Ancient Indian Technology: The Indus Valley Civilization was situated in a resourcefully rich area. This area was noteworthy for its early application of city planning and sanitation technologies. Cites in the Indus Valley, offer some of the first incidences of closed gutters, public baths, and communal granaries.
Takshashila University was an important center of learning in the ancient world. It was the center of education for scholars from all over Asia. Many Greek, Persian and Chinese students studied here under great scholars including Kautilya, Panini, Jivaka, and Vishnu Sharma.
Ancient Indian Technology
Ancient India was quite similar to that in modern times. This was because even during the ancient times, India was at the forefront of different areas of technology. For instance, in seafaring technology – a panel traced at Mohenjodaro, which indicates the possibility of a sailing craft.
Ship construction has been vividly described in the Yukti Kalpa Taru. Yukti Kalpa Taru was an ancient Indian text on Shipbuilding. Ancient Indian culture also pioneered in its use of vegetable dyes, cultivating plants including indigo and cinnabar. Many of the dyes were used in art and sculpture. The use of perfumes demonstrates some knowledge of chemistry, particularly distillation and purification processes as well.
Ancient Indian Technology: Civil Engineering
From complex Harappan towns to Delhi’s Qutub Minar, India’s indigenous technologies were highly sophisticated. They included the design and planning of water supply, traffic flow, natural air conditioning, complex stonework, as well as construction engineering.
The Harappan Civilization was the world’s first to build planned towns with underground drainage, civil sanitation, hydraulic engineering, and air-cooling architecture. While the other ancient civilizations of the world were small towns with one central complex, this civilization had the distinction of being spread across many towns. These towns covered a region about half the size of Europe.
Weights and linguistic symbols were standardized across this vast geography, for a period of over 1,000 years, from around 3,000 BCE to 1500 BCE. Oven-baked bricks were invented in India in approximately 4,000 BCE.
Over 900 of the 1,500 known settlement sites which have been so discovered belong from India. Additionally, Indians also pioneered many engineering tools for construction, surgery, warfare, etc. These included the hollow drill, the true saw, and the needle with the hole on its pointed end.
Ancient Indian Technology: Water Management
Realizing the importance of fresh water which India holds till today, it is no surprise that the technologies to manage water resources were highly advanced from Harappan times onwards. For instance in Gujarat, Chandragupta built the Sudarshan Lake in late 4thcentury BCE.
This was subsequently repaired in 150 BCE by his grandson. Bhopal’s Raja Bhoj Lake, built in 1014-1053, is so massive that it shows up in satellite images. The lake built during the Vijayanagar Empire14th – 15th century BCE has received extreme prominence.
Ancient Indian Technology: Textiles
Indian textiles have been renowned since antiquity. The Greeks and Romans extensively imported textiles from India. In fact, Roman archives record official complaints about massive cash drainage. This was due to the imports from India.
Interestingly, one of the earliest industries relocated from India to Britain was textiles. In fact, it became the first major success of the Industrial Revolution, with Britain replacing India as the world’s leading textile exporter. Textiles and steel were the foundation of the British Industrial Revolution and both had their origins in India.