Sources of Ancient Indian History


Pliocene deposits in Siwaliks. It came to be known as Ramapitheus, a type of early hominid.

Inscriptions either on stone or on metal plates are old records of Ancient India. The study of inscriptions is called epigraphy.

Coins: The study of coins is called numismatics.

  • The Punch Mark Coins (silver &copper) are the earliest coins of India.

Monuments: Monuments relect the material prosperity and development of culture e.g. Taxshila monuments about Kushans and Stupas, Chaityas and Vihars about Maurya.

Vedas: Vedas point out features and development of different dynasties, e.g. Rigveda deals about Archery and known as “The first testament of mankind.

  • Samveda says about the art of music (i.e. melodies)
  • Yajurveda: It is known as ritual Veda.
  • Atharvaveda: It is the latest of the four.It is about beliefs and superstitions.

Upanishad: It is anti-ritualistic in nature.It deals about the theories of creation of the universe and doctrine of action.

Sutras: Sutras deal about rituals, Sanskaras, social life, Medical science etc.

Puranas: Puranas describe the genealogies of various royal dynasties, i.e. Maurya, Andhra, Shishunag, Gupta, etc.

Jatak Kathas: These are the parts of art and literature of 3rd century B.C.

Arthashastra: It is the analysis of political and economic conditions of the Mauryas, composed by Kautilya(Chanakya).

Mudrarakshasa: It tells about the establishment of the Maurya dynasty, the fall of Nanda, Ramgupta, etc.

Rajtarangini: It was written by Kalhana in 12th century A.D. It is about the rulers of Kashmir. It is considered the, “first historical book of India.”

Foreign travellers: wrote about the information of India. For examples–

Megasthenes: He wrote book, “INDICA” about the dynasty of Maurya.

Fahien: He wrote about the Gupta Emperor.

Hieun-Tsang: He wrote about the Buddhist record of the western world during period of Harshavardhan.

Albiruni: He wrote ‘ Tarikh-ul-Hind.’

Ibna-Batuta: He wrote about India under the rule of Muhammad Tughlaq.