History of India
Stone Age rock shelters with paintings at Bhimbetka in the state of Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in India. The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilization, dating back to 3300 BCE in western India. It was followed by the Vedic Civilization which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society. From around 550 BCE, many independent kingdoms and republics known as the Mahajanapadas were established across the country laying the foundations of ancient India.
The empire built by the Maurya dynasty under Emperor Ashoka the Great united most of modern Southern Asia except the Dravidian kingdoms in the south. From 180 BCE, a series of invasions from Central Asia followed including the Indo-Greeks, Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthians and Kushans in the north-western Indian Subcontinent. From the third century CE, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient India's "Golden Age." While the north had larger, fewer kingdoms, in the south there were several dynasties such as the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Cheras, Cholas, Pallavas and Pandyas in different times and regions.