In the 3rd millenium BCE, the Indus Valley Civilization evolved into the largest ancient civilization of the world.
The earliest anatomically modern human remains found in South Asia are from approximately 30,000 years ago. Near contemporaneous Mesolithic rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. Around 7000 BCE, the first known neolithic settlements appeared on the subcontinent in Mehrgarh and other sites in western Pakistan. These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE ...view middle of the document...
 The emerging urbanization as well as the orthodoxies of the late Vedic age created the religious reform movements of Buddhism and Jainism. Buddhism, based on the teachings of India's first historical figure, Gautam Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes; Jainism came into prominence around the same time during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira. In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal, and both established long-lasting monasteries. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.
The Lion Capital of Ashoka was adopted for the modern national emblem.
The empire was once thought to have controlled most of the subcontinent excepting the far south, but its core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas. The Maurya kings are known as much for their empire building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka the Great's renunciation of militarism and his far flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.
The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that during the period 200 BCE–200 CE, the southern peninsula was being ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire and with west and south-east Asia. In north India during the same time, Hinduism asserted patriarchal control within the family. By the fourth and fifth centuries CE, the Gupta Empire had created a complex administrative and taxation system in the greater Ganges Plain that became a model for later Indian kingdoms. Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion rather than the management of ritual began to assert itself and was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite. Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances, in the period regarded as the Golden Age of India.
Early medieval and medieval India
Paintings at the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, sixth century
The Indian early medieval age (600 CE to 1200 CE) is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity. When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Ganges plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan. When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal. When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther...