The arrival of Aryans in India marked the beginning of Vedic period. This period is called Vedic period because reconstruction of this period is taken mostly from Vedic text as its source. The Vedic period was from 1500 BC to 600 BC. This period is divided into two parts:
Origin of Aryans
- Early Vedic Period (1500 BC – 1000 BC)
- Later Vedic Period (1000 BC – 600 BC)
- The word ‘Aryan’ means ‘of high birth’.
- The Aryans were tall, comparatively fair and long-headed
- As per most of scholars, Aryans came from central Asia.
- Earlier Aryans were pastoralists and agriculture was their secondary occupation.
- Their most important animal was horse. They utilized the horse to light chariots with spooked wheels which helped them migrate quickly to westwards, southwards and eastwards.
Early Vedic Period
- Earlier Aryans believed to be lived along Saptasindavah or Sapta Sindhu (means land seven rivers). Sapta Sindhu comprises river Sindhu (Indus) and its tributaries: Sutudri (Sutlej), Vipasa (Beas), Parushini (Ravi), Asikni (Chenab), Vitase (Jhelum) and Naditarna (Saraswati).
- River Saraswati as considered best of all the rivers in Rig Veda.
- In Rig Veda, Saraswati is most mentioned river, Ganga is mentioned once and Yamuna is mentioned thrice.
Later Vedic Period
- In later period, Aryans moved further eastwards and occupied whole of north India.
- According to story in Satapatha Brahmana, Videga Madhava started from river Saraswati, crossed river Gandhak leading to the name of area as ‘Videha’.
- The Janas were transformed into Janapadas.
- They had knowledge of Narmada River and Vindhyan mountains.
- They divided the country into five parts – north, east, west, south and central parts.