Ancient India Lesson for Kids: Facts & Geography

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

In this lesson we will explore the geography of ancient India while learning fascinating facts about this diverse country. Learn about ancient cities, rivers and even the oldest school of medicine!

Exploring India

If you could pick a place to build a new town, where would you build it? What would you need so that your town could grow and survive? Perhaps water, shelter and protection come to mind. All these things were important to the first civilizations of India. A civilization is a culture's way of life in a particular area. Let's take a journey and explore ancient India!

Geography

India is located on the continent of Asia. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the south and resembles the shape of a diamond.

Map of India showing shapes and features of the land
India Map

Did you know that geography is the study of places and people? Physical geography, or the study of the Earth's surface, landforms, and climate, greatly affects human geography, which is the study of the Earth's people and cultures. These two types of geography are connected. Let's find out how ancient India was affected by geography.

Landforms

Did you know that people can only survive for three days without water? Having a source of water was very important to ancient Indian civilizations. Luckily, many rivers flow through India. Rivers make the land fertile, which means that crops can be easily grown in the soil. Two rivers in India are particularly important.

The Indus River, in the northwest, was the site of one of India's earliest civilizations. And in 1920, archaeologists uncovered the remains of an ancient city that was 4,600 years old! But unlike ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization was not focused on building great pyramids. Instead, they built a city called Harappa that had straight brick roads and houses built on raised ground to protect them from flooding. They even had a large bath tub! Writing was also developed, although nobody has ever figured out how to read it!

The Ganges River, also known as Ganga, begins in the Himalayan mountains, the highest mountain range in the world! It is a sacred river to people of the Hindu faith and is believed to be the goddess Ganga. Cities were built along the river, including the holy city of Varanasi where the first Hindu Golden Temple was built to honor the god Shiva.

The sacred Ganges River
Ganga River

The mountains of India also played an important role in shaping the culture of the people who lived there. The mountains offered natural protection from Asian invaders.

India is also home to the Thar Desert, sometimes called the Great Indian Desert. However, it's believed that the Thar Desert wasn't always so dry and was once a great environment for hunting. As climate changes, so do civilizations!

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