(Last Updated on : 14/03/2012)
Food in Ancient India basically reflects the cultural evolution of Indian civilisation from ancient past. Food in Ancient India can be divided into various ages that include food in prehistoric India and Indus Valley civilisation, food in Vedic period, Food in Maurya period, food in Gupta period, food in post Gupta period which marked some difference with the advent of the Gujjars and Hunas. With the migration of outsiders in India changes were found within the food Habits of India.
Food in Pre -Historic India
Food in Ancient India mainly depended on the fruits, nuts, tubers and flesh of the animals. As India in pre historic days was largely inhabited by the Negroid race, this race mainly depended on fruits, nuts, tubers and the flesh of animals that he hunted and killed. With the Proto- Australoids people in ancient India moved a step ahead when they now produced new food items along with fruits and nuts. This brought the list of fruits and vegetables that was now being cultivated by the Indian Proto- Australoids for their self consumption. This helped the pre historic man to move a step forward in farming and learn the science of cultivation.
Food in Vedic period
Food in Ancient India developed considerably within the Indus Valley Civilisation which brought the use of wheat, barley, sesamum and brassica. Along with this man had learned to tame he buffaloes, goats and sheep which became useful for cultivation. Slowly and gradually this period marked the progress of man more towards civilized world with more scientific lifestyle.
Food in Vedic Period
Food in Ancient India faced remarkable changes during the Vedic Period
which not only introduced new food items but also rules and etiquettes while taking the meal of the day. This also introduced division of meals during the day. The food in Vedic period is largely divided into the food of the Aryans
which later on got divided into north and south India. Their food items as well as habits have been illustrated in the sutras and Vedas
of the period which are the earliest literature of ancient India.
Food in Maurya Period
Food in Ancient India that was adopted during the Maurya period has been extensively discussed by Kautilya
. He defines the specifications of an ideal kitchen and a proper diet of the Raja in Maurya Empire which was largely followed as a convention by almost all the people living in Maurya Empire. While this also sets a number of special food items and food etiquettes, this at the same time describes the culture of ancient India.
Food in Gupta period
Food in Ancient India which was adopted by the Gupta Empire
was mainly influenced by Buddhism
which made a lot of changes in the culture of ancient India.
Thus the food of ancient India has been marked with lot of changes from time to time that reflect the culture of assimilation within Indian culture. This got boosted with the advent of foreigners from outside India. The advent of Gujjars and Hunas did introduce a number of food items which remained inherent in ancient Indian culture