Ancient Indian Environment - History of India answers questions

Indian Environment

Indian Monsoon

September 2016 - In much of India, there was only one big weather event every year, and that was the monsoon. Most of the year, it was very dry and sunny in India. Everything got hot and dusty and brown. But around May, clouds would start to gather, and it would get very muggy and heavy-feeling, and everybody would feel like they were waiting for something to happen. And then one day finally it would start raining, all at once. Buckets and buckets of water! That was the monsoon.

It would keep raining for about a month, every day, all day long. Flowers bloomed and trees put out leaves and everything started to grow, all at once. Farmers hurried to catch the water in their irrigation canals and lead the precious water to their fields.


And then it would stop. The rest of the year would be dry again.
So you can see that if the monsoon didn't come, one year, it would be very bad for the people and animals in India. There were some years when the monsoon didn't come, and then the plants didn't grow and people went hungry.

Indus river (above) and Ganges river (right)

In eastern India, there was also a second, smaller monsoon that came in September, called the Retreating Monsoon because it came at the end of the summer. The Retreating Monsoon brought less rain, but along the east coast of India, the Retreating Monsoon brought most of the rain they got.


But where there are rivers or mountains, people don't have to depend so much on the monsoon. In northern India there are the Himalaya mountains, where there is snow all year round.

In western India (modern Pakistan), there's the Indus River, and in eastern India, there's the Ganges River. These two rivers account for most of the early Indian cities and farming.

Learn by doing: use Google Earth to see where India is green and where it is dry
Animals of India
Plants of India

Bibliography and further reading about the Indian environment:

More about Indian animals
More about Indian plants
More about Ancient India home

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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