The History of India Podcast

The History of India Podcast Podcast

A light weekly podcast covering the history of India, from 6th century B.C. Enjoying the podcast? Please consider donating to the Snehal Sidhu Memorial Fund (http://tinyurl.com/prkvwll)

5.22 By the back of the five great kings
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This is the week of small kings. The Pratihara empire has ruled for as long as anyone can remember. But a small king from the south will destroy the emperor's army and send him fleeing. And a small king from the north will restore him to his throne. Also in this episode: book reading in Baghdad, a rant about early medieval boasting, and our first glimpse of the world famous Khajuraho temples....

5.21 By half a metre
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, Mahendrapala extends his empire downstream, towards the sea. But nothing is what it seems: not the emperor, nor his empire, nor his conquest. All will be revealed only half a meter down. Also in this episode: how to tell whether you are living on top of a monastery, more than twenty early medieval Indian insults, and how to call someone beautiful and aggressive at the same time....

5.20 Assault by salt
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) A journey through one of emperor Bhoja's lands. With the emperor far away in the Imperial city, we find out what life is like for the merchants and city folk under him. Also in this episode: a practical guide to salt making in medieval India, the garden of the snake kings, and the origin of candy....


5.19 Drawn by the sun
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) In this episode, young king Bhoja will grow into his throne. He will draw together allies and subordinates and wait patiently. When the time is right he will strike at his ancestral enemies, defeating them, and achieving what none of his forefathers could ever do: founding an empire. Also in this episode: how to misspend 2000 silver coins, why you should construct a queen's city,  and what to do when you are handed a royal baby....

4.19 Drawn by the sun
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) In this episode, young king Bhoja will grow into his throne. He will draw together allies and subordinates and wait patiently. When the time is right he will strike at his ancestral enemies, defeating them, and achieving what none of his forefathers could ever do: founding an empire. Also in this episode: how to misspend 2000 silver coins, why you should construct a queen's city,  and what to do when you are handed a royal baby....

5.18 Drawn by greatness
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) For too long the empire of the east has dominated North India. Bhoja, the descendant of the western emperors is determined to bring change. But he starts with almost nothing, for the once great western empire as been reduced to just a minor kingdom. In this, the first of three episodes, we look at Bhoja's first faltering steps. Also in this episode: how to make a river go backwards, a gruesome house of the dead, and a crocodile wrestling king. *Some of the inscriptions in this...


5.17 By the tip of the quivering sword
( The victorious Palas build their empire. Poets gather in their courts. Kings flee before their armies. All seems well, but an old enemy is regathering strength. Also in this week's episode: religious rivalry told through a hymn about toenails, a pun about grief, and a practical guide to buying and selling in medieval Assam....

5.16 By the setting of the eastern sun
() This week, the build up to the great battle continues. We join the navy of the East, as it brings infantry and elephants up the river. Then we launch into the battle itself, following the commander's choice of battle formation. This is the battle to decide who will rule north India supreme, though the victor is not always who it seems to be. Also in this episode: hot to your elephant for war in eight simple steps, a poem about river logs, and a lesson in how to walk across a battlefield....

5.15 By the light of the western dawn
() This week, we witness the build up to a great battle of the age: the Pratihara king has brought his army from the east, thick with warhorses. The Pala king has brought his army from the west, loaded with mountainous elephants. They meet for battle on the shores of the Ganges. In this episode, we spend time with a Pratihara horsemen. We hear the story of his king, we check out his equipment, and hear about his horse. Also in this episode: the first thesaurus, a cunning nut seller, and a gratuitous rant ab...


5.14 By the help of a hundred scholars
() Emperor Dharmapala constructed an education system across his empire, so great it surpassed all that had come before. For half a millennium, it shaped Eastern India. This week, we go inside the system. We follow the great Buddhist teacher Atisha in his long and uncommon adventure through the system, and we find out what it was like to live there. (This episode is reuploaded; a previous version contained the out of date claim that one of the monasteries had not been discovered by historians. A later speci...

5.13 By a graceful move of the eyebrows
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, we find out what happened to the great prize of North India: the Imperial city of Kanyakubja. Two dynasties: the Palas (protectors), and the Pratiharas (doorkeepers) have been fighting to gain control. In this episode, a new emperor of India will win it, and then give it away. Included: a trip to a hidden great monastery, how a queen made a snake king deceive her, and two hundred hunchback maidens with quite different attitudes to marriage....

5.a Philosophy, by the book
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Become a student of the great Jain thinker Haribhadra. His novels have thrilled you. His satires have scanadlised you. His logics have perplexed you. Now listen to his lightening fast summary of all the important points of Indian philosophy. Featuring: the first ever summmary of the six schools of philosophy, a bonus school of philosophy just for fun, and a deep sense of bewilderment. Can you get through an early medieval philosophy lesson? Listen and test yourself....


5.12 Back by the withering sand
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) We join the great Pratihara king Vatsaraja, at his lowest moment. With the whole of North India in his power, he is defeated and flees across the mountains into the great desert. We uncover the stories of the people and places, and find out what life was like there under his rule....

5.11 On taking two umbrellas
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Everyone wants the imperial city of Kanyakubja lies at the center. The great Partihara king of the west wants to re-establish his family's image. The great Pala king of the west wants to become the first emperor from his land. Their armies will reach out towards the imperial city until they come upon one another in central India. There, they will both be meet a strange and indomitable new force. This week, we tell the first part of the struggle for North India....

5.10 On the way out
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) The Umayyad armies go beyond al-Sind, trying to establish a new province in al-Hind proper. But their successes won't last. They will be driven back, twice. And shortly after, the entire Umayyad empire will collapse in on itself. This week, we piece together the story. In this episode: powerful poets send soldiers home, universities are crushed because of golden statues, a murder of governors, a king's boat takes a wrong turn, and much more....


5.9 On the way to Hind
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, a tale of bridge engineering, bloodthirsty generals, widowed queens, the first mosque in South Asia, and lots and lots of gold. We tell the story of how the Ummayid caliphate came to invade Sind....

5.8 On the door
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, the Rajputs arrive on the scene with the earliest of Rajput clans, the Pratiharas. But where did they come from? Did they see themselves as Rajputs? What did they do after they had emerged? The answers might not match with the familiar story....

5.7 How to prevent fish on fish crime
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Bengal's kings are dying daily. The land is in chaos. It's been this way for years. But, according to the legend, a man from the north will come and build a stable kingdom. This time, the legend is true. This episode, we witness an empire emerge from chaos. The Pala emperors are here....


5.7 How to prevent fish on fish crime
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Bengal's kings are dying daily. The land is in chaos. It's been this way for years. But, according to the legend, a man from the north will come and build a stable kingdom. This time, the legend is true. This episode, we witness an empire emerge from chaos. The Pala emperors are here....

5.6 Those who live on campaign...
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Lalitaditya had grand plans. He would make Kashmir into an empire, spanning all of India and outside of it too. His armies would walk the deserts of the silk road, sail the seas of the bay of Bengal, and walk the Western Ghats. And they would bring back enough gold to build a house fit for God. Did he succeed in all his plans? Listen, and find out....

5.5 On top of the world
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Travel to the top of India, the mountain valley of Kashmir. This is the story of the three brother-kings of Kashmir. The kind brother, the cruel brother, and the conqueror. Hear the story of their parents, how their kingdom was first won, and what they did to make it their own....


5.4 Onward, Mauryan empire
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in)This week, the last of the Mauryan emperors. He will restore his family's glory, conquering the entire world. Well, more or less. Listen and meet a forgotten legend. WARNING: some gore, blood, descriptions of death....

5.3 On the edge of renown
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) This week, two kingdoms tie themselves together with marriage. They expand their lands, regain their independence. They do everything to imitate the glorious rise of empires past. And then... they fade to nothing....

5.2 The lake on the hills
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in The story of Nepal, from the formation of the Himalayan lands, through it's earliest inscriptions, to the king who refused to be king. This episode, we get up to date with what is going on in the kingdom to the North of Pataliputra. Along the way: a mountain split by a sword, the first record of attempted sati, Nepal's oldest temple, and much more....


5.1 Carry on, Pataliputra
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Emperor Harsha is dead. With him, the last great Indian empire of the first millenium collapses into chaos. Or so the story goes. Down in the ruins of Pataliputra, things seem a bit different. The old families ruled before Harsha's empire was formed, and they rule still. And one of the old families starts to build a new empire in the lands around Pataliputra....

5.0 Bumbling on bumbling
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A brief introduction to series 5: a preview as we plunge into the medieval age. We'll have a quick chat about Islam and whether there even was a medieval age. All wrapped up with one of my favorite stories....

4.K Joy in ruins
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A time-travellers tour through the heartlands of the Chaulikyan empire. See the new South Indian style of art being invented, stage by stage. Spot the hidden gems, the out of the way sites, the temples which slowly give up their secrets....


3.T By sea
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, set sail across the ocean with Indian merchants. We follow the Chinese monk Faxian as he crosses Gupta North India. We see the rituals of sea travelers, sample the sights and sounds of the great port of ancient East India, see the biggest and smallest of Indian ships, endure wrecks, strandings, and many more trials. Not all of our fellow travelers will come out alive. But Faxian will eventually make it back to China. Listen, and hear his the end of his story. [Spec...

3.S Engulfed by Jade
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We spend another week in the Indian-influenced land of the Tarim basin. This week, we spend time in the legendary city of Khotan. We hear stories of its founding, meet its king, and hear how the children of the city are educated with Indian tales and religion....

3.R Chewed over by the master
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we travel over the Himalayas, and climb down the other side into the great desert basin. We spend time in a city on the northern ring of the desert, Kucha. It's a city deeply influenced by Indian thought and Indian people. We follow the most famous son of that city, Kumarajiva the great translator. Born to an Indian father, raised by a Kuchan mother, and destined to take Indian thought and language all the way to China....


4.J The smile on the skull
() This is the tale of the land of the red river, North East India. Come on a journey along the banks, and hear the stories of this place: the tales of its legendary founder, a man named after hell itself; the rise and fall of the friend of Harsha; and the tale of the dynasty of outsiders who would, just for a moment, rule much of Northern India....

3.Q From dusk till dawn
() This week, we return to the caves of Ajanta. But we have good company: an artist and college lecturer has come to tell us about her memories of visiting, what she saw, and the special place of the paintings in modern Indian art. Includes gratuitous Jataka tale. Sound quality will be sorted by next episode (sorry!)....

4.I The cheer of twigs
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we see how the landscape of the Pallavas was shaped. We follow it from before history began, through the years as irrigation is built. Warning: some sound issues including, but not limited to, making fun of historians and saying the wrong country....


4.H The sport of drunkards and other stories
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We meet one of the great characters of the age: Mahendravarman, king of the Pallavas. We get to know his wicked humour, and listen to one of his sharp-tongued plays. In this episode: drunken priests, lusty monks, booze spilling from a white skull, cunning puns, and all this to cover up for taking a second wife. Confused? Listen, and laugh with ancient Indians....

4.G The joy of serpants and other stories
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com)All you ever needed to know about become an author in the court of Harsha, emperor of India. Find out a day in the life of an author. Try your hand at solving some of their puzzles. Meet the leading authors at court, each of whom are worth a book on their own....

4.F Once they lived in the town in joy and happiness
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, the cities of North India empty. The traders lock down their stalls and move off with their baggage. The craftsmen's tools fall silent. And the king and his generals are left in the silent husk of the city. How did these exoduses happen? How did the townsfolk make a new life away from the city? And how did life change for the country folk? Listen, and find out....


4.e The joys of the victory (part 2: the south)
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Jainism once dominated life and culture in South India: Jain kings ruled with Jain monk advisors, and at court they listened to epic tales written by Jains, and ruled over their people many of whom followed Jainism. By early modern times, all that had changed. Jains were no longer found in such big numbers, and their influence on culture had been forgotten by some. In this episode, we investigate what happened....

4 d. The joys of victory (part 1)
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Jainism has shaped Indian thought over the millenia, and continues to do so today. This week, we find out what life was like as a Jain in the time of Harsha. How did they worship? Where did they fit into society? What did others in ancient India make of them? Listen, and find out. Health warning: no accurate claims about Jain theology are contained within....

4.C The laughter of the monks grows silent
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) In the marketplaces and fields of ancient India, would you notice that Buddhism was gradually disappearing? Many ancient Indians did. And we take a layman's view as the monasteries withdraw from the world and at the same time become more part of it. Come, listen to the beginning of the great decline of Buddhism in India. Bonus: interview with Peter Adamson from the Philosophy in India (HoPWAG) podcast....


4.B Joy in the kingdom of brothers (part B)
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Second of the special episodes on ancient Gujurat. This week, we visit the internationally famous university of Vallabhi, and we hear how the story of the local kingdom weaves together with the stories of great empires. All of this is bookeneded with two scandalous tales of love and betrayal telling us how people from the period thought about love....

4.A Joy in the kingdom of brothers (part a)
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We kick off our special episodes for the series with a tour of the smaller kingdoms and regions emerging around India. This week, we are in the peninsular of Gujurat, in a strange kingdom where they pass the throne down to their younger brothers....

4.16 The end of mirth
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The great emperor Harsha's death and the destruction of his empire. Told through the eyes of the Chinese emissaries Harsha loved....


4.15 How to regain happiness
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) When a great emperor suddenly falls, what happens to his empire? This week, we continue the story of Polekeshin II to his sudden disappearance. For 13 years, his empire is plunged into darkness. But an heir will emerge, and will rebuild the empire higher and firmer than it ever was before. Including bonus 20 seconds of self-help....

4.14 The loss of mirth
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A young prince flees his capital city. The prince will go on to beat the great emperor Harsha, and establish his own empire. But his is not just the story of a dynasty. For in his story, the state of Karnataka emerges and establishes itself as the seat of emperors and a major power in South India....

4.13 The mirth of the monk
() This week, emperor Harsha tracks down a famous chinese monk. When the emperor and monk eventually meet, there is a great meeting of minds. Along the way, towers will burn down, the treasury will be emptied, and the emperor will tackle an assassin. At the end, will Harsha be the great Hindu emperor? Or will he become another Buddhist emperor? Listen and find out....


4.12 The mirth of the moon
() We continue the story of Harsha, last emperor of ancient India. The thirty years of bloodshed has begun, when Harsha will send his armies around India, forging his empire. We watch Harsha's army turn east, folowing it through the deserted kingdoms and emptied cities, until at last he is able to bring his most hated enemy to battle. Also in this episode: Bengal gets its start on the world stage....

4.11 The clash of mirth
() Harsha prepares for battle. We follow him through the battle day, from before he wakes up, through the inspection of his army, the preparation of his battle-line, into the battle itself. Hear the battle tactics used by ancient Indian kings. Discover how the Indian armies were able to crush the huns.  (2 of 2 of military during Harsha's time)...

4.10 The hero of mirth
() We follow an ancient Indian king as he prepares for war. Should he fight openly and honourably? Should he use sneaky tricks? Or should he find a third way? We consider his decisions as he plans his campaign, charts his route through enemy territory, and sets up his camp. (1 of 2 of military during Harsha's time)...


4.9 The rescue of mirth
() We continue with the story of the great emperor Harsha. He is alone. His family have almost all passed away. Only one remains: his sister, last heard of locked away in an enemy jail. We follow Harsha as he goes in search of her. His quest will lead us up into the hills and forests, to meet forest princes and sages. Will Harsha save his sister from the wilds? Listen and find out....

4.8 The march of mirth
() The story of the great emperor Harsha continues as he finally sits on the throne. But there is much for the young king to learn. The ministers form factions and compete for his attention. The people of the countryside reject him. He must lead an army to battle, and make alliances with foreign princes....

4.7 The trials of mirth (reuploaded)
***reuploaded due to itunes trouble***() The story of the great emperor Harsha continues with the bleakest of episodes. Harsha's family and friends will die around him. And modern historians have accused him of killing his brother. Was he guilty? You are invited to join the jury as we hear the case for the prosecution, and his defense. The judgment will, as ever, be yours....


4.7 The trials of mirth
() The story of the great emperor Harsha continues with the bleakest of episodes. Harsha's family and friends will die around him. And modern historians have accused him of killing his brother. Was he guilty? You are invited to join the jury as we hear the case for the prosecution, and his defense. The judgment will, as ever, be yours....

4.6 The youth of mirth
() The story of the great emperor Harsha continues. This week, the man himself finally enters the world. We hear about his birth, his childhood gang of friends. And we watch as, one by one, the children around him are forced into an early adulthood. We follow the story up too the very instant Harsha's own childhood ends....

4.5 The beginning of mirth
() The great Emperor Harsha's family: from its beginnings in black magic and legend, through the long hard years serving greater kings, to the emerging of the family once again into the eye of history. Along the way, we hear of Harsha's homeland, full of rivers and overflowing with rice....


4.4 The bard of mirth
() This week the history of India podcast gets personal. We get to know the great writer, Bana. We hear about his tragic childhood. His wild, party driven youth. We hang out in his village, meet his friends. And then we see his ascent to the imperial court....

4.3 The cruel pleasures of the moon
() The great city Pataliputra is at peace. But the good times cannot last. Soon, its start to squabble amongst themselves. A new power emerges to take advantage: the moon king will gain a tight grip on the city, and oppress its people. Or so the stories say. This week, we hear the stories, and judge the truth for ourselves....

4.2 The end of excitement
()  This week, two kingdoms wage war up and down the banks of the Ganges. In the great city of Pataliputra, the kings are fighting desperately to avoid the fate of fallen empires. They will win victories, only to jump into the flames themselves. They will will employ ancient strategies. But, at the very moment when their rule seems secure, it will be taken from them forever....


4.1 Excitement at the end of empire
() The Gupta empire is crumbling. A time of great uncertainty and fear for some, and a time of excitement for others. This week, we meet two kings working for the Guptas. But, before long, they will both be independent kingdoms vying to become the next great empire....

3.P You will now be seen by the doctor
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Doctors. Ancient Indians looked down on them. But this week, we'll be finding out what it would be like when an ancient Indian patient needed them. We look for cures in the Buddhist monastery, and take a trip to the hospital....


3.O zero by 7922851426433759354390336
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of ancient Indian mathematics from its earliest days stacking bricks to build altars, to infinity and beyond. We meet the work of the great Gupta-era mathematician, Aryabhata. Along the way we hear ancient Indian answers to such thorny questions as: how do you almost square a circle? how many infinities are there? and how long is the blink of an eye? No mathematical knowledge required....

3.N By the bower of the heavenly tree
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we get to know the greatest poet and playwright of ancient India: Kalidasa. We hear the legend of how he found his talent through the strained relationship with his demanding wife. We explore his life as a poet in the court of the Gupta empire, and the tale of his sad demise. Along the way, we'll get everything we need to enjoy some of the greatest poetry ever written....

3.M Infatuated by the empire
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, get a job in the ancient Gupta empire. We look at the life of a soldier, a policeman, and a civil servant. But getting a place in the empire won't be as easy as you might think....


3.L Soaked by gold
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) According to legend, if you travel by sea east from India and eventually you will reach the land of gold. But only the bravest adventurers dare make the journey. We follow them to the islands and states of South East Asia. We find a people deeply influenced by body and mind by Indian thought. And we watch the first Hindu states emerge in Cambodia and Vietnam....

3.K A farm by the hills
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Ancient North East India. We take a podcasty walk from an ancient farm in the valleys up into the hills where the Kiratas live, walking through the landscape rich with trees and caves, and hearing the legends of hill and valley along the way....

3.J Bounded by the hills
() Ancient North East India. Cut off from the world by a ring of mountains; it's people living uneventful and simple lives. Well...not quite. This week we pay our first visit to the region; hear the stories of the folk living there. We visit temples adapted from the Guptas to the east. And we track down rumours of a dangerous winding path that heads off eastwards, all the way to china....


3.i Don't buy the pyg in the poke
() Everything you ever needed to know about buying and running a farm in ancient India. Learn how to navigate the paper work required to buy a farm. Get advice on what to grow, and how. Hear how to pay your agricultural taxes. Until finally, work done, you can settle down to watch the crops grow and listen to a few old farmer's tales....

3.H Side by side (bonus material)
() How best to get inside the shoes of ancient Indians? Through the stomach! This episode, some friends cook some ancient Indian meals and give them a tasting. Will we adopt an ancient Indian diet? Will we be up all night with indigestion? Listen and find out.  (Check out Adil's craft beer and games podcast: )...

3.G Side by side
() We cook a meal for some ancient Indians. From buying ingredients down the market, to working in the Kitchen, to the meal itself. We might also indulge in a bit of smoking and drinking afterwards....


3.F Study by the stupa
() Students from around the known world set out with their books. They are heading for one location. The great monastery in Northern India: Nalanda. We join them on their journey into the complex, and take part in debates and daily life alongside them....

3.E Chased by the dusk
() We return to the Ajanta Caves for a second special episode. In this episode, the emperor is building his own cave, grander than all the others. The story of the cave is the story of the empire: it is constructed and for the briefest moment flourishes, before it tumbles into nothing....

3.D Captured by the dawn (part 1)
() The Ajanta Caves. A world famous collection of caves where Buddhists worshipped for years.... well, not exactly. The caves were abandoned half way through construction. They tell the story of the building of a great institution carrying the hopes of an empire, before the empire and the caves tumbled out of history....


3.13 Goodbye to empire
() This week, two empires will fall. As the grand Gupta empire retreats to the east and falls apart, we see its inner workings exposed. And we watch the small states squabble and fight over its legacy. The stage is set for long years of turmoil....

3.12 Protected by the lion man
() Two rulers fight over Northern India. The emperor of the Guptas, a gentle man devoted to Buddhism. The king of the Huns, a self-made man devoted to conquest. This week, the war between these two men, the final war between the Guptas and the huns...

3.11 Ruled by rebels
() It's festival time, and the streets of Pataliputra are busy with the sound of celebration. But the celebrations won't last. Emperors will fall like flies. The empire will be filled with rebellious states. The Huns will invade India, and sweep aside the emperor's best protections, conquering to the very heart of the empire. Will the Gupta emperor survive? Will the empire strike back? Listen, and find out....


3.i The path between two rivers
() Ever strolled through a museum absent mindedly, when all the exhibits seem to blur into one. What would happen if you took just one exhibit found out everything you could about it: where it was originally placed, what it meant to the people who made it, what legends and meaning it brought to their mind? This week, we take a pair of statues from a museum in Delhi and do exactly that. We hear the story of their city from its founding to its flourishing. We take a stroll through the city during the Gupta er...

2.i The abduction of queen Kakati
() A sculpture from an ancient Indian monastery carries us away on the wings of a bird of legend. Link to image: http://bit.ly/2jHcZbr...

1.ii The Fly Whisker
(). The Didarganj Yakshi, a beautiful life-size statue of a woman. We hear how she was discovered, and became an international agent, and her place in ancient Pataliputra. Link to image: http://bit.ly/2jHWQ5R...


1.i The artefacts bumble
() Quick introduction to the mini-episodes on artworks and artefacts. Short ancient Indian story by way of compensation....

3.10 Protected by destruction (part 2)
() The fortunes of the Gupta family are ruined. The empire has splintered into a dozen warring factions. The huns are already inside India, and at the gates of the empire. This is the tale of how emperor Skandagupta overcame all odds and saved the Gupta empire....


3.8 Protected by the prince
() The Gupta empire enjoys a peaceful slumber, as its golden age draws on. Its borders are and provinces are run by a closely-knit, competent and loyal family. But, in this episode, a family disagreement will tear the empire apart....

3.7 Sculpted by iron
() The tale of the famous Iron Pillar of Delhi and emperor Chandragupta II, from the construction of the pillar to the inscription of the emperor's tale....

3.6 Soaked by gold
() The golden age of the Guptas is about to begin. A new emperor takes the throne in a wave of scandel: Chandragupta II. Despite his shaky start, he will soon be revealed as a talented ruler, a victorious warrior, and his deeds will be woven into the legends....


3.c Colored by sound (part 2)
() What music did ancient Indians hear? What songs did they sing? We track down the folk tune and ritual chants of ancient Indians. Along the way, we pass through a lovesick country addicted to the lyre, and an epic battle between master and student (3rd of 3 specials about Gupta performance art)....

3.b Colored by sound (part 1)
() This week, we go hear the notes and beats of ancient Indian music, and hear some of the instruments. (2nd of 3 specials about Gupta performance art.)...

3.a Sacrifice by sight
() This week, we go to see an ancient Indian play. (1st of 3  specials about Gupta performance art.)...


3.5 Killed by cowardice
() Historians uncovered an ancient play about an unknown emperor, killed by his brother and the woman they both loved. The play turned out to have more truth than anyone suspected. It may have even been a cover-up, a distraction from murder. Listen, and judge for yourself....

3.4 South by southwest
() The great conqueror of ancient India turns his attention south. We follow him through forests, along sandy rivers, down the coast and into South India. And we hear how he shaped the world outside India too....

3.3 Protected by the sea
() The story of the great conqueror of ancient India. We follow him through his first campaign, the snake wars. And we see if he really earns his title: the Napoleon of India....


3.2 Hidden by the moon
() The founding of the Gupta empire, built by alliance and war. In this episode, it emerges from the patchwork of small states and dominates the valley of the Ganges. But the first emperor's plan to pass the empire on to his favourite son might not go as smoothly as planned....

3.1 Surrounded by small kings
() It's the late 3rd century, and the world is changing. Empires which dominated India have crumbled, leaving a patchwork of small states. We see what this new world looked like from the great city of Pataliputra, and meet the kingdoms which will shape northern India over the centuries to come....


2 J Poets and archers (part 2 of 2)
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The Cheras: crowned kings of South India. They ruled ancient Kerala and beyond as a family estate. This episode, we hear about the Chera kings from outsiders, through the stories and lives of the smaller chieftans of South India. Also, I embarrass myself by mispronouncing north Indian words. Fourth of three specials on South India. Ops....

2 I Poets and archers (part 1 of 2)
() The Cheras: crowned kings of South India. They ruled ancient Kerala and beyond as a family estate. This episode, we cover the first dynasty of the Cheras as told by their court poets. Third of three specials on South India....

2 H The civilized and the barbarian
() This week, we meet the barbarians. Outsiders from tribes in the hills to kings from foreign lands. What was it like to live as an outsider? What was it like to live alongside them? Listen, and find out....


2 G Women, law and life
() If you were an ancient Indian woman, would you choose to be a nun or a wife? This episode has all you need to decide this thorny question, from the legal facts to words of wisdom from ancient Indian women themselves. Well ok, not all you need to know, but hopefully we do get some idea of what some ancient Indian women's lives might be like....

2 F Poets and Fish
() The Pandiyas: crowned kings of South India, famous for hosting the legendary 'Sangam' academies of poets. We dig into those legends of the patrons and their poets, and unearth the truth within. Plus, a bonus quiz. Second of three specials on South India....

2 E Poets and tigers
() The Cholas: crowned kings of South India, people of the sun, their tiger flags leading their armies into battle. We meet their kings and poets and hear about their generous spirit, their homeland, and their fates. First of three specials on South India....


2 D Stupas and stupefaction
() In this special episode we take a virtual tour around the famous Buddhist monuments at Sanchi. We find a hidden stupa, search for the stories in the carvings, see through the invisible Buddha figures. And we see how this holy place fits into the lives of ancient Indians....

2 C India, Rome, and the Red Sea
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We continue our business trip from ancient India to Rome. We stop at Islands populated by Indian sailors, cross the great desert to the Nile, and finally making our way through the streets of Rome to sell our wares in the forum. Also, how did all this trade affect India and Rome? Listen and find out....

2 B India, Rome, and the High Seas
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A business trip from Ancient India to Rome, stopping along the way to peer into spice carts heading for the coast, Indian ships, and the curious story of the Romans and the monsoon winds....


2 A The householder, the slave, and the wardrobe
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) In this special episode, we live a morning in the life of a rich householder in Kushana India. Where did they wake up? What did they wear? And much more besides. Along the way we stop in on his wife and his slave....

2.14 The Kushans and the menace from the West
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, the end of the Kushan empire. The old order is crumbling. Roman emperors are slaughtered, China splinters, and the Kushan empire is beaten by a new menace from the west. What was it like to live in the age when empires die? Listen, and find out....

2.13 Kanishka and the wonder of the world
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The Kanishka stupa deserves its place amongst the wonders of the world. But its splendor has been long forgotten, and the stupa itself has been wiped out. This week, we set about rediscovering it. We look at the construction of the wonder, and the religious fall out for Kanishka's empire and for Buddhism today....


2.12 Kanishka and friends
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Kanishka the Great has conquered India. This week, we get to know him intimately, by getting to know his friends: the doctor, the minister and the poet-monk. We hear their stories, how they influenced the great warrior, and how ignoring their advice lead to his death....

2.11 Kanishka and the city of flowers
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The great city of Pataliputra had been destroyed. In this episode, the city will be rebuilt. But as soon as it reappears on the world stage, it will attract the attention of one of the greatest conquers in Indian history: Kanishka the great. Will the city survive yet another invasion? What was life like in the rebuilt city? Listen and find out....

2.10 India and the edge of the world
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of the Kushans. An empire caught between two continents: its body is in India, but it left its heart back in central Asia. So all its central Asian customs are brought into India: warm clothes, pointy hats, and kings who think they are gods....


2.9 Out of the steppe and into the city
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) We travel with a tribe of nomads from China across the vast grasslands to central Asia. There, they finally settle down into the cities on India's doorstep. They unite, form an empire, and get ready to invade India itself. This is the story of the Kushans....

2.8 Kings and calendars
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Old tales tell of a king who threw out the invaders, full of cleverness and wisdom, a man so generous that he was always willing to sacrifice his own life to help one of his subjects. He founded his own calendar, which is still used today. These are the legends of King Vikramaditya....

2.7 The conqueror and his mother
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The Indian empires strike back. For too long, the Shaka invaders have dominated the land, and plundered its riches. This week, a new Indian king will take the throne. By force and guile he will throw the invaders back, off the Deccan plateau. But things are not all as they seem....


2.6 Poet-kings and politicians
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) India is being invaded by outsiders. But the rulers of its last empire are distracted by more sensual matters. As the invaders close in, we listen to the rulers and their people on matters of love and loss. And we track the progress of the invaders as they wash over the land....

2.5 India and the Great Wall of China
() India is under attack. Tribes fleeing from the great wall of China pour into India. We watch the first invasions sweep in from the North West. How far did these alien people get? How alien were they? Listen, and find out. [This podcast is a little louder, please let me know if the volume is wrong]....

2.4 Chess and the emptiness of Pataliputra
() The once grand Imperial capital has lost its lustre. Its people watch as the great and good leave their city. Those that remain face repeated invasion from west, south and north. In this episode we meet these invaders, explore their caves, and tell their stories....


2.3 The Prince and the Greek
() An ancient Indian love poem leads us to the pinnacle of two great houses: the Shungas who inherited an Indian empire, and the Indo-Greeks. After their fateful meeting, we watch as both houses begin their steady decline, until at last they slip out of view. [Audio slightly fuzzy. Apologies]...

2.2 The Greeks and the Indian homeland
() Ancient Afghanistan: rich and fertile. Its Greek kings are powerful and ambitious enough to try to carve a new empire in India, cutting through the ruins of the old empire all the way to the walls of its grand capital city. Will the Greeks break through? To find out, listen on....

2.1 The kingslayer and his horses
() The story of the general who ended an empire. To consolidate his power, the general became a passionate supporter of the old-time religion. We look at the accusation that he persecuted the rival, Buddhist sect. And we learn how to perform his grandest ritual: the horse sacrifice....


2.0 The bumbling historian and his mad plan
() An introduction and apology for the series. What we'll be talking about, how I'll screw it up, and how a mysterious red liquor almost ruined ancient India....

1.G The sayings of seers (part 2)
() We look at the lost religion of ancient India. We see its doctrines and seemingly harsh practices through the eyes of rival sects. And we ask how the apparent hostility between these sects changed the lives of average ancient Indians....

1.F The Merchants of Magadha
() The guilds of ancient India. Trusted by townsfolk, feared by kings. This week, we find out how to join an ancient guild, and what to expect once you're a member. Then we take a voyage across Mauryan India with a member of a merchant guild....


1.E The Sayings of Seers
() In this episode, we look at how religion affected the life of the average ancient Indian.What rituals and sacrifices did an ancient Indian householder perform? What different religious views and ways of life did an ancient Indian have to choose between? Download, and find out....

1.D The carvings of society
() This week, we tackle the thorny issue of caste, and how important it was to day-to-day life in ancient India....


1.C The three crowned kings of Tamilakam
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week we travel down to the three great kingdoms of South India: the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Cheras. Sources are hard to find. We read them all and discover a unique culture with beautiful poetry and great cities....

1.11 The end of an empire
() A generation after Ashoka's death his empire had vanished. This week, we meet some of the emperors desperately hanging on as their world decays around them. And we test the accusation that Ashoka's empire collapsed because he was more interested in being a good man than in being a good ruler....

1.10 Kingdom without sorrow
() Sovereignty is only possible with assistance; a single wheel cannot move alone. Ashoka the Great took this maxim to heart, and built a huge government machine to assist him. This week, Ashoka must struggle to avoid being crushed by the wheels of his own machine....


1.9 Virtue without sorrow
(). On the battlefield at Kalinga the victorious emperor Ashoka decided to follow his conscience, no matter what. This week we find out where Ashoka's conscience lead him. We about hear his messages to his people, carved in his famous edicts, and how they changed daily life for his people....

1.8 Conscience without sorrow
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The first of three podcasts on the great emperor Ashoka. We meet his wives, and hear of his path to power over the bodies of his brothers. We go right up until the defining moment of his life, on the battlefield at Kalinga....

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1.7: The honesty of ambassadors
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week we look at the tall tales about India told by three Greek ambassadors to the courts of Mauryan emperors....

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1.6 The removal of thorns
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we look at the cunning statesman Kautilya. He wrote a book crammed full with cunning ideas on how to rule a kingdom. And he had personal experience backing up these ideas: together with his student he conquered a kingdom and founded an empire. If you want to learn about ruthless cunning from someone who has been there and done that, listen on....

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1.5 The throne of the peacock
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, we witness the founding of the great Mauryan empire. It will become unmatched in its size and power until the modern era. But it all starts with a young man, Chandragupta Maurya, his cunning teacher Kautilya, and their plot to overthrow a kingdom....

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1.A The legacy of foreign emperors
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The first special episode on matters away from the main storyline. In this episode we look at the Persian empire in India. Health warning: the second part of this episode contains strong political views. Coarse sentiments will be expressed, though not in coarse language. Please skip the second half if rants annoy you. I've added another, bonus podcast this week to compensate....

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1.B The ignorance of foreign kings
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A bonus special episode on Alexander the Great's stampede through North-West India. How he was ushered into India a conquering hero without a fight, and how his army massacred those who were strong enough to resist and harm him....

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1.4 The treasure of low-born kings
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week we breeze through three dynasties of kings in one jam-packed episode. None of them end well. The dynasty of Bimbisara comes to an end in bloody infamy. The dynasty of Sushinga comes to an end in bloody betrayal. And the dynasty of of the nine Nanda comes to an end because of... well listen and find out!...

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1.3 The Envy of Princes
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The downfall of Bimbisara king of Magadha. The rise of his son Ajatashatru to the throne, and two of his wars....


1.2 The Shrewdness of King Bimbisara
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) The story of Bimbisara, ancient king of Magadha. He was a contemporary of the Buddha and Mahavira, and by cunning marriages and warfare doubled the size of Magadha and more than doubled its prestige....

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1.1 The 16 great houses of ancient India
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) A wander through the mahajanapadas who dominated northern India during the 6th cenutury b.c. This is the world of Buddha and Mahavira....

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1.0 The apology of a bumbling historian
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) Introduction to the podcast. What we will be talking about, where, and how I'll screw it up. Includes a favourite Indian story as part compensation. Updated Feb 2018....

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