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Facts about India-History

  • The name 'India' is derived from river Indus. The valleys around the river were home to early settlers.
  • India has never invaded any country in her last 100,000 years of history.
  • About 5000 years ago when men spanning continents led a nomadic life, India had a developed civilization known as Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Chess was invented in India.
  • Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies that originated in India.
  • The 'Place Value System' and 'Decimal System' were developed in India in 100 BC.
  • The world's first granite temple Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu was built during the reign of Rajaraja Chola between 1004 AD and 1009 AD. The shikhara of the temple is made of a single 80 - tonne of granite.
  • India is the largest democracy in the world, and the sixth largest country. Its civilization is as old as civilization itself.
  • The game of snakes & ladders was created by the 13th century poet Sant Gyandev. It was originally called 'Mokshapat'. The ladders represented virtues while snakes indicated vices.
  • The world's highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. It was built in 1893 after levelling a hilltop, which is 2,444 metres above sea level.
  • India has the largest number of post offices in the world.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. Charaka, the father of medicine, consolidated Ayurveda 2,500 years ago.
  • India was one of the richest countries till the arrival of British in the early 17th century.
  • Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before astronomer Smart. According to his calculation, the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun was 365.258756484 days. * Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world. (Source: Gemological Institute of America).
  • Bailey Bridge located in Ladakh valley between Dras and Suru rivers is the highest bridge in the world. The Indian Army built it in August 1982.
History

The history of India is shrouded in antiquity. India is one of the cradles of civilization with a history dating back more than 9,000 years. Indian history begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the Aryans. It can be summarized its vast and extensive history as below.

Maurya’s Empire

Came to power in 321 BC. The empire reached its peak under Emperor Ashoka who converted to Buddhism in 262 BC. Ashokan edicts and pillars can be seen in Delhi, Gujarat, Orissa, Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh and at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh. In 319 AD, Chandragupta II founded the Gupta Empire. The arts flourished during this period, with some of the finest work being done at Ajanta, Ellora, Sanchi and Sarnath.

The Mughal Era

In India lasted from 1526 to 1858. The Mughal dynasty was established by able Muslim rulers who came from the present-day Uzbekistan. The Mughal rule in India saw the country being united as one single unit and being administered under one single powerful ruler. During the Mughal period, art and architecture flourished and many beautiful monuments were constructed. The rulers were skillful warriors and admirers of art as well. Some of the wonderful monuments built during the Mughal reign are Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Fort in Agra and Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb in Delhi.

British Empire

It was in the 17th century that the Europeans came to India. This coincided with the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, paving the way for regional states. The British established its colony in 1757 in east of India (Bengalen) after a war with the French. They expanded their influence thereafter and controlled most of present day Indian Pakistan by 1857. A rebellious outbreak in India in 1857 led to the transfer of all powers from the East India Company to the Crown in England. In 1858, the Mogul rule finally breathed its last after which the Empire created British India and styled the Empire of India as well. Although Britain ruled most of India but it also had local treaties with the feudal local rulers. The first steps towards self-governance were taken by late 1800s by the British where they appointed Indian councilors to acts as advisories to the British Viceroy and aid in establishment of provincial councils with members in India.

Independence

The anti-British struggle became truly a mass movement with the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948). It was followed by numerous movements against the British rule. With the passage of time and stubbornness of the Indians the British had come to realize that the day was not far off when they will have to quit India. Successive campaigns had the effect of driving the British out of India in 1947. In the years since independence India has made huge progress and coped with great problems, and has developed its industry and its agriculture, and has maintained a system of government which makes it the largest democracy in the world.