Sunday, June 23, 2024

Historical Development of Indian Geography

India has a very proud past in geographical knowledge. The scholars of India have guided the world from the very beginning in both the arts and sciences. The Indus Valley Civilization that flourished in India, Taxila, Kashi, and Ujjain as centers of knowledge, the creation of Vedas, Puranas, epics, etc., are evidence of the fact that India was the center of knowledge since ancient times.

The ray of knowledge had reached different parts of the world from India, India has been the center of attraction for the world since time immemorial due to its multi-dimensional personality. Many foreign travelers came to India, their descriptions and experiences are considered symbols of the superiority of geographical knowledge here.

It is believed that the Vedas had died in India 3000 years before Christ. It had become the center of knowledge science. It was far more developed than the developed countries of today. It was a rich country in terms of intellectual and material wealth. The composition of the Rigveda text is older than the Greek works.

Rigveda is not the creation of anyone sage, but it is a collection of thoughts of many sages’ sages, which have been given from time to time. The Rigveda text is believed to be more than 500 years old before Christ. This is the world’s first written text. This book is considered a symbol of India’s intellectual and cultural prosperity, which states that the Dravidian culture in India was more developed and prosperous than the Ari civilization.

The Dravidians lived in the Sindh Valley before the arrival of the Aryans. These cities were very rich in the art of construction. These people lived in contact with other civilization centers of the world, Mesopotamia and Miss. With the arrival of the Aryans in North India, there was a lot of progress in the achievements of literature, art, philosophy, thinking, religion and knowledge and there was substantial development of knowledge science in India.

Although India has seen many historical and cultural ups and downs since then till date. Evidence obtained from the Sindh Valley region and studies of Vedas and epics makes it clear that in ancient times India was much more extensive than it is today. There were regional variations in it.

The social, religious, philosophical, moral, and cultural practices and traditions were very developed and prevalent here. India being a geographical unit was called a subcontinent. In the south was the Indo-Ocean and in the north was the Himalayas, which were given the name of Asetu Himachal.

There was such a sufficiency of resources that the center of attraction for foreigners remained. These people came here and gradually settled down and became a part of Indian spirituality and culture. Although this gave rise to social diversities.

Universities in India were the major centers of education. Students from abroad used to come to study at Taxila and Nalanda universities. Even Ujjain was a major center of education and attainment of knowledge. The ashrams of Indian sages and sages were also centers of education, even here people were taught the science of knowledge.

The ashram of Muni Vashistha is a symbol of this. India had become the center of agriculture, industry, trade, mining, metal refining, engineering along with education. There was a huge demand for Indian production in the world, people from abroad used to come here for business this condition of development was not constant, because the purpose of people coming from abroad was to exploit and exploit Indian resources.

Despite all these circumstances, India kept its importance equal. Accepting this, a foreign scholar had said that India is the land of enlightened people. Human beings living here fulfill all their dreams with great respect. All kinds of facilities are available here, thus it is clear that the geography of India has a vast ocean of knowledge behind it.

Presently available literature, evidence, and incidents indicate that Indian culture has been very developed. Its impact on Indian literature and the description of the geographical knowledge obtained from it is a matter of great discussion.

In providing the present basis of our geographical knowledge, there is an invaluable contribution of Sindh Valley civilization and culture, religious texts, historical texts, Vedas, Puranas, ancient education centers of learning, details of foreign travelers, ancient buildings, and archaeological features. It is clear that while there is diversity in the sources of Indian geographical knowledge, on the other hand, its development is the result of a long history.

Therefore the historical development of Indian geography can be divided into the following periods:

1. Indus Valley Civilization Period (Pre-Vedic Period) (Pre-Vedic) [4000-2000 BC]

2. Vedic Period [1500-1000 BC]

3. Great Epic Period [600 BC- 300 AD]

4. Bodh & Jain Period [400 BC – 500 AD]

5. Purana Period [200 BC – 700 AD]


1. Indus Valley Civilization Period (Pre-Vedic) [4000-2000 BC]:

The Sindh Valley Civilization of India is believed to be 5000 years old. It was spread over the northwestern part of the Indian continent. It is called the Harappan culture after the city of Harappa. Its extension is considered to be presented up to the Sindh river in the north and west, the Yamuna in the east, and the Narmada river in the south.

It extended to Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and western Uttar Pradesh. It was the most developed urban civilization. It was discovered in 1922 by British archaeologists excavating Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh.

This civilization was in a very developed stage from 2500 to 2200 BC. The time of their development is called the Bronze Age. The decline of this civilization took place in 1500 BC. The expansion of this civilization has been traced after 1947 in Ropar in Punjab, Kalibanga in Rajasthan, Lothal, Dhaulabra, and Surkotada in Gujarat, Banawali, Kunal in Haryana.

According to the Director of the Archaeological Survey of India, the signs of Harappan culture are available at about 700 places, but the status of 35 of these places has not been confirmed yet. In the cities whose remains have been discovered, rich urban life and settlements have been found.

Whose features are as follows:

i. Was familiar with the art of city-building, they were settled by a definite plan.

ii. Water moats were built around the cities as security and for water supply, in which excess water was collected.

iii. Roadways were paved wide and cut each other at right angles.

iv. The houses were made of solid bricks and mortar. In them, special care was taken of the effect of sunlight, wind direction, and weather. Every house had a bathroom, a well, a stove, a fire pit, and drains to drain the dirty water and rainwater.

v. The place for the development of various works in the city was fixed. The trading place was situated in the middle of the city.

vi. Huge buildings were built for public works.

vii. This valley was covered with fertile soils, where cotton, wheat, and paddy were cultivated.

viii. The water of the rivers was used for irrigation and transportation.

ix. The means of transport were camels, oxen, and horses, whose convoys carried goods.

x. Lothal port was developed from the point of view of foreign trade.

xi. Special care was taken of the environment, cleanliness, safety, accessibility, and water supply, and there was a system of assured drainage of dirty water.

xii. Many cottage industries were developed such as textiles, metals, jewelry, toys, utensils, agricultural implements, etc. The finished goods obtained from these industries were sent by road and sea routes to the countries of Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe.

xiii. Many large settlements became centers of barter. The surplus agricultural produce was collected in the cities and sent to distant parts.

xiv. Those cities could make more progress whose position was on the banks of the river.

It is clear from the above discussion that at the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, this part of India was full of well-planned development of agriculture, industry, trade settlements, river, sea, and roads had become the means of transport.

Wheels and boats were used. Indian handicraft items were in great demand abroad. The art of making pottery and toys were developed. Bricks were cooked in kilns. Economically and socially, the people here were prosperous and prosperous.

In this period, the knowledge of calculating the time calculation, the art of measurement, was developed. The remains found from the excavations of Mohenjodaro, Harappa, Dhaulavira Kalibaga city have revealed that at that time the art of making idols, toys, tools, ornaments, utensils, clothes was very developed.

During the dry season, special care was taken to ensure the availability of water supply, water from wells was used for domestic purposes, and urban settlements served as service centers for rural areas. The life of the people of the cities was balanced and good, the population of the cities was between 10000 to 40000.

2. Vedic Period [1500-1000 BC] :

This era is believed to be from 1500 to 600 years before Christ. The place of the four Vedas is paramount in the literature that was produced during this period. Through these Vedas, information about the physical and practical path of Indian thought, conduct, karma, religion, and attitude toward life is obtained.

The knowledge obtained from the sages has been obtained through the Vedas, the Vedas are the supernatural storehouse of knowledge and science. These Vedas provide knowledge of human behavior along with specific geographical information.

The Vedas are considered the Brahmakal of the ancient sages. There are many mantras in these Vedas, the meanings of these mantras are very mysterious. His every word is true, eternal, and eternal. Vedas are the speech of sages and sages.

The four Vedas are:

(i) Rigveda,

(ii) Yajurveda,

(iii) Samaveda and

(iv) Atharvaveda.

(i) Rigverad is an ancient Veda text. It has been composed of many sages.

(ii) Yajurveda means the Vedas related to Yagya. Many methods of performing Yagya have been told in this Veda.

(iii) Samaveda is such a Veda whose mantras are sung in the sacrifices for the praise of the gods.

(iv) Atharvaveda has been composed by Atharva Rishi. It is told about worldly knowledge, religion, social system, medicine,

and diagnosis of diseases. The importance of Indian rivers is described in the Rigveda, while the Atharvaveda describes the various elements of the earth, the contours of the surface, vegetation, agricultural work, occupation of the people, mineral wealth, etc.

Along with these Vedas, many texts have also been composed by the sages from time to time. Aranyaka texts are texts which were rendered by the sages in the forests. All these scriptures are the ultimate storehouse of knowledge. The description of the territorial expansion of India is found in one of these texts, Ashreya Brahmana.

Upanishads :

This is the knowledge that a disciple receives by sitting near the Guru. This knowledge was obtained in the ashrams of the sages. This spiritual knowledge teaches human behavior and virtue. It is the storehouse of self-knowledge. These Upanishads have an important role in the attainment of geographical knowledge. Along with these Upanishads, Smritis also holds an important place in Vedic literature.

This literature has been composed by various learned sages, it is a storehouse of many teachings. In these, where on the one hand the activities of human life are guided, on the other hand, much information is received on geographical knowledge and politics. He considered the whole earth as one family.

Recognizing the diversity of occupations, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras have been given four varnas. The conditions of human life are represented by Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and Sanyasa. It is told about the three tenses – past, present, and future.

3. The Great Epic Period [600 BC- 300 AD] :

The period of creation of Ramayana and Mahabharata is called an epic period. The Ramayana period is believed to be of 600 to 400 period, while the Mahabharata period is believed to be from 400 to 300. The author of Ramayana was Valmiki. He composed Ramayana in seven volumes. This is a fundamental book, this book gives information about many geographical facts. In this, the description of mountain ranges, forest areas, rivers, plateaus, plains, etc. is found.

The presence of Lanka is found as a separate state. The presence of the kingdoms of many kings in India is known like King Dasharatha Janak etc. Information about different species living in the forests of India is available.

This forest was the ashram of the sages. There was an abundance of tubers, fruits, roots, trees, and grasses in the forests. The presence of not one but many mountains is found in the Ramayana, such as the description of Bhagirathi, Mandakini Godavari, and Saryu in rivers like Sumeru, Kailash Himalaya, Mahendra Parvat, etc. is noteworthy. At this time people had full knowledge of weather-related changes. Lord Rama was the king of Suryavanshi, whose kingdom was spread all over the earth. He knew the best techniques of warfare.

Different types of weapons were made. At this time huge vimanas like Ratha and Pushpak were in operation. Ravana’s chariot used to move in the sky. Mahabharat Poetry – Maharishi Ved Vyas composed the epic poem Mahabharata. In this, the events of the lifetime of Yug Purush Lord Shri Krishna and his style of work are described. The description of the war between Kauravas and Pandavas is the main feature of this book.

At this time there were many states like Hustinapur, Sindh, Gandhar, Magadha, Matsya, Kartikeya, etc. Along with these states and war techniques, the study of Mahabharata gives knowledge of natural conditions, human society, social traditions, and lifestyles.

The travels of Pandavas give information about many geographical facts. Shrimad Bhagvat Geeta was composed in collaboration with Maharishi Veda Vyasa and his disciples, which provides knowledge of adaptable teachings related to social, moral, philosophical, religious, and human behavior. Karma is the main thing.

The epic period was quite prosperous from an economic point of view. Agriculture, animal husbandry, and trade were the main human activities. Irrigation was important in agriculture. Ponds, canals, and wells were the main means of irrigation. The business structure was mutually based.

4. Bodh & Jain Period [500 BC – 500 AD]:

The complexities in the religious system at the beginning of this period gave birth to new religions. Buddhism and Jainism were prominent among these religions. The ideologies developed in both religions symbolize the development of geographical knowledge.

The father of Buddhism was Mahatma Buddha, whose real name was Siddhartha. He was born at the place. The knowledge of the instructions related to the conduct of human beings is obtained from Buddhist literature, while the presence of various states in India and their federal system is known. The Buddhist god had attained nirvana in Kushinagar. The city was settled.

Jainism was founded by the first Tirthankara Rishabdev Ji. There have been a total of 24 Tirthankaras in the Jain sense, out of which the names of Parshvanath and Mahavir Swami are specially taken for the 23rd and 24th Tirthankaras respectively. The 23rd Tirthankar was Parshvanath (Parsnath), who was born in Kashi. He propagated Jainism in Shravasti, Kaushambi, Hastinapur, and Saket. Today all these places exist in the form of cities.

The 24th Tirthankar was Mahavir Swami, who was born in Kanda village near Vaishali, he had propagated his religion far and wide. Presently these areas are spread over Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh. Vaishali, Mithila, Rajgriha, Shravasti, Kaushal, Vidarbha, Magadha etc. were the main centers of Jainism.

Examples of his architecture are Hathigumpha Temple in Orissa, Mount Abu and Dilwara Temple in Rajasthan, and Gomateshwar Temple in Karnataka. An overview of Jain literature provides much important geographical information.

5. Purana Period [500 BC – 700 AD]:

Purana means ancient. Puran literature is full of knowledge related to the geography, history, religion, science, and politics of ancient India. The first Purana was composed by Maharishi Vyas Ji in 500-400 years BC. Since then, in about 1200 years, 18 Puranas and 29 Uppuranas have been composed.

There is such a wonderful collection of spiritualism, philosophy, theology, ethics, art, culture, and literature in Puranic literature, from which proper knowledge of the geographical conditions of the time is obtained. Apart from these, information about different aspects of geography is obtained from the texts written by scholars of Hindi and Sanskrit subjects. The origin of the earth, oceans, rivers, weather, rain, vegetation, living habits of people of different places, occupations, etc. is found in these Puranas and texts.

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