The arrival of humans in the Indian subcontinent dates back to at least 400,000 years. This can be divided broadly into the prehistoric (before the advent of writing) and history (after the advent of writing). The prehistoric era itself can then be split into the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. The Stone Age can then be branched into the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic Periods. Just as the name implies, the main form of technology during these times was dependent on stone.
Upper Paleolithic Era
The Upper Paleolithic Period (starting about 40,000 years ago) was marked by the emergence of local stone tool industries in Vidarbha.
This time in Vidarbha was dominated by nomads who led the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. It is one of the most ancient areas under discussion in this piece. Humans around that time lived around Nagpur-Amravati roads, as seen in archeological findings.
Mesolithic Era (20,000 to 8,000 BCE)
Archaeological excavations give us a perfect picture of how life was in the Mesolithic Era in Maharashtra. Chandrapur is one of the Vidarbha sites that was studied extensively as part of the research into the Upper Paleolithic in India. Another well-known area is the Lodhare Village (also referred to as the old appellation of Lodhru) in Maharashtra’s Nasik district.
Studies concerning the archaeological survey, collection from surfaces alongside preliminary investigations revealed a lot from the various sites. Explorations were carried out in the northern portions of the Chandrapur area and showed the era dominated by microlithic or tiny and pointed stone tools, unlike the Neolithic, which was dominated by the utilization of polished and smooth stone tools and the commencement of agriculture in Vidarbha. This was exclusively followed in parts of Chandrapur and Akola.
Neolithic Era ( 8000 BCE -1900 BCE)
The Neolithic Era came to be one in which the subjects were settled and focused on food production via agriculture. The birth of agriculture in Vidharba, which happened around 8,000 years ago, led to major sweeping shifts in the technology, demography, and economy of human societies then.
At that time, the habitat of humans was made up of settlements in rocky, hilly, or even forested areas, chosen for the bountiful supplies of animal food and wild plant resources. Ancient Humans vividly inhabited the forest lands from the present-day Pench district to Chandrapur (including Nagpur) during this era. Signs of pottery making from this era have been unearthed in Chandrapur.
The advent of agriculture meant switching to alluvial plans full of fertile soil and constant water availability, leading to a small settlement around the rai river and Zarpat river in Vidarbha. The forests and hills that once served as the hubs of the settlement became deserted.
The Mahabharata’s Vidarbha kingdom is among the many kingdoms ruled by Bhoja Yadavas (Yadu kings). It is the southernmost kingdom within Mahabharat’s geographical horizon, south of the Vindhya range, still known as Vidarbha.
Damayanti, the wife of Nala, was a Vidarbha princess. Similarly, Rukmini, the wife of Vasudeva Krishna, was from Vidarbha. Sage Agastya’s wife, Lopamudra, also was a princess from the kingdom of Vidarbha, as stated in the Mahabharata. Indumati, the Grandmother of Lord Rama and King Dasharatha’s mother, was also a princess of the Vidarbha kingdom. Kundinapuri was its capital, which is recognized as Kundapur in eastern Maharashtra.
From ancient times, Vidarbha has fallen under the control of many different rulers. Between 322 BCE and 180 BCE, Vidarbha was under the Mauryan Empire. From 180 BCE to 78 BCE, Vidharba was a portion of the Shunga Empire that controlled much of eastern and central India. The Satavahana Empire dominated Vidarbha from the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The Vakataka regime ruled the area from the mid 3rd century CE to 550 CE. The Kalachuri family ruled in the area in the 6th and 7th centuries CE. The Rashtrakuta dynasty followed, commanding the Chandrapur region between the 7th and 10th centuries. The Chalukya dynasty ruled in part to the 12th century CE. The Yadava dynasty of Devagiri ruled a kingdom, including the Vidarbha area, in approximately 850 CE and continued until 1334 CE