The earliest traces of human habitation in India are the rock shelters at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh on India’s central plateau. Their Stone Age paintings have been dated from 28,000 to 7,000 BC. Recorded history begins in the Bronze Age with the Indus Valley and Vedic Era civilizations between 3,300 and 500 BC.
Throughout this long history many cultures and civilizations have risen and declined, though Islam and Hinduism have been a repeated core and cultural influence. All have played a part in the evolution of this complex country. Some rulers – notably Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty and later emperors Babur, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan of the Mughal Dynasty - left an indelible legacy for subsequent generations.
India’s historical influence on the world has been profound through prolific trade. From ancient times to the British Raj, India amassed fabulous wealth, even during the politically turbulent medieval period (12th to 16th centuries AD). Textiles, spices, ivory, gem stones, carpets and much more were shipped as far afield as Europe, China, East Africa, Persia, central Asia and the Far east.
Today India’s historic and cultural heritage is reflected in strong spiritual beliefs and values, languages and cultural traditions. Wherever your itinerary takes you India’s past will be evident and physically manifest in marvelous architecture, art and craftwork from all the ages, including the present.