General Knowledge Study Material Part 2

You will find here the best content on Early History of India. In competitive exams, General Knowledge is among the four main sections like English LanguageQuantitative Aptitude, and Reasoning Ability Tests. General Knowledge Study Material Part 2 includes the most important questions, and Free Mock Tests.


Indus Valley Civilization ( 3000  to 1500 B.C. )

  • The discovery of the Indus Valley Civilization was made in 1922 .
  • The Indus Valley people lived in houses made of Bricks and stones.
  • The Harappan people amused themselves by gambling, dancing & hunting.
  • The Indus Valley people are renowned for making ‘Great baths’.
  • The Harappan people carried on trade with Sumer ( Southern – Babylonia ) .
  • The Indus Valley people appear to have worshipped trees, animals, Lord Shiva and the mother Goddess.
  • The animals with which Indus Valley people were not acquainted was horse .
  • The Indus Valley people knew the art of writing .

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Vedic Culture ( 2500 B.C. to 600 B.C. )

  • The oldest and longest of the Vedas is Rigveda .
  • The basis of the Vedanta School of Indian Philosophy is Upanishads .
  • The Aryans came to India from Central Asia.
  • The Aryans worshipped nature and their Gods were Varuna, Indra and agni .
  • Manu was the famous ‘ law giver ’ while Panini was ‘Sanskrit Gramaranian.
  • The Rig Vedic Aryans were under a ‘Monarchial Government’ and were mainly occupied in agriculture.

Later Vedic or Epic Period

During this period, 2500 years ago, the great epics the RAMAYANA AND MAHABHRATA were written by Valmiki & Ved Vyasa respectively. They depict the social, political, religious and economic life of the Aryans during this period.

Big cities like Ayodhya , Indraprastha and Mathura developed during this period .

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Religious Movements in India

The Brahminical Faith was dominant religion in the later Vedic Period .

The Brahmins monopolized religion by making the performance of rituals and sacrifices necessary and by becoming the only one to perform them.

Buddhism a religion founded by Gautam Buddhawas a reaction against the pretensions of Brahmins and the authority of the Vedas.

Buddha was born at Lumbini in 367 B.C. and died at Kushinagar. He attained enlightenment Under the pepal tree at the age of 35 .

Buddha started his preachings for the first time at Sarnath .

Tripitakas are Buddhist scripture in Pali .

The Jataka tales tell us about the lives of the Bodhisattvas & propagated moral values.

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Buddha believed in ‘re-birth’.

Buddhism was later split into two parts  :

  • Mahayan ( or Great Vehicle ) and
  • Hinayan   ( or Lesser Vehicle) .

Buddhism was made a world religion by Ashoka and Kanishka .

Buddha’s teachings have been said to be along the ‘ Middle Path ’ because it avoided the extremes of habitual sensuality and habitual self – torture .

‘Jainism’ was founded by ‘Mahavira’ ( 24th Tirthankara ) who emphasized on practicing a highly moral life of (a) right faith, (b)  right knowledge (c) right action which is Known as the Three Jewels or Triratana  .

The Jain Church also, in course of time, was split into two sects :

  • DIGAMBER  ( Sky clad ) &
  • SHWETAMBER  ( White clad )
  • ‘ANGA’, ‘UPANGA’ and ‘MALSUTRA’ are the Scriptures of Jainism.
  • Mahabir attained ‘ Nirvana’ at Pawapuri in Bihar.
  • Mahavir preached “Absolute Ahimsa” because everything including wind, fire or stone had a soul .

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Bhakti Movement

The ‘ BHAKTI MOVEMENT ’ was started in the South in the 8th Century A.D. by Swami Shankaracharya ( born in Kerala) .

The most prominent exponents of Bhakti cult were Kabir and Ramanand in U.P., Ramanuja in the South, Jaidev and Chaitanya in Bengal, Namdeva, Ramdas, Tukaram in Maharashtra and Nanak in the Punjab.

The preachers of Bhakti Cult emphasized on oneness of God, condemned caste system and preached man’s equality before God.


‘SIKHISM’ was founded by Guru Nanak.

‘GURUMUKHI SCRIPT’ for the spoken language of Punjabis, was introduced by GURU ANGAD ( IInd SIKH GURU ) .

The modern City of Amritsar was founded by GURU RAMDAS ( IVth Sikh Guru ) in 1577 A.D.

‘Golden Temple’ was built by Guru Arjun Dev .

Guru Arjun Dev ( 5th Sikh Guru ) compiled the ‘ADI GRANTH’ .

In 1606 A.D. Guru Arjun Dev was executed by Jahangir .

‘KHALSA’ created by Guru Govind Singh who was the tenth and the last Guru of the Sikhs.

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ISLAM’ was founded by prophet Mohammad who was born in Mecca in 570 A.D.

The opposition to the preaching of Mohammad compelled him to flee Medina in 622 A.D. ( Mohammedan Calendar of Hijra begins from this date) .

Koran is the holy book of the Muslims and Macca is the place of their pilgrimage.

In 1581 A.D. Akbar founded DIN-E-ILAHI to create religious tolerance and unity among people of different religions.


‘MODERN HINDUISM’ may be dated from the days of Swami Sankaracharya more than 1000 years ago .

‘RAMANUJA’ modified Shankara’s philosophy of ‘Advaita’ and preached a new philosophy of ‘Vishishtadvaita’ .

‘ARYA SAMAJ’ was founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati who started organized work of the revitalization of Hinduism.

Ramkrishana Mission was founded by Swami Vivekananda in the latter half  of the 19th Century in honour of his Guru, Ramakrishna.

Panch Sheel :  ‘Five principles’ of peaceful co-existence. It was first drafted by India in 1954 and Promulgated at the 1955 conference of Apro-Asian states at Bandung, Indonesia .

The principles are : Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful Co-existence.

Kings & Empires in Ancient India

ALEXANDER crossed the Indus at Ohind in 327 B.C. He was the son of Philip, King of Macedonia.

Alexander’s invasion of India opened the land route from Europe to India .

Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander in Greece .

Chanakya, a shrewd Brahman diplomat, was the Chief Adviser of Chandragupta Maurya  who ascended the throne of Magadha in 322 B.C. and in the course of time became the first Indian king who can really be called a National Ruler.

‘ARTHA  SHASTRA’ , written by Kautilya or Chanakya, lays down the ideal of kingship and is a standard book on Politics and the art of government .

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Nanda King ruled in Magadha.

The last ruler of Maurya dynasty was Brihadrath.

‘Mudrarakshasa’ , written by Visakhadutta, throws light on the events relating to the foundation of the Mauryan dynasty.

Pataliputra was the Capital of Mauryas .

Ashok (273-232 B.C.) was the son of Bindusara .

Ashoka conquered Kalinga in 261 B.C. The conquest and casualties of which is described in his ‘Rock Edict XIII’.

After the Kalinga war Ashoka embraced Buddhism .

The fourth Buddhist council was held during the reign of the Ashoka .

The Gandhar and Mathura School of Art flourished in the time of Kanishka .


GUPTA  DYNASTY was founded by Chandragupta I and is known as the ‘Golden Age’ of Hindu India.

Samundragupta ( the ‘Indian Napoleon’) performed the ‘Ashwamedha Yajna’.

The court language of the Guptas was Sanskrit .

Aryabhatta was the first to enunciate that the earth is round and revolves round the sun.

The paintings at Ajanta and Ellora belong to the Gupta period .

The greatest effect of the Hum invasion on Indian Political field was that India’s political unity was destroyed .

Harsh Vardhan was the son of Prabhakar Vardhana, the Raja of Thanesar .

Chalukyan king Pulakesin II defeated Harsha Vardhana on the banks of Narmada.

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Important Dynasties in The South

Chalukyan dynasty was founded by Pulakesin I.

Chola dynasty was founded by Parantoka I in 907.

It was during the reign of Cholas that the Indians launched overseas conquests and many islands like Lacchadvips and  Maldives conquered.

Village assemblies were developed during the reign of the Cholas .

Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1565-AD), a Hindu rule in the South India, was founded by Harihara & Bukka.

Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagar empire.

In the Battle of Talikota ( 1565 AD ) THE Vijayanagar ruler Ramaraja was killed and  this ended once for all the chances for Hindu supremacy in South  India .

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Important Muslim Dynasties & Rulers in India

In 712 A.D. Mohammad Bin Quasim conquered  Sindh and Multan but because of the strong opposition by the Rajput kings could not set up a permanent kingdom in India .

Mohmud od gazni ( 997 – 1030 A.D. ) made 17 invasions of India from 1000 – 1026 A.D. and plundered much of the wealth of the country .

In 1025 A.D. Mahud of Gazni looted enormous wealth from Somnath Temple in Gujarat .

Mohammad Ghori ( 1186 – 1206 AD ) is considered to be the founder of  muslim rule in India

In the first Battle of Tarain ( 1191 A.D.) Prithviraj defeated Mohd. Ghori. But in the Second Battle of Terain (1192 A.D. ) Mohd. Ghori defeated  Prithviraj at Thanesar.

Qutab-ud-din-Aibak (1206 – 1210) was a slave of Mohd. Ghori and was popularly known as ‘Lakh Baksh’      ( giver of lakhs of rupees ) .

Altmosh, the Son-in-law of Qutab-ud-din-Aibak, completed the Qutab Minor which was begun by Qutab – ud- din-Aibak .

The first and only muslim woman ruler of India was Razia Begum ( 1236 – 1239 ) . She was the daughter of Altmash .

Ala-Ud-din Khilji (1296 -1316 A.D.) was the first muslim ruler to undertake a conquest of the South and annexed it to his sultanate.

Mohammad Tughlaq (1325 – 1351 A.D.) was a man of ideas but he failed to put his plans into practices. He introduced ‘Token coins of brass and Copper’ and ordered that these be considered at par with gold and silver but had to withdraw them when counterfeit ‘token coins’ appeared.

The last king of the Lodi dynasty was Ibrahim Lodi . He was a tyrant.

In 1526 A.D. Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat and laid the foundation of the Mughal rule in India.

In 1527 A.D. Babar defeated Rana Sanga in the battle of Khanwa .

Sher Shah Suri constructed the Grand Trunk Road from Peshawar to Calcutta .

The tomb of Sher Shahr Suri is at Sasaram ( Bihar ) which is a notable specimen of art .

Jaziz, imposed on non-muslims, was abolished by Akbar and re-imposed by Aurangzeb.

‘Akbar Name’ and ‘Ain-i-Akbari’ were written by Abul Fazal .

Akbar had the Mahabharata and Ramayana translated into Persian .

‘Padmavat’ was written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi .

Mughal painting flourished during the reign of Jahagir .

Jahagir permitted to establish a factory at Surat in 1612 A.D. to the East India Company .

The famous masterpieces of artitecture such as the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Peacock throne belongs to the reign of Shah Jahan and his resign can rightly be called ‘ Golden Age of the Mughals’.

Auranazeb was burried at Daulatabad .

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Literary Developments during the Medieval Kingdoms

RajtaranginiBy Kalhan ( Kashmir )  
UttarramcharitBy Bhavabhuti  
Prithviraj RasoBy Chand Bardoi  
Geet GobindBy Jaidev ( Bengal )  
Shankar Bhashya & Prasthantray  Upnishad, Bhagvadgita and BrahmasutraBy Shankaracharya
Sangeet Chooramani & Sangeet RatnakarBy Jagdevmall ( Chalukya King )
Siddhartha Shiromani   By Bhaskaracharya
Katha Sarit Sagar             By Somadeva
Vikramankadevacharita               By Bilhana
Bhoj Prabandh By Belala
HitopdeshBased on Panchatantra

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Architectural Developments during the Medieval Kingdoms

Two types of temple architecture appeared during this period :

  • North Indian &
  • South Indian

The most important North Indian Temples are :

The temples of Khajuraho built by the Chandelas in the 11th Century.

Dilwara Jain Temples ( Mount Abu, Gujarat ) by Solanki rulers.

Lingaraja Temple ( Bhubaneswhar ) and Sun Temple at Konarka ( Orissa ) by Narasimha I.

Jagannath Temple ( Puri ) and the Mukteswar Temple ( Orissa ) .

The most important South Indian Temples are :

The Ellora temples and the Elephanta Cave temples built by the Rashtrakutas.

Hoysaleswara Temple ( DORASAMUDRA ) built by the Hoysalas .

Channa Kehva Temple ( Belur, West Bengal ) by Hoysala king .

The Rock Temples at Mahabalipuram by the Pallava King Narsimbha.

Meenakshi Temple ( Madurai, T.N. ) by the Rulers of the Nayaka Dynasty.

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General Knowledge Study Material Part 1

General Knowledge Study Material Part 3


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