India History: The Indian timeline takes us on a tour across the subcontinent’s history. From ancient India, which includes Bangladesh and Pakistan, to the free and divided India, this time line covers every facet of the country’s past and current. Continue reading to learn more about India’s timeline:

First humans migrate to India (70,000–50,000 BCE)

  • The first human migrations out of Africa are believed to have occurred 70,000 years ago. Over a few thousand years, migrants made their way down India’s shore.
  • Because sea levels were 200 feet lower than they are now, the migration was possible, permitting travel through long-since drowned land bridges.
  • DNA markers have been used to identify the descendants of the migrants as far north as the Pakistani coast and as far south as the Kallar clan on the Kerala coast in modern India, where entire villages share ancient DNA strains.
  • There are pockets of tribal peoples along India’s west coast who may be descendants from these initial human migrations.
  • They have remained essentially self-contained, endogamous (marrying within the tribe), physically distinct in appearance, and outside the Hindu caste system until the contemporary day.
  • Many people still speak languages that are separate from the major Northern and Southern Indian language groupings.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (9000 BC to 7000 BC)

·    The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka contain the earliest documents of Indian history.

·   These shelters are located in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau.

·  There are five groups of rock shelters, each having paintings that are thought to date from the Mesolithic Period to the Historical Period.

Mehrgarh Culture (7000 BC to 3300 BC)

·    Mehrgarh is one of the most important Neolithic Age sites. It is also one of the oldest sites indicating the arrival of the concept of farming and herding.

·   It is located on the Kachi plain of Baluchistan (Pakistan), west of the Indus River valley. Mehrgarh, which covers an area of 495 acres, was discovered in 1974.

Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC to 1700 BC)

In the 1920s, the Indus Valley Civilization was found. The following are the important events in the Indus Valley timeline:

Early Harappan Phase (3300 BC to 2600 BC)

  • The early Harappan Phase lasted for approximately 700 years, starting with the Ravi Phase.
  • It is one of the three first urban civilizations and used an early variation of the Indus script for writing, known as Harappan script.
  • The Kot Diji era of the Indus Valley Civilization began around 2800 BC.
  • Harappa was a Bronze Age urban town discovered in the 1920s near the former route of the Ravi River in northeast Pakistan.
  • Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, a similarly structured city further south on the banks of the Indus River, are considered to be part of the same huge civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished from 2600 to 1900 BCE.

Mature Harappan Phase (2600 BC to 1700 BC)

  • Around 2600 BC, the Mature Harappan Phase began. Large towns and urban regions began to emerge, and the civilization grew to include approximately 2,500 cities and settlements.
  • Other characteristics of the mature phase include great sewage and drainage systems, a system of consistent weights and measures, knowledge of proto-dentistry, and so on.
  • Even though many of its bricks were looted during the construction of a railway in the nineteenth century, remnants of Harappa’s fortress wall are still visible.
  • Archaeological discoveries show that the city’s granaries were positioned north of the citadel, with a cemetery to the south.

Late Harappan Phase (1700 BC to 1300 BC)

  • The Late Harappan Phase started around 1700 BC and ended around 1300 BC. However, many features of the Indus Valley Civilization can be found in succeeding societies.
  • The streets were planned up in a grid-like form, similar to the other towns of the Indus Valley Civilization, running either north to south or east to west.
  • The settlement’s one- or two-story flat-roof houses included indoor plumbing that connected to a highly constructed drainage and waste management system.
  • Painted pottery, bronze and copper tools, terra cotta figures, and numerous inscribed stamped seals with animal patterns have been discovered at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro.
  • Despite these discoveries, the identities of the cities’ rulers remain unknown.

Vedic Period/Age (1700 BC to 500 BC)

  • The Vedic Period or Vedic Age refers to the period in India when the revered Vedic Sanskrit writings were compiled.
  • The Vedic Civilization, located on the Indo-Gangetic Plain, served as the foundation for Hinduism and Indian culture.
  • The Vedic Period can be divided into two sections:

Early Vedic/Rig Vedic Period (1700 BC to 1000 BC)

·   The Early Vedic Period is the time when the Rig Veda was compiled. During this time, the monarch was seen as the people’s protector, and he was actively involved in government.

·  The caste system became more rigid, and families became more patriarchal. The following notable events occurred during this period:

o    1700 BC – Late Harappan and Early Vedic periods converge

o    1300 BC – End of the Cemetery H culture

o    1000 BC – India’s Iron Age

Later Vedic Age (1000 BC to 500 BC)

·  The development of the later Vedic period was marked by agriculture being the major economic activity and cow rearing declining in importance.

·   The political organisation shifted dramatically, with fewer persons involved in administration.

·   The following are the key events:

o    600 BC – The formation of Sixteen Maha Janapadas (Great Kingdoms)

o    599 BC – The birth of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism

o    563 BC – The birth of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), the founder of Buddhism

o    538 BC – Cyrus the Great conquered parts of Pakistan

o    500 BC – Panini standardised grammar and morphology of Sanskrit, converting it The Vedic Civilization came to an end with this.

Ancient India (500 BCE – 550 AD)

Rise of Jainism and Buddhism

  • Jainism, also known as Jain Dharma, is a religious philosophy that originated in Ancient India. The religion is based on the Tirthankaras’ teachings.
  • Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, is credited with spreading the faith throughout the world. Buddhism is based on Lord Buddha’s teachings, who was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama.
  • Following his enlightenment, Lord Buddha began about teaching people how to obtain nirvana.
  • Emperor Asoka later spread his teachings throughout the world.
  • The following are the other key events of the Ancient Indian period:
    • 333 BC – Darius III is defeated by Alexander the Great.
    • The Macedonian Empire was founded in 326 BC, when Ambhi, King of Taxila, surrendered to Alexander at the Battle of the Hydaspes River.
    • 200 to 100 BC – Tholkappiyam standardized grammar and morphology of Tamil 
    • 184 BC – Collapse of the Maurya Empire with the assassination of Emperor Brihadrata, establishment of the Sunga dynasty
    • 180 BC – Establishment of the Indo-Greek kingdom
    • 80 BC – Establishment of the Indo-Scythian kingdom
    • 10 BC – Establishment of the Indo-Parthian kingdom
    • 68 AD – Establishment of the Kushan Empire by Kujula Kadphises
    • 78 AD – Gautamiputra Satk – Chandragupta I established the Gupta Empire
    • 335 AD – Samudragupta established the Gupta Empire and began extending it 350 AD – Pallava Empire established
    • 380 AD – Chandragupta II established the Gupta Empire
    • 399 to 414 AD – Chinese scholar Fa-Hien travels to India

Medieval Period (550 AD to 1526 AD)

The medieval period can be divided into the following two phases: 

Early Medieval Period (Upto 1300 AD)

·         606 AD – Harshavardhana became King

·         630 AD – Hiuen Tsiang travelled to India

·         761 AD – First Muslim invasion by Mohammed Bin Qasim

·         800 AD – Shankaracharya’s birth

·         814 AD – Nripatunga Amoghavarsha I became Rashtrakuta king

·         1000 AD – Invasion by Mahmud of Ghazni

·         1017 AD – Alberuni travelled to India

·         1100s AD – Rule of the Chandelas, Cholas, Kadambas, and Rashrakutas

·         1120 AD – Kalyani Chalukya Empire reached its peak, and Vikramaditya VI established the Vikrama Chalukya Era

·         1191 AD – First battle of Tarain between Mohammed Ghori and Prithivi Raj Chauhan III

·         1192 AD – Second battle of Tarain between Ghauri and Prithivi Raj Chauhan III

Late Medieval Period (1300 AD to 1500 AD)

·   1300 AD – Establishment of the Khilji Dynasty

·  1336–1565 AD – Vijayanagar Empire

Post-Medieval Era (1526 AD to 1818 AD)

The major events in the post medieval era are:

  • 1526 AD – Babur, the Mughal ruler of Kabul, invaded Delhi and Agra and killed Sultan Ibrahim Lodi 
  • 1527 AD – Battle of Khanwa, in which Babur annexed Mewar 
  • 1530 AD – Babur died and was succeeded Humayun 
  • 1556 AD – Humayun died and was succeeded by his son Akbar
  • 1600 AD – East India company was formed in England 
  • 1605 AD – Akbar died and was succeeded by Jehangir 
  • 1628 AD – Jehangir died and was succeeded by Shah Jahan 
  • 1630 AD – Shivaji was born 
  • 1658 AD – Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal, Jamia Masjid and Red Fort. 
  • 1659 AD – Shivaji defeated Adilshahi troops at the Battle of Pratapgarh 
  • 1674 AD – Maratha Empire was established 
  • 1680 AD – Shivaji died 
  • 1707 AD – Aurangzeb died and was succeeded by Bahadur Shah I 
  • 1707 AD – Maratha Empire broke into two divisions 
  • 1734 AD – Pamheiba invaded Tripura 
  • 1737 AD – Bajirao I conquered Delhi 
  • 1740 AD – Bajirao I died and was succeeded by Balaji Bajirao
  • 1757 AD – Battle of Plassey was fought 
  • 1761 AD – Third battle of Panipat ended the expansion of Maratha Empire 
  • 1766 AD – First Anglo-Mysore War 
  • 1777 AD – First Anglo-Maratha War 
  • 1779 AD – Battle of Wadgaon 
  • 1780 AD – Second Anglo-Mysore War 
  • 1789 AD – Third Anglo-Mysore War 
  • 1798 AD – Fourth Anglo-Mysore War 
  • 1799 AD – Tipu Sultan died, Wodeyar dynasty was restored 
  • 1803 AD – Second Anglo-Maratha War 
  • 1817 AD – Third Anglo-Maratha War begins 
  • 1818 AD – End of the Maratha Empire and British control over most of India 

Colonial Era (1818 AD to 1947 AD)

The Colonial Era started with the British taking control over almost all the parts of India and ended with the freedom of India in 1947. The major events that took place during the Colonial Era are: 

  • 1829 AD – Prohibition of Sati 
  • 1857 AD – First Indian war of Independence, known as Indian Mutiny 
  • 1885 AD – Indian National Congress was formed 
  • 1930 AD – Dandi Salt March, Simon Commission, First Round Table Conference 
  • 1915 AD – Home Rule League was founded by Annie Besant 
  • 1919 AD – Massacre at Jallianwalabagh 
  • 1931 AD – Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British, Second Round Table Conference, Gandhi-Irvin Pact 
  • 1919 AD – Khilafat Movement, Jalianwala Bagh Massacre, Rowlat Act 
  • 1937 AD – Congress won power in many states, World War II broke out 
  • 1921 AD – Civil Disobedience Movement 
  • 1928 AD – Murder of Lala Lajpat Rai 
  • 1942 AD – Quit India Movement, Rise of Subhash Chandra Bose 
  • 1922 AD – Quit India Movement suspended after the Chauri-Chura violence 
  • 1946 AD – Muslim League adamant about the formation of Pakistan 
  • 1947 AD – India gained independence and witnessed partition 

Free and Modern India (1947 onwards)

·   India gained independence in 1947, and the country’s battle to become one of the world’s leading nations began that year.

·   Today, the country is regarded as having one of the world’s fastest expanding economies.

Table of Timeline of India History

The following table illustrates the major events and respective timelines of India −

9000 BCEPeriod of early Neolithic culture
9000 BCEBhimbetka rock shelters (found in Madhya Pradesh region); also evidenced some of the Stone Age rock paintings
7000 to 2500 BCEMehergarh Culture (Neolithic Age)
3300 to 1700 BCEPhase of Indus Valley Civilization
1800 BCEIndo-Aryan migration
1500 to 1000 BCEEarly Vedic Period
1300 BCEEnd of Cemetery H culture
1200 BCERigveda Period
1000 to 500 BCELate Vedic period
1000 BCEIron Age of India
877 BCEBirth of Parsvanatha (23rd Jain Tirthankara)
700 BCEAge of Upanishads
600 BCEPeriod of Sixteen Maha Janapadas
599 BCEBirth of Mahavira (24th Tirthankar of Jainism)
563 BCEBirth of Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha)
558–491 BCEBimbisara (also known as Srenika) founded Haryanka dynasty
527 BCENirvana of Mahavira
492–460 BCEPeriod of Ajatshatru (son of Bimbisara)
483 BCEMahaparinirvana of Gautama Buddha
350 BCEPanini (a resident of Gandhara) had written Ashtadhyayi (Sanskrit Grammar book)
326 BCEBattle of the Hydaspes River between Porus and Alexander
321 BCEChandragupta Maurya established Mauryan Empire in Magadha
305 BCEChandragupta Maurya defeated Seleucus Nicator
300 BCEChola dynasty (in south India)
297–273 BCEPeriod of Bindusara (son of Chandragupta Maurya)
268–232 BCEPeriod of the Great Ashoka (son of Bindusara)
265 BCEKalinga War (between Ashoka and the kingdom of Kalinga)
260 BCEAshoka inscribed the Edicts of Ashoka (written in Brahmi script)
251 BCEMahinda (son of Ashoka) introduced Buddhism to Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
250 BCEThe followers of Buddhists carved the first cave temples (namely Lomas Rishi)
232 BCEAshoka died (Kunala, his son, succeeded)
184 BCEAfter the assassination of Brihadrata (by his general Pushyamitra shunga), Mauryan empire collapsed
184 BCEEstablishement of the Shunga dynasty by Pushyamitra Shunga
78 BCEBeginning of Saka era
57 BCEBeginning of Vikram Era
Common Era (CE)
10 CEThe Indo-Parthian kingdom established
240 CESri-Gupta established the Gupta Empire in Magadha (and its capital was in Pataliputra)
275 CEPallava dynasty established
320 CEChandragupta I became the king of Gupta empire
335 CESamudragupta became the king of Gupta empire
380 CEChandragupta II (son of Samudragupta) became the Gupta Emperor
405 CEFahien, the Chinese traveler came India
450 CEHuna invasions
554 CEAfter the death of skandagupta, Gupta empire collapsed
606 CEHarshavardhana became the kind
629 CEChinese monk Huang Tsang (Xuanzang) came to India
753 CEAfter defeating Chalukyas of Badami, Danti Durga established Rashtrakuta Kingdom
788 CEBirth of Adi Shankaracharya
1001 CEInvasion of Mahmud Ghazni
1025 CELast invasion of Mahmud Ghazni that lead to destruction of temple of Somnath
1030 CEDeath of Mahmud of Ghazni
1030 CEAlberuni came India
1191 CEFirst battle of Tarain between Mohammed Ghori and Prithviraj III (Ghauri was defeated)
1192 CESecond battle of Tarain between Mohammed Ghori and Prithviraj III (Prithviraj was defeated)
1154 CEBattle of Chandawar fought between Ghauri and Jaichand of Kannauj (Ghauri defeated Jayachandra and killed)
1192 CEQutb al-Din Aybak constructed the Qutub Minar in Delhi
1206 CEQutb-ud-din Aibak established ‘Slave Dynasty’ (which later came to known as Delhi Sultanate)
1210 CEWhile playing polo, Qutb-ud-din Aibak died
1221 CEInvasion of Changez Khan (Mongol invasion)
1240 CERazia Sultan was killed by Turkish nobles
1336 CEHarihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I founded the Vijayanagara Empire
1398 CETimur’s invasion
1483 CEBabur born
1498 CEThe first voyage of Vasco de Gama from Europe to India
1526 CEThe first Battle of Panipat in which Mughal ruler Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi
1530 CEBabur died and his son Humayun became the emperor
1539 CEBattle of Chausa fought between Mughal emperor Humayun and Sher Shah Suri (Humayun defeated)
1540 CEBattle of Kannauj fought between Humayun and Sher Shah Suri and Humayun. Humayun lost the Mughal empire and hence escaped from India
1545 CESher Shah Suri died and his son Islam Shah Suri succeeded
1554 CEIslam Shah Suri died
1555 CEHumayun recuperated the throne of Delhi
1556 CEHumayun died and Akbar (his 12-year-old son) succeeded
1556 CESecond Battle of Panipat fought between Hemu and Akbar’s forces (Hemu was defeated and killed)
1576 CEBattle of Haldighati fought between Rana Pratap and Akbar (Akbar defeated Rana Pratap)
1600 CEEast India company is formed (in England) resultantly received exclusive trading rights with India
1605 CEAkbar died and his son Jahangir succeeded
1628 CEJehangir died and his son Shah Jahan succeeded
1627 CEBirth of Chatrapati Shivaji
1658 CEAurangzeb became the Mughal emperor
1666 CEShah Jahan died
1674 CEShivaji defeated Mughal emperor’s troops and established Maratha empire
1680 CEDeath of Shivaji
1707 CEDeath of Aurangzeb
1739 CEInvasion of Nadir Shah
1756 CEBlack Hole of Calcutta incident
1760 CEBattle at Wandewash (British troops defeated French)
1761 CEThird Battle of Panipat fought between Maratha and Afghans (led by Ahmad Shah); Marathas were defeated
1767 CEFirst Anglo-Mysore War (Haidar Ali of Mysore defeated the combined armies of the East India Company)
1772 CEBirth of Ram Mohan Roy
1773 CEWarren Hastings appointed as first Governor-General of India
1799 CEFourth Anglo-Mysore War (Tipu Sultan died in the war)
1806 CEVellore Mutiny
1814Raja Ram Mohan Roy established “Atmiya Sabha”
1820 CEBirth of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
1824 CEBirth of Dayananda Saraswati
1836 CEBirth of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa
1853 CEStarted Postal Service in India
1853 CEFirst Rail run between Bombay and Thane
1855 CESanthal rebellion
1856 CEHindu Widows’ Remarriage Act
1856 CEBirth of Bal Gangadhar Tilak
1857 CESepoy Mutiny
1861 CEBirth of Rabindranath Tagore
1863 CEBirth of Swami Vivekanand
1865 CEBirth of Lala Lajpat Rai
1869 CEBirth of Mahatma Gandhi
1873 CESatyashodhak Samaj was established by Jyotirao Phule
1875 CEArya Samaj was established
1877 CEFirst time Delhi Durbar organized
1885 CEIndian National Congress was founded
1899 CEV.D.Savarkar organized ‘Mithra Mela’
1902 CEAnushilan Samiti was organized
1905 CEPartition of Bengal
1906 CEMuslim League formed in Dacca
1907 CECongress Session at Surat (Congress divided as Moderate and Extremists)
1908 CEAlipore bomb case
1909 CEMorley-Minto Reforms
1911 CECancellation of Partition of Bengal
1911 CEBritish government moved capital city from Calcutta to Delhi
1912 CEDelhi conspiracy case
1913 CEFormation of Gadar Party
1914 CEHindu–German Conspiracy
1916 CELucknow Pact
1917 CEChamparan and Kheda Satyagraha
1919 CEJallianwala Bagh massacre
1919 CEMontagu–Chelmsford Reforms
1919 CERowlatt Act
1920 CENon-cooperation movement (Khilafat Movement)
1922 CEChauri Chaura incident
1924 CEFormation of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association
1925 CEKakori conspiracy
1927 CESimon Commission
1928 CEBardoli Satyagraha
1929 CEBhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt bombed on Central Assembly
1929 CEResolution of Purna Swaraj
1930 CESalt Satyagraha (Dandi March)
1930 CEFirst Round Table Conferences
1931 CEGandhi–Irwin Pact
1931 CEBhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev martyred
1931 CESecond Round Table Conferences
1932 CEPoona Pact
1932 CECommunal Award
1932 CEThird Round Table Conferences
1935 CEGovernment of India Act 1935
1937 CEIndian provincial elections
1939 CESubhas Chandra Bose established ‘All India Forward Bloc’
1940 CELahore Resolution
1940 CEAugust offer (1940)
1942 CECripps’ Mission
1942 CEQuit India Movement
1942 CESubhas Chandra Bose established Indian National Army
1944 CESubhas Chandra Bose named Mahatma Gandhi as the ‘Father of the Nation’
1945 CEWavell Plan (Simla Conference)
1946 CERoyal Indian Navy Mutiny
1946 CECabinet Mission
1946 CEGreat Calcutta Killings
1947 CEIndian Independence Act 1947
1947 CEPartition of India and Pakistan (both became independent nations)