For more than 6,000 years Indian civilizations have flourished and have been one of the richest countries in the world. Apart from the invention of the game “Chess”, many fascinating things have been invented and followed in ancient India. When most other ancient civilizations were still in their “Stone age”, Indian civilization was way advanced in their thinking, practices, technology, and systems. Indians were able to build large ships, perform cesarean, build advanced drainage systems, cultivate cotton on large scale and even extract zinc from brass easily.
Here is a list of 10 historical facts about ancient India that will leave you amazed:
10. The value of ‘pi’ was first calculated in India by Budhayana in 800 BCE
In 800 BCE, the famous Indian Budhayana mathematician calculated the value “Pi” and also explained the concept of the Pythagoras Theorem. Before Aryabhata and Pythagoras, Budhayana was able to explain the value of “Pi”. He is considered as the earliest author of Sulba Sutra that contains the calculation of the value of pi, Pythagoras theorem, calculating the square root of 2, and circling the square.
Many important mathematical theorems have been explained by Budhayana Sutras, a Vedic Sanskrit text that contains important information regarding mathematics, dharma, daily rituals, and many other things.
9. Yoga originated in India about 5,000 years ago
Yoga is a form of physical, mental, and spiritual practices to improve one’s well-being and health that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago during the pre-Vedic times. The system is known to have been mentioned in the Rigveda. Yoga became renowned and well-developed only during the 6th and 5th century BCE, during the rise of Buddhism and Jainism.
The two important types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga that is popular. Yoga reached the west only in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many yoga gurus introduced the practice to the west. Only in the 1980s that yoga got popular in the west. Today, the system is considered one of the most popular systems of physical exercise in the western world.
8. India’s Ayurveda (school of medicine) is traced back to 6,000 years ago
Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine developed during the medieval periods of India. The origins of Ayurveda have been traced back to around 5,000 BCE when it was only passed on orally. It was also evident during the Indus Valley Civilization.
Ayurveda has been actively contributed by physicians such as Charaka in the form of Charaka Samhita and Sushruta in the form of Sushruta Samhita. The system used different types of medicinal herbs and plants to treat ailments and illnesses. Today, the system is followed all over the world. 80% of the Indians use some form of Ayurvedic medicines.
7. India knew Zinc extraction by Distillation Process as Early as 10th century BC
India was the world-master in metallurgy and the people of the Indus Valley Civilization knew the process of zinc extraction by distillation from zinc ore as early as the 10th century BC. The people of the Indus Valley Civilization were producing zinc on an industrial scale. Smelting of zinc is considered extremely difficult because of the low boiling point (907°C).
If you do not control the boiling point, the zinc would vaporize. But, Indians were clever enough to find ways to extract zinc using the distillation process. The production of this interesting metal led to the innovation of utensils. Zinc mines were existent and active at Zawar, Rajasthan going back to the 6th Century BC. This is evidence that the people of India knew zinc from very early on.
6. Two major religions – Buddhism and Jainism were established in India in 500 and 600 BC, respectively
The two major religions in the world today – Buddhism and Jainism came from India around 500 and 600 BC respectively. Initially, in India, the Harapans were following the historical Vedic religion. A Reform Period between 800–200 BCE marks the turning point between the Vedic religions and Hindu religions.
An ancient Indian religious movement known as the Shramana movement gave rise to the two religions – Buddhism and Jainism. This period is also known for the writing of the Upanishads and the rise of Vedanta.
5. Indians Knew Plastic Surgery 2600 Years Ago
Sushruta is regarded as the father of surgery who worked with 125 surgical instruments and knew more than 300 types of operations. Surgeries such as cataracts, plastic surgeries, brain surgeries, and cures for leprosy, and many other complex surgeries were carried out by Sushruta around 2,600 years ago. He has also been called “the first plastic surgeon”.
The Suśruta-saṃhitā is one of the most important surviving ancient treatises on medicine and is considered a foundational text of Ayurveda. The work consists of descriptions of 1,120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources, and 57 preparations based on animal sources.
4. Aryabhata Explained Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse Correctly in 5th Century
Aryabhata correctly explained how the Lunar Eclipse and the Solar Eclipse happened. Aryabhata was a great astronomer, scientist, and mathematician of the 5th century. Aryabhata is known to have studied at the University of Nalanda. He was born in Kerala but lived in Kusumapura. Aryabhatiya – written in 499 AD, was one of his renowned books.
Aryabhatiya is the oldest extant Indian work with alphabet numerals. Aryabhata not only explained the lunar eclipse and solar eclipse correctly but also explained the movement of celestial bodies, the celestial relationship between the Earth and the cosmos, and much more astronomical stuff.
3. Art of Navigation was Developed in the River Indus 6000 Years Ago
6,000 years back, India knew the art of navigation. The first known art of navigation was developed in the River Indus by the Indus Valley Civilization people. In fact, the word ‘navigation’ is a derivation of the Sanskrit word, ‘Navgatih’. The Harappan civilization knew how to navigate in water.
There is much evidence that the Indus Valley Civilization had big trading ties with the ancient Egyptian civilizations with the Sumerians acting as intermediaries. Rig Veda makes several references to ships used to cross the ‘Samudra’ or ocean.
2. Number ZERO was Invented in India Along With Decimal System
During the Gupta period (5th century), the concept of zero as a digit in the decimal place developed in India. The origin of the modern decimal place system was developed in India around 100 BC. The modern zero was invented by Aryabhata. The place value system was developed in India before the 5th century BC. The ingenious method of expressing every possible number using a set of ten symbols emerged in India. Indians were playing with numbers as early as the 2nd century BCE.
1. Indus Valley Civilization is One of the World’s Oldest Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization is one of the three early civilizations from the old world. The civilization is considered advanced in terms of many things such as irrigation, extraction of ores, navigation, and science. The civilization is known to have existed some 3300–1300 BCE. The Indus Valley Civilization has its earlier roots from cultures such as that of Mehrgarh, which existed more than 6,000 BCE.
The bronze age civilization existed in the present-day regions of northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. The people of the civilization were advanced in many parts of science, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. They were the ones to accurately measure the weight, mass, and time systems.