Vedic Period

The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture associated with the texts of Vedas, sacred to Hindus, which were orally composed in Vedic Sanskrit. The Vedas are some of the oldest extant texts in India  and next to some writings in Egypt and Mesopotamia are the oldest in the world. The Vedic period lasted from about 1500 to 500 BCE, laying the foundations ofHinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society. The Aryans established Vedic civilization all over north India, particularly in the Gangetic Plain. This period succeeded the prehistoric Late Harappan, during which immigrations of Indo-Aryan-speaking tribes overlaid the existing civilizations of local people whom they called Dasyus. The Aryans, originally came from the Caspian Sea area of Asia. Settling first in Bactria and then in the Hindu-Kush area of India, before settling in the Ganges and Yamuna River valleys.

Many scholars throughout history have maintained that the Aryans subjugated the “backward aboriginies” that had previously lived in northern India.  However, discoveries of advanced civilizations in the Indus River valley, caused many scholars to change their theories in this regard. The Aryans may have received as much from the neighboring cultures of northern India as they contributed. Indeed when the Aryans moved into India, they were semi-nomadic pastoralists,[27] their clothing was simple,  they had no regular legal institutions and their religion was a very basic form of animism. The basis of the Aryan economy had always been centered around cattle raising. During this period of time, the cow began to be venerated in Aryan society. Thus, the origins of the later Hindu belief in India that cows are sacred may have started during this time.