Buildings, Paintings and Books Class 6 History Notes | DailyHomeStudy


  • Ancient Indian metallurgists made major contributions to the metallurgical history of the world.
  • Archaeological excavations have shown that the Harappans were master craftsmen and had knowledge of copper metallurgy.
  • They even manufactured bronze by mixing copper and tin.
  • While the Harappans belonged to the Bronze Age, their successors belonged to the Iron Age.
  • India produced highly advanced types of iron-forged iron, wrought iron and cast iron.

Buildings, Paintings and Books

The iron pillar on pillar

  • The iron pillar at Mehrauli, Delhi, is a remarkable example of the skill of Indian crafts persons.
  • It is made of iron, 7.2. m high, and weighs over 3 tonnes.
  • It was made about 1500 years ago.
  • There is an inscription on the pillar mentioning a ruler named Chandra, who probably belonged to the Gupta dynasty .
  • The amazing is the fact that the pillar has not rusted in all these years.

Buildings in brick and stone

  • The skills of our crafts persons are also apparent in the buildings that have survived, such as stupas.
  • The word stupa means a mound.
  • There are several kinds of stupas, round and tall, big and small, these have certain common features.
  • There is a small box placed at the centre or heart of the stupa.
  • This contain bodily remains (such as teeth, bone or ashes) of the Buddha or his followers, or things they used,
    as well as precious stones, and coins
  • This box, known as a relic casket,  was covered with earth. Later, a layer of mud brick or baked brick was
    added on top.

What Where, How and When?

  • The dome like structure was sometimes covered with carved stone slabs.
  • A path, known as the pradakshina patha, was laid around the stupa
  • This was surrounded with railings.
  • Entrance to the path was through gateways.
  • Devotees walked around the stupa, in a clockwise direction, as a mark of devotion.
  • Both railings and gateways were often decorated with sculpture.
  • Other buildings were  hollowed out of rock to make artificial caves.
  • the earliest Hindu temples were also built at this time.
  • Deities such as Vishnu, Shiva, and Durga were worshipped in these shrines.
  • The most important part of the temple was the room known as the garbhagriha, where the image of the chief deity was placed.
  • It was here that priests performed religious rituals, and devotees offered worship to the deity.
  • Bhitargaon, a tower, known as the shikhara, was built on top of the garbhagriha, to mark this out as a sacred place.
  • Building  shikharas required careful planning.
  • temples also had a space known as the mandapa.
  • It was a hall where people could assemble.
  • Mahabalipuram and Aihole on Map 7 (page 105).
  • Some of the finest stone temples were built in these towns.

On the Trail of the Earliest People

How were stupas and temples built?

  • There were several stages in building a stupa or a temple.
  • kings or queens decided to build these as it was an expensive affair.
  • good quality stone had to be found, quarried, and transported to the place that was often carefully chosen for the new building.
  • These rough blocks of stone had to be shaped and carved into pillars, and panels for walls, floors and ceilings.
  • And then these had to be placed in precisely the right position.
  • Kings and queens probably spent money from their treasury to pay the crafts persons who worked to build these splendid structures.
  • when devotees came to visit the temple or the stupa, they often brought gifts, which were used to decorate the buildings.


From Gathering to Growing Food

  • Ajanta is a place where several caves were hollowed out of the hills over centuries.
  • Most of these were monasteries for Buddhist monks, and some of them were decorated with paintings.
  • The caves are dark inside, most of these paintings were done in the light of torches.
  • The colours, which are vivid even after 1500 years, were made of plants and minerals.
  • The artists who created these splendid works of art remain unknown.

The world of books

  • Some of the best–known epics were written during this period.
  • Epics are grand, long compositions, about heroic men and women, and include stories about gods.
  • A famous Tamil epic, the Silappadikaram, was composed by a poet named Ilango, around 1800 years ago.
  • It is the story of a merchant named Kovalan, who lived in Puhar and fell in love with a courtesan named Madhavi, neglecting his wife Kannagi.
  • He and Kannagi left Puhar and went to Madurai, where he was wrongly accused of theft by the court jeweller of the Pandya king.
  • The king sentenced Kovalan to death. Kannagi, who still loved him, was full of grief and anger at
    this injustice, and destroyed the entire city of Madurai.
  • Another Tamil epic, the Manimekalai was composed by Sattanar around 1400 years ago.
  • This describes the story of the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi.
  • These beautiful compositions were lost to scholars for many centuries, till their manuscripts were rediscovered, about a hundred years ago.
  • Kalidasa wrote in Sanskrit.

In the Earliest Cities

ecording and preserving old stories

  • A number of Hindu religious stories that were in circulation earlier were written down around the same time.
  • These include the Puranas.
  • Purana literally mean old.
  • The Puranas contain stories about gods and goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Durga or Parvati.
  • They also contain details on how they were to be worshipped.
  • There are accounts about the creation of the world, and about kings.
  • The Puranas were written in simple Sanskrit verse, and were meant to be heard by everybody, including women and shudras, who were not allowed to study the Vedas.
  • They were probably recited in temples by priests, and people came to listen to them.
  • Two Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana had been popular for a very long time.
  • Some of you may be familiar with these stories.
  • The Mahabharata is about a war fought between the Kauravas and Pandavas, who were cousins.
  • This was a war to gain control of the throne of the Kurus, and their capital, Hastinapura.
  • The story itself was an old one, but was written down in the form in which we know it today, about 1500 years ago.
  • Both the Puranas and the Mahabharata are supposed to have been compiled by Vyasa.

What Books and Burials Tell Us

  • The nBhagavad Gita, about which you learnt in Chapter 9, was also included in the Mahabharata.
  • The Ramayana is about Rama, a prince of Kosala, who was sent into exile.
  • His wife Sita was  abducted by the king of Lanka, named Ravana, and Rama had to fight a battle to get her back.
  • He won and returned to Ayodhya, the capital of Kosala, after his victory.
  • The Mahabharata, this was an old story that was now written down.
  • Valmiki is recognised as the author of the Sanskrit Ramayana.

Stories told by ordinary people 

  • Ordinary people also told stories, composed  poems and songs, sang, danced, and performed plays.
  • Some of these are preserved in collections of stories such as the Jatakas and the Panchatantra, which were written down around this time.
  • Stories from the Jatakas were often shown on the railings of stupas and in paintings in places such as Ajanta.

Writing books on science

  • This was also the time when Aryabhata, a  mathematician and astronomer, wrote a book in Sanskrit known as the Aryabhatiyam.
  • He stated   that day and night were caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis, even though it seems as if the sun is rising and setting everyday.
  • He developed a scientific explanation for eclipses as well.
  • He also found a way of calculating the circumference of a circle, which is nearly as accurate as the formula we use today.
  • Varahamihira, Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya were some other mathematicians and astronomers
    who made several discoveries.

Kingdoms, Kings and an Early Republic


  •  While numerals had been used earlier, mathematicians in India now invented a special symbol for zero.
  • This system of counting was adapted by the Arabs and then spread to Europe.
  • It continues to be in use throughout the world.


  • Ayurveda is a well-known system of health science that was developed in ancient India.
  • The two famous practitioners of Ayurveda in ancient India were Charaka (1st-2nd centuries C.E.) and Sushruta (c. 4th century C.E.) Charak Samhita, written by Charak is a remarkable book on medicine.
  • In his treatise, Susruta Samhita, Sushruta speaks about elaborate surgical procedures

New Questions and Ideas


  • Beginning of stupa building (2300 years ago)
  • Amaravati (2000 years ago)
  • Kalidasa (1600 years ago)
  • Iron pillar, Temple at  Bhitargaon, Paintings at Ajanta, Aryabhata (1500 years ago)
  • Durga temple (1400 years ago)
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