The History of India Podcast show

The History of India Podcast

Summary: A light weekly podcast covering the history of India, from 6th century B.C. Enjoying the podcast? Please consider donating to the Snehal Sidhu Memorial Fund (

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 3.T By sea | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 43:50

( This week, set sail across the ocean with Indian merchants. We follow the Chinese monk Faxian as he crosses Gupta North India. We see the rituals of sea travelers, sample the sights and sounds of the great port of ancient East India, see the biggest and smallest of Indian ships, endure wrecks, strandings, and many more trials. Not all of our fellow travellers will come out alive. But Faxian will eventually make it back to China. Listen, and hear his the end of his story.

 3.S Engulfed by Jade | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:35

( We spend another week in the Indian-influenced land of the Tarim basin. This week, we spend time in the legendary city of Khotan. We hear stories of its founding, meet its king, and hear how the children of the city are educated with Indian tales and religion.

 3.R Chewed over by the master | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 56:32

This week, we travel over the Himalayas, and climb down the other side into the great desert basin. We spend time in a city on the northern ring of the desert, Kucha. It's a city deeply influenced by Indian thought and Indian people. We follow the most famous son of that city, Kumarajiva the great translator. Born to an Indian father, raised by a Kuchan mother, and destined to take Indian thought and language all the way to China.

 4.J The smile on the skull | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:35

( This is the tale of the land of the red river, North East India. Come on a journey along the banks, and hear the stories of this place: the tales of its legendary founder, a man named after hell itself; the rise and fall of the friend of Harsha; and the tale of the dynasty of outsiders who would, just for a moment, rule much of Northern India. 

 3.Q From dusk till dawn | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:27

( This week, we return to the caves of Ajanta. But we have good company: an artist and college lecturer has come to tell us about her memories of visiting, what she saw, and the special place of the paintings in modern Indian art. Includes gratuitous Jataka tale. Sound quality will be sorted by next episode (sorry!).

 4.I The cheer of twigs | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 48:28

( This week, we see how the landscape of the Pallavas was shaped. We follow it from before history began, through the years as irrigation is built. Warning: some sound issues including, but not limited to, making fun of historians and saying the wrong country.

 4.H The sport of drunkards and other stories | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 49:51

( We meet one of the great characters of the age: Mahendravarman, king of the Pallavas. We get to know his wicked humour, and listen to one of his sharp-tongued plays. In this episode: drunken priests, lusty monks, booze spilling from a white skull, cunning puns, and all this to cover up for taking a second wife. Confused? Listen, and laugh with ancient Indians.

 4.G The joy of serpants and other stories | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:25

( you ever needed to know about become an author in the court of Harsha, emperor of India. Find out a day in the life of an author. Try your hand at solving some of their puzzles. Meet the leading authors at court, each of whom are worth a book on their own.

 4.F Once they lived in the town in joy and happiness | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 54:11

( This week, the cities of North India empty. The traders lock down their stalls and move off with their baggage. The craftsmen's tools fall silent. And the king and his generals are left in the silent husk of the city. How did these exoduses happen? How did the townsfolk make a new life away from the city? And how did life change for the country folk? Listen, and find out.

 4.e The joys of the victory (part 2: the south) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 44:09

( Jainism once dominated life and culture in South India: Jain kings ruled with Jain monk advisors, and at court they listened to epic tales written by Jains, and ruled over their people many of whom followed Jainism. By early modern times, all that had changed. Jains were no longer found in such big numbers, and their influence on culture had been forgotten by some. In this episode, we investigate what happened. (HOI podcast now resumes weekly service.)

 4 d. The joys of victory (part 1) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:15

( Jainism has shaped Indian thought over the millenia, and continues to do so today. This week, we find out what life was like as a Jain in the time of Harsha. How did they worship? Where did they fit into society? What did others in ancient India make of them? Listen, and find out. Health warning: no accurate claims about Jain theology are contained within.

 4.C The laughter of the monks grows silent | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 49:54

( In the marketplaces and fields of ancient India, would you notice that Buddhism was gradually disappearing? Many ancient Indians did. And we take a layman's view as the monasteries withdraw from the world and at the same time become more part of it. Come, listen to the beginning of the great decline of Buddhism in India. Bonus: interview with Peter Adamson from the Philosophy in India (HoPWAG) podcast.

 4.B Joy in the kingdom of brothers (part B) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 48:41

( Second of the special episodes on ancient Gujurat. This week, we visit the internationally famous university of Vallabhi, and we hear how the story of the local kingdom weaves together with the stories of great empires. All of this is bookeneded with two scandalous tales of love and betrayal telling us how people from the period thought about love.

 4.A Joy in the kingdom of brothers (part a) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 43:35

( We kick off our special episodes for the series with a tour of the smaller kingdoms and regions emerging around India. This week, we are in the peninsular of Gujurat, in a strange kingdom where they pass the throne down to their younger brothers. 

 4.16 The end of mirth | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:24

( The great emperor Harsha's death and the destruction of his empire. Told through the eyes of the Chinese emissaries Harsha loved.


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