Sources for Vedic Culture North India, especially the Ganga valley, was
the cradle of the Vedic culture, known largely from the vast Vedic literature
(Rigvedic Age 1500-1000 BC and Later Vedic Period 1000-600 BC). The
discovery of the Painted Grey Ware (900-500 BC) from sites in the Indo-
Ganga divide, upper Ganga valley and the Ganga Yamuna doab (with a
concentration of sites in Haryana: 285 out of a total number of 700 PGW
sites so far known) has provided the invaluable archaeological materials to
supplement, corroborate, check and verify the literary data in the Vedic
literature, especially the later Vedic texts. The beginning of the use of iron,
not encountered in the Harappan times, is also recorded archaeologically.
Though there is no unanimity in fixing the beginning of iron technology in
India at around 1200 or 1000 BC, scholars generally agree on the point that
the regular use of iron implements can be assigned from 800-750 BC onwards.
     The Rig Veda, the oldest literary creation not only in India, but in the
entire Indo-European literature too, talks of a simple socio-economic,
political set up and religious life. The material life, revolving around cattle
keeping and incipient agriculture, was associated with a political set up where
clan organisations led by chiefs (raja, vispati and gopati) were the order of
the day.
     The later Vedic times, as known to us from the rest of the Vedic
literature, saw the spread of the Vedic culture from the Punjab area to the
south, east and southeast, i.e., in various parts of the Ganga valley. It is
associated with the growth of a sedentary agriculture society, increasing
rigours of the four-varna society, beginning of a complex and elaborate cult
of sacrifices, presided over by brahmin priests, and the gradual emergence of
a ruling group, the kshatriya. The changes ushered in greater complexities in
the socio-economic, political and religious conditions than those encountered