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Vedic Period (Later Vedic Period)

Later Vedic Period (1000BC - 600 BC)

  • Aryans moved further eastwards and occupied occupied western and eastern UP (Kosala) and Bihar. 
  • They had knowledge of Narmada River and Vindhyan mountains. 

Political structure:

  • Mahajanapadas were formed by amalgamating smaller kingdoms. 
  • Many famous tribes of Rig Vedic period like Bharatas, Parus, Tritsus and Turvasas passed into oblivion and new tribes like the Kurus and Panchalas rose into prominence. 
  • Powers of the king, who was called Samrat increased. 
  • Importance of assemblies declined. 
  • The sacrifices like Rajasuya and Asvamedha were performed by the King.References of Priest (Purohita), Commander in chief (Senapati), Charioteer (Sura), treasurer (Sangrahita), tax collector (Bhagdugha), chief queen (Mahisi) and the game companion (aksavapa). 


  • The Varna system of social distinction became more distinct. This became less based on occupation and more hereditary. 
  • Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (Warriors), Vaishyas (agriculturists, cattle-rearers, traders) and Shudras (servers of the upper three). 

Various sub-castes on the basis of occupation emerged.

Women were not permitted to attend public assemblies like Sabhas and Samitis. Their position lowered.

Child marriages became common.

Chariot racing was the main sport and gambling was the main pastime.
Economic Conditions:

The transition of Vedic society from semi-nomadic life to settled agriculture.

Agricultural operations grew in complexity and usage of iron implements (krishna–ayas or shyama–ayas, literally black metal or dark metal) increased.

Crops of wheat, rice, and barley were cultivated.

Industrial work like metal work, pottery and carpentry work also was there.

Apart from copper, bronze, and gold, later Vedic texts also mention tin, lead, and silver.

There was foreign trade also with Babylon.

Regular coinage was not started. The coins which were in circulation were “Nishka”, “Satamana” and “Krishnala”.

Indra and Agni lost their importance.

Prajapathi (the creator), Vishnu (the protector) and Rudra (the destroyer) became.

Importance of prayers diminished and rituals and sacrifices became more elaborate.

The priestly class became very powerful and they dictated the rules of the rites and rituals. Because of this orthodoxy, Buddhism and Jainism emerged towards the end of this period.
Types of Marriages

Brahma : Marriage of a duly dowered girl to a man of the same class.

Daiva : Marriage in which a father gave his daughter to a sacrificial priest as part of his fees.

Arsa : Marriage in which a token bride-price of a cow and a bull was paid to the daughter's father.

Prajapatya : Marriage in which the father gave the girl without dowry and without demanding bride-price.

Gandharva : Marriage, often clandestine, by the consent of the two parties.

Asura : Marriage by purchase.

Rakshasa : Marriage by capture.

Paishacha : Marriage involving the seduction of a girl while sleeping, etc.

Anuloma marriage was the marriage of a higher varno man with a lower varna woman.

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