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The Indian people represent a civilization in Civilization VI. They are led by Gandhi, under whom their colors are dark purple and turquoise; and (with Rise and Fall) by Chandragupta, under whom their colors are reversed.

The Indians' civilization ability is Dharma, which provides their cities with the Follower Beliefs of all religions practiced within them. In Gathering Storm, Indian cities also receive +1 Amenity Amenity for every religion with at least one follower, their Missionaries have 2 more spreads and their Trade Route Trade Route output +100% Religious Pressure. Their unique unit is the Varu, and their unique tile improvement is the Stepwell.


With strong Faith Faith generation, massive and populous cities from their Stepwells, and bonus Amenities Amenities from present religions, India is one of the best civilizations for a Religious Victory under Gandhi. On the other hand, armed with their powerful Varu, India can also compete for a Domination Victory, particularly under the leadership of Chandragupta.


Indian cities receive the Follower Beliefs of all present religions[]

If going for a Religious Victory, this seems somewhat counter-intuitive. Rather than attempting to extinguish all other religions in your cities (by using an Inquisitor, for example), it is in India's best interest to have a flourishing mixing pot of different religions. However, this ability in and of itself is already quite powerful, because Follower Beliefs are some of the most game changing beliefs in the game, with the largest, most game changing benefits from religion, such as the massive amounts of Production Production from Work Ethic or the great boon to Culture Culture from Choral Music. What's more, every religion is guaranteed to have a Follower Belief, meaning that India is guaranteed to benefit from this so long as there are multiple religions present in their cities.

With Gathering Storm, Dharma gets some perks to aid in either Gandhi's or Chandragupta's preferred victory path. Missionaries have more charges and a boosted religious pressure from Trade Route Trade Routes will aid Gandhi in spreading the good word, while the Amenity Amenity boost can help a warmongering Chandragupta. Additionally, Chandragupta can exploit the buffs to religious spread to exploit the Crusade belief.

Boosted religious pressure from Trade Route Trade Routes[]

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Bonus Amenities Amenities from present religions[]

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Additional spread charges for Missionaries[]

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Gandhi's India receives 5 Faith Faith per turn for each civilization that has founded its own religion and with which they are not at war. This includes India itself. While this certainly is a significant bonus at the start of the game, it pales a bit in the later stages of the game where you have multiple cities with Holy Sites producing Faith Faith, in addition to other sources.

For reference, a single Holy Site with a +2 adjacency bonus, a Shrine, a Temple, and a worship building that yields +3 Faith Faith (Cathedral, Gurdwara, Meeting House, Mosque, Pagoda or Wat) will produce 13 Faith Faith per turn. This is practically the lower limit for how much a well-placed Holy Site can produce; combine the right policy cards and pantheon, and you can easily break 30.

If a civilization no longer has any cities following its own religion, the bonus for that particular civilization no longer counts. This can happen on its own given time, or more likely because of an Apostle with the Proselytizer promotion. While this seems like a good reason not to convert all of a civilization's cities, actually doing so ensures that the religion does not bloom again due to Inquisitors.

In addition, any civilization at war with Gandhi receives double the penalty to Amenities Amenities. While this is insignificant for short wars, a longer war will cripple an opponent's city and force them to beg for peace.


Chandragupta's India allows you to play more aggressively. With Arthashastra, you may declare a War of Territorial Expansion after researching the Military Training civic. After using this Casus Belli, units gain +5 Strength Combat Strength and +2 Movement Movement for 10 turns. This gives every military unit a significant bonus, especially the Varu. Pre-preparation and quick attack may get you a city or two.

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Stepwells are most effective when adjacent to both a Farm and a Holy Site. A yield of +2 Food Food, +1 Faith Faith and +1 Housing Housing is a strong yield in the Ancient Era, when they first become available. Even with just Farm adjacency, +2 Food Food and +1 Housing Housing is exactly twice as good a bonus as offered by a Farm until Feudalism is researched.

The Housing Housing bonus is particularly helpful. Most tile improvements such as Farms and Camps only provide +0.5 Housing Housing; Stepwells providing +1 means you can grow cities to much larger sizes much sooner. Once you have Sanitation in the Industrial Era, they'll offer +2 Housing Housing - as much as a Sewer - reducing your need for Neighborhoods. They also make expansion into Desert, Tundra and Snow biomes more efficient.

By the time both Feudalism and Replaceable Parts are researched, the Food Food output of Farms will greatly surpass that of Stepwells. However, their far greater Housing Housing bonus means that you should still feel free to build them if you have the space. Additionally, in Gathering Storm, Stepwells will limit the impact of droughts, another plus over regular Farms.


The most important aspect of the special ability of the Varu is that it acts on multiple units at the same time. A single Varu will reduce the Strength Combat Strength of all enemy units next to it, so the best use for these majestic beasts is to throw them directly into the line of battle and support them with other hard-hitting troops. The Varu will not only weaken all adjacent enemies, but they will also do decent damage. Varu are also an amazing defensive troop since a group of them will weaken an entire army, reducing the damage done to your cities.

Under Gandhi, this unit is more defensive with a domination tendency for skilled players since it is quite slow, but under Chandragupta, the Varu force turns absolutely deadly. Once a War of Territorial Expansion is declared (one of the easier Casus Belli to satisfy), it moves as fast as the standard Horseman, and its 40 Strength Combat Strength and ability to weaken surrounding enemies make it the strongest military unit on the field. A Spearman has only 30 Strength Combat Strength (counting its +10 bonus against cavalry) when fighting next to one Varu, and (in vanilla Civilization VI and Rise and Fall) even less when next to two or more of them. Aim for Military Tradition to unlock Maneuver and keep cranking out an army of Varu, and nothing will be able to stop your march.

With the release of Gathering Storm, Varu change in some noteworthy ways. The Strength Combat Strength penalty they impose on enemy units is no longer cumulative, so enemies will lose 5 Strength Combat Strength even if they're adjacent to multiple Varu and there's less of an incentive to train them in large numbers. However, their Gold Gold maintenance cost is reduced from 3 to 2, so the Indians won't put as much of a strain on their economy by adding some Varu to their army.

The Varu's Strength Combat Strength penalty to nearby units applies to both land and naval units, even when the Varu is embarking. However, it will not reduce the Strength Combat Strength of a nearby embarked unit below the embarkation Strength Combat Strength threshold.

Victory Types[]

With their boost to Faith Faith from Stepwells and Satyagraha, India is among the top contenders for a Religious Victory. The penalty to Amenities Amenities for other civilizations helps India survive the inevitable backlash in the form of Holy Wars from practically all other founders of religions.

Alternatively, the bonus Faith Faith may be fueled towards Great People, particularly if India can acquire the Oracle. Following this approach, they can focus on a Cultural Victory, but there are a lot of other civilizations that have the advantage against them.

A third approach is to build massive amount of Faith Faith generation, change government to a Theocracy and purchase a massive army with Faith Faith to conquer the world. In addition to your advantage in warmongering, your enemies' cities will struggle against the inevitable Amenity Amenity penalty.

Science Victory is a possibility if focusing on building tall (large cities) and funnelling the Citizen Population towards scientific districts, provided you can acquire enough Amenities Amenities to keep them all happy.

Domination Victory becomes a more viable option when playing as Chandragupta. Both the Stepwell and the Varu are available along with the Dharma ability while the leader bonus becomes Arthashastra. With Arthashastra, declaring a War of Territorial Expansion gives you +2 Movement Movement and +5 Strength Combat Strength for military units for 10 turns, which can be a decisive factor in the war. After conquering another civ with a religion, use your Missionaries to spread their religion to your cities to take advantage of the civ ability. This can easily get you 2-3 more Amenities Amenities per city and massive bonuses to cities with Holy Sites. This benefits your empire and makes future conquest much easier.

Civilopedia entry[]

India can be viewed as either one of the most ancient civilizations in the world, or among its most recent. Situated at the crossroads of the world, India has had its share of empires and conquerors, including the Maurya and Gupta in the north (incidentally running afoul of Alexander at one point), and in the south the Chola, with its deep connections to Southeast Asia. But for much of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods, India was under the sway of other invaders: the Mughal Empire was founded by descendants of the Mongols, and became one of the shining highlights of Indian arts, architecture, and achievements. Under this Islamic rule, such structures as the Taj Mahal, and the Red Fort rose... until, that is, the British East India Company made their appearance.

In 1498 AD Vasco de Gama’s fleet managed to find its way around Africa and “discovered” India, even though some of its kingdoms and empires had been trading with the West since the days of the Roman Empire. The Portuguese stuck trading posts along the coast of the subcontinent; they were followed by the Dutch, the British, and eventually the French – all in the guise of chartered trading companies. The Honorable East India Company, a joint-stock corporation, had been granted its charter by Elizabeth I in December 1600 to trade in basic commodities with the Far East; at its height, it would account for half the world’s trade. In time, it was the only European company with holdings in India.

Besides the complexities of the local politics, what with all those princelings about, the Company also had to deal with the sheer diversity of local faiths. The subcontinent was the founding place of four major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism – with their many sects and offshoots. In addition, several other religions had their toehold, brought by merchants or conquerors, such as Islam, Zoroastrianism and even Judaism. However, the British may have been responsible for some of these "isms," formalizing practices such as caste (that had previously been heterogenous) and creating a category of "Hinduism" out of the vastly diverse practices that existed before their arrival.

It was a crisis of faith that led the British government to end the charade of Company autonomy. By 1857, the Company was the dominant power on the subcontinent, with its own administration, army and social infrastructure, corrupt and inefficient as they may have been. Although there were several reasons – as is always the case – for the Sepoy Mutiny, the spark was the introduction of new, greased, cartridges for the muskets used by the native troops. Whether unfounded or not, they came to believe that the cartridges, which had to be bitten to open the powder, were greased with beef tallow (offensive to Hindus) and pork fat (anathema to Muslims). Since the British, displaying their usual insular empathy, insisted their troops use these cartridges, in short order the native soldiers revolted.

After much bloodshed, the British Army had to be called in to quell this “First Indian War of Independence”; public outrage in England caused the Crown to dissolve the Company the next year and absorb all its holdings. The British, nothing if not efficient, over the next few years reorganized the Indian army, financial system and colonial administration. India became part of the British Empire, and Queen Victoria had “Empress of India” added to her impressive list of titles. For the next 90 years, the British Raj was the centerpiece of an empire “on which the sun never set.”

While the British busied themselves with completing the unification, skirmishes along the frontiers, and squeezing out as much wealth as they could, they shaped the Indian landscape and infrastructure. The British built schools and hospitals and libraries and bandstands and all the other things that they considered the marks of civilization, to which many Indians had access. They codified notions of ethnicity and religion into easily-digestible census blocks. They instituted uniform standards of law, coinage, penal incarceration, methods of execution, and postage. The British brought along the technology of the Victorian Age, building a network of telegraph lines, newspapers, irrigation systems, roads and railroads across the land. And they fostered a sense of Indian identity; if nothing else giving all the disparate native peoples an equally-detested common enemy.

Under the Raj, from 1880 to 1920 the Indian economy grew one-percent each year, as did the population. But the British penchant for meddling in the social and moral forms of the locals repeatedly caused upset. For instance, in the last decade of the 1800s various reformers (British and Indian) took up the cause of widow remarriage. In an effort to soothe religious dissention (and improve administrative efficiency), Lord Curzon divided Bengal into a Muslim east and a Hindu west in 1905; that lasted until he was recalled in 1906. The Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 gave Indians a limited role in the colonial and provincial governments, spurring the growth of the All-Indian Muslim League and the Indian National Congress. With all their reforms, the British had laid a firm ideological and organizational foundation for a nationalist movement to independence, especially among the relatively new Indian middle-class. Oops.

Adding to this impetus for self-rule was the reoccurrence of severe famine, due to colonial mismanagement and the shipment of food stuffs back to England for profit. The Great Famine of 1876-78 AD took 5.5 million lives in British-controlled territory alone, and millions more in the yet unincorporated princely states. The famine twenty years later cost another five million dead, and two years after that the 1899 famine another million. Ironically, these had to do with improved infrastructure: as rail lines could move grain to ports for export, they left none for the locals who had grown it. And this doesn’t count the rounds of pandemics that decimated the population on a regular basis.

The First World War proved a watershed in the progression towards independence, and self-reliance. It was greeted – at first – with an outpouring of patriotic fervor by the Indian nationalists, and most others in the country. The already revered Mahatma Gandhi agreed to actively recruit his young countrymen for the war … and in contrast to his recruitment efforts during the Boer and Zulu wars, this time for combat roles rather than the medical corps. (Some apologists have argued he did so in order for India to have a trained and experienced military when it did gain its independence later.) The various native political parties as well as the general nationalist movement waved the flag with gusto, save for a few hotspots such a Bengal where the unrest was such as to paralyze the local administration. But the high casualty rates, soaring inflation compounded by high taxation, and disruption of trade united the usually bickering nationalist organizations, who argued the sacrifice of the Indian peoples deserved a reward... like self-rule. In 1916, the Hindu National Congress and the Muslim League forged the Lucknow Pact, an agreement to work together to pressure the British to get out.

In 1921 AD, in the wake of the bloody 1919 Amritsar Massacre, Gandhi assumed leadership of the Indian National Congress, not without controversy. With the influence of Gopal Gokhale and other moderates, he was elected president and promptly implemented a policy of resistance through non-violent civil disobedience. This led other leaders of the movement to resign from the Congress, among them such militant stalwarts as Chitta Das, Annie Besant and Motilal Nehru. The Congress was split.

For the next 20 years Gandhi, as the “image” of resistance to British rule, organized rallies, boycotts of British imports, protests and marches, including the famous “Salt March” in 1930, in which he and thousands of followers marched to the sea to make salt in protest of the British tax on it. He was imprisoned on a number of occasions, including a two-year stint in 1942 for his role in the Quit India movement, during which his wife died and he contracted malaria. He was soon released because the British authorities feared he would die in prison, making him a martyr to the cause. (He became one eventually, being assassinated by a Hindu nationalist just months after independence was granted.)

Weakened by two world wars and frustrated in finding no answer to Gandhi’s irritating tactics, in 1947 the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act. The act set a date for withdrawal of all British administrative and military presence and a partition of the British colony into two countries along the much-disputed Radcliffe Line: Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. On August 14 at 11:57 p.m. Pakistan was declared independent and free; just after midnight, at 12:02 am, the same for India. The remaining 560 princely states were given the right to join one or the other or be independent – a commendable intent which didn’t last long once the Indian and Pakistani military got rolling.

The partition and creation of two nations with radically different beliefs in this faith-ridden land set off one of the greatest mass migrations in history as some 15 million believers scrambled to get on their side of the Radcliffe Line. The refugees, abandoning everything, displayed sound good sense, for it also saw unimaginable acts of mass violence, as the two new nations were simply unable to stem a tide of bloodshed that belied the non-violent nature of the successful resistance that had brought freedom. It is estimated that over a million Hindus, Moslems and Sikhs were killed, leaving a legacy of distrust between Pakistan and India.

In January 1950, India was declared a socialist, democratic republic. Since then, India has become a progressive and peaceful – save for the occasional war with Pakistan and border dispute with China – member of the brotherhood of nations.


Main article: Indian cities (Civ6)


Males Females Modern males Modern females
Darshan Anasuya Ameretat Aanya
Govind Asha Armaan Aarohi
Kuruvilla Bhadraa Dhruv Diya
Krishna Dakshina Jaskirit Lakshya
Narayan Kerani Krishna Mrinalini
Paramveer Lajila Pranay Navya
Pulkit Reeya Rayansh Priyanka
Purshotam Savatari Tanish Tanvi
Surya Sita Utkarsh Sushma
Uday Vineeta Vivaan Vaani


  • Prior to the release of Gathering Storm, Gandhi's colors were magenta and cyan, and Chandragupta's the reverse.
  • The Indian civilization's symbol is the Sacred (Indian) Lotus, the national flower of India, which occupies a unique position in ancient Indian art and mythology.
  • The Indian civilization ability is named after the Hindu and Buddhist principle of cosmic order.
  • India's theme music is based on the Hindu bhajan "Vaishnava Jana To," which was one of Gandhi's favorite bhajans. It is commonly played to honor or symbolize him.
  • The Indian architecture style in the Medieval Era is based on Mughal architecture. The Mughal style is also shared by the Arabs, the Persians, the Scythians, and the Ottomans.



Related achievements[]

Be the Change You Wish to See In the World
Be the Change You Wish to See In the World
Win a regular game as Gandhi
The phrase is a famous quote by Gandhi.
Give Peace a Chance
Give Peace a Chance
Playing as India on a Huge map, receive +35 Faith in one turn from the Satyagraha ability.
'Give Peace a Chance' is the name of a song written by John Lennon, who was a known pacifist.
A Burning Splendor
A Burning Splendor
Win a regular game as Chandragupta
Part of an inscription praising Chandragupta II on the iron pillar of Delhi.
I Thought We'd Moved Past This Joke
I Thought We'd Moved Past This Joke
As Chandragupta, launch a nuclear weapon.
A reference to the Civilization fanbase's inside joke of Gandhi's tendency to use nuclear weapons.
Civilization VI Civilizations [edit]

AmericanArabianAustralian1AztecBabylonian1BrazilianByzantine1Canadian GS-Only.pngChineseCree R&F-Only.pngDutch R&F-Only.pngEgyptianEnglishEthiopian1FrenchGallic1Georgian R&F-Only.pngGermanGran Colombian1GreekHungarian GS-Only.pngIncan GS-Only.pngIndianIndonesian1JapaneseKhmer1KongoleseKorean R&F-Only.pngMacedonian1Malian GS-Only.pngMāori GS-Only.pngMapuche R&F-Only.pngMayan1Mongolian R&F-Only.pngNorwegianNubian1Ottoman GS-Only.pngPersian1Phoenician GS-Only.pngPolish1Portuguese1RomanRussianScottish R&F-Only.pngScythianSpanishSumerianSwedish GS-Only.pngVietnamese1Zulu R&F-Only.png

1 Requires a DLC

R&F-Only.png Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only.png Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.