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Class VI - social: The Legacy of Ancient India
One Word Answer Questions:
Q) Kakaw is the Indonesian version of which sacred book?
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Q) Who was the most prominent poet of the Gupta period?
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Q) Cave temples are also known as?
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Q) Name one scholar of astronomy during the ancient time?
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Q) Name the branch of medicine which deals with herbal medicines to cure illness?
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Q) Name one scholar of astronomy during the ancient time?
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Short Answer Questions:
Q) Write the note on the Jataka Tales?
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Q) State the differences between structural temples and monolithic temples?
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Q) Name the works of Kalidasa?
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Q) Explain about the two schools of sculpture in the Northern India?
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Q) Explain the significance of Ashokan pillars?
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Long Answer Questions:
Q) Explain about the Stupas?
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Q) Explain the contributions of the ancient Indians in the field of science, medicine and mathematics?
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Q) Write about the contributions of Pallavas in building temples?
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Q) Write a note on the greatness of sculpture in India in ancient times?
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Q) Differentiate between the pre-Mauryan art and the Mauryan art?
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    The most enduring legacy of ancient India is the rich tradition of culture, art and architecture, literature, sculpture, science and mathematics that we have inherited from our ancestors.


Compositions in Sanskrit
  • Sanskrit is the forerunner of a large number of Indian languages.
  • Several works of religious and literary significance were composed in this language, for instance the Vedas.
  • The Rig Veda was composed in Vedic Sanskrit, an early form of the language. It is a collection of prayers offered to various gods like Varuna, Agni and Surya.
  • The Vedas also give detailed descriptions of the geography of the land and the flora and fauna of the time.
  • The other Vedas are Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda. Apart from these, there are the Vedangas, the Aranyakas and the Upanishads.
  • The two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, are the religious corner stones of the faith of the Hindus.
  • The Bhagvat Gita is a part of the Mahabharata, which continues to be studied by the scholars today.
  • There are 18 main Puranas, which deal with myths, legends, and religious rites customs.
  • The Sanskrit grammarian Panini wrote the Ashtadhyayi Panini - a masterful study of Sanskrit grammar.
  • Patanjali wrote the Mahabhasya - a commentary on the Ashtadhyayi.
  • An old surviving work of Sanskrit poetry is Ashvaghosa's Buddhacharita, which narrates the life story of Buddha.
  • Kalidas was the famous poet of the Gupta period.
  • Abhignanshakuntalam, Meghaduta and Ritusamhara, written by Kalidasa were known for the rich quality of their poetry.
  • The Panchatantra is a well-known collection of fables written in Sanskrit.
Ancient India
Bhagavat Gita Script in Sanskrit
Ancient India
Writings in Pali and Prakrit
  • Pali is the language, most commonly used by the common people during the ancient period.
  • Several Buddhist religious books were written in Pali.
  • The SuttaPitaka, the AbhidhammaPitaka and the VinayaPitakaare three important Buddhist texts known as the Tripitakas.
  • The Tripitakas contain the teachings of Buddha known as Sutras in Sanskrit and Suttas in Pali.
  • The Dhammapada is a collection of Buddhist verses. The Jataka Tales is a large collection of fables and their characters are mainly talking animals.
Ancient India
Prakrit Script
Ancient India
Pali Script
Art and Architecture
Pre-Mauryan art
  • People during Mauryan civilization believed that the value of things depended on its usefulness rather than mere beauty.
  • This approach was reflected in their well-planned towns with elaborate drainage systems.
  • The bronze statue of the dancing girl gives us an idea of the jewellery and hair-styles of the Indus people.
Mauryan Art
  • Megasthenes has given detailed description of the palace of Chandragupta Maurya.
  • It was built of intricately carved wood. Wood was the preferred material for constructing buildings.
Ancient India
Mouryan Sculpture

Pillars and Capitals
  • Capitals are pieces of sculpture on top of pillars.
  • Each pillar was made of a single piece of sandstone and highly polished.
  • The capitals were usually sculptures of animals like horses, bulls or lions.
  • All the Mauryan pillars are found at Chunar near Varanasi.
Ancient India
Mauryan Pilar

Cave Temples
  • Monasteries or Viharas also sprang up in various parts of India. They housed a number of monks.
  • A number of chaityas were created in western and southern India.
  • Many chaityas have ornate pillars and stupas inside them.
  • The complex of caves at Ajanta is the best example of this type of architecture.
Ancient India
Chaitya at Ajanta

  • After death remains of Buddha's body were placed in sealed casket and kept in a small chamber. Over these chambers hemispherical domes were built. These domes are called Stupas.
  • Initially stone railings were built around the Stupas later those replaced by the wooden railings.
  • Gateways were added at the four cardinal points of direction (east, west, north and south).
  • Intricate carving on the railings and gateways narrated stories from the life of the Buddha.
Ancient India
Amravati Stupa in Andhra Pradesh

  • The brick temple at Bhitargaon in Kanpur and the temple at Deogarh near Jhansi are important ruins from the Gupta period.
  • In southern India at Mamallapurama number of stone temples were constructed by the Pallavas.
  • The Shore temple is one of the earliest examples of structural architecture in India.
  • The Pallavas also built the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram in the 8th century AD.
  • The Chalukyas built numerous temples at Aihole, Badami and Pattadikal.
Ancient India
Brick Temple
Ancient India
Aihole Temple
  • This period marked an imaginative and impressive step forward in Indian stone sculpture; much previous sculpture was probably in wood and has not survived.
  • The Ashokan pillars were made of sandstone and were so highly polished that they shine today.
  • These pillars had life-like figures of animals carved on their capitals.
  • The lion capital or Pillars of Ashoka at Sarnath is India's national emblem today.
  • The Gandhara School of art and the Mathura School of art evolved in northern India during this period. Both the school were influenced by Greeks sculpture.
  • The Mathura School of art preferred to use red sandstone.
Ancient India
Ashokan Pilar
Ancient India
Statue of Buddha from Gandhara School of Art
  • Painting was a well-developed art in ancient India.
  • The realistic cave painting at Ajanta and Ellora depict scenes from the life of the Buddha.
  • They used vegetable colour as dyes.
Ancient India
Ajantha Cave Painting

  • In ancient times, science and religion were linked.
  • Aryabhatta and Varahmira were two outstanding scholars of astronomy.
  • Aryabhatta is believed to have discovered the cause of solar and lunar eclipses. He realised that Earth revolved around the Sun.
  • He also estimated that the circumference of the Earth.
  • Varahmihira explained the movements of the planets.
  • Bhaskaracharya knew about the gravity about 1200 years ago, and wrote down his findings in the Suryasiddhanta.
Ancient India
The Statue of Aryabhatta

  • The people of Indus Valley must have had some knowledge of mathematics to have built the well-planned cities.
  • They also had a uniform and accurate system of weights and measures.
  • Vedic mathematics dealt with arithmetic, geometry and algebra.
  • In mathematics the most outstanding contribution of India is the concept of zero and the decimal system.
Medical Science
  • Impressive advances were made in ancient India in medicine.
  • Sushruta was a great surgeon of that time.
  • Ayurveda is a branch of medicine that relies on herbal medicines to cure illness.
  • Charaka was one of the first physicians to state that diseases are cause when the body balance is disturbed.
  • Yoga is another major contribution of ancient India. Yoga is a system of exercises for both physical and mental health.
Ancient India
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