Gupta Dynasty (320-550 A.D.)
Gupta period is regarded as the golden era in the history of India. Gupta dynasty existed from 320 to 550 AD and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Gupta dynasty was founded by Sri Gupta. He was succeeded by his son Ghatotkacha. Famous rulers of Gupta dynasty were Chandragupta-I, Samudragupta, Chandragupta-II and Kumaragupta-I. Gupta dynasty was marked by extensive inventions and discoveries in science, technology, engineering, art, dialectic, literature, logic, mathematics, astronomy, religion and philosophy. The Gupta period produced great scholars such as Kalidasa, Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Vishnu Sharma and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. Later rulers of Gupta dynasty were ultimately ousted by Vardhana ruler Harsha Vardhana, who established an empire in the first half of the 7th century.
Chandragupta I (319-335 A.D.)
|1. Chandragupta-I was the son of Ghatotkacha.|
2. Chandragupta-I enhanced his power by marrying Kumara Devi, a Lichchhavi princess—the main power in Magadha.
3. Chandragupta-I was the real founder of Gupta dynasty. He expanded his kingdom by conquering much of Magadha, Prayaga and Saketa.
4. He assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja.
5. Patliputra was the capital of Gupta dynasty.
Samudragupta (335-380 A.D.)
|1. Samudragupta was the son of Chandragupta-I.|
2. The Gupta dynasty was enlarged enormously by Samudragupta.
3. Due to his bravery and generalship, the historian V. A. Smith quoted him as Napoleon of India.
4. On some coins of Gupta era Samudragupta was shown as playing the musical instrument Veena.
5. Important scholars in the court of Samudragupta were Harishena, Vasubandhu and Asanga.
6. The Prayag Prashasti (also known as Allahbad pillar inscription) composed in Sanskrit by Harisena gave information about Samudragupta’s achievment.
7. Samudragupta was a great patron of art and music. He assumed the title of Kaviraja.
8. Samudragupta was a firm believer in Hinduism and is known to have worshipped Lord Vishnu.
9. Samudragupta allowed Sri Lanka’s Buddhist king Meghavarman to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya.
Chandragupta-II (380-413 A.D.)
|1. Chandragupta-II was the son of Samudragupta.|
2. After Samudragupta’s death, Ramagupta succeeded him but his elder brother Chandragupta-II killed him and married his wife Dhruvadevi.
3. Chandragupta-II defeated Rudrasimha III, the Saka king and annexed his kingdom and assumed the title of Vikramaditya.
4. Chandragupta-II was the first ruler to issue silver coins. He also issued copper coins.
5. Patliputra continued to be the capital of Gupta dynasty. Ujjain was made second capital of Gupta dynasty.
6. Court of Chandragupta-II was adorned by nine gems (navratnas) including Kalidasa, Amarsimha, Varahmihira, Dhanvantri, etc.
7. Chinese traveller Fa-hein came during the reign of Chandragupta-II.
Kumaragupta-I (413-455 A.D.)
|1. Kumaragupta-I was the son of Chandragupta-II. He succeeded Chandragupta-II.|
2. Kumaragupta-I adopted the title of Mahendraditya.
3. During the later year of his reign the Gupta Empire was threatened by the rebellion of Pushyamitras of central India and invasion of the Hunas. However, Kumaragupta-I was successful in defeating both threats and performed Ashvamedha (horse sacrifice) to celebrate his victory.
4. Kumaragupta-I issued new coins with images of Lord Kartikeya.
5. Kumaragupta-I founded the Nalanda university.
6. Kumaragupta-I was followed by his son Skandagupta. Skandagupta faced the Hunas effectively.
7. The continuous attacks of the Hunas weakened the Gupta dynasty. Skandagupta died in 467 A.D. After his death, the Gupta dynasty began to decline.