Saturday, 31 October 2015


The Hoysala Rulers who succeeded the later Chalukyas and ruled over the Mysore Plateau in the 12th and 13th centuries A.D. were also lovers of art.  They evolved a new style of architecture.  The most notable temples of this period are those constructed in Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur. 

The Somnathpur temple was built by Vinaditya Ballal in about 1043 A.D. and is the earliest of this type. The temple though small was exquisitely carved with three pyramidal vimanas surmounting the three shrines. The best specimen of Hoysala art is the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebid and the Chenna Kesava temple at Belur.Both temples nominated for UNESCO heritage status.

The Chenna Kesava temple at Belur was built by Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala Dynasty in 1117 A.D. to commemorate a victory won over the Cholas at Talkad in 1116 A.D. It is dedicated to the deity Chenna Kesava. The temple stands in a spacious courtyard surrounded by a covered passage and compound with a gopura entrance. Later, other small temples were built in the courtyard around the main temple.


The whole complex stands on a wide, raised star-shaped terrace with space enough for circumambulation. The star-shaped base has elephants in different poses adorning it The basement of the vimana is profusely carved with narrative friezes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavat Purana. The walls are covered with sculptures of miniature shrines, animated female figures and animals. The main entrances have a flight of steps from the courtyard and are flanked by two small vimanas. The ceiling and the pillars inside are elegantly carved. Bracket figures support the base of the ceiling: The superstructure on the main vimana is lost. Inside the sanctum sanctorum is the beautiful 2 meter high idol of Chenna Kesava.

The Hoysaleswara temple is composed of two similar temples side by side on a single five feet high star shaped terrace. Built of grey soap-stone, best suited for fine carving, each of the temples has star shaped vimanas with projections on three sides.
The inner arms connect the two temples The mandapa ceilings and the pillars in the hall are intricately carved.
The entire base is covered with running lengths of  carved friezes of tigers, elephants, horses, birds and celestial beings-each frieze more beautiful than the other. The ceilings, interior and exterior walls of the temple have beautiful sculptures carved on them.


Material used
·         Soapstone, granite, schist stone and wood
·         Sculpture are carved on schist stone is soft when quarried but hardens when exposed to air, thus preserving the fine details for a long period.
·         Shaiva, Vaisnava and Jain- depending on village demography.
·         There are even twin-temples with both Shiva and Vishnu, indicating that devotees of Shaivism and Vainshnavism didnot have bitter rivalry- at least until the fall of Hoysala empire.
·         Temple base is star shaped, and not square shaped
·         Open Mandapa, closed by a compound wall.
·         Miniature shrines within compound wall
·         Temple wall profusely decorated with royals, sages, dancers and even Kamasutra       figures.
·         Gopuram usually seven storey
·         Two Vimana and three Vimana structure- made from single granite.


The Dravidian or Pallava style was adopted by the Rashtrakuta Rulers also as can be seen in the famous Kailash Temple at Ellora near Aurangabad (Maharashtra).  There are three groups of rock cut temples in Ellora – Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical. 

The Rashtrakutas contributed much to the architectural heritage of the Deccan. The splendid rock-cut cave temples at Ellora and Elephanta, located in present day Maharashtra, reflect the Rashtrakuta contributions to art and architecture.
 The Ellora site originally belonged to a complex of 34 Buddhist caves probably created in the first half of the sixth century in rocky areas also occupied by Jain monks whose structural details show Pandyan influence. Cave temples occupied by Hindus only became feasible later.
The Rashtrakutas renovated those Buddhist caves and re-dedicated the rock-cut shrines. Amoghavarsha I espoused Jainism and there are five Jain cave temples at Ellora ascribed to his period. The most extensive and sumptuous of the Rashtrakutas work at Ellora is their creation of the monolithic Kailasanatha temple, a splendid achievement confirming the "Balhara" status as "one among the four principle Kings of the world".The walls of the temple have marvelous sculptures from Hindu mythology including RavanaShivaand Parvathi while the ceilings have paintings.
King Krishna I commissioned the Kailasanath Temple project after the Rashtrakuta rule had spread into South India from the Deccan, using the Dravidian architectural style. Absent of the Shikharas common to the Nagarastyle, the temple had been built on the same lines as the Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal in Karnataka. The achievement at the Kailasanath temple has been considered an architectural consummation of the monolithic rock-cut temple, deserving the title as one of the wonders of the world. Art historians consider the Kailasnatha temple an unrivaled work of rock architecture, a monument that has always excited and astonished travelers.

While some scholars have attributed the architecture at Elephanta to the Kalachuri, others claim that it had been built during the Rashtrakuta period. Some of the sculptures such as Nataraja and Sadashiva excel in beauty and craftmanship even that of the Ellora sculptures. Famous sculptures at Elephanta include Ardhanarishvara and Maheshamurthy. The latter, a three-faced bust of Lord Shiva, stands 25 feet (8 m) tall and is considered one of the finest pieces of sculpture in India. In the world of sculpture, few works of art depicting a divinity have achieved comparable balance. Other famous rock-cut temples in the Maharashtra region include the Dhumer Lena and Dashvatara cave temples in Ellora (famous for its sculptures of Vishnu and Shivaleela) and the Jogeshvari temple near Mumbai.
Kashivishvanatha temple and the Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal, both UNESCO World Heritage sites constituted their most famous temples in Karnataka.
Other well known temples include the Parameshwara temple at Konnur, Brahmadeva temple at Savadi, theSettavva, Kontigudi II, Jadaragudi, and Ambigeragudi temples at AiholeMallikarjuna temple at Ron, Andhakeshwara temple at Huli,Someshwara temple at Sogal, Jain temples at Lokapura, Navalinga temple at Kuknur, Kumaraswamy temple at Sandur, at Shirival in Gulbarga and the Trikunteshwara temple at Gadag, later expanded by Kalyani Chalukyas.
Archaeological study of those temples show some have the stellar (multigonal) plan later used profusely by the Hoysalas of Belur and Halebidu. One of the richest traditions in Indian architecture took shape in the Deccan during that time and one writer calls it Karnata Dravida style as opposed to traditional Dravida style.



The Chalukyas who ruled over Upper Deccan (7th Century AD.) were greatly interested in temple architecture. Followers of Hinduism, they built a number of rock-cut cave-temples and structural temples of brick dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.
The important stone temples are the Vishnu temples at Badami and Aihole and the Virupaksha or Shiva Temple at Pattadakal in Bijapur District.

The Chalukya temples are noticeable for three basic plans. They are :
1.      Design of the floor
2.      Projection of architectural articulation
3.      Sculpture.
Design of the floor
It indicates the plan of salla, subsidiary shrines, their plan, design of pradakshina path. The structure and architecture of a temple depends on these plans.
Architectural design
Various designs like miniature towers, projection of pilasters come under this head. The temple surfaces follow a distinctive architectural design with projections and recesses. The walls portrays  frequent projections and recesses that reflect a very magical beauty in the eyes of the viewers. The articulation of pillars and mantapas are beyond description.

The noticeable aspect is that though ornamentation of Chalukya temples bears elements of Nagara and Dravidian tradition but they have combined the elements in so prudent way that they become unique and distinctive feature of their own.
The Vesara style also called the Chalukyan type possessed the Dravidian vimana and the Nagara- type faceted walls.
Special departure from Nagara and Dravida tradition
In case of entrance hall to shrine Chalukya temple bears special uniqueness. It has two or more than two entrances while
·         There is a small closed mantapa to the shrine in Nagara temples.
·         There is an enlarged, open and closed mantapa in Dravida temples.

Characteristics of temple architecture of Chalukya
1.      The pillars of Chalukya temple are monolithic shaft whose height determines the height of mantapa and temples.
2.      Chalukya architects did not use mortar. It allows ventilation of light to the innermost part of the temples.
3.      The vestibules were ornamented with artificial lights which eliminated darkness as well as added some kind of mystic feelings.
4.      The doorway panels of Chalukya temples are highly decorated that consist of pilaster, moulded lintel, cornice top.
5.      Arabesque is a muslim art design bearing linear artistic decoration with pattern of flower, leaves, branches or twisted branches. This design is seen in triangular spaces of domicile ceilings.
6.      Chhajja, a double curved projective eave, is generally seen in Chalukyan temples. Muktesvara temple is an example of it.
7.      Cornice is used in Chalukya temple for downward movement of rainwater or to save from scorching heat.
8.      Use of soapstone for projection in walls carvings is common feature in Chalukya temples.
9.      The Chalukya temples are mainly dedicated to different hindu deities like durga, shiva, vishnu etc.
10.  Chalukya architecture has both cave temples design and structured temple design.
11.  Chalukya architects used stellate plan or northern stepped diamond plan for architectural design.
12.  The decorative pillars with its intricate design of western Chalukya architecture is also known to gadag style of architecture.
The Karnata Dravida tradition of architecture initiated by Chalukya of Badami get matured under the hand of Hoysala. The broken ornamentation of walls with projection and recesses 
The Vishnu temple at Badami was built by Magalesa of the Chaluya Dynasty and contains the Aihole inscription of Vikramaditya II which gives us a lot of information about the Chalukyas. The cave temples especially those at Badami contain fine sculptures of Vishnu reclining on Sesha Nag, Varaha the Boar, Narasimha or the half-lion and half-man and Vamana the dwarf.

Cave temple, Badami

The temples at Aihole are closed square mandaps standing on a basement. They have a hall with four central pillars supporting a flat roof. The sloping periphery of the roof is supported on two rows of pillars, the one on the periphery shorter than the other. The space between the two rows of pillars is closed by perforated stone-slabs. The main mandap contains a Nandi. The flat roof has another shrine, the walls of which are made of slabs. The sloping roof helped to drain off the rain water.

Virupaksha temple, Pattadakal
(Picture courtesy Archaeological Survey of India)

Virupaksha Temple, Hampi Virupaksha Temple is located in Hampi in Karnataka on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was created by the Chalukyas of Badami initially in 8th century. The temple was improvised in Vijaynagar Empire. It is in the Virupaksha temple at Hampi that full glory of the Early Chalukyan art can be seen. This temple was was built in 735 AD by a queen of Vikramaditya II. To celebrate the victory over the Pallavas of Kanchipuram.
 Navbhramha Group of Temples, Alampur
The Navabrahma Group of temples is located at Alampur in Andhra Pradesh. There are total 9 temples and present a marvelous piece of art of the Chalukyas of Badami outside Karnataka. These temple are based upon the Nagara style and do not reflect the Dravidian style of temple architecture (8 out of 9 are clearly Nagara style). The Alampur temples are the finest example of the Chalukyas of Badami Art.
The Nava Bhramma temples are Taraka Bhramma, Swarga Bhramma, Padma Bhramma, Bala Bhramma, Garuda Bhramma, Kumara Bhramma, Arka Bhramma, Vira Bhramma and the Vishwa Bhramma. These temples are all enclosed in a courtyard on the left bank of the river Tungabhadra.

Important Observations about the temples of Badami Chalukyas
These temples are a mixture of Northern and Dravida style of temple architecture and represent a transition as well as experimentation in the temple architecture.
The temples are located on the banks of River Tungabhadra and Malprabaha in Karnataka and Alampur in Andhra Pradesh , which is near Kurnool.
The largest temple of Chalukyas of Badami is Virupaksha Temple, whose complex encloses 30 sub shrines and a large Nadi mandapa. This was also earliest example of Shiva temples, which have a Nandi pavilion in front of the temple.

Cave Temple, Ellora

The large cave temples excavated by the early Chalukyas are located in Badami, Aihole, Ellora and in the Guntur and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh. Of the three brahmanical caves at Badami two are dedicated to Vishnu and one to Shiva. 
The two cave temples at Aihole are dedicated to Shiva and have rock-cut lingas in them. The cave temples at Ellora are also dedicated to Shiva and contain images of Mahesa, Linga and Nandi. One of the caves is double-storeyed.         
The cave temples in Andhra Pradesh contain relief sculptures of Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, Linga and Nandi.


The South Indian temples have made a rich contribution to temple architecture in India. The development of the Bhakti Cult in the form of Saivism and Vaishnavism resulted in the worship of idols and construction of temples.  Starting with the rule of the Pallavas in the 7th Century A.D. temple architecture gradually continued to develop during the Chola Period (900 – 1150 A.D.), the Chalukya and Hoysala Period (10th to 12th Century A.D.), the Pandya Period (1100 A.D. to 1350 A.D.), the Vijayanagar Period (1350 A.D. to 1565 A.D.) culminating in the final phase of the Dravidian style during the rule of the Nayak rulers of Madurai.

The South Indian temples are institutions by themselves and are centres of community life – Public and Religious.  Here, people gathered to worship, discuss social, political and religious matters. They had schools and colleges attached where free secular and religious instruction were given as per the Agama Shastras, they maintained people of various crafts and occupations as temple staff to serve the needs of the community. 

The Dravidian or Pallava style was introduced during the Pallava Rule.  The earlier form of this style is seen in the rock cut temples or Rathas of Mahabalipuram.  Known as the Seven Rathas and named after Ganesh, Draupadi and the Five Pandava brothers, these temples are cut out of solid rock, have mandaps and pillared halls.  They are monolithic shrines. 

Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram, 59 Kms. south of Madras, was founded by Narasimhavarman I Pallava who ruled over the area in the 7th Century A.D

The Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram, built during the reign of Narasimha 11 is on the seashore.  Facing east, the temple has a small gopuram with a pradakshina path between the temple and the outer wall.  The main shrine contains a broken fluted Shiva linga.  Opposite the gopuram is the dwaja sthamba

The second phase of Pallava art begins towards the end of the 7th  century AD and continues in the 8th century AD in the form of structural monuments. The characteristic feature of these temples is the high shikharas ascending tier upon tier, diminishing in size. The most beautiful examples of this style are the Kailashnath Temple dedicated to Shiva and the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple to Vishnu both located at Kanchipuram. These are a development on the style of previous temples and contain a flat roofed mandap surrounded by numerous cells. Rock and brick were used in the construction.

The Kailashnath Temple of Shiva was built by Rajasimha Pallava and his son Mahendravarman. Built of coarse sandstone, it has a four-storeyed square vimana. The sikhara is octagonal. Three of the four storeys of the vimana are decorated with miniature vimanas and the fourth has four nandis on the four corners.

The Vaikuntha Perumal Temple was constructed by Nandivarnam in the 7th century AD and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is built on a plan similar to the Kailashnath Temple. Built of sandstone and granite, it is a large square temple with a four storeyed vimana.

The temple is important for the series of inscriptions describing the wars between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas and the sculptured panels depicting the history of the Pallava rulers.
Pallava art was also carried across the seas to South-East Asia. An example of Pallava art is seen in the Temple of Angkor Vat in Cambodia built by King Suryavarman.Dedicated to Shiva, it is the largest temple in the world. The temple walls and galleries are adorned with fine sculptures of birds, flowers, dancers and scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and the puranas

Wednesday, 28 October 2015













Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Medieval History by Satish Chandra

India-A History by John Keay

History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra

History of Early India From Origins to 1300AD

Ancient India History

A History of India


A Mahājanapada (literally "great realm", from maha, "great", and janapada "foothold of a tribe", "country") is one of the sixteen kingdoms or oligarchic republics that existed in ancient India from the sixth centuries BCE to fourth centuries CE.

Ancient Buddhist texts like the Anguttar Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region prior to the rise of Buddhism in India.

The 6th century BCE is often regarded as a major turning point in early Indian history. Archaeologically, this period corresponds in part to the Northern Black Polished Ware culture.

These 16 Mahajanapads that stretched across the Indo-Gangetic plains from modern-day Afghanistan to Bangladesh in the sixth century B.C.E., prior to and during the rise of Buddhism in India.

They represent a transition from a semi-nomadic tribal society to an agrarian-based society with a vast network of trade and a highly-organized political structure. Many of these “kingdoms” functioned as republics governed by a general assembly and a council of elders led by an elected “king consul.”

The Mahajanapadas are the historical context of the Sanskrit epics, such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana as well as Puranic literature (the itihasa).
The political structure of the ancient Indians appears to have started with semi-nomadic tribal units called Jana (meaning subjects). Early Vedic texts speak of several Janas, or tribes, of Aryans, organized as semi-nomadic tribal states, fighting among themselves and with other non-Aryan tribes for cattle, sheep and green pastures.

The fact that Janapada is derived fromJana suggests the taking of land by a Jana tribe for a settled way of life. This process of settlement on land had completed its final stage prior to the times of Buddha and Panini.

In the Panini grammar, Janapada stands for country and Janapadin for its citizenry. Each Janapada was named after the Kshatriya tribe (or Kshatriya Jana) who had settled there.

Tribal identity was more significant than geographical location in defining the territory of a Janapada, and the sparsity of the population made specific boundary lines unimportant. Often rivers formed the boundaries of two neighboring kingdoms, as was the case between the northern and southern Panchala and between the western (Pandava's Kingdom) and eastern (Kaurava's Kingdom) Kuru. Sometimes, large forests, which were larger than the kingdoms themselves, formed boundaries, such as the Naimisha Forest between Panchala and Kosala kingdoms. Mountain ranges like Himalaya, Vindhya and Sahya also formed boundaries.

Formation of States:
The tribal political organisation of the Rig Vedic phase gave way to the rise of territorial state towards the end of the Vedic period.

But the territorial idea was gradually strengthened in the sixth century B.C. with the rise of large state with towns as their seats of power.

Permanent settlement in a particular area gave a geographical identity to a tribe or a group of tribes and subsequently this identity was given concrete shape in the possession of the area, which was generally named after the tribe. To maintain this possession required political organization, either as a republic or a monarchy.
From the sixth century B.C. onwards, the widespread use of iron in eastern Uttar Pradesh and West­ern Bihar, as evidenced from excavations at Raj ghat and Chirand, led to the formation of large territorial states which were better equipped militarily and in which warrior class played the main role.
New agricultural tools and implements enabled the peasants to produce a good amount of surplus which not only met the needs of the ruling class but also supported numerous towns. Towns came into existence as centres of industry and trade. Some such as Shravasti, Champa, Rajagriha, Ayodhya, Kausambi, Kashi and Pataliputra were of substantial importance to the economy of the Ganges plains.
Others such as Vaishali, Ujjain, Taxila and the port of Bharukachchha (Broach) had a wider economic reach. A passage from Panini, makes it clear that the people owed their allegiance to the Janapada (territory) to which they belonged and not to the Jana or the tribe to which they belonged.

The Mahajanapadas (Monarchies and Republics):

In the post-Vedic period, the entire northern territory mostly situated north of the Vindhyas and extending from the North-West frontier to Bihar was divided into sixteen states called Sodasha Mahajanapadas. These Mahajanapadas were either monarchical or republican in character.
Whereas the monarchies were concentrated in the Gangetic Plains, the republics were ranged round the north­ern periphery of these kingdoms-in the foothills of the Himalayas and just south of these, and in north-western India in modern Punjab.
The Buddhist literature, particularly the Anguttara Nikaya lists the sixteen mahajanapadas given as – Gandhara, Kamboja, Assaka, Vatsa, Avanti, Surasena, Chedi, Malla, Kuru, Panchala, Matsya, Vajji, Anga, Kosala and Magadha.
Another Buddhist text written in Pali, Digha Nikaya ("Collection of Long Discourses"), mentions only first 12 Mahajanapadas in this list and omits the last four.
The Jaina Bhagvati Sutra gives a slightly different list of 16 Mahajanapadas: Anga, Banga (Vanga), Magadha, Malaya, Malavaka, Accha, Vaccha, Kochcha (Kachcha?), Padha, Ladha (Lata), Bajji (Vajji), Moli (Malla), Kasi, Kosala, Avaha and Sambhuttara. It is evident that the author of Bhagvati is only interested in the countries of Madhydesa and of the far east and south, since the nations from Uttarapatha, like the Kamboja and Gandhara, are omitted.


1. Kashi:
With its capital as Banaras, Kashi was at first the most powerful among the sixteen states and perhaps played an important part in the subversion of the Videhan monarchy. Eventually it had to submit to the power of Kosala and later annexed by Ajatasatru to Magadha.
2. Kosala:
It embraced the area occupied by eastern Uttar Pradesh and has its capital at Shravasti, which is identical with Sahet – Mahet in the borders of Gonda and Bahraich districts in Uttar Pradesh. Kosala was bounded on the west by the river Gomati, on the south by the Sarpika or Syandika (Sai), on the east by the Sadanira (Gandak) which separated it from Videha and on the north by the Nepal hills.
Ayodhya, Saketa and Shravasti were three impor­tant Kosalan cities. Prasenjit, the Kosalan king was the contemporary of king Bimbisara and king Ajatasatru of Magadha. Prasenjit’s sister was married to Bimbisara the king of Magadha, and Kashi was given to her as dowry. However, a dispute with Ajatasatru, son of Bimbisara through another wife, soon led to discord. Ajatasatru put his father to death whose wife, sister of Prasenjit, died due to grief. Prasenjit, in retaliation, confiscated Kasi.
A war broke out with varying results in favour of both sides. However, the conflict finally ended with reconciliation. Prasenjit’s daughter Vajjira was married to Ajatasatru and Kashi was given as dowry to the bride. Though Prasenjit did not embrace Buddhism, one of the Bharhut sculptures highlights cordiality between Prasenjit and Buddha. Finally it was annexed by Magadha during Ajatasatru’s reign after the death of Prasenjit.
3. Anga:
Anga in the east of Magadha roughly corresponds to the modern districts of Monghyr and Bagalpur. Its capital Champa, situated on the bank of the river of the same name, was noted for its wealth and commerce. It was annexed to Magadha in the time of Bimbisara.
4. Magadha:
Between Anga and Vatsa there lay the kingdom of Magadha, corresponding to modern Patna and Gaya districts, bounded on the north and west by the rivers Ganga and Son, on the south by the Vindhya outcrop and on the east by the river Champa. Rajagriha or Girivraja, rendered impregnable by a perimeter of five hills, was the Magadhan capital. The earliest dynasty of Magadha was founded by Brihadratha. However, Magadha came into prominence under Bimbisasra and Ajatsatru.
5. Vatsa:
The Vatsa country had a monarchical form of government. Its capital was Kausambi (identified with the village of Kosam, 38 miles from Allahabad. Kausambi, a very prosperous city was the most important entre pot of goods and passengers from the south and the west. Udayana, the ruler of this country in the sixth century B.C. had to struggle against king Ajatasatru of Magadha and king Pradyota of Avanti.
Udayana entered into a matrimonial alliance with the king of Magadha. The ruler of Avanti invaded Kausambi and as he was unsuccessful, he had to marry his daughter to Udayana. To begin with, Udayana was op­posed to Ruddhism, but later on he became a follower of Buddha and made Buddhism the state religion. Later, during the reign of Palaka, Vatsa was annexed to the Avanti kingdom.
6. Avanti:
The state of Avanti roughly corresponded to modern Malwa. The river Vetravati divided Avanti into north and south. Terrirorially, it was a big kingdom and its capital was Ujjayini or modern Ujjain. The ruler of Avanti in the time of Buddha was Chanda Pradyota. He was a contemporary of Udayana of Kausambi. Although he was given the nickname of Chanda on account of his ferocity, he became a convert to Buddhism.
Avanti became a very important centre of Buddhism. The kingdom of Avanti was finally annexed to Magadhan Empire by Sishunaga.
7. Gandhara:
The state of Gandhara roughly corresponded to modern Kashmir and extended upto the Kabul valley. Its capital was Taxila which was a famous seat of learning where scholars came from all over the world. According to the Buddhist tradition, the Gandhara King Pukkusati exchanged gifts with Bimbisara in Magadha and went on foot to see the Buddha. Later it formed the twentieth province of the Achaemenid Empire (Persian) according to the Greek historian, Herodotus.
8. Kamboja:
It was the country adjoining Gandhara in the extreme North-West with Dwarka as its capital. A little before 530 B.C. Cyrus, the Achaemenid emperor of Persia, crossed the Hindukush and received tributes from the people of Kamboja, Gandhara and the trans-Indus area. During Kautilya’s time, Kamboja transformed from a monarchy to a republic.
9. Matsya:
The Matsyas were to the south of the Kurus and west of the Yamuna. The Matsya country corresponded roughly to the former state of Jaipur in Rajasthan.
10. Kurus:
The Kuru country roughly corresponded to the modern Delhi and the adjoining doab region. It was the most important kingdom of the later Vedic period but during the sixth century B.C. the Kurus did not occupy the same position. They set up their capital at Hastinapur situated in the district of Merrut.
11. Panchala:
The Panchala kingdom, which covered the modern districts of Bareilly, Badaun and Farukhabad lost its prominent position as in the Vedic period. Their capital was at Kampilla, perhaps modern Kampil in Farrukhabad district.
12 & 13 Surasena and Chedi:
The Surasena kingdom was south of the Matsyas with its capital at Mathura. The .kingdom of the Chedis corresponded roughly to the eastern parts of Bundelkhand and adjoining areas, and their king lists occur in the Jatakas.
14. Vajjis:
The Vajji territory lay north of the Ganga and stretched as far as the Nepal hills. Its western limit was the river Sadanira (Gandak), which separated it from the Malla and Kosalan cities. In the east it extended up to the forests on the banks of the river Koshi and Mahananda.
The Vajji state is said to have been a confederation of eight clans (atthakula), of whom the Videhans, the Lichchhavis, the Jnatrikas and the Vrijjis proper were the most important.
In all likelihood the Vajji confederation was organised after the decline and fall of the Videhan mon­archy and was a republican state in the time of Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. The most powerful of them were the Lichchhavis with their capital at Vaishali which is identical with the village of Basarh in the district of Vaishali.
15. Mallas:
The territory of the Mallas, a republican, was divided into two parts, each having its own capital. The two capital cities were Kushinara (identified with Kasia in the Gorakhpur district), and Pava (modern Padrauna). The importance of these two cities is very great in the history of Buddhism as Buddha took his last meals and was taken ill at Pava, and at Kusinara, he died.
16. Assaka:
The kingdom of Assaka (Asmaka) was situated near the river Godavari in the South, and it became commercially important in course of time. Its capital was Patlia or Potna.
In the sixth century B.C. only 4 states-Vatsa, Avanti, Kosala and Magadha survived. The political history of India from the sixth century B.C. onwards is the history of struggles between these states for supremacy. Ultimately the kingdom of Magadha emerged to be the most powerful and succeeded in founding an empire.

Incorporated into Kosala by King Kansa
Important cities Ayodhya, Saketa, Benares
Annexed Shakya clan, whose King was Buddha’s father
Buddha was born at Kapilavastu
Annexed by Bimbisara of Magadha
Rajagriha, Pataliputra
First Buddhist Council at Pataliputra
Origin of Buddhism and Jainism
Origin or Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire
Confedration Lichchavis, Videhans, Vajjis
Mahavira’s mother was a Lichchavi princess
Second Buddhist Council at Vaishali
Kusinara, Pava
Followed republican form of government
Buddha fell ill at Pava, died at Kusinara
Important trade centre
Chhatravati (Ramnagar), Kampilya
Viratanagara (Bairat)
King Avantiputra was among the first disciples of the Buddha
Only Mahajanapada south of the Vindhyas
Located on the banks of the Godavari
Located on Dakshinapatha, road b/w Rajagriha and Paithan (central Maharashtra)
Important centre of Buddhism
Located on Dakshinapatha
Famous for wool (mentioned in Rig Veda)
Taxila University renowned centre of learning
Panini and Kautilya both from Taxila Univ.
Located on the Uttarapatha
Important trade centre b/w Iran and Central Asia
Rajapura (Rajori)
Had Iranian and Indian affinities
Well known for republican government
Conquered and annexed by Persian empire
o    Origin of Buddhism and Jainism
o    Origin of Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire
o    Expansion started by Bimbisara, continued by son Ajatasatru
o    Ajatasatru developed 2 new weapons to defeat Licchavis in 15 year war: catapult, covered chariot with swinging mace (like modern tank)
o    Mahapadma Nanda became ruler in 424 BCE. He is considered India’s first Empire builder
o    Alexander the Great invaded India during the reign of Dhana Nanda in 326 BCE
o    Maurya Empire established by Chandragupta Maurya in 321 BCE
o    Supposed to have been three Sangams, the first two in pre-history
o    The last Sangam (300 BCE – 300 CE) is usually referred to as the Sangam Age
o    Consisted of middle Chera, Chola, Pandiya kingdoms
o    Capital cities
o    Cheras: Vanchi
o    Cholas: Urayur, Kaveripattinam/Puhar
o    Pandiyas: Madurai
Sangam Literature
o    Sangam literature divided into two groups of 18 books each
o    Literature dealt with two types of issues
o    Agam: dealing with personal or human aspects such as love, relationships etc
o    Puram: dealing with other aspects of society such as customs, kingdom, war etc
o    Oldest Tamil literature currently available is the book on Tamil grammar called Tolkappiyam
o    There are five epics of the Sangam period
o    Silappathikaram: written by Ilango Adigal in the 1st century CE
o    Manimekalai: sequel to Silappathikaram, written by Seethalai Sathanar
o    Civaka Cintamani – written by Tirukkatevar
o    Valayaapathi – work lost, details unknown
o    Kundalakesi – largely lost, details unknown
Classification of geographical regions
Different regions of the ancient Tamil country were classified based on their landscape. Each poem in the literature was associated with a particular landscape
Tamil name
Other Highlights
o   The Grand Anicut is one of the world’s oldest dams still in active use. It was built across the Kaveri by Karikala Chola in the 2nd century BCE
o   There was extensive trade with Rome. Main exports were pearls, gold, ivory, pepper and textiles. Main imports were glass, wine and topaz.
o   Large amounts of Roman currency have been found in Tamil Nadu, as an indicator of foreign trade
o   The Tirukkural is the book translated into the most number of languages in the world. It is a book of couplets on ethics written by Tiruvalluvar sometime between the 3rd century BCE and 5th century CE

Rise of Urban Centres:

Archaeologically, the sixth century B.C. marks the beginning of the Northern Black Polished (NBP) phase, which was characterised by a glossy, shining type of pottery. This phase also saw the use of iron implements and the beginning of metallic money.
After Harappan towns, the NBP phase marked the beginning of the second phase of urbanisation in India with the emergence of towns in the Middle Gangetic basin like Kausambi, Sravasti, Ayodhya, Rajgir, Pataliputra, Champa, etc.
The period produced texts dealing with measurement (Sulvasutras), which presupposes writing. The peasants had to pay one-sixth of their produce as tax, which was collected directly by royal agents.
Rice was the staple cereal. Thus, the iron-ploughshare-based food producing economy pro­vided subsistence not only to direct producers but also, to many others. This made possible collection of taxes and maintenance of armies on a long term basis, and created conditions in which large territorial States could be formed and sustained.
Another factor that helped the process was the use of coins. Although literary evidences regarding the use of coins in the form of Nishka or Satamana are found, the use of coins became regular during the period of Buddha. The first coins in India, called punch marked coins, came at this time. Towards the end of this period a script was also developed.

Trade Routes:

Pali texts refer to sea-voyages and of trading journeys to the coast of Burma, the Malay world (Suvarna-bhumi), Ceylon (Tamraparni) and even to Babylon (Baveru). The principal sea-ports were Bharukachcha (Broach) Suparaka (Sopara, north of Bombay) and Tamralipti (Tamluk in West Bengal).
Of the riparian ports, Sahajati (in Central India), Kausambi on the Yamuna, Banaras, Champa and later Pataliputra on the Ganges and Pattala on the Indus, deserve special mention. The great inland routes mostly radiated from Banaras and Sravasti. The chief articles of trade were silk, embroidery, ivory, jewellery and gold.

Introduction of Coinage:

Besides others, these cities began to use coins made of metals for the first time. The earliest coins belong to the fifth century B.C. and they are called punch-marked coins. The standard unit of value was the copper Karshapana weighing a little more than 146 grains. Silver coins were also in circulation.

Economic Growth:

The period of second urbanisation (6th century B.C. to 3rd century B.C.) noticed large-scale beginning of town life in the middle Gangetic basin. The widespread use of iron tools and weapons helped the formation large of territorial states.
The towns became good markets and both artisans and merchants were organised into guilds under their respective headmen. Eighteen of the more important crafts were organised into guilds (Sreni, Puga), each of which was presided over by a Pramukha (foreman), Jyeshthaka (elder) or Sresthin (chief). Sarathavaha was the caravan-leader.
The system of barter was also prevalent. This led to localisation of crafts and industries and the emerging of artisans and merchants as important social groups.


In a struggle for supremacy that followed in the sixth/fifth century B.C.E., the growing state of Magadha emerged as the most predominant power in ancient India, annexing several of the Janapadas of the Majjhimadesa. A bitter line in the Brahmin Puranas laments that Magadhan emperor Mahapadma Nanda exterminated all Kshatriyas, none worthy of the name Kshatrya being left thereafter. This obviously refers to the Kasis, Kosalas, Kurus, Panchalas, Vatsyas and other neo-Vedic tribes of the east Panjab of whom nothing was ever heard except in the legend and poetry.
According to Buddhist texts, the first 14 of the Mahajanapadas belong to Majjhimadesa (Mid India) while the Kambojans and Gandharans belong to Uttarapatha or the north-west division of Jambudvipa. These last two never came into direct contact with the Magadhan state until the rise of the Maurya Empire in 321 B.C.E. They remained relatively isolated but were invaded by the Achaemenids of Persia during the reign of Cyrus (558-530 B.C.E.) or in the first year of Darius. Kamboja and Gandhara formed the twentieth and richest strapy of Achaemenid Empire. Cyrus I is said to have destroyed the famous Kamboja city called Kapisi (modern Begram) in Paropamisade (Paropamisus Greek for Hindu Kush). In 327 B.C.E. the Greeks under Alexander of Macedon overran the Punjab, but withdrew after two years, creating an opportunity for Chandragupta Maurya to step in.