The period between the 8th and the 18th centuries is termed as the medieval period in India.
The archaeological and literary sources of information help historians trace history. Archaeological sources include monuments, temples, inscriptions, coins and weapons. Literary sources include manuscripts, folk tales, poems and biographies of different rulers.
A manuscript is any document that is written by hand.
Manuscripts were collected by wealthy people, rulers, monasteries and temples. The manuscripts provide detailed information to historians but they are also difficult to use.
Manuscripts were copied by hand in India as there was no printing press in medieval India. The nastaliq style of writing Persian and Arabic is easy to read. However the shikaste style of writing is difficult to decipher.
Historians face problems gathering information from various textual sources as a copy of the manuscript was never the same as the original.