centuries CE. It is home to many impressive temples, palaces, and monuments, including the Virupaksha Temple and the Vittala Temple.

  • Khajuraho Temples: The Khajuraho Temples are a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, built between the 9th and 11th centuries CE. They are famous for their erotic sculptures and intricate carvings, which are considered some of the finest examples of Indian temple art.

Other important historical places are the following:

  • Ayodhya- Birthplace of Sri Rama (UP)
  • Amber Palace- Rajasthan
  • Aghakhan Palace- Pune (Maharashtra) (Gandhi and Kasturba were kept in prison here)
  • Kedarnath- Holy place of Hindus (Uttarakhand)
  • Amarnath- Pilgrim Centre (Kashmir)
  • Elephanta caves- Near Mumbai
  • Ellora Caves- Maharashtra - 34 cave temples (Hindu, Buddha - Jaina)
  • Rajgir- Jain Temple in Bihar
  • Golden Temple- Amritsar - Harmandir Sahib of Sikhs
  • Golgumbus- Bijapur (Karnataka) Tomb of Muhammed Adil Shah
  • Tanjore- Capital of Cholas - Brihadveswara Temple
  • Charminar- Hyderabad (Monument of Plague Eradication)
  • Konark Temple- Orissa (Sun Temple)
  • Qutab Minar- Delhi
  • Mahabalipuram- Centre of Pallava Architecture (Tamil Nadu)
  • Kurukshetra- Battle of Mahabarata (in Haryana)
  • Sanchi- Buddhist Stupa (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Haridwar- Holy Place of Hindus (Uttarakhand)

Books for Ancient History of India

There are many excellent books on ancient Indian history that provide a comprehensive and insightful view of the country's past. Some of the best books on ancient Indian history include:

  • India: A History by John Keay: This is a comprehensive and engaging history of India, spanning from the Indus Valley Civilization to the present day. It covers a wide range of topics, including politics, culture, religion, and economy.
  • The Wonder That Was India by A.L. Basham: This classic work provides a comprehensive overview of Indian history and culture
  • Chandra Vyakaran by Chandragomin
  • Amar Kosh by Amar Singh
  • Niti Shastra by Kamandak
  • Kamasutra by Vatsya yana
  • Panchasiddhantika byVarahamihira
  • Ashtanga Hridaya by Vaghbhatta
  • Hastyaurveda by Pulkapya
  • Sankhyakarika by Iswarkrishna

Ancient History India: Temples and Builders

Ancient India is a land of rich cultural heritage and architectural wonders, with its many temples and monuments standing as a testament to the country's glorious past. These temples and monuments were built by skilled craftsmen and artisans, who dedicated their lives to creating some of the most magnificent structures the world has ever seen. In this article, we will explore the world of ancient Indian temples and the master builders behind them.

  • Kailas Temple at Ellora - Krishna I
  • Chunnakesava Temple, Belur- Vishnuvardhana
  • Rathas at Mahabalipuram-  Narashimhavarman I
  • Brihadeswara Temple, Tanjavur- RajaRaja Chola
  • Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram- Narasimha VarmanII
  • Lingaraja Temple, Bhavaneswar - Eastern Gangarubs
  • Karjuraho Temples- Chandellas
  • Rajarajeshwara Temple, Tanjavur- Raja raja I
  • Meenakshi Temple at Madhurai- Nayaka Rulers
  • Shiva Temple at Tanjavur- Raja Raja Chola



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FAQs on Ancient History of India

  • India has a more than 5,000-year-long history that is both rich and diverse. India has witnessed the emergence and fall of several strong kingdoms and empires, ranging from the Indus Valley Civilization to the Mughal Empire. Historians, archaeologists, and fans all have a keen interest in India's ancient past. The Indus Valley civilisation and the Vedic era were two of the most well-known ancient civilizations.

  • The term "ancient time period" refers to the earliest evidence of human habitation, which spans from 6,000 BCE to 650 CE. The term "medieval history" refers to the time frame between 500 and 1400–1500 CE. Early, centre or high, and late middle age are the three divisions of what is often referred to as the Middle Ages. The late 15th century through the beginning of the 18th century are referred to as modern history. 

  • The SSC Exams' syllabus includes a significant section on India's ancient history. In the General Studies part of these tests, questions pertaining to ancient Indian history are frequently posed. You may better grasp the development of Indian civilisation and culture and obtain a deeper understanding of the past by studying ancient Indian history. 

  • India's ancient history dates back to approximately 6,000 BCE and 650 CE. The Indus Valley Civilization (2600–1900 BCE), the Vedic Period (1500–500 BCE), the Mauryan Empire (321–185 BCE), the Gupta Empire (320–550 CE), the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE), and the Mughal Empire (1526–1857 CE) are all included in this period.

  • A map can be used to comprehend the geographic range of ancient India. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and portions of Afghanistan and Myanmar make up the huge area known as the Indian subcontinent. This page includes a map of India's ancient history.

  • There are a tonne of great works on ancient Indian history that give a thorough and insightful overview of the period. The following are some of the top books about ancient Indian history: Chandra Vyakaran written by Chandragomin, Amar Singh's Amar Kosh, Niti Shastra by Kamandak, Varahamihira's Panchasiddhantika etc.

  • Candidates can access the link provided in this post to obtain the Ancient History of India PDF in both English and Hindi. To assist applicants in reviewing for forthcoming examinations like the CGLCHSLCPO etc., we have included all the significant facts regarding the Ancient History of India in this PDF.

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