From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Ancient India's development in chemistry was not confined at an abstract level like physics, but found development in a variety of practical activities. It is believed that the basic idea of smelting reached ancient India from Mesopotamia and the Near East. Coinage dating from the 8th Century B.C. to the 17th Century A.D. Numismatic evidence of the advances made by smelting technology in ancient India. In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus has observed that Indian and the Persian army used arrows tipped with iron. Ancient Romans were using armor and cutlery made of Indian iron.

The advance nature of ancient India's chemical science also finds expression in other fields, like distillation of perfumes and fragment ointments, manufacturing of dyes and chemicals, polishing of mirrors, preparation of pigments and colours. Paintings found on walls of Ajanta and Ellora (both World heritage sites) which look fresh even after 1000 years, also testify to the high level of chemical science achieved in ancient India.