In Vedic period the war was regarded as the best and most powerful activity of the human beings. It was respected as a great religion and message of the God. In Atharva-veda it is compared with Yajna sacrifice which is always waited upon by the warriors. In this sacrifice a person with magic demonic power could make offerings and reach the heaven with a great position. Thus Ambarish who was a desirous commander in chief of army burnt himself in the flames of fire and reached heaven.
In the 6th Century B.C. Magadh-Emperor Ajatashatru declared war against neighbouring republic of “Vajji”. With the times of Buddha and Mahavira however the concept of non-violence (Ahimsa) was very much adhered to. But the history of India being not very consistent about its existence, the spirit of fighting and war definitely seem to have continued through all the ages.
For any kind of fight the arms were of great significance. In Vedic period the sling-stone was very popular and it was used for striking an enemy from a distance by throwing. The thunderbolt “Vajra” was often used by Indra against Vritra the demon. The missiles Agnyastra and Sarpastra played a very important role in the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The bows and arrows were regularly used for aiming at and killing the enemy. The sword and mace were applied as shastras (direct weapons).
The Arms saw a great development in the later classical period. Beside arms one can also observe the growth of armours which were worn by the fighters on their bodies to protect themselves from the onslaught of the enemy. This includes the helmet which was used to save the head and the face.
The building of castles or forts was declared as useful for hiding and safety purpose. The history of the Marathas speaks of the Coronation ceremony of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on the Raigad fort.
The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum shows a variety of articles under the section of Arms and Armours consisting of about 250 numbers. Swords, Hilts, Gauntlet Swords, Shields, Daggers, Battle Axes, Fire Arms, Tiger-claws, Dao, Kanpattimar, Ankush, Arrows, Bows, Armours and small weapons are included in this collection.