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The History of India Podcast - - A World of Music

The History of India Podcast

Kit Patrick


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 (
158 Episodes Play All Episodes
access_time4 days ago
( week, the last of the Mauryan emperors. He will restore his family's glory, conquering the entire world. Well, more or less. Listen and meet a forgotten legend. WARNING: some gore, blood, descriptions of death.
access_time11 days ago
( This week, two kingdoms tie themselves together with marriage. They expand their lands, regain their independence. They do everything to imitate the glorious rise of empires past. And then they fade to nothing.
access_time20 days ago
( The story of Nepal, from the formation of the Himalayan lands, through it's earliest inscriptions, to the king who refused to be king. This episode, we get up to date with what is going on in the kingdom to the North of Pataliputra. Along the way: a mountain split by a sword, the first record of attempted sati, Nepal's oldest temple, and much more.
access_time28 days ago
( Emperor Harsha is dead. With him, the last great Indian empire of the first millenium collapses into chaos. Or so the story goes. Down in the ruins of Pataliputra, things seem a bit different. The old families ruled before Harsha's empire was formed, and they rule still. And one of the old families starts to build a new empire in the lands around Pataliputra.
access_time1 month ago
( A brief introduction to series 5: a preview as we plunge into the medieval age. We'll have a quick chat about Islam and whether there even was a medieval age. All wrapped up with one of my favorite stories.
access_time6 months ago
( 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.
access_time7 months ago
( 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.
access_time7 months ago
( 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.
access_time7 months ago
( 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.
access_time7 months ago
( 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.
access_time10 months ago
( 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.
access_time11 months ago
( 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.
access_time12 months ago
( 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.
access_time1 year ago
( 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.
access_time1 year ago
( The great emperor Harsha's death and the destruction of his empire. Told through the eyes of the Chinese emissaries Harsha loved.
access_time1 year ago
( When a great emperor suddenly falls, what happens to his empire? This week, we continue the story of Polekeshin II to his sudden disappearance. For 13 years, his empire is plunged into darkness. But an heir will emerge, and will rebuild the empire higher and firmer than it ever was before. Including bonus 20 seconds of self-help.
access_time1 year ago
( A young prince flees his capital city. The prince will go on to beat the great emperor Harsha, and establish his own empire. But his is not just the story of a dynasty. For in his story, the state of Karnataka emerges and establishes itself as the seat of emperors and a major power in South India.
access_time1 year ago
( This week, emperor Harsha tracks down a famous chinese monk. When the emperor and monk eventually meet, there is a great meeting of minds. Along the way, towers will burn down, the treasury will be emptied, and the emperor will tackle an assassin. At the end, will Harsha be the great Hindu emperor? Or will he become another Buddhist emperor? Listen and find out.
access_time1 year ago
( We continue the story of Harsha, last emperor of ancient India. The thirty years of bloodshed has begun, when Harsha will send his armies around India, forging his empire. We watch Harsha's army turn east, folowing it through the deserted kingdoms and emptied cities, until at last he is able to bring his most hated enemy to battle. Also in this episode: Bengal gets its start on the world stage.
access_time1 year ago
( Harsha prepares for battle. We follow him through the battle day, from before he wakes up, through the inspection of his army, the preparation of his battle-line, into the battle itself. Hear the battle tactics used by ancient Indian kings. Discover how the Indian armies were able to crush the huns.  (2 of 2 of military during Harsha's time)
access_time1 year ago
( We follow an ancient Indian king as he prepares for war. Should he fight openly and honourably? Should he use sneaky tricks? Or should he find a third way? We consider his decisions as he plans his campaign, charts his route through enemy territory, and sets up his camp. (1 of 2 of military during Harsha's time)
access_time1 year ago
( We continue with the story of the great emperor Harsha. He is alone. His family have almost all passed away. Only one remains: his sister, last heard of locked away in an enemy jail. We follow Harsha as he goes in search of her. His quest will lead us up into the hills and forests, to meet forest princes and sages. Will Harsha save his sister from the wilds? Listen and find out.
access_time1 year ago
( The story of the great emperor Harsha continues as he finally sits on the throne. But there is much for the young king to learn. The ministers form factions and compete for his attention. The people of the countryside reject him. He must lead an army to battle, and make alliances with foreign princes.
access_time1 year ago
***reuploaded due to itunes trouble***( The story of the great emperor Harsha continues with the bleakest of episodes. Harsha's family and friends will die around him. And modern historians have accused him of killing his brother. Was he guilty? You are invited to join the jury as we hear the case for the prosecution, and his defense. The judgment will, as ever, be yours.
access_time1 year ago
( The story of the great emperor Harsha continues. This week, the man himself finally enters the world. We hear about his birth, his childhood gang of friends. And we watch as, one by one, the children around him are forced into an early adulthood. We follow the story up too the very instant Harsha's own childhood ends.
access_time1 year ago
( The great Emperor Harsha's family: from its beginnings in black magic and legend, through the long hard years serving greater kings, to the emerging of the family once again into the eye of history. Along the way, we hear of Harsha's homeland, full of rivers and overflowing with rice.
access_time1 year ago
( This week the history of India podcast gets personal. We get to know the great writer, Bana. We hear about his tragic childhood. His wild, party driven youth. We hang out in his village, meet his friends. And then we see his ascent to the imperial court.
access_time1 year ago
( The great city Pataliputra is at peace. But the good times cannot last. Soon, its start to squabble amongst themselves. A new power emerges to take advantage: the moon king will gain a tight grip on the city, and oppress its people. Or so the stories say. This week, we hear the stories, and judge the truth for ourselves.
access_time1 year ago
(  This week, two kingdoms wage war up and down the banks of the Ganges. In the great city of Pataliputra, the kings are fighting desperately to avoid the fate of fallen empires. They will win victories, only to jump into the flames themselves. They will will employ ancient strategies. But, at the very moment when their rule seems secure, it will be taken from them forever.
access_time1 year ago
( The Gupta empire is crumbling. A time of great uncertainty and fear for some, and a time of excitement for others. This week, we meet two kings working for the Guptas. But, before long, they will both be independent kingdoms vying to become the next great empire.
access_time2 years ago
( A brief introduction to series 4, apology for all the errors, with an ancient Indian story to compensate.
access_time2 years ago
( Doctors. Ancient Indians looked down on them. But this week, we'll be finding out what it would be like when an ancient Indian patient needed them. We look for cures in the Buddhist monastery, and take a trip to the hospital.
access_time2 years ago
( The story of ancient Indian mathematics from its earliest days stacking bricks to build altars, to infinity and beyond. We meet the work of the great Gupta-era mathematician, Aryabhata. Along the way we hear ancient Indian answers to such thorny questions as: how do you almost square a circle? how many infinities are there? and how long is the blink of an eye? No mathematical knowledge required.
access_time2 years ago
( This week, we get to know the greatest poet and playwright of ancient India: Kalidasa. We hear the legend of how he found his talent through the strained relationship with his demanding wife. We explore his life as a poet in the court of the Gupta empire, and the tale of his sad demise. Along the way, we'll get everything we need to enjoy some of the greatest poetry ever written.
access_time2 years ago
( This week, get a job in the ancient Gupta empire. We look at the life of a soldier, a policeman, and a civil servant. But getting a place in the empire won't be as easy as you might think.
access_time2 years ago
( The mythical land of gold: according to the tales lies far to the East of India. Only the bravest adventurers dare make the journey. We follow them to the islands and states of South East Asia. We find a people deeply influenced by body and mind. And we watch the first few Hindu states emerge in Cambodia and Vietnam.
access_time2 years ago
( Ancient North East India. We take a podcasty walk from an ancient farm in the valleys up into the hills where the Kiratas live, walking through the landscape rich with trees and caves, and hearing the legends of hill and valley along the way.
access_time2 years ago
( Ancient North East India. Cut off from the world by a ring of mountains; it's people living uneventful and simple lives. Well not quite. This week we pay our first visit to the region; hear the stories of the folk living there. We visit temples adapted from the Guptas to the east. And we track down rumours of a dangerous winding path that heads off eastwards, all the way to china.
access_time2 years ago
( Everything you ever needed to know about buying and running a farm in ancient India. Learn how to navigate the paper work required to buy a farm. Get advice on what to grow, and how. Hear how to pay your agricultural taxes. Until finally, work done, you can settle down to watch the crops grow and listen to a few old farmer's tales.
access_time2 years ago
( How best to get inside the shoes of ancient Indians? Through the stomach! This episode, some friends cook some ancient Indian meals and give them a tasting. Will we adopt an ancient Indian diet? Will we be up all night with indigestion? Listen and find out.  (Check out Adil's craft beer and games podcast:
access_time2 years ago
( We cook a meal for some ancient Indians. From buying ingredients down the market, to working in the Kitchen, to the meal itself. We might also indulge in a bit of smoking and drinking afterwards.
access_time2 years ago
( Students from around the known world set out with their books. They are heading for one location. The great monastery in Northern India: Nalanda. We join them on their journey into the complex, and take part in debates and daily life alongside them.
access_time2 years ago
( We return to the Ajanta Caves for a second special episode. In this episode, the emperor is building his own cave, grander than all the others. The story of the cave is the story of the empire: it is constructed and for the briefest moment flourishes, before it tumbles into nothing.
access_time2 years ago
( The Ajanta Caves. A world famous collection of caves where Buddhists worshipped for years . well, not exactly. The caves were abandoned half way through construction. They tell the story of the building of a great institution carrying the hopes of an empire, before the empire and the caves tumbled out of history.
access_time2 years ago
( This week, two empires will fall. As the grand Gupta empire retreats to the east and falls apart, we see its inner workings exposed. And we watch the small states squabble and fight over its legacy. The stage is set for long years of turmoil.
access_time2 years ago
( Two rulers fight over Northern India. The emperor of the Guptas, a gentle man devoted to Buddhism. The king of the Huns, a self-made man devoted to conquest. This week, the war between these two men, the final war between the Guptas and the huns
access_time2 years ago
( It's festival time, and the streets of Pataliputra are busy with the sound of celebration. But the celebrations won't last. Emperors will fall like flies. The empire will be filled with rebellious states. The Huns will invade India, and sweep aside the emperor's best protections, conquering to the very heart of the empire. Will the Gupta emperor survive? Will the empire strike back? Listen, and find out.
access_time2 years ago
( Ever strolled through a museum absent mindedly, when all the exhibits seem to blur into one. What would happen if you took just one exhibit found out everything you could about it: where it was originally placed, what it meant to the people who made it, what legends and meaning it brought to their mind? This week, we take a pair of statues from a museum in Delhi and do exactly that. We hear the story of their city from its founding to its flourishing. We take a stroll through the city during the Gupta era, and come across those same two statues. And we catch a glimpse of all the many meanings statues had for the ancient Indians who walked that ground before us. Link to image:
access_time2 years ago
( A sculpture from an ancient Indian monastery carries us away on the wings of a bird of legend.
access_time2 years ago
( The Didarganj Yakshi, a beautiful life-size statue of a woman. We hear how she was discovered, and became an international agent, and her place in ancient Pataliputra.

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