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India once again became a land of several kingdoms, which were frequently at war with each other. The three most important dynasties were the Rajputs, the Pallavas and the Chalukyas. However, in the 9th century a new empire arose in Southern India - the Cholas.

In the late 10th century the Chola king Rajaraja-I began to expand his kingdom. He conquered the neighboring kingdoms of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The next king, Rajenda I took more territory, including the Ganges and the Andaman Islands. The Chola was a prosperous empire and trade with Southeast Asia and the Arabs thrived.

In the 10th century Turks from central Asia conquered Afghanistan. Under
Brief History Of India
their ruler Mahmud 971-1030, they conquered Punjab. He led raids deep into India and plundered temples. The Turks were able to conquer large parts of Northern India and they created a powerful state - the Delhi Sultanate.

Under the Sultan Qutubuddin and Iltumish, the Sultanate flourished. Iltumish was succeeded by his daughter Raziya. She reigned for only 3 years before she was murdered. But the Sultanate of Delhi declined rapidly in the late 14th century. The final blow came in 1498 when Timurlane, a descendent of Genghis Khan sacked Delhi and massacred most of the inhabitants. At around the same time, another empire arose in the South - the Vijayangar. The Vijayanagar Empire is named after its capital city. The rulers of Vijayanager gradually consolidated their empire, reaching a peak in the 16th century. By then a new empire had arisen - the Mughals.

The Mughal Empire was founded by Babur, a descendant of Changez Khan. From 1504 he was ruler of part of what is now Afghanistan. From the Turks he had learned to use cannons. Guns helped him defeat the Indian kings who were still using traditional methods of warfare. Babur first raided India in 1517 and in 1525 he invaded. In 1526 Babur crushed the army of Ibrahim Lodi at the battle of Panipat.

Other Indian rulers now united against Babur but they were crushed at the battle of Khanau in 1527.

He was succeeded by his son Humayan 1508-1556.  Humayan’s son Akbar is widely regarded as the greatest Mughal ruler. Akbar also reorganized the government and he created an efficient civil service. Akbar was a Muslim but he was tolerant in matters of religion. He abolished a tax previous rulers had levied on non-Muslims. Persian literature flourished in India during his reign. Persian and Hindu styles of painting merged to form a new style of Mughal painting.
Brief History Of India

Akbar was succeeded by his son Jahangir. Under him Mughal influence in the South of India increased and the empire flourished.

The Mughal Empire reached its zenith in the 17th century its only weakness being powers struggles among the ruling family and occasional rebellions. Shah Jahan became ruler in 1627. Under him the empire prospered. He is famous for building the Taj Mahal, erected as a memorial to his queen Mumatz Mahal. Work began on it in 1631 and it took craftsmen and laborers 22 years to build it, completing the edifice to love in 1653.

The next ruler Aurangzeb greatly expanded the empire. Under him the empire became so vast it was difficult for one man to rule. But unlike his predecessors, he was not religiously tolerant. In 1664 he banned the repair of Hindu temples and in 1669 he banned his subjects from building new ones. Also, in 1679 he reintroduced a poll tax on Hindus.

Aurangzeb was succeeded by his son Bahadur Shah Zafar, who died in 1712. He was the last Mughal emperor.  By this time cracks were appearing in the empire. After 1712 powerful nobles in the empire began to break away and form virtually independent states.

The decline of the Mughal Empire caused a vacuum, which the Europeans were quick to capitalize on. The first Europeans to reach India by sea were the Portuguese who arrived in 1498. They formed a base at Goa in 1510. However in the 17th century the Portuguese declined and the English and Dutch took their place.

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