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published: 3/17/04
updated: 12/10/13

Timeline of Hinduism

Below is a timeline providing an overview of Hindu history. For more detail, see History of Hinduism.

2800-2000 BCE Indus Valley civilization.
1200-900 BCE Early Vedic Period - earliest Vedas are compiled.
900-600 BCE Late Vedic period - Brahmanical religion develops, emphasizing ritual and social obligation.
800-300 BCE The 11 major Upanishads are written, which include the ideas of reincarnation and karma.
500 BCE-1000 CE Epics and Puranas are written, reflecting the rise of devotional movements dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Devi.
5th cent. BCE Buddhism and Jainism founded in India.
c. 320-185 BCE Mauryan Dynasty founded by Chandragupta.
c. 320-500 CE Gupta empire.
c. 500-650 CE Gupta empire divides into several kingdoms.
c. 600-1600 CE Rise of devotional movements, puja (worship) rituals, and idea of equality of devotees.
7th-11th cent. Esoteric movements based on Tantras develop.

c. 870-1280 Cholas dynasty. Hinduism arises in the south.
1498 European presence in southern Asia begins with the arrival of Vasco de Gama.
1540s Portugese missionaries arrive in India.
17th-19th cent. Hindu Renaissance.
c. 1700 British East India Company formed.
1720 Collapse of the Mughal empire; British begin to take power.
1857 National War of Independence against the British is sparked by the British use of cow fat in guns.
1876 Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India.
1895 Vedanta Society founded by Vivekananda. Promotes Hinduism as a world religion and India as a single nation.
1915 Gandhi joins the nationalist movement.
1947 India regains independence, but its partitioning leads to conflicts between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.
1948 Assassination of Gandhi.
1950 Constitution of the Republic of India.


  1. John Bowker, ed., Cambridge History of Religions, p. 312.
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