Software Types-
The term ‘software’ refers to the set of electronic program instructions or data a computer processor reads in order to perform a task or operation. In contrast, the term ‘hardware’ refers to the physical components that you can see and touch, such as the computer hard drive, mouse, and keyboard.

Software can be categorized according to what it is designed to accomplish. There are two main types of software: systems software and application software.

Systems Software
Systems software includes the programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself, such as the operating system, file management utilities, and disk operating system (or DOS). The operating system manages the computer hardware resources in addition to applications and data. Without systems software installed in our computers we would have to type the instructions for everything we wanted the computer to do!

Applications Software
Application software, or simply applications, are often called productivity programs or end-user programs because they enable the user to complete tasks, such as creating documents, spreadsheets, databases and publications, doing online research, sending email, designing graphics, running businesses, and even playing games! Application software is specific to the task it is designed for and can be as simple as a calculator application or as complex as a word processing application. When you begin creating a document, the word processing software has already set the margins, font style and size, and the line spacing for you. But you can change these settings, and you have many more formatting options available. For example, the word processor application makes it easy to add color, headings, and pictures or delete, copy, move, and change the document’s appearance to suit your needs.

Office Applications
Microsoft Word is a popular word-processing application that is included in the software suite of applications called Microsoft Office. A software suite is a group of software applications with related functionality. For example, office software suites might include word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation, and email applications. Graphics suites such as Adobe Creative Suite include applications for creating and editing images, while Sony Audio Master Suite is used for audio production.

A Web browser, or simply browser, is an application specifically designed to locate, retrieve, and display content found on the Internet. By clicking a hyperlink or by typing the URL of a website, the user is able to view Web sites consisting of one or more Web pages. Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari are just a few of the many available to choose from.




Part of a series on the
History of India
Satavahana gateway at Sanchi, 1st century CE

The history of India includes the prehistoric settlements and societies in the Indian subcontinent; the advancement of civilisation from the Indus Valley Civilisation to the eventual blending of the Indo-Aryan culture to form the Vedic Civilisation;[1] the rise of HinduismJainism, and Buddhism;[2][3] the onset of a succession of powerful dynasties and empires for more than three millennia throughout various geographic areas of the Indian subcontinent, including the growth of Muslim dominions during the Medieval period intertwined with Hindu powers;[4][5] the advent of European traders and privateers, resulting in the establishment of British India; and the subsequent independence movement that led to the Partition of India and the creation of the Republic of India.[6]

Archaeological evidence of anatomically modern humans in the Indian subcontinent is estimated to be as old as 73,000–55,000 years[7]with some evidence of early hominids dating back to about 500,000 years ago.[8][9] Considered a cradle of civilisation,[10] the Indus Valley Civilisation, which spread and flourished in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent from 3300 to 1300 BCE, was the first major civilisation in South Asia.[11] A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the Mature Harappanperiod, from 2600 to 1900 BCE.[12] This civilisation collapsed at the start of the second millennium BCE and was later followed by the Iron Age Vedic Civilisation. The era saw the composition of the Vedas, the seminal texts of Hinduism, coalesce into Janapadas (monarchical, state-level polities), and social stratification based on caste. The Later Vedic Civilisation extended over the Indo-Gangetic plain and much of the Indian subcontinent, as well as witnessed the rise of major polities known as the Mahajanapadas. In one of these kingdoms, MagadhaGautama Buddha and Mahavira propagated their Śramaṇic philosophies during the fifth and sixth centuries BCE.

Most of the Indian subcontinent was conquered by the Maurya Empire during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. From the 3rd century BCE onwards Prakrit and Pali literature in the north and the Tamil Sangam literature in southern India started to flourish.[13][14] Wootz steeloriginated in south India in the 3rd century BCE and was exported to foreign countries.[15][16][17] During the Classical period, various parts of India were ruled by numerous dynasties for the next 1,500 years, among which the Gupta Empire stands out. This period, witnessing a Hindu religious and intellectual resurgence, is known as the classical or “Golden Age of India“. During this period, aspects of Indian civilisation, administration, culture, and religion (Hinduism and Buddhism) spread to much of Asia, while kingdoms in southern India had maritime business links with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Indian cultural influence spread over many parts of Southeast Asia, which led to the establishment of Indianised kingdoms in Southeast Asia (Greater India).[18][19]

The most significant event between the 7th and 11th century was the Tripartite struggle centred on Kannauj that lasted for more than two centuries between the Pala EmpireRashtrakuta Empire, and Gurjara-Pratihara EmpireSouthern India saw the rise of multiple imperial powers from the middle of the fifth century, most notable being the ChalukyaCholaPallavaCheraPandyan, and Western Chalukya Empires. The Chola dynasty conquered southern India and successfully invaded parts of Southeast Asia, Sri LankaMaldivesand Bengal[20] in the 11th century.[21][22] The early medieval period Indian mathematics influenced the development of mathematics and astronomy in the Arab world and the Hindu numerals were introduced.[23]

Muslim rule started in parts of north India in the 13th century when the Delhi Sultanate was founded in 1206 CE by Central Asian Turks;[24] though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into modern Afghanistan and Pakistan as early as the 8th century.[25]The Delhi Sultanate ruled the major part of northern India in the early 14th century, but declined in the late 14th century. This period also saw the emergence of several powerful Hindu states, notably VijayanagaraGajapatiAhom, as well as Rajput states, such as Mewar. The 15th century saw the advent of Sikhism. The early modern period began in the 16th century, when the Mughals conquered most of the Indian subcontinent.[26] The Mughals suffered a gradual decline in the early 18th century, which provided opportunities for the MarathasSikhs and Mysoreans to exercise control over large areas of the Indian subcontinent.[27][28]

From the late 18th century to the mid-19th century, large areas of India were annexed by the British East India Company of the British Empire. Dissatisfaction with Company rule led to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, after which the British provinces of India were directly administered by the British Crown and witnessed a period of rapid development of infrastructure, economic decline and major famines.[29][30][31][32][33] During the first half of the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched with the leading party involved being the Indian National Congress which was later joined by other organisations. The Indian subcontinent gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, after the British provinces were partitioned into the dominions of India and Pakistan and the princely states all acceded to one of the new states.


Chronology of Indian history[edit]

hideChronology of India
James Mill (1774–1836), in his The History of British India (1817),[a] distinguished three phases in the history of India, namely Hindu, Muslim, and British civilisations.[b][c] This periodisation has been influential, but has also been criticised for the misconceptions it gave rise to.[d] Another influential periodisation is the division into “ancient, classical, medieval and modern periods”.[e]
World History[f] James Mill’s Periodisation[g] ACMM[h][i] Chronology of Indian History[j][k][l][m]
Early Complex Societes
(3500–2000 BCE)
? Ancient India Prehistoric Era
Indus Valley Civilisation
Ancient Civilisations
(2000–500 BCE)
Hindu civilisations Early Vedic Period
(c. 1750 – 1200 BCE)
Middle Vedic Period
(from 1200 BCE)
Late Vedic period
(from 850 BCE)
Classical Civilisations
(500 BCE-500 CE)
Second urbanisation
Early empires[n]
(c. 600–200 BCE)[o]
Disintegration[p] and regional states
(c. 200 BCE–300 CE)[q]
Classical India “Golden Age” (Gupta Empire)
(c. 320–650 CE)[r]
Post-classical age
(500–1000 CE)
Medieval India Regional Indian kingdoms and Beginning of Islamic raids
(c. 650–1100 CE)[s]
Transregional nomadic empires
(1000–1500 CE)
Muslim civilisations Delhi Sultanate (north India)
(1206–1526 CE)
Vijayanagara Empire (south India)
(1336–1646 CE)
Modern age
Modern India Mughal Empire
British civilisations Maratha Empire
British rule
(c. 1750 CE–1947)
Independent India

James Mill (1773–1836), in his The History of British India (1817), distinguished three phases in the history of India, namely Hindu, Muslim and British civilisations. This periodisation has been influential, but has also been criticised for the misconceptions it gave rise to. Another influential periodisation is the division into “ancient, classical, medieval and modern periods”, although this periodisation has also been criticised.[34]

Romila Thapar notes that the division into Hindu-Muslim-British periods of Indian history gives too much weight to “ruling dynasties and foreign invasions”,[35] neglecting the social-economic history which often showed a strong continuity.[35] The division into Ancient-Medieval-Modern periods overlooks the fact that the Muslim conquests occurred gradually during which time many things came and went off, while the south was never completely conquered.[35] According to Thapar, a periodisation could also be based on “significant social and economic changes”, which are not strictly related to the change of ruling powers.[36][note 1]

Prehistoric era (until c. 3300 BCE)[edit]

Stone Age[edit]

Bhimbetka rock paintingMadhya Pradesh, India (c. 30,000 years old).
dolmen erected by Neolithic people in MarayurKerala, India.
Stone age (6,000 BCE) writings of Edakkal Caves in Kerala, India.

Archaeological evidence of anatomically modern humans in the Indian subcontinent is claimed to be as old as 78,000–74,000 years.[37][note 2] Earlier hominids include Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago.[8][9] Isolated remains of Homo erectus in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley in central India indicate that India might have been inhabited since at least the Middle Pleistocene era, somewhere between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago.[40][41] Tools crafted by proto-humans that have been dated back two million years have been discovered in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent.[42][43] The ancient history of the region includes some of South Asia’s oldest settlements[44] and some of its major civilisations.[45][46]

The earliest archaeological site in the Indian subcontinent is the Palaeolithic hominid site in the Soan River valley.[47][48][49]Soanian sites are found in the Sivalik region across what are now India, Pakistan, and Nepal.[50][51][52] The Mesolithic period in the Indian subcontinent was followed by the Neolithic period, when more extensive settlement of the Indian subcontinent occurred after the end of the last Ice Age approximately 12,000 years ago. The first confirmed semi-permanent settlements appeared 9,000 years ago in the Bhimbetka rock shelters in modern Madhya Pradesh, India. The Edakkal Caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BCE,[53][54] from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilisation or settlement in Kerala.[55] The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from South India.[56]

Traces of a Neolithic culture have been alleged to be submerged in the Gulf of Khambat in India, radiocarbon dated to 7500 BCE.[57] Neolithic agricultural cultures sprang up in the Indus Valley region around 5000 BCE, in the lower Gangetic valley around 3000 BCE, represented by the Bhirrana findings (7570–6200 BCE) in Haryana, IndiaLahuradewa findings (7000 BCE) in Uttar Pradesh, India,[58] and Mehrgarh findings (7000–5000 BCE) in Balochistan, Pakistan;[44][59][60] and later in Southern India, spreading southwards and also northwards into Malwa around 1800 BCE. The first urban civilisation of the region began with the Indus Valley Civilisation.[61]

“First urbanisation” (c. 3300 – c. 1500 BCE)[edit]

Indus Valley Civilisation[edit]

Indus Valley Civilisation

The Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BCE with the early Indus Valley Civilisation. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was one of three early cradles of civilisation of the Old World.[63] Of the three, the Indus Valley Civilisation was the most expansive.[63] At its peak, the Indus Civilisation may have had a population of over five million inhabitants.[64]

The civilisation was primarily located in modern-day India (GujaratHaryanaPunjabRajasthanUttar PradeshJammu and Kashmir states)[65] and Pakistan (SindhPunjab, and Balochistan provinces),[65] while some sites in Afghanistan are believed to be trading colonies.[66] A total of 1,022 cities and settlements had been found by 2008,[65] mainly in the general region of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers, and their tributaries; of which 616 sites are in India and 416 sites are in Pakistan;[65] of these 96 have been excavated.[65]

The Mature Indus civilisation flourished from about 2600 to 1900 BCE, marking the beginning of urban civilisation on the Indian subcontinent. The civilisation included urban centres such as DholaviraKalibanganRoparRakhigarhi, and Lothal in modern-day India, as well as HarappaGaneriwala, and Mohenjo-daro in modern-day Pakistan.

Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft (carneol products, seal carving), and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The civilisation is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multi-storeyed houses and is thought to have had some kind of municipal organisation.[67]

During the late period of this civilisation, signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BCE, most of the cities were abandoned. However, the Indus Valley Civilisation did not disappear suddenly, and some elements of the Indus Civilisation may have survived, especially in the smaller villages and isolated farms. According to historian Upinder Singh“the general picture presented by the late Harappan phase is one of a breakdown of urban networks and an expansion of rural ones”.[68] The Indian Copper Hoard Culture is attributed to this time, associated in the Doab region with the Ochre Coloured Pottery.

Ten Indus characters from the northern gate of Dholavira, dubbed the Dholavira Signboard.

Dravidian origins[edit]

Linguists hypothesized that Dravidian-speaking people were spread throughout the Indian subcontinent before a series of Indo-Aryan migrations. In this view, the early Indus Valley civilisation is often identified as having been Dravidian.[69] Cultural and linguistic similarities have been cited by researchers Henry HerasKamil ZvelebilAsko Parpola, and Iravatham Mahadevan as being strong evidence for a proto-Dravidian origin of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation.[70][71] Linguist Asko Parpola writes that the Indus script and Harappan language “most likely to have belonged to the Dravidian family”.[72] Parpola led a Finnish team in investigating the inscriptions using computer analysis. Based on a proto-Dravidian assumption, they proposed readings of many signs, some agreeing with the suggested readings of Heras and Knorozov (such as equating the “fish” sign with the Dravidian word for fish “min”) but disagreeing on several other readings. A comprehensive description of Parpola’s work until 1994 is given in his book Deciphering the Indus Script.[73] The discovery in Tamil Nadu of a late Neolithic (early 2nd millennium BCE, i.e. post-dating Harappan decline) stone celt allegedly marked with Indus signs has been considered by some to be significant for the Dravidian identification.[74][75] While, Yuri Knorozov surmised that the symbols represent a logosyllabic script and suggested, based on computer analysis, an underlying agglutinative Dravidian language as the most likely candidate for the underlying language.[76] Knorozov’s suggestion was preceded by the work of Henry Heras, who suggested several readings of signs based on a proto-Dravidian assumption.[77] While some scholars like J. Bloch and M. Witzel believe that the Indo-Aryans moved into an already Dravidian speaking area after the oldest parts of the Rig Veda were already composed.[78] The Brahui population of Balochistan has been taken by some as the linguistic equivalent of a relict population, perhaps indicating that Dravidian languages were formerly much more widespread and were supplanted by the incoming Indo-Aryan languages.[79]

Vedic period (c. 1500 – c. 600 BCE)[edit]

The Vedic period is named after the Indo-Aryan culture of north-west India, although other parts of India had a distinct cultural identity during this period. The Vedic culture is described in the texts of Vedas, still sacred to Hindus, which were orally composed in Vedic Sanskrit. The Vedas are some of the oldest extant texts in India.[80] The Vedic period, lasting from about 1500 to 500 BCE,[81][82]contributed the foundations of several cultural aspects of the Indian subcontinent. In terms of culture, many regions of the Indian subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age in this period.[83]

Vedic society[edit]

Vedic society

Historians have analysed the Vedas to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.[83] Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the Indian subcontinent from the north-west.[85][86] The peepal tree and cow were sanctified by the time of the Atharva Veda.[87] Many of the concepts of Indian philosophy espoused later, like dharma, trace their roots to Vedic antecedents.[88]

Early Vedic society is described in the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, believed to have been compiled during 2nd millennium BCE,[89][90] in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent.[91] At this time, Aryan society consisted of largely tribal and pastoral groups, distinct from the Harappan urbanisation which had been abandoned.[92] The early Indo-Aryan presence probably corresponds, in part, to the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture in archaeological contexts.[93][94]

At the end of the Rigvedic period, the Aryan society began to expand from the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, into the western Ganges plain. It became increasingly agricultural and was socially organised around the hierarchy of the four varnas, or social classes. This social structure was characterised both by syncretising with the native cultures of northern India,[95] but also eventually by the excluding of some indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure.[96] During this period, many of the previous small tribal units and chiefdoms began to coalesce into Janapadas (monarchical, state-level polities).[97]

In the 14th century BCE,[98] the Battle of the Ten Kings, between the Puru Vedic Aryan tribal kingdoms of the Bharatas, allied with other tribes of the Northwest India, guided by the royal sage Vishvamitra, and the Trtsu-Bharata (Puru) king Sudas, who defeats other Vedic tribes—leading to the emergence of the Kuru Kingdom, first state level society during the Vedic period.[99]


Since Vedic times,[100][note 3] “people from many strata of society throughout the Indian subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms”, a process sometimes called Sanskritisation.[100] It is reflected in the tendency to identify local deities with the gods of the Sanskrit texts.[100]


Late Vedic era map showing the boundaries of Āryāvartawith Janapadas in northern India, beginning of Iron Age kingdoms in India — KuruPanchalaKosalaVideha.
Ahichchhatra (or Ahi-Kshetra) was the ancient capital of Northern Panchala. The remains of this city has been discovered in Bareilly.
Kuru punch-marked coin, one of the earliest example of coinage in India (c. 6th century BCE).[101]

The Iron Age in the Indian subcontinent from about 1200 BCE to the 6th century BCE is defined by the rise of Janapadas, which are realmsrepublics and kingdoms — notably the Iron Age Kingdoms of KuruPanchalaKosalaVideha.[102][103]

The Kuru kingdom was the first state-level society of the Vedic period, corresponding to the beginning of the Iron Age in northwestern India, around 1200 – 800 BCE,[104] as well as with the composition of the Atharvaveda (the first Indian text to mention iron, as śyāma ayas, literally “black metal”).[105] The Kuru state organised the Vedic hymns into collections, and developed the orthodox srauta ritual to uphold the social order.[105] Two key figures of the Kuru state were king Parikshit and his successor Janamejaya, transforming this realm into the dominant political and cultural power of northern Iron Age India.[105] When the Kuru kingdom declined, the centre of Vedic culture shifted to their eastern neighbours, the Panchala kingdom.[105] The archaeological Painted Grey Ware culture, which flourished in the Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh regions of northern India from about 1100 to 600 BCE,[93] is believed to correspond to the Kuru and Panchala kingdoms.[105][106]

During the Late Vedic Period, the kingdom of Videha emerged as a new centre of Vedic culture, situated even farther to the East (in what is today Nepal and Bihar state in India);[94] reaching its prominence under the king Janaka, whose court provided patronage for Brahmin sages and philosophers such as YajnavalkyaAruni, and Gargi Vachaknavi.[107] The later part of this period corresponds with a consolidation of increasingly large states and kingdoms, called mahajanapadas, all across Northern India.

Sanskrit Epics[edit]

Manuscript illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra.

In addition to the Vedas, the principal texts of Hinduism, the core themes of the Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to have their ultimate origins during this period.[108] The Mahabharata remains, today, the longest single poem in the world.[109] Historians formerly postulated an “epic age” as the milieu of these two epic poems, but now recognise that the texts (which are both familiar with each other) went through multiple stages of development over centuries. For instance, the Mahabharata may have been based on a small-scale conflict (possibly about 1000 BCE) which was eventually “transformed into a gigantic epic war by bards and poets”. There is no conclusive proof from archaeology as to whether the specific events of the Mahabharata have any historical basis.[110] The existing texts of these epics are believed to belong to the post-Vedic age, between c. 400 BCE and 400 CE.[110][111] Some even attempted to date the events using methods of archaeo-astronomy which have produced, depending on which passages are chosen and how they are interpreted, estimated dates ranging up to mid 2nd millennium BCE.[112][113]

“Second urbanisation” (c. 600 – c. 200 BCE)[edit]

Conjectural reconstruction of the main gate of Kusinagara circa 500 BCE adapted from a relief at Sanchi.
City of Kushinagar in the 5th century BCE according to a 1st-century BCE frieze in Sanchi Stupa 1 Southern Gate.

During the time between 800 and 200 BCE the Śramaṇa movement formed, from which originated Jainismand Buddhism. In the same period, the first Upanishads were written. After 500 BCE, the so-called “Second urbanisation” started, with new urban settlements arising at the Ganges plain, especially the Central Ganges plain.[114] The foundations for the Second Urbanisation were laid prior to 600 BCE, in the Painted Grey Wareculture of the Ghaggar-Hakra and Upper Ganges Plain; although most PGW sites were small farming villages, “several dozen” PGW sites eventually emerged as relatively large settlements that can be characterized as towns, the largest of which were fortified by ditches or moats and embankments made of piled earth with wooden palisades, albeit smaller and simpler than the elaborately fortified large cities which grew after 600 BCE in the Northern Black Polished Ware culture.[115] The Central Ganges Plain, where Magadha gained prominence, forming the base of the Mauryan Empire, was a distinct cultural area,[116] with new states arising after 500 BCE[web 1] during the so-called “Second urbanisation”.[117][note 4] It was influenced by the Vedic culture,[118] but differed markedly from the Kuru-Panchala region.[116] It “was the area of the earliest known cultivation of rice in South Asia and by 1800 BCE was the location of an advanced Neolithic population associated with the sites of Chirand and Chechar”.[119] In this region, the Śramaṇic movements flourished, and Jainism and Buddhism originated.[114]

Upanishads and Śramaṇa movements[edit]

Upanishads and Śramaṇa movements
A page of Isha Upanishad manuscript.
Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankaraof Jainism.
Gautama Buddha‘s cremation stupa, Kushinagar(Kushinara).

Around 800 BCE to 400 BCE witnessed the composition of the earliest Upanishads.[120][121][122] Upanishads form the theoretical basis of classical Hinduism and are known as Vedanta (conclusion of the Vedas).[123] The older Upanishads launched attacks of increasing intensity on the ritual. Anyone who worships a divinity other than the Self is called a domestic animal of the gods in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The Mundaka launches the most scathing attack on the ritual by comparing those who value sacrifice with an unsafe boat that is endlessly overtaken by old age and death.[124]

Increasing urbanisation of India in 7th and 6th centuries BCE led to the rise of new ascetic or Śramaṇa movements which challenged the orthodoxy of rituals.[121] Mahavira (c. 549–477 BCE), proponent of Jainism, and Gautama Buddha (c. 563–483 BCE), founder of Buddhism were the most prominent icons of this movement. Śramaṇa gave rise to the concept of the cycle of birth and death, the concept of samsara, and the concept of liberation.[125] Buddha found a Middle Way that ameliorated the extreme asceticism found in the Śramaṇa religions.[126]

Around the same time, Mahavira (the 24th Tirthankara in Jainism) propagated a theology that was to later become Jainism.[127]However, Jain orthodoxy believes the teachings of the Tirthankaras predates all known time and scholars believe Parshvanatha(c. 872 – c. 772 BCE), accorded status as the 23rd Tirthankara, was a historical figure. Rishabhanatha was the 1st Tirthankara.[128] The Vedas are believed to have documented a few Tirthankaras and an ascetic order similar to the Śramaṇamovement.[129]


The Mahajanapadas were the sixteen most powerful and vast kingdoms and republics of the era, located mainly across the fertile Indo-Gangetic plains, there were also a number of smaller kingdoms stretching the length and breadth of Ancient India.
Silver coins of KosalaMahajanapada, c. 525 BCE.
Silver coin of AvantiMahajanapada, c. 400 BCE.

The period from c. 600 BCE to c. 300 BCE witnessed the rise of the Mahajanapadas, sixteen powerful and vast kingdoms and oligarchic republics. These Mahajanapadas evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Bengalin the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region.[130] Ancient Buddhist texts, like the Anguttara Nikaya,[131] make frequent reference to these sixteen great kingdoms and republics—AngaAssakaAvantiChediGandharaKashiKambojaKosalaKuruMagadhaMallaMatsya (or Machcha), PanchalaSurasenaVriji, and Vatsa. This period saw the second major rise of urbanism in India after the Indus Valley Civilisation.[132]

Ananda Stupa, built by the Licchavis at Vaishali, which served as the capital of Vajjian Confederacy, one of the world’s earliest republics (Gaṇa sangha).[133]

Early “republics” or Gaṇa sangha,[133] such as ShakyasKoliyasMallas, and Licchavis had republican governments. Gaṇa sanghas,[133] such as Mallas, centered in the city of Kusinagara, and the Vajjian Confederacy (Vajji), centered in the city of Vaishali, existed as early as the 6th century BCE and persisted in some areas until the 4th century CE.[134] The most famous clan amongst the ruling confederate clans of the Vajji Mahajanapada were the Licchavis.[135]

This period corresponds in an archaeological context to the Northern Black Polished Ware culture. Especially focused in the Central Ganges plain but also spreading across vast areas of the northern and central Indian subcontinent, this culture is characterized by the emergence of large cities with massive fortifications, significant population growth, increased social stratification, wide-ranging trade networks, construction of public architecture and water channels, specialized craft industries (e.g., ivory and carnelian carving), a system of weights, punch-marked coins, and the introduction of writing in the form of Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts.[136][137] The language of the gentry at that time was Sanskrit, while the languages of the general population of northern India are referred to as Prakrits.

Many of the sixteen kingdoms had coalesced into four major ones by 500/400 BCE, by the time of Gautama Buddha. These four were Vatsa, Avanti, Kosala, and Magadha. The life of Gautama Buddha was mainly associated with these four kingdoms.[132]

Mallas defending the city of Kusinagara, as depicted at Sanchi. Malla was an ancient Indian republic (Gaṇa sangha) that constituted one of the solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (great realms) of ancient India as mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya.[138]

Magadha dynasties[edit]

Magadha dynasties
The Magadha state c. 600 BCE, before it expanded from its capital Rajagriha — under the Haryanka dynasty and the successor Shishunaga dynasty.
King Bimbisara of Magadha visits the Bamboo Garden (Venuvana) in Rajagriha; artwork from Sanchi.

Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahā-Janapadas (Sanskrit: “Great Realms”) or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganges; its first capital was Rajagriha (modern Rajgir) then Pataliputra (modern Patna). Magadha expanded to include most of Bihar and Bengal with the conquest of Licchavi and Anga respectively,[139]followed by much of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Orissa. The ancient kingdom of Magadha is heavily mentioned in Jain and Buddhist texts. It is also mentioned in the RamayanaMahabharata and Puranas.[140] The earliest reference to the Magadha people occurs in the Atharva-Veda where they are found listed along with the AngasGandharis, and Mujavats. Magadha played an important role in the development of Jainism and Buddhism, and two of India’s greatest empires, the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, originated from Magadha. These empires saw advancements in ancient India’s science, mathematics, astronomy, religion, and philosophy and were considered the Indian “Golden Age“. The Magadha kingdom included republican communities such as the community of Rajakumara. Villages had their own assemblies under their local chiefs called Gramakas. Their administrations were divided into executive, judicial, and military functions.

Coins during the Shishunaga dynasty of Magadha.

The Hindu epic Mahabharata calls Brihadratha the first ruler of Magadha. Early sources, from the Buddhist Pāli Canon, the Jain Agamas and the Hindu Puranas, mentions Magadha being ruled by the Haryanka dynasty for some 200 years, c. 600 BCE – 413 BCE. King Bimbisara of the Haryanka dynasty led an active and expansive policy, conquering Anga in what is now eastern Bihar and West Bengal. King Bimbisara was overthrown and killed by his son, Prince Ajatashatru, who continued the expansionist policy of Magadha. During this period, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, lived much of his life in Magadha kingdom. He attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath and the first Buddhist council was held in Rajgriha.[141] The Haryanka dynasty was overthrown by the Shishunaga dynasty. The last Shishunaga ruler, Kalasoka, was assassinated by Mahapadma Nanda in 345 BCE, the first of the so-called Nine Nandas, which were Mahapadma and his eight sons. The Nanda Empire extended across much of northern India.

Persians and Greeks in northwest South Asia[edit]

In 530 BCE Cyrus the Great, King of the Persian Achaemenid Empire crossed the Hindu-Kush mountains to seek tribute from the tribes of Kamboja, Gandhara and the trans-India region (modern Afghanistan and Pakistan).[142] By 520 BCE, during the reign of Darius I of Persia, much of the north-western Indian subcontinent (present-day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan) came under the rule of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, as part of the far easternmost territories. The area remained under Persian control for two centuries.[143] During this time India supplied mercenaries to the Persian army for the Second Persian invasion of Greece(480-479 BCE).[142] Under Persian rule the famous University of Ancient Taxila became a centre where both Vedic and Achaemenid learning were mingled.[144] Persian ascendency in North-western South Asia ended with Alexander the Great‘s conquest of Persia in 327 BCE.[145]

By 326 BCE, Alexander the Great had conquered Asia Minor and the Achaemenid Empire and had reached the northwest frontiers of the Indian subcontinent. There he defeated King Porus in the Battle of the Hydaspes (near modern-day Jhelum, Pakistan) and conquered much of the Punjab.[146] Alexander’s march east put him in confrontation with the Nanda Empire of Magadha and the Gangaridai of Bengal. His army, exhausted and frightened by the prospect of facing larger Indian armies at the Ganges River, mutinied at the Hyphasis (modern Beas River) and refused to march further East. Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, and after learning about the might of the Nanda Empire, was convinced that it was better to return.

The Persian and Greek invasions had repercussions in the north-western regions of the Indian subcontinent. The region of Gandhara, or present-day eastern Afghanistan and north-west Pakistan, became a melting pot of Indian, Persian, Central Asian, and Greek cultures and gave rise to a hybrid culture, Greco-Buddhism, which lasted until the 5th century CE and influenced the artistic development of Mahayana Buddhism.

Maurya Empire[edit]

Maurya Empire
Ashokan pillar at Vaishali, 3rd century BCE.

The Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE) unified most of the Indian subcontinent into one state, and was the largest empire ever to exist on the Indian subcontinent.[149] At its greatest extent, the Mauryan Empire stretched to the north up to the natural boundaries of the Himalayas and to the east into what is now Assam. To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan, to the Hindu Kush mountains in what is now Afghanistan. The empire was established by Chandragupta Maurya assisted by Chanakya (Kautilya) in Magadha (in modern Bihar) when he overthrew the Nanda Dynasty.[150] Chandragupta’s son Bindusara succeeded to the throne around 297 BCE. By the time he died in c. 272 BCE, a large part of the Indian subcontinent was under Mauryan suzerainty. However, the region of Kalinga (around modern day Odisha) remained outside Mauryan control, perhaps interfering with their trade with the south.[151]

The Mauryan carved door of Lomas Rishi, one of the Barabar Caves, c. 250 BCE.

Bindusara was succeeded by Ashoka, whose reign lasted for around 37 years until his death in about 232 BCE.[152] His campaign against the Kalingans in about 260 BCE, though successful, lead to immense loss of life and misery. This filled Ashoka with remorse and led him to shun violence, and subsequently to embrace Buddhism.[151] The empire began to decline after his death and the last Mauryan ruler, Brihadratha, was assassinated by Pushyamitra Shunga to establish the Shunga Empire.[152]

The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary written records of the Mauryan times. Archaeologically, this period falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Mauryan Empire was based on a modern and efficient economy and society. However, the sale of merchandise was closely regulated by the government.[153] Although there was no banking in the Mauryan society, usury was customary. A significant amount of written records on slavery are found, suggesting a prevalence thereof.[154] During this period, a high quality steel called Wootz steel was developed in south India and was later exported to China and Arabia.[15]

Sangam Period[edit]

Tamilakam, located in the tip of South Indiaduring the Sangam Period, ruled by Chera dynastyChola dynasty and the Pandyan dynasty.

During the Sangam period Tamil literature flourished from the 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE. During this period, three Tamil dynasties, collectively known as the Three Crowned Kings of TamilakamChera dynastyChola dynasty and the Pandyan dynasty ruled parts of southern India.[156]

The Sangam literature deals with the history, politics, wars, and culture of the Tamil people of this period.[157] The scholars of the Sangam period rose from among the common people who sought the patronage of the Tamil Kings, but who mainly wrote about the common people and their concerns.[158] Unlike Sanskrit writers who were mostly Brahmins, Sangam writers came from diverse classes and social backgrounds and were mostly non-Brahmins. They belonged to different faiths and professions like farmers, artisans, merchants, monks, priests and even princes and quite a few of them were even women.[158]

Around c. 300 BCE – c. 200 CE., Pathupattu, an anthology of ten mid-length books collection, which is considered part of Sangam Literature, were composed; the composition of eight anthologies of poetic works Ettuthogai as well as the composition of eighteen minor poetic works Patiṉeṇkīḻkaṇakku; while Tolkāppiyam, the earliest grammarian work in the Tamil language was developed.[159] Also, during Sangam period, two of the Five Great Epics of Tamil Literature were composed. Ilango Adigal composed Silappatikaram, which is a non-religious work, that revolves around Kannagi, who having lost her husband to a miscarriage of justice at the court of the Pandyan dynasty, wreaks her revenge on his kingdom,[160] and Manimekalai, composed by Sīthalai Sāttanār, is a sequel to Silappatikaram, and tells the story of the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi, who became a Buddhist Bikkuni.[161][162]

Classical to early medieval periods (c. 200 BCE – c. 1200 CE)[edit]

The time between the Maurya Empire in the 3rd century BCE and the end of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century CE is referred to as the “Classical” period of India.[165] It can be divided in various sub-periods, depending on the chosen periodisation. Classical period begins after the decline of the Maurya Empire, and the corresponding rise of the Shunga dynasty and Satavahana dynasty. The Gupta Empire (4th–6th century) is regarded as the “Golden Age” of Hinduism, although a host of kingdoms ruled over India in these centuries. Also, the Sangam literature flourished from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE in southern India.[14] During this period, India’s economy is estimated to have been the largest in the world, having between one-third and one-quarter of the world’s wealth, from 1 CE to 1000 CE.[166][167]

Early classical period (c. 200 BCE – c. 320 CE)[edit]

Shunga Empire[edit]

Shunga Empire

The Shungas originated from Magadha, and controlled areas of the central and eastern Indian subcontinent from around 187 to 78 BCE. The dynasty was established by Pushyamitra Shunga, who overthrew the last Maurya emperor. Its capital was Pataliputra, but later emperors, such as Bhagabhadra, also held court at Vidisha, modern Besnagar in Eastern Malwa.[168]

Pushyamitra Shunga ruled for 36 years and was succeeded by his son Agnimitra. There were ten Shunga rulers. However, after the death of Agnimitra, the empire rapidly disintegrated;[169] inscriptions and coins indicate that much of northern and central India consisted of small kingdoms and city-states that were independent of any Shunga hegemony.[170] The empire is noted for its numerous wars with both foreign and indigenous powers. They fought battles with the Mahameghavahana dynasty of KalingaSatavahana dynasty of Deccan, the Indo-Greeks, and possibly the Panchalas and Mitras of Mathura.

Art, education, philosophy, and other forms of learning flowered during this period including small terracotta images, larger stone sculptures, and architectural monuments such as the Stupa at Bharhut, and the renowned Great Stupa at Sanchi. The Shunga rulers helped to establish the tradition of royal sponsorship of learning and art. The script used by the empire was a variant of Brahmi and was used to write the Sanskrit language. The Shunga Empire played an imperative role in patronising Indian culture at a time when some of the most important developments in Hindu thought were taking place. This helped the empire flourish and gain power.

Satavahana Empire[edit]

Satavahana Empire

The Śātavāhanas were based from Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar (Pune) and Prathisthan (Paithan) in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered large parts of India from the 1st century BCE onward. The Sātavāhanas started out as feudatories to the Mauryan dynasty, but declared independence with its decline.

The Sātavāhanas are known for their patronage of Hinduism and Buddhism, which resulted in Buddhist monuments from Ellora (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to Amaravati. They were one of the first Indian states to issue coins struck with their rulers embossed. They formed a cultural bridge and played a vital role in trade as well as the transfer of ideas and culture to and from the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the southern tip of India.

They had to compete with the Shunga Empire and then the Kanva dynasty of Magadha to establish their rule. Later, they played a crucial role to protect large part of India against foreign invaders like the SakasYavanas and Pahlavas. In particular, their struggles with the Western Kshatrapas went on for a long time. The notable rulers of the Satavahana Dynasty Gautamiputra Satakarni and Sri Yajna Sātakarni were able to defeat the foreign invaders like the Western Kshatrapas and to stop their expansion. In the 3rd century CE the empire was split into smaller states.

Northwestern kingdoms and hybrid cultures[edit]

Left: The Heliodorus pillar, commissioned by Indo-Greek ambassador Heliodorus, who was one of the earliest recorded Indo-Greek converts to Hinduism; the pillar is the first known inscription related to Vaishnavism in India.[171]
Right: The Mathura lion capital, 1st century CE. The capital describes, among other donations, the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Ayasia, the “chief queen of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, satrap Rajuvula“.

The Northwestern kingdoms and hybrid cultures of the Indian subcontinent included the Indo-Greeks, the Indo-Scythians, the Indo-Parthians, and the Indo-Sassinids.

  • The Indo-Greeks were a hybrid culture straddled across multiple Indo-Greek kingdoms. Lasting for almost two centuries, the kingdoms were ruled by a succession of more than 30 Indo-Greek kings, who were often in conflict with each other. The Indo-Greeks reached their height under Menander I (reigned 155–130 BCE), who drove the Greco-Bactrians out of Gandhara and beyond the Hindu Kush, becoming a king shortly after his victory. His territories covered Panjshir and Kapisa in modern Afghanistan and extended to the Punjab region in the Indian subcontinent, with many tributaries to the south and east. Menander I embraced the Buddhist faith, as described in the classical Buddhist text Milinda Panha. After his conversion, he became noted for being a leading patron of Buddhism.[172]
  • The Indo-Scythians were descended from the Sakas (Scythians) who migrated from southern Siberia to Pakistan and Arachosia to India from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century BCE. They displaced the Indo-Greeks and ruled a kingdom that stretched from Gandhara to Mathura. The power of the Saka rulers started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Scythian Western Satraps were defeated by the south Indian Emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty.[173][174] Later the Saka kingdom was completely destroyed by Chandragupta II of the Gupta Empire from eastern India in the 4th century.[175]
  • The Indo-Parthians were ruled by the Gondopharid dynasty, named after its eponymous first ruler Gondophares. They ruled parts of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwestern India,[176] during or slightly before the 1st century CE. For most of their history, the leading Gondopharid kings held Taxila (in the present Punjab province of Pakistan) as their residence and ruled from there, but during their last few years of existence the capital shifted between Kabul and Peshawar. These kings have traditionally been referred to as Indo-Parthians, as their coinage was often inspired by the Arsacid dynasty, but they probably belonged to a wider groups of Iranic tribes who lived east of Parthia proper, and there is no evidence that all the kings who assumed the title Gondophares, which means “Holder of Glory”, were even related. The Indo-Parthians are noted for the construction of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi.
  • The Indo-Sassanids have their origin with the Sassanid Empire of Persia, who was contemporaneous with the Gupta Empire, expanded into the region of present-day Balochistan, Pakistan, where the mingling of Indian culture and the culture of Iran gave birth to a hybrid culture under the Indo-Sassanids.

Trade and travels to India[edit]

  • The spice trade in Kerala attracted traders from all over the Old World to India. Early writings and Stone Age carvings of Neolithic age obtained indicates that India’s Southwest coastal port Muziris, in Kerala, had established itself as a major spice trade centre from as early as 3,000 BCE, according to Sumerian recordsJewish traders from Judea arrived in KochiKerala, India as early as 562 BCE, and more Jewish traders came as exiles in 70 CE after the destruction of the Second Temple.[177] Kerala was referred to as the land of spices or as the “Spice Garden of India”. It was the place traders and exporters wanted to reach, including Christopher ColombusVasco da Gama, and others.[178]
  • Thomas the Apostle sailed to India around the 1st century CE. He landed in Muziris in Kerala, India and established Yezh (Seven) ara (half) palligal (churches) or Seven and a Half Churches.
  • Buddhism entered China through the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism in the 1st or 2nd century CE. The interaction of cultures resulted in several Chinese travellers and monks to enter India. Most notable were FaxianYijingSong Yun and Xuanzang. These travellers wrote detailed accounts of the Indian subcontinent, which includes the political and social aspects of the region.[179]
  • Hindu and Buddhist religious establishments of Southeast Asia came to be associated with the economic activity and commerce as patrons entrust large funds which would later be used to benefit the local economy by estate management, craftsmanship, promotion of trading activities. Buddhism in particular, travelled alongside the maritime trade, promoting coinage, art, and literacy.[180] Indian merchants involved in spice trade took Indian cuisine to Southeast Asia, where spice mixtures and curries became popular with the native inhabitants.[181]
  • The Greco-Roman world followed by trading along the incense route and the Roman-India routes.[182] During the 2nd century BCE Greek and Indian ships met to trade at Arabian ports such as Aden (called Eudaemon by the Greeks).[183] According to Poseidonius, later reported in Strabo‘s Geography,[184] the monsoon wind system of the Indian Ocean was first sailed by Eudoxus of Cyzicus in 118 or 116 BCE. Poseidonius said a shipwrecked sailor from India had been rescued in the Red Sea and taken to Ptolemy VIII in Alexandria. Strabo, whose Geography is the main surviving source of the story, was skeptical about its truth. Modern scholarship tends to consider it relatively credible. Another Greek navigator, Hippalus, is sometimes credited with discovering the monsoon wind route to India. He is sometimes conjectured to have been part of Eudoxus’s expeditions.[185]During the first millennium, the sea routes to India were controlled by the Indians and Ethiopians that became the maritime trading power of the Red Sea.

Kushan Empire[edit]

Kushan Empire

The Kushan Empire expanded out of what is now Afghanistan into the northwest of the Indian subcontinent under the leadership of their first emperor, Kujula Kadphises, about the middle of the 1st century CE. The Kushans were possibly of Tocharian speaking tribe;[186] one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation.[187][188] By the time of his grandson, Kanishka the Great, the empire spread to encompass much of Afghanistan,[189] and then the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Banaras).[190]

Emperor Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism; however, as Kushans expanded southward, the deities of their later coinage came to reflect its new Hindu majority.[191][192] They played an important role in the establishment of Buddhism in India and its spread to Central Asia and China.

Historian Vincent Smith said about Kanishka:

He played the part of a second Ashoka in the history of Buddhism.[193]

The empire linked the Indian Ocean maritime trade with the commerce of the Silk Road through the Indus valley, encouraging long-distance trade, particularly between China and Rome. The Kushans brought new trends to the budding and blossoming Gandhara art and Mathura art, which reached its peak during Kushan rule.[194]

H.G. Rowlinson commented:

The Kushan period is a fitting prelude to the Age of the Guptas.[195]

By the 3rd century, their empire in India was disintegrating and their last known great emperor was Vasudeva I.[196][197]

Classical period (c. 320 – c. 650 CE)[edit]

Gupta Empire – Golden Age[edit]

Gupta Empire – Golden Age

Classical India refers to the period when much of the Indian subcontinent was united under the Gupta Empire (c. 320–550 CE).[198][199] This period has been called the Golden Age of India;[200] and was marked by extensive achievements in science, technologyengineeringartdialecticliteraturelogicmathematicsastronomyreligion, and philosophy that crystallised the elements of what is generally known as Hindu culture.[201] The Hindu-Arabic numeral system, a positional numeral system, originated in India and was later transmitted to the West through the Arabs. Early Hindu numerals had only nine symbols, until 600 to 800 CE, when a symbol for zero was developed for the numeral system.[202] The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavours in India.[203]

The high points of this cultural creativity are magnificent architecture, sculpture, and painting.[204] The Gupta period produced scholars such as KalidasaAryabhataVarahamihiraVishnu Sharma, and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields. The Gupta period marked a watershed of Indian culture: the Guptas performed Vedic sacrifices to legitimise their rule, but they also patronised Buddhism, which continued to provide an alternative to Brahmanical orthodoxy. The military exploits of the first three rulers – Chandragupta ISamudragupta, and Chandragupta II– brought much of India under their leadership.[205] Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. Strong trade ties also made the region an important cultural centre and established it as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka, Maritime Southeast Asia, and Indochina.

The latter Guptas successfully resisted the northwestern kingdoms until the arrival of the Alchon Huns, who established themselves in Afghanistan by the first half of the 5th century, with their capital at Bamiyan.[206] However, much of the Deccan and southern India were largely unaffected by these events in the north.[207][208]

Vakataka Empire[edit]

The Ajanta Caves are 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monument built under the Vakatakas.

The Vākāṭaka Empire originated from the Deccan in the mid-third century CE. Their state is believed to have extended from the southern edges of Malwa and Gujarat in the north to the Tungabhadra River in the south as well as from the Arabian Sea in the western to the edges of Chhattisgarh in the east. They were the most important successors of the Satavahanas in the Deccan, contemporaneous with the Guptas in northern India and succeeded by the Vishnukundina dynasty.

The Vakatakas are noted for having been patrons of the arts, architecture and literature. They led public works and their monuments are a visible legacy. The rock-cut Buddhist viharas and chaityas of Ajanta Caves (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) were built under the patronage of Vakataka emperor, Harishena.[209][210]

Kamarupa Kingdom[edit]

Copper Plate Seal of Kamarupa Kings at Madan Kamdev ruins.

Samudragupta‘s 4th-century Allahabad pillar inscription mentions Kamarupa (Western Assam)[211] and Davaka (Central Assam)[212] as frontier kingdoms of the Gupta Empire. Davaka was later absorbed by Kamarupa, which grew into a large kingdom that spanned from Karatoya river to near present Sadiyaand covered the entire Brahmaputra valley, North Bengal, parts of Bangladesh and, at times Purnea and parts of West Bengal.[213]

Ruled by three dynasties Varmanas (c. 350–650 CE), Mlechchha dynasty (c. 655–900 CE) and Kamarupa-Palas (c. 900–1100 CE), from their capitals in present-day Guwahati (Pragjyotishpura), Tezpur (Haruppeswara) and North Gauhati (Durjaya) respectively. All three dynasties claimed their descent from Narakasura, an immigrant from Aryavarta.[214] In the reign of the Varman king, Bhaskar Varman (c. 600–650 CE), the Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited the region and recorded his travels. Later, after weakening and disintegration (after the Kamarupa-Palas), the Kamarupa tradition was somewhat extended until c. 1255 CE by the Lunar I (c. 1120 – 1185 CE) and Lunar II (c. 1155 – 1255 CE) dynasties.[215] The Kamarupa kingdom came to an end in the middle of the 13th century when the Khen dynasty under Sandhya of Kamarupanagara (North Guwahati), moved his capital to Kamatapur (North Bengal) after the invasion of Muslim Turks, and established the Kamata kingdom.[216]

Pallava Empire[edit]

The Pallavas, during the 4th to 9th centuries were, alongside the Guptas of the North, great patronisers of Sanskrit development in the South of the Indian subcontinent. The Pallava reign saw the first Sanskrit inscriptions in a script called Grantha.[217] Early Pallavas had different connexions to Southeast Asian countries. The Pallavas used Dravidian architecture to build some very important Hindu temples and academies in MamallapuramKanchipuram and other places; their rule saw the rise of great poets. The practice of dedicating temples to different deities came into vogue followed by fine artistic temple architecture and sculpture style of Vastu Shastra.[218]

Pallavas reached the height of power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630 CE) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668 CE) and dominated the Telugu and northern parts of the Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century.[219]

Kadamba Empire[edit]

Kadamba shikara (tower) with Kalasa (pinnacle) on top, Doddagaddavalli.

Kadambas originated from Karnataka, was founded by Mayurasharma in 345 CE which at later times showed the potential of developing into imperial proportions, an indication to which is provided by the titles and epithets assumed by its rulers. King Mayurasharma defeated the armies of Pallavas of Kanchi possibly with help of some native tribes. The Kadamba fame reached its peak during the rule of Kakusthavarma, a notable ruler with whom even the kings of Gupta Dynasty of northern India cultivated marital alliances. The Kadambas were contemporaries of the Western Ganga Dynasty and together they formed the earliest native kingdoms to rule the land with absolute autonomy. The dynasty later continued to rule as a feudatory of larger Kannada empires, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta empires, for over five hundred years during which time they branched into minor dynasties known as the Kadambas of GoaKadambas of Halasi and Kadambas of Hangal.

Alchon Huns[edit]

Alchon Huns

The Indo-Hephthalites (or Alchon Huns) were a nomadic confederation in Central Asia during the late antiquity period. The Alchon Huns established themselves in modern-day Afghanistan by the first half of the 5th century. Led by the Hun military leader Toramana, they overran Northern regions of the Indian subcontinent. Toramana’s son Mihirakula, a Saivite Hindu, moved up to near Pataliputra to the east and Gwalior to central India. Hiuen Tsiang narrates Mihirakula’s merciless persecution of Buddhists and destruction of monasteries, though the description is disputed as far as the authenticity is concerned.[220] The Huns were defeated by alliance of Indian rulers, Maharaja (Great King) Yasodharman of Malwa and Gupta Emperor Narasimhagupta in the 6th century. Some of them were driven out of India and others were assimilated in the Indian society.[221]

Empire of Harsha[edit]

Harsha ruled northern India from 606 to 647 CE. He was the son of Prabhakarvardhana and the younger brother of Rajyavardhana, who were members of the Vardhana dynasty and ruled Thanesar, in present-day Haryana.

Coin of Emperor Harsha, circa 606–647 CE.[222]

After the downfall of the prior Gupta Empire in the middle of the 6th century, North India reverted to smaller republics and monarchical states. The power vacuum resulted in the rise of the Vardhanas of Thanesar, who began uniting the republics and monarchies from the Punjab to central India. After the death of Harsha’s father and brother, representatives of the empire crowned Harsha emperor at an assembly in April 606 CE, giving him the title of Maharaja when he was merely 16 years old.[223] At the height of his power, his Empire covered much of North and Northwestern India, extended East until Kamarupa, and South until Narmada River; and eventually made Kannauj (in present Uttar Pradesh state) his capital, and ruled until 647 CE.[224]

The peace and prosperity that prevailed made his court a centre of cosmopolitanism, attracting scholars, artists and religious visitors from far and wide.[224] During this time, Harsha converted to Buddhism from Surya worship.[225] The Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited the court of Harsha and wrote a very favourable account of him, praising his justice and generosity.[224] His biography Harshacharita (“Deeds of Harsha”) written by Sanskrit poet Banabhatta, describes his association with Thanesar, besides mentioning the defence wall, a moat and the palace with a two-storied Dhavalagriha (White Mansion).[226][227]

Early medieval period (c. 650 – 1200 CE)[edit]

Martand Sun Temple Central shrine, dedicated to the deity Surya. The temple complex was built by the third ruler of the Karkota dynasty, Emperor Lalitaditya Muktapida, in the 8th century CE. It is one of the largest temple complexes on the Indian subcontinent.
Sun Temple of Modhera, with stepwell surrounding the Kunda (tank), was built by Bhima I of Chaulukya dynasty in 1026 CE. It is one of the finest examples of stepwell architecture of Gujarat.
Konark Sun Temple at KonarkOrissa, built by Emperor Narasimhadeva I (1238–1264 CE) of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Early medieval India began after the end of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century CE.[165] This period also covers the “Late Classical Age” of Hinduism,[228] which began after the end of the Gupta Empire,[228] and the collapse of the Empire of Harsha in the 7th century CE;[228] the beginning of Imperial Kannauj, leading to the Tripartite struggle; and ended in the 13th century with the rise of the Delhi Sultanate in Northern India[229] and the end of the Later Cholas with the death of Rajendra Chola III in 1279 in Southern India; however some aspects of the Classical period continued until the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in the south around the 17th century.

From the fifth century to the thirteenth, Śrauta sacrifices declined, and initiatory traditions of BuddhismJainism or more commonly ShaivismVaishnavism and Shaktism expanded in royal courts.[3] This period produced some of India’s finest art, considered the epitome of classical development, and the development of the main spiritual and philosophical systems which continued to be in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

North-Western Indian Buddhism weakened in the 6th century after the Alchon Huns invasion, who followed their own religions at the beginning such as Tengri, but later Indian religionsMuhammad bin Qasim‘s invasion of Sindh (modern Pakistan) in 711 CE witnessed further decline of Buddhism. The Chach Nama records many instances of conversion of stupas to mosques such as at Nerun.[230]

In the 7th century CE, Kumārila Bhaṭṭa formulated his school of Mimamsa philosophy and defended the position on Vedic rituals against Buddhist attacks. Scholars note Bhaṭṭa’s contribution to the decline of Buddhism in India.[231] His dialectical success against the Buddhists is confirmed by Buddhist historian Tathagata, who reports that Kumārila defeated disciples of Buddhapalkita, Bhavya, Dharmadasa, Dignaga and others.[232]

In the 8th century, Adi Shankara travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate and spread the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, which he consolidated; and is credited with unifying the main characteristics of the current thoughts in Hinduism.[233][234][235] He was a critic of both Buddhism and Minamsa school of Hinduism;[236][237][238][239] and founded mathas(monasteries), in the four corners of the Indian subcontinent for the spread and development of Advaita Vedanta.[240]

Ronald Inden writes that by the 8th century CE symbols of Hindu gods “replaced the Buddha at the imperial centre and pinnacle of the cosmo-political system, the image or symbol of the Hindu god comes to be housed in a monumental temple and given increasingly elaborate imperial-style puja worship”.[241] Although Buddhism did not disappear from India for several centuries after the eighth, royal proclivities for the cults of Vishnu and Shiva weakened Buddhism’s position within the sociopolitical context and helped make possible its decline.[242]

Emperor Harsha of Kannauj succeeded in reuniting northern India during his reign in the 7th century, after the collapse of the Gupta dynasty. His empire collapsed after his death. From the 8th to the 10th century, three dynasties contested for control of northern India: the Gurjara Pratiharas of Malwa, the Palas of Bengal, and the Rashtrakutas of the Deccan. The Sena dynastywould later assume control of the Pala Empire; the Gurjara Pratiharas fragmented into various states, notably the Paramaras of Malwa, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand, the Kalachuris of Mahakoshal, the Tomaras of Haryana, and the Chauhans of Rajputana, these states were some of the earliest Rajput kingdoms;[243] while the Rashtrakutas were annexed by the Western Chalukyas.[244]

The Chola empire emerged as a major power during the reign of Raja Raja Chola I and Rajendra Chola I who successfully invaded parts of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka in the 11th century.[245] Lalitaditya Muktapida (r. 724 CE–760 CE) was an emperor of the Kashmiri Karkoṭa dynasty, which exercised influence in northwestern India from 625 CE until 1003, and was followed by Lohara dynastyKalhana in his Rajatarangini credits king Lalitaditya with leading an aggressive military campaign in Northern India and Central Asia.[246][247][248]

The Hindu Shahi dynasty ruled portions of eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, and Kashmir from the mid-7th century to the early 11th century. While in Odisha, the Eastern Ganga Empire rose to power; noted for the advancement of Hindu architecture, most notable being Jagannath Temple and Konark Sun Temple, as well as being patrons of art and literature.

Chalukya Empire[edit]

The Chalukya Empire ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the “Badami Chalukyas”, ruled from Vatapi (modern Badami) from the middle of the 6th century. The Badami Chalukyas began to assert their independence at the decline of the Kadamba kingdom of Banavasi and rapidly rose to prominence during the reign of Pulakeshin II. The rule of the Chalukyas marks an important milestone in the history of South India and a golden age in the history of Karnataka. The political atmosphere in South India shifted from smaller kingdoms to large empires with the ascendancy of Badami Chalukyas. A Southern India-based kingdom took control and consolidated the entire region between the Kaveri and the Narmada rivers. The rise of this empire saw the birth of efficient administration, overseas trade and commerce and the development of new style of architecture called “Chalukyan architecture”. The Chalukya dynasty ruled parts of southern and central India from Badami in Karnataka between 550 and 750, and then again from Kalyani between 970 and 1190.

The Chaulukya dynasty of Gujarat were a branch of the Chalukyas. Their capital at Anhilwara (modern Patan, Gujarat) was one of the largest cities in Classical India, with the population estimated at 100,000 in 1000 CE.

Rashtrakuta Empire[edit]

Founded by Dantidurga around 753,[251] the Rashtrakuta Empire ruled from its capital at Manyakheta for almost two centuries.[252] At its peak, the Rashtrakutas ruled from the Ganges River and Yamuna River doab in the north to Cape Comorin in the south, a fruitful time of political expansion, architectural achievements and famous literary contributions.[253][254]

The early rulers of this dynasty were Hindu, but the later rulers were strongly influenced by Jainism.[255] Govinda III and Amoghavarsha were the most famous of the long line of able administrators produced by the dynasty. Amoghavarsha, who ruled for 64 years, was also an author and wrote Kavirajamarga, the earliest known Kannada work on poetics.[252][256]Architecture reached a milestone in the Dravidian style, the finest example of which is seen in the Kailasanath Temple at Ellora. Other important contributions are the Kashivishvanatha temple and the Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal in Karnataka.

The Arab traveller Suleiman described the Rashtrakuta Empire as one of the four great Empires of the world.[257] The Rashtrakuta period marked the beginning of the golden age of southern Indian mathematics. The great south Indian mathematician Mahāvīra lived in the Rashtrakuta Empire and his text had a huge impact on the medieval south Indian mathematicians who lived after him.[258] The Rashtrakuta rulers also patronised men of letters, who wrote in a variety of languages from Sanskrit to the Apabhraṃśas.[252]

Gurjara-Pratihara Empire[edit]

The Gurjara-Pratiharas were instrumental in containing Arab armies moving east of the Indus River.[259] Nagabhata I defeated the Arab army under Junaid and Tamin during the Caliphate campaigns in India. Under Nagabhata II, the Gurjara-Pratiharas became the most powerful dynasty in northern India. He was succeeded by his son Ramabhadra, who ruled briefly before being succeeded by his son, Mihira Bhoja. Under Bhoja and his successor Mahendrapala I, the Pratihara Empire reached its peak of prosperity and power. By the time of Mahendrapala, the extent of its territory rivalled that of the Gupta Empire stretching from the border of Sindh in the west to Bengal in the east and from the Himalayas in the north to areas past the Narmada in the south.[260][261] The expansion triggered a tripartite power struggle with the Rashtrakuta and Pala empires for control of the Indian subcontinent. During this period, Imperial Pratihara took the title of Maharajadhiraja of Āryāvarta (Great King of Kings of India).

By the 10th century, several feudatories of the empire took advantage of the temporary weakness of the Gurjara-Pratiharas to declare their independence, notably the Paramaras of Malwa, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand, the Kalachuris of Mahakoshal, the Tomaras of Haryana, and the Chauhans of Rajputana.

Pala Empire[edit]

Maitreya and scenes from the Buddha’s life. Folios were probably from the Pala period under Ramapala, considered the last great ruler of the Pala dynasty.

The Pala Empire was founded by Gopala I.[263][264][265] It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent. The Palas reunified Bengal after the fall of Shashanka‘s Gauda Kingdom.[266]

The Palas were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism,[267] they also patronised Shaivism and Vaishnavism.[268] The morpheme Pala, meaning “protector”, was used as an ending for the names of all the Pala monarchs. The empire reached its peak under Dharmapala and Devapala. Dharmapala is believed to have conquered Kanauj and extended his sway up to the farthest limits of India in the northwest.[268]

The Pala Empire can be considered as the golden era of Bengal in many ways.[269] Dharmapala founded the Vikramashila and revived Nalanda,[268] considered one of the first great universities in recorded history. Nalanda reached its height under the patronage of the Pala Empire.[269][270] The Palas also built many viharas. They maintained close cultural and commercial ties with countries of Southeast Asia and Tibet. Sea trade added greatly to the prosperity of the Pala Empire. The Arab merchant Suleiman notes the enormity of the Pala army in his memoirs.[268]

Chola Empire[edit]

Chola Empire under Rajendra Chola, c. 1030 CE.

Medieval Cholas rose to prominence during the middle of the 9th century C.E. and established the greatest empire South India had seen.[271] They successfully united the South India under their rule and through their naval strength extended their influence in the Southeast Asian countries such as Srivijaya.[245] Under Rajaraja Chola I and his successors Rajendra Chola IRajadhiraja CholaVirarajendra Chola and Kulothunga Chola I the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-East Asia.[272][273] Rajendra Chola I’s navies went even further, occupying the sea coasts from Burma to Vietnam,[274] the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Lakshadweep (Laccadive) islands, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia and the Pegu islands. The power of the new empire was proclaimed to the eastern world by the expedition to the Ganges which Rajendra Chola I undertook and by the occupation of cities of the maritime empire of Srivijaya in Southeast Asia, as well as by the repeated embassies to China.[275]

They dominated the political affairs of Sri Lanka for over two centuries through repeated invasions and occupation. They also had continuing trade contacts with the Arabs in the west and with the Chinese empire in the east.[276] Rajaraja Chola I and his equally distinguished son Rajendra Chola I gave political unity to the whole of Southern India and established the Chola Empire as a respected sea power.[277] Under the Cholas, the South India reached new heights of excellence in art, religion and literature. In all of these spheres, the Chola period marked the culmination of movements that had begun in an earlier age under the Pallavas. Monumental architecture in the form of majestic temples and sculpture in stone and bronze reached a finesse never before achieved in India.[278]

Western Chalukya Empire[edit]

The Western Chalukya Empire ruled most of the western DeccanSouth India, between the 10th and 12th centuries.[279] Vast areas between the Narmada River in the north and Kaveri River in the south came under Chalukya control.[279] During this period the other major ruling families of the Deccan, the Hoysalas, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty and the Southern Kalachuris, were subordinates of the Western Chalukyas and gained their independence only when the power of the Chalukya waned during the latter half of the 12th century.[280]

The Western Chalukyas developed an architectural style known today as a transitional style, an architectural link between the style of the early Chalukya dynasty and that of the later Hoysala empire. Most of its monuments are in the districts bordering the Tungabhadra River in central Karnataka. Well known examples are the Kasivisvesvara Temple at Lakkundi, the Mallikarjuna Temple at Kuruvatti, the Kallesvara Temple at Bagali, Siddhesvara Temple at Haveri, and the Mahadeva Temple at Itagi.[281] This was an important period in the development of fine arts in Southern India, especially in literature as the Western Chalukya kings encouraged writers in the native language of Kannada, and Sanskrit like the philosopher and statesman Basava and the great mathematician Bhāskara II.[282][283]

Early Islamic intrusions into the Indian subcontinent[edit]

The early Islamic literature indicates that the conquest of the Indian subcontinent was one of the very early ambitions of the Muslims, though it was recognised as a particularly difficult one.[284] After conquering Persia, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate incorporated parts of what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan around 720.

The book Chach Nama chronicles the Brahmin dynasty‘s period, following the demise of the Rai Dynasty and the ascent of Chach of Alor to the throne, down to the Arab conquest by Muhammad bin Qasim in the early 8th century CE, by defeating the last Hindu monarch of SindhRaja Dahir.

Somnath temple in ruins, 1869 CE.
Front view of the present Somnath Temple.
The Somnath temple was first attacked by Muslim Turkic invader Mahmud of Ghazni and repeatedly demolished by successive Muslim invaders, each time being rebuilt by Hindu rulers.

In 712, Arab Muslim general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered most of the Indus region in modern-day Pakistan for the Umayyad Empire, incorporating it as the “As-Sindh” province with its capital at Al-Mansurah, 72 km (45 mi) north of modern Hyderabad in Sindh, Pakistan. After several incursions, the Hindu kings east of Indus defeated the Arabs during the Umayyad campaigns in India, halting their expansion and containing them at Sindh in Pakistan. The south Indian Chalukya empire under Vikramaditya IINagabhata I of the Pratihara dynasty and Bappa Rawal of the Guhilot dynasty repulsed the Arab invaders in the early 8th century.[285]

Several Islamic kingdoms (sultanates) under both foreign and, newly converted, Rajput rulers were established across the Northwestern Indian subcontinent (Afghanistan and Pakistan) over a period of a few centuries. From the 10th century, Sindh was ruled by the Rajput Soomra dynasty, and later, in the mid-13th century by the Rajput Samma dynasty. Additionally, Muslim trading communities flourished throughout coastal south India, particularly on the western coast where Muslim traders arrived in small numbers, mainly from the Arabian peninsula. This marked the introduction of a third Abrahamic Middle Eastern religion, following Judaism and Christianity, often in puritanical form. Mahmud of Ghazni in the early 11th century raided mainly the north-western parts of the Indian sub-continent 17 times, but he did not seek to establish “permanent dominion” in those areas.[286] While Suhaldev of Shravasti, who is said to have defeated and killed the Ghaznavid general Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud in the early 11th century.[287][288]

Hindu Shahi[edit]

Hindu Shahis of Kabul Valley and Gandhara
Kabul ganesh khingle.jpg
Sixth-century image of Hindu deityGanesha, consecrated by the Kabul Shahi King Khingala (Gardez, Afghanistan).
Coins of the Shahis 8th century.jpg
Coins of the Hindu Shahis, which later inspired Abbasidcoins in the Middle East.[289]

The Kabul Shahis ruled the Kabul Valley and Gandhara (modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan) from the decline of the Kushan Empire in the 3rd century to the early 9th century CE.[290] The Shahis are generally split up into two eras: the Buddhist Shahis and the Hindu Shahis, with the change-over thought to have occurred sometime around 870 CE. The kingdom was known as the Kabul Shahan or Ratbelshahan from 565 CE to 670 CE, when the capitals were located in Kapisa and Kabul, and later Udabhandapura, also known as Hund,[291] for its new capital.[292][293][294]

The Hindu Shahis under Jayapala, is known for his struggles in defending his kingdom against the Ghaznavids in the modern-day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan region. Jayapala saw a danger in the consolidation of the Ghaznavids and invaded their capital city of Ghazni both in the reign of Sebuktigin and in that of his son Mahmud, which initiated the Muslim Ghaznavid and Hindu Shahi struggles.[295] Sebuk Tigin, however, defeated him, and he was forced to pay an indemnity.[295] Jayapala defaulted on the payment and took to the battlefield once more.[295]Jayapala, however, lost control of the entire region between the Kabul Valley and Indus River.[296]

The Amb Hindu Temple complex was built between the 7th and 9th centuries CE during the reign of the Hindu Shahi Empire.[297]

Before Jayapala’s struggle began, he had raised a large army of Punjabi Hindus. When Jayapala went to the Punjab region, his army was raised to 100,000 horsemen and an innumerable host of foot soldiers. According to Ferishta:

The two armies having met on the confines of LumghanSubooktugeen ascended a hill to view the forces of Jayapala, which appeared in extent like the boundless ocean, and in number like the ants or the locusts of the wilderness. But Subooktugeen considered himself as a wolf about to attack a flock of sheep: calling, therefore, his chiefs together, he encouraged them to glory, and issued to each his commands. His soldiers, though few in number, were divided into squadrons of five hundred men each, which were directed to attack successively, one particular point of the Hindoo line, so that it might continually have to encounter fresh troops.[296]

However, the army was hopeless in battle against the western forces, particularly against the young Mahmud of Ghazni.[296] In the year 1001, soon after Sultan Mahmud came to power and was occupied with the Qarakhanids north of the Hindu Kush, Jayapala attacked Ghazni once more and upon suffering yet another defeat by the powerful Ghaznavid forces, near present-day Peshawar. After the Battle of Peshawar, he committed suicide because his subjects thought he had brought disaster and disgrace to the Shahis.[295][296]

Jayapala was succeeded by his son Anandapala,[295] who along with other succeeding generations of the Shahis took part in various unsuccessful campaigns against the advancing Ghaznavids but were unsuccessful. The Hindu rulers eventually exiled themselves to the Kashmir Siwalik Hills.[296]

Late medieval period (c. 1200 – 1526 CE)[edit]

Built during the course of the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, the walls of the fort of Kumbhalgarhextend over 38 km, claimed to be the second-longest continuous wall after the Great Wall of China.
The Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpurwas built by Rao Jodha in 1459. The fort is gained through series of seven gates, one of the most famous gate being the Fateh Pol, which symbolises Rajput resistance to Muslim conquestswith the Rajput victory over the Mughals.

The late medieval period is defined by the disruption to native Indian elites by Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans;[298][299] leading to the Rajput resistance to Muslim conquests. The growth of Hindu and Muslim dynasties and empires, built upon new military technology and techniques.[300] The rise of theistic devotional trend of the Bhakti movement and the advent of Sikhism.

Growth of Muslim population[edit]

The image, in the chapter on India in Hutchison’s Story of the Nations edited by James Meston, depicts the Muslim Turkic general Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji‘s massacre of Buddhist monks in Bihar, India. Khaliji destroyed the Nalanda and Vikramshilauniversities during his raids across North Indian plains, massacring many Buddhist and Brahminscholars.[301]

Like other settled, agrarian societies in history, those in the Indian subcontinent have been attacked by nomadic tribes throughout its long history. In evaluating the impact of Islam on the sub-continent, one must note that the northwestern Indian subcontinent was a frequent target of tribes raiding from Central Asia. In that sense, the Muslim intrusions and later Muslim invasions were not dissimilar to those of the earlier invasions during the 1st millennium.[302] What does however, make the Muslim intrusions and later Muslim invasions different is that unlike the preceding invaders who assimilated into the prevalent social system, the successful Muslim conquerors retained their Islamic identity and created new legal and administrative systems that challenged and usually in many cases superseded the existing systems of social conduct and ethics, even influencing the non-Muslim rivals and common masses to a large extent, though the non-Muslim population was left to their own laws and customs.[298][299] They also introduced new cultural codes that in some ways were very different from the existing cultural codes. This led to the rise of a new Indian culture which was mixed in nature, though different from both the ancient Indian culture and later westernised modern Indian culture. At the same time it must be noted that overwhelming majority of Muslims in India are Indian natives converted to Islam. This factor also played an important role in the synthesis of cultures.[303]

The growth of Muslim dominion resulted in the destruction and desecration of politically important temples of enemy states,[304] cases of forced conversions to Islam,[305] payment of jizya tax,[306] and loss of life for the non-Muslim population.[307] As noted by Alain Daniélou:

From the time Muslims started arriving, around 632 AD, the history of India becomes a long, monotonous series of murders, massacres, spoliations, and destructions. It is, as usual, in the name of ‘a holy war’ of their faith, of their sole God, that the barbarians have destroyed civilizations, wiped out entire races.[308]

Rajput resistance to Muslim conquests[edit]

Chittor Fort is the largest fort on the Indian subcontinent; it is one of the six Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

Before the Muslim expeditions into the Indian subcontinent, much of North and West India was ruled by Rajput dynasties. The Rajputs and the south Indian Chalukya dynasty were successful in containing Arab Muslim expansion during the Umayyad campaigns in India; but later, Central Asian Muslim Turks were able to break through the Rajput defence into the Northern Indian heartland. However, the Rajputs held out against the Muslim Turkic empires for several centuries. They earned a reputation of fighting battles obeying a code of chivalrous conduct rooted in a strong adherence to tradition and Chi.[309]

The Rajput Chauhan dynasty established its control over Delhi and Ajmer in the 10th century. The most famous ruler of this dynasty was Prithviraj Chauhan. His reign marked one of the most significant moments in Indian history; his battles with Muslim Sultan, Muhammad Ghori. In the First Battle of Tarain, Ghori was defeated with heavy losses. However, the Second Battle of Tarain saw the Rajput army eventually defeated, laying the foundation of Muslim rule in mainland India.[310]

The Mewar dynasty under Maharana Hammir defeated and captured Muhammad Tughlaq with the Bargujars as his main allies. Tughlaq had to pay a huge ransom and relinquish all of Mewar’s lands. After this event, the Delhi Sultanate did not attack Chittor for a few hundred years. The Rajputs re-established their independence, and Rajput states were established as far east as Bengal and north into the Punjab. The Tomaras established themselves at Gwalior, and Man Singh Tomar reconstructed the Gwalior Fort which still stands there.[311] During this period, Mewar emerged as the leading Rajput state; and Rana Kumbha expanded his kingdom at the expense of the Sultanates of Malwa and Gujarat.[311][312] The next great Rajput ruler, Rana Sanga of Mewar, became the principal player in Northern India. His objectives grew in scope – he planned to conquer the much sought after prize of the Muslim rulers of the time, Delhi. But, his defeat in the Battle of Khanwa, consolidated the new Mughal dynasty in India.[311] The Mewar dynasty under Maharana Udai Singh II faced further defeat by Mughal emperor Akbar, with their capital Chittor being captured. Due to this event, Udai Singh II founded Udaipur, which became the new capital of the Mewar kingdom. His son, Maharana Pratap of Mewar, firmly resisted the Mughals. Akbar sent many missions against him. He survived to ultimately gain control of all of Mewar, excluding the Chittor Fort.[313]

The Chittor Fort is the largest fort in the Indian subcontinent. The fort became a symbol for Rajput resistance due to it being sacked three times during the 15th and 16th centuries by Muslim armies. In 1303 Alauddin Khalji defeated Rana Ratan Singh; in 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultanate of Gujarat defeated Bikramjeet Singh; and in 1567 Akbar defeated Maharana Udai Singh II, who left the fort and founded Udaipur. Each time the men fought bravely rushing out of the fort walls charging the enemy, but lost. Following these defeats, Jauhar was committed thrice by many of the wives and children of the Rajput soldiers who died in battles at Chittorgarh Fort. The first time, this was led by Rani Padmini wife of Rana Rattan Singh who was killed in the battle in 1303, and later by Rani Karnavati in 1537.[314]

Delhi Sultanate[edit]

Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate reached its zenith under the TurkoIndianTughlaq dynasty.[316]
Qutub Minar is the world’s tallest brick minaret, commenced by Qutb-ud-din Aybak of the Slave dynasty.

The historian Dr. R.P. Tripathi noted:

The history of Muslim sovereignty in India begins properly speaking with Iltutmish.[317]

The Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim sultanate based in Delhi, ruled by several dynasties of Turkic, Turko-Indian[318] and Pathan origins.[319] It ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent from the 13th century to the early 16th century.[320] The context behind the rise of the Delhi Sultanate in India was part of a wider trend affecting much of the Asian continent, including the whole of southern and western Asia: the influx of nomadic Turkic peoples from the Central Asian steppes. This can be traced back to the 9th century, when the Islamic Caliphate began fragmenting in the Middle East, where Muslim rulers in rival states began enslaving non-Muslim nomadic Turks from the Central Asian steppes, and raising many of them to become loyal military slaves called Mamluks. Soon, Turks were migrating to Muslim lands and becoming Islamicized. Many of the Turkic Mamluk slaves eventually rose up to become rulers, and conquered large parts of the Muslim world, establishing Mamluk Sultanates from Egypt to Afghanistan, before turning their attention to the Indian subcontinent.[321]

In the 12th and 13th centuries, Central Asian Turks invaded parts of northern India and established the Delhi Sultanate in the former Hindu holdings.[322] The subsequent Slave dynasty of Delhi managed to conquer large areas of northern India, while the Khalji dynasty conquered most of central India while forcing the principal Hindu kingdoms of South India to become vassal states.[320] However, they were ultimately unsuccessful in conquering and uniting the Indian subcontinent. The Sultanate ushered in a period of Indian cultural renaissance. The resulting “Indo-Muslim” fusion of cultures left lasting syncretic monuments in architecture, music, literature, religion, and clothing. It is surmised that the language of Urdu (literally meaning “horde” or “camp” in various Turkic dialects) was born during the Delhi Sultanate period as a result of the intermingling of the local speakers of Sanskritic Prakrits with immigrants speaking PersianTurkic, and Arabic under the Muslim rulers. The Delhi Sultanate is the only Indo-Islamic empire to enthrone one of the few female rulers in India, Razia Sultana (1236–1240). However, the Delhi Sultanate also caused large-scale destruction and desecration of temples in the Indian subcontinent.[304]

During the Delhi Sultanate, there was a synthesis between Indian civilization and Islamic civilization. The latter was a cosmopolitan civilization, with a multicultural and pluralisticsociety, and wide-ranging international networks, including social and economic networks, spanning large parts of Afro-Eurasia, leading to escalating circulation of goods, peoples, technologies and ideas. While initially disruptive due to the passing of power from native Indian elites to Turkic Muslim elites, the Delhi Sultanate was responsible for integrating the Indian subcontinent into a growing world system, drawing India into a wider international network, which had a significant impact on Indian culture and society.[323]

In the 13th century, the Mongol Empire had invaded and conquered most of Asia and Eastern Europe. However, the Mongol invasions of India were successfully repelled by the Delhi Sultanate. A major factor in their success was their Turkic Mamluk slave army, who were highly skilled in the same style of nomadic cavalry warfare as the Mongols, as a result of having similar nomadic Central Asian roots. It is possible that the Mongol Empire may have expanded into India were it not for the Delhi Sultanate’s role in repelling them.[324]

Turco-Mongol conqueror in Central Asia, Timur (Tamerlane), attacked the reigning Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud of the Tughlaq Dynasty in the north Indian city of Delhi.[325] The Sultan’s army was defeated on 17 December 1398. Timur entered Delhi and the city was sacked, destroyed, and left in ruins after Timur’s army had killed and plundered for three days and nights. He ordered the whole city to be sacked except for the sayyids, scholars, and the “other Muslims” (artists); 100,000 war prisoners were put to death in one day.[326]The Sultanate suffered significantly from the sacking of Delhi revived briefly under the Lodi Dynasty, but it was a shadow of the former.

Bhakti movement, Sikhism and Himalayan Buddhism[edit]

The Dasam Granth (above) was composed by Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. The major narrative in the text is on Chaubis Avtar (24 Avatars of Hindu god Vishnu), RudraBrahma, the Hindu warrior goddess Chandi and a story of Rama in Bachittar Natak.[328]

The Bhakti movement refers to the theistic devotional trend that emerged in medieval Hinduism[329] and later revolutionised in Sikhism.[330] It originated in the seventh-century south India (now parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala), and spread northwards.[329] It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century CE.[331]

Vijayanagar Empire[edit]

The Vijayanagar Empire was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of Sangama Dynasty,[343] which originated as a political heir of the Hoysala EmpireKakatiya Empire,[344] and the Pandyan Empire.[345] The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts by the south Indian powers to ward off Islamic invasions by the end of the 13th century. It lasted until 1646, although its power declined after a major military defeat in 1565 by the combined armies of the Deccan sultanates. The empire is named after its capital city of Vijayanagara, whose ruins surround present day Hampi, now a World Heritage Site in KarnatakaIndia.[346]

“Sala fighting the Lion”, the emblem of Hoysala Empire. Hoysala administration and architecture would influence Vijayanagara Empire, their political heir.
Chennakesava Temple is a model example of the Hoysala architecture, later repaired in the 16th century with financial support and grants by the Vijayanagara Emperors.[347]

In the first two decades after the founding of the empire, Harihara I gained control over most of the area south of the Tungabhadra river and earned the title of Purvapaschima Samudradhishavara (“master of the eastern and western seas”). By 1374 Bukka Raya I, successor to Harihara I, had defeated the chiefdom of Arcot, the Reddys of Kondavidu, and the Sultan of Madurai and had gained control over Goa in the west and the Tungabhadra-Krishna River doab in the north.[348][349]

With the Vijayanagara Kingdom now imperial in stature, Harihara II, the second son of Bukka Raya I, further consolidated the kingdom beyond the Krishna River and brought the whole of South India under the Vijayanagara umbrella.[350] The next ruler, Deva Raya I, emerged successful against the Gajapatis of Odisha and undertook important works of fortification and irrigation.[351] Italian traveler Niccolo de Conti wrote of him as the most powerful ruler of India.[352] Deva Raya II (called Gajabetekara)[353] succeeded to the throne in 1424 and was possibly the most capable of the Sangama dynasty rulers.[354] He quelled rebelling feudal lords as well as the Zamorin of Calicut and Quilon in the south. He invaded the island of Sri Lanka and became overlord of the kings of Burma at Pegu and Tanasserim.[355][356][357]

The empire’s legacy includes many monuments spread over South India, the best known of which is the group at Hampi. The previous temple building traditions in South India came together in the Vijayanagara Architecture style. The mingling of all faiths and vernaculars inspired architectural innovation of Hindu temple construction, first in the Deccan and later in the Dravidian idioms using the local granite. South Indian mathematics flourished under the protection of the Vijayanagara Empire in Kerala. The south Indian mathematician Madhava of Sangamagramafounded the famous Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics in the 14th century which produced a lot of great south Indian mathematicians like ParameshvaraNilakantha Somayaji and Jyeṣṭhadeva in medieval south India.[358] Efficient administration and vigorous overseas trade brought new technologies such as water management systems for irrigation.[359] The empire’s patronage enabled fine arts and literature to reach new heights in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Sanskrit, while Carnatic music evolved into its current form.[360]

The Vijayanagara Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor. The empire reached its peak during the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya when Vijayanagara armies were consistently victorious. The empire annexed areas formerly under the Sultanates in the northern Deccan and the territories in the eastern Deccan, including Kalinga, while simultaneously maintaining control over all its subordinates in the south.[361] Many important monuments were either completed or commissioned during the time of Krishna Deva Raya.

Vijayanagara went into decline after the defeat in the Battle of Talikota (1565). After the death of Aliya Rama Raya in the Battle of Talikota, Tirumala Deva Raya started the Aravidu dynasty, moved and founded a new capital of Penukonda to replace the destroyed Hampi, and attempted to reconstitute the remains of Vijayanagara Empire.[362] Tirumala abdicated in 1572, dividing the remains of his kingdom to his three sons, and pursued a religious life until his death in 1578. The Aravidu dynasty successors ruled the region but the empire collapsed in 1614, and the final remains ended in 1646, from continued wars with the Bijapur sultanate and others.[363][364][365] During this period, more kingdoms in South India became independent and separate from Vijayanagara. These include the Mysore KingdomKeladi NayakaNayaks of MaduraiNayaks of TanjoreNayakas of Chitradurga and Nayak Kingdom of Gingee – all of which declared independence and went on to have a significant impact on the history of South India in the coming centuries.[366]

aerial image of a temple campus.

An aerial view of the Meenakshi Temple from the top of the southern gopuram, looking north. The temple was rebuilt by the Vijayanagar Empire.

Regional powers[edit]

For two and a half centuries from the mid 13th century, politics in Northern India was dominated by the Delhi Sultanate, and in Southern India by the Vijayanagar Empire. However, there were other regional powers present as well. The Reddy dynasty successfully defeated the Delhi Sultanate; and extended their rule from Cuttack in the north to Kanchi in the south, eventually being absorbed into the expanding Vijayanagara Empire.[367] In the north, the Rajput kingdoms remained the dominant force in Western and Central India. Their power reached its zenith under Rana Sanga, who was the Rana of Mewar and head of a powerful Hindu Rajput confederacy in Rajputana; during whose time Rajput armies were constantly victorious against the Sultanate armies.[368]

In the south, the Bahmani Sultanate, which was established either by a Brahman convert or patronised by a Brahman and from that source it was given the name Bahmani,[369] was the chief rival of the Vijayanagara, and frequently created difficulties for the Vijayanagara.[370] In the early 16th century Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire defeated the last remnant of Bahmani Sultanate power. After which, the Bahmani Sultanate collapsed,[371] resulting it being split into five small Deccan sultanates.[372] In 1490, Ahmadnagar declared independence, followed by Bijapur and Berar in the same year; Golkonda became independent in 1518 and Bidar in 1528.[373] Although generally rivals, they did ally against the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, permanently weakening Vijayanagar in the Battle of Talikota.

In the East, the Gajapati Kingdom remained a strong regional power to reckon with, associated with a high point in the growth of regional culture and architecture. Under Kapilendradeva, Gajapatis became an empire stretching from the lower Ganga in the north to the Kaveri in the south.[374] In Northeast India, the Ahom Kingdom was a major power for six centuries;[375][376] led by Lachit Borphukan, the Ahoms decisively defeated the Mughal army at the Battle of Saraighat during the Ahom-Mughal conflicts.[377] Further east in Northeastern India was the Kingdom of Manipur, which ruled from their seat of power at Kangla Fort and developed a sophisticated Hindu Gaudiya Vaishnavite culture.[378][379][380]

Early modern period (c. 1526 – 1858 CE)[edit]

The early modern period of Indian history is dated from 1526–1858 CE, corresponding to the rise and fall of the Mughal dynasty. This period witnessed the cultural synthesis of Hindu and Muslim elements reflected in Indo-Islamic architecture;[381][382] the growth of Maratha and Sikh imperial powers over vast regions of the Indian subcontinent with the decline of the Mughals; and came to an end when the British Raj was founded.[26]

Mughal Empire[edit]

Mughal Empire

In 1526, Babur, a Timurid descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan from Fergana Valley (modern day Uzbekistan), swept across the Khyber Pass and established the Mughal Empire, which at its zenith covered modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.[383] However, his son Humayun was defeated by the Afghan warrior Sher Shah Suri in the year 1540, and Humayun was forced to retreat to Kabul. After Sher Shah’s death, his son Islam Shah Suri and his Hindu general Hemu Vikramaditya had established secular rule in North India from Delhi until 1556. After winning Battle of DelhiAkbar‘s forces defeated Hemu in the Second Battle of Panipat on 6 November 1556.

The famous emperor Akbar the Great, who was the grandson of Babar, tried to establish a good relationship with the Hindus. Akbar declared “Amari” or non-killing of animals in the holy days of Jainism. He rolled back the jizya tax for non-Muslims. The Mughal emperors married local royalty, allied themselves with local maharajas, and attempted to fuse their Turko-Persian culture with ancient Indian styles, creating a unique Indo-Persian culture and Indo-Saracenic architecture. Akbar married a Rajput princess, Mariam-uz-Zamani, and they had a son, Jahangir, who was part-Mughal and part-Rajput, as were future Mughal emperors.[384] Jahangir more or less followed his father’s policy. The Mughal dynasty ruled most of the Indian subcontinent by 1600. The reign of Shah Jahan was the golden age of Mughal architecture. He erected several large monuments, the most famous of which is the Taj Mahal at Agra, as well as the Moti Masjid, Agra, the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, Delhi, and the Lahore Fort.

Buland Darwaza was built by Akbar the Great to commemorate his victory over the Gujarat Sultanate.
Red Fort was the main residence of the Mughal emperors for nearly 200 years, until 1856.[385]

The Mughal era is considered to be “India’s last golden age”.[386] It was the second largest empire to have existed in the Indian subcontinent,[387] and surpassed China to be become the world’s largest economic power, controlling 24.4% of the world economy,[388]and the world leader in manufacturing,[389] producing 25% of global industrial output.[390] The economic and demographic upsurge was stimulated by Mughal agrarian reforms that intensified agricultural production,[391] a proto-industrializing economy that began moving towards industrial manufacturing,[392] and a relatively high degree of urbanization for its time.[386]

The Mughal Empire reached the zenith of its territorial expanse during the reign of Aurangzeb and also started its terminal decline in his reign due to Maratha military resurgence under Shivaji. Historian Sir. J.N. Sarkar wrote “All seemed to have been gained by Aurangzeb now, but in reality all was lost.”[393] The same was echoed by Vincent Smith: “The Deccan proved to be the graveyard not only of Aurangzeb’s body but also of his empire”.[193] Aurangazeb is considered India’s most controversial king.[394] He was less tolerant than his predecessors, reintroducing the jizya tax and destroying several historical temples, while at the same time building more Hindu temples than he destroyed,[395] employing significantly more Hindus in his imperial bureaucracy than his predecessors, and opposing Sunni Muslim bigotry against Hindus and Shia Muslims.[396] However, he is often blamed for the erosion of the tolerant syncretic tradition of his predecessors, as well as increasing brutality and centralisation, which may have played a large part in the dynasty’s downfall after Aurangzeb, who unlike previous emperors, imposed relatively less pluralistic policies on the general population, which may have inflamed the majority Hindu population.

The empire went into decline thereafter. The Mughals suffered several blows due to invasions from MarathasJats and Afghans. During the decline of the Mughal Empire, several smaller states rose to fill the power vacuum and themselves were contributing factors to the decline. In 1737, the Maratha general Bajirao of the Maratha Empire invaded and plundered Delhi. Under the general Amir Khan Umrao Al Udat, the Mughal Emperor sent 8,000 troops to drive away the 5,000 Maratha cavalry soldiers. Baji Rao, however, easily routed the novice Mughal general and the rest of the imperial Mughal army fled. In 1737, in the final defeat of Mughal Empire, the commander-in-chief of the Mughal Army, Nizam-ul-mulk, was routed at Bhopal by the Maratha army. This essentially brought an end to the Mughal Empire. While Bharatpur State under Jat ruler Suraj Mal, overran the Mughal garrison at Agra and plundered the city taking with them the two great silver doors of the entrance of the famous Taj Mahal; which were then melted down by Suraj Mal in 1763.[397] In 1739, Nader Shah, emperor of Iran, defeated the Mughal army at the Battle of Karnal.[398] After this victory, Nader captured and sacked Delhi, carrying away many treasures, including the Peacock Throne.[399] Mughal rule were further weakened by constant native Indian resistance; Banda Singh Bahadur led the Sikh Khalsa against Mughal religious oppression; HinduRajas of BengalPratapaditya and Raja Sitaram Ray revolted; and Maharaja Chhatrasal, of Bundela Rajputs, fought the Mughals and established the Panna State.[400] The Mughal dynasty was reduced to puppet rulers by 1757. Sikh holocaust of 1762 took place under the Muslim provincial government based at Lahore to wipe out the Sikhs, with 30,000 Sikhs being killed, an offensive that had begun with the Mughals, with the Sikh holocaust of 1746,[401] and lasted several decades under its Muslim successor states.[402] The remnants of the Mughal dynasty were finally defeated during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, also called the 1857 War of Independence, and the remains of the empire were formally taken over by the British while the Government of India Act 1858 let the British Crown assume direct control of India in the form of the new British Raj.

Maratha Empire[edit]

Maratha Empire

In the early 18th century the Maratha Empire extended suzerainty over the Indian subcontinent. Under the Peshwas, the Marathas consolidated and ruled over much of South Asia. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending Mughal rule in India.[403][404][405]

Interior of Durbar Hall of the Thanjavur Maratha palace of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom.

The Maratha kingdom was founded and consolidated by Chatrapati Shivaji, a Maratha aristocrat of the Bhonsle clan who was determined to establish Hindavi SwarajyaSir J.N. Sarkar described Shivaji as “the last great constructive genius and nation builder that the Hindu race has produced”.[406]While, Venkoji, Shivaji’s half-brother founded the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom.[407] However, the credit for making the Marathas formidable power nationally goes to Peshwa Bajirao I. Historian K.K. Datta wrote that Bajirao I “may very well be regarded as the second founder of the Maratha Empire”.[408]

By the early 18th century, the Maratha Kingdom had transformed itself into the Maratha Empire under the rule of the Peshwas (prime ministers). In 1737, the Marathas defeated a Mughal army in their capital, in the Battle of Delhi. The Marathas continued their military campaigns against the MughalsNizamNawab of Bengal and the Durrani Empire to further extend their boundaries. By 1760, the domain of the Marathas stretched across practically the entire Indian subcontinent.[409] The Marathas even discussed abolishing the Mughal throne and placing Vishwasrao Peshwa on the Mughal imperial throne in Delhi.[410]

The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu[411] in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Khyber PakhtunkhwaPakistan[412] [note 5]) in the north, and Bengal in the east. The Northwestern expansion of the Marathas was stopped after the Third Battle of Panipat (1761). However, the Maratha authority in the north was re-established within a decade under Peshwa Madhavrao I.[414]

Gwalior Fort was captured by Maratha general Mahadaji Shinde (Scindia). The Scindias would later become the rulers of the semi-autonomous Gwalior State of the Maratha Empire.

Under Madhavrao I, semi-autonomy was given to the strongest of the knights, which created a confederacy of Maratha states. They became known as the Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore and Malwa, the Scindias of Gwalior and Ujjain, the Bhonsales of Nagpur and the Puars of Dhar and Dewas. In 1775, the East India Company intervened in a Peshwa family succession struggle in Pune, which led to the First Anglo-Maratha War, resulting in a Maratha victory.[415] The Marathas remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars (1805-1818), which left the East India Company in control of most of India. As noted by Charles Metcalfe, one of the ablest of the British Officials in India and later acting Governor-General, wrote in 1806:

India contains no more than two great powers, British and Mahratta, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them.[416][417]

The Marathas also developed a potent navy circa the 1660s, which at its peak dominated the territorial waters of the western coast of India from Mumbai to Savantwadi.[418] For a brief period, the Maratha Navy also established its base at the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.[419] It would engage in attacking the BritishPortugueseDutch, and Siddi Naval ships and kept a check on their naval ambitions. The Maratha Navy dominated until around the 1730s, was in a state of decline by the 1770s, and ceased to exist by 1818.[420]

Sikh Empire[edit]

Sikh Empire under Ranjit Singh
Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) is culturally the most significant place of worship for the Sikhs. Maharaja Ranjit Singh rebuilt Harmandir Sahib in marble and copper in 1809, overlaid the sanctum with gold foil in 1830.[421]
In 1835, Maharaja Ranjit Singh donated 1 tonne of gold for plating the Kashi Vishwanath Temple‘s dome.[422][423]

The Sikh Empire, ruled by members of the Sikh religion, was a political entity that governed the Northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent. The empire, based around the Punjab region, existed from 1799 to 1849. It was forged, on the foundations of the Khalsa, under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780–1839) from an array of autonomous Punjabi Misls.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh consolidated many parts of northern India into an empire. He primarily used his Sikh Khalsa Army that he trained in European military techniques and equipped with modern military technologies. Ranjit Singh proved himself to be a master strategist and selected well-qualified generals for his army. He continuously defeated the Afghan armies and successfully ended the Afghan-Sikh Wars. In stages, he added central Punjab, the provinces of Multan and Kashmir, and the Peshawar Valley to his empire.[424][425]

At its peak, in the 19th century, the empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west, to Kashmir in the north, to Sindh in the south, running along Sutlej river to Himachal in the east. After the death of Ranjit Singh, the empire weakened, leading to conflict with the British East India Company. The hard-fought first Anglo-Sikh war and second Anglo-Sikh war marked the downfall of the Sikh Empire, making it among the last areas of the Indian subcontinent to be conquered by the British.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh listening to Guru Granth Sahib being recited near the Akal Takht and Golden Temple, AmritsarPunjab, India.

Other kingdoms[edit]

A painting showing the Mysorean army fighting the British forces with Mysorean rockets.[426]

There were several other kingdoms that ruled over parts of India in the later medieval period prior to the British occupation. However, most of them were bound to pay regular tribute to the Marathas.[409]

The rule of the Wodeyar dynasty, which established the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India in around 1400 CE, was interrupted by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan in the later half of the 18th century. Under their rule, Mysore fought series of wars against the Marathas and British or their combined forces. The Maratha–Mysore War ended in April 1787, following the finalizing of treaty of Gajendragad, in which, Tipu Sultan was obligated to pay tribute to the Marathas. Concurrently, the Anglo-Mysore Wars took place, where the Mysoreans used the Mysorean rockets. The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1798-1799) saw the death of Tipu Sultan and further reductions in Mysorean territory. Mysore’s alliance with the French was seen as a threat to the British East India Company, and Mysore was attacked from all four sides. The Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas launched an invasion from the north. The British won a decisive victory at the Siege of Seringapatam (1799). Tipu was killed during the defence of the city. Much of the remaining Mysorean territory was annexed by the British, the Nizam and the Marathas. The remaining core, around Mysore and Seringapatam, was restored to the Indian prince belonging to the Wodeyar dynasty, whose forefathers had been the actual rulers before Hyder Ali became the de facto ruler. The Kingdom of Mysore became a princely state of British India in 1799.

A early 18th century Maratha helmet and armour from the Hermitage MuseumSt. Petersburg, Russia.

Hyderabad was founded by the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda in 1591. Following a brief Mughal rule, Asif Jah, a Mughal official, seized control of Hyderabad and declared himself Nizam-al-Mulk of Hyderabad in 1724. The Nizams lost considerable territory and paid tribute to the Maratha Empire after being routed in multiple battles, such as the Battle of Palkhed.[427] However, the Nizams maintained their sovereignty from 1724 until 1948 through paying tributes to the Marathas, and later, being vessels of the British. Hyderabad State became princely state in British India 1798.

The Nawabs of Bengal had become the de facto rulers of Bengal following the decline of Mughal Empire. However, their rule was interrupted by Marathas who carried out six expeditions in Bengal from 1741 to 1748, as a result of which Bengal became a tributary state of Marathas. On 23 June 1757, Siraj ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal was betrayed in the Battle of Plassey by Mir Jafar. He lost to the British, who took over the charge of Bengal in 1757, installed Mir Jafar on the Masnad (throne) and established itself to a political power in Bengal.[428] In 1765 the system of Dual Government was established, in which the Nawabs ruled on behalf of the British and were mere puppets to the British. In 1772 the system was abolished and Bengal was brought under direct control of the British. In 1793, when the Nizamat (governorship) of the Nawab was also taken away from them, they remained as the mere pensioners of the British East India Company.[429][430]

In the 18th century the whole of Rajputana was virtually subdued by the Marathas. The Second Anglo-Maratha War distracted the Marathas from 1807 to 1809, but afterwards Maratha domination of Rajputana resumed. In 1817, the British went to war with the Pindaris, raiders who were based in Maratha territory, which quickly became the Third Anglo-Maratha War, and the British government offered its protection to the Rajput rulers from the Pindaris and the Marathas. By the end of 1818 similar treaties had been executed between the other Rajput states and Britain. The Maratha Sindhia ruler of Gwalior gave up the district of Ajmer-Merwara to the British, and Maratha influence in Rajasthan came to an end.[431] Most of the Rajput princes remained loyal to Britain in the Revolt of 1857, and few political changes were made in Rajputana until Indian independence in 1947. The Rajputana Agency contained more than 20 princely states, most notable being Udaipur StateJaipur StateBikaner State and Jodhpur State.

After the fall of the Maratha Empire, many Maratha dynasties and states became vassals in a subsidiary alliance with the British, to form the largest bloc of princely states in the British Raj, in terms of territory and population.[432] With the decline of the Sikh Empire, after the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, under the terms of the Treaty of Amritsar, the British government sold Kashmir to Maharaja Gulab Singh and the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, the second largest princely state in British India, was created by the Dogra dynasty.[433][434] While in Eastern and Northeastern India, the Hindu and Buddhist states of Cooch Behar KingdomTwipra Kingdom and Kingdom of Sikkim were annexed by the British and made vassal princely state.

After the fall of the Vijayanagara EmpirePolygar states emerged in Southern India; and managed to weather invasions and flourished until the Polygar Wars, where they were defeated by the British East India Company forces.[435] Around the 18th century, the Kingdom of Nepal was formed by Rajput rulers.[436]

Early modern Indian traders[edit]

An inscribed invocation to Lord Shiva in Sanskrit at the Ateshgah.
An inscribed invocation to the Adi Granth in Punjabi at the Ateshgah.
Atashgah is a temple built by Indian traders before 1745, west of the Caspian Sea.

Early modern Indian traders to West Asia and Eastern Europe were active between the 14th and 18th centuries.[437][438][439] During this period, Indian traders settled in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. These traders built a Hindu temple, which suggests commerce was active and prosperous for Indians by the 17th century.[440][441][442][443]

Further north, the Saurashtra and Bengal coasts played an important role in maritime trade, and the Gangetic plains and the Indus valley housed several centres of river-borne commerce. Most overland trade was carried out via the Khyber Pass connecting the Punjab region with Afghanistan and onward to the Middle East and Central Asia.[444] Although many kingdoms and rulers issued coins, barter was prevalent. Villages paid a portion of their agricultural produce as revenue to the rulers, while their craftsmen received a part of the crops at harvest time for their services.[445]

European exploration and colonialism[edit]

Western explorers and traders[edit]

The route followed in Vasco da Gama‘s first voyage (1497–1499).

In 1498, a Portuguese fleet under Vasco da Gama successfully discovered a new sea route from Europe to India, which paved the way for direct Indo-European commerce. The Portuguese soon set up trading posts in GoaDamanDiu and Bombay. Goa became the main Portuguese base until it was annexed by India in 1961.[446]

The next to arrive were the Dutch, with their main base in Ceylon. They established ports in Malabar. However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Kingdom of Travancore, during the Travancore-Dutch War. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India.[447][448]

In the words of the noted historian, Professor A. Sreedhara Menon:

A disaster of the first magnitude for the Dutch, the battle of Colachel shattered for all time their dream of the conquest of Kerala.[449]

The internal conflicts among Indian kingdoms gave opportunities to the European traders to gradually establish political influence and appropriate lands. Following the Dutch, the British—who set up in the west coast port of Surat in 1619—and the French both established trading outposts in India. Although these continental European powers controlled various coastal regions of southern and eastern India during the ensuing century, they eventually lost all their territories in India to the British, with the exception of the French outposts of Pondichéry and Chandernagore,[450][451] and the Portuguese colonies of GoaDaman and Diu.[452]

Expansion of the British East India Company rule in India[edit]

British East India Company

In 1617 the British East India Company was given permission by Mughal Emperor Jahangir to trade in India.[455] Gradually their increasing influence led the de jure Mughal emperor Farrukh Siyar to grant them dastaks or permits for duty-free trade in Bengal in 1717.[456]

The Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud Daulah, the de facto ruler of the Bengal province, opposed British attempts to use these permits. This led to the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757, in which the Bengal Army of the British East India Company, led by Robert Clive, defeated the French-supported Nawab’s forces. This was the first real political foothold with territorial implications that the British acquired in India. Clive was appointed by the company as its first ‘Governor of Bengal’ in 1757.[457] This was combined with British victories over the French at MadrasWandiwash and Pondichéry that, along with wider British successes during the Seven Years’ War, reduced French influence in India. The British East India Company extended its control over the whole of Bengal. After the Battle of Buxar in 1764, the company acquired the rights of administration in Bengal from de jure Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II; this marked the beginning of its formal rule, which within the next century engulfed most of India.[458] The British East India Company monopolised the trade of Bengal. They introduced a land taxation system called the Permanent Settlement which introduced a feudal-like structure in Bengal, often with taluqdars and zamindars set in place.

As a result of the three Carnatic Wars, the British East India Company gained exclusive control over the entire Carnatic region of India.[459] The Company soon expanded its territories around its bases in Bombay and Madras; the Anglo-Mysore Wars (1766–1799) and later the Anglo-Maratha Wars (1772–1818) led to control of vast regions of India. Ahom Kingdom of North-east India first fell to Burmese invasion and then to the British after the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826; concurrently, the Burmese invasions also lead the Kingdom of Manipur to seek British protectorate in 1824, however, it was after the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891 did it become part of the British Empire.[454] Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, and Kashmir were annexed after the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849; however, Kashmir was immediately sold under the Treaty of Amritsar to the Dogra Dynasty of Jammu and thereby became a princely state. The border dispute between Nepal and British India, which sharpened after 1801, had caused the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814–16 and brought the defeated Gurkhas under British influence. In 1854, Berar was annexed, and the state of Oudh was added two years later.

At the turn of the 19th century, Governor-General Richard Wellesley began what became two decades of accelerated expansion of Company territories.[460] This was achieved either by subsidiary alliances between the Company and local rulers or by direct military annexation. The subsidiary alliances created the princely states or native states of the Hindu maharajas and the Muslim nawabs.

By the 1850s, the British East India Company controlled most of the Indian subcontinent. Their policy was sometimes summed up as Divide and Rule, taking advantage of the enmity festering between various princely states and social and religious groups.[461]

Indian indenture system[edit]

The Indian indenture system was an ongoing system of indenture, a form of debt bondage, by which 3.5 million Indians were transported to various colonies of European powers to provide labour for the (mainly sugar) plantations. It started from the end of slavery in 1833 and continued until 1920. This resulted in the development of large Indian diaspora, which spread from the Indian Ocean (i.e. Réunion and Mauritius) to Pacific Ocean (i.e. Fiji), as well as the growth of Indo-Caribbean and Indo-African population.

Modern period and independence (after c. 1850 CE)[edit]

The rebellion of 1857 and its consequences[edit]

The Indian rebellion of 1857 was a large-scale rebellion by soldiers employed by the British East India Company in northern and central India against the Company’s rule. The spark that led to the mutiny was the issue of new gunpowder cartridges for the Enfield rifle, which was insensitive to local religious prohibition; key mutineer being Mangal Pandey.[462] In addition, the underlying grievances over British taxation, the ethnic gulf between the British officers and their Indian troops, and land annexations played a significant role in the rebellion. Within weeks after Pandey’s mutiny, dozens of units of the Indian army joined peasant armies in widespread rebellion. The rebel soldiers were later joined by Indian nobility, many of whom had lost titles and domains under the Doctrine of Lapse, and felt that the Company had interfered with a traditional system of inheritance. Rebel leaders such as Nana Sahib and the Rani of Jhansi belonged to this group.[463]

After the outbreak of the mutiny in Meerut, the rebels very quickly reached Delhi. The rebels had also captured large tracts of the North-Western Provinces and Awadh (Oudh). Most notably in Awadh, the rebellion took on the attributes of a patriotic revolt against British presence.[464] However, the British East India Company mobilised rapidly, with the assistance of friendly Princely states. But, it took the British remainder of 1857 and the better part of 1858 to suppress the rebellion. Due to the rebels being poorly equipped and no outside support or funding, they were brutally subdued by the British.[465]

In the aftermath, all power was transferred from the British East India Company to the British Crown, which began to administer most of India as a number of provinces. The Crown controlled the Company’s lands directly and had considerable indirect influence over the rest of India, which consisted of the Princely states ruled by local royal families. There were officially 565 princely states in 1947, but only 21 had actual state governments, and only three were large (Mysore, Hyderabad, and Kashmir). They were absorbed into the independent nation in 1947–48.[466]

British Raj (c. 1858 – 1947)[edit]

British Raj

After 1857, the colonial government strengthened and expanded its infrastructure via the court system, legal procedures, and statutes. The Indian Penal Code came into being.[467] In education, Thomas Babington Macaulay had made schooling a priority for the Raj in his famous minute of February 1835 and succeeded in implementing the use of English as the medium of instruction. By 1890 some 60,000 Indians had matriculated.[468] The Indian economy grew at about 1% per year from 1880 to 1920, and the population also grew at 1%. However, from 1910s Indian private industry began to grow significantly. India built a modern railway system in the late 19th century which was the fourth largest in the world.[469] The British Raj invested heavily in infrastructure, including canals and irrigation systems in addition to railways, telegraphy, roads and ports.[470]However, historians have been bitterly divided on issues of economic history, with the Nationalist school arguing that India was poorer at the end of British rule than at the beginning and that impoverishment occurred because of the British.[471]

Rashtrapati Bhavan is a residence in New Delhi built for the British Viceroy.

In 1905, Lord Curzon split the large province of Bengal into a largely Hindu western half and “Eastern Bengal and Assam”, a largely Muslim eastern half. The British goal was said to be for efficient administration but the people of Bengal were outraged at the apparent “divide and rule” strategy. It also marked the beginning of the organised anti-colonial movement. When the Liberal party in Britain came to power in 1906, he was removed. Bengal was reunified in 1911. The new Viceroy Gilbert Minto and the new Secretary of State for India John Morley consulted with Congress leaders on political reforms. The Morley-Minto reforms of 1909 provided for Indian membership of the provincial executive councils as well as the Viceroy’s executive council. The Imperial Legislative Council was enlarged from 25 to 60 members and separate communal representation for Muslims was established in a dramatic step towards representative and responsible government.[472] Several socio-religious organisations came into being at that time. Muslims set up the All India Muslim League in 1906. It was not a mass party but was designed to protect the interests of the aristocratic Muslims. It was internally divided by conflicting loyalties to Islam, the British, and India, and by distrust of Hindus.[473] The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) sought to represent Hindu interests though the latter always claimed it to be a “cultural” organisation.[474] Sikhs founded the Shiromani Akali Dal in 1920.[475] However, the largest and oldest political party Indian National Congress, founded in 1885, attempted to keep a distance from the socio-religious movements and identity politics.[476]

Hindu Renaissance[edit]

The Hindu Renaissance[482][483][484] refers to a social reform movement during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent during the period of British rule dominated by Bengali Hindus. The Hindu Renaissance can be said to have started with Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833) and ended with Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), although many stalwarts thereafter continued to embody particular aspects of the unique intellectual and creative output of the region.[482] Nineteenth-century Bengal was a unique blend of religious and social reformers, scholars, literary giants, journalists, patriotic orators, and scientists, all merging to form the image of a renaissance, and marked the transition from the ‘medieval’ to the ‘modern’.[483][485][486]

During this period, Bengal witnessed an intellectual awakening that is in some way similar to the Renaissance. This movement questioned existing orthodoxies, particularly with respect to women, marriage, the dowry system, the caste system, and religion. One of the earliest social movements that emerged during this time was the Young Bengal movement, which espoused rationalism and atheism as the common denominators of civil conduct among upper caste educated Hindus.[487] It played an important role in reawakening Indian minds and intellect across the Indian subcontinent.


During Company rule in India and the British Rajfamines in India, due to the failed policies of British colonial government, were some of the worst ever recorded, including the Great Famine of 1876–78 in which 6.1 million to 10.3 million people died,[488] the Great Bengal famine of 1770 where up to 10 million people died,[489] the Indian famine of 1899–1900 in which 1.25 to 10 million people died,[490] and the Bengal famine of 1943 where up to 3.8 million people died.[491] The Third Plague Pandemic in the mid-19th century killed 10 million people in India.[492] Despite persistent diseases and famines, the population of the Indian subcontinent, which stood at up to 200 million in 1750,[493] had reached 389 million by 1941.[494]

The Indian independence movement[edit]

The numbers of British in India were small,[496] yet they were able to rule 52% of the Indian subcontinent directly and exercise considerable leverage over the princely states that accounted for 48% of the area.[497]

One of the most important events of the 19th century was the rise of Indian nationalism,[498] leading Indians to seek first “self-rule” and later “complete independence”. However, historians are divided over the causes of its rise. Probable reasons include a “clash of interests of the Indian people with British interests”,[498] “racial discriminations”,[499] and “the revelation of India’s past”.[500]

The first step toward Indian self-rule was the appointment of councillors to advise the British viceroy in 1861 and the first Indian was appointed in 1909. Provincial Councils with Indian members were also set up. The councillors’ participation was subsequently widened into legislative councils. The British built a large British Indian Army, with the senior officers all British and many of the troops from small minority groups such as Gurkhas from Nepal and Sikhs.[501] The civil service was increasingly filled with natives at the lower levels, with the British holding the more senior positions.[502]

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, an Indian nationalist leader, declared Swaraj as the destiny of the nation. His popular sentence “Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it”[503] became the source of inspiration for Indians. Tilak was backed by rising public leaders like Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, who held the same point of view, notably they advocated the Swadeshi movement involving the boycott of all imported items and the use of Indian-made goods; the triumvirate were popularly known as Lal Bal Pal. Under them, India’s three big provinces – MaharashtraBengal and Punjab shaped the demand of the people and India’s nationalism. In 1907, the Congress was split into two factions: The radicals, led by Tilak, advocated civil agitation and direct revolution to overthrow the British Empire and the abandonment of all things British. The moderates, led by leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji and Gopal Krishna Gokhale, on the other hand, wanted reform within the framework of British rule.[504]

The partition of Bengal in 1905 further increased the revolutionary movement for Indian independence. The disenfranchisement lead some to take violent action. One such revolutionary, Khudiram Bose, planted bombs near British government officials, but was arrested and executed at the age of 18.[495]

Bullet marks on the walls fired by British forces at hundreds of unarmed Indian civilians on the Jallianwala Bagh premises during the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

The British themselves adopted a “carrot and stick” approach in recognition of India’s support during the First World War and in response to renewed nationalist demands. The means of achieving the proposed measure were later enshrined in the Government of India Act 1919, which introduced the principle of a dual mode of administration, or diarchy, in which elected Indian legislators and appointed British officials shared power.[505] In 1919, Colonel Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to fire their weapons on peaceful protestors, including unarmed women and children, resulting in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre; which lead to the Non-cooperation Movement of 1920–22. The massacre was a decisive episode towards the end of British rule in India.[506]

From 1920 leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi began highly popular mass movements to campaign against the British Raj using largely peaceful methods. The Gandhi-led independence movement opposed the British rule using non-violent methods like non-co-operationcivil disobedienceand economic resistance. However, revolutionary activities against the British rule took place throughout the Indian subcontinent and some others adopted a militant approach like the Hindustan Republican Association, founded by Chandrasekhar AzadBhagat SinghSukhdev Thapar and others, that sought to overthrow British rule by armed struggle. The Government of India Act 1935 was a major success in this regard.[504]

World War I[edit]

During World War I, over 800,000 volunteered for the army, and more than 400,000 volunteered for non-combat roles, compared with the pre-war annual recruitment of about 15,000 men.[507] The Army saw action on the Western Front within a month of the start of the war at the First Battle of Ypres. After a year of front-line duty, sickness and casualties had reduced the Indian Corps to the point where it had to be withdrawn. Nearly 700,000 Indians fought the Turks in the Mesopotamian campaign. Indian formations were also sent to East Africa, Egypt, and Gallipoli.[508]

Indian Army and Imperial Service Troops fought during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign‘s defence of the Suez Canal in 1915, at Romani in 1916 and to Jerusalem in 1917. India units occupied the Jordan Valley and after the Spring Offensive they became the major force in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the Battle of Megiddo and in the Desert Mounted Corps‘ advance to Damascus and on to Aleppo. Other divisions remained in India guarding the North-West Frontier and fulfilling internal security obligations.

One million Indian troops served abroad during the war. In total, 74,187 died,[509] and another 67,000 were wounded.[510] The roughly 90,000 soldiers who lost their lives fighting in World War I and the Afghan Wars are commemorated by the India Gate.

World War II[edit]

During the Second World War (1939–1945), India was controlled by the United Kingdom, with the British holding territories in India including over five hundred autonomous Princely StatesBritish India officially declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939.[511] The British Raj, as part of the Allied Nations, sent over two and a half million volunteer soldiers to fight under British command against the Axis powers. Additionally, several Indian Princely States provided large donations to support the Allied campaign during the War. India also provided the base for American operations in support of China in the China Burma India Theatre.

Indians fought with distinction throughout the world, including in the European theatre against Germanyin North Africa against Germany and Italy, against the Italians in East Africa, in the Middle East against the Vichy French, in the South Asian region defending India against the Japanese and fighting the Japanese in Burma. Indians also aided in liberating British colonies such as Singapore and Hong Kong after the Japanese surrender in August 1945. Over 87,000 Indian soldiers (including those from modern day PakistanNepal, and Bangladesh) died in World War II.

The Indian National Congress, led by Mohandas Karamchand GandhiSardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Maulana Azad, denounced Nazi Germany but would not fight it or anyone else until India was independent. Congress launched the Quit India Movement in August 1942, refusing to co-operate in any way with the government until independence was granted. The government was ready for this move. It immediately arrested over 60,000 national and local Congress leaders, and then moved to suppress the violent reaction of Congress supporters. Key leaders were kept in prison until June 1945, although Gandhi was released in May 1944 because of his health. Congress, with its leaders incommunicado, played little role on the home front. The Muslim League rejected the Quit India movement and worked closely with the Raj authorities.

Subhas Chandra Bose (also called Netaji) broke with Congress and tried to form a military alliance with Germany or Japan to gain independence. The Germans assisted Bose in the formation of the Indian Legion;[512] however, it was Japan that helped him revamp the Indian National Army (INA), after the First Indian National Army under Mohan Singh was dissolved. The INA fought under Japanese direction, mostly in Burma.[513] Bose also headed the Provisional Government of Free India (or Azad Hind), a government-in-exile based in Singapore. The government of Azad Hind had its own currency, court, and civil code; and in the eyes of some Indians its existence gave a greater legitimacy to the independence struggle against the British.[514][515]

By 1942, neighbouring Burma was invaded by Japan, which by then had already captured the Indian territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Japan gave nominal control of the islands to the Provisional Government of Free India on 21 October 1943, and in the following March, the Indian National Army with the help of Japan crossed into India and advanced as far as Kohima in Nagaland. This advance on the mainland of the Indian subcontinent reached its farthest point on Indian territory, retreating from the Battle of Kohima in June and from that of Imphal on 3 July 1944.

The region of Bengal in India suffered a devastating famine during 1940–43.

After World War II (c. 1946 – 1947)[edit]

Dead and wounded after the Direct Action Day, which developed into pitched battles as Muslim and Hindumobs rioted across Calcutta in 1946, the year before independence.

In January 1946, a number of mutinies broke out in the armed services, starting with that of RAF servicemen frustrated with their slow repatriation to Britain. The mutinies came to a head with mutiny of the Royal Indian Navy in Bombay in February 1946, followed by others in CalcuttaMadras, and Karachi. The mutinies were rapidly suppressed. Also in early 1946, new elections were called and Congress candidates won in eight of the eleven provinces.

Late in 1946, the Labour government decided to end British rule of India, and in early 1947 Britain announced its intention of transferring power no later than June 1948 and participating in the formation of an interim government.

Along with the desire for independence, tensions between Hindus and Muslims had also been developing over the years. The Muslims had always been a minority within the Indian subcontinent, and the prospect of an exclusively Hindu government made them wary of independence; they were as inclined to mistrust Hindu rule as they were to resist the foreign Raj, although Gandhi called for unity between the two groups in an astonishing display of leadership.

Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah proclaimed 16 August 1946 as Direct Action Day, with the stated goal of highlighting, peacefully, the demand for a Muslim homeland in British India, which resulted in the outbreak of the cycle of violence that would be later called the “Great Calcutta Killing of August 1946“. The communal violence spread to Bihar (where Muslims were attacked by Hindus), to Noakhali in Bengal (where Hindus were targeted by Muslims), in Garhmukteshwar in the United Provinces (where Muslims were attacked by Hindus), and on to Rawalpindi in March 1947 in which Hindus were attacked or driven out by Muslims.

Independence and partition (c. 1947–present)[edit]

About 14.5 million people lost their homes as a result of the partition of India in 1947.

The British Indian territories gained independence in 1947, after being partitioned into the Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan. Following the controversial division of pre-partition Punjab and Bengal, rioting broke out between Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims in these provinces and spread to several other parts of India, leaving some 500,000 dead.[516] Also, this period saw one of the largest mass migrations ever recorded in modern history, with a total of 12 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims moving between the newly created nations of India and Pakistan (which gained independence on 15 and 14 August 1947 respectively).[516] In 1971, Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan and East Bengal, seceded from Pakistan.


In recent decades there have been four main schools of historiography in how historians study India: Cambridge, Nationalist, Marxist, and subaltern. The once common “Orientalist” approach, with its image of a sensuous, inscrutable, and wholly spiritual India, has died out in serious scholarship.[517]

The “Cambridge School“, led by Anil Seal,[518] Gordon Johnson,[519] Richard Gordon, and David A. Washbrook,[520] downplays ideology.[521] However, this school of historiography is criticised for western bias or Eurocentrism.[522]

The Nationalist school has focused on Congress, Gandhi, Nehru and high level politics. It highlighted the Mutiny of 1857 as a war of liberation, and Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ begun in 1942, as defining historical events. This school of historiography has received criticism for Elitism.[523]

The Marxists have focused on studies of economic development, landownership, and class conflict in precolonial India and of deindustrialisation during the colonial period. The Marxists portrayed Gandhi’s movement as a device of the bourgeois elite to harness popular, potentially revolutionary forces for its own ends. Again, the Marxists are accused of being “too much” ideologically influenced.[524]

The “subaltern school”, was begun in the 1980s by Ranajit Guha and Gyan Prakash.[525] It focuses attention away from the elites and politicians to “history from below”, looking at the peasants using folklore, poetry, riddles, proverbs, songs, oral history and methods inspired by anthropology. It focuses on the colonial era before 1947 and typically emphasises caste and downplays class, to the annoyance of the Marxist school.[526]

More recently, Hindu nationalists have created a version of history to support their demands for “Hindutva” (“Hinduness”) in Indian society. This school of thought is still in the process of development.[527] In March 2012, Diana L. Eck, professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, authored in her book “India: A Sacred Geography”, that idea of India dates to a much earlier time than the British or the Mughals and it wasn’t just a cluster of regional identities and it wasn’t ethnic or racial.[528][529][530] [531]



Clockwise from top: Bada Imambara, Charbagh Railway Station, Rumi Darwaza, Hazratganj, La Martiniere School, Ambedkar Memorial Park


The City of Nawabs, The Golden City of India, Constantinople of the East, Shiraz-e-Hind

Location of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh

Show map of Uttar PradeshShow map of IndiaShow all

Coordinates: 26°51′N 80°57′ECoordinates26°51′N 80°57′E
Country  India
State Uttar Pradesh
Division Lucknow
District Lucknow

 • Type Municipal Corporation
 • Body Lucknow Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor Sanyukta Bhatia(BJP)
 • Commissioner, Lucknow Division Anil Garg, IAS
 • Inspector General, Lucknow Range Ajay Narain Singh, IPS
 • District Magistrate and Collector Kaushal Raj Sharma, IAS
 • Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani, IPS

 • Metropolis 349 km2 (135 sq mi)

123 m (404 ft)

 • Metropolis 2,817,105
 • Rank 11th
 • Density 8,100/km2(21,000/sq mi)
 • Metro

 • Metro Rank

Demonym(s) Lakhnawi, Lucknowite
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
2260xx / 2270xx
Telephone code +91-522
Vehicle registration UP-32
Sex ratio 915 /1000 
Languages HindiUrduEnglish
Website Official website

Lucknow (/ˈlʌkn/ (About this soundlisten) Lakhna’ū) is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,[5][6][7][8] and is also the administrative headquarters of the eponymous district and division. It is the eleventh most populous city and the twelfth most populous urban agglomeration of India. Lucknow has always been known as a multicultural city that flourished as a North Indian cultural and artistic hub, and the seat of power of Nawabs in the 18th and 19th centuries.[9] It continues to be an important centre of governance, administration, education, commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, music and poetry.[10]

The city stands at an elevation of approximately 123 metres (404 ft) above sea level. Lucknow district covers an area of 2,528 square kilometres (976 sq mi).[11][12] Bounded on the east by Barabanki, on the west by Unnao, on the south by Raebareli and in the north by Sitapur, Lucknow sits on the northwestern shore of the Gomti River.

Hindi is the main language of the city and Urdu is also widely spoken. Lucknow is an important centre of Shia Islam in India with the highest Shia Muslim population in India.[citation needed]

Historically, Lucknow was the capital of the Awadh region, controlled by the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire. It was transferred to the Nawabs of Awadh. In 1856, the British East India Company abolished local rule and took complete control of the city along with the rest of Awadh and, in 1857, transferred it to the British Raj.[13] Along with the rest of India, Lucknow became independent from Britain on 15 August 1947. It has been listed as the 17th fastest growing city in India and 74th in the world.[14]

Lucknow, along with Agra and Varanasi, is in the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, a chain of survey triangulations created by the Government of Uttar Pradesh to boost tourism in the state.


“Lucknow” is the anglicised spelling of the local pronunciation “Lakhnau”. According to one legend, the city is named after Lakshmana, a hero of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana. The legend states that Lakshmana had a palace or an estate in the area, which was called Lakshmanapuri (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मणपुरी, lit. Lakshmana’s city).

However, the Dalit movement believes that Lakhan Pasi, a dalit ruler, was the settler of the city and is named after him. The settlement came to be known as Lakhanpur (or Lachhmanpur) by the 11th century, and later, Lucknow.[15][16]

A similar theory states that the city was known as Lakshmanavati (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मणवती, fortunate) after Lakshmana. The name changed to Lakhanavati, then Lakhnauti and finally Lakhnau.[17] Yet another theory states that the city’s name is connected with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Over time, the name changed to Laksmanauti, Laksmnaut, Lakhsnaut, Lakhsnau and, finally, Lakhnau.[18]


Panorama of Lucknow taken from Roshan-ud Daula Kothi Qaiserbagh in 1858

Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah(1775–1797)[19]
Nawab Saadat Khan II (b. bf. 1752 – d. c. 11 July 1814)

Lucknow towards Cawnpore circa 1860

From 1350 onwards, Lucknow and parts of the Awadh region were ruled by the Delhi Sultanate, Sharqi SultanateMughal EmpireNawabs of Awadh, the British East India Company and the British Raj.

For about eighty-four years (from 1394 to 1478), Awadh was part of the Sharqi Sultanate of Jaunpur. Emperor Humayun made it a part of the Mughal Empire around 1555. Emperor Jahangir (1569–1627) granted an estate in Awadh to a favoured nobleman, Sheikh Abdul Rahim, who later built Machchi Bhawan on this estate. It later became the seat of power from where his descendants, the Sheikhzadas, controlled the region.[20]

The Nawabs of Lucknow, in reality, the Nawabs of Awadh, acquired the name after the reign of the third Nawab when Lucknow became their capital. The city became North India’s cultural capital, and its nawabs, best remembered for their refined and extravagant lifestyles, were patrons of the arts. Under their dominion, music and dance flourished, and construction of numerous monuments took place.[21] Of the monuments standing today, the Bara Imambara, the Chota Imambara, and the Rumi Darwaza are notable examples. One of the Nawab’s enduring legacies is the region’s syncretic Hindu–Muslim culture that has come to be known as the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb.[22]

Gates of the Palace at Lucknow by W. Daniell, 1801

Chota Imambara

Until 1719, the subah of Awadh was a province of the Mughal Empire administered by a Governor appointed by the Emperor. Persian adventurer Saadat Khan, also known as Burhan-ul-Mulk, was appointed Nizam of Awadh in 1722 and established his court in Faizabad, near Lucknow.[23]

Many independent kingdoms, such as Awadh, were established as the Mughal Empire disintegrated. The third Nawab, Shuja-ud-Daula (r. 1753–1775), fell out with the British after aiding the fugitive Nawab of BengalMir Qasim. Roundly defeated at the Battle of Buxar by the East India Company, he was forced to pay heavy penalties and surrender parts of his territory.[24] Awadh’s capital, Lucknow rose to prominence when Asaf-ud-Daula, the fourth Nawab, shifted his court to the city from Faizabad in 1775.[25] The British East India Company appointed a resident (ambassador) in 1773 and by early 19th century gained control of more territory and authority in the state. They were, however, disinclined to capture Awadh outright and come face to face with the Maratha Empire and the remnants of the Mughal Empire. In 1798, the fifth Nawab Wazir Ali Khan alienated both his people and the British and was forced to abdicate. The British then helped Saadat Ali Khan take the throne.[26] He became a puppet king, and in a treaty of 1801, yielded large part of Awadh to the East India Company while also agreeing to disband his own troops in favour of a hugely expensive, British-controlled army. This treaty effectively made the state of Awadh a vassal of the East India Company, although it continued to be part of the Mughal Empire in name until 1819. The treaty of 1801 proved a beneficial arrangement for the East India Company as they gained access to Awadh’s vast treasuries, repeatedly digging into them for loans at reduced rates. In addition, the revenues from running Awadh’s armed forces brought them useful returns while the territory acted as a buffer state. The Nawabs were ceremonial kings, busy with pomp and show. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the British had grown impatient with the arrangement and demanded direct control over Awadh.[27]

The ruins of the Residency at Lucknow shows the gunfire it took during the rebellion.

Bada Imambada is famous for its maze called ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ in Hindi. It is built of identical 2.5 feet wide passageways like the one shown in this photograph.

In 1856 the East India Company first moved its troops to the border, then annexed the state for alleged maladministration. Awadh was placed under a chief commissioner – Sir Henry LawrenceWajid Ali Shah, the then Nawab, was imprisoned, then exiled by the East India Company to Calcutta.[28] In the subsequent Indian Rebellion of 1857, his 14-year-old son Birjis Qadra, whose mother was Begum Hazrat Mahal, was crowned ruler. Following the rebellion’s defeat, Begum Hazrat Mahal and other rebel leaders sought asylum in Nepal.[29]

Lucknow was one of the major centres of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and actively participated in India’s independence movement, emerging as a strategically important North Indian city. During the Rebellion (also known as the First War of Indian Independence and the Indian Mutiny), the majority of the East India Company’s troops were recruited from both the people and nobility of Awadh. The rebels seized control of the state, and it took the British 18 months to reconquer the region. During that period, the garrison based at the Residency in Lucknow was besieged by rebel forces during the Siege of Lucknow. The siege was relieved first by forces under the command of Sir Henry Havelock and Sir James Outram, followed by a stronger force under Sir Colin Campbell. Today, the ruins of the Residency and the Shaheed Smarak offer an insight into Lucknow’s role in the events of 1857.[30]

With the rebellion over, Oudh returned to British governance under a chief commissioner. In 1877 the offices of lieutenant-governor of the North-Western Provinces and chief commissioner of Oudh were combined; then in 1902, the title of chief commissioner was dropped with the formation of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, although Oudh still retained some marks of its former independence.[31]

Map of parts of the Old City and the Civil Station, ca 1914

The Khilafat Movement had an active base of support in Lucknow, creating united opposition to British rule. In 1901, after remaining the capital of Oudh since 1775, Lucknow, with a population of 264,049, was merged into the newly formed United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.[32] In 1920 the provincial seat of government moved from Allahabad to Lucknow. Upon Indian independence in 1947, the United Provinces were reorganised into the state of Uttar Pradesh, and Lucknow remained its capital.[33]

Lucknow witnessed some of the pivotal moments in the history of India. One is the first meeting of the stalwarts Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru & Mohd Ali Jinnah during the Indian National Congress session of 1916 (Lucknow pact was signed and moderates and extremists came together through the efforts of Annie Besant during this session only). The Congress President for that session, Ambica Charan Majumdar in his address said that “If the Congress was buried at Surat, it is reborn in Lucknow in the garden of Wajid Ali Shah”.

The famous Kakori Incident involving Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Nath Lahiri, Roshan Singh and others followed by the Kakori trial which captured the imagination of the country also took place in Lucknow.[34]

Culturally, Lucknow has also had a tradition of courtesans,[35] with popular culture distilling it in the avatar of the fictional Umrao Jaan.


Map of Lucknow city

Downtown New Lucknow with Gomti River in the Middle

The Gomti River, Lucknow’s chief geographical feature, meanders through the city and divides it into the Trans-Gomti and Cis-Gomti regions. Situated in the middle of the Indus-Gangetic Plain, the city is surrounded by rural towns and villages: the orchard town of MalihabadKakori, Mohanlalganj, Gosainganj, Chinhat, and Itaunja. To the east lies Barabanki, to the west Unnao, to the south Raebareli, while to the north lie the Sitapur and Hardoi. Lucknow city is located in a seismic zone III.[36]


Lucknow has a humid subtropical climate with cool, dry winters from mid-November to February and dry, hot summers with thunderstorms from late March to June. The rainy season is from July to September when the city gets an average rainfall of 896.2 millimetres (35.28 in) from the south-west monsoon winds, and occasionally frontal rainfall will occur in January. In winter the maximum temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F) and the minimum is in the 3 °C (37 °F) to 7 °C (45 °F) range.[37] Fog is quite common from mid-December to late January. Occasionally, Lucknow experiences colder winter spells than places like Shimla and Mussoorie which are situated way high up in the Himalayas. In the extraordinary winter cold spell of 2012–13, Lucknow recorded temperatures below freezing point on 2 consecutive days and the minimum temperature hovered around freezing point for over a week. Summers are very hot with temperatures rising into the 40 °C (104 °F) to 45 °C (113 °F) range, the average highs being in the high of 30s (degree Celsius).

hideClimate data for Lucknow (Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.4
Average high °C (°F) 22.5
Average low °C (°F) 7.5
Record low °C (°F) −1.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 20.2
Average rainy days 1.5 1.5 1.0 0.6 6.0 12.0 21.1 18.2 15.7 5.0 0.5 0.8 83.9
Source: India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to 2010)[38][39]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Lucknow has a total of only 4.66 percent of forest cover, which is much less than the state average of around 7 percent.[40] ShishamDhakMahuammBabulNeemPeepalAshokKhajurMango and Gular trees are all grown here.[41]

Different varieties of mangoes, especially Dasheri, are grown in the Malihabad adjacent to the city and a block of the Lucknow district for export.[42] The main crops are wheat, paddysugarcane, mustard, potatoes, and vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, and brinjals. Similarly, sunflowers, roses, and marigolds are cultivated over a fairly extensive area. Many medicinal and herbal plants are also grown here while common Indian monkeys are found in patches in and around city forests such as Musa Bagh.[43]

The Lucknow Zoo, one of the oldest in the country, was established in 1921. It houses a rich collection of animals from Asia and other continents. The zoo also has enjoyable toy train rides for the visitors. The city also has a botanical garden, which is a zone of wide plant diversity.[44] It also houses the Uttar Pradesh State Museum. It has sculptural masterpieces dating back to the 3rd century AD, including intricately carved Mathura sculptures ranging from dancing girls to scenes from the life of Buddha.[45]


Tata Consultancy Services Campus at TCS Awadh Park in Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar

The major industries in the Lucknow urban agglomeration include aeronautics, automotives, machine tools, distillery chemicals, furniture and Chikan embroidery.[46]

Lucknow is among the top cities of India by GDP.[47] Lucknow is also a centre for research and development as home to the R&D centres of the National Milk Grid of the National Dairy Development Board, the Central Institute of Medical and Aromatic Plants, the National Handloom Development Corporation and U.P. Export Corporation.[48]

Ranked sixth in a list of the ten fastest growing job-creating cities in India according to a study conducted by Assocham Placement Pattern,[49] Lucknow’s economy was formerly based on the tertiary sector and the majority of the workforce were employed as government servants. Large-scale industrial establishments are few compared to other north Indian state capitals like New Delhi. The economy is growing with contributions from the fields of IT, manufacturing and processing and medical/biotechnology. Business-promoting institutions such as the CII and EDII have set up their service centres in the city.[50]

Multiple software and IT companies are present in the city. Tata Consultancy Services is one of the major companies with its campus in Gomti Nagar, which also is the second-largest such establishment in Uttar Pradesh. HCL Technologies also started its training program with 150 candidates in April 2016 at HCL Lucknow campus.[51] There are many local open source technology companies.[52] The city is also home to a number of important national and state level headquarters for companies including Sony Corporation and Reliance Retail. A sprawling 100 acres (40 ha) IT city costing 15 billion Rupees is planned by the state government at the Chak Ganjaria farms site on the road to Sultanpur and they have already approved special economic zone status for the project, which is expected to create thousands of job opportunities in the state.[53][54][55]

The city has potential in the handicrafts sector and accounts for 60 percent of total exports from the state.[56] Major export items are marble products, handicrafts, art pieces, gems, jewellery, textiles, electronics, software products, computers, hardware products, apparel, brass products, silk, leather goods, glass items and chemicals. Lucknow has promoted public-private partnerships in sectors such as electricity supply, roads, expressways, and educational ventures.[57]

To promote the textile industry in the city, the Indian government has allocated Rs. 200 crore (2000 million rupees) to set up a textile business cluster in the city.[58]

Administration and politics[edit]


General administration[edit]

Lucknow division which consists of six districts, and is headed by the Divisional Commissioner of Lucknow, who is an IAS officer of high seniority, the Commissioner is the head of local government institutions (including Municipal Corporations) in the division, is in charge of infrastructure development in his division, and is also responsible for maintaining law and order in the division.[59][60][61][62][63] The District Magistrate of Lucknow reports to the Divisional Commissioner. The current Commissioner is Prabhu Narayan Singh.[64][65]

Lucknow district administration is headed by the District Magistrate of Lucknow, who is an IAS officerThe DM is in charge of property records and revenue collection for the central government and oversees the elections held in the city. The district has five tehsils, viz. Sadar, Mohanlalganj, Bakshi ka Talab, Malihabad and Sarojini Nagar, each headed by a Sub-Divisional Magistrate.[66] The current DM is Animesh kumar Pandey.[64][65][66] The DM is also responsible for maintaining law and order in the city, hence the SSP of Lucknow also reports to the DM of Lucknow.[59][67][68][69][70] The District Magistrate is assisted by a Chief Development Officer (CDO), eight Additional District Magistrates (ADM) (Finance/Revenue, East, West Trans-Gomti, Executive, Land Acquisition-I, Land Acquisition-II, Civil Supply), one City Magistrate (CM) and seven Additional City Magistrates (ACM).[66]

Police administration[edit]

Lucknow district comes under the Lucknow Police Zone and Lucknow Police Range, Lucknow Zone is headed by an Additional Director General ranked IPS officer, and the Lucknow Range is headed Inspector General ranked IPS officer. The current ADG, Lucknow Zone is Abhay Kumar Prasad,[71] and IG, Lucknow Range is Ajay Narain Singh.[72]

The district police is headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), who is an IPS officer, and is assisted by ten Superintendents of Police (SP)/Additional Superintendents of Police (Addl. SP) (East, West, North, Trans-Gomti, Rural Area, Crime, Traffic, Security, Protocol and Modern Control Room), who are either IPS officers or PPS officers.[73] Each of the several police circles is headed by a Circle Officer (CO) in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.[73] The current SSP is Deepak Kumar.[73]

The district police keeps the citizens under watch through high-technology control rooms and all important streets and intersections are under surveillance with the help of CCTVs and drone cameras.[74] Mob controlling is carried out with the help of pepper spraying drones.[75] There are more than 10,000 CCTV cameras deployed by the Lucknow Police Department across the city roads and trijunctions, making Lucknow the first city in the country to do so.[76] The Lucknow Modern Police Control Room (abbreviated as MCR) is India’s biggest ‘Dial 100’ service centre with 300 communication officers to receive distress calls from all over the state and 200 dispatch officers to rush for police help.[77] It is billed as the India’s most hi-tech police control room.[78] Lucknow is also the center for 1090 Women Power line, a call center based service directed at dealing with eve-teasing. An Integrated ‘Dial 100’ Control Room building is also under construction which when completed will be the world’s biggest modern Police Emergency Response System (PERS).[79]

The Lucknow Fire Brigade department is headed by the Chief Fire Officer, who is subordinate to the District Magistrate and is assisted by a Deputy Chief Fire Officers and Divisional Officers.

Infrastructure and civic administration[edit]

The development of infrastructure in the city is overseen by Lucknow Development Authority (LDA), which comes under the Housing Department of Uttar Pradesh government. The Divisional Commissioner of Lucknow acts as the ex-officio Chairman of LDA, whereas a Vice Chairman, a government-appointed IAS officer, looks after the daily matters of the authority. The current Vice-Chairman of Lucknow Development Authority is Prabhu Narayan Singh.[80][81]

The Lucknow Municipal Corporations oversees civic activities in the city, the head of the corporation is the Mayor, but the executive and administration of the corporation are the responsibility of the Municipal Commissioner, who is a Uttar Pradesh government-appointed Provincial Civil Service (PCS) officer of high seniority. The post Mayor of Lucknow is currently vacant and the Municipal Commissioner is Udairaj Singh.[82][83]

Central government offices[edit]

Since 1 May 1963, Lucknow has been the headquarters of the Central Command of the Indian Army, before which it was the headquarters of Eastern Command.[84]

Lucknow also houses a branch office of National Investigation Agency which is responsible for combating terrorist activities in India.[85] It oversees five states of BiharMadhya PradeshUttarakhandJharkhandChhattisgarh for Naxal and terrorist activities.[86]

The Commission of Railway Safety of India, under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, has its head office in the Northeast Railway Compound in Lucknow.[87]


As the seat of the government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is the site of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, a bench of the Allahabad High Courtand numerous government departments and agencies.[88]

The city spans an area stretching from the Mohanlalganj (Lok Sabha constituency) in the south to Bakshi Ka Talab in the north and Kakori in the east. Lucknow Urban Agglomeration (LUA) includes Lucknow Municipal Corporation[89] and Lucknow Cantonment with executive power vested in the municipal commissioner of Lucknow, who is PCS officer. The corporation comprises elected members (corporators elected from the wards directly by the people) with the city mayor as its head. An assistant municipal commissioner oversees each ward for administrative purposes. The city elects members to the Lok Sabha as well as the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha (State Assembly). As of 2008, there were 110 wards in the city. Morphologically, three clear demarcations exist; the Central business district, which is a fully built up area, comprises HazratganjAminabad and Chowk A middle zone surrounds the inner zone with cement houses while the outer zone consists of slums.[90] Lucknow has two Lok Sabha Constituencies Lucknow and Mohanlalganj and nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies.[91][better source needed]

The current Member of Parliament from Lucknow is Rajnath Singh.



The roads of Lucknow (Gomti Nagar in picture)

Two major Indian National Highways have their intersection at Lucknow’s Hazratganj intersection: NH-24 to Delhi, NH-30 to Allahabad via RaebareliNH-27 to Porbandar via Jhansi and Silchar via Gorakhpur.[92] Multiple modes of public transport are available such as metro rail, taxis, city buses, cycle rickshawsauto rickshaws and compressed natural gas (CNG) low floor buses with and without air conditioning. CNG was introduced as an auto fuel to keep air pollution under control. Radio Taxis are operated by several major companies like Ola and Uber

City buses[edit]

Lucknow city’s bus service is operated by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC), a public sector passenger road transport corporation headquartered in Mahatma Gandhi road. It has 300 CNG buses operating in the city. There are around 35 routes in the city.[93] Terminals for city buses are located in Gudamba, Viraj Khand, Alambagh, Scooter India, Institute of Engineering and Technology, Babu Banarasi Das University, Safedabad, Pasi qila, Charbagh, Andhe Ki Chowki, and the Budheshwar Intersection. There are four bus depots in Gomti Nagar, Charbagh, Amausi, and Dubagga.[94]

Inter-state buses[edit]

The major Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT) in Alambagh provides the main inter and intrastate bus lines in Lucknow. Located on National Highway 25, it provides adequate services to ongoing and incoming customers. There is a smaller bus station at Qaiserbagh. The bus terminal formally operated at Charbagh, in front of the main railway station, has now been re-established as a city bus depot. This decision was taken by the state government and UPSRTC to decongest traffic in the railway station area. Kanpur Lucknow Roadways Service is a key service for daily commuters who travel back and forth to the city for business and educational purposes. Air conditioned “Royal Cruiser” buses manufactured by Volvo are operated by UPSRTC for inter state bus services. Main cities served by the UPSRTC intrastate bus service are AllahabadVaranasiJaipurJhansiAgraDelhiGorakhpur. The cities outside Uttar Pradesh that are covered by inter-state bus services are Jaipur, New Delhi, KotaSingrauliFaridabadGurgaonDausaAjmerDehradun, and Haridwar.[95]


Lucknow Railway Station

Lucknow is served by several railway stations in different parts of the city. The main long-distance railway station is Lucknow Railway Station located at Charbagh. It has an imposing structure built in 1923 and acts as the divisional headquarters of the Northern Railway division. Its neighbouring and second major long-distance railway station is Lucknow Junction railway stationoperated by the North Eastern Railway. The city is an important junction with links to all major cities of the state and country such as New DelhiMumbaiHyderabadKolkataChandigarhAmritsarJammuChennaiBangaloreAhmedabadPuneIndoreBhopalJhansiJabalpurJaipurRaipur and Siwan. The city has a total of fourteen railway stations[96] with meter gauge services originating at Aishbagh and connecting to Lucknow city, Daliganj and Mohibullapur. Except for Mohibullapur, all stations are connected to broad gauge and metre gauge railways. All stations lie within the city limits and are well interconnected by bus services and other public road transport. Suburban stations include Bakshi Ka Talab and Kakori. The Lucknow–Kanpur Suburban Railway was started in 1867 to cater for the needs of commuters travelling between Lucknow and Kanpur. Trains running on this service also stop at numerous stations at different locations in the city forming a suburban rail network.[97]

Air transport[edit]

Terminal-2, CCS International Airport

Direct air connections are available in Lucknow to New Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Guwahati, JaipurRaipur and other major cities via Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport. The airport has been ranked the second best in the world in small airport category.[98] The airport is suitable for all-weather operations and provides parking facilities for up to 50 aircraft. At present, Air India, Air India Express, Jet Air, GoAir, IndiGo, Saudi Airlines, Flydubai, Oman Air and Air Vistara operate domestic and international flights to and from Lucknow. Covering 1,187 acres (480 ha), with Terminal 1 for international flights and Terminal 2 for domestic flights, the airport can handle Boeing 767 to Boeing 747-400 aircraft allowing significant passenger and cargo traffic.[99][100] International destinations include Abu DhabiDubaiMuscatRiyadhSingapore, Bangkok, Dammam and Jeddah.[101]

The Planned expansion of the airport will allow Airbus A380 jumbo jets to land at the airport; the Airport Authority of India is also planning to expand the international terminal to increase passenger traffic capacity. There is also a plan for runway expansion. It is the 10th-busiest airport in India, busiest in Uttar Pradesh, and second-busiest in North India.


Lucknow Metro is a rapid transit system which started its operations from 6 September 2017. Lucknow Metro system is the fastest built metro system in the world[102] and most economical high-speed rapid transit system project in India.[103] The commencement of civil works started on 27 September 2014.[104]

Charbagh Metro Station

In February, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav gave the approval to set up a metro rail system for the state capital. It is divided into two corridors with the North-South corridor connecting Munshipulia to CCS International Airport and the East-West corridor connecting Charbagh Railway Station to Vasant Kunj. This will be the most expensive public transport system in the state but will provide a rapid means of mass transport to decongest traffic on city roads. Construction of the first phase will be complete by March 2017. The completion of metro rail project is the primary object of Uttar Pradesh government currently headed by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath[105]

On 5 September 2017, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and CM Yogi Adityanath showed green flag to the Lucknow Metro.[106]


Lucknow is among the most bicycle-friendly cities in Uttar Pradesh. Bike-friendly tracks have been established near the Chief Minister’s residence in the city. The four-and-a-half-kilometre track encompasses La-Martiniere College Road next to Golf Club on Kalidas Marg, where the Chief Minister resides, and Vikramaditya Marg, which houses the office of the ruling party. The dedicated four-metre-wide lane for cyclists is separate from the footpath and the main road. With Amsterdam as the inspiration, new cycle tracks are to be constructed in the city to make it more cycle-friendly, with facilities like bike rental also in the works.[107][108] In the year 2015, Lucknow also hosted a national level cycling event called ‘The Lucknow Cyclothon’ in which professional and amateur cyclists took part.[109] An under-construction cycle track network by the Government Of Uttar Pradesh is set to make Lucknow the city with India’s biggest cycle network.[110]


hidePopulation growth
Census Pop.
1871 284,800
1881 261,300 -8.3%
1891 273,000 4.5%
1901 264,000 -3.3%
1911 259,800 -1.6%
1921 240,600 -7.4%
1931 274,700 14.2%
1941 387,177 40.9%
1951 496,900 28.3%
1961 595,400 19.8%
1971 814,000 36.7%
1981 1,007,604 23.8%
1991 1,669,204 65.7%
2001 2,245,509 34.5%
2011 2,902,601 29.3%
Religion in Lucknow (2011)[112][113]
Religion Percent

The population of Lucknow Urban Agglomeration (LUA) rose above one million in 1981, while the 2001 census estimated it had risen to 2.24 million. This included about 60,000 people in the Lucknow Cantonment and 2.18 million in Lucknow city and represented an increase of 34.53% over the 1991 figure.[114]

According to the provisional report of 2011 Census of India, Lucknow city had a population of 2,815,601, of which 1,470,133 were men and 1,345,468 women.[115][116] This was an increase of 25.36% compared to the 2001 figures.

Between 1991 and 2001, the population registered growth of 32.03%, significantly lower than the 37.14% which was registered between 1981 and 1991.[117] The initial provisional data suggests a population density of 1,815 per km2 in 2011, compared to 1,443 in 2001.[117] As the total area covered by the Lucknow district is only about 2,528 square kilometres (976 sq mi), the population density was much than the 690 persons per  km2 recorded at the state level. The Scheduled Caste population of the state represented 21.3% of the total population, a figure higher than the state average of 21.15%.[118][119]

The sex ratio in Lucknow city stood at 915 females per 1000 males in 2011, compared to the 2001 census figure of 888. The average national sex ratio in India is 940 according to the Census 2011 Directorate.[115] The city has a total literacy level in 2011 of 84.72% compared to 67.68% for Uttar Pradesh as a whole.[115] In 2001 these same figures stood at 75.98% and 56.27%. In Lucknow city, the total literate population totalled 2,147,564 people of which 1,161,250 were male and 986,314 were female.[115][120] Despite the fact that the overall work participation rate in the district (32.24%) is higher than the state average (23.7%), the rate among females in Lucknow is very low at only 5.6% and shows a decline from the 1991 figure of 5.9%.[121][122]


Skyline of Lucknow as seen from Gomti Nagar

Ghanta Ghar, the tallest clock tower in India

Multi-storey apartments

Lucknow’s buildings show different styles of architecture with the many iconic buildings built during the British and Mughal era. More than half of these buildings lie in the old part of the city. The Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department organises a “Heritage Walk” for tourists covering the popular monuments.[123] Among the extant architecture, there are religious buildings such as Imambaras, mosques, and other Islamicshrines as well as secular structures such as enclosed gardens, baradaris, and palace complexes.[124]

Bara Imambara in Hussainabad is a colossal edifice built in 1784 by the then Nawab of Lucknow, Asaf-ud-Daula. It was originally built to provide assistance to people affected by the deadly famine, which struck the whole of Uttar Pradesh in the same year.[125] It is the largest hall in Asia without any external support from wood, iron or stone beams.[126] The monument required approximately 22,000 labourers during construction.[127]

The 60 feet (18 m) tall Rumi Darwaza, built by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula (r. 1775–1797) in 1784, served as the entrance to the city of Lucknow. It is also known as the Turkish Gateway, as it was erroneously thought to be identical to the gateway at Constantinople. The edifice provides the west entrance to the Great Imambara and is embellished with lavish decorations.[128]

Styles of architectures from various cultures can be seen in the historical places of Lucknow. The University of Lucknow shows a huge inspiration from the European style while Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture is prominently present in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha building and Charbagh Railway station. Dilkusha Kothi is the remains of a palace constructed by the British resident Major Gore Ouseleyaround 1800 and showcases an example of English Baroque architecture. It served as a hunting lodge for the Nawab of Awadhs and as a summer resort.[129]

The Chattar Manzil, which served as the palace for the rulers of Awadh and their wives is topped by an umbrella-like dome and so named on account of Chattar being the Hindi word for “umbrella”. Opposite Chattar Manzil stands the ‘Lal Baradari’ built by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan Ibetween 1789 and 1814. It functioned as a throne room at coronations for the royal courts. The building is now used as a museum and contains delicately executed portraits of men who played major roles in the administration of the kingdom of Oudh.

Another example of mixed architectural styles is La Martiniere College, which shows a fusion of Indian and European ideas. It was built by Major-General Claude Martin who was born in Lyon and died in Lucknow on 13 September 1800. Originally named “Constantia”, the ceilings of the building are domed with no wooden beams used for construction.[130] Glimpses of Gothic architecture can also be seen in the college building.[131]

Lucknow’s Asafi Imambara exhibits vaulted halls as its architectural speciality. The Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara and Rumi Darwaza stand in testament to the city’s Nawabi mixture of Mughlai and Turkish style of architecture while La Martiniere college bears witness to the Indo-European style. Even the new buildings are fashioned using characteristic domes and pillars, and at night these illuminated monuments become the city’s main attractions.[132]

Around Hazratganj, the city’s central shopping area, there is a fusion of old and modern architecture. It has a multi-level parking lot in place of an old and dilapidated police station making way for extending the corridors into well-aligned pebbled pathways, adorned with piazzas, green areas and wrought-iron Tall, beautifully crafted cast-iron lamp-posts, reminiscent of the Victorian era, flank both sides of the street.[133]


Brijesh Pathak, Minister of Law & Justice and Additional Energy Resources in Uttar Pradesh, inaugurating the bada mangal festivities at UPNEDA office in Vibhuti Khand (May 2017)

Free food being distributed on a Bada Mangal (May 2017). Bada Mangal is a ritual specific only to Lucknow.

In common with other metropolitan cities across India, Lucknow is multicultural and home to people who use different dialects and languages.[134][135] Many of the cultural traits and customs peculiar to Lucknow have become living legends today. The city’s contemporary culture is the result of the amalgamation of the Hindu and Muslim rulers who ruled the place simultaneously. The credit for this goes to the secular and syncretic traditions of the Nawabs of Awadh, who took a keen interest in every walk of life and encouraged these traditions to attain a rare degree of sophistication. Modern day Lucknowites are known for their polite and polished way of speaking which is noticed by visitors. The residents of Lucknow call themselves Lucknowites or Lakhnavi.[136] It also represents the melting pot of globalization where the legacy of Nawab’s culture continues to be reflected in the traditional vocabulary of the Hindi language of the city along with better avenues for modernization present here.

Traditional Outfit[edit]

Lucknow is famous for its shararas. It is a traditional women’s outfit that originated from the Nawabs of Awadh.[137] It is a pair of loose trousers with pleats below the knee worn with a kurta (shirt) and a dupatta (veil). It is embroidered with zari and zardozi along with gota (decorative lace on knee area). This dress is made from over 24 metres of fabric, mostly silk, brocade and kamkhwab.

Language and poetry[edit]

Although Uttar Pradesh’s primary official language is Hindi, the most commonly spoken language is colloquial Hindustani.[138] Indian Englishis also well understood and is widely used for business and administrative purposes, as a result of India’s British heritage and Commonwealth tradition, as well as globalisation. The Urdu language is also a part of Lucknowi culture and heritage. It is mostly used by wealthier families, the remaining members of the royal family as well as in Urdu poetry and on public signs. The government has taken many innovative steps to promote Urdu.[139] Awadhi, a dialect of the Hindi dialect continuum, has played an important role in Lucknow’s history and is still used in the city’s rural areas and by the urban population on the streets.[140]

Historically, Lucknow was considered one of the great centres of Muslim culture.[141][142] Two poets, Mir Babar Ali Anis and Mirza Dabeer, became legendary exponents of a unique genre of Muslim elegiacal poetry called marsiya centred on Imam Husain’s supreme sacrifice in the Battle of Karbala, which is commemorated during the annual observance of Muharram.[143]

The revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil, who was hanged by the British at Gorakhpur jail, was largely influenced by the culture of Lucknow and remembered its name in his poetry.[144]Surrounding towns such as Kakori, Daryabad, Fatehpur, Barabanki, Rudauli, and Malihabad produced many eminent Urdu poets and litterateurs including Mohsin Kakorvi, MajazKhumar Barabankvi and Josh Malihabadi.[145]


Tunday’s Gelawati Kababs, Lucknow’s speciality

The Awadh region has its own distinct “Nawabi”-style cuisine. Since ages, the Bawarchis (Chefs) and Rakabdars (royal chefs)have developed great finesse in cooking and presentation of food, under royal patronage. This gave rise to the art of cooking over a slow fire (or Dum style cooking), which has become synonymous with “Awadhi” cuisine. TheseBawarchis added elaborately prepared dishes like kababskormaskaliyanahari-kulchaszardasheermalroomali rotis and warqi parathas to the traditional “Awadhi” dastarkhwaan (feast of dishes).[146] The best-known dishes of this area consist of biryaniskebabs and breads. Kebabs are served in a variety of styles; kakorigalawatishamibotipatili-keghutwa and seekh are among the available varieties.[146] Tunde ke kabab restaurants are popular for a type of soft kebab developed by a one-armed chef (hence the name Tunday) for a Nawab who had lost his teeth.[147] The reputation of Lucknow’s kebabs is not limited to the local population and the dish attracts people not only from other cities but also from other countries.[148]

Lucknow is also famous for its delicious chaats, street food, kulfi, paan and sweets. Nahari, a dish prepared using mutton, is very popular among non-vegetarians. Sheermal is a type of sweet bread (paratha) prepared in Lucknow. Makkhan-malai is another sweet delicacy of Lucknow made and sold only during winters. Some restaurants in the city are around 100 years old; there are also many high-end restaurants, bakeries, lounges and pubs which cater to the affluent class and foreign travellers.


Common Indian Festivals such as ChristmasDiwaliDurga PujaEidHoliRaksha BandhanVijayadashami are celebrated with great pomp and show in the city.[149] Some of the other festivals or processions are as follows:

Lucknow Festival is organised every year to showcase Uttar Pradesh art and culture and to promote tourism.[150] With 1975–76 designated South Asian Tourism Year, Lucknow took the opportunity to promote the city’s art, culture and tourism to national and international tourists. The first Lucknow Festival was staged as a part of this promotion and ever since, with some exceptions, Lucknow Mahotsava has taken place annually.[151]

This is an annual literature festival held in the month of November every year since 2013. Lucknow LitFest is India’s second largest literature festival featuring some of the greatest writers & thinkers from across the globe.[152]

Lucknow is known as a seat of Shia Islam and the epitome of Shia culture in India. Muslims observe Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and on Ashura (the 10th day of the month) mourn the memory of Imam Husain, grandson of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.[153] Muharram processions in Lucknow have a special significance and began during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs.
Processions such as Shahi ZarihJaloos-e-MehndiAlam-e-Ashura and Chup Tazia had special significance for the Shia community and were affected with great religious zeal and fervour until in 1977 the government of Uttar Pradesh banned public Azadari processions. For the following twenty years, processions and gatherings took place in private or community spaces including Talkatora karbala, Bara Imambara (Imambara Asifi), Chota Imambara (Imambara Husainabad), Dargah Hazrat Abbas, Shah Najaf and Imambara Ghufran Ma’ab. The ban was partially lifted in 1997 and Shias were successful in taking out the first Azadari procession in January 1998 on the 21st of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month. The Shias are authorised to stage nine processions out of the nine hundred that are listed in the register of the Shias.[154]

The procession originated in Lucknow before spreading to other parts of South Asia. Dating back to the era of the Nawabs, it was started by Nawab Ahmed Ali Khan Sahukat Yar Jung a descendant of Bahu Begum. It has become one of the most important Azadari processions in Lucknow and one of the nine permitted by the government. This last mourning procession takes place on the morning of the 8th of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third Muslim month and includes alam (flags), Zari and a ta’zieh (an imitation of an imitation of the mausoleums in Karbala). It originates at the Imambara Nazim Saheb in Victoria Street then moves in complete silence through Patanala until it terminates at the Karbala Kazmain, where the colossal black ta’zieh is buried.[155]

  • Bada Mangal festival is celebrated in the month of May as a birthday of ancient Hanuman temple known as Purana Mandir. In this festival fairs are conducted by the local public in the whole city. Bhandaras are organized by local people almost in all streets across the city which serves free food to all the passerbys irrespective of religion. Many of the Muslim Community also set up these bhandaras. It is celebrated in the name of Hindu God Lord Hanuman and reflects the Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb.[155]

Dance, drama and music[edit]

A dancer posing during a kathakdance sequence. The dance has its origins in Northern India and especially Lucknow.

The classical Indian dance form Kathak originated from Lucknow.[156] Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh, was a great patron and a passionate champion of KathakLachhu Maharaj, Acchchan Maharaj, Shambhu Maharaj, and Birju Maharaj have kept this tradition alive.[157][158]

Lucknow is also the home city of the eminent ghazal singer Begum Akhtar. A pioneer of the style, “Ae Mohabbat Tere anjaam pe rona aaya”is one of her best known musical renditions.[159] Bhatkande Music Institute University at Lucknow is named after the musician Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande[160] Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (BNA), also known as Bhartendu Natya Academy, is a theatre training institute situated at Gomti Nagar. It is a deemed university and an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Government of Uttar Pradesh. It was set up in 1975 by the Sangeet Natak Akademy (Government of Uttar Pradesh), and became an independent drama school in 1977.[161] Apart from government institutes, there are many private theatre groups including IPTA, Theatre Arts Workshop (TAW), Darpan, Manchkriti and the largest youth theatre group, Josh. This is a group for young people to experience theatre activities, workshops and training.[162]

Lucknow is also the birthplace of musicians including NaushadTalat MahmoodAnup Jalota, and Baba Sehgal as well as British pop celebrity Sir Cliff Richard.[163]

Lucknow Chikan[edit]

Lucknow is known for embroidery works including chikankarizarizardozikamdani, and gota making (gold lace weaving).[164]

Chikankari is a popular embroidery work well known all over India. This 400-year-old art in its present form was developed in Lucknow and it remains the only location where the skill is practised today. Chikankari constitutes ‘shadow work’ and is a very delicate and artistic hand embroidery done using white thread on fine white cotton cloth such as fine muslin or chiffon. Yellowish muga silk is sometimes used in addition to the white thread. The work is done on caps, kurtas, saris, scarfs, and other vestments.[165] The chikan industry, almost unknown under the Nawabs, has not only survived but is flourishing. About 2,500 entrepreneurs are engaged in manufacturing chikan for sale in local, national and international markets with Lucknow the largest exporter of chikan embroidered garments.[166]

As a sign of recognition, in December 2008, the Indian Geographical Indication Registry (GIR) accorded Geographical Indication (GI) status for chikankari, recognising Lucknow as the exclusive hub for its manufacture.[167]

Quality of life[edit]

Lucknow was ranked “India’s second happiest city” in a survey conducted by IMRB International and LG Corporation, after only Chandigarh. It fared better than other metropolitan cities in India including New DelhiBangalore and Chennai. Lucknow was found to be better than other cities in areas such as food, transit and overall citizen satisfaction.[168][169]


Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow

La Martiniere College

Lucknow is home to a number of prominent educational and research organisations including Indian Institute of Management Lucknow (IIM-L), Indian Institute of Information Technology, Lucknow (IIIT-L), Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Indian Institute of Toxicology ResearchNational Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET Lko), DrRam Manohar Lohia National Law University (RMNLU), Institute of Hotel Management, Lucknow (IHM), Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences(SGPGI), Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences and King George’s Medical University (KGMU).[170] The National P. G. College (NPGC), affiliated to the University of Lucknow, is ranked as the second best college imparting formal education in the country by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.[171]

Educational institutions in the city include seven universities including the University of Lucknow, a Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, a technical university (Uttar Pradesh Technical University), a law university (RMLNLU), an islamic university (DUNU) and a large number of polytechnics, engineering institutes and industrial training institutes.[172] Other research organisations in the state include the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic PlantsCentral Food Technological Research Institute, and the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute.[173][174]

Some of Uttar Pradesh’s major schools are located in Lucknow including Delhi Public School having its branches in Eldeco, Indiranagar. City Montessori SchoolColvin Taluqdars’ College, Centennial Higher Secondary School, St. Francis’ CollegeLoreto Convent Lucknow, St. Mary’s Convent Inter College, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Lucknow Public School, Stella Maris Inter College, Seth M.R. Jaipuria School, Cathedral School, Mary Gardiner’s Convent School, Modern School, Amity International School, St. Agnes, Army Public School, Mount Carmel College, Study Hall, Christ Church College, Rani Laxmi Bai School and Central Academy.

City Montessori School, with over 20 branches spread throughout the city, is the only school in the world to have been awarded a UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.[175] CMS also holds a Guinness World Record for being the largest school in the world with over 40,000 pupils.[176] The school consistently ranks among the top schools of India.[177]

La Martiniere Lucknow, founded in 1845, is the only school in the world to have been awarded a battle honour.[178] It is one of the oldest and most reputed schools in India, often ranked among the top ten schools in the country.[179][180] Lucknow also has a sports college named Guru Gobind Singh Sports College.


Lucknow has had an influence on the Hindi film industry as the birthplace of poet, dialogue writer and script writer K. P. Saxena, Suresh Chandra Shukla born 10 February 1954[181]along with veteran Bollywood and Bengali film actor Pahari Sanyal, who came from the city’s well known Sanyal family.[182][183] Several movies have used Lucknow as their backdrop including Shashi Kapoor‘s Junoon, Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan and GamanSatyajit Ray‘s Shatranj ke khiladiIsmail Merchant‘s Shakespeare WallahPAA and Shailendra Pandey’s JD.[184][185][186] In the movie Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Lucknow was used to depict Pakistan,[187] with locations including Lal Pul, the Taj Hotel and the Rumi Darwaza used in Tanu Weds Manu.[188] Some parts of Ladies vs Ricky BahlBullett Raja,[189] Ishaqzaade[190] Ya Rab and Dabangg 2 were shot in Lucknow or at other sites nearby.[191] A major section of the Bollywood movie, Daawat-e-Ishq starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra was shot in the city[192] as was Baawre, an Indian TV drama, airing on the Life OK channel. The government has announced to develop two film cities in Lucknow.[193] Here are some newspaper companies working and give online news services to the news readers including Amar Ujala,[194] Dainik JagranHindustan TimesThe Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar.

The Pioneer newspaper, headquartered in Lucknow and started in 1865, is the second oldest English language newspaper in India still in production.[195] The country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru founded The National Herald in the city prior to World War II with Manikonda Chalapathi Rau as its editor.[196]

One of the earliest All India Radio stations has been operational in Lucknow since 1938.[197]

FM radio transmission started in Lucknow in 2000. The city has the following FM radio stations:[198]

“My Lucknow My Pride” is a mobile app launched by the district administration of Lucknow circa December 2015 in efforts to preserve “the cultural heritage of Lucknow” and to encourage tourism.[199][200][201][202]


Today cricket, association football, badminton, golf and hockey are among the most popular sports in the city.

The main sports hub is the K. D. Singh Babu Stadium, which also has a swimming pool and indoor games complex. The other stadiums are Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium, Mohammed Shahid Synthetic Hockey Stadium, Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta Stadium at Northern India Engineering College,[203] Babu Banarsi Das UP Badminton Academy, Charbagh, Mahanagar, Chowk and the Sports College near the Integral University.

In September 2017, Ekana International Cricket Stadium was opened to public as it hosted 2017-18 Duleep Trophy. On 6 November 2018 Ekana International Cricket Stadium hosted its first T20 international match between Indian national cricket team and West Indies cricket team. It is the second largest stadium in India by capacity after Kolkata‘s Eden Gardens.[204][205] For decades Lucknow hosted the Sheesh Mahal Cricket Tournament.

Lucknow is the Headquarter for the Badminton Association of India. Located in Gomti Nagar, It was formed in 1934 and has been holding national-level tournaments in India since 1936. Syed Modi Grand Prix is an international Badminton competition held here. Junior level Badminton players receive their training in Lucknow after which they are sent to Bangalore.[206][207]

The Lucknow Race Course in Lucknow Cantonment is spread over 70.22 acres (28.42 ha); the course’s 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) long race track is the longest in India.[208]

The Lucknow Golf Club is on the sprawling greens of La Martinière College.

The city has produced several national and world-class sporting personalities. Lucknow sports hostel has produced international-level cricketers Mohammad KaifPiyush ChawlaSuresh Raina, Gyanendra Pandey, Praveen Kumar and R. P. Singh. Other notable sports personalities include hockey Olympians K. D. SinghJaman Lal SharmaMohammed Shahid and Ghaus Mohammad, the tennis player who became the first Indian to reach the quarter finals at Wimbledon.[209]

City-based clubs[edit]

Club Sport Team Homeground Founded
Awadhe Warriors Badminton Premier Badminton League Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium 2015
Uttar Pradesh Wizards Field hockey Hockey India League Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Lucknow 2012
UP Yoddha Kabaddi Pro Kabaddi League Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium Lucknow 2017

Parks and recreation[edit]

Man made lake in Janeshwar Mishra Park

The city has parks and recreation areas managed by the Lucknow Development Authority. These[210] include Kukrail Reserve ForestQaisar BaghDr. Ram Manohar Lohia Park, the Ambedkar Memorial and Janeshwar Mishra park, the largest park in Asia. It boasts of lush greenery, a man-made lake, India’s longest cycling and jogging track and a variety of flora. The Plan is also to set up a giant Ferris wheel inside the park on the lines of London Eye, which would provide a panoramic view of the city.[211] Kukrail Picnic Spot (Crocodile Breeding sanctuary) Located at Area near to Lucknow Indiranagar Area. This is the Asia’s Largest Crocodile breeding center. This along with small zoological Zoo and ample open space makes it unique for picnic and dating purposes.



Feldbrunnen village 12.12 (10)

A short one again, as time is not exactly on my side at the moment. The good news is that I will have a substitute car this afternoon to use until I get my new car after the Christmas holiday. I have become the planning master at the moment. No. 1 son did some shopping for me yesterday so that we will not starve in the meanwhile and I can take it easy this morning and pick up the car this afternoon and combine it with a shopping trip.

I have discovered that buying a new car comes together with many other things, including an insurance. Luckily my garage take care of the registration and I organise the details with the insurance myself.

Otherwise life goes on, it must. Of course I have not been for any wheelies lately and see the world from my window at the moment. I wish the surroundings were as sunny as in the photo above, but I did notice a minimal cloud formation this morning.

Morning Clouds

This morning I tried the new editor. I get the idea, but my first problem was uploading my photos. They are all online in Flickr which even has a connection to the editor. However the photo was not sharp and blurred. I have not given up and am sure it was just the first steps. I hope to get the idea eventually, it is not rocket science, but I do not have to like it, or do I.

Sparrows 15.12 (18)

In the meanwhile the birds are hovering around and I have the feeling I am being watched sometimes. They might be small sparrows, but a flock can be dangerous. It is when they begin to organise themselves sitting in a row in front of the window that I supposed I should begin to get worried.

And now I am off to do other things. For a change I am at home on Wednesday morning, my tour of Switzerland will be this afternoon when I will have to take the local train to the station and then the bus to the garage and pick up my substitute car which I hope I can handle. Afterwards I will be off to the supermarket to catch up on some shopping.

See you around, and keep safe.



The if..else..if ladder allows you to execute a block code among many alternatives. If you are checking on the value of a single variable in if...else...if, it is better to use switchstatement.

The switch statement is often faster than nested if...else (not always). Also, the syntax of switch statement is cleaner and easy to understand.

Syntax of switch…case

switch (n)
    case constant1:
        // code to be executed if n is equal to constant1;

    case constant2:
        // code to be executed if n is equal to constant2;
        // code to be executed if n doesn't match any constant

When a case constant is found that matches the switch expression, control of the program passes to the block of code associated with that case.

Suppose, the value of n is equal to constant2. The compiler executes the statements after case constant2: until break is encountered. When break statement is encountered, switch statement terminates.

switch Statement Flowchart

Flowchart of switch statement


Example: switch Statement

// Program to create a simple calculator
#include <stdio.h>

int main() {

    char operator;
    double firstNumber,secondNumber;

    printf("Enter an operator (+, -, *, /): ");
    scanf("%c", &operator);

    printf("Enter two operands: ");
    scanf("%lf %lf",&firstNumber, &secondNumber);

        case '+':
            printf("%.1lf + %.1lf = %.1lf",firstNumber, secondNumber, firstNumber+secondNumber);

        case '-':
            printf("%.1lf - %.1lf = %.1lf",firstNumber, secondNumber, firstNumber-secondNumber);

        case '*':
            printf("%.1lf * %.1lf = %.1lf",firstNumber, secondNumber, firstNumber*secondNumber);

        case '/':
            printf("%.1lf / %.1lf = %.1lf",firstNumber, secondNumber, firstNumber/secondNumber);

        // operator is doesn't match any case constant (+, -, *, /)
            printf("Error! operator is not correct");

    return 0;


Enter an operator (+, -, *,): -
Enter two operands: 32.5
32.5 - 12.4 = 20.1

The  operator entered by the user is stored in operator variable. And, two operands 32.5and 12.4 are stored in variables firstNumber and secondNumber respectively.

Then, control of the program jumps to

printf("%.1lf / %.1lf = %.1lf",firstNumber, secondNumber, firstNumber/firstNumber);

Finally, the break statement terminates the switch statement.


Matrices and Determinants
On this page:

Introduction and Examples
Matrix Addition and Subtraction
Matrix Multiplication
The Transpose of a Matrix
The Determinant of a Matrix
The Inverse of Matrix
Systems of Linear Equations
The Inverse Matrix Method
Cramer’s Rule
Introduction and Examples
DEFINITION: A matrix is defined as an ordered rectangular array of numbers. They can be used to represent systems of linear equations, as will be explained below.

Here are a couple of examples of different types of matrices:

Symmetric Diagonal Upper Triangular Lower Triangular Zero Identity
Symmetric Matix Diagonal Matrix Upper Triangular Matix Lower Triangular Matix Zero Matix Identity Matix
And a fully expanded m×n matrix A, would look like this:

n×n matrix
… or in a more compact form: m×n simplified

Matrix Addition and Subtraction
DEFINITION: Two matrices A and B can be added or subtracted if and only if their dimensions are the same (i.e. both matrices have the same number of rows and columns. Take:

matrices A&B
If A and B above are matrices of the same type then the sum is found by adding the corresponding elements aij + bij .

Here is an example of adding A and B together.

Sum of matrices A&B
If A and B are matrices of the same type then the subtraction is found by subtracting the corresponding elements aij − bij.

Here is an example of subtracting matrices.

Subtraction of A&B
Now, try adding and subtracting your own matrices.

Addition/subtraction Top
Matrix Multiplication
DEFINITION: When the number of columns of the first matrix is the same as the number of rows in the second matrix then matrix multiplication can be performed.

Here is an example of matrix multiplication for two 2×2 matrices.

Matrix multiplication 2×2
Here is an example of matrix multiplication for two 3×3 matrices.

Matrix multiplication 3×3
Now lets look at the n×n matrix case, Where A has dimensions m×n, B has dimensions n×p. Then the product of A and B is the matrix C, which has dimensions m×p. The ijth element of matrix C is found by multiplying the entries of the ith row of A with the corresponding entries in the jth column of B and summing the n terms. The elements of C are:

Matrix multiplication for n×n
Note: That A×B is not the same as B×A

Now, try multiplying your own matrices.

Matrix multiplication Top
Transpose of Matrices
DEFINITION: The transpose of a matrix is found by exchanging rows for columns i.e. Matrix A = (aij) and the transpose of A is:

AT = (aji) where j is the column number and i is the row number of matrix A.

For example, the transpose of a matrix would be:

Transpose of matrix
In the case of a square matrix (m = n), the transpose can be used to check if a matrix is symmetric. For a symmetric matrix A = AT.

Symmetric matrix
Now try an example.

Transpose of a matrix Top
The Determinant of a Matrix
DEFINITION: Determinants play an important role in finding the inverse of a matrix and also in solving systems of linear equations. In the following we assume we have a square matrix (m = n). The determinant of a matrix A will be denoted by det(A) or |A|. Firstly the determinant of a 2×2 and 3×3 matrix will be introduced, then the n×n case will be shown.

Determinant of a 2×2 matrix
Assuming A is an arbitrary 2×2 matrix A, where the elements are given by:

Matrix A
then the determinant of a this matrix is as follows:

Det A
Now try an example of finding the determinant of a 2×2 matrix yourself.

Determinant of 2×2
Determinant of a 3×3 matrix
The determinant of a 3×3 matrix is a little more tricky and is found as follows (for this case assume A is an arbitrary 3×3 matrix A, where the elements are given below).

Matrix A
then the determinant of a this matrix is as follows:

Det of A
Now try an example of finding the determinant of a 3×3 matrix yourself.

Determinant of 3×3
Determinant of a n×n matrix
For the general case, where A is an n×n matrix the determinant is given by:

Matrix A n×n
Where the coefficients αij are given by the relation:

alpha coefficient
where βij is the determinant of the (n-1) × (n-1) matrix that is obtained by deleting row i and column j. This coefficient αij is also called the cofactor of aij.

The Inverse of a Matrix
DEFINITION: Assuming we have a square matrix A, which is non-singular (i.e. det(A) does not equal zero), then there exists an n×n matrix A-1 which is called the inverse of A, such that this property holds:

AA-1 = A-1A = I, where I is the identity matrix.

The inverse of a 2×2 matrix
Take for example a arbitury 2×2 Matrix A whose determinant (ad − bc) is not equal to zero.

2×2 matrix
where a,b,c,d are numbers, The inverse is:

Inverse of 2×2
Now try finding the inverse of your own 2×2 matrices.

Inverse of 2×2
The inverse of a n×n matrix
The inverse of a general n×n matrix A can be found by using the following equation.

Where the adj(A) denotes the adjoint (or adjugate) of a matrix. It can be calculated by the following method:

Given the n×n matrix A, define
B = bij
to be the matrix whose coefficients are found by taking the determinant of the (n-1) × (n-1) matrix obtained by deleting the ith row and jth column of A. The terms of B (i.e. B = bij) are known as the cofactors of A.
Define the matrix C, where
cij = (−1)i+j bij.
The transpose of C (i.e. CT) is called the adjoint of matrix A.
Lastly to find the inverse of A divide the matrix CT by the determinant of A to give its inverse.

Now test this method with finding the inverse of your own 3×3 matrices.

Inverse of 3×3 Top
Solving Systems of Equations using Matrices
DEFINITION: A system of linear equations is a set of equations with n equations and n unknowns, is of the form of

n×n Systems of equations
The unknowns are denoted by x1, x2, …, xn and the coefficients (a and b above) are assumed to be given. In matrix form the system of equations above can be written as:

n×n Systems of equations
A simplified way of writing above is like this: Ax = b

Now, try putting your own equations into matrix form.

Putting equations into matrices
After looking at this we will now look at two methods used to solve matrices. These are:

Inverse Matrix Method
Cramer’s Rule
Inverse Matrix Method
DEFINITION: The inverse matrix method uses the inverse of a matrix to help solve a system of equations, such like the above Ax = b. By pre-multiplying both sides of this equation by A-1 gives:

Ax=b derivation
or alternatively

Ax=b derivation
So by calculating the inverse of the matrix and multiplying this by the vector b we can find the solution to the system of equations directly. And from earlier we found that the inverse is given by

From the above it is clear that the existence of a solution depends on the value of the determinant of A. There are three cases:

If the det(A) does not equal zero then solutions exist using Ax=b derivation
If the det(A) is zero and b=0 then the solution will be not be unique or does not exist.
If the det(A) is zero and b=0 then the solution can be x = 0 but as with 2. is not unique or does not exist.
Looking at two equations we might have that

Written in matrix form would look like

and by rearranging we would get that the solution would look like

Now try solving your own two equations with two unknowns.

Inverse Method 2×2
Similarly for three simultaneous equations we would have:

Written in matrix form would look like

and by rearranging we would get that the solution would look like

Now try solving your own three equations with three unknowns.

Inverse Method 3×3 Top
Cramer’s Rule
DEFINITION: Cramer’s rule uses a method of determinants to solve systems of equations. Starting with equation below,

n×n Systems of equations
The first term x1 above can be found by replacing the first column of A by b×n. Doing this we obtain:

n×n Systems of equations
Similarly for the general case for solving xr we replace the rth column of A by b×n and expand the determinant. This method of using determinants can be applied to solve systems of linear equations. We will illustrate this for solving two simultaneous equations in x and y and three equations with 3 unknowns x, y and z.

Two simultaneous equations in x and y
2×2 equations
To solve use the following:

or simplified:

Now try solving two of your own equations.

Cramers 2×2
Three simultaneous equations in x, y and z
ax + by + cz = p
dx + ey + fz = q
gx + hy + iz = r

To solve use the following:

Now try solving your own three equations.


package beginnersbook.com;
import java.io.*;
public class ReadFileDemo {
   public static void main(String[] args) {         
      //Specify the path of the file here
      File file = new File(“C://myfile.txt”);
      BufferedInputStream bis = null;
      FileInputStream  fis= null;
          //FileInputStream to read the file
          fis = new FileInputStream(file);
          /*Passed the FileInputStream to BufferedInputStream
           *For Fast read using the buffer array.*/
          bis = new BufferedInputStream(fis);
          /*available() method of BufferedInputStream
           * returns 0 when there are no more bytes
           * present in the file to be read*/
          while( bis.available() > 0 ){            
       }catch(FileNotFoundException fnfe)
            System.out.println(“The specified file not found” + fnfe);
        catch(IOException ioe)
            System.out.println(“I/O Exception: ” + ioe); 
               if(bis != null && fis!=null)
             }catch(IOException ioe)
                  System.out.println(“Error in InputStream close(): ” + ioe);