Gupta Empire (400-600 AD) All Notes

Gupta Empire (400-600 AD)

Gupta Empire

▪ On ruins of Kushan Empire rose Gupta Empire
▪ Constituted majority of UP & Bihar
▪ Main center of power at Prayag (Allahabad)
▪ Founder of Gupta Dynasty was Sri- gupta
▪ Srigupta was succeeded by Ghatochkacha
▪ Both of them were called Maharaja

Chandragupta 1

▪ 1st to be called as Maharajadhiraja (Great king of kings)
▪ Married Lichchhavi princess which gave him strength & prestige
▪ Considered to be founder of Gupta era as a mark of his ascension
▪ Mehraulli iron pillar inscriptions mentions his extensive quests


▪ Known as greatest ruler of Gupta dynasty & Napolean of India
▪ Was opposite of Asoka & delighted in military conquest.
▪ Inscriptions of his military conquest are mentioned (in sanskrit with Nagari script) on same Allahabad pillar which carries inscriptions of peace loving Asoka
▪ Samundragupta never knew any defeat & conquered east till Assam, west till eastern Afganistan, North till Kashmir & south till Tamilnadu
▪ Was a lover of art & literature, Self-proficient in music & poetry, hence called Kaviraja
▪ Patronised many poets & scholars along with famous Harisena
▪ Was an ardent follower of vaishnavism but tolerant to other religions

Chandragupta 2 (Chandragupta Vikramaditya)

▪ His reign saw high watermark of Gupta Empire
▪ Extended his empire by military conquests & marriage alliances
▪ Defeated Shakas in Malwa & Gujrat & conquered western sea port, henceforth, Ujjain became 2nd
capital of Guptas, 1st being Prayag
▪ His exploits as Chandra has been mentioned on Qutub iron pillar Delhi
▪ His reign at Ujjain court saw numerous scholars including “Kalidasa & Amarsimha”
▪ It was his reign under which chinese pilgrimage Fa-hsien / Fahien (399-414 AD) visited India

Fall of Gupta Empire

▪ Due to invasion of Hunas from central Asia
▪ Due to rise of Yashodharman in Malwa
▪ Due to dissention within the royal family & weak rulers
▪ The later Gupta’s embraced Buddhismwhile their predecessors were staunch Hindus.

Gupta’s Administration

▪ Unlike Mauryas, Guptas assumed titles like parmeshwara, Maharajadhiraja & Paramabhattaraka
▪ Provinces in Gupta’s period were known as Bhuktis & provincial governors Uparikas
▪ King maintained close contacts with provincial administration through a class of officials called “Kumaramatyas” & “Ayuktas”
▪ Provinces were divided into districts Vishayas under charge of Vishayapati
▪ All foreign affairs were looked after by foreign affair minister known as “Sandivigraha”
▪ Villagers were subjected to forced labour called Vishti for serving royal army & officials Religion & Social Culture
▪ Brahamans formed the top ladder & receive numerous gifts
▪ Brahamanism reigned supreme during Gupta period & had 2 branches mainly, Vaishnavism & Shaivism, with former more prevalent (Bhagavatism)
▪ Fahien accounts shows a decline of Budhhism in Gangetic valley but a few budhhist monks like Vasubandhu were patronised by Gupta kings

Art & Culture

▪ Gupta age is called golden age of India in field of art, science & literature
▪ Nagara & Dravidian styles of art evolved during this period
▪ Delhi iron pillar, 7 ½ feet Buddha statue & Deogarh temple are finest example of Gupta art
▪ Mural paintings of Ajanta, which mainly depicted life stories of Buddha as in Jtaka stories belong to this period (Paintings at Sigiria in Srilanka are influenced by Ajanta paintings)


▪ Sanskrit became primary language in Gupta period
▪ Ramayana & Mahabharata were compiled during this period


Abhigyanshakuntalam, MalvikagnimitramVikramorvasiya, KumarsambhavaRaghuvamsa, Ritusamhara, Meghaduta


Mudrarakshash & Devi – Chandraguptam


Panchtantra stories


Mrich – chakatika (Little clay art or toy cart)


Amarkosha (Lexicon in sanskrit)


Kavyadarsa & Desa – kumarcharita

Science & Technology


Aryabhatiyam , Suryasidhhanta


Panch sidhhanta (5 astronomical system)Brihadsamhita, Brihadjataka (Astrology)


Ashtangasamgraha (Summary of 8 branches of Medicine)

Great Medical Trio of Ancient India → Charaka, Susruta & Vagbhata

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