Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

Indus Civilization

2600-1500 BCE

Maurya Dynasty

323-185 BCE

Emperor Ashoka

greatest Maurya ruler, converted to Buddhism (reign 272-231 BCE)

Shunga, Andrha, and Kushan Dynasties

185 BCE-320 CE

Gupta and Post-Gupta Periods


Medieval Period

7th-12th centuries

Buddha's birth as Prince Siddhartha Gautama

563 BCE


Enlightened One


An Indian prince who renounced his wealth and social position. After becoming 'enlightened' he enunciated the principles of Buddhism


in Buddhist thought, a potential Buddha who chooses not to achieve enlightenment in order to help save humanity


loving devotion to a deity leading to salvation and Nirvana in Hinduism

Buddha Shakyamuni



tales of the past lives of the Buddha


in Buddhism and Hinduism iconography, a stylized and symbolic hand gesture


a method for controlling the body and relaxing the mind used in later Indian religion to yoke or unite the practitioner to the divine


the teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct and wisdom and meditation releases one from desire and suffering and rebirth


in Hindu belief, the rebirth of the soul into a succession of lives


in Buddhism, moral law based on the Buddha's teaching


in Buddhism and Hinduism, a blissful state brought about by absorption of the individual soul or consciousness into the supreme spirit. also called moksha


in Vedic religions, the ethical consequences of a person's life, which determines his or her fate


in Buddhist worship, walking around the stupa in a clockwise direction, a process intended to bring the worshiper into harmony with the cosmos


a large, mound-shaped Buddhist shrine

chaitya hall

a South Asian rock-cut temple hall having a votive stupa at one end


gateway in the stone fence around a stupa, located at the cardinal points of the compass


lesser local female Buddhist and Hindu divinities. goddesses associated with fertility and vegetation


lesser local male Buddhist and Hindu divinities. represented as fleshy but powerful males


Sanskrit compilations of religious learning including hymns. (Veda means "knowledge")


South Asian religious texts of 800-500 BCE that introduced the concepts of samsara, karma, and moksha


in Buddhism, an account of a sermon by or a dialogue involving the Buddha. a scriptural account of the Buddha


in Hindu worship, seeing images of the divinity and being seen by the divinity


Sankrit term for the sacred diagram of the universe


Hindu god. the Destroyer, but is also a regenerative force. when presented in human forms he often has multiple limbs and heads, signs of superhuman nature. sometimes he has a third eye on his forehead (emblem of his all-seeing nature). Shiva rides the bull Nandi and often carries a trident


Hindu god. Preserver of the Universe. frequently portrayed with four arms holding various attributes. when evil forces of the universe become too strong he descends to restore balance and assumes different forms (boar, fish, tortoise, Krishna, and Buddha himself)

garbha griha

in Hindu temples, the cella, the holy inner sanctum, for the cult image or symbol


the beehive-shaped tower of a northern-style Hindu temple


in Hindu art, the depiction of Shiva as a phallus or cosmic pillar


in Hindu temple design, the large flat disk with ribbed edges surmounting the beehive-shaped tower

Robed male figure, Pakistan. 2600-1900

Seal with seated figure in yogic posture, Pakistan. 2600-1900 BCE

Lion capital of column, India. 250 BCE

Great Stupa, India. 3rd century BCE to 1st century CE

Meditating Buddha, Pakistan, 2nd century CE

The life and death of the Buddha, Pakistan. 2nd century CE

Bodhisattva Padmapani, India. second half of 5th century

Boar avatar of Vishnu rescuing the earth, India. early 5th century

Vishnu Temple, India. early 6th century

Rock-cut rathas, Mamallaparum, India. second half of 7th century

Shiva as Nataraja, Punjai. 1000

Borobudur, Indonesia. 800

Reclining Vishnu, Cambodia. 11th century

Angkor Wat, Cambodia. first half of 12th century

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording