NCERT Textbook - Towns, Traders and Craftspersons Class 7 Notes | EduRev

History(Prelims) by UPSC Toppers

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Class 7 : NCERT Textbook - Towns, Traders and Craftspersons Class 7 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


75
W
hat would a traveller visiting a medieval town
expect to find? This would depend on what kind
of a town it was – a temple town, an administrative
centre, a commercial town or a port town to name just
some possibilities. In fact, many towns combined
several functions – they were administrative centres,
temple towns, as well as centres of commercial
activities and craft production.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS
6
Map 1
Some important
centres of trade
and artisanal
production in central
and south India.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


75
W
hat would a traveller visiting a medieval town
expect to find? This would depend on what kind
of a town it was – a temple town, an administrative
centre, a commercial town or a port town to name just
some possibilities. In fact, many towns combined
several functions – they were administrative centres,
temple towns, as well as centres of commercial
activities and craft production.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS
6
Map 1
Some important
centres of trade
and artisanal
production in central
and south India.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
76 OUR PASTS – II
?
Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres
You read about the Chola dynasty in Chapter 2. Let’s
travel in our imagination to Thanjavur, the capital of
the Cholas, as it was a thousand years ago.
The perennial river Kaveri flows near this beautiful
town. One hears the bells of the Rajarajeshvara temple
built by King Rajaraja Chola. The townspeople are all
praise for its architect Kunjaramallan Rajaraja
Perunthachchan who has proudly carved his name
on the temple wall. Inside is a massive Shiva linga.
Besides the temple, there are palaces with
mandapas or pavilions. Kings hold court in these
mandapas, issuing orders to their subordinates. There
are also barracks for the army.
The town is bustling with markets selling grain,
spices, cloth and jewellery. Water supply for the
town comes from wells and tanks. The Saliya
weavers of Thanjavur and the nearby town of
Uraiyur are busy producing cloth for flags to be
used in the temple festival, fine cottons for the king
and nobility and coarse cotton for the masses. Some
distance away at Svamimalai, the sthapatis or
sculptors are making exquisite bronze idols and tall,
ornamental bell metal lamps.
Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres
Thanjavur is also an example of a temple town. Temple
towns represent a very important pattern of
urbanisation, the process by which cities develop.
Temples were often central to the economy and society.
Rulers built temples to demonstrate their devotion to
various deities. They also endowed temples with grants
of land and money to carry out elaborate rituals, feed
pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals. Pilgrims
who flocked to the temples also made donations.
Why do you think
people regarded
Thanjavur as a
great town?
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


75
W
hat would a traveller visiting a medieval town
expect to find? This would depend on what kind
of a town it was – a temple town, an administrative
centre, a commercial town or a port town to name just
some possibilities. In fact, many towns combined
several functions – they were administrative centres,
temple towns, as well as centres of commercial
activities and craft production.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS
6
Map 1
Some important
centres of trade
and artisanal
production in central
and south India.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
76 OUR PASTS – II
?
Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres
You read about the Chola dynasty in Chapter 2. Let’s
travel in our imagination to Thanjavur, the capital of
the Cholas, as it was a thousand years ago.
The perennial river Kaveri flows near this beautiful
town. One hears the bells of the Rajarajeshvara temple
built by King Rajaraja Chola. The townspeople are all
praise for its architect Kunjaramallan Rajaraja
Perunthachchan who has proudly carved his name
on the temple wall. Inside is a massive Shiva linga.
Besides the temple, there are palaces with
mandapas or pavilions. Kings hold court in these
mandapas, issuing orders to their subordinates. There
are also barracks for the army.
The town is bustling with markets selling grain,
spices, cloth and jewellery. Water supply for the
town comes from wells and tanks. The Saliya
weavers of Thanjavur and the nearby town of
Uraiyur are busy producing cloth for flags to be
used in the temple festival, fine cottons for the king
and nobility and coarse cotton for the masses. Some
distance away at Svamimalai, the sthapatis or
sculptors are making exquisite bronze idols and tall,
ornamental bell metal lamps.
Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres
Thanjavur is also an example of a temple town. Temple
towns represent a very important pattern of
urbanisation, the process by which cities develop.
Temples were often central to the economy and society.
Rulers built temples to demonstrate their devotion to
various deities. They also endowed temples with grants
of land and money to carry out elaborate rituals, feed
pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals. Pilgrims
who flocked to the temples also made donations.
Why do you think
people regarded
Thanjavur as a
great town?
©NCERT
not to be republished
77
Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the
“lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique
Bronze is an alloy containing copper and
tin. Bell metal contains a greater proportion
of tin than other kinds of bronze. This
produces a bell-like sound.
Chola bronze statues (see Chapter 2)
were made using the “lost wax” technique.
First, an image was made of wax. This was
covered with clay and allowed to dry. Next it
was heated, and a tiny hole was made in the
clay cover. The molten wax was drained out
through this hole. Then molten metal was
poured into the clay mould through the hole.
Once the metal cooled and solidified, the
clay cover was carefully removed, and the
image was cleaned and polished.
What do you think were the advantages
of using this technique?
Temple authorities used their wealth to finance
trade and banking. Gradually a large number of
priests, workers, artisans, traders, etc. settled near
the temple to cater to its needs and those of the
pilgrims. Thus grew temple towns. Towns emerged
around temples such as those of Bhillasvamin (Bhilsa
or Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh), and Somnath in
Gujarat. Other important temple towns included
Kanchipuram and Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and
Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
Pilgrimage centres also slowly developed into
townships. Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) and
Tiruvannamalai (Tamil Nadu) are examples of two
such towns. Ajmer (Rajasthan) was the capital of the
Chauhan kings in the twelfth century and later
became the suba headquarters under the Mughals.
It provides an excellent example of religious
coexistence. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, the
?
Fig. 1
A bronze statue of
Krishna subduing
the serpent demon
Kaliya.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


75
W
hat would a traveller visiting a medieval town
expect to find? This would depend on what kind
of a town it was – a temple town, an administrative
centre, a commercial town or a port town to name just
some possibilities. In fact, many towns combined
several functions – they were administrative centres,
temple towns, as well as centres of commercial
activities and craft production.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS
6
Map 1
Some important
centres of trade
and artisanal
production in central
and south India.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
76 OUR PASTS – II
?
Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres
You read about the Chola dynasty in Chapter 2. Let’s
travel in our imagination to Thanjavur, the capital of
the Cholas, as it was a thousand years ago.
The perennial river Kaveri flows near this beautiful
town. One hears the bells of the Rajarajeshvara temple
built by King Rajaraja Chola. The townspeople are all
praise for its architect Kunjaramallan Rajaraja
Perunthachchan who has proudly carved his name
on the temple wall. Inside is a massive Shiva linga.
Besides the temple, there are palaces with
mandapas or pavilions. Kings hold court in these
mandapas, issuing orders to their subordinates. There
are also barracks for the army.
The town is bustling with markets selling grain,
spices, cloth and jewellery. Water supply for the
town comes from wells and tanks. The Saliya
weavers of Thanjavur and the nearby town of
Uraiyur are busy producing cloth for flags to be
used in the temple festival, fine cottons for the king
and nobility and coarse cotton for the masses. Some
distance away at Svamimalai, the sthapatis or
sculptors are making exquisite bronze idols and tall,
ornamental bell metal lamps.
Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres
Thanjavur is also an example of a temple town. Temple
towns represent a very important pattern of
urbanisation, the process by which cities develop.
Temples were often central to the economy and society.
Rulers built temples to demonstrate their devotion to
various deities. They also endowed temples with grants
of land and money to carry out elaborate rituals, feed
pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals. Pilgrims
who flocked to the temples also made donations.
Why do you think
people regarded
Thanjavur as a
great town?
©NCERT
not to be republished
77
Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the
“lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique
Bronze is an alloy containing copper and
tin. Bell metal contains a greater proportion
of tin than other kinds of bronze. This
produces a bell-like sound.
Chola bronze statues (see Chapter 2)
were made using the “lost wax” technique.
First, an image was made of wax. This was
covered with clay and allowed to dry. Next it
was heated, and a tiny hole was made in the
clay cover. The molten wax was drained out
through this hole. Then molten metal was
poured into the clay mould through the hole.
Once the metal cooled and solidified, the
clay cover was carefully removed, and the
image was cleaned and polished.
What do you think were the advantages
of using this technique?
Temple authorities used their wealth to finance
trade and banking. Gradually a large number of
priests, workers, artisans, traders, etc. settled near
the temple to cater to its needs and those of the
pilgrims. Thus grew temple towns. Towns emerged
around temples such as those of Bhillasvamin (Bhilsa
or Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh), and Somnath in
Gujarat. Other important temple towns included
Kanchipuram and Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and
Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
Pilgrimage centres also slowly developed into
townships. Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) and
Tiruvannamalai (Tamil Nadu) are examples of two
such towns. Ajmer (Rajasthan) was the capital of the
Chauhan kings in the twelfth century and later
became the suba headquarters under the Mughals.
It provides an excellent example of religious
coexistence. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, the
?
Fig. 1
A bronze statue of
Krishna subduing
the serpent demon
Kaliya.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
78 OUR PASTS – II
celebrated Sufi saint (see also Chapter 8) who settled
there in the twelfth century, attracted devotees from
all creeds. Near Ajmer is a lake, Pushkar, which has
attracted pilgrims from ancient times.
A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns
From the eighth century onwards the subcontinent was
dotted with several small towns. These probably
emerged from large villages. They usually had a
mandapika (or mandi of later times) to which nearby
villagers brought their produce to sell. They also had
market streets called hatta (haat of later times) lined
with shops. Besides, there were streets for different
kinds of artisans such as potters, oil pressers, sugar
makers, toddy makers, smiths, stonemasons, etc. While
some traders lived in the town, others travelled from
town to town. Many came from far and near to these
towns to buy local articles and sell products of distant
places like horses, salt, camphor, saffron, betel nut and
spices like pepper.
?
Make a list of
towns in your
district and try to
classify these as
administrative
centres or as
temple/pilgrim
centres.
Fig. 2
A city market.
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


75
W
hat would a traveller visiting a medieval town
expect to find? This would depend on what kind
of a town it was – a temple town, an administrative
centre, a commercial town or a port town to name just
some possibilities. In fact, many towns combined
several functions – they were administrative centres,
temple towns, as well as centres of commercial
activities and craft production.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS CRAFTSPERSONS
6
Map 1
Some important
centres of trade
and artisanal
production in central
and south India.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
76 OUR PASTS – II
?
Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres Administrative Centres
You read about the Chola dynasty in Chapter 2. Let’s
travel in our imagination to Thanjavur, the capital of
the Cholas, as it was a thousand years ago.
The perennial river Kaveri flows near this beautiful
town. One hears the bells of the Rajarajeshvara temple
built by King Rajaraja Chola. The townspeople are all
praise for its architect Kunjaramallan Rajaraja
Perunthachchan who has proudly carved his name
on the temple wall. Inside is a massive Shiva linga.
Besides the temple, there are palaces with
mandapas or pavilions. Kings hold court in these
mandapas, issuing orders to their subordinates. There
are also barracks for the army.
The town is bustling with markets selling grain,
spices, cloth and jewellery. Water supply for the
town comes from wells and tanks. The Saliya
weavers of Thanjavur and the nearby town of
Uraiyur are busy producing cloth for flags to be
used in the temple festival, fine cottons for the king
and nobility and coarse cotton for the masses. Some
distance away at Svamimalai, the sthapatis or
sculptors are making exquisite bronze idols and tall,
ornamental bell metal lamps.
Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres Temple Towns and Pilgrimage Centres
Thanjavur is also an example of a temple town. Temple
towns represent a very important pattern of
urbanisation, the process by which cities develop.
Temples were often central to the economy and society.
Rulers built temples to demonstrate their devotion to
various deities. They also endowed temples with grants
of land and money to carry out elaborate rituals, feed
pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals. Pilgrims
who flocked to the temples also made donations.
Why do you think
people regarded
Thanjavur as a
great town?
©NCERT
not to be republished
77
Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the Bronze, bell metal and the
“lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique “lost wax” technique
Bronze is an alloy containing copper and
tin. Bell metal contains a greater proportion
of tin than other kinds of bronze. This
produces a bell-like sound.
Chola bronze statues (see Chapter 2)
were made using the “lost wax” technique.
First, an image was made of wax. This was
covered with clay and allowed to dry. Next it
was heated, and a tiny hole was made in the
clay cover. The molten wax was drained out
through this hole. Then molten metal was
poured into the clay mould through the hole.
Once the metal cooled and solidified, the
clay cover was carefully removed, and the
image was cleaned and polished.
What do you think were the advantages
of using this technique?
Temple authorities used their wealth to finance
trade and banking. Gradually a large number of
priests, workers, artisans, traders, etc. settled near
the temple to cater to its needs and those of the
pilgrims. Thus grew temple towns. Towns emerged
around temples such as those of Bhillasvamin (Bhilsa
or Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh), and Somnath in
Gujarat. Other important temple towns included
Kanchipuram and Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and
Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
Pilgrimage centres also slowly developed into
townships. Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) and
Tiruvannamalai (Tamil Nadu) are examples of two
such towns. Ajmer (Rajasthan) was the capital of the
Chauhan kings in the twelfth century and later
became the suba headquarters under the Mughals.
It provides an excellent example of religious
coexistence. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, the
?
Fig. 1
A bronze statue of
Krishna subduing
the serpent demon
Kaliya.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
78 OUR PASTS – II
celebrated Sufi saint (see also Chapter 8) who settled
there in the twelfth century, attracted devotees from
all creeds. Near Ajmer is a lake, Pushkar, which has
attracted pilgrims from ancient times.
A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns A Network of Small Towns
From the eighth century onwards the subcontinent was
dotted with several small towns. These probably
emerged from large villages. They usually had a
mandapika (or mandi of later times) to which nearby
villagers brought their produce to sell. They also had
market streets called hatta (haat of later times) lined
with shops. Besides, there were streets for different
kinds of artisans such as potters, oil pressers, sugar
makers, toddy makers, smiths, stonemasons, etc. While
some traders lived in the town, others travelled from
town to town. Many came from far and near to these
towns to buy local articles and sell products of distant
places like horses, salt, camphor, saffron, betel nut and
spices like pepper.
?
Make a list of
towns in your
district and try to
classify these as
administrative
centres or as
temple/pilgrim
centres.
Fig. 2
A city market.
©NCERT
not to be republished
79
?
Fig. 3
A wood carver.
TOWNS, TRADERS AND
CRAFTSPERSONS
Usually a samanta or, in later times, a zamindar
built a fortified palace in or near these towns. They
levied taxes on traders, artisans and articles of trade
and sometimes “donated” the “right” to collect these
taxes to local temples, which had been built by
themselves or by rich merchants. These “rights” were
recorded in inscriptions that have survived to this day.
Taxes on markets Taxes on markets Taxes on markets Taxes on markets Taxes on markets
The following is a summary from a tenth-century
inscription from Rajasthan, which lists the dues that
were to be collected by temple authorities:
There were taxes in kind on:
Sugar and jaggery, dyes, thread, and cotton,
On coconuts, salt, areca nuts, butter, sesame oil,
On cloth.
Besides, there were taxes on traders, on those who
sold metal goods, on distillers, on oil, on cattle fodder,
and on loads of grain.
Some of these taxes were collected in kind, while
others were collected in cash.
Find out more about present-day taxes on markets:
who collects these, how are they collected and what
are they used for.
Traders Big and Small Traders Big and Small Traders Big and Small Traders Big and Small Traders Big and Small
There were many kinds of traders. These included
the Banjaras (see also Chapter 7). Several traders,
especially horse traders, formed associations, with
headmen who negotiated on their behalf with warriors
who bought horses.
Since traders had to pass through many kingdoms
and forests, they usually travelled in caravans and
formed guilds to protect their interests. There were
several such guilds in south India from the eighth
©NCERT
not to be republished
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