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Medieval India. Medieval Indian Dynasties. Gupta Era: 320-550 ce Huna Invasion: 455-528 ce Kushan Era: 5 th -7 th c. ce Hindu Dynasties: 3 rd -15 th c. ce Rajputs: Western India 7 th -12 th c. ce Muslim Invasions: 7 th -11 th c. ce Delhi Sultanate: Northern India 12 th -16 th c

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medieval indian dynasties
Medieval Indian Dynasties
  • Gupta Era: 320-550 ce
  • Huna Invasion: 455-528 ce
  • Kushan Era: 5th -7th c. ce
  • Hindu Dynasties: 3rd-15th c. ce
    • Rajputs: Western India 7th -12th c. ce
  • Muslim Invasions: 7th-11th c. ce
  • Delhi Sultanate: Northern India 12th-16th c
  • Mongols under Tamerlane sack Delhi 1398-99
  • Vasco da Gama reaches India: 1498
  • Mughal Empire:1526-1858
hinduism all embracing structure of thought
Hinduism:all-embracing structure of thought
  • All creation linked in huge web of being
  • Transmigration of souls through various life forms
  • Proper behavior linked to purgation and renewal
  • Dharma: the duty of the believer
  • God is Infinite.
  • The Infinite manifests in billions of ways.
  • Hinduism believes not only in One God, but also in His Supreme Personality.
  • This personality is manifested in different forms around us and within us perpetually. Therefore, the Infinite manifests in billions of ways to help mankind visualize the Divine Being.
  • This belief of Hinduism is often confused with polytheism.
  • That the Supreme can be worshipped in any form is a unique concept in Hinduism.
  • Hinduism recognizes multiple forms of the one God.
hindu concept of time
Hindu Concept of Time
  • The transcendence of time is the aim of every Indian spiritual tradition.
  • Time is often presented as an eternal wheel that binds the soul to a mortal existence of ignorance and suffering.
  • "Release" from time's fateful wheel is termed moksha.
  • Hindus believe that the universe is without a beginning or an end . 
  • The universe is projected in cycles.
  • Each cycle is divided into four yugas(ages of the world).

Shiva dancing

brahman universal power atman individual manifestation of the universal spirit
BRAHMAN: Universal PowerATMAN: Individual Manifestation of the Universal Spirit

Brahmanis the indescribable, inexhaustible, omniscient, omnipresent, original, first, eternal and absolute principle who is without a beginning, without an end , who is hidden in all and who is the cause, source, material and effect of all creation known, unknown and yet to happen in the entire universe.

major hindu manifestations
Major Hindu Manifestations
  • BRAHMAN: divine source of all being
  • Brahma/Sarasvati, the creator
  • Vishnu/Lakshmi, the preserver: benevolence, forgiveness, love
  • Shiva/Kali, the destroyer: disease, death, the dance
  • Ganesha, god of wisdom, writing, elephant-headed
brahma the creator
BrahmaThe Creator
  • His 4 heads represent the four Yugas or cycles of time in Hinduism.
  • At the end of these cycles of time the Universe is ripe for destruction and must be created again.
  • The God Shiva will then destroy the universe so that it can be created again.
  • The Lord has in his four hands a water-pot (kamandalu), a manuscript (Vedas), a sacrificial implement (sruva) and a rosary (mala).
vishnu the preserver
Vishnu the Preserver
  • Protector of dharma (righteousness) and the guardian of humanity.
  • His particular task is the conservation or preservation of the Divine Order in the world.
  • Vishnu has 10 avatars or incarnations. He assumes these and comes down to earth in order to help humanity.

Lord Vishnu lies on the universal waters with Goddess Lakshmi massaging His feet. From His navel sprouts a lotus flower on which Lord Brahma is born.

rama and sita
Rama and Sita
  • Rama is the 7th avatar of Vishnu.
  • Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is one of the most adored gods
  • He is always holding a bow and arrow indicating his readiness to destroy evils.
  • More commonly he is pictured with his wife Sita, his brother Lakshmana and his devotee Hanumana
  • Krishna is the 8th avatar of Vishnu.
  • The mythology around Krishna is the most colorful and the richest in lyricism, adventure and in love in all its forms.
  • Krishna is central to the Mahabharata, the Sanskrit epic that is eight times longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey put together.
  • Krishna is a loyal ally of humans and always helps his friends. His worship is popular all over India and there are many sacred shines to him.
  • In Hinduism there is a concept known as Bhakti. Bhakti is the emotional attachment and love of a devotee for his or her personal god. This is common in the worship of Krishna.
shiva the destroyer
Shiva the Destroyer

Lord of the Dance

He performs the dance of destruction so that the world can be recreated.


Shiva is the acknowledgment that everything that comes to birth comes ultimately to death and from death comes new life.

He is cruel and yet tender, wrathful and merciful, unpredictable and yet ever the same.

the great goddess
The Great Goddess
  • Parvati and Uma are the benign aspects of the goddess; the destroyer goddesses Kali and Durga are in turn all aspects of the Devi, or the Great Goddess.
  • Kali is the negative aspect of the Goddess and symbolizes death. In this form she is sometimes considered the presiding deity of famine and disease.
hindu dynasties 3rd 15th c
Hindu Dynasties3rd-15th c.
  • Confused political scene especially in South
  • Warlike clans in Rajasthan: Rajputs
  • Pallave dynasty dominates the south warring with Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas
  • Christianity and Zorastrianism introduced into India
  • Turkish raids 1000-1206
  • Decline and disappearance of Buddhism in India around 13th c.
  • Princely members of the Kashitrya “warrior” caste
  • Ruled northern and western India 7th-12th c. in local kingdoms, often at rivalry with each other
  • Champions of dharma and devotees of Siva and Durga
  • Predominantly Hindu, but tolerated all worship within their realms
  • Prolific fort and palace-builders

Kumbhalgarh fort : Perimeter wall is 20 miles long. Six horses could ride abreast on the fort ramparts.

Vijay Sthamb (Victory Tower) built byMaharana Kumbha

  • The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050.
  • Only about 20 temples remain; they fall into three distinct groups and belong to two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism.
  • They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
hindu religious literature the puranas
Hindu Religious Literature:The Puranas
  • 18 religious books preserving Hindu myths and legends contain 5 major subjects
    • Sarga: the creation of the universe.
    • Pratisarga: secondary creations, mostly recreations after dissolution.
    • Vamśa: genealogy of the gods and sages.
    • Manvañtara: the creation of the human race and the first human beings.
    • Vamśānucaritam: the histories of the patriarchs of the lunar and solar dynasties.
hindu religious literature epic poetry
Hindu Religious Literature:Epic Poetry
  • The Gita Govinda is a work composed by the 12th-century poet, Jayadeva.
  • It describes the relationship between Krishna and the gopis (female cow herders) particularly one gopi named Radha.
  • Important the development of the bhakti traditions
hindu religious literature bhakti poetry
Hindu Religious Literature:Bhakti Poetry
  • Bhakti:mystical devotion to god
  • Lyric poetry spoken and sung by poet-saints
  • Tamil hymns (6th-9th c) – earliest bhaktipoetry – focused on Shiva and Vishnu
  • Tradition ofbhaktipoetry spread throughout India and its 16 major languages
  • Popular and populist: poets came from all castes, including untouchables and women
  • Belief that mysticism was the highest path to release from karma
  • Highly personal and individual: a form of spiritual autobiography
mahadeviyakka 12 th c
Mahadeviyakka12th c
  • Princess who left her royal husband
  • Wandered naked through countryside – total devotion to Siva meant giving up conventional coverings society required for females
  • 350 poems express her passionate thoughts on God, love and the world
mahadeviyakka 12 th c36
Mahadeviyakka12th c

You can confiscate

money in hand;

can you confiscate

the body’s glory?

Or peel away every strip

you wear,

but can you peel

the Nothing, the Nakedness

that covers and veils?

To the shameless girl

wearing the White Jasmine’s Lord’s

light of morning,

you fool,

where’s the need for cover and jewel?

muslim incursions
Muslim Incursions
  • 711 -- Arabs take Sind
  • 11th c. -- Invasions of Muslims from Central Asia led to political dominance of Muslims in N. India and introduction of Persian culture and Islam into South Asia
  • Development of Sufism
delhi sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
  • 1192-1526: Turko-Afghan chieftains establish sultanate at Delhi and dominate N. India
  • Multiple Muslim dynasties rule Northern India from the 13th-16th centuries.
  • The Sultans based their laws on the Qur'an and the sharia and permitted non-Muslim subjects to practice their religion if they paid jizya or head tax.
  • Temporarily successful in insulating the subcontinent from the potential devastation of the Mongol invasion  in the 13th century.
  • "Indo-Muslim" fusion left lasting monuments in architecture, music, literature, and religion.
timurlang tamerlane sacks delhi 1398 99
TimurLang (Tamerlane) sacks Delhi 1398-99
  • Mongol ruler who attempted to reclaim Genghis Khan’s empire
  • Attacked India and conquered Delhi after slaughtering 100,000 captives
vasco da gama reaches india 1498
Vasco da Gama reaches India 1498
  • Opened the Indian or Cape Route for regular sailings between East and West
  • Expansion and consolidation of Portugese empire and trade, dissemination of Portugese culture and Christianity
  • Portugese settlements in Goa and Cochin
  • 1524: Da Gama named Portugese viceroy in India by King John III.
moghul empire islamic 1526 1858
Moghul Empire(Islamic) 1526-1858
  • Unification of N. India and parts of S. India under its rule
  • Amalgam of Persian and Indian culture created in courts and territories
  • Establishment of trading outposts in India by Europeans:
    • 1609: Dutch
    • 1612: English
    • 1674: French
moghul dynasty i 1526 56
Moghul Dynasty I (1526-56)
  • Founded by Babur
  • 2nd Classical Age of North India
  • Delhi flourishes as Imperial Capital
  • Amalgamation of Turko-Iranian culture
moghul dynasty ii 1556 1627
Moghul Dynasty II (1556-1627)
  • Akbar consolidates and builds strong empire
  • Akbar commissions illustrated Persian translations of Sanskrit epics, The Ramayana and Mahabharata
  • Jahangir succeeds his father
  • 1600: Elizabeth I of England gives charter for trade to East India Company

King Akbar

the red fort
The Red Fort

Agra’s magnificent monument, the Red Fort,

was begun by Akbar in the 16th c. and embellished by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th c.

  • “Rajput”:
  • “Khajuraho”:
  • “The Mughals”: