Palaeoloxodon namadicus or the Asian straight-tusked elephant, was a species of prehistoric elephant that ranged throughout Pleistocene Asia, from India to Japan. It is a descendant of the straight-tusked elephant; some authorities regard it to be a subspecies of Palaeoloxodon antiquus, the straight-tusked elephant, due to extreme similarities of the tusks. Their skull structure was different from that of a modern elephant. P. namadicus is thought to have died out near the end of the Pleistocene. In 2015, a study based on extensive research of fragmentary leg bone fossils suggested that P. namadicus may have been the largest land mammal ever. Several studies have attempted to estimate the size of the Asian straight-tusked elephants, as well as other prehistoric proboscideans using comparisons of thigh bone length and knowledge of relative growth rates to estimate the size of incomplete skeletons. One partial skeleton found in India in 1905 had thigh bones that measured 165 centimetres when complete, suggesting a total shoulder height of 4.5 metres for this individual elephant.
Two partial thigh bones would have measured 160 cm when complete. A fragment from the same locality was said to be a quarter larger; this would make. The researcher Dr. Asier Larramendi of the Eofauna Scientific Research team is considered a leading authority in the field with regard to volumetric analyses in estimating the height and weight of this and other extinct species
Nathaniel Wolff Wallich FRS FRSE was a surgeon and botanist of Danish origin who worked in India in the Danish settlement near Calcutta and for the Danish East India Company and the British East India Company. He was involved in the early development of the Calcutta Botanical Garden, describing many new plant species and developing a large herbarium collection, distributed to collections in Europe. Several of the plants that he collected were named after him. Nathaniel Wallich was born in Copenhagen in 1786 as Nathan Wulff Wallich, his father Wulff Lazarus Wallich was a Jewish merchant who settled in Copenhagen and came from the Holsatian town Altona near Hamburg late in the 18th century. His mother was Hanne née Jacobson. Wallich obtained the diploma of the Royal Academy of Surgeons at Copenhagen and at the end of the year was appointed as surgeon in the Danish settlement at Serampore known as Frederiksnagore in Bengal. Wallich sailed for India in April 1807 via the African cape and arrived at Serampore the following November.
He was an honorary doctor at the University of Copenhagen and member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. However, the Danish alliance with Napoleonic France resulted in many Danish colonies being seized by the British, including the outpost at Frederiksnagore; when the British East India Company took over Frederiksnagore, Wallich was imprisoned, but released on parole in 1809 on the merit of his scholarship. From August 1814, Wallich became an assistant surgeon in the East India Company's service and resigned as superintendent of the Indian Museum in December 1814. Wallich received an M. D. from Aberdeen in 1819. Wallich was appointed assistant to William Roxburgh, the East India Company's botanist in Calcutta. By 1813 he had become interested in the flora of India, undertook expeditions to Nepal, West Hindustan, lower Burma. During 1837 and 1838, Nathaniel Wallich served as professor of botany at Calcutta Medical College. Wallich proposed the forming of a museum in a letter dated 2 February 1814 to the Council of the Asiatic Society.
Wallich offered his services to some items from his own collections for the museum. The society heartily supported the proposal and resolved to set up a museum and to appoint Wallich to be the honorary curator and superintendent of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society. Dr. Nathaniel Wallich took charge of the museum on 1 June 1814; the museum thus inaugurated, grew under the guidance of its founder Wallich and private collectors. Most of these private contributors were Europeans except for one Indian, Babu Ramkamal Sen a collector and the first Indian secretary to the Asiatic Society. Wallich was not only the enthusiastic founder and the first curator the Indian Museum, he was one of the largest donors to the museum at its inception. Out of one hundred seventy four items donated to the museum till 1816, Wallich donated forty-two botanical specimens. Wallich was temporarily appointed superintendent of East India Company's Botanical Garden at Calcutta and permanently joined the garden in 1817 and served there till 1846 when he retired from the service.
Ill health forced Wallich to spend the years 1811–1813 in the more temperate climate of Mauritius, whence he continued his studies. In 1822, at the behest of his friend Sir Stamford Raffles he travelled to Singapore to design the botanical garden, but returned to Calcutta the following year. Wallich prepared a catalogue of more than 20,000 specimens, known informally as the "Wallich Catalogue"; the specimens in the catalogue were either collected by Wallich himself or from other collectors around the same period, including Roxburgh, Gomez and Wight. The collector of each specimen is cited in the catalogue itself. Today, Wallich's personal collection is housed at the Kew Herbarium as the Wallich Collection. In addition to the specimens there, Wallich distributed duplicates of his specimens to herbaria, including some to Sir Joseph Banks, which are in the Kew general collection, he published two important books, Tentamen Florae Nepalensis Illustratae and Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, went on numerous expeditions.
One of Wallich's greatest contributions to the field of plant exploration was the assistance he offered to the many plant hunters who stopped in Calcutta on their way to the Himalayas. The three volumes of Plantae Asiaticae Rariores made use of artists employed by the Calcutta Botanic Garden: 146 drawings by Gorachand, 109 by Vishnupersaud and one work by Rungiah. 250 copies of the work were printed. Wallich had suffered deteriorating health for many years, at one time contracting cholera, he was obliged to resign his post in 1846 and retire to London, where he became vice-president of the Linnean Society, of which he had been a fellow since 1818, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1822 his proposer being John Yule. This was followed in 1828 by his being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Wallich remained in London until his death seven years later, he died at Gower Street in Bloomsbury on 28 April a854 aged 68.. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery. Part of Wallich's herbarium collections held at Kew, known as the Wallich Herbarium, is the largest separate herbarium.
Another part of the collection is the Central National Herbarium of the Botanical Survey of India in Calcutta, making in all about 20,500 specimens. Wallich is credited with the authorship of 35 papers botanical. Wallich married
A stupa is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics, used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya, a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa. In Buddhism, circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important ritual and devotional practice since the earliest times, stupas always have a pradakhshina path around them. Stupas may have originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli in which śramaṇas were buried in a seated position called chaitya; some authors have suggested that stupas were derived from a wider cultural tradition from the Mediterranean to the Indus valley, can be related to the conical mounds on circular bases from the 8th century BCE that can be found in Phrygia, Lydia, or in Phoenicia. Religious buildings in the form of the Buddhist stupa, a dome shaped monument, started to be used in India as commemorative monuments associated with storing sacred relics of the Buddha. After the parinirvana of the Buddha, his remains were cremated and the ashes divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing the urn and the embers.
The relics of the Buddha were spread between eight stupas, in Rajagriha, Kapilavastu, Ramagrama, Pava and Vethapida. The Piprahwa stupa seems to have been one of the first to be built. Guard rails —consisting of posts, a coping— became a feature of safety surrounding a stupa; the Buddha had left instructions about how to pay homage to the stupas: "And whoever lays wreaths or puts sweet perfumes and colours there with a devout heart, will reap benefits for a long time". This practice would lead to the decoration of the stupas with stone sculptures of flower garlands in the Classical period. According to Buddhist tradition, Emperor Ashoka recovered the relics of the Buddha from the earlier stupas, erected 84.000 stupas to distribute the relics across India. In effect, many stupas are thought to date from the time of Ashoka, such as Sanchi or Kesariya, where he erected pillars with his inscriptions, Bharhut, Amaravati or Dharmarajika in Gandhara. Ashoka established the Pillars of Ashoka throughout his realm next to Buddhist stupas.
The first known appearance of the word "Stupa" is from an inscribed dedication by Ashoka on the Nigali Sagar pillar. Stupas were soon to be richly decorated with sculptural reliefs, following the first attempts at Sanchi Stupa No.2. Full-fledged sculptural decorations and scenes of the life of the Buddha would soon follow at Bharhut, Bodh Gaya, again at Sanchi for the elevation of the toranas and Amaravati; the decorative embellishment of stupas had a considerable development in the northwest in the area of Gandhara, with decorated stupas such as the Butkara Stupa or the Loriyan Tangai stupas. The stupa underwent major evolutions in the area of Gandhara. Since Buddhism spread to Central Asia and Korea and Japan through Gandhara, the stylistic evolution of the Gandharan stupa was influential in the development of the stupa in these areas; the Gandhara stupa followed several steps moving towards more and more elevation and addition of decorative element, leading to the development of the pagoda tower.
The main stupa type are, in choronological order: 1) The Dharmarajika Stupa with a near-Indian design of a semi-hemispheric stupa directly on the ground surface dated to the 3rd century BCE. Similar stupas are the Manikyala stupa or the Chakpat stupa. 2) The Saidu Sharif Stupa and quincunxial, with a flight of stairs to a dome elevated on a square platform. Many Gandhara minutiures represent this spectacular type. 3) The Loriyan Tangai Stupa, with a elongated shape and many narrative reliefs, in many way the Classical Gandharan stupa. 4) The near-pyramidal Jaulian stupa. 5) The cruciform type, as in the Bhamala Stupa, with flights of stairs in the four cardinal directions. 6) The towering design of the second Kanishka stupa. It is thought that the temple in the shape of a truncated pyramid may have derived from the design of the stepped stupas which developed in Gandhara; the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is one such example, formed of a succession of steps with niches containing Buddha images, alternating with Greco-Roman pillars.
The structure is crowned by the shape of an hemispherical stupa topped by finials, forming a logical elongation of the stepped Gandharan stupas such as those seen in Jaulian. Although the current structure of the Mahabdhodi Temple dates to the Gupta period, the "Plaque of Mahabhodi Temple", discovered in Kumrahar and dated to 150-200 CE based on its dated Kharoshthi inscriptions and combined finds of Huvishka coins, suggests that the pyramidal structure existed in the 2nd century CE; this is confirmed by archaeological excavations in Bodh Gaya. This truncated pyramid design marked the evolution from the aniconic stupa dedicated to the cult of relics, to the iconic temple with multiple images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas; this design was influential in the development of Hindu temples. Stupa architecture was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddh
Geology is an earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, the processes by which they change over time. Geology can include the study of the solid features of any terrestrial planet or natural satellite such as Mars or the Moon. Modern geology overlaps all other earth sciences, including hydrology and the atmospheric sciences, so is treated as one major aspect of integrated earth system science and planetary science. Geology describes the structure of the Earth on and beneath its surface, the processes that have shaped that structure, it provides tools to determine the relative and absolute ages of rocks found in a given location, to describe the histories of those rocks. By combining these tools, geologists are able to chronicle the geological history of the Earth as a whole, to demonstrate the age of the Earth. Geology provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, the Earth's past climates. Geologists use a wide variety of methods to understand the Earth's structure and evolution, including field work, rock description, geophysical techniques, chemical analysis, physical experiments, numerical modelling.
In practical terms, geology is important for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, evaluating water resources, understanding of natural hazards, the remediation of environmental problems, providing insights into past climate change. Geology is a major academic discipline, it plays an important role in geotechnical engineering; the majority of geological data comes from research on solid Earth materials. These fall into one of two categories: rock and unlithified material; the majority of research in geology is associated with the study of rock, as rock provides the primary record of the majority of the geologic history of the Earth. There are three major types of rock: igneous and metamorphic; the rock cycle illustrates the relationships among them. When a rock solidifies or crystallizes from melt, it is an igneous rock; this rock can be weathered and eroded redeposited and lithified into a sedimentary rock. It can be turned into a metamorphic rock by heat and pressure that change its mineral content, resulting in a characteristic fabric.
All three types may melt again, when this happens, new magma is formed, from which an igneous rock may once more solidify. To study all three types of rock, geologists evaluate the minerals; each mineral has distinct physical properties, there are many tests to determine each of them. The specimens can be tested for: Luster: Measurement of the amount of light reflected from the surface. Luster is broken into nonmetallic. Color: Minerals are grouped by their color. Diagnostic but impurities can change a mineral’s color. Streak: Performed by scratching the sample on a porcelain plate; the color of the streak can help name the mineral. Hardness: The resistance of a mineral to scratch. Breakage pattern: A mineral can either show fracture or cleavage, the former being breakage of uneven surfaces and the latter a breakage along spaced parallel planes. Specific gravity: the weight of a specific volume of a mineral. Effervescence: Involves dripping hydrochloric acid on the mineral to test for fizzing. Magnetism: Involves using a magnet to test for magnetism.
Taste: Minerals can have a distinctive taste, like halite. Smell: Minerals can have a distinctive odor. For example, sulfur smells like rotten eggs. Geologists study unlithified materials, which come from more recent deposits; these materials are superficial deposits. This study is known as Quaternary geology, after the Quaternary period of geologic history. However, unlithified material does not only include sediments. Magmas and lavas are the original unlithified source of all igneous rocks; the active flow of molten rock is studied in volcanology, igneous petrology aims to determine the history of igneous rocks from their final crystallization to their original molten source. In the 1960s, it was discovered that the Earth's lithosphere, which includes the crust and rigid uppermost portion of the upper mantle, is separated into tectonic plates that move across the plastically deforming, upper mantle, called the asthenosphere; this theory is supported by several types of observations, including seafloor spreading and the global distribution of mountain terrain and seismicity.
There is an intimate coupling between the movement of the plates on the surface and the convection of the mantle. Thus, oceanic plates and the adjoining mantle convection currents always move in the same direction – because the oceanic lithosphere is the rigid upper thermal boundary layer of the convecting mantle; this coupling between rigid plates moving on the surface of the Earth and the convecting mantle is called plate tectonics. The development of plate tectonics has provided a physical basis for many observations of the solid Earth. Long linear regions of geologic features are explained as plate boundaries. For example: Mid-ocean ridges, high regions on the seafloor where hydrothermal vents and volcanoes exist, are seen as divergent boundaries, where two plates move apart. Arcs of volcanoes and earthquakes are theorized as convergent boundaries, where one plate subducts, or moves, under another. Transform boundaries, such as the San Andreas Fault system, resulted in widespread powerful earthquakes.
Plate tectonics has provided a mechan
Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River 75 kilometres west of the border with Bangladesh, it is the principal commercial and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port; the city is regarded as the "cultural capital" of India, is nicknamed the "City of Joy". According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city. Recent estimates of Kolkata Metropolitan Area's economy have ranged from $60 to $150 billion making it third most-productive metropolitan area in India, after Mumbai and Delhi. In the late 17th century, the three villages that predated Calcutta were ruled by the Nawab of Bengal under Mughal suzerainty. After the Nawab granted the East India Company a trading licence in 1690, the area was developed by the Company into an fortified trading post. Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah occupied Calcutta in 1756, the East India Company retook it the following year.
In 1793 the East India company was strong enough to abolish Nizamat, assumed full sovereignty of the region. Under the company rule, under the British Raj, Calcutta served as the capital of British-held territories in India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi. Calcutta was the centre for the Indian independence movement. Following Indian independence in 1947, once the centre of modern Indian education, science and politics, suffered several decades of economic stagnation; as a nucleus of the 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal Renaissance and a religiously and ethnically diverse centre of culture in Bengal and India, Kolkata has local traditions in drama, film and literature. Many people from Kolkata—among them several Nobel laureates—have contributed to the arts, the sciences, other areas. Kolkata culture features idiosyncrasies that include distinctively close-knit neighbourhoods and freestyle intellectual exchanges.
West Bengal's share of the Bengali film industry is based in the city, which hosts venerable cultural institutions of national importance, such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Victoria Memorial, the Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum and the National Library of India. Among professional scientific institutions, Kolkata hosts the Agri Horticultural Society of India, the Geological Survey of India, the Botanical Survey of India, the Calcutta Mathematical Society, the Indian Science Congress Association, the Zoological Survey of India, the Institution of Engineers, the Anthropological Survey of India and the Indian Public Health Association. Though home to major cricketing venues and franchises, Kolkata differs from other Indian cities by giving importance to association football and other sports; the word Kolkata derives from the Bengali term Kôlikata, the name of one of three villages that predated the arrival of the British, in the area where the city was to be established. There are several explanations about the etymology of this name: The term Kolikata is thought to be a variation of Kalikkhetrô, meaning "Field of Kali".
It can be a variation of'Kalikshetra'. Another theory is. Alternatively, the name may have been derived from the Bengali term kilkila, or "flat area"; the name may have its origin in the words khal meaning "canal", followed by kaṭa, which may mean "dug". According to another theory, the area specialised in the production of quicklime or koli chun and coir or kata. Although the city's name has always been pronounced Kolkata or Kôlikata in Bengali, the anglicised form Calcutta was the official name until 2001, when it was changed to Kolkata in order to match Bengali pronunciation; the discovery and archaeological study of Chandraketugarh, 35 kilometres north of Kolkata, provide evidence that the region in which the city stands has been inhabited for over two millennia. Kolkata's recorded history began in 1690 with the arrival of the English East India Company, consolidating its trade business in Bengal. Job Charnock, an administrator who worked for the company, was credited as the founder of the city.
The area occupied by the present-day city encompassed three villages: Kalikata and Sutanuti. Kalikata was a fishing village, they were part of an estate belonging to the Mughal emperor. These rights were transferred to the East India Company in 1698. In 1712, the British completed the cons
West Bengal is an Indian state, located in eastern region of the country on the Bay of Bengal. With over 91 million inhabitants, it is India's fourth-most populous state, it has an area of 88,752 km2. A part of the ethno-linguistic Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, it borders Bangladesh in the east, Nepal and Bhutan in the north, it borders the Indian states of Odisha, Bihar and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata, the seventh-largest city in India, center of the third-largest metropolitan area in the country; as for geography, West Bengal includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh region, the coastal Sundarbans. The main ethnic group are the Bengalis, with Bengali Hindus forming the demographic majority; the area's early history featured a succession of Indian empires, internal squabbling, a tussle between Hinduism and Buddhism for dominance. Ancient Bengal was the site of several major Janapadas, while the earliest cities date back to the Vedic period; the region was part including the Mauryans and Guptas.
It was a bastion of regional kingdoms. The citadel of Gauda served as the capital of the Gauda Kingdom, the Buddhist Pala Empire and Hindu Sena Empire. From the 13th century onward, the region was ruled by several sultans, powerful Hindu states, Baro-Bhuyan landlords, until the beginning of British rule in the 18th century; the British East India Company cemented their hold on the region following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, Calcutta served for many years as the capital of British India. The early and prolonged exposure to British administration resulted in an expansion of Western education, culminating in developments in science, institutional education, social reforms in the region, including what became known as the Bengali Renaissance. A hotbed of the Indian independence movement through the early 20th century, Bengal was divided during India's independence in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities: West Bengal, a state of India, East Bengal, a province of Pakistan which became independent Bangladesh.
Between 1977 and 2011 the state was administered by the world's longest elected Communist government. The economy of West Bengal is the sixth-largest state economy in India with ₹13.14 lakh crore in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹108,000. The state's cultural heritage, besides varied folk traditions, includes authors in literature, such as Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Kolkata is known as the "cultural capital of India". West Bengal is known for its enthusiasm for the sport of association football, as well as cricket; the origin of the name Bengal is unknown. One theory suggests that the word derives from "Bang", a Dravidian tribe that settled the region around 1000 BCE; the Bengali word Bongo might have been derived from the ancient kingdom of Vanga. Although some early Sanskrit literature mentions the name Vanga, the region's early history is obscure. At the end of British rule over the Indian subcontinent, the Bengal region was partitioned in 1947 along religious lines into east and west.
The eastern part came to be known be as East Pakistan, the eastern wing of newly born Pakistan and the western part came to be known as West Bengal, which continued as an Indian state. In 2011 the Government of West Bengal proposed a change in the official name of the state to PaschimBanga; this is the native name of the state meaning western Bengal in the native Bengali language. In August 2016 the West Bengal Legislative Assembly passed another resolution to change the name of West Bengal to "Bengal" in English, "Bangla" in Bengali. Despite the Trinamool Congress government's efforts to forge a consensus on the name change resolution, the Indian National Congress, the Left Front, the Bharatiya Janata Party opposed the resolution. However, the central government has turned down the proposal stating that the state should have one single name for all languages instead of three and the name should not be the same as that of any other territory. Stone Age tools dating back 20,000 years have been excavated in the state, showing human occupation 8,000 years earlier than scholars had earlier thought.
The region was a part of the Vanga Kingdom, according to the Indian epic Mahabharata. Several Vedic realms were present in the Bengal region, including Vanga, Rarh and the Suhma Kingdom. One of the earliest foreign references to Bengal is a mention by the Ancient Greeks around 100 BCE of a land named Gangaridai, located at the mouths of the Ganges. Bengal had overseas trade relations with Suvarnabhumi. According to the Sri Lankan chronicle Mahavamsa, Prince Vijaya, a Vanga Kingdom prince, conquered Lanka and gave the name Sinhala Kingdom to the country; the kingdom of Magadha was formed in the 7th century BCE, consisting of the regions now comprising Bihar and Bengal. It was one of the four main kingdoms of India at the time of the lives of Mahavira, founder of Jainism, Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, it kingdoms. Under Ashoka, the Maurya Empire of Magadha in the 3rd century BCE extended over nearly all of South Asia, including Afghanistan and parts of Balochistan. From the 3rd to the 6th centuries CE, the kingdom of Magadha served as the seat of the Gupta Empire.
Two kingdoms – Vanga or Samatata, Gauda –
Gautama Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, Shakyamuni Buddha, or the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk, sage, philosopher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region, he taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, he is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most people accept that the Buddha lived and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire, died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira, the Jain tirthankara. While the general sequence of "birth, renunciation, search and liberation, death" is accepted, there is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies; the times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE. More his death is dated between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death; these alternative chronologies, have not been accepted by all historians.
The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan, a community, on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. One of his usual names was "Sakamuni" or "Sakyamunī", it was either a small republic, or an oligarchy, his father was an elected chieftain, or oligarch. According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India. According to Buddhist tradition, he obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, died in Kushinagar. Apart from the Vedic Brahmins, the Buddha's lifetime coincided with the flourishing of influential Śramaṇa schools of thought like Ājīvika, Cārvāka, Ajñana. Brahmajala Sutta records sixty-two such schools of thought. In this context, a śramaṇa refers to one who toils, or exerts themselves.
It was the age of influential thinkers like Mahavira, Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambalī, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, as recorded in Samaññaphala Sutta, whose viewpoints the Buddha most must have been acquainted with. Indeed and Moggallāna, two of the foremost disciples of the Buddha, were the foremost disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the sceptic. There is philological evidence to suggest that the two masters, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, were indeed historical figures and they most taught Buddha two different forms of meditative techniques. Thus, Buddha was just one of the many śramaṇa philosophers of that time. In an era where holiness of person was judged by their level of asceticism, Buddha was a reformist within the śramaṇa movement, rather than a reactionary against Vedic Brahminism; the life of the Buddha coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley during the rule of Darius I from about 517/516 BCE. This Achaemenid occupation of the areas of Gandhara and Sindh, to last for about two centuries, was accompanied by the introduction of Achaemenid religions, reformed Mazdaism or early Zoroastrianism, to which Buddhism might have in part reacted.
In particular, the ideas of the Buddha may have consisted of a rejection of the "absolutist" or "perfectionist" ideas contained in these Achaemenid religions. No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. In the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka mention the Buddha, Ashoka's Rummindei Minor Pillar Edict commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha's birthplace. Another one of his edicts mentions the titles of several Dhamma texts, establishing the existence of a written Buddhist tradition at least by the time of the Maurya era; these texts may be the precursor of the Pāli Canon. "Sakamuni" in mentioned in the reliefs of Bharhut, dated to circa 100 BCE, in relation with his illumination and the Bodhi tree, with the inscription Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, repor