Key Terms in Ancient India

Key terms in Indian history are important for  IAS Prelims Examination. UPSC has asked 2-3 questions from this portion in Prelims Examination. Aspirants can expect this section in the exam and therefore should prepare accordingly.

This article comprises the list of important terms from the ancient Indian History topic.

Important Terms in Ancient Indian History

Here we are giving a list of some important ancient terms in Indian history.

Terms Meanings
Agnikula
  • Some group of Rajput clans who claim to have arisen from Yajna Havana-Kunda
Agrahara
  • Contribution of land or taxes from a village by the king to the Brahmins
Ajivika
  • A heterodox sect closer to Jainism
  • It prospered at the time of the Buddha
Amatya
  • Official title for a higher official used from the Mauryan Period.
Aranyakas
  • These are Vedic texts
  • Composed by hermits
Artha
  • Prosperity and well-being
  • One of the four aims of life of a Hindu
Arthashastra
  • Written by Kautilya
  • Ancient Indian treatise on economic policy, statecraft, and military strategy
Ashramas
  • The four stages of life
  • One facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism
Ayukta
  • Title of an officer often used in the Mauryan period
Bhagavata
  • A sect dedicated to Lord Vishnu
Bhukti
  • Gupta period administrative unit of a kingdom
Bodhisattva
  • A individual who attains nirvana by working for the welfare of the world
Brahmacharya
  • The first of the four stages (Ashramas) of life.
Brahmanas
  • A collection of ancient Indian texts with annotations on the hymns of the four Vedas
Chaitya
  • A Buddhist place of worship.
Charvaka
  • It is known as Lokayata and Bṛhaspatya
  • An ancient school of Indian materialism
Devadana
  • Contributed revenue assigned to a temple
Dharma
  • Piety, Morality – a way of life
Digambara
  • A Jain sect
  • This sect believes that to attain Moksha, one must give up the luxury of clothes also.
Garbhagriha
  • The sanctum of the Hindu temple.
Gayatri mantra
  • The very important verse from the Rig Veda
Grama
  • A village
Hinayana
  • One of the two major Buddhist sects
Jati
  • Family or a group of people defined by their profession
Kaliyuga
  • The fourth and final era
Karma
  • Action
Kharoshthi
  • Ashokan inscription of Shahbazgari and Manashera are written in this script
Kula
  • The clan or extended family
Mandalam
  • An administrative unit, frequently used in south India.
Matha
  • A center of education attached to a religious establishment
Nagara
  • Temple architecture style developed in central and
  • Northern India
Nishaka
  • A term used for coin
Pana
  • A term used for coin
Rajuka
  • An official designation used in the Mauryan period
Rashtra
  • Country
Samiti
  • A larger assembly
Satamana
  • A silver coin which weighed about 180 grains.
Sati
  • A Practice one who has sacrifice herself on the funeral pyre of her husband.
Stupa
  • Domical structure containing relics of the Buddha.
Theravada
  • A Buddhist sect
Upanishads
  • The philosophical texts included in Vedic literature
Varna
  • Four-fold division of Hindu society

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