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For at least two and a half millennia, the Gaṅgā basin has served as the seat of human civilization. Early Buddhist records describe the river valley as a large jungle where agriculturalists worked to slowly colonize the resource base of hunter- gatherer populations (Gadgil & Guha, 1992, 78). By the 4th century BCE, Pāṭaliputra (now near Patna, the capital of the state of Bihar) was one of ten ancient capital cities of India. Supported by heavy trade along the river, Pāṭaliputra dominated the Gaṅgā basin. Later under the leadership of Aśoka, the Mauryas unified the valley from Hari…

Cite this page
Kelly Alley, “Gaṅgā”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 11 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2012

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