Kishkindha is the monkey kingdom of the Vanara King Sugriva, the younger brother of Vali, in the Indian theology of Ramayana times. This was the kingdom where he ruled with the assistance of Hanuman; this kingdom is identified to be the regions around the Tungabhadra river near Hampi and belongs to Koppal district, Karnataka. The mountain near the river with the name Rishimukha where Sugriva lived with Hanuman, during the period of his exile is found with the same name. During the time of Ramayana, i.e. Treta Yuga, the whole region was within the dense forest called Dandaka Forest extending from Vindhya range to the South Indian peninsula. Hence this kingdom was considered to be the kingdom of Vanaras which in Sanskrit means "apes" or "forest-humans". During Dwapara Yuga, the Pandava Sahadeva was said to visit this kingdom, as per the epic Mahabharata, during his southern military campaign to collect tribute for Yudhishthira's Rajasuya sacrifice. Though Kishkindha was mentioned in the epic Ramayana in great detail, some mention of this kingdom is found in the epic Mahabharata.
Sahadeva, the Pandava general, younger brother of Pandava king Yudhishthira, came to southern regions to collect tribute for the Rajasuya sacrifice of the king. Sahadeva reduced to subjection King Vatadhipa, he defeated the Pulindas and marched southward. He fought for one whole day with the King of Pandrya; the long-armed hero having vanquished that monarch marched further to the south. He beheld the celebrated caves of Kishkindhya and in that region fought for seven days with the Vanara-kings Mainda and Dwivida; those illustrious kings however, without being tired in the encounter, were gratified with Sahadeva. And joyfully addressing the Kuru prince, they said,--"O tiger among the sons of Pandu, go hence, taking with the tribute from us all. Let the mission of the king Yudhishthira the just possessed of great intelligence, be accomplished without hindrance." Taking jewels and gems from them all, the hero marched towards the city of Mahishmati, there he battled with King Nila. A few chapters of Mahabharata, contains within the epic Ramayana in brief.
After Vanara king Vali had been slain by Rama, the younger brother of the king, regained possession of Kishkindhya. Rama, meanwhile dwelt on the beautiful Malyavat Mountains for four months, duly worshipped by Sugriva all the while. Sugriva is mentioned as the ruler of the forest-kingdom Kishkindhya and the king of the Vanaras, installed on throne by Rama and to whom all foresters and apes and bears owe allegiance. Rama slew the Rakshasa king Ravana in battle and installed Vibhishana, Ravana's younger brother, on the throne of Lanka, thus he regained his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana. He left Lanka and re-entered Kishkindhya with King Sugriva. Having arrived at Kishkindhya, he installed the old King Vali's son Angada as prince-regent of that kingdom. After that he left to his own capital-city Ayodhya of Kosala Kingdom At the mountain named Hrishyamukha where Sugriva and Hanuman spent their exile, due to fear of King Vali is mentioned. Vanaras were described as one of the Exotic Tribes of Ancient India along with many others, in the epic Mahabharata.
Their kinship with other such tribes are hinted in various texts. The Rakshasas, Yakshas and Kinnaras and with Kimpurushas and Valikhilyas were mentioned to have kinship They were mentioned along with one of these or some of these tribes at many locations in the epic. Kishkindhya and the southern India were the most populous territoires of Vanaras; however they were found in the forests of Himalayas. Bhima in his wanderings have seen the abode of the Vanara chief Hanuman in the plantain wood, on an elevated rocky base in the mountains of Gandhamadana Kingdoms of Ancient India Tiger's Curse Sister Nivedita & Ananda K. Coomaraswamy: Myths and Legends of the Hindus and Bhuddhists, Kolkata, 2001 ISBN 81-7505-197-3 Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu mythology Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, translated to English by Kisari Mohan Ganguli Ramayana of Valmiki Kishkinda: Literature and Archaeology Complete Ramacharitamanas text
Kingdom of Kashi
The Kingdom of Kashi was an ancient Indian kingdom located in the region around its capital Varanasi, bounded by the Varuna and Asi rivers in the north and south which gave Varanasi its name. It was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas, great states that emerged in northern India at the start of the 6th century BCE; the Jataka tales indicate its capital was one of the richest cities in India, speaking of its prosperity and opulence. These stories tell of a prolonged rivalry between the neighboring kingdoms of Kashi and Kosala, with some occasional conflict with Anga and Magadha. Kashi once was one of the most powerful states in north India, although King Brihadratha of Kashi conquered Kosala, Kashi was incorporated into Kosala by King Kansa during Buddha's time; the Kashis along with the Kosalas and Videhans find mention in Vedic texts and appear to have been a allied people. It was in Kashi territory where Siddartha Gautama first started preaching the Buddhism religion
The Chera dynasty was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in southern India. Together with the Cholas of Uraiyur and the Pandyas of Madurai, the early Cheras were known as one of the three major powers of ancient Tamilakam in the early centuries of the Common Era; the people of the Chera country owed their importance to exchange of spices black pepper, with Middle Eastern and Graeco-Roman merchants. The age and antiquity of the dynasty is difficult to establish; the Cheras of the early historical period are known to have had their original centre at Karur/Karuvur-Vanchi in interior Tamil Nadu and strategic outlets to their harbours at Muchiri and Thondi on the Indian Ocean coast. The early historic Chera chiefdom is described as a redistributive economy based on kinship, it was shaped by agriculture, of both crops and livestock, "predatory politics". Inscriptions discovered from Karur dated to c. 1st - 2nd century CE, describe Ilam Kadungo, son of Perum Kadungo, the grandson of Ko Athan Cheral of the Irumporai clan.
Inscribed portrait coins with Brahmi legends give a number of names, such as Mak-kotai, Kuttuvan Kotai and Kolli Irumporaii. Reverse of these coins contained the bow and arrow symbol; the anthologies of early Tamil poems mention the names of a number of Cheras, the "court poets" who extolled them. The internal chronology of this collection is still far from settled and a connected account of the history of the period is an area of active research. Chenguttuvan Chera, the most renowned of the early Cheras, is famous for the traditions surrounding Kannaki, the principal female character of the Tamil epic poem Chilapathikaram. Major sources for the early Cheras include Tamil Brahmi cave label inscriptions and coins, classical Sanskrit works and accounts by Graeco-Roman writers. After the end of the early historical period, around the 3rd-5th century CE, there seems to be a period where the Cheras' power declined considerably. The'Kongu' Cheras are known to have controlled Karur-Vanchi in central Tamil Nadu at various points in time.
The Cheras of Makotai/Vanchi known as Kulashekharas, were in power between c. 9th and 12th century in Kerala. The exact nature of the relationships between the various branches of Chera rulers is somewhat unclear, it is known that the Cheras, of both Makotai and Karur, were intermittently subject to the Pandya Kingdom and the Chola Empire among others. The rulers of Venadu, based out of the port of Kollam in southern Kerala, claimed their ancestry from the Kodungallur Cheras. Ravi Varma Kulasekhara, their most ambitious ruler, set out to expand his kingdom by annexing the ruins of the other southern kingdoms. In the modern period the rulers of Cochin and Travancore claimed the title "Chera"; the term Chera - and its variant form "Kerala" - stands for the ruling lineage and the country associated with them. The etymology of "Chera" is still a matter of considerable speculation among historians. One approach proposes that the word is derived from Cheral, a corruption of Charal meaning "declivity of a mountain" in Tamil, suggesting a connection with the mountainous geography of Kerala.
Another theory argues that the "Cheralam" is derived from "cher" and "alam" meaning, "the slushy land". Apart from the speculations mentioned, a number of other theories do appear in historical studies. In ancient non-Tamil sources, the Cheras are referred to by various names; the Cheras are referred as Kedalaputo in the Emperor Ashoka's Pali edicts. While Pliny the Elder and Claudius Ptolemy refer to the Cheras as Kaelobotros and Kerobottros the Graeco-Roman trade map Periplus Maris Erythraei refers to the Cheras as Keprobotras. All these Graeco-Roman names are evidently corruptions of "Kedala Puto/Kerala Putra" received through relations with northern India; the term Cheralamdivu or Cheran Tivu and its cognates, meaning the "island of the Chera kings", is a Classical Tamil name of Sri Lanka that takes root from the term "Chera". Recent theories on ancient south Indian history suggest that the three major rulers – the Pandya, the Chera and the Chola – based in the interior Tamil Nadu, at Madurai, Karur -Vanchi, Uraiyur had established "strategic outlets" to the Indian Ocean namely Korkai and Kaveri Poompattinam respectively.
Territory of the Chera polity of the early historical period consisted of the present day central Kerala and western Tamil Nadu. The political structure of the Chera chiefdom was based on communal holding of resources and kinship-based production; the authority was determined by" the range of redistributive social relationships sustained through predatory accumulation of resources". The Cheras are referred to as Kedalaputo in the Emperor Ashoka's Pali edicts; the earliest Graeco-Roman accounts referring to the Cheras are by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century CE, in the Periplus of the 1st century CE, by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE. A number of Sanskrit works do mention the land of the Cheras/Keralas. Whether the particular references were present in the earliest oral forms or were added subsequently is a matter of considerable discourse; the Aranyakas are a development of the Brahmanas, which were composed c. 7th-8th century BCE. There are brief references in the present forms of the works by author and commentator
Kurukshetra is a city in the state of Haryana, India. It is known as Dharmakshetra, it is known as the "Land of the Bhagavad Gita". Kurukshetra lies at distance of 160 km from New Delhi and about 93 km from Chandigarh - city with the nearest airport. According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is a region named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavas, as depicted in epic Mahabharata; the importance of the place is attributed to the fact that the Kurukshetra War of the Mahabharata was fought on this land and the Bhagavad Gita was preached here during the war when Lord Krishna found Arjuna in a terrible dilemma. Before the establishment of a refugee camp named Kurukshetra in 1947, Thanesar was the name of the tehsil headquarters and the town. Thanesar or Sthaneswar is a historical town located adjacent to what is now the newly created Kurukshetra city. Thanesar derives its name from the word "Sthaneshwar", which means "Place of God"; the Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple, whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva, is believed to be the oldest temple in the vicinity.
Local hearsay identifies the legendary "Kurukshetra" with a place near Thanesar. A few kilometers from Kurukshetra is the village known as Amin, where there are remnants of a fort, believed to be Abhimanyu's. In most ancient Hindu texts, Kurukshetra is not a city but a region; the boundaries of Kurukshetra correspond to the central and western parts of state of Haryana and southern Punjab. Thus according to the Taittiriya Aranyaka 5.1.1. The Kurukshetra region is north of Khandava, east of Maru and west of Parin, it is written in Puranas that Kurukshetra is named after King Kuru of the Bharata Dynasty, ancestor of Pandavas and Kauravas. The Vamana Purana tells, he chose this land at the banks of Sarasvati River for embedding spirituality with eight virtues: austerity, forgiveness, purity, charity and Brahmacharya. Lord Vishnu was blessed him. God gave him two boons: one that this land forever will be known as a Holy Land after his name as Kurukshetra and the other that anyone dying on this land will go to heaven.
The land of Kurukshetra was situated between two rivers -- the Drishadvati. This land has been known as Uttarvedi, Brahmavedi and Kurukshetra at different periods; when King Kuru came on this land it was called Uttarvedi. According to the Hindu epic, the Battle of Mahabharata was fought on this land, during which Lord Krishna preached Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. By the archaeological grounds it has been proved that Ashoka the Great made Kurukshetra a centre of learning for people from all over the world, it reached the zenith of its progress during the reign of King Harsha, during which Chinese scholar Xuanzang visited Thanesar. Gita Jayanti has been celebrated in Kurukshetra for decades. For long it was known as Kurukshetra Utsav. In 2016, The Government of Haryana decided to give it a global flavour and thus organised International Gita Mahotsav at Kurukshetra from 1 December to 11 December; the Gita Jayanti was celebrated on 10 December as per the traditional calendar. In 2016, over 2 million people visited the event.
In 2017 Gita Jayanti was celebrated on 30 November as per traditional calendar, over 2.5 Million people visited the event. As per Hindu calendar it comes on Mokshda Ekadashi in the month of Margshirsh; the idea of celebrating International Gita Mahotsav was came from Swami Gyananand. The climate of the district is much hot in summer and cold in winter with rains in July and August. In 2017, the government declared Kurukshetra a Holy City and the sale and consumption of meat are banned within the limits of the Municipal Corporation owing to its religious significance. Brahma Sarovar: Every year lakhs of people come to take a holy bath at Brahma Sarovar on the occasion of "Somavati Amavasya" and on solar eclipse believing that a bath in holy sarovar frees all sins and cycle of birth-death, it is supposed to be the world's largest man-made pond. The Hindu genealogy registers at Kurukshetra, Haryana are kept here. Sannihit Sarovar: This sarovar is believed to be the meeting point of seven sacred Saraswatis.
The sarovar, according to popular belief, contains sacred water. Bathing in the waters of the tank on the day of Amavasya or on the day of an eclipse bestows blessings equivalent to performing the Ashvamedh Yajna. Jyotisar: The famous site where Bhagavad Gita was delivered to Arjuna under the tree; the tree of that time is the witness to Gita. Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre: A depicting the Mahabharata war. Dharohar Museum: tradition and culture of Haryana. Sthaneshwar Mahadev Sheikh Chilli's Tomb: This monument is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, it was built during the Mughal era in remembrance of Sufi Saint Sheikh Chehli, believed to be the spiritual teacher of Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh. However, this is an erroneous belief, since the Prince's main'Murshid' or'Sheikh' is known to have been Hazrat Sheikh Mian Mir Sahib, of Lahore, although Sheikh Chehli might have been an additional/minor guide. There is another theory that the site of the supposed'makbara' or tomb was one of the meditative'Chillas' or sites of Hazrat Mian Mir Sahib, who might have visited the area during his wanderings.
It is possible that a caretaker, some disciple of the
Agni is a Sanskrit word meaning fire, connotes the Vedic fire god of Hinduism. He is the guardian deity of the southeast direction, is found in southeast corners of Hindu temples. In the classical cosmology of the Indian religions, Agni as fire is one of the five inert impermanent constituents along with space, water and earth, the five combining to form the empirically perceived material existence. In Vedic literature, Agni is a oft-invoked god along with Indra and Soma. Agni is considered the mouth of the gods and goddesses, the medium that conveys offerings to them in a homa, he is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels, on earth as fire, in the atmosphere as lightning, in the sky as the sun. This triple presence connects him as the messenger between gods and human beings in the Vedic thought; the relative importance of Agni declined in the post-Vedic era, as he was internalized and his identity evolved to metaphorically represent all transformative energy and knowledge in the Upanishads and Hindu literature.
Agni remains an integral part of Hindu traditions, such as being the central witness of the rite-of-passage ritual in traditional Hindu weddings called Saptapadi or Agnipradakshinam, as well being part of Diya in festivals such as Divali and Aarti in Puja. Agni is a term that appears extensively in Buddhist texts, in the literature related to the Senika heresy debate within the Buddhist traditions. In the ancient Jainism thought, Agni contains soul and fire-bodied beings, additionally appears as Agni-kumara or "fire princes" in its theory of rebirth and a class of reincarnated beings, is discussed in its texts with the equivalent term Tejas; the Sanskrit word Agni means "fire". In the early Vedic literature, Agni connotes the fire as a god, one reflecting the primordial powers to consume and convey, yet the term is used with the meaning of a Mahabhuta, one of five that the earliest Vedic thinkers believed to constitute material existence, that Vedic thinkers such as Kanada and Kapila expanded namely Akasha, Vayu, Ap, Prithvi and Agni.
The word Agni is used in many contexts, ranging from the fire in stomach, the cooking fire in a home, the sacrificial fire in an altar, the fire of cremation, the fire of rebirth, the fire in the energetic saps concealed within plants, the atmospheric fire in lightning and the celestial fire in the sun. In the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas, such as in section 5.2.3 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Agni represents all the gods, all concepts of spiritual energy that permeates everything in the universe. In the Upanishads and post-Vedic literature, Agni additionally became a metaphor for immortal principle in man, any energy or knowledge that consumes and dispels a state of darkness and procreates an enlightened state of existence; the etymology of Agni is uncertain and contested. Significant proposals include: from agnir, which means "leader, going in front", based on the Vedic premise that fire leads and is the chaplain of the gods, he is the divine priest, who connects and brings the gods and men together, the first among all gods whose presence can be felt and who attends a ceremony, the first among all priests around whom other priests gather, he is the one who leads and guides all men.
From agri, the root of which means "first", referring to "that first in the universe to arise" or "fire" according to Shatapatha Brahmana section 6.1.1. According to the 5th-century BCE Sanskrit text Nirukta-Nighantu in section 7.14, sage Śakapūṇi states the word Agni is derived from three verbs – from'going', from'shining or burning', from'leading'. From Indo-European root Ag or "to move", with the cognates Latin ignis, Sclavonian ogni. There are many theories about the origins of the god Agni, some tracing it to Indo-European mythologies, others tracing to mythologies within the Indian tradition; the origin myth found in many Indo-European cultures is one of a bird, or bird like being, that carries or brings fire from the gods to mankind. Alternatively, this messenger brings an elixir of immortality from heaven to earth. In either case, the bird returns everyday with sacrificial offerings for the gods, but sometimes the bird hides or disappears without trace. Agni is molded in similar mythical themes, in some hymns with the phrase the "heavenly bird that flies".
The earliest layers of the Vedic texts of Hinduism, such as section 6.1 of Kathaka Samhita and section 1.8.1 of Maitrayani Samhita state that the universe began with nothing, neither night nor day existed, what existed was just Prajapati. Agni originated from the forehead of Prajapati, assert these texts. With the creation of Agni came light, with that were created day and night. Agni, state these Samhitas, is the same as the Brahman, the truth, the eye of the manifested
Ay dynasty known as Kupaka in medieval period, were an Indian ruling lineage which controlled the south-western tip of the peninsula, from the early historic period up to the medieval period. The clan traditionally held sway over the harbour of Vizhinjam, the fertile region of Nanjanad, southern parts of the spice-producing Western Ghat mountains; the Ays formed one of the major chieftains of early historic Kerala, along with the Cheras of central Kerala and the Musakas of Elimalai in the north. Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy described the "Aioi" territory as extending from the Baris to Cape Comorin; the elephant was the emblem of the Ays. It is speculated; the medieval Ay lineage has its origins in the hill-chiefs of early historic south India. The Ay kingdom functioned as a buffer state between the powerful Pandyas/Cholas and the Cheras in the medieval period. A number of kings such as Chadayan Karunanthan, Karunanthadakkkan "Srivallabha", Vikramaditya "Varaguna" figure as the Ay chiefs of the harbour of Vizhinjam.
The famous Brahmin salai at Kantalur, somewhere near present-day Trivandrum, was located in the Ay kingdom. The salai was sacked by Chola emperor Rajaraja I in c. 988 CE. Historians assume that the Ays were the leading power in the region till c. 10th century CE. The medieval Ays claimed that they belonged to the Yadava or Vrishni lineage and this claim was advanced by the rulers of Venad and Travancore. Sri Padmanabha in Trivandrum was the tutelary deity of the medieval Ay family; the Ay clan was one of the major hill-chiefs of early historic south India. Members of the Ay family- of the Podiyil Hills - were related to the early historic Cheras of central Kerala. Towards the close of the early historic period, Pandya supremacy might have extended to the Ay territory. A number of Ay chiefs such as Andiran and Atiyan are mentioned in the early Tamil poems. Ay Andiran is praised by early Tamil poets such as Mudamochiyar and Kiranar in Purananuru, he is mentioned in the Purananuru as the "Lord of Podiyil Mala" in southern Western Ghats.
He pursued them to the Arabian Sea. He was an elder contemporary of the Chera chief Antuvan Cheral. Ay Titiyan is praised by authors Bhuta Pandya in Akananuru, it seems. Ay Atiyan, successor to Ay Titiyan, is mentioned by authors Paranar and Madurai Kanakkayanar in Akananuru. Paranar and Kanakkayanar mention Podiyil Mala, the base of the Ays, as the property of Pachupun Pandya, the successor to Bhuta Pandya. An Ay ruler took part in the famous battle of Talai-yalankanam, in which the Pandya chief Nedum Chezhiyan defeated several of his enemies; the Pandyas of Madurai were continuously fighting the Chera dynasty, rulers of western Tamil Nadu and central Kerala, in the 8th century CE. Kings such as Rajasimha I Pandya and Jatila Paranthaka "Varaguna" seems to have occupied the Chera capital Vanchi-Karur in the Kongu Country in c. 765 CE. The territory of the ancient Cheras, except modern central Kerala passed into the Pandya sphere of influence. In c. 765 CE, Pandya king Jatila Paranthaka sacked the Ay port Vizhinjam, conquered the Vel chief of Ays and took possession of the Ay kingdom.
This foray brought the Chera/Kulasekhara rulers of Kodungallur into the conflict and a prolonged Pandya-Chera struggle followed. The Pandyas are still found fighting the Ay chief Chadayan Karunanthan at Aruviyoorkotta in 788 CE. In 792 CE the Pandyas are seen fighting at Karaikkotta against the Chera warriors; the Madras Museum Inscription of Pandya ruler Maran Chadayan mentions a certain regional chief called "Vel Mannan". This chief, who might have been related to the Ay family, was controlling the port of Vizhinjam, it is a possibility that the Vel Mannan of the Madras Museum Inscription was or came under the over-lordship of Kodungallur by the early 8th century CE and the medieval ruling family of Venad arose from this chief. By the middle of the 9th century, as a result of the encroachment of the Pandyas and Cheras, the old Ay kingdom was partitioned into two portions. Venad with its base at Kollam became one of the autonomous chiefdoms of the Chera kingdom while the Ay kingdom, or what was left of it, with its base at Vizhinjam came under the influence of the Pandya ruler Srimara Srivallabha.
Ay contemporary of the Pandya king Srivallabha was called Karunanthadakkkan "Srivallabha". Some of the inscriptions does say about the certain victory of king Srivallabha at Vizhinjam. Srivallabha was succeeded on the Pandya throne by Varaguna II; the Ay kings of Vizhinjam remained vassals of the Pandyas, as indicated by the surname of Vikramaditya "Varaguna". But in 898 CE, Vikramaditya is seen making huge land gifts to the Srimulavasa temple in the Chera kingdom; the wife of a Chera king, Iravi Neeli alias Kizhan Adikal, is seen at the Siva temple at Thirunandikkaram, deep into the Ay kingdom. It is possible that after the Chola victory over the Pandyas in 910 CE, the chiefs of Venad were determined on extending their sway into the Ay kingdom, their opportunity might have came in the disorder following the Chola defeat at the Battle of Takkolam. There is a possibility that after the defeat of the Cholas at Takkolam
Romila Thapar is an Indian historian as well as an Emeritus professor whose principal area of study is ancient India. She is the author of several books including the popular volume, A History of India, is Professor Emerita at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, she has declined both times. Romila is the daughter of an army doctor Daya Ram Thapar, who served as the Director General of the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services; the late journalist Romesh Thapar was her brother. As a child she attended schools in various cities in India depending on her father's military postings, she attended intermediate of arts at Wadia College, Pune. After graduating from Panjab University in English literature, Thapar obtained a second bachelor's honors degree and a doctorate in Indian history under A. L. Basham from the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London in 1958, she was a reader in Ancient Indian History at Kurukshetra University between 1961 and 1962 and held the same position at Delhi University between 1963 and 1970.
She worked as Professor of Ancient Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she is now Professor Emerita. Thapar's major works are Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History, A History of India Volume One, Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300, her historical work portrays the origins of Hinduism as an evolving interplay between social forces. Her recent work on Somnath examines the evolution of the historiographies about the legendary Gujarat temple. In her first work, Aśoka and the Decline of the Maurya published in 1961, Thapar situates Ashoka's policy of dhamma in its social and political context, as a non-sectarian civic ethic intended to hold together an empire of diverse ethnicities and cultures, she attributes the decline of the Mauryan empire to its centralised administration which called for rulers of exceptional abilities to function well. Thapar's first volume of A History of India is written for a popular audience and encompasses the period from its early history to the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century.
Ancient Indian Social History deals with the period from early times to the end of the first millennium, includes a comparative study of Hindu and Buddhist socio-religious systems, examines the role of Buddhism in social protest and social mobility in the caste system. From Lineage to State analyses the formation of states in the middle Ganga valley in the first millennium BC, tracing the process to a change, driven by the use of iron and plough agriculture, from a pastoral and mobile lineage-based society to one of settled peasant holdings and increased urbanisation. Thapar has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, the College de France in Paris, she was elected General President of the Indian History Congress in 1983 and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1999. She was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1976. Thapar is an Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Calcutta and from the University of Hyderabad. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, she was elected an Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, in 2017. In 2004, the US Library of Congress appointed her as the first holder of the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South. In January 2005, she declined. In a letter to President A P J Abdul Kalam, she said she was "astonished to see her name in the list of awardees because three months ago when I was contacted by the HRD ministry and asked if I would accept an award, I made my position clear and explained my reason for declining it". Thapar had declined the Padma Bhushan on an earlier occasion, in 1992. To the President, she explained the reason for turning down the award thus: "I only accept awards from academic institutions or those associated with my professional work, not state awards"..
Critics on the other hand have challenged her projection of an expert on Vedic history owing to her lack of knowledge of Sanskrit. She is co-winner with Peter Brown of the Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity for 2008 which comes with a US$1 million prize. Thapar is critical of what she calls a "communal interpretation" of Indian history, in which events in the last thousand years are interpreted in terms of a notional continual conflict between monolithic Hindu and Muslim communities. Thapar says this communal history is "extremely selective" in choosing facts, "deliberately partisan" in interpretation and does not follow current methods of analysis using multiple, prioritised causes. In 2002, the Indian coalition government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party changed the school textbooks for social sciences and history, on the ground that certain passages offended the sensibilities of some religious and caste groups. Romila Thapar, the author of the textbook on Ancient India for class VI, objected to the changes made without her permission that, for example, deleted passages on eating of beef in ancient times, the formulation of the caste system.
She questioned whether the changes were an, "attempt to replace mainstream history with a Hindutva version of history", with the view to use th