Ancient Indian environment

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Indian Monsoon: very dark clouds cover the sky

Indian Monsoon

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.

Himalayas: tall mountains with snow on top

Himalaya Mountains

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 flowing along green hills

Indus river

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.

Ganges river - wider and slower than the Indus

Ganges river – wider and slower than the Indus

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
Or more about Indian plants
More about Ancient India
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By | 2017-07-20T06:36:52+00:00 July 20th, 2017|Environment, India|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Ancient Indian environment. Quatr.us Study Guides, July 20, 2017. Web. December 12, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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