Ancient India


India is a country in South Asia whose name comes from the Indus River. The name 'Bharata' is used as a designation for the country in their constitution referencing the ancient mythological emperor, Bharata, whose story is told, in part, in the Indian epic Mahabharata.

More about: Ancient India


  • c. 60000 BCE - 32768 BCE
    Human habitation of India.
  • c. 7000 BCE
    Evidence of religious practices in the Indus Valley.
  • c. 7000 BCE - c. 600 BCE
    The Indus Valley (or Harappan) Civilization.
  • 5500 BCE
    Cotton cultivation begins in India.
  • c. 4000 BCE
    Indian village of Balathal inhabited.
  • c. 4000 BCE
    Farming settlements are established in the Indus Valley.
  • c. 3300 BCE
    Early Harappan Civilization of India practices burial of the dead.
  • c. 3000 BCE
    First signs of urbanization in the Indus Valley.
  • c. 3000 BCE
    The Aryans - nomadic northerners from central Asia - possibly begin to migrate into the Indus Valley in an early phase of migration.
  • c. 2800 BCE
    Later Harappan Civilization turns to cremation over burial.
  • c. 2800 BCE - c. 1900 BCE
    The rise of the great Indian cities of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa.
  • c. 2600 BCE
    Hundreds of towns and cities are established throughout the Indus Valley.
  • 2000 BCE
    Pepper is widely used in Indian cooking.
  • c. 2000 BCE - c. 1500 BCE
    The Aryans expand into the Ganges valley in India.
  • c. 1900 BCE - c. 1500 BCE
    Decline of the Harappan Culture in India.
  • c. 1500 BCE - c. 500 BCE
    The Vedic Period in India after a greater migration of the Indo-Aryans from Central Asia
  • c. 1500 BCE - c. 500 CE
    The Gandhara Civilization flourishes in what is today the northern portion of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • c. 1500 BCE - c. 500 BCE
    Indian scholars of the so-called Vedic Period commit the Vedas to written form; basic tenets of Hinduism are established.
  • c. 600 BCE
    Charaka and Sushruta found two schools of Ayurveda.
  • c. 599 BCE - c. 527 BCE
    Traditional dating of the life of Vardhamana, according to Jain tradition.
  • c. 563 BCE - c. 483 BCE
    The life of Siddhartha Gautama according to modern scholarly consensus.
  • 544 BCE - 492 BCE
    Bimbisara rules the Magadha kingdom in India.
  • 530 BCE
    Persia conquers the Indus Valley.
  • c. 520 BCE - c. 325 CE
    Achaemenid rule in the Gandhara region.
  • c. 500 BCE
    The Indian epic the Ramayana is composed by the sage Valmiki.
  • c. 500 BCE
    The kingdom of Magadha, ruled by Bimbisara, is the most powerful state in India.
  • 492 BCE - 460 BCE
    Ajatashatru rules the Magadha Kingdom in India.
  • 340 BCE - 298 BCE
    Life of Indian Emperor Chandragupta, first ruler of the Mauryan Empire.
  • 327 BCE - 326 BCE
    Alexander's campaign in northern India.
  • Sep 326 BCE
    Alexander the Great halts his eastward march and turns back from the banks of the river Beas, Punjab, India.
  • c. 325 BCE - c. 320 BCE
    Greek rule in Gandhara, ending some time after the death of Alexander the Great.
  • 321 BCE
    Dhana Nanda, king of Magadha, is killed by Chandragupta Maurya.
  • c. 321 BCE - c. 298 BCE
    Reign of Chandragupta Maurya, first ruler of the Mauryan Empire.
  • c. 320 BCE - c. 180 BCE
    Mauryan rule in the Gandhara region, beginning with Chandragupta Maurya.
  • 320 BCE
    Chandragupta Maurya seizes the throne of Magadhan and expands the kingdom over northern and central India.
  • 305 BCE
    Emperor Chandragupta signs a treaty with Seleucos I, establishing borders and giving the Punjab to Chandragupta in return for 500 war elephants.
  • 298 BCE
    Chandragupta voluntarily abdicates the throne in favour of his son Bindusara. Jain sources say that Chandragupta turned into an ascetic and follower of Jainism, migrated south and starved himself to death.
  • 298 BCE
    Indian ruler Chandragupta Maurya dies.
  • 297 BCE - c. 273 BCE
    Chandragupta's son, Bindusara, rules and expands the Mauryan Empire.
  • 268 BCE - 232 BCE
    Reign of Ashoka the Great, third ruler of the Mauryan Empire.
  • 268 BCE
    Ashoka becomes emperor of the Mauryan Empire in India.
  • 232 BCE
    Indian ruler Ashoka dies and the Mauryan Empire declines within fifty years.
  • c. 200 BCE
    Beginning of the Greco-Bactrian conquests in India.
  • c. 200 BCE - c. 600 CE
    Construction of the 30 Buddhist cave-shrines at Ajanta, many of which display features of Gupta architecture.
  • 186 BCE
    Demetrios wins a decisive battle in Gandhara, beginning the Yona (or Greek era) in India.
  • c. 180 BCE - 80 BCE
    Period of Indo-Greek rule in the Gandhara region.
  • c. 165 BCE
    The Greco-Bactrian king Eucratides invades India.
  • 160 BCE - 135 BCE
    Indo-Greek king Menander rules the Punjab.
  • c. 130 BCE
    Eucratids flee from Bactria to India. Rivalry between Eucratids and Euthydemids takes place in the Indo-Greek kingdoms.
  • c. 80 BCE - c. 75 CE
    The combined Scytho-Parthians rule Gandhara.
  • c. 50 BCE - c. 600 CE
    The Perfection of Wisdom texts are written by Mahayana Buddhist sages in India; expounding upon the central vision of the Buddha.
  • 30 BCE
    Pepper is directly imported by Roman ships from India and its price decreases.
  • c. 1 CE
    First non-stop voyages from Egypt to India.
  • c. 1 CE - c. 100 CE
    The Mahayana movement begins in India with its belief in bodhisattva - saintly souls who helped the living.
  • c. 75 CE - c. 450 CE
    Kushan rule in the Gandhara region, arguably the golden era of the Gandhara civilization in which art, architecture and the propagation of the Buddhist religion excelled.
  • c. 320 CE - c. 550 CE
    Gupta period, considered a golden age of ancient India in art and architecture.
  • 320 CE
    Gupta I founds the Gupta Empire in northern India
  • 380 CE - 415 CE
    Reign of Chandra Gupta II in northern India.
  • 450 CE
    India is invaded by the White Huns across the Hindu Kush.
  • 455 CE - 484 CE
    Reign of the Tegin Tunjina or Khingila of the White Huns in the region known as Gandhara.
  • 470 CE
    Beginning of White Hun Raids into India.
  • 484 CE - 515 CE
    Reign of the White Hun king Tormana, son of Tunjina.
  • c. 500 CE
    Life of Ajita Kesakambali, prominent member of the Charvaka school.
  • c. 500 CE - c. 600 CE
    In India the Tantric expands the number of deities to include helpful demons, contactable through ritual.
  • 515 CE - 533 CE
    Reign of the king Mihirakula of the White Huns in Gandhara.
  • c. 535 CE - 566 CE
    Reign of Chalukya ruler Pulakesin I.
  • c. 550 CE
    The end of the reign of Visnugupta Chandraditya, last of the Gupta rulers in northern India.
  • 554 CE - 606 CE
    The Maukhari Dynasty flourishes in northern India.
  • 610 CE - 642 CE
    Reign of Chalukya ruler Pulakesin II.
  • 630 CE - 634 CE
    Harsha fights and gets defeated by Pulakesin II.
  • 655 CE - 681 CE
    Reign of Chalukya ruler Vikramaditya I.
  • 712 CE
    Muslim general Muhammed bin Quasim conquers northern India.
  • c. 770 CE
    The Kailasa rock-cut temple at Ellora is completed and dedicated to Shiva.
  • c. 950 CE
    The Mukteshvara Temple is built at Bhubaneswar.
  • 985 CE - 1014 CE
    Reign of Chola king Rajaraja I in southern and central India, whose capital was at Thanjavur.
  • c. 1010 CE - c. 1025 CE
    The Brihadishvara Temple is built at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • 1012 CE - 1044 CE
    Reign of Chola king Rajendra I who controlled most of India.