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Indian History–Vedic Period

In India, around 1500 BC to 600 BC, a completely new civilization and culture has developed. The country had seen various cultures and civilization since the Bronze Age. The most popular Indus Valley civilization had declined by around 1500 BC due to several unknown factors including invasion of Aryans and deforestation. Most of the archaeologists considered the invasion of Aryans the main reason of collapsing the Harappa civilization.

The Aryans came from the Central Asia and entered India through Khyber Pass around 2000 BC-1500 BC. They forcefully introduced their own culture and civilization to the Indus people. Thus, the Indus people began to follow Aryans culture and civilization. However, the social status of Aryans was the rural one as compare to the urban civilized Indus people. This age of Aryans in India is termed as the period of Vedas. In this epoch, four Vedas–Rig Veda, Sam Veda, Yajur Veda, and the last Atharva Veda–came into existence.

The Aryans daily life and beliefs are described in four Vedas. These Vedas are the main literary sources of this Vedic era. The whole Vedic period is divided into two: early Vedic period (2000 BC-1000 BC) and the Later Vedic period (1000 BC to 600 BC).

Early Vedic Period

In the early Vedic period, religious practice was in the form of nature worship. In this period, sun, fire, wind, trees and sky were worshipped. The worship of early Vedic period incorporated chanting of Rig Vedic verses and singing of mantras (yajus). In this early Vedic period, people migrated from one place to another in search of fertile land for agriculture. The caste system was not very rigid. Although, people made differences between white skinned peoples (Aryans) and dark skinned peoples (actually the non Aryans). They lived on agricultural products and other dairy products obtained from their cattle. Almost all the religious performances were to get the victory in battles and to ensure the good productivity from their crops.

Later Vedic Period

Later Vedic period was more synchronized than the early Vedic period. During the later Vedic period, the people started worshipping Gods like Krishna, Vishnu, Prajapati, and Pasupathi Nath. In addition to that, in the later Vedic period, the theory of incarnation and the theory of Karma were broadly accepted and these theories actually became the philosophical truth in the Vedic civilization. In this later Vedic period, animals were sacrificed during worship of God.

Ashram system came into existence in the Vedic period. These ashrams of Vedic period are: Bramacharya ashram, Grihashta ashram, Vannaprashta ashram and the last, Sannyasa ashram. The ashram system was introduced in order to make understand the individual the idea of both karma and dharma in his life. The patriarchal family system was broadly accepted in this era. Marriage was considered as one of the main rituals in an individual’s life.

Cattle carving and agriculture were the two main occupations of the people. People began to live in permanent settlements, which were protected and fortified by warriors. It was mentioned in the Ramayana that the increase in the population led the people of late Vedic period move to the southern part of India.

Epic Age

The later Vedic period is also known as Epic age. In this epoch, great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, and Upanishads were written. Vedic civilization is the forerunner of modern Hinduism. These epics contain broad principles of Hinduism within them. This period is largely characterized by the hereditary form of kingship. The society was divided into four main casts based on their work: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishya, and Shudra. The Brahmins are for conducting the religious duties and Kashtriyas are for protecting the kinship groups. The Vashiyas are merchants and Shudras are for serving the other upper castes. Since the caste system was based on the work performed by the individuals, it was very flexible in the Vedic period. People were allowed to change their occupation and hence their class as per their needs and interests. However, the scope of rising in the society was quite less.

The late Vedic period was noted by the introduction of sixteen Mahajnapadas, marked in some of the literature. Vedic period actually formed the basics for the modern Hinduism. This epoch has contributed immensely for the development of Vedas and other Indian literatures.


  1. Pallav Jadav says:

    I like the information but my way was to find major difference between later & early vedic period

    • Puneet Kuthiala, PMP says:

      Thanks for visiting and taking time to read. I see your point.
      Probably I will also think on those lines…

  2. Prabhjyot says:

    wanted to know the conclusion for comparison of later and early vedic period

  3. jasmine says:

    thnxxx for the information…..this was really helpful



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