Chariot - India

India

Chariots figure prominently in the Rigveda, evidencing their presence in India in the 2nd millennium BC. Among Rigvedic deities, notably Ushas (the dawn) rides in a chariot, as well as Agni in his function as a messenger between gods and men.

There are some depictions of chariots among the petroglyphs in the sandstone of the Vindhya range. Two depictions of chariots are found in Morhana Pahar, Mirzapur district. One depicts a biga and the head of the driver. The second depicts a quadriga, with six-spoked wheels, and a driver standing up in a large chariot box. This chariot is being attacked. One figure, who is armed with a shield and a mace, stands in the chariot's path; another figure, who is armed with bow and arrow, threatens the right flank. It has been suggested that the drawings record a story, most probably dating to the early centuries BC, from some center in the area of the Ganges–Yamuna plain into the territory of still Neolithic hunting tribes. The drawings would then be a representation of foreign technology, comparable to the Arnhem Land Aboriginal rock paintings depicting Westerners. The very realistic chariots carved into the Sanchi stupas are dated to roughly the 1st century.

The scythed chariot was invented by the King of Magadha, Ajatashatru around 475 BC. He used these chariots against the Licchavis. A scythed war chariot had a sharp, sickle-shaped blade or blades mounted on each end of the axle. The blades, used as weapons, extended horizontally for a metre on the sides of the chariot.

There is a chariot displayed at the AP State Archaeology Museum, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

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