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Gupta Dynasty

Gupta Dynasty was the last dominant power of Indian ancient history. The time period of Gupta Dynasty is referred to as the Golden Age of India. We are familiar with the Gupta culture by some ancient evidence of this culture; coins, scriptures, messages, texts, etc. The Gupta rulers efficiently controlled their kingdom from 319 AD to 467 AD. Skanda Gupta was the last influential ruler of the dynasty. There is an approximate list of successful Gupta ruler.

Ruler of Gupta DynastyTime in Power
Srigupta I 270 AD 290 AD
Ghatotkacha 290 AD 319 AD
Chandragupta I 319 AD 335 AD
Samudragupta 335 AD 375 AD
Chandragupta II 375 AD 414 AD
Kumaragupta I 415 AD 455 AD
Skandagupta 455 AD 467 AD

Rulers of Gupta Dynastya

Srigupta I was (270 AD to 290 AD) the ruler of Magadha and he established Gupta empire in Patliputra (now in Patna) as its capital. He was succeeded by his son Ghatotkacha (290 AD to 305 AD).

Ghatotkacha was succeeded by his son Chandragupta I (305 AD to 325 AD) who made stronger his empire by married alliance with the influential family of Lichchavi who were rulers of Mithila. His marriage to Lichchhavi princess Kumaradevi, brought an huge power, resources and status. Chandragupta I finally assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja (great emperor).

Samudragupta (335 AD to 380 AD) succeeded his father Chandragupta I, was the greatest king of Gupta empire. Samudragupta inflamed the Gupta Empire by winning a series of battles till he was a master of northern India. Soon he conquered the kings of Vindhyan state (now in central India) and Deccan. He performed the Ashwamedha Yagna (Horse sacrifice ceremony) which is marked on some of his coins. Ashwamedha Yagna gave him the popular title of Maharajadhiraj, means the supreme king of kings.

Chandragupta II also known as Vikramaditya, (380 AD to 413 AD) the son of Samudragupta, was a legendary ruler of Indian ancient history. The kingdom was at the peak of wealth and richness in the period of Vikramaditya and his son Kumargupta. Vikramaditya married princess Kubernaga, daughter of Naga chieftain and later gave his daughter Prabhavati in marriage to Rudrasena of powerful family unit of Vakatakas of the Deccan. Most important and celebrated military attainment of Vikramaditya was damaged of Kshatrapas, the Shaka rulers of Malawa and Saurashtra, in the western India. The cool courage he showed in fight with Shakas and killing their ruler in their own city entitled him the epithets Shakari (destroyer of Shakas) or Sahasanka. He was also responsible for the age, popularly known as Vikram Samvat.

Vikramaditya was succeeded by his talented son Kumargupta I (415 to 455 AD). He sustained his huge kingdom, which covered most of India without southern 4 states of India. He also performed the Ashwamedha Yagna and proclaimed himself to be Chakrawarti, king of all kings.

Skanda Gupta (455 - 467 AD) took over the Gupta Empire and soon had to face with the terrible enemy, the Huns (Hepthalites). He successfully prevented their early invasions and proved to be able king and administrator in time of crisis. In spite of heroic efforts of Skanda Gupta, Gupta Empire did not stay alive long the shock it received from invasion of the Huns and inner disturbance of the Pushyamitras.

After Skanda gupta, a number of rulers had risen in power467 AD to 550 AD, namely Purugupta, Kumaragupta II, Budhagupta, Narasimhagupta Baladitya, Kumaragupta III, Vishnugupta, Vainyagupta and Bhanugupta. But they were unable to protect their kingdom and gradually the empire converted into different small kingdoms and at last the dynasty ended in 550 AD.

Culture of the Guptas

Gupta Empire was known as the golden age of Indian culture. The wall-paintings of Ajanta Cave are measured as the greatest and most powerful works among of the Indian art. The paintings in the cave represent the various type of the Buddha culture and the daily life of Indian people. There were 48 caves in Ajanta, the majority of them were carved out of the rock in the time from 460 AD to 480 AD, and they were packed with Buddhist sculptures. The rock temple at Elephanta (at present, near in Bombay) contains an influential, eighteen foots statue of the three headed Shiva.

There were a number of talented characters in different area of arts form in the period of Gupta emperor. The greatest poet of the era was Kalidasa. The greatest Mathematician Aryabhatta belongs to this era. The Panchatantra and Kamasutra were written during this age. The Nalanda University in Bihar became famous during this time. Examples of Gupta architecture are found today in the Vaishnavite Tigawa temple at Jabalpur (now in Madhya Pradesh) built in 415 AD and another temple at Deogarhnear Jhansi built in 510 AD.