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The History of India Podcast
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The History of India Podcast

Author: Kit Patrick

Subscribed: 40,700Played: 338,537


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 (
141 Episodes
**Special episode on the current crisis** People are stranded all across India. They left to find work. Now the lockdown has come, they are out of work, out of money and out of food. We get to talk to Anushka and Nithya who are chatting to these workers every day, and hear some of their stories. They work for SWAN - the stranded workers action network. They can help you give money to stranded workers directly here: You can get more facts and figures here: or search twitter for @strandedworkers History returns in the next episode.
( This week we chat to comic book author, novelist and fellow fan of the Chaulkiya period Dr. Shalini Srinivasan about the book she's been writing set in the Chaulkiyan empire. She tells us about how comic books get made, we share our favourite parts of the ruins, and I learn about how and why she writes. [Patchy audio quality in places]
( ***Warning: contains upsetting details.*** The second special episode on slavery. This week, we hear about the lives of female slaves. We meet slaves in Buddhist monasteries. And we meet a young woman being sold into slavery. Also in this episode: how to construct a Buddhist cave, a boy survives seven attempted murders, and a vengeful woman crosses the ocean.
( ***Warning: contains upsetting details.*** This week, we learn a little about what life was like for slaves in ancient and early medieval India, from becoming a slave to being free. India might have been the best place in the ancient world to be a slave, but slave life was often still brutal. In this episode: four ways you might become a slave, bad food sends a slave running for freedom, another annoying rant about academia, and an ancient Indian slave talks about cold baths and Buddhism with her master.
( This week, we meet some of the bogeymen of ancient India; a group among the most feared of the Barbarians. The mighty Kamboja horsemasters. And yet, these are real people. In this episode we hear the tales told about them, but we also get to know a bit about how they really lived, and even them described in their own words. Also in this episode: the moon kings rise, an ocean gets drunk up, I get lost in a rant about pacifist kings, and why you should try some dynastic identity theft. Last week of the regular episodes of season 5; special episodes start next week.
( This is the week of small kings. The Pratihara empire has ruled for as long as anyone can remember. But a small king from the south will destroy the emperor's army and send him fleeing. And a small king from the north will restore him to his throne. Also in this episode: book reading in Baghdad, a rant about early medieval boasting, and our first glimpse of the world famous Khajuraho temples.
5.21 By half a metre

5.21 By half a metre


( This week, Mahendrapala extends his empire downstream, towards the sea. But nothing is what it seems: not the emperor, nor his empire, nor his conquest. All will be revealed only half a meter down. Also in this episode: how to tell whether you are living on top of a monastery, more than twenty early medieval Indian insults, and how to call someone beautiful and aggressive at the same time.
5.20 Assault by salt

5.20 Assault by salt


( A journey through one of emperor Bhoja's lands. With the emperor far away in the Imperial city, we find out what life is like for the merchants and city folk under him. Also in this episode: a practical guide to salt making in medieval India, the garden of the snake kings, and the origin of candy.
5.19 Drawn by the sun

5.19 Drawn by the sun


( In this episode, young king Bhoja will grow into his throne. He will draw together allies and subordinates and wait patiently. When the time is right he will strike at his ancestral enemies, defeating them, and achieving what none of his forefathers could ever do: founding an empire. Also in this episode: how to misspend 2000 silver coins, why you should construct a queen's city,  and what to do when you are handed a royal baby.
5.18 Drawn by greatness

5.18 Drawn by greatness


( For too long the empire of the east has dominated North India. Bhoja, the descendant of the western emperors is determined to bring change. But he starts with almost nothing, for the once great western empire as been reduced to just a minor kingdom. In this, the first of three episodes, we look at Bhoja's first faltering steps. Also in this episode: how to make a river go backwards, a gruesome house of the dead, and a crocodile wrestling king. *Some of the inscriptions in this episode are pretty graphic - no rude language, but may not be suitable for all*.
( The victorious Palas build their empire. Poets gather in their courts. Kings flee before their armies. All seems well, but an old enemy is regathering strength. Also in this week's episode: religious rivalry told through a hymn about toenails, a pun about grief, and a practical guide to buying and selling in medieval Assam.
() This week, the build up to the great battle continues. We join the navy of the East, as it brings infantry and elephants up the river. Then we launch into the battle itself, following the commander's choice of battle formation. This is the battle to decide who will rule north India supreme, though the victor is not always who it seems to be. Also in this episode: hot to your elephant for war in eight simple steps, a poem about river logs, and a lesson in how to walk across a battlefield.
() This week, we witness the build up to a great battle of the age: the Pratihara king has brought his army from the east, thick with warhorses. The Pala king has brought his army from the west, loaded with mountainous elephants. They meet for battle on the shores of the Ganges. In this episode, we spend time with a Pratihara horsemen. We hear the story of his king, we check out his equipment, and hear about his horse. Also in this episode: the first thesaurus, a cunning nut seller, and a gratuitous rant about military history (sorry).
() Emperor Dharmapala constructed an education system across his empire, so great it surpassed all that had come before. For half a millennium, it shaped Eastern India. This week, we go inside the system. We follow the great Buddhist teacher Atisha in his long and uncommon adventure through the system, and we find out what it was like to live there. (This episode is reuploaded; a previous version contained the out of date claim that one of the monasteries had not been discovered by historians. A later special episode will cover this monastery.)
( This week, we find out what happened to the great prize of North India: the Imperial city of Kanyakubja. Two dynasties: the Palas (protectors), and the Pratiharas (doorkeepers) have been fighting to gain control. In this episode, a new emperor of India will win it, and then give it away. Included: a trip to a hidden great monastery, how a queen made a snake king deceive her, and two hundred hunchback maidens with quite different attitudes to marriage.
( Become a student of the great Jain thinker Haribhadra. His novels have thrilled you. His satires have scanadlised you. His logics have perplexed you. Now listen to his lightening fast summary of all the important points of Indian philosophy. Featuring: the first ever summmary of the six schools of philosophy, a bonus school of philosophy just for fun, and a deep sense of bewilderment. Can you get through an early medieval philosophy lesson? Listen and test yourself.
( We join the great Pratihara king Vatsaraja, at his lowest moment. With the whole of North India in his power, he is defeated and flees across the mountains into the great desert. We uncover the stories of the people and places, and find out what life was like there under his rule.
( Everyone wants the imperial city of Kanyakubja lies at the center. The great Partihara king of the west wants to re-establish his family's image. The great Pala king of the west wants to become the first emperor from his land. Their armies will reach out towards the imperial city until they come upon one another in central India. There, they will both be meet a strange and indomitable new force. This week, we tell the first part of the struggle for North India.
5.10 On the way out

5.10 On the way out


( The Umayyad armies go beyond al-Sind, trying to establish a new province in al-Hind proper. But their successes won't last. They will be driven back, twice. And shortly after, the entire Umayyad empire will collapse in on itself. This week, we piece together the story. In this episode: powerful poets send soldiers home, universities are crushed because of golden statues, a murder of governors, a king's boat takes a wrong turn, and much more.
5.9 On the way to Hind

5.9 On the way to Hind


( This week, a tale of bridge engineering, bloodthirsty generals, widowed queens, the first mosque in South Asia, and lots and lots of gold. We tell the story of how the Ummayid caliphate came to invade Sind.
Comments (47)

Kaushal Kumar Jha


Sep 2nd


Enjoyed listening. Thank you. Like your earnest style of delivery.

Jul 19th

Jinti Neog

I'd love to hear some history of ancient Pragjyotishpur /Kamrupa Kingdom (modern day Assam).

Jun 9th

Vikas Saklani

virasa doesn't mean the one who can taste well. it means one who's detached from the flavors or for that matter all the pleasures making him an ascetic (Yogi) and rightly so.

May 10th

Arun kumar

just started, seems it will lead to Mahabharata story.

Apr 18th


I didn’t expect that I would enjoy listening to it. Taking into account that thus was produced 5 years ago, It was enlightening.

Mar 15th


Let's ride!

Mar 13th

Katie Louise Tyers

Would it be possible to include a section series by series of places mentioned that can still be visited today, either as a complete site or as ruins Thanks Katie

Jan 23rd

Tilak Patel


Jan 22nd

Avi avi

Originally Bharata only referred to western Gangetic plains.

Jan 14th

rukmini parthasarathy

wonderful podcast. I have never enjoyed history so much

Dec 14th

Syamantak Datta Gupta

This is the only comprehensive podcast on Indian history available right now, and it’s one of the most nicely done, well researched and detailed podcasts out there. As an Indiam history enthusiast, I have been voraciously listening to your podcast over the last few weeks, and I have learnt a lot! Can't explain how grateful I am to you for putting this together :-) Have you ever considered doing a YouTube channel? You could add some images and maps to your narrations, and you could likely reach a larger audience.

Nov 12th

G kishore


Jul 17th

sreeja mohandas

if you know ajaathasattru, don't let him run towards you and open a door. LMAO!!!!

Jun 28th

Juhana Valtonen

Octave is the eight note! The distance from the lower C to the next C. :)

Mar 28th

Kavya Naidu

Nice start..

Mar 14th

sachin pujari

wow i love with this podcast vice and your English healing my English 🙏

Feb 15th

Shourya Bikash Jena


Feb 3rd

Abhra Jyoti Ghosh

This is not at all accurate. Unsubscribed.

Jan 25th

Vandana Ranjan

अश्वमेघ - Ashwamegha does NOT mean sacrifice of horses!!! First know the meanings of the words then do this programme!

Jan 22nd
Reply (5)
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