The dawn of civilization: first stone tools, early rock art in Bihar, farming in Chirand; discovery of copper and birth of Indus cities. The Aryans arrive. Vedic hymns are composed.
Rise of the Mahajanapadas
Of the 16 Mahajanapadas, Magadha emerges supreme. Rajagriha becomes capital. First coins are minted. Mahavira is born. Buddha attains enlightenment. Ajatashatru’s fort Pataligrama marks the future city of Pataliputra.
Nandas: War and Peace
The Nandas conquer Magadha and build a mighty army, attempting the earliest empire. Agriculture and irrigation advance. Greek conqueror Alexander reaches Punjab. His exhausted army refuses to advance further.
Mauryans: The First Empire
Chandragupta Maurya overthrows the Nandas, aided by astute counsel Chanakya, writer of Arthashastra. Ashoka establishes largest empire of India. Kalinga War violence turns Asoka to Buddhism. He inscribes dhamma edicts.
Shunga: New Trends in visual arts and architecture
The Shungas seize Magadha. Buddhism spreads far and wide. Stories are sculpted on railings of Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya. Buddhist art depicts Buddha through symbols as footprints and Empty Throne.
Kushana: Cross-cultural encounters
Kushana Empire stretches from Afghanisthan to Gangetic plain. Gandhara and Mathura become dominant art centres; Buddha is depicted in human form. Trade through Silk Route expands culture. Buddhism travels east.
Gupta: Age of creativity and prosperity
Chandragupta strengthens his kingdom with a Licchavi alliance. Gupta political influence spreads. Fa Hien visits India. Art, culture and learning reach unsurpassed heights with Nalanda and works of Aryabhatta and Kalidasa.
Vardhana: A transitory phase
Gauda King Sasanka rules over Magadha. After his death, King Harshavardhana gains control. He is a great patron of arts. Hieun Tsang visits Nalanda and Bodh Gaya, writing important travel accounts.
Pala: Zenith of intellectual exchange
Pala dynasty rule Bihar and Bengal. Vikramshila and Odantapuri universities are founded. Kurkihar becomes centre for metal art. Pala stone sculpting develops. Other Tantric forms of Buddhism develop, as Vajrayana.
The Sultanates: Delhi becomes the new centre of power
The Delhi Sultanate marks the beginning of Muslim rule in India; successive dynasties rule Bihar from Delhi and Bengal. Bhakti and Sufi movements gain momentum. In 1526, Babur establishes Mughal Empire.
Sher Shah Suri: The Afgan interlude
Afghan Sher Shah Suri defeats Mughal Emperor Humayun and becomes ruler of India. His achievements include consolidation of the major route Sadak-e-Azam, today Grand Trunk Road. He issues the silver Rupiya.
Mughal: Consolidation of Mughal Rule
Akbar becomes Emperor of India. Abu’l Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari records Bihar as an important province under Mughal rule. British set up textile factory in Patna. Guru Gobind Singh is born in Patna.
Nawabs of Bengal and British accession to power
Winning the Battles of Plassey and Buxar, in1757 and 1764, the British East India Company take control of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. Patna becomes an international trading centre. Golghar granary is built.
British Raj: Archaeological exploration
British Crown takes over reign. Prinsep deciphers ancient scripts. Cunningham begins excavations at Nalanda and Bodh Gaya. Mauryan pillared hall is discovered at Kumrahar,1912. Bihar Province is created in 1936.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad of Bihar is the first President of the Republic of India in 1950.