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Culture & Heritage

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India's history and culture is dynamic, spanning back to the beginning of human civilization. It begins with a mysterious culture along the Indus River and in farming communities in the southern lands of India. The history of India is punctuated by constant migration of people with diverse cultures, it is steeped in romance, heroic conquests, exemplary administration and tales of consummate patriotism.
Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters are approximately 30,000 years old (Paleolithic Age). The earliest paintings on the cave walls are believed to be of the Mesolithic period depicting the life and times of the people who lived in the caves, including scenes of childbirth, community dancing and drinking, and religious rites and burials, as well as the natural environment around them.
The History of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization, more precisely known as Harappan Civilization which flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, what today is Pakistan and Western India. The ruins of buildings, household articles, weapons, gold and silver ornaments, seals, toys, pottery wares, etc., show that some four to five thousand years ago a highly developed Civilization flourished in this region and people lived in well-planned and well-built towns, which had wide roads and a well-developed drainage system. The houses were made of baked bricks and had two or more storey.
Then came The Vedic civilization known as the earliest civilization in the history of ancient India associated with the coming of Aryans. The Aryans spoke Sanskrit and gradually intermingled with the local people and a historic synthesis was worked out between the Aryan tribes and the original inhabitants. This synthesis broadly came to be known as Hinduism.
BC 560 saw the birth of Lord Buddha the founder of Buddhismwhich not only developed as a religion but also as philosophy of life in this region.
Alexander, the Great invaded from the north west in 326 BC and left behind a large number of people of Greek origin thereby introducing the Greek influence on the people of India. Next 1200 - 1300 years saw regular uprisings by the local chieftains and invasions by people of foreign origin. They mainly include Mauryan Empire (322 BC-185 BC) that covered the whole territory from Hindu Kush to Bengal and extended over Afghanistan, Baluchistan and the whole of India with the exception of a small area in the farthest south. The valleys of Nepal and Kashmir were also included in his empire.
The Golden Age of Indian history was the Gupta Dynasty. The Guptas established trade and commerce through the Arabian Sea trade routes with the countries of the west. The Chinese traveler, Hiuen Tsang, who visited India during the reign of Chandragupta 1, has given a vivid description of the social, economic and religious conditions of this land. This period also saw the rise and fall of a number of small or big kingdoms in other parts of the country like The Chalukyas of Badami and The Chola Empire in the South.
The 8th century CE saw the beginning of Muslim Rule in India when the Arab General Muhammad bin Qasim conquered parts of southern Punjab, now in modern day Pakistan, setting the stage for several successive invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 15th centuries CE, leading to the formation of Muslim empires in the Indian subcontinent such as the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.
The Mughal Rule ended in 1857 by which time most areas of the country were annexed by the British East India Company. Dissatisfaction with the British Rule led to a nationwide struggle for independence that was finally achieved in 1947.
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