Dating back to around 2700 B.C., one of the earliest cultures in ancient India began in the Indus Valley region, which is now part of Pakistan. By around 500 B.C., ancient India had evolved into sixteen different states and kingdoms, each with their own leader. Throughout the centuries, the people of ancient India were highly influenced by religion. Many followed the teachings of religious texts known as the Vedas. Many other important writings come from ancient India, including epic poems called the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which told fascinating stories of wars, kings, and heroes.