From the period of the Mauryan Empire to the Gupta era, the Indian subcontinent underwent many changes. Politically, it was a period of empire-building. Cities and state-based societies spread to new areas during this period, arts and crafts proliferated. Many of them were inspired by cross-cultural interactions. Sartorial and gastronomic innovations occurred in this period of 800 years.
Gradually, devotion became the primary method of worship. In literature, the age of Vedic literature came to an end, and classical works were composed in Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit.
This period began with the All India Mauryan Empire. Integration between local innovations and urban elements from the Ganges Valley — and Roman trade in particular — meant that state-based societies spread to the regions of the Deccan and the Deep South, e.g. Satavahanas, Sangam states, etc. and new cities developed during this period.
Various foreign communities — Shakas, Indo-Greeks, Parthians, and Kushans — came to India in waves and managed to build their temporary empire. This was followed by a long period of socio-cultural contact; Gandhara and Mathura School of Arts; Tradition of issuing gold coins; New food and clothing like a tunic, turban, stitched clothes, etc.
Over time, these foreign elements adopted Indian culture, e.g. Besnagar Garuda Pillar. Specialized arts and crafts developed; Milindapanho mentions 60 types of crafts.
The innovative system of ‘land grants’ began as a means of expanding agriculture; It became the basis of agricultural relations and led to the vertical and horizontal expansion of state politics. The Gupta Empire was the last Gangetic valley-based empire. The era of the Vedas came to an end.
Beginning with short inscriptions, the classical Sanskrit era ended in the plays of Kalidasa during the Gupta era. Buddhism and Jainism were established and the element of idol worship was introduced to them. Buddhism emerged as a union centered and Jainism emerged as a religion.
Brahmanism developed in response to its critics and the elements involved, which can be recognized today – Bhagavatism, etc.
In addition, the temple and popular center of worship emerged. Foreign travelers such as Fa Hien came through trade routes and took the Indian religion to new territories.
This period of 800 years (3rd to 5th Century BCE) was truly a period of interaction between domestic and foreign elements, which led to innovation in various walks of life; Domestically also, new institutions emerged and some of the old developed into new forms.
Read: Ashoka’s Dhamma