India Timeline


  • c.7000 BCE Neolithic hunter-gatherer society in India. Beginnings of agriculture and craft. First pottery and terracotta figures.
  • c.2600 Indus valley civilisation at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and other urban centres in region
  • c.1800 Aryan people settle bringing Vedic Gods. Four great Vedic scripts developed (e.g. Rig Veda)
  • c. 1000 Aryans spread along Ganges
  • c.700 – 500 Upanishads formulated, consolidating concepts of Samsara and Kama. Caste system established
  • c.599 – 527 Jainism founded by Prince Mahavir, who was later called Jina
  • c.563 – 483 Buddhism founded by Prince Siddartha Gautama
  • c.500 Great Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana formulated to convey message of Upanishads to the masses
  • c.400 BCE – 1000 CE Puranas developed to explain the scriptures to ordinary people
    c.327 – 325 BCE Alexander the Great in N.W. India
    c.322 – 184 Mauryan dynasty. First Indian emperor, Chandragupta-Maurya (322-298)
    c.268 – 231 Emperor Ashoka, great Buddhist emperor. Began Buddhist Stupa (reliquary) at Sanchi
    c.250 BCE – 250 CE Andhra dynasty in the Deccan. Buddhist Stupa built at Amaravati
    c.185 BCE – 72 CE Ajanta cave temples begun under Shunga dynasty
    c.64 BCE – 225 CE Kushan dynasty. First free standing Buddhist images at Gandara and Mathura
    c.100 CE Earliest dated image of Linga in Gudimallam
    c.150 Inscription at Junagarh of Rudradaman (Saka King). First recorded use of classical Sanskrit
    c.319 – 650 Gupta dynasty. Classical age of Indian Art: Buddhist narrative frescoes at Ajanta and Bagh; Puranas written down in Sanskrit; first Hindu temples
    c.500 – 740 Pallava dynasty in S. India
    c.600 Tantric cults influence religions. Rock cut shrine emerges in S. India
    c.700 Rajputs invade and settle in N.W. India
    c.630-644 Xuanzang, Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, travelling in India. Records Indian culture and society
    c.760 – 1142 Pala Buddhist dynasty in Bengal and Bihar
    c.907 – 1300 Hindu Chola dynasty in S. India
    c.1100 Jayadeva writes the poem, the Gita Govinder, concerning divine love
    c.1100 – 1200 Krishna cult sweeps India
    c.1206 – 1500 Muslims in Delhi and N. India. Pala Buddhist flee to Nepal and Tibet. Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque and Qutb Minar built in Delhi
    c.1336 Vijayanagara empire founded
    c.1345 onward Muslims in the Deccan. Courts at Golconda, Bihar and Amadnagar
    c.1459-1539 Nanak, founder of Sikh religion and Bhakti saint
    c.1489 Vasco da Gama arrives in Cochin, S.W. India. Portuguese settled
    c1500-1850 Rajput dynasties
    c.1526 – 1707 Great Mughal dynasty in Delhi and Agra
    1526-1530 Reign of Babur over North India
    1530-1540 First reign of Humayun
    c.1532-1623 Hindi version of Ramayana – Ramacarita Manasa – composed by Tulisidas
    1540-1555 Reign of the Afghan Sher Shah
    1555-1556 Humayun’s second reign
    1556-1605 Reign of Akbar. Mughal painting workshop founded
    c.1562 – 1577 Hamza Nama (or Qissa-i Amir Hamza) begun, the renowned 14 volume illustrated text, telling the story of the uncle of the Prophet and a Persian warrior who opposed the Arab invasion of Iran. Workshop then directed by Mir Sayyid ‘Ali, followed by Khwaja ‘Abd al-Samad, two Persian artists
    c.1565 Muslim courts of Golconda and Bijapur conquer S. Indian, Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar
    1578 Akbar meets Jesuits
    1600 Creation of the East India Company. British, Dutch and French in S. India
    1605-1627 Reign of Jahangir
    1628-1658 Reign of Shah Jahan
    c.1631 Taj Mahal built as a memorial to Shah Jahan’s wife
    1657-1658 War of succession of Shah Jahan
    1658-1707 Reign of Aurangzeb
    1679 Aurangzeb reimposes the jizya (poll-tax on non-Muslims)
    1687 Aurangzeb defeated Golconda and Bijapur and makes his capital at Aurangabad in northern Deccan
    1710 The Sikh insurrection
    1724 The Nizam of Hyderabad main ruler in Deccan
    1757 Victory of the British at Plassey, Bengal. Founding of British East India Company Raj
    c.1757-1850 Company School of Painting
    1758 Sikhs become masters of the Punjab
    1849 Annexation of the Punjab to the British crown
    1857 Sepoy Uprising. East India Company Raj ends
    1869-1948 Mahatma Gandhi; leads successive peaceful campaigns to achieve Indian independence – the Non-Cooperation Movement, the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Quit India Movement
    1873-1931 Muhammed Iqbal, ideal Muslim poet-philosopher whose work inspires the idea of Pakistan
    1876 Queen Victoria proclaimed empress of India in Delhi
    1885 Indian National Congress founded
    1899 Foundation of Indian film industry
    1906 Foundation of Muslim League
    1913 Nobel prize awarded to Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) for his book of poems Gitanjali
    1924 – 1933 First excavations at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa
    1947 Indian Independence proclaimed. Partition. Jawaharlal Nehru first prime minister of India; first prime minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan
    1961 Prize awarded to Sadequain (1930-1987) at Paris Biennale
    1972 Bangladesh established

    Margaret Willey, edited by Lorna Hards – October 2003