Ancient India is not a typical civilization which received immense publicity about inventions. In fact, like any other civilization which last for an extended period of time and flourishes, it has made some notable innovations.
Along with the ancient Mayans, the ancient Indians are thought to be one of the earliest civilizations. These two civilizations thought in terms of billions of years. As a matter of fact, the Hindus have scriptures dealing with events spanning billions of years.
This list of Indian inventions and discoveries involves a long, detailed list of inventions, scientific discoveries and contributions in India. These inventions were made in a variety of diverse fields like astronomy, architecture, cartography, metallurgy, logic, mathematics, and metrology. All these were pursued by the scholars. This process of countless inventions, discoveries along with innovations continue with the same zeal till today.
Starting with inventions, the following things came to be invented in ancient India:
1. Button, ornamental: Buttons made from seashells were used in the Indus Valley Civilization as ornaments. Some buttons were carved into geometric shapes and had holes pieced into them. This enabled them to get attached to clothing by using a thread. The earliest found button was found at Mohenjodaro. It was made of a curved shell and dated 5000years back.
2. Calico: Calico originated in the subcontinent by the 11th century. However, he found mention in Indian literature by the 12th when writer Hemacandra mentioned calico fabric prints done in a lotus design. The Indian textile merchants traded in calico with the Africans by the 15th century and calico fabrics from Gujarat appeared in Egypt.
3. Carding, devices for: According to historian, Joseph Needham, the invention of bow-instruments was a result of the textile technology in India. The earliest evidence of the usage of bow-instruments for carding comes from India around the 2nd century BCE. These carding devices known as Kaman and Dhunaki would loosen the texture of the fiber with the help of a vibrating string.
4. Chaturanga and Shatranj: The predecessor of chess originated in India during the Gupta dynasty from 280 to 550 BCE. Both the Persians as well as the Arabs ascribe the origins of the game of Chess to the Indians. The words for "chess" in Old Persian and Arabic are 'Chatrang' and 'Shatranj' respectively. Both these terms are derived from 'Caturanga' in Sanskrit, literally meaning an army of four divisions or four corps.
5. Chintz: The basis of Chintz is from the printed all cotton fabric of calico in India.
6. Cotton gin, single-roller: The Ajanta caves of India yield evidence of a single roller cotton gin in use by the 5th century. This cotton gin was used in India until innovations were made in form of foot powered gins. The cotton gin was invented in India as a mechanical device known as 'Charkhi', more technically known as the "wooden-worm-worked roller". This mechanical device was, in some parts of India, driven by water power.