Vegetation in India
Ancient India was very rich in forests. There were forests of deodar, blue pine and oak in the Himalayas above the level of 5000 feet. A strong growth of chir pine was often found in the Himalayas between 3000 and 5000 feet. The hills in the north-western districts of the Punjab were covered with low scrubs including in some parts a dwarf palm and wild olive. The pipal, bor or banyan and shisham or tall were popular trees.
In the dry plains of Punjab, Eastern Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Southern Haryana, Maiwa Plateau, Kamataka Plateau the scrub jungles mostly consisted of jand, jal, karir, shisham, khaxr. These are hard
wood trees and are used for making agricultural implements, furnitures and carts.
Agricultural Products: There were two harvests in the plains of the Northern India- the autumn or Kharif and the spring or the Rabi The important agricultural crops in the Northern plains were wheat,
rice, grams, barley, maize, bajra, sugarcane, cotton, mung, mash, moth, oilseeds, carrots, peas, beans, onions, turnips and melons.
In the fertile regions of North India, of the cultivated fruit, mango, mulberry peach, guava and pears were grown. In the Deccan, besides the foodgrams, the spices like black pepper, ginger, cardamom etc were grown.
Wildlife in India
In ancient India, wildlife was also rich and varied. Tigers were common in almost all parts of India till the nineteenth century. The famous Bengal tigers were found in the Sunderbans, the tidal forests. Leopards were to be found in low hills and sometimes they strayed into the plains. The Himalayan ranges had wild sheep, mountain goats, the Ibex and langoors. Wolves were seen occasionally and jackals were very common. The graceful little chikaras or ravine deers were found in sandy tracts and hogdeer near rivers. Nilgais were less common. Monkeys were found in the hills. Elephants and the rhinos were found in the Assam region.
Peafowis were seen in the Punjab and Rajasthan. The sisa and chikor were found in the hills. Quails frequented the ripening fields in April and the end of September. The green parrots, crows and vultures were familiar sight in all parts of the country. Crocodiles haunted the big rivers like the Ganges. Tortoises were also found in the rivers. Poisonous snakes like karats, the cobra and Russel’s viper were mostly found in Bengal. India had a variety of domestic animals. Cows and the buffaloes were the most important and goats, donkeys and horses were found in large numbers. Camels and pack animals were mostly found in Sindh and Rajasthan.