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Sources of Ancient Indian History

There are many sources of relation between India's history, some sources are very reliable and scientific, based on other beliefs. Main sources of information can be divided into 3 parts, in relation to the history of ancient India, these 3 sources are as follows. :

  • Archaeological sources
  • Literary sources
  • Foreign sources


Archaeological sources

Archaeological sources are related to ancient records, coins, monuments, buildings, statues and art, this instrument is quite reliable. With the help of these sources, very accurate information about different human activities of ancient times is available. These sources have the knowledge of the living, art, lifestyle and economy of people present in particular. Most of these sources can be verified by scientific evidence. The inventors studying the ancient sources of this type are called archaeologists.



The place of records is very important in relation to Indian history, very important information has been received from the records of many rulers of ancient times about Indian history. This record has been carved on stone, pillar, metal strip and clay objects. The study of these ancient records is called archivism, whereas the study of these records is called archaeology. While the study of records is called Epigraphy. Records were used by the rulers in general to spread their orders.

These records are usually found on solid surface areas or objects, they are written on solid surfaces to make them invincible for a long time. These types of records are found on temple walls, pillars, stupas, seals and copperplates etc. These records are written in different languages, the major languages ??of which are Sanskrit, Pali and Sanskrit, many records have been received in many languages ??of South India too.

The oldest records relating to the history of India are derived from the Indus Valley Civilization, which are an average of 2500 BC. Due to the decoding of the Indus Valley Civilization so far, the essence of these records has not yet been known. Symbols have been used in the script of the Indus Valley Civilization, and so far this script has not been decoded.

Very ancient records have been received from places like Bongazkoi of West Asia or Asia Minor, although this record is not as old as the Indus Valley civilization. Records derived from Bangazkoi are about the time of 1400 BC. The particular point of these records is that in these records, mention of Vedic deities Indra, Mitra, Varun and Nastya are mentioned. Ancient records have been obtained from Iran, Nashe-e-Rostom, in these records, descriptions are given in relation to India and West Asia in ancient times. This record is very important in the history of India's ancient history, it is revealed in relation to the ancient India's economy, trade etc.

Cassette records have been received in Iran, while Aryans names have been described in the Mithni records in Syria. Maurya Emperor Ashoka established a lot of records during his reign. British archaeologist James Prinsep first deconced the records of Ashoka in 1837. This record was engraved by Emperor Ashoka in Brahmi script. The main purpose of engraving the records was by the rulers to bring their order to the public.

Apart from Emperor Ashoka, other rulers also inscribed the records, these records were engraved by the emperor on a field or other important occasion. Relations of Ancient India Some important records are as follows: Hathigumpha record in Kharavel in Odisha, Junagadh inscription engraved by Rudruman, inscription of Satavahan ruler Gautimiputra Shatkarni in the cave in Nashik, the epic column of Samudragupta, Junagadh records of Skandagupta, Masharsaur records of Yashovarman, Aihole record of Pulakeshin II, Emperor Emperor Bhoj Gwalior records and Devapada records of Vijayasen

Most ancient records have used Prakrit language, records were commonly used in the prevailing language of that time. Messages have been engraved in Sanskrit too in Sanskrit. The use of Sanskrit is visible in the records in the second century of Christ, the first proof of Sanskrit records comes from Junagadh records, this record was written in Sanskrit language. Junagadh record was engraved in 150 AD by Shaka Samrat Rudradaman. Rudradman's rule was between 135 AD and 150 AD.



In ancient times, coins came into circulation after the barter system used for transactions. These coins were made from various metals such as gold, copper, silver etc. One particularity of ancient Indian coins is that the records are not found in them. Symbols are usually found on ancient coins. In this way the coins are called hurt coins. These coins belong to the 5th century before Christ. After that there was a slight change in the coins, in these coins, the dates, kings and images of the gods started to be mentioned. The oldest repository of damaged coins has been obtained from Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Magadha. Golden currencies in India were first released by the Indian-Greek rulers, And these rulers used "die method" in the manufacture of coins. Golden currencies issued by Kushan rulers were the most pure. While the highest number of golden currencies issued by the Gupta rulers Satavahana rulers issued lead postures.


Other useful archaeological sources for ancient India's information

Records and coins get very accurate information regarding ancient times. But there are other important sources besides records and coins, which provide useful information regarding ancient times, these sources include buildings, temples, monuments, statues, pottery and painting.

Buildings such as temples and buildings are a very useful resource for ancient architectural knowledge. Along with knowledge of architecture, these buildings also get information about the social, economic and religious systems of the time.

Memorial is very important in relation to the information of ancient India, these monuments can be divided into two parts - native and foreign monuments. Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Nalanda, Hastinapur are prominent among the country's monuments. While overseas commemorations in Cambodia's Ankorvat Temple, Indonesia's Borobudur Temple in Indonesia and idols from Bali are prominent. There are some dates in the sculptures obtained from Makaran of Borneon, which are very useful in clarifying the chronology. From these sources important information is obtained regarding the architectural style of ancient times.

Due to the emergence and development of many religions in India, religious idols have been very prominent. Statues are an important means of acquiring information about ancient religious systems, culture and art of ancient times. In ancient India, Sarnath, Bharuch, Bodh Gaya and Amravati were the main centers of sculpture. Gandhara art and Mathura art are prominent in various sculptural genres.

The type of soil type has changed over time, the red cataract in the Indus Valley civilization, the grayed pottery painted in the post-larval period, and black-polished washes were prevalent during the Mauryan period. Novelty and progress in the types and forms of the soils occurred in different periods.

From painting, a variety of information about ancient times and society is available. Through the pictures, the information of the life, culture and art of the ancient times is available. Situated in Madhya Pradesh, the pictures of the caves of Bhimbetka reflect the cultural diversity of ancient times.


Literary sources

The source of literature in India's history is the most literary source. In ancient times books were written by hand, these hand written books are called manuscripts. Manuscripts were written on palm pots and festivals. This ancient literature can be divided into two parts: -


Religious literature

In India, the rise of three main religions Hindu, Buddhist and Jainism arose in ancient times. Along with the expansion of these religions, many religious books were composed by various philosophers, scholars and religious teachers. In these compositions, important information is available regarding the ancient India's society, culture, architecture, life style of the people and the economy etc. The main works of religious literature are as follows:


Literary related to Hindu religion

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Since its rise in ancient India, detailed information about ancient Indian society comes from books related to Hindu religion. Many books, books and epics etc. have been composed in Hindu religion, the main compositions are as follows - Vedas, Vedanga, Upanishads, memories, myths, Ramayana and Mahabharata Rig Veda is the oldest of them. These religious texts get detailed information about the royal system, religion, culture and social order of ancient India.



Vedas are very important literature in Hinduism, the total number of Vedas is four. Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samved and Atharva Veda are 4 Vedas. Rig Veda is one of the oldest books in the world; it was composed in approximately 1500-1000 BC. While the Yajurveda, Samved and Atharvaved were composed in the period of approximately 1000-500 BC. The Rig Veda contains the praise of the Gods. Yuzurveda is related to the rules of yajna and other religious laws. Samaveda is related to Yagna's mantra. Whereas in Atharvaveda it has been written about religion, medicine and disease prevention etc.



Brahmins have been adorned with the Vedas; Brahmins are only part of the Vedas. The Brahmins of each Vedas are different. These Brahmin books are in prose style, they have detailed descriptions of various laws and rituals. The essence of the Vedas is given in simple words in Brahmins, these Brahmanical texts were composed by various sages. Etrayay and Shatpath are examples of Brahmanical texts.



Aaranyak is derived from the word 'Aranyya', which literally means "forest". Aranyak are the religious texts which were written by the rishis in the forest. There is a description of spiritualism and philosophy in the Aryan texts, their content is very inscrutable. Aranyak was composed after the texts and it is attached to different Vedas, but Atharvaveda has not been linked to any Aranyak.



As is evident from the name, Vedanga is the organ of the Vedas. In Vedanga, the mystical knowledge of the Vedas has been written in simple language. Education, art, grammar, Nirukta, verses and astrology are all six Vedangas.



The subject of the Upanishads is philosophical, it is the last part of texts. Hence they are also called Vedanta. The topic of spiritualism and philosophy has been discussed through tension in Upanishads. Upanishads are Shruti Dharmagrandath. In the Upanishads, the nature and relation of God and Spirit are described in detail. It is one of the oldest books of philosophy. Total number of Upanishads is 108. Vrhadaranyak, Kad, Ken Atereya, Isha, Mundak and Chhandogya are some major Upanishads.


Formula literature

The relation of the sources is with man's behavior, it describes man's duties, varnashram and social rules. Source formulas, home formulas and Dharma Sutras are three sources.



In the memories, the entire work of human life has been discussed, it is also called theology. These are less complex than the Vedas. These are the compilation of stories and teachings. They were created after the formulas. Manusmatiya and Yagnavalkya's memory are the oldest memories. Meghthithi, Govindaraj and Kullukbhatt have commented on Manusmriti. While Yajnavalkya is remembered for memory, Vishneshwar and Criminal have commented. During British rule, Governor General of Bengal Warren Hastings translated manusmutri into English, in English it was named "The Gentoo Code". Initially the memories were forwarded only verbally, the meaning of memory is "the power to remember".



The Ramayana was composed by Maharishi Valmiki. There were 6,000 verses in the Ramayana at the time of composition, but it was increasing in time along with it. The number of verses increased to 12,000, and after that the number reached 24,000. Ramayana is also known as quadrangular cosine code due to 24,000 verses. Ramayana has been divided into 7 sections - Balakand, AyodhyaKand, Aranyakanda, Kishkindadhand, Sundar Kand, War Kand and Uttarkand.



The Mahabharata is one of the biggest epics in the world; it was composed by Maharishi Ved Vyas. This is a poetic treatise. It is also called Pancham Veda. This famous Greek texts is quite bigger than the Iliad and Odyssey.

There were 8,800 verses at the time of composition, due to which it was called the Janshita. In time, the number of verses increased to 24,000, due to which it was called India. When the number of verses in the Gupta period was 1 lakh, it was called Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is divided into 18 parts - etc., gathering, forest, Virat, industry, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Surgery, Saptakta, Female, Peace, Discipline, Ashwamedh, Ashram, Mousal, Mahaprasanastik and Swargahohan. Justice, education, medicine, astrology, policy, yoga, craft and astronomy etc. have been described in detail in the Mahabharata.



In the Puranas, the description of the ancient sages and monks and kings is described. The total number of the saints is 18, due to the description of the ancient narratives they are called Puranas. They were probably composed from the fifth century BC. Vishnu Purana, Vishnu Purana, Vayu Purana, Brahmand Purana and Bhagwat Purana are very important Puranas, in these mythologies, the genealogies of different kings are described. Therefore, this Purana is very important in historical terms.

Considering various goddesses as centers of meditation in the Puranas, sin and virtue, Dharma-karma etc. have been described. In the matsya purana, the description of the Satavahana dynasty is described, whereas in the Vayu Purana the description of the Gupta Dynasty is described. In the Markandeya Purana, the description of Goddess Durga is mentioned, in which Durga Saptami is also mentioned. Ganesh worship has been discussed in Agni Purana. 18 The names of the Puranas are as follows - Brahma, Markandeye, Skand, Padma, Agni, Vaman, Vishnu, Future, Kuram, Shiva, Brahmavarta, Vitishya, Bhagwat, Linga, Garud, Narada, Varaha and Brahmand Puran.

Vishnu, Vayu, Fisheries and Bhagwat Purana contain the genealogies of kings, these brief genealogies provide information about various rulers of ancient India and their tenure.


Buddhist literature

In addition to the propagation of Buddhism, its literature also increased, the main organ of Buddhist literature is Jataka and Piakta. Jatak describes the birth of Mahatma Buddha before. These are stories, it gets information about the ancient India's society. Triptik is the oldest book of Buddhist literature, Tripitik was composed after Mahatma Buddha's Nirvana. It is composed in Pali language. Triptic has three parts - Suttapitak, Vinaypitak and Madhya Pradesh. In Triptic, the social and religious system of ancient India is reflected. Sutaptikta has 5 bodies- Dense, medullary, joint body, thumb body and scapular body. Vinaypitak describes the rules of the Buddhist Union, it has four parts - Sattvibhangu, Khandak, Pashtokakh and Family Lesson. The subject of Abhidhamptik is philosophical, it describes the philosophical education of Mahatma Buddha. There are 7 scriptural texts associated with Abhidamapitak


Jainism related literature

The ancient Jain texts are called pre. It describes the principles that Mahavira has made. These are written in the Prakrit language. In Jainism literature, Agum is very important, it has 12 limbs, 12 appendas, 10 curves and 6 holes formulas.

They were composed by the teachers of the Shwethambar sect of Jainism. They are composed in Prakrit, Sanskrit and Apabhishna. The texts of Jainism were compiled in the 6th century by Vallabhiman of Gujarat. Other main Jain texts are Ashcharangsutra, Bhagwati Sutra, Appendix Parvwan and Bhadra Bahukhari.


Non - religious literature

Other than religion, literature is called religious literature. It includes historical books, biographies, stories etc. The compositions of scholars and diplomats in non-religious literature are prominent. This literature is relatively accurate. It provides useful information about the existing system of governance, economy, life style of the people and the contemporary society.

Panini was a famous Sanskrit scholar in the 6th century. "Ashtadhayi" is a Sanskrit grammar composed by Panini, it has highlighted the society of 5th Century BC. In the Maurya period Kautilya's book "Economics" provides important information about governance. "Katha Saritasagar" composed by Somdev and "Charakatha Manjari" composed by Vishakhadutt, gives a lot of information about the Mauryan period. In these books, the then religious, economic and social system is aware of all aspects.

The "Mahabhaishya" written by Patanjali and "Malvikagnimitra" composed by Kalidas is known about the history of Shung Dynasty. "Manishkramaritra" composed by Shudraak, "Manishkachtakam" and "Dashakumarcharit" written by Dand, light on the social system of the Gupta period. King Harshavardhana has been praised in Harshavardhana's biography "Harshartrita" written by Banabhatta. While Yashovarman, ruler of Kannauj and "Vikramankadevrititra" of Kannauj in "Gaudwaho" composed by Waakapati, has been praised for the achievements of Chalukya ruler Vikramaditya VI of Kalyani.

The achievements of Pal King Rampal are mentioned in the Ramcharitmanas of Sandakarnandi. The achievements of Raj Kumar Kumar, the ruler of Gujarat, have been praised in "Diksharayya Poetry" written by Hemchandra. Pradithraj Chauhan is described in Padmagupta's "New Hesach Sankiratat" in Parmar Dynasty and Jayaan's "Prithviraj Vijay". Written by Kalhan, "Rajatarangini" is a very important book for the chronology of Indian history. It describes the genealogies of different states in detail. This book was written by Kalhan in the 12th century. There are a total of 8 chapters.

Information regarding Sangh literature is available in relation to the history of South India. This literature is mostly in Tamil and Sanskrit. Sangam literature contains a detailed description of the social system of economy, culture and culture of Chol, Cher and Pandyas. Information of the history after that is obtained from Nandikkalambak, Kalatutuparni, Cholchitra, etc.


Foreign sources

Foreign literature also provides a lot of information about India's ancient history. These foreign writers came to India with foreign rulers or came to India, after which they described India's social, economic and geographical order. Foreign literary sources can be divided into 3 parts - Greek and Roman writers, Chinese writers and Arabic authors.


Romans and Greek writers

The description of Herodotus and Ticius is the oldest among Greek writers. Herodotus wrote a book called "Historica", which was highlighted on the relationship between India and Persia, Herodotus is also called the father of history. Many Greek writers come along with the ruler of Sikander, Nayarks, Anasicratus, Aristobulus The accounts are important. Aristobulsk wrote a book called "History of the War", while Anacicratus wrote the biography of Alexander. The contribution of megasthenes, diemacus and dinosaeas after Sikandar is also important. Describes Maurycolan society, administration and culture in the famous book Indica of Megasthenes. In Pliny's book "Natural Historia", the vegetation of India, Along with livestock and minerals, trade relations between India and Italy can also be seen. "Geography" by Tallemi and books in Plutarch and Strabo are also given details of various aspects of India.


Chinese author

Chinese came mainly from India for the purpose of religious pilgrimage They came to India primarily to study Buddhism. Fahyan, Hwantsang and Ipsang are among the passengers coming to China from India. Fahyan came to India during the reign of Chandragupta II, he described Indian society, politics and culture in his book "Fo-Why-Ki". When Hwantsang came to India during Harshvardhan's reign, he highlighted India's economic and social status in his travelogue. Tibetan writer Taranath has highlighted Indian history in his book "Kangur", "Tangure".


Arabic Writer

Arab writers came to India with Muslim invasions. In the eighteenth century Arab rulers started invading India, along with the Arab rulers, their writers and poets also came to India. In the 9th century Sulaiman came to India, wrote about Pal and Pratihar kings. Alamsudi has written the story of Rashtrakuta kings. While Alburini has written in his book "Tahkik A Hind" about the society after the Gupta period


Some important books of ancient times and their authors

Book name







Kama Sutra





Under bharat

Sun theory




Five independence

Vishnu Sharma



Prithviraj Rajoso




Song govind






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