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History of Rajasthan

Ancient History of Rajasthan

 (Stone Age to 700 A.D.)

Stone Age: a prehistoric period when weapons and tools were made of stone or of organic materials such as bone, wood or horn.

  1. Paleolithic age: Paleolithic, The cultural period of the Stone Age that began about 2.5 to 2 million years ago, marked by the earliest use of tools made of chipped stone. The Paleolithic Period ended at different times in different parts of the world, generally around 10,000 years ago in Europe and the Middle East.

Paleolithic site in Rajasthan: Nagaur and Didwana.

  1. Mesolithic Age: Mesolithic, also called Middle Stone Age, ancient cultural stage that existed between the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), with its chipped stone tools, and the Neolithic (New Stone Age), with its polished stone tools. Most often used to describe archaeological assemblages from the Eastern Hemisphere, the Mesolithic is broadly analogous to the archaic culture of the Western Hemisphere. Mesolithic material culture is characterized by greater innovation and diversity than is found in the Paleolithic. Among the new forms of chipped stone tools were microliths, very small stone tools intended for mounting together on a shaft to produce a serrated edge.

Mesolithic sites in Rajasthan:

1. Bagor

  • On the bank of river Kothari in Bhilwara District.
  • Most ancient source of animal husbandry is found here.
  • Tools are excavated in large numbers.
  • Excavated by Virendranath Mishra.
  • Biggest Mesolithic Site in India.

2. Tilwara

  • On the bank of river Luni in Barmer district.
  • Evidence of animal husbandry is found here.
  • Excavated by Virendranath Mishra.

3. Chalcolithic Age: Chronology of Chalcolithic Settlement. The first metal age of India is called Chalcolithic Age which saw the use of copper along with stone. It was also called Stone-Copper Age.

Ahar Culture

  • Also known as Banas Culture.
  • Six hearth-stone are found from a single home which shows the evidence of joint families living under the same roof.
  • Black and Red Ware pottery were found here.
  • Other important sites were Gilund, Balathal, Pachamta, etc.

4. Indus Valley Civilization: The Indus Valley Civilization was an ancient civilization located in what is Pakistan and northwest India today, on the fertile flood plain of the Indus River and its vicinity. Evidence of religious practices in this area date back approximately to 5500 BCE. Farming settlements began around 4000 BCE and around 3000 BCE there appeared the first signs of urbanization. By 2600 BCE, dozens of towns and cities had been established and between 2500 and 2000 BCE the Indus Valley Civilization was at its peak. Two cities, in particular, have been excavated at the sites of Mohenjo-Daro on the lower Indus and at Harappa further upstream. The evidence suggests they had a highly developed city life; many houses had wells and bathrooms as well as an elaborate underground drainage system. The social conditions of the citizens were comparable to those in Sumeria and superior to the contemporary Babylonians and Egyptians. These cities display a well-planned urbanization system.

  1. Kalibangan
  2. Located on the bank of river Ghaghhar in Hanumangarh District.
  3. Discovered by Amlanand Ghosh in 1953.
  4. Excavated by Brijvasilal in 1961.
  5. Evidence of ploughed field is found.
  6. Evidence of growing Barley and Mustard are found.
  7. Cylindrical seal of Mesopotamia is found here.
  8. Houses were made from Raw bricks (Kachhi Int).
  9. The drainage system was not properly developed.
  10. Evidence of Earthquake.
  11. Sothi (Sothi Civilization)
  12. It was a rural civilization.
  13. Located in Ganganagar District.
  14. Situated on the plain of Ghaghhar and Chautang River.
  15. It is also called Kalibanga 1st.
  16. Historian mentioned it as the origin place of Harappan civilization.

5. Mahajanapadas of Rajasthan

  1. Matsya
  • Capital: – Viratnagar
  • Present: – Alwar, Bharatpur and Jaipur
  1. Saurasena (Brajmandala)
  • Capital: – Mathura
  • Present: – Alwar, Bharatpur, Dhaulpur and Karauli.
  1. Kuru
  • Capital: – Indraprastha (Delhi)
  • Present: – Delhi and northern Region of Rajasthan.
  1. Some Other Janapada Of Rajasthan

Shivi Janapada

  • Capital: – Madhyamika (Present name Nagari)
  • Present region: – Chittorgarh And Udaipur district
  • Rajasthan’s first excavated site.
  • Excavated by D.R. Bhandarkar.

Arjunayana Janapada

  • Present Alwar and Bharatpur District.
  • They emerged as political power During Sunga Period.

Malav Janapada

  • Present Jaipur and Tonk district.
  • Capital: – Nagar (Tonk)
  • They are mentioned in Mahabhashya of Patanjali


  • Present Hanumangarh and Ganganagar district.
  • Kushana power was stopped by them.
  • They are mentioned in Ashtadhyayi and Ganapatha of Panini.


  • Present Alwar district.


  • Present Jodhpur and Bikaner region.

6. Mauryan Period

The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, 2,000 years back when he overthrew the Nanda King. His assistant was Chanakya, a shrewd advisor and strategic thinker. He has written a book called Arthashastra that comprises his thoughts on politics, economics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war and religion.

Chandragupta was succeeded by Bindusara, his son who extended the Mauryan Empire till Mysore. Bindusara was succeeded by his son Ashoka, who is regarded as the greatest ruler of the empire by many historians. He extended the Mauryan Empire till the modern-day Afghanistan, with Patliputra as capital.

The Mauryan Emperors appointed the family members to control the large empire. Only the capital Patliputra was controlled by the emperor while states like Ujjain and Taxila were governed by royal princes. The Emperors also appointed officials for collecting taxes, maintaining law and order and keeping a check on the activities of the subjects.

  1. Bairat (Viratnagar)

Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, Director of Archaeology and Historical Research of former Jaipur state, conducted excavations at Bairat sometime in the thirties of the last century. we know that the so called Bhabru Rock Edict found by Captain Burt in 1840 must have come from Bijak ki Pahari because this place alone has provided evidence of Mauryan period and also another Ashokan edict. This edict is the only known edict of Ashoka, which is inscribed on a stone slab (Shila phalaka) as distinguished from stone pillar (Shila Stambha) or rock. It also provides definite proofs of Ashoka’s faith in Buddhist religion and his consequent exhortation to monks and nuns and to laymen and laywomen to listen to and to study seven select passage from the Buddhist scriptures.

The principle monuments brought to light are numerous remnants of two Ashoka pillars, a temple of an entirely new type and a monastery both of which latter monuments must have been erected by Ashoka himself. It was capital of Matsya Mahajanapada.

  • It was a part of Mauryan Empire.
  • In 1837, Ashoka’s Rock Edict was discovered by Capt. Burj from Bijak-ki-Pahadi.
  • Evidence of the Buddhist stupa sites was found here.
  • In 634 A.D Huang Tsang visited Bairat.
  • Sculptures, coins, pottery, seals and metal objects were found from the excavation.
  • It was excavated by Daya Ram Sahni in 1936.
  • According to Maan Sarovar inscription of 713 A.D., Maan Maurya was the ruler of Bairat. This inscription also mentions the name of 4 rulers. Maheshwar, Bhoj, Bhim and Maan.

7. Post Mauryan Period

Post-Mauryan coinage refers to the period of coinage production in India, following the breakup of the Maurya Empire. The centralized Mauryan power ended during a Coup d’état in 185 BCE leading to the foundation of the Shunga Empire. King Ashoka ruled for 50 years and after the war of Kalinga, he led the path of peace and Buddhism. Since the successor of king Ashoka wasn’t capable of ruling the kingdom.

  • Greek ruler Menander attacked Rajasthan in 150 B.C.
  • 16 Greek coins were found from Bairat.
  • Coins were found from the Rang Mahal of Hanumangarh belonging to Kushan period.
  • The first Saka king in India was Maues who ruled in Gandhar and extended his power in northwest India.

8. Gupta Period

The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire existing from the mid-to-late 3rd century CE to 543 CE. At its zenith, from approximately 319 to 543 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. This period is called the Golden Age of India (there was peace, development and prosperity in the country) by some historians.

  • According to Prayag Prashashthi (Allahabad Inscription), Samundragupta defeated many republican kingdoms.
  • Samundra Gupta defeated Rudradaman II in 351 A.D. and captured southern Rajasthan.
  • Vikramaditya Defeated last Shaka ruler and whole Rajasthan came under Gupta dynasty.
  • Maximum Gupta period coins are found from Bayana (Bharatpur) belonging to Kumar Gupta.
  • Baran (Rajasthan) inscription mention about Gupta period.
  • Durga Temple(Kota) and Shiv Temple (Chachanura) are the best examples of Gupta Architecture.

9. Post Gupta Period (Huns, Vardhan and Gurjars)

  1. In 503 A.D, Toranmal of Hun Dynasty defeated Guptas and captured Rajasthan.
  2. Mihirkula built Shiva temple in Badauli.
  3. Later Mihikula was defeated by Narsingh Baladitya Gupta and Rajasthan was preoccupied by Guptas.
  4. The capital of Gurjar-Pratihar was Bhinmal.
  5. Chinese traveller Huang Tsang visited Bhinmal during his period.
  6. Brahmagupta belongs to Bhinmal.
  7. Gurjar Pratihar stopped Arab invasion from North West.

Other Archeological Sites

1. Ganeshwar: It isLocated on the bank of river Kantali in Sikar District.

Ganeshwar is located near the copper mines of the Sikar-Jhunjhunu area of the Khetri copper belt in Rajasthan. The Ganeshwar-Jodhpura culture group has over 80 other sites currently identified. The period was estimated to be 2500–2000 BC. Historian Ratna Chandra Agrawal wrote that Ganeshwar was excavated in 1977. Excavations revealed copper objects including arrowheads, spearheads, fish hooks, bangles and chisels. With its microliths and other stone tools, Ganeshwar culture can be ascribed to the pre-Harappan period.

Ganeshwar saw three cultural phases: Period 1 (3800 BCE) which was characterized by hunting and gathering communities using chert tools; Period II (2800 BCE) shows the beginnings of metal work in copper and fired clay pottery; Period III (2000 BCE) featured a variety of pottery and copper goods being produced. Nearly one thousand pieces of copper were found here. Red pottery was found here with black portraiture.

2. Sunari: It islocated in Jhunjhunu district, as at other sites, the PGW culture (period I) issucceeded by Period II which is represented by unslipped ware though Black and Redand Black slipped wares of PGW period continue and a few NBP sherds are alsopresent. The important antiquities include a stone plaque bearing auspicious Buddhistsymbol, iron implements and copper objects. Period III is represented by typical potteryof the Sunga Kushana period and important finds include a seal with an inscription inBrahmi characters, terracotta animal figurines, and copper cast coins. It is situated on the bank of river Kantali in Jhunjhunu district and It is a Iron Age site.

3. Kurada

  • It is in Nagaur district and also Called Town of Tools.

4. Iswaal

  • Located in Udaipur district and Industrial Town (Because of Iron Mine in Ancient time)

5. Gardara

  • Located in Bundi district and Rock paintings of ancient India are found.

6. Jodhpura

The Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Rajasthan, undertook excavation at Jodhpura located on Jaipur-Delhi highway. At Jodhpura Period III, represented by the PGW culture, is succeeded by periods of IV and V both Early Historic age. Period IV is marked by occurrence of NBP ware and unslipped red ware. Important finds of this period include iron arrow heads and nails, shell bangle, terracotta humped bull and stone bead. Period V is represented by Sunga Kushana pottery. The common shapes are bowl, lid cum bowl, and lipped bowl with small spouted channel. Some sherds are stamped with Triratna and Swastika symbols. Other finds of the period comprise iron implements, a terracotta ghata shaped bead, a stone bead and a copper coin.

  • It is located on the bank of river Sabi in Jaipur district.
  • This site is known for incised ware, Reserved Slipware, Copper Arrow heads and Celts.

 Paleolithic-Old Stone Age in Rajasthan (5, 00, 00 BC – 10,000 BC)

Man is said to have appeared in the early Pleistocene in Africa about 3 million (30 lakh) years ago. In India, based on recent evidence, man is said to have appeared 1.4 million (14 lakh) years back at Bori, Maharashtra.

  • This Man had no knowledge of cultivation and house building till 9000 years B.C. From there first appearance to beginning of 3000 BC man used tools & implements only made up of stone and so early phase of human existence has been Called as Stone-Age. Based on nature of stone tools and nature of change in climate the stone-age is divided into Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic age period to study history till 1000B.c.

The Paleolithic age has been divided into 3 sub-ages namely:

  • 5,00,000 BC – 1,00,000 BC: Lower Paleolithic or Early Old Stone Age
  • 1,00,000 BC – 40,000 BC: Middle Paleolithic or Middle Old Stone Age
  • 40,000 BC – 10,000 BC: Upper Paleolithic or Later Old Stone Age

1. Lower Paleolithic or Early Old Stone Age (5, 00,000 BC – 1, 00,000 BC)

Acheulian-Handaxes: These areSpecial characteristic stone tools – Hand axe and cleaver.Raw materials used for making stone tools included – quartzite, quartz and basalt. The sites of early Stone Age discovered in Rajasthan have been identified as belonging to Acheulian culture, named after French site of St. Acheul which was the first effective colonization of the Indian subcontinent.The Acheulian culture was a hunter-gatherer culture.Sites of lower-Paleolithic age are located in Nagaur and Didwana of Rajasthan, Barkhera, Bhimbetka and Putlikarar in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh.

2. Middle Paleolithic or Middle Old Stone Age (1, 00,000 BC – 40,000 BC)

 The Acheulian culture of Old Stone Age was slowly transformed into the middle Paleolithic by giving some of the tool types and by developing new tools & technology. Special characteristic of stone tools – Flakes.

  • In comparison to the lower Paleolithic era, the tools in middle Paleolithic became smaller, thinner and lighter.
  • The New raw materials used for making stone tools included fine-grained siliceous rocks like chert and jasper.
  • In our Rajasthan, sites of Middle Paleolithic age are located at Luni valley, around Didwana, Budha Pushkar.

3.  Upper Paleolithic or Later Old Stone Age (40,000 BC – 10,000 BC)               

 The tools of Upper Paleolithic Era are further refined upon the lower and middle periods and show a marked regional diversity with respect to the refinement of techniques and standardization of finished tool forms.

1. Special characteristic of stone tools of Upper Paleolithic age – Flakes and blades.

2. One important discovery is of the Ostrich egg shells at over 40 sites in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, which shows that ostrich, a bird adapted to arid climate.

3. The upper Paleolithic settlements also show a distinct trend of being associated with permanent sources of waters.

4. Society was ‘Band Society‘- small communities, usually consisting of less than 100 people. They were nomadic to some extent moving from one place to another.

5. The earliest form of art by humans also belongs to upper Paleolithic period in the form of rock Paintings (Bhimbetka).

6. Sites of Upper Paleolithic age in Rajasthan included Chittorgarh, Kota and basins of rivers Wagoon, kadamli, Sabarmati & Mahi.

4. Mesolithic-Middle Stone Age in Rajasthan (10,000 BC – 5,000 BC)

The last stage of Old Stone Age or Paleolithic Age was followed by Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age in Rajasthan (in India). The transition from the Paleolithic period to Mesolithic period is marked by transition from Pleistocene period (2.58 million years ago – 10,000BC) to Holocene (10,000 BC – till now) and favorable changes in the climate. The climate became warmer and humid and there was expansion of flora and fauna contributed by increased rainfall. This led to availability of new resources to humans.

Tools of Mesolithic Age: The tools are Mesolithic age were smaller in size and better in finishing (more geometric) than the Paleolithic age and are called as Microlith.

  • The main tool types are backed blades, obliquely truncated blades, points, crescents, triangles and trapezes.
  • Some of the Microlith were used as components of spearheads, arrowheads, knives, sickles, harpoons and daggers.
  • Use of bow and arrows for hunting has been documented by Mesolithic man in rock art of the period.

Changes in Society of Mesolithic Age:

1. Domestication of Animals & Farming: The early period of Mesolithic age was based on the hunting, fishing and food gathering, slowly domestication of animals and cultivation of crops made their way into human life.

  •  The earliest evidence of domestication of animals has been provided by Adamagarh in Madhya Pradesh and Bagor in Rajasthan.
  • The first animals to be domesticated were dog, cattle, sheep and goat and the first crops to be cultivated were wheat and barley.

2. Nomadism to Sedentary settlements:

The favourable climate, better rainfalls, warm atmosphere and increased food security led to reduction in Nomadism to seasonally sedentary settlement and increased population.

They moved to new areas such as nearby rivers which provided water and First human colonization of the Ganga plains took place during this period.

 3. Beginning of customs

  • The Mesolithic age saw beginning of the tradition of various ways of intentional disposal of the dead.
  • Mesolithic human burials have been found at Bagor in Rajasthan, Langhnaj in Gujarat, and Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh etc.

 4. Emergence of Arts:

  • The rock painting of Mesolithic period is found in Adamagarh, Bhimbetka of Madhya Pradesh and Pratapgarh, Mirzapur of Rajasthan.
  • The paintings are made mostly in red and white pigments, made from the nodules found in rocks and earth. (Red made by minerals of iron oxide and white by limestone).
  • The subject matter of the paintings are mostly wild animals and hunting scenes, though there are some related to human social and religious life such as sex and child birth.

Mesolithic sites in Rajasthan:  

  • The Pachpadra basin, Sojat Area & Tilwara of Rajasthan is rich Mesolithic sites and lot of Microlith has been discovered.
  • However, Bagor is the largest Mesolithic site in India.

Neolithic Age in Rajasthan (5,000 BC – 1,000 BC)

Neolithic or new Stone Age, which followed Mesolithic age, was the last phase of Stone Age. The Neolithic period began around 10700 to 9400 BC in Tell Qaramel in Northern Syria. In South Asia the date assigned to Neolithic period is 7000 BC and the earliest example is Mehrgarh Culture.

  Neolithic Revolution:

  • The human settlements in the Mesolithic era got more sedentary and people began settle down in agricultural communities which led to establishment of villages.
  • Man for first time domesticated cattle, sheep and goats.
  •  As efficiency of agriculture improved, man was able to produce surplus food. As a consequence, some people moved away from agriculture and new occupations like dancers, musicians, masonry came up.
  •  The people of this age used tools & implements of polished stone. Neolithic tool kit was composed of heavy ground tools – pestles, mortars, grinders and pounders – as also axes and sickles which have a characteristic sheen on them, the result of harvesting wild or domesticated plants and grasses.

The use of pottery and the wheel and the subsequent invention of crafts like spinning, weaving and bead making also serve to demonstrate the uniqueness of the Neolithic phase. This transition from hunting gathering to food production is called the Neolithic revolution.

Causes of Neolithic Revolution: Factors that pushed humans in vastly separated parts to adopt agriculture and animal domestication included:

i. Climatic change at the beginning of the Holocene period

ii. Increasing population density

iii. Evolving cultural and technological strategies of human groups.

Features of Mehrgarh Neolithic Culture:

Mehrgarh is located on bank of the Bolan River, a tributary of the Indus, at the eastern edge of the Baluchistan plateau overlooking the Indus plain. It is considered as the oldest agricultural settlement in the Indian subcontinent.

  • The main domesticated animals in Mehrgarh were cattle, sheep, goat and water buffalo while the main cultivated plants were wheat and barley.
  •  Houses made in mud and mud-bricks, created rooms to store grains, buried dead under floors of houses where they lived, used ornaments of steatite, turquoise, sea shells etc.
  • Domesticated cotton for the first time. Used pottery decorated with images of birds, animals.
  • Learnt use of making stone beads, copper smelting, timber, terracotta, commercial transactions.
  • The first evidence in human history for the drilling of teeth in a living person was found in Mehrgarh.

Neolithic Age in Rajasthan

There are no significant Neolithic sites that fall in modern Rajasthan.