Vedic Period: Ancient History of India

The Vedic Age was between 1500 BC and 600 BC. This is the next major civilization that occurred in ancient India after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization by 1400 BC. The Vedas were composed in this period and this gives this age the name. The Vedas are also the chief source of information about this era.

The Vedic Period

  • Aryans migrated to India through the hyber and Bolan passes from central Asia.
  • The places where they settled in India was called Arya Vardham
  • Compiled the prayers of their ancestors as Vedas
  • In History, this was called the Vedic Age

Classified into two:

  • Early Vedic Age
  • Later Vedic Age

Early Vedic Age

  • When Rig Veda was compiled the Aryans lived in Sindhu
  • They settled in Sabta Sindhu (The Land of Seven Rivers) in Punjab
  • Through the Rig Veda, the political and social conditions of the Aryans can be known.

The Social life of Aryans

  • Family -village -ivies ->Jana -Janapatha

Political Life

  • The basic unit of the society was family.
  • Families joined and formed the village which was headed by the Grahmini.
  • Villages formed Visa. (Vis)
  • Vishwapathy was the head of the Visu.
  • Next higher administrative unit was Jana
  • Head of Jana was Rajan (King).
  • Person who had valour and strength became the Rajan
  • People lived in kingdom were Rajas
  • The king was called Prajapati.
  • Kingship became hereditary
  • Many chieftains formed the Mahajanapadas
  • There were two Assemblies called Saba and Samiti
  • Saba – Group of Elders
  • Samiti – Representatives of People

Social Life

  • Father was the head of the family.
  • Women were on par with men
  • In the field of education and religion
  • There were women poets like Viswavara, Abala, Kosa, and Lobamuthra
  • Caste system was not in existence.
  • Caste system was not in existence.
  • Monogamy and Polygamy were in practice
  • Widows’ remarriage was permitted.

Economic Life

  • Cattle rearing and agriculture were the main occupations of the people during Rig Vedic Age
  • Iron was used to make tools and instruments
  • They destroyed the forests and made them into cultivable lands.
  • Carpentry and weaving were also their occupations.
  • They produced cotton and woollen clothes
  • Goldsmiths made ornaments and potters made pots for household use
  • Barter system was in practice.
  • Rivers were used for transportation
  • Their unit of currency Nishka, made of gold


  • They had wheat, barley, milk, curd, ghee, vegetables
  • They drank intoxicating drinks like ‘Soma’ and ‘Sura’

Dresses and ornaments

  • The Aryans used clothes made of cotton and wool
  • Men wore dhoti and shawl.
  • They also wore turbans
  • Women wore upper garments and lower garments.
  • Wore earrings, necklaces, bangles, anklets and wore bands on their foreheads


  • The Aryans worshipped the forces of nature such as Sun, fire, air, sky and trees.
  • They also worshipped Indira, Varna, Agni and Yaman.
  • There was neither temple nor idol worship in the early Vedic age
  • Religious sacrifices were practised
  • They wrote religious principles and their explanations
  • Yagas like Ashvamedha, Rajasuya and Vajapeya were conducted during poojas

Later Vedic Period: (BC 1000- BC 600)

  • The period of Sama Veda, Atharvana Veda, Yajur Veda are called the Later Vedic Period
  • Aryans spread over the eastern side.
  • Pre Vedic Aryans spread from Kabul to Upper Ganges
  • During this period the kingdoms emerge
  • During this period Brahmanas, Upaninshads and Aranyakas were also written

Political Life

  • Kingdoms like Kosala, Videham, Kuru, Magadha, Kasi, Avanthi and Panchala emerged
  • Kingship became hereditary.
  • Sacrifices such as Rajasuya and Ashvamedha were performed to establish his undisputed authority.
  • Saba and Samiti declined

Economic Life

  • Metal widely used was iron
  • Handicrafts improved
  • They grew paddy, sugarcane, barley and wheat.
  • Cow dung was used as manure
  • Cattle wealth developed.
  • Caste system became rigid which was called Varna Dharma.
  • Who performed sacrifices and religious ceremonies were called Brahmans
  • Who performed sacrifices and religious ceremonies were called Brahmans
  • The Vaishyas were the traders and farmers.

Status of women

  • No improvement in the status of women
  • They were subordinate to men.
  • They did not inherit property
  • Deprived of administrative power.
  • Child marriage was prevalent
  • Sati, according to which the widow would throw herself into the funeral pyre of her husband, was in practice.


  • Brahmin students stayed in the Gurukul
  • There were highly educated women like Gargi and Maitreyi
  • There were highly educated women like Gargi and Maitreyi.
  • Royal children alone were taught Danur Veda (military strategy).


  • The prevedic Gods lost their importance
  • In this period, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra (Siva) gained importance.
  • Rituals and animal sacrifices gained importance
  • Rituals and animal sacrifices gained importance
  • People had faith in soul, fate and moksha
  • Against these meaningless rituals and costly sacrifices, Buddhism and Jainism originated.

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