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Ancient India:


Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, social, and religious structures of the civilizations of Ancient India.



Constantinople to Calcutta
Constantinople to Calcutta

A stunning map of the countries between Constantinople and Calcutta : including Turkey in Asia, Persia, Afghanistan and Turkestan. It was created in 1912. Middle East. Relief shown by hachures. Shows: international boundaries, railways, steamship routes, submarine telegraph lines, and British and Russian spheres of influence in Persia. Scale 1: 6,969,600 (E 0320--E 1000/N 400--N 080).

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Ancient Map of India
Ancient Map of India

This fine hand colored map is a steel plate lithograph depicting India and Southeast Asia in Ancient Time. This area was all but mythical during the period that that map claims to depict. There are a number of supposed jungle cities simply marked with a “?”. An altogether fascinating depiction. It was published in 1855 by the legendary German cartographer Justus Perthes. Issued as part of the “Spruneri Atlas Antiquarie”.

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Constantinople to Calcutta
Constantinople to Calcutta

A stunning map of the countries between Constantinople and Calcutta : including Turkey in Asia, Persia, Afghanistan and Turkestan. It was created in 1912. Middle East. Relief shown by hachures. Shows: international boundaries, railways, steamship routes, submarine telegraph lines, and British and Russian spheres of influence in Persia. Scale 1: 6,969,600 (E 0320--E 1000/N 400--N 080).

press to zoom



  • What defines a civilization?

  • Why is the Harrappan Civilization significant?

  • What is the Aryan debate and what does it mean for the legacy of Ancient India today?

  • How did geography influence the history of Ancient India?

  • Why does planning make cities more efficient?

  • How did the people of Ancient India accomplish this?

  • How did values and beliefs affect the people of Ancient India?

  • What are the basic beliefs of Hinduism?

  • Why did Hinduism bring the people of Ancient India together?

  • Identify Buddha and describe his life and teachings.

  • What are the main principals of Buddhism?

  • Who were important Emperors that ruled the Maurya Empire?



“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.”  


“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”


~Swami Vivekananda,  Indian Spiritual leader of the Hindu religion (Vedanta). Disciple of the famous 19th century mystic-saint Sri Ramakrishna of Calcutta. Founder of the Ramakrishna Order of Monks. 1863-1902



  • Ancient India made many contributions to the world.

  • Understanding other religions and ways of life will help prepare students for a global society.

  • Hindusim, Buddhism, and Christianity have many similar beliefs.

  • Why do we know so little of this ancient civilization?




6.23 Locate and describe the Himalayas and the major river systems, including Indus and Ganges and evaluate the importance of each.


Indus Valley civilization - Ancient civilizations/Mocomi Kids...



  • subcontinent:  a land mass bigger than a state, and smaller than a continent.

  • monsoons:  seasonal wind patterns that cause dry or wet seasons.

  • Sanskrit:  the most important language of Ancient India.

  • caste system:  the division of people in India due to wealth, birth, or occupation.

  • Hinduism:  the largest religion in India today.

  • reincarnation:  rebirth.

  • karma:  the effects of good or bad actions.

  • Jainisma:  religion based on the teachings of Mahavira.

  • non-violence:  avoiding violent actions.

  • fasting:  going without food.

  • meditation:  focusing the mind on spiritual ideas.

  • the Bhudda:  "Enlightened One"

  • Buddhism:  a religion based on the teachings of the Bhudda.

  • nirvana:  a state of perfect peace.

  • missionaries:  people who travel around and spread their religion.

  • Chandragupta Mauryan:  the founder of the Mauryan empire.

  • Asoka:  Chandragupta Mauryan's grandson.

  • Chandragupta II:  Emperor of the Gupta empire.

  • metallurgy:  the study of metals.

  • alloys:  a mixture of two or more metals.

  • Hindu-Arabic numerals:  The numbers we use today.

  • inoculation:  injecting a dose of virus to help build defense.

  • astronomy:  the study of the stars and planets.














Ancient Indian Class Structure

6.26 Outline the social structure of the caste system and explain its effect on everyday life in Indian society.



This video is taken from the BBC TV documentary called "The story of India" presented by historian Michael Wood, about the 10,000-year history of the Indian subcontinent. This video and the entire series is the property of BBC TV and no copyright infringement is intended.This extract is made to present a small talk on the Indian Caste System to a group of MBA students as part of cross-cultural management.



How has ancient Indian history shaped the India of today? (not in a positive way)  Think-pair-share with a partner next to you. Then we will discuss as a class. Be sure to write down your final answers to the above questions that we come up with as a class so you can reflect at the end of the lesson.



Learn about the different styles of clothing for the men and women of Ancient India.

Physical Divisions of India...

1. How has geography shaped different regions in India?
2. What are some key landmarks in India, where are they located, and where are the states of India? ( What state is Delhi in?)


Now think about how regions in Northern India may have developed differently than in southern India based on geography. What types of jobs might someone in the north do vs. south? What countries might influence people in the north vs. in the south? etc.....



Play the States of India Game!

Learning from Artifacts:
Use these artifacts to learn about the society!  Primary sources are always a good thing! Worksheet includes QR codes to take students directly to the source
Links to 4 artifacts from at the MMET website:

1- Stamp seal and a modern impression: unicorn or bull and inscription, Mature Harappan period, ca. 2600–1900 B.C.
2 - Bowl with painted decoration, ca. 2600–1900 B.C
3- Recumbent mouflon, Mature Harappan period, ca. 2600–1900 B.C.
4 - Anthropomorph, ca. 1500 B.C.

Aryan Invasions...

6.24 Analyze the impact of the Aryan invasions.


History of India shaped by its geography.  Lost Treasures of the Ancient World - India

Buddhism & Early Hinduism...

6.25 Explain how the major beliefs and practices of Brahmanism in India evolved into early Hinduism.
AR means Sun, Fire/Flame, or Light. ARyans did NOT originate in India, nor did their solar cross symbol (swastika), which pre-dates Sanskrit itself, which is a part of the Indo-European (Indo-Aryan) language tree, and the Indo-Europeans are believed to have originated on or near the Armenian Plateau, migrating throughout Western and Central Asia and Europe. Post-Flood Mount Ararat, Caucasus or Caucas.




Hinduism and Buddhism:  World History Review...

Mr. Hughes tackles religion for students taking a Global or World History course. This lecture, part 1 of 2, focuses on Hinduism and Buddhism. 

The History of Hindu India, Part One:  From Ancient Times...

"The History of Hindu India" (Part One) was developed by the editors of Hinduism Today magazine in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. It is intended to provide an authentic presentation of the early history of India and Hinduism for use in American 6th grade social study classes, as well as Hindu temple study groups and general presentations on the Hindu religion and history.

Maurya Empire

The Video shows the Mauryan Empire, It's extent, it's rulers and the effect it had on the present day Indian subcontinent. This video is an effort towards spreading awareness of the rich Indian heritage and it's associated history.

6.28 Describe the growth of the Maurya Empire and the political and moral achievements of the Emperor Asoka.


  • The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 322 to 185 BCE.

  • Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains (modern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh) in the eastern side of the Indian subcontinent, the empire had its capital city at Pataliputra (modern Patna).

  • The Empire was founded in 322 BCE by Chandragupta Maurya, who had overthrown the Nanda Dynasty and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India, taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great's Greek armies.

  • By 320 BCE the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

  • The Maurya Empire was one of the world's largest empires in its time, and the largest ever in the Indian subcontinent.

  • At its greatest extent, the empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam.

  • To the west, it conquered beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Khorasan, Balochistan, south eastern parts of Iran and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces.

  • The Empire was expanded into India's central and southern regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded a small portion of unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga (modern Odisha), until it was conquered by Ashoka.

  • Its decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BCE with the foundation of the Sunga Dynasty in Magadha.

  • Under Chandragupta, the Mauryan Empire conquered the trans-Indus region, which was under Macedonian rule.

  • Chandragupta then defeated the invasion led by Seleucus I, a Greek general from Alexander's army.

  • Under Chandragupta and his successors, internal and external trade, agriculture and economic activities, all thrived and expanded across India thanks to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration, and security.

  • After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced half a century of peace and security under Ashoka.

  • Mauryan India also enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. Chandragupta Maurya's embrace of Jainism increased social and religious renewal and reform across his society, while Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism has been said to have been the foundation of the reign of social and political peace and non-violence across all of India.

  • Ashoka sponsored the spreading of Buddhist ideals into Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Mediterranean Europe.

  • The population of the empire has been estimated to be about 50 - 60 million making the Mauryan Empire one of the most populous empires of all time.Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW).

  • The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath has been made the national emblem of India.




Ashoka the Great - King of India/Mocomi Kids...

Ashoka, one of India's greatest emperors. An emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian sub-continent from 269 BC to 232 BC.

The Life of Buddha Animation...

The Five Precepts - Buddhism Beliefs, Buddha Teachings...

The Buddha teaching of the Five Precepts are undertaken by all that choose to walk the path to peace. The Buddha taught an ethical and moral dharma that leads to internal and external peace, satisfaction and life contentedness.

Essential Questions:
1. How have systems of belief shaped India?
2. To what extent does religion define one’s identity?
3. Why and how does religion develop?
4. Compare and contrast different religions that have played a role in the history of India.


Religion in India Test

6.27 Write a narrative text describing how Siddhartha Gautama’s (Buddha) life experiences influenced his moral teachings and how those teachings became a new religion that spread throughout India and Central Asia as a new religion.
  • Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni,, or simply the Buddha, was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.
  • A native of the ancient Shakya republic in the Himalayan foothills, Gautama Buddha taught primarily in northeastern India.
  • Buddha means "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." "Buddha" is also used as a title for the first awakened being in an era.
  • In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha (Pali sammāsambuddha, Sanskrit samyaksaṃbuddha) of our age.
  • Siddhartha was born in a royal Hindu family.  
  • He was brought up by his mother's younger sister, Maha Pajapati.
  • By tradition, he is said to have been destined by birth to the life of a prince, and had three palaces (for seasonal occupation) built for him. Although more recent scholarship doubts this status, his father, said to be King Śuddhodana, wishing for his son to be a great king, is said to have shielded him from religious teachings and from knowledge of human suffering.
  • When he reached the age of 16, his father reputedly arranged his marriage to a cousin of the same age named Yaśodharā (Pāli: Yasodharā).
  • According to the traditional account, she gave birth to a son, named Rāhula.
  • Siddhartha is said to have spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha was provided with everything he could want or need, Buddhist scriptures say that the future Buddha felt that material wealth was not life's ultimate goal.









Although there is an emphasis on personal spirituality, Hinduism's history is closely linked with social and political developments, such as the rise and fall of different kingdoms and empires.



What is the Aryan Debate and which side has a stronger argument?


This is a very important article which calls the cloak off the most damaging theory concocted by the British and served to Indians. Most of the apparent differences that are seen in Indian society like the North-South Divide, Upper caste – Lower caste divides, language problems, can be related to the Aryan-Dravidian theory.




This activity focuses on the growth of civilization around the Indus Valley. Users can explore the ancient Indus Valley city of Mohenjo-Daro and look at some of the artefacts found by archaeologists from this excavation.

With a partner, read the story  on the Indus Valley and explore the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization.  Share your responses with the class. What makes the Indus Valley Civilization a "civilization"?





Students will utilize A.D./B.C. & B.C.E./C.E. to create a living time line using dates on cards. They will then research and create individual time lines.




Mohenjo Daro, or "Mound of the Dead" is an ancient Indus Valley Civilization city that flourished between 2600 and 1900 BCE. It was one of the first world and ancient Indian cities.



- Views from the Taj Mahal's Roof, Minarets & Crypt (normally closed to the public) -- Includes 360° Panoramas, Movies, Photos, Descriptive Narration, Maps, Music and Text -

In December 1631, the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, commenced the construction of one of the greatest monuments of all time, the Taj Mahal. It is a mausoleum built in the memory of his beloved and favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, fulfilling one of the promises that he made to her as she lay on her deathbed: To erect a monument to match her beauty.

The Upanishads...

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from Hindu Search for Divine Reality: The Upanishads; excerpts from the Buddha’s Two Lessons


Mahabharata : Krishna talks to Arjuna

From "The Mahabharata" of Peter Brook (1989)

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the epic Hindu literature Bhagavad Gita; excerpts from Ramayana; excerpts from Mahabharata

Mauryans - Maurya Dynasty History/Mocomi Kids...

Watch this video to know more about The Maurya Dynasty, one of the world's largest empires, and the largest ever in the Indian sub-continent.


Ancient India's Contributions

6.29 Identify the important aesthetic and intellectual traditions, including: • Sanskrit literature, including the Bhagavad-Gita Gita, Ramayana, and the Mahabharata • medicine • metallurgy • mathematics, including Hindu-Arabic numerals and the zero

India is one of the oldest and richest civilizations in the world.

  • It is home to the world's first planned cities, where every house had its own bathroom and toilet five thousand years ago.

  • The Ancient Indians have not only given us yoga, meditation and complementary medicines, but they have furthered our knowledge of science, maths -- and invented Chaturanga, which became the game of chess.

  • According to Albert Einstein, they "taught us how to count", as they invented the numbers 1-9 and 'zero', without which there would be no computers or digital age. Unfairly we call this system of counting Arabic numbers -- a misplaced credit.

  • Two thousand years ago the Indians pioneered plastic surgery, reconstructing the noses and ears on the faces of people who had been disfigured through punishment or warfare.

  • They performed eye operations such as cataract removal and invented inoculation to protect their population from Smallpox, saving thousands of lives.






How do you compress 100,000 verses into a 4 minute song? You can't. But we tried to hit some of the main points of the epic Indian work. Featuring clips from the Ravi Chopra TV series (1988).

ANCIENT INDIA song by Mr. Nicky

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