What was life like in the heart of the Chaulkiya empire? How did they survive in such a dry environment? How was the city defended? In this episode, we chat with Dr Hemanth Kadambi about stone horse hurdles, his youthful misadventures, must-see places if you visit Badami, and how the sacred survives the test of time.
Published 01/13/21
Published 01/13/21
**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: bit.ly/3euYfGF @strandedworkers on twitter for more.
Published 05/01/20
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) 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]
Published 04/26/20
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) ***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.
Published 04/18/20
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) ***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: 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...
Published 04/11/20
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) 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, and I get lost in a rant about pacifist kings.
Published 04/04/20
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) 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.
Published 03/26/20
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) 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.
Published 12/14/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) 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.
Published 12/05/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) 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.
Published 10/21/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.in) 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. *Some of the inscriptions in this episode are pretty graphic - no rude language, but may not be suitable for all*.
Published 10/08/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
Published 08/23/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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. 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.
Published 08/10/19
A great battle of the age: the horsemen of the Pratiharas of the east, and the elephants of the Palas of the west. They meet on the shores of the Ganga. 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. In this episode: the first thesaurus, a cunning nut seller, and a gratuitous rant about military history (sorry).
Published 08/03/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Emperor Dharmapala constructed an education system across his empire, so great it surpassed all that had come before. It shaped eastern India for nearly half a millennium. This week, we go inside the system for ourselves. We follow the great Buddhist teacher Atisha in his long and uncommon adventure through the places that Dharmapala built, and we find out what it was like to work and live there. Included in this episode:
Published 06/20/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
Published 06/16/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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...
Published 06/05/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
Published 05/30/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
Published 05/23/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
Published 04/23/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) 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.
Published 04/06/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) This week, the Rajputs arrive on the scene with the earliest of Rajput clans, the Pratiharas. But where did they come from? Did they see themselves as Rajputs? What did they do after they had emerged? The answers might not match with the familiar story.
Published 03/23/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Bengal's kings are dying daily. The land is in chaos. It's been this way for years. But, according to the legend, a man from the north will come and build a stable kingdom. This time, the legend is true. This episode, we witness an empire emerge from chaos. The Pala emperors are here.
Published 03/06/19
(www.historyofindiapodcast.com) Lalitaditya had grand plans. He would make Kashmir into an empire, spanning all of India and outside of it too. His armies would walk the deserts of the silk road, sail the seas of the bay of Bengal, and walk the Western Ghats. And they would bring back enough gold to build a house fit for God. Did he succeed in all his plans? Listen, and find out.
Published 02/02/19