Bangarh is the historical place situated in Gangarampur, West Bengal, India. Bangarh was the ancient city, the administrative centre of Kotivarsha Vishaya, itself part of the wider administrative unit of Pundravardhana Bhukti, which had Mahasthangarh as its capital in the period of Chandras and Senas. After the Senas were defeated by the Muslims under Bakhtiar Khilji, Devkot was established as their capital were Bakhtiar died. Bangarh is located at 25°24′45″N 88°31′50″E In the map alongside, all places marked on the map are linked in the full screen version; the earliest mentions about the Kotivarsha town are found in the Brihat Samhita. Lexicographers and Purushottama have mentioned the city by several names – Umavana and Shonitapura. Sandhyakara Nandi in his Ramacharita described at length about the temples and the lakes of the city; the ruins of the city are found in Bangarh, located at Gangarampur city, about 45 km south of Balurghat city, in Dakshin Dinajpur district of West Bengal state in eastern India.
It has variously thought of as part of Rarha regions. There was a Brahmin densities at Devikota. Muslim rule was first established in Bengal in 1204 by Bakhtiyar Khilji; the kingdom was called Lakhnauti. The capital was sometimes at Devkot. Bakhtiyar Khilji died at Devkot in 1205-06 murdered by Ali Mardan, governor of Naran-Koh, although this account is deemed erroneous by most Historians and it is established that Bakhtiyar died as a result of the physical wounds and mental trauma he endured from his unsuccessful trip to Tibet, cut short in northern Assam; the earliest excavations at Bangarh was carried out by a team led by K. G. Goswami during 1938-41. Located on the bank of the Punarbhaba, the excavated site reflects its urban character; the site has its core in the form of a citadel surrounded by mud ramparts which dates from the earliest phase of the site. The earliest phase remains uncertain; the citadel area revealed five cultural phases dating from the time of the Mauryas to the medieval period.
The initial phase indicates that the city had a modest beginning in which it had a mud rampart wall. It was only in the following phase a brick built wide rampart wall is found with drains and residential buildings made of burnt bricks of a large size, showing distinct signs of prosperity and burgeoning urbanism; the excavated materials of the Gupta period are not comparable with the richness and diversity of those belonging to Kushana cultural phase. Though the late Gupta phase of Bangarh is marked by decadence in terms of building activities, the Pala period, in sharp contrast, indicates a picture of efflorescence. Rampart walls, compound walls, residential quarters, temples with ambulatory path and its enclosing walls, damp proof granaries, bathrooms and ring wells suggest a prosperous condition of the city. Balurghat travel guide from Wikivoyage
The Gupta script was used for writing Sanskrit and is associated with the Gupta Empire of India, a period of material prosperity and great religious and scientific developments. The Gupta script gave rise to the Nāgarī, Sharada and Siddham scripts; these scripts in turn gave rise to many of the most important scripts of India, including Devanagari, the Gurmukhi script for Punjabi Language, the Bengali script, the Tibetan script. The Gupta Script was descended from the Ashokan Brahmi script, is a crucial link between Brahmi and most other scripts in the Brahmic family of Scripts, a family of alphasyllabaries or abugidas; this means that while only consonantal phonemes have distinct symbols, vowels are marked by diacritics, with /a/ being the implied pronunciation when the diacritic is not present. In fact, the Gupta script works in the same manner as its predecessor and successors, only the shapes and forms of the graphemes and diacritics are different. Through the 4th century, letters began to take more cursive and symmetric forms, as a result of the desire to write more and aesthetically.
This meant that the script became more differentiated throughout the Empire, with regional variations which have been broadly classified into three, four or five categories. In this sense, the term Gupta script should be taken to mean any form of writing derived from the Gupta period though there may be a lack of uniformity in the scripts; the surviving inscriptions of the Gupta script are found on iron or stone pillars, on gold coins from the Gupta Dynasty. One of the most important was the Allahabad Prasasti. Composed by Harishena, the court poet and minister of Samudragupta, it describes Samudragupta’s reign, beginning from his accession to the throne as the second king of the Gupta Dynasty and including his conquest of other kings; the study of Gupta coins began with the discovery of a hoard of gold coins in 1783. Many other such hoards have since been discovered, the most important being the Bayana hoard, discovered in 1946, which contained more than 2000 gold coins issued by the Gupta Kings.
Many of the Gupta Empire’s coins bear inscriptions of legends or mark historic events. In fact, it was one of the first Indian Empires to do so as a result of its unprecedented prosperity; every Gupta king issued coins, beginning with its first king, Chandragupta I. The scripts on the coin are of a different nature compared to scripts on pillars, due to conservatism regarding the coins that were to be accepted as currency, which would have prevented regional variations in the script from manifesting on the coinage. Moreover, space was more limited on their silver coins, thus many of the symbols are truncated or stunted. An example is the symbol for /ta/ and /na/, which were simplified to vertical strokes. Brahmic scripts Lipi – writing scripts in Buddhist and Jaina textsSimilar scriptsBhattiprolu script Kadamba script Telugu-Kannada script Pallava script Carl Faulmann, Das Buch der Schrift, Druck und Verlag der Kaiserlichen Hof-und Staatsdruckerei, 1880 The Gupta Alphabet AncientScripts.com entry on the Gupta Script An eastern variety of the post-Gupta script: Akṣara List of theManuscripts of the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and Buddhapālita's Commentary, c. the 550-650, Collection of Sanskrit Mss.
Preserved in the China Ethnic Library
Mandasor Pillar Inscriptions of Yasodharman
The Mandasor Pillar Inscriptions of Yashodharman are a set of Sanskrit inscriptions from early 6th-century discovered at an archaeological site near Mandsaur in northwestern Madhya Pradesh, India. These record the victory of Malawa king Yasodharman over the Hun king Mihirakula. According to Richard Salomon, these are notable for "their outstanding literary and historical value"; the inscription adds to the evidence in Buddhist texts, such as the memoirs of the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang who calls Mihirakula as cruel and barbaric, one who killed monks and destroyed monasteries in Gandhara. The Mandasor inscription praises Yasodharman, describes him as having rescued the earth from "rude and cruel kings of the Kali age, who delight in viciousness". Fleet first published his translation of the inscription in 1888; the Fleet's translation of the inscription has been corrected by various scholars. The inscriptions were found on a pair of pillars, at a site southeast of Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh in what was a small village.
The town is referred to as Mandasor, Dasor or Dasapura in historic texts. The site contained not only the pillars but ruins of a Hindu temple and many desecrated panels and statues, they were discovered by John Fleet in 1884, first published in 1886. It is at its original site, now housed within compounds of the Mandsaur's Yashodharman Archaeology Museum; the site was excavated by a team led by Garde in 1923, who found some of Fleet's presumptions incorrect. Garde found the foundations and ruins of a temple about 75 feet from the pillar a Shiva temple because several new inscriptions found opened with homage to Shiva and they mention a temple, he found double human figures buried in soil below. It was of the type similar to other Gupta era site, that stood above the pair of pillars, before it was toppled at some point, at the site; the major inscriptions exist on a pair of light red sandstone pillars. The base of the first column is rectangular. Above it is a square section a sixteen faced column shaft that rises vertically.
Each face is about 8.5 feet wide. The inscription is somewhat difficult to locate because of the hue of the stone and the antiquity of the inscription, it is 2.17 feet above the base block. Near the primary pillar with inscription, Fleet found a number of ruins of panels and statues which were not a part of the pillar or inscription, but of a larger monument that went with it. Fleet noted that at the time of his 1884 visit there are "row of chisel marks all round the column here" and it was "deliberately broken by the insertion of wedges"; the inscription has survived in a form. It covers a space of about 3.25 feet by 1.25 feet area. These are in Sanskrit, Gupta script of northern variety such as in the way the upagudha are inscribed; the text is in poetic verse form, at the end is inscribed the name of scribe in prose. The inscription states that Yasodharman's dominions covered the regions between Brahmaputra River to the western ocean from the Himalayas to the Mahendra mountains, it did homage to Yasodharman.
The inscriptions are not dated. Siddham has published the critically edited version of the inscription as: The inscription was translated by John Faithfull Fleet in Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas in 1888: 1. "May that long banner of Shûlapâni destroy the glory of your enemies. 2. He, to whose arm, as if of Shârngapâni,— the fore-arm of, marked with callous parts caused by the hard string of bow, steadfast in the successful carrying out of vows for the benefit of mankind,— the earth betook itself, when it was afflicted by kings of the present age, who manifested pride, he who, in this age, the ravisher of good behaviour, through the action of intentions shone gloriously, not associating with other kings who adopted a reprehensible course of conduct,— just as an offering of flowers in the dust. He who, spurning the boundaries of his own house, enjoys those countries,— thickly covered over with deserts and mountains and trees and thickets and rivers and strong-armed heroes, having kings assaulted by prowess,— which were not enjoyed by the lords of the Guptas, whose prowess was displayed by invading the whole earth, which the command of the chiefs of the Hûnas, that established itself on the tiaras of kings, failed to penetrate 5.
He before whose feet chieftains, having arrogance removed by the strength of arm, bow down, from the neighbourhood of the Lauhitya up to Mahendra, the lands at the foot of which are impe
The Vindhya Range is a complex, discontinuous chain of mountain ridges, hill ranges and plateau escarpments in west-central India. Technically, the Vindhyas do not form a single mountain range in the geological sense; the exact extent of the Vindhyas is loosely defined, the term covered a number of distinct hill systems in central India, including the one, now known as the Satpura Range. Today, the term principally refers to the escarpment that runs north of and parallel to the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, its hilly extensions. Depending on the definition, the range extends up to Gujarat in the west, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the north and Chhattisgarh in the east; the Vindhyas have a great significance in Indian history. Several ancient texts mention the Vindhyas as the southern boundary of the Āryāvarta, the territory of the ancient Indo-Aryan peoples. Although today Indo-Aryan languages are spoken south of the Vindhyas, the range continues to be considered as the traditional boundary between north and south India.
The former Vindhya Pradesh was named after the Vindhya Range. According to the author of a commentary on Amarakosha, the word Vindhya derives from the Sanskrit word vaindh. A mythological story states that the Vindhyas once obstructed the path of the sun, resulting in this name. Ramayana from Valmiki states that the great mountain Vindhya, growing incessantly and obstructing the path of the Sun stopped growing any more in obedience to Agastya's words. According to another theory, the name "Vindhya" means "hunter" in Sanskrit, may refer to the tribal hunter-gatherers inhabiting the region; the Vindhya range is known as "Vindhyachala" or "Vindhyachal". In the Mahabharata, the range is referred to as Vindhyapadaparvata; the Greek geographer Ptolemy called the range Vindius or Ouindion, describing it as the source of Namados and Nanagouna rivers. The "Daksinaparvata" mentioned in the Kaushitaki Upanishad is identified with the Vindhyas; the Vindhyas do not form a single range in the proper geological sense: the hills collectively known as the Vindhyas do not lie along an anticlinal or synclinal ridge.
The Vindhya range is a group of discontinuous chain of mountain ridges, hill ranges and plateau escarpments. The term "Vindhyas" is defined by convention, therefore, the exact definition of the Vindhya range has varied at different times in history. Earlier, the term "Vindhyas" was used in a wider sense, included a number of hill ranges between the Indo-Gangetic plain and the Deccan Plateau. According to the various definitions mentioned in the older texts, the Vindhyas extend up to Godavari in the south and Ganges in the north. In certain Puranas, the term Vindhya covers the mountain range located between the Narmada and the Tapti rivers; the Varaha Purana uses the name "Vindhya-pada" for the Satpura range. Several ancient Indian texts and inscriptions mention three mountain ranges in Central India: Vindhya and Pariyatra; the three ranges are included in the seven Kula Parvatas of Bharatavarsha i.e. India; the exact identification of these three ranges is difficult due to contrasting descriptions in the various texts.
For example, the Kurma and Brahmanda Puranas mention Vindhya as the source of Tapti. Some texts use. In one passage, Valmiki's Ramayana describes Vindhya as being situated to the south of Kishkindha, identified with a part of the present-day Karnataka, it further implies that the sea was located just to the south of the Vindhyas, Lanka was located across this sea. Many scholars have attempted to explain this anamoly in different ways. According to one theory, the term "Vindhyas" covered a number of mountains to the south of the Indo-Aryan territories at the time Ramayana was written. Others, such as Frederick Eden Pargiter, believe that there was another mountain in South India, with the same name. Madhav Vinayak Kibe placed the location of Lanka in Central India; the Barabar Cave inscription of Maukhari Anantavarman mentions the Nagarjuni hill of Bihar as a part of the Vindhyas. Today, the definition of the Vindhyas is restricted to the Central Indian escarpments and highlands located to the north of the Narmada River.
Some of these are distinct hill systems. The western end of the Vindhya range is located in the state of Gujarat, near the state's border with Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, at the eastern side of the Gujarat peninsula. A series of hills connects the Vindhya extension to the Aravalli Range near Champaner; the Vindhya range rises in height east of Chhota Udaipur. The principal Vindhya range forms the southern escarpment of the Central Indian upland, it runs parallel to the Naramada river in the east-west direction, forming the southern wall of the Malwa plateau in Madhya Pradesh. The eastern portion of the Vindhyas comprises multiple chains, as the range divides into branches east of Malwa. A southern chain of Vindhyas runs between the upper reaches of the Son and Narmada rivers to meet the Satpura Range in the Maikal Hills near Amarkantak. A northern chain of the Vindhyas continues eastwards as Bhander Plateau and Kaimur Range, which runs north of the Son River; this extended range runs through what was once Vindhya Pradesh, re
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering 70,560,000 km2. It is bounded by Asia on the north, on the west by Africa, on the east by Australia, on the south by the Southern Ocean or, depending on definition, by Antarctica; the Indian Ocean is named after India. Called the Sindhu Mahasagara or the great sea of the Sindhu by the Ancient Indians, this ocean has been variously called Hindu Ocean, Indic Ocean, etc. in various languages. The Indian Ocean was known earlier as the Eastern Ocean; the term was still in use during the mid-18th century. The borders of the Indian Ocean, as delineated by the International Hydrographic Organization in 1953 included the Southern Ocean but not the marginal seas along the northern rim, but in 2000 the IHO delimited the Southern Ocean separately, which removed waters south of 60°S from the Indian Ocean, but included the northern marginal seas. Meridionally, the Indian Ocean is delimited from the Atlantic Ocean by the 20° east meridian, running south from Cape Agulhas, from the Pacific Ocean by the meridian of 146°49'E, running south from the southernmost point of Tasmania.
The northernmost extent of the Indian Ocean is 30° north in the Persian Gulf. The Indian Ocean covers 70,560,000 km2, including the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf but excluding the Southern Ocean, or 19.5% of the world's oceans. The ocean's continental shelves are narrow. An exception is found off Australia's western coast; the average depth of the ocean is 3,890 m. Its deepest point is Sunda Trench at a depth of 7,450 m. North of 50° south latitude, 86% of the main basin is covered by pelagic sediments, of which more than half is globigerina ooze; the remaining 14% is layered with terrigenous sediments. Glacial outwash dominates the extreme southern latitudes; the major choke points include Bab el Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, the Lombok Strait, the Strait of Malacca and the Palk Strait. Seas include the Gulf of Aden, Andaman Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Great Australian Bight, Laccadive Sea, Gulf of Mannar, Mozambique Channel, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and other tributary water bodies.
The Indian Ocean is artificially connected to the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal, accessible via the Red Sea. All of the Indian Ocean is in the Eastern Hemisphere and the centre of the Eastern Hemisphere, the 90th meridian east, passes through the Ninety East Ridge. Marginal seas, gulfs and straits of the Indian Ocean include: Several features make the Indian Ocean unique, it constitutes the core of the large-scale Tropical Warm Pool which, when interacting with the atmosphere, affects the climate both regionally and globally. Asia prevents the ventilation of the Indian Ocean thermocline; that continent drives the Indian Ocean monsoon, the strongest on Earth, which causes large-scale seasonal variations in ocean currents, including the reversal of the Somali Current and Indian Monsoon Current. Because of the Indian Ocean Walker circulation there is no continuous equatorial easterlies. Upwelling occurs near the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in the Northern Hemisphere and north of the trade winds in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Indonesian Throughflow is a unique Equatorial connection to the Pacific. The climate north of the equator is affected by a monsoon climate. Strong north-east winds blow from October until April. In the Arabian Sea the violent Monsoon brings rain to the Indian subcontinent. In the southern hemisphere, the winds are milder, but summer storms near Mauritius can be severe; when the monsoon winds change, cyclones sometimes strike the shores of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The Indian Ocean is the warmest ocean in the world. Long-term ocean temperature records show a rapid, continuous warming in the Indian Ocean, at about 0.7–1.2 °C during 1901–2012. Indian Ocean warming is the largest among the tropical oceans, about 3 times faster than the warming observed in the Pacific. Research indicates that human induced greenhouse warming, changes in the frequency and magnitude of El Niño events are a trigger to this strong warming in the Indian Ocean. South of the Equator the Indian Ocean is gaining heat from June to October, during the austral winter, while it is losing heat from November to March, during the austral summer.
Among the few large rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean are the Zambezi and Jubba in Africa. The ocean's currents are controlled by the monsoon. Two large gyres, one in the northern hemisphere flowing clockwise and one south of the equator moving anticlockwise, constitute the dominant flow pattern. During the winter monsoon, circulation is reversed north of 30°S and winds are weakened during winter and the transitional periods between the monsoons. Deep water circulation is controlled by inflows from the Atlantic Ocean, the Red Sea, Antarctic currents. North of 20 ° south latitude the minimum surface temperature is 22 °C. Southward of 40° south latitude, temperatures
Mandsaur or Mandsour is a city in the Malwa region and district of Madhya Pradesh state of central India. It is the administrative headquarters of Mandsaur District; the ancient Pashupatinath Temple is located in Mandsaur. The name Mandsaur evolved from Marhsaur, which originated from Marh and Saur, two of the villages which merged in the town; the town was known as Dashapura in ancient times. The city consists of ten ` puras', it is believed that this place was once the maternal residence of Mandodari, the wife of Ravana. In old city areas, people worship the idol of Ravana and avoid participating in the'Ravana Dahan' ritual on Vijayadashami as they regard Ravana their son-in-law. A 35-feet ten headed sitting idol of Ravana can be seen in the Khanpura area of the city. Epigraphical discoveries have brought to light two ancient royal houses, who call themselves as Aulikaras and ruled from Dashapura; the first dynasty, who ruled from Dashapura from the beginning comprised the following kings in the order of succession: Jayavarma, Naravarma and Bandhuvarma.
Bandhuvarma was contemporary of Kumaragupta I. There is an inscription about Bandhuvarma at Mandsaur; the silk workers had constructed a Sun temple here, repaired by Bandhuvarma in Samvat 493. This indicates that he was present there till 436 CE; the Risthal stone slab inscription discovered in 1983 has brought to light another Aulikara dynasty, which comprised the following kings in the order of succession: Drumavardhana, Jayavardhana Ajitavardhana, Vibhishanavardhana and Prakashadharma. After Parakshadharma, the ruler of Mandsaur was Yashodharma, identified with Vishnuvardhana, who erected a pillar of victory at Bayana due to which Bayana's name became Vijaygarh. In all probabilities, he was the son and immediate successor of Prakashadharma. Yashodharma Vishnuvardhana assumed the title of Samrat after he occupied the territories of Bandhuvarma, it is mentioned that Yashodharma Vishnuvardhana had assumed the title of ‘Maharajadhiraja’ or Emperor. Sondani is a small village at a distance of about 4 km from Mandsaur situated on Mahu-Nimach Highway towards Mahu.
Two monolith pillars were erected here by King Yasodharman in 528 AD with inscription which describe his exploits including victory over Hunas. In a part of the inscription Yasodharman praises himself for having defeated king Mihirakula: "He to whose two feet respect was paid, with complimentary presents of the flowers from the lock of hair on the top of head, by that king Mihirakula, whose forehead was pained through being bent low down by the strength of arm in obeisance" Excavations by the Indian Archaeology Department show that these pillars are lying at their original site. Nearby was discovered a double head of stone with two faces of lions looking in opposite directions, it was the crowning piece of one of the pillars. Each pillar is of height 40 feet, weighs 200 ton; the inscription bears verses composed by the son of Kakka. This eulogy has been engraved by Govinda; the composition is in Sanskrit script is north Indian brahmi. Nagappa and Dasappa were two south Indian artisans; these pillars were discovered by British officer Sulvin in 1875.
John F. Fleet discovered their other pieces. In 1921 Shri V. S. Garde, Director Archaeology Gwalior state, put these pillars over it; the Gurjara Pratihara empire was extended up to Mandasor during the reign of Mahendrapala II. The Mandsaur city is situated on the border of Malwa and Mewar and as such is strategically important. After the attack of Timur, the Delhi Sultanate became weak. Dilawar Khan Ghauri was governor of the Malwa province of central India during the decline of the Delhi Sultanate. Dilawar Khan declared himself Sultan of Malwa in 1401, passed the kingdom to his son Hoshang Shah upon his death, thus he had come to Mandu in 1401 as the first sultan of Malwa. Dilawar had shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu, renaming it Shadiabad, the city of joy; the successor of Dilawar Khan Gauri was Hushang Shah Gori, who constructed fort at strategically important Mandsaur city to strengthen his north-west boundary. In 1519 Rana Sanga appointed Ashokmal Rajput as its Kiledar. In 1535 Humayun stayed here for few months during his Malwa expedition.
During Sher Shah period Sadar Khan was appointed its Kiledar. During the reign of Akbar Mandsaur got the status of sarkar. In 1733 the Malwa subedar of Mughals Sawai Jaisingh attacked the fort but was defeated by Marathas and the fort went to Marathas; the most important event in the fort was the treaty of 1818 between Tantiya Jog senapati of Malhar Rao Holkar II and Sir John Malcum under which Malwa came in occupation of British rule. There are two gardens, it is believed to be pillar of Surya Mandir of the inscription of Bandhu Varma. There is a Shiva statue in the garden. In 19th century before India's independence in 1947, Mandsaur was part of the princely state of Gwalior, it gave its name to the treaty with the Holkar Maharaja of Indore, who concluded the Third Anglo-Maratha War and the Pindari War in 1818. At the turn of the 20th century it was a centre of the Malwa opium trade. Mandsaur District forms the northern projection of Madhya Pradesh from its western Division, i.e. Ujjain Commissioner's Division.
It lies between the parallels of latitude 230 45' 50" North and 250 2' 55" North, between the meridians of longitude 740 42' 30"
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle