Sources of Ancient Indian History

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Sources of Ancient Indian History:

Religious Nature Accounts:

Four Vedas:

         1) Rigveda 2) Yajurveda 3) Samveda  4) Atharvanaveda

Six Vedangas:

  • Siksha (Pheonetics)
  • Kalpa (Rituals)
  • Vyakarna (Grammer)
  • Nirukta (Etymology)
  • Chhand (Metrics)
  • Jyotisha (Asronomy)



Ashtadhyayi : (eight chapter) written by Panini

Brahmanas, The Aranyakas and Upanishadas ( These are later vedic literature)

Brahmanas explain the description of Vedic rituals

Aranyakas and Upanishads give speeches on different spiritual and philosophical issues

18 Puranas gives us mainly historical accounts

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata :- epics of great historical importance

The Jain and Buddhist literature : written in the Prakrit and pali languages respectively

Ashokan edicts had been written in Pali language

Jatakas: it is stories of Buddhist. There are more than 550 such stories.

Dharmasutras and Smritis: these were the rules and regulations for the general public and the rulers. Its related with Constitution and the law books in terms of modern concept. Dharmashasthra were compiled between 600 and 200 B.C.A

Ancient Books:

  • Mudrarakshasha was a script written by Visakhadatta. It describes the society and culture of that period
  • Malavikagnimitram written by Kalidasa gives information about the reign of Pushyamitra Sunga Dynasty


  • Bhasa and Sudraka are poets who have written plays based on historical events.
  • Harshacharita written by Banabhatta gives information about the king of Harsha and their Dynasty
  • Vakpati wrote Gaudavaho based on the exploits of Yasovarman of Kanouj
  • Vikramankadevacharita, written by Bilhana , gives information about Chalukya king Vikramaditya.
  • Rajatarangini, written by Kalhana, is the best form of history writing valued by modern historians.
  • The Sangam literature: literature is in the form of short and long poems consisting 30000 lines of poetry

Foreign Accounts:

  • Herodotus mentioned Indo- Persian relations in his work
  • A detailed account of the invasion of India by Alexander was written by Arrian

Megasthanes:- came to court of Chandragupta Mourya. He had written Indica book which was related to Indian society and culture.

A book Periplus of the Erythrean Sea written by an anonymous Greek author, gives valuable information about Indian coasts

In the second century C.A. Ptolemy had written a geographical treatise on India

Fa-Hien: He was visited India in 5th century C.A

Hiuen-Tsang (Xuanzang) : Visited India in 7th century during the period of Harshavardhana

Al-Biruni: gave important information about India. He was Arab Scholar and Contemporary of Mahmud of Ghazni


Welcome to your Sources of Ancient Indian History Quiz

1. Which was oldest Brahmanic  literature ?

2. Which of the following Vedanga related with Astronomy?

3. Ashtadhayi a Book written by?

4. Which Veda Provide the details about Political, Social and family in later vedic period?


5. Malavakagnimitra Book gives information about Shunga Dynasty written by?

6. Tripitakas associated with following religion ?

7. Manu Smriti a standard work written during the following reign ?

8. The Sixteen Mahajanapadas are referred in following work.

9. Who is the author of ‘History of the War’?

10. Indica is a one of the reliable source for Chandragupta Mourya, it was written by?

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