The effect of aluminium (Al) on seedlings of two rice cultivars, Pusa Basmati and Vikas was investigated after different hours of exposure to 80 mol/L of external Al supply. With increasing time of exposure, the growing seedlings readily absorbed Al and its localization was greater in roots than shoots. Prolonged exposure to Al intensified lipid peroxidation, changed the activities of SOD and peroxidase and caused DNA damage. However, differential responses were observed between the seedlings of two rice cultivars under Al stress. A close inverse relationship existed between decreased root growth and increased Al accumulation, lipid peroxidation, SOD, peroxidase activities and DNA damage. The results demonstrate that roots are the major sites of Al localization and accumulation of Al promoted oxygen free radicals mediated peroxidation of membranes as evidenced by increased MDA levels and the activities of SOD and peroxidase. Our results for the first time showed that Al can cause DNA damage in rice.