THE GUPTAS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS (AD 300 - AD 750)


Foundation of the Gupta Dynasty

There were many Gutas among the official of the Satavahana conquerors of the Shakas, for instance, Shiva Gupta of the Nasik inscription, Puru Gupta and Shiva Skanda Gupta of the Kale inscription.

The Ichchawwar Buddinst statuette inscription mentions the benefaction of Mahadevi, queen of Shri Haridasa, sprung from the Gupta vamsa.

A Bharhut Buddist pillar inscription of the Shunga period refers to a ‘ Gaupti’ as the queen of rajan Visadeva, and the grandmother of Dhanabhuti,probably a feudatory of the Shungas.

According to the generalogical lists, the founder of the dynsty was a person named Gupta.
His name, along with his son and successor Ghatotkacha, appears for the first time in the Allahabad pillar inscription and repeated in many later inscriptions.

In this account Samudragupta is described as ‘the great grandson of the maharaja,the illustrious (shri)Gupta, the grandson of the maharajadhiraja the illustrious(shri)Chadragupta, and the daughter’s son of Lichchhavi begotten on Mahadevi Kumaradevi.

The first name shri Gupta has been identified with maharaja Che-li-ki-to who, according to I-tsing, built a temple near Mrigashikhavana (Mi-li-kia-si-kia-po-no).

This temple was built for the use of the Chiense monks and endowed with land and revenues of twenty villages.
At the time of I-sing’s itinerary (AD673-95) its dilapidated remnants were known as the ‘Temple of China’.
Shrigupta is generally assigned to the period AD 275-300.

S.R. Goyal places the accession of the maharaja Gupta in c.AD295.

Gupta or Shrigupta was succeded by his son Ghatotkacha.

He ascended the throne in AD 300.

Nothing much is known about this king except that the matrimonial alliance between the Guptas and the Lichchhvis might have been established during his reign.

After Ghatotkacha, his son Chandragupta I came to the throne.

Unlike his predecessors, Chandragupta I assumed the grandiloquent title of maharajadhiraja.

Regard him as the first king to raise the power and prestige of the dynasty.

Original Home:

Five principa theories regarding the original homeland of the imperial Guptas.

These are Bengal, Magadha,Sarnatha, Punjab and Prayaga.

First three regions are based on th identification of I-tsing’s Mi-li-kia-si-kia-po-no where China Temple was located.

D.C.Ganguly caluculated the distance and located itd somewhere in Murshidabad district of West Bengal.

Accoding to R.C. Majumdar this only proves that Shrigupta ruled over parts of Bengal and not that it was the early home of the Guptas.

Jagannatha Agarwal and B.P.Sinha, basing their arguments on the translation given by Beal, identified the place with Sarnatha in eastern UP.

The third view regarding the Mugadha region was propagated by V.A. Smithe and A.S. Altekar.

The fourth view is represnted by that of K.P Jayaswal.

He suggested that the Guptas were Karaskara Jats(or modern Kakkar Jats), originally from the Punjab.

The fifth view is held by S.R. Goyal, who has written the most detailed and incisive account of the Gupta political history in recent years.

He has argued that the initiative to form and empire could only rest, not with Mugadha, but the eastern part of the Upper Ganga basin.

His argument is based on the hypothesis that the early insciptions and coins of a dynasty are usually found mostly in the region in which it originates such ar early Bactrian Greeks, Kushanas, Vakatakas etc..
In the case of the Guptas.

(a)The Chandragupta-Kumaradevi type coins, the earliest of the Gupta gold coin-series, have been mostly discovered in the eastern UP,the findspots being Mathura, Ayodhya, Lucknow. Sitapur, Tanda, Ghazipur, and
Varnasi in UP and Bayana in Bharatpur region.

No coin of this series has been found in Mugadha.

(b)As many as fourteen hoards of the Gupta gold coins have been discovered in the eastern UP while two each in Bihar and Bengal, three in MP,and one each in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Bharsar(Varanasi), Tanda(Faizabad), Kotwa (Gorakhpur), Allahabad, Basti, Kasara(Balllia),Tekri Debra(Mirzapur),Madankola(Jaunpur),Rapti, Devattha(Ballia), and Kushmbhi(Unnao) hoards are located in eastern UP, Hazipur and Banks hoards in Bihar, Kalight and Hugli hoards in Bengal, Mithathal hoard in Punjab, Bayana hoard in Rajasthan, Pattan (Baitul), Sakori(Damoh) and Bamnala(Nimar)hoards in MP and Kumarkhan hoard in located in Gujarat.

©This nine boards of eastern UP region have yielded coins belonging mostly to the early Gupta rulers i.e,Chandragupta 1, Kacha and Samudragupta, whereas the coins yielded by the hoards of Bengal and Bihar belong to Chandragupta II and Kumargupta I.

(d)Out of fifteen inscriptions belonging to the first 150 years of the Gupta rule from Bengal, Magadha and the eastern UP eight belong to the eastern U.P. two to Magadha (both are supposed to be spurious)and five to Bengal which belong to the comparatively later period.

(e)The contents of the inscription show that those found in Bengal are land whereas those found in eastern U.P. are either pratishtha shasana (Bhitari) or digvijaya shasana(API).

The reference in the Vishnu Purana clearly shows that Magadha was included in the joint-state of the Gupta and the Lichchhavis, the later being known as the Maagadha.

Hence, the region west of Magadha extending upto Prayaga in the eastern UP was ruled by the early Gupta Kings.

Rise of the Central Ganga Valley:

Magadha was occupied by the Murundas who were replaced by the Lichchhavis by the end of the third century
AD the Mathura-Padmavati region was under the Nagas and Kaushambi was being ruled by the Maghas.

The eastern Punjab and Rajaputana were ruled by the Malava, the Yaudheyas, the Arjunayans, the Sankanikas and the Madrakas etc.

From the post-Kushana period, under th impact of the reviving Brahamanism, the forces of distinegration weakened and the idea of a universal empire i.e.chakravatiukshetra became popular.

This was endorsed by the Puranas which declared that the chakravartins were the essence of Vishnu.

This idea became quite popular and we see many ruling families such as the Bharashivas, the Nagas, the
Vakatakas and the Guptas performing Vedic sacrifies.

The Manusmriti, completed towards the beginning of the Gupta age, declared “a brahmana who knows the
Veda deserves to be made a king, a commander-in-chief, the wielder of power of punishment”.

Accordingly, the Shungas, the Kanvas,the Satavahans, the Kadambas and the Vakatakas were all brahmanas.

The right to bear arms i.e.danda was regarded as the exclusive privilege of the kshtriya but, in the post-Mauryan
period, Manu extended it to the brahmanas and the vaishyas, especially to the former.

Kamandaka and Katyayana insisted that minister and leaders of the army should be recruited from amongst the brahmansa.

The Caste of the Guptas:

Dasarath Sharma maintained that the Guptas were either kshtriyas as their gurus and had adopted their gotra.
Sharma’s conclusion was based on a reference in the Skanda Purana which refers to the brahmanas of the
Dharana gotra living in Dharmaranya, a tract in Mirzapur district of eastern UP.

The fact that the Guptas belonged to the Dharana gotra comes from the copper plate inscription of Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II and the wife of Vakataka Rudrasen II.

Since the gotra of Prabhavatigupta’s husband was Vishnuvriddha, it has been inferred that Dharana was the gotra of the Guptas.

K.P.Jayaswal had said that the Guptas belonged to the Jat clan of the Punjab.
Rayachaudhrui, however,conjectured that the Guptas were desendants of Dharini, the chief queen of Agnimitra Shunga.

Tha Vishnu Purana mentions that the names ending in ‘Gupta’ are characteristic of the vaishya caste.

The Lichchhavis married Kumaradevi to Chandragupta I, the Nagas agreed to the marriage of Kubernaga with Chandragupta II and Prabhavatigupta was married to brahmana king Rudrasena II.

Fourther, from the Talagunda inscription of the Kadamaba King Shantivarman we get the information that Kakushtavarman gave one of his daughters in marriage to a Gupta King.

This colud be possible only if the Gupta were brahmanas themselves since pratiloma marriage were extremely rare in the Gupta age.

The only Gupta princess Prabhavatigupta was given in marriage to the brahmana Vakatakas.

Two other princesses of later period use also married to brahmanas.

Thus Baladitya married his sister to Vasurata who was a Brahmana and Bhanugpta, related to Bhanuguptaa of
Eran inscription, was also married to one Ravikirti who was also a brahmana.

Rise of the Gupta Dynasty:

The imperial Gupta dynasty origined in the eastern part of the upper Ganga.

Goyal believes that maharaja Gupta may have started his carries as a minister or commander of the rulers of
Kaushambi i.e. Nava and Pushpashri.

Many believe that the Gupas were the feudatories of the Kushanas and succeede them without any large time lag.

Hence we find many Kushna elements in the Gupta political set-up.

It is generally believed that the seal with the legend Gutasya and a clay seal reading Shri-r-Gutasya may be ascribed to the first Gupta king.

Another seal with the name Shrigupta inscribed on it was discovered from Rajghat.

A clay sealing was found at Sunet with the legend Shri-r-Guptasya.

In an inscription of Skandagupta found at Rewa, the genealogy of the Gupta family begins with Ghatotkacha
and not with his father Gupta.

The same pattern occurs in two Vakataka records which trace the generalogy of Queen Prabhavatihgupta.

Bloch ascribed to him the seal bearing the inscription Shri Ghatokachaguptasya found at Vaishali.

Early Chronology:

The king Gupta ruled from c, AD 295 to c.
AD 300 and his son Ghatotkacha from c.
AD 300 to c. AD 319.

Chandragupta I ascended the throne in AD 319 or 320 and ruled till AD 350.

Goyal believes that the Gupta era commenced either on February 26, AD 320 or on December 20, AD 318.

Goyal also believed that the event from which the era was reckoned was neither the accession of Samudragupta nor the marriage by many scholars.

The first known date of the Gupta era is the year 56, the date of the accession of Chandragupta II.

It seems Chandragupta II reckoned it probably from the date of accession of Chnadragupta I, th first maharaja dhiraja of the dynasty of from the date of the assumption of the imperial status by the latter.

Capital of the Guptas:

One would expect that the capital of the Guptas was located somewhere in the eastern part of UP.

The evidence of the Puranas from which we know that Prayaga was the nucleus of the early Gupta states, the incisions of the Prashasti of Samudragupta on a pillar at Prayaga, the discovery of several other early Gupta insciptions and numerous hoards of coins from this area and the possibility of the performance of ashvamedha(chitrotsanam) at Prayaga by Samudragupta bring out the fact that at least in the early part of their history, the Guptas had their capital at Prayaga.

Later on,however, Ayodhya was made the formal residence of the emperor,for Paramartha, a Buddist schorlar of the Gupta age refers to this city as the capital of Vikramaditya i.e.Skandagupta who appointed Vasubadhu as the teacher of his crown-prince Bladitya.

It is quite possible that Ayodhya was accorde this status by Paramabhagavata Chandragupta II or his father.

The description of Pataliputra as given by Fa-hien who visited it durin the reign of Chandragupta II.

Chandhragupta I:

Chandhragupta, the son of Ghatotkacha.

Title maharajadhiraja.

Number of gold coins issued by him.

Chandhragupta was married to Kaumaradevi of the Lichchavi cian and Samudragupta was born of his marriage.

The rise of the Vakatakas in the Deccan influenced the politics of the states of Aryavarta too.

At that time tha Bharashiva Nagas of Padmavati were on of the greatest powers of Aryavarta.

Their greatest ruler was Bhavanaga, who was ruling in c.AD 305 to c.AD 340.

In the beginning of the fourth century AD, the two great rulers of the country-Pravarsenal and Bhavanaga-became close allies, for we find that in c.AD 300 the daughter of Bhavarasena was married to the Vakataka crown-prince Gautamiputra.

Gautamiputra predeceased his father and Pracarsena I was succeded by the son of Gautamiputra.

It is very curious, because after the death of Gautamiputra, Pravarsena I should have been succeeded by the
eldest of his remaining three sons, and not by Rudrasena I.

In the beginning of the fourth century AD Bhavanaga, who did not have a male child to succed him, gave his daughter in marriage to Gautamiputra, on the understanding that his daughter’s son will inherit the Vakataka as
well as the Bharashiva empires.

Thus the Gupta-Lichchhavi alliance may be taken as the consequence of the Vakataka Bharashiva alliance.

Nagas, were the first to be attacked by Samudragupta.

Chandragupta I married Kumardevi in c.AD 305 and ascended the throne after the death of his father in AD 319.

On the authority of the Vishnu Purana and Vayu Purana Goyal concludes that Chandragupta Samudhragupta had inherited Gupta kingdom with Saketa.

Samudhragupta in his Allahabad pillar inscrioption does not mention the city of Seketa or its ruler among his exploits.

Chandragupta I-Kumaradevi Coins:

The Chandragupta I-Kumaradevi type of coins is the earlist coins of the Guptas.

According to Altekar, they were issued during the reign of Chandragupta I by the joint authority of
Chandragupta I and Kumardevi, the rulers of the Gupta and Lichchavi states respectively.

These coins have been discovered only rarely from Bihar.

V.S. Agrawala has suggested that these coins were issued by the Lichchhavis.

Goyal, however, thinks that these coins were issued by Samudhragupta before he issued his standard-type coins.

Samudragupta Parakramamka:

Samudragupta son and successor of Chadragupta I was greatest ruler of the dynasty.

He ascended the throne in c.AD 350.

And ruled will AD375-76.

On the authority of the Arya Manjushri Mula Kalpa(AMMK)and Yuan Chwang’s description, it has been
suggested that Kacha was persecutor of Buddhists whereas samudragupta represented the liberal aspect of
Brahmanical revival.

Coins of Kacha have been found mainly from the eastern UP.

Kacha’s ruccess was short-lived for, according to AMMK, he ruled only for three years.

Eran inscription credits him with the overthrowing of “the whole tribe of kings upon the earth”

Vincent Smith described him with admiration as the Napolean of India.

Allahabad pillar inscription (API)of Samudragupta.

It contains an eloquent eulogy of the emperor,composed by his court-poet Harishena.

This document is nothing but the glorification of the auhor’s patron.

The first direct reference to an actual military encounter of Samudragupta occurs in the seventh verse of the API where it states that by the powess of his arm, Samudragupta uprooted Achyuta, Nagasena and
Ganapatinaga,(generally regarded as the rulers of Ahichchhatra, Padmavati and Mathura respectively),caused
the capture of the prince of the Kota family (Bulandshahr region)through his armies and took his pleasure at the city that had the name of ‘Pushpa’(probably Kanyakubja).

This descriptions is followed by a long list of states, kings and tribes that were conquered and brought under
various degrees of subjection.

They have been divided into four categories, the first of which includes the twelve states of Dakshinapatha with the name of their kings, who were captured (grahana)and then liberated (moksha)and reinstated (anugraha); the second contains the names of the eight kings of Aryavarta,who were violently exterminated (prasabhoddhaan-advritta);the third consists of the rulers of the forest (atavritta) states who were reduced to servitude (paricharakikrita)and the chief’s of the five pratyanta or border states and nine tribal republics, who were forced to pay all kinds of taxes (sarvakaradana),obey his orders(ajnakarna)and perform obeisance(pranamagamana).

Fourth and the last category consists of the Daivaputrashahi Shahanushahi, Shaka Murundas and the dwellers of Simhala(Sri Lanka)and ‘all the other islands’ who persons for service to him (atma-nivedana),bringing persents of maidens (kanyopayanadana)and applying for charcters bearing the Garuda seal fro the enjoyment of their own territories.

The Guptas were proud parambhagavatas whereas most of his rivals, particularly the Nagas and Venkatakas, were staunch Shaivites.

Airikina or Eran occupied a very strangic position.

It is probable that Samudragupta fought a major was of his career in this field.

Thus Rudradeva of the API has been identified with Rudrasena I of the Vakatava dynasty by Jayaswal.

Samudragupta deprived Rudrasena I of his North Indian possession only.

To commemorate this victory Samudragupta probably erected a Vishnu temple at Earn.

Some time after his victory over the Nagas and Vakatakas, Samudragupta paid attention to Bengal.

Thus he violently terminated Nagadatta who was probably the ruler of Pundravardhan region of North Bengal.
Pushyavarman who was the first ruler of the ‘Varman’ family of Kamarupa appears to have been placed as the
ruler of the whole kingdom by Samudragupta.

Pushyacvarman, out of devotion and loyalty to his overlord and patron, named his son and daughter-in-law after the great emperor and empress.

Similarly Samudragupta helped in the establilshment of a royal house at Dashapura too.
Ujjaini at this time formed part of the Dashpura kingdom where Chandragupta II, as the prince, appeared at the kavyakara examination before the litterateurs.

Samudragupta, according to a Sri Lanka tradition invaded Kalinga some years after his accession.
In this tradition the invader was a Yavan Rakta Bandhu.

Mahavamsha mentions that because of this invasion the Kalinga princess Hemamala flew from her country with the tooth relic of the Buddha.

Goyal identifies Rakta Bandhu with Samudragupta or one of his generals of Yavana extraction.

The most remarkable feature of the southern campaigns of Samudragupta was the policy of capture and then liberation and reinstatement of the conquered kings.

Samudragupta’s north-western policy was largely shaped by international circumstances.

We have evidence of Sassanian inroads in the north-western region.

However, a line of Kushana, known as Kidar Kushana, had established themselves around Gandhara.

The other powers in this region were the Sassanians and the Chionites or the Jouan-Jouan.

Jouan-Jouan(Hiung-nu)was probably the famous Helphthalite or the white Huns who, after their occupation of Bacteria in c.AD 350, became a mence both to Iran and India.

They seem to have invaded Gandhara around AD 400.

Kidara, after having established himself in Gandhara, approached Samudragupta some time after AD 359,sent him presents and professional of allegiance and asked his help against the Sassanians.

Samudragupta, therefore, helped Kidara, who in turn defeated the Sassanians in AD 367-68.

And perhaps the expressions Daivaputrashahi and Shahanushahi were applied to them.

Samudragupta had sent an embassy to Rome in AD 361 in this connection only.

Karpuradvipa, Narikeladvipa, Yavadvipa, Shankhadvipa, Survamadvipa, Rupyakadvipa and Tamradvipa were given to these islands.

According to a Chinese text, the king Shrimeghavarna of Sri Lanka sent an embassy to the Indian king San-meou-to-lo-kiu-to or Samudraguta asking for his permission to erect a monastery for the Simhalese pilgrims at
Bodha-Gaya.

The Personality of Samudragupta:

On one type of gold coins, has been represented as seated on a high-backed couch playing in a vina(lyre or lute)which lies on his knees.

On account of these he is also known as Kaviraja.

A poetical work called the Krishan Charitam is attributed to Samudragupta.

He is said to be a shining example of philanthropy.

He is said to have given many hundreds of thousands of cows, evidently as gifts to brahmanas, on the occasions of religious observances.

According to the great rhetorician Vamana, Chandraprakasha, son of Chandragupta, was a great patron of letters and appointed the famous Buddist scholar Vasubandhu as his minister.

Samudragupta is also said to have performed the ashvamedha sacrifice.

It is also believed that the decline of Buddhism and Jainism was heralded by the ashvamedha sacrifice performed by Samudragupta.

The gold issued by Samudragupta are of a large variety.

On some types of coins Samudragupta is represented as holding a bow and arrow, sometimes shooting at a tiger,or armed with an axe and a sword.

On others we find him sprinking incense on an alter or playing on a lyre or Veena.

The coins bear appropriate legends.

The king is also exhibited in a variety of dresses suitable to the occasions.

Usually, he wears a close-fitting cap, coat ad trousers, earrings, necklace, bracelets and armlets.

But when playing on a lyre he wears only a piece of waistcloth.

Title Vikramaditya

This may reasonably be inferred from shrivikramah found on a coin of Samudragupta.

But many scholars do not accept this view and say that it was Chandragupta II who assumed this title .
Samudragupta was regarded as equal to the gods Kubera, Vauna, Indra and Yama.

The four gods were guardians of the four directions.

His possession of immense wealth (like Kubera), suzerainty over the seas(like Varuna), the spread of the fame to celestial regions (like Indra)and his extirpation of enemies (like Yama the god of death).

His usual title was Parakrama which towards the close of this reign was changed into Vikrama.

Later, the title Vikrama or Vikramaditya was adopted by a number of Gupta kings including Chandragupta II and Skandagupta, so that the age of the Gupta is usually called the Age of the Vikramdityas.

Epithets of Samudragupta:

The titles used by Samudragupta were apratiratha (unrivalled chariot-warrior),aprativaryavvirya(or irresistible valour),kritanta-parashu(axe of death),sarva-raj-ochchhetta(uprooter of all Kings), vyaghra-parakrama(possessed of the strength of a tiger),ashvamedha-parakrama(whose might wsas demonstrated by the horse-sacrifice),parakramanka (marked with prowess)and vikram(prowess).

Most of these epithets are connected with particular types of coins issued by the emperor.

Thus parakram is found on the reverse of coins of standard-type, apratiratha on coins of archer-type,kritanta-parshu on coins of the battle-axe-type, saravarajochchhetta on coins of Kacha-type(Raychudhri thinks that
Kacha was another name of Samudragupta),vyaghraparakram on the tiger-type and ashvamedha-parakrama on
the ashvamedha-type.

The appearance of a goddess seated on a lion(simha-vashinii.e., Durga or Parvati,Vindhya-vasini or Haimavati)may indicate to the extension of the Gupta dominions to the Vindhya and the Himavat.

The tiger and river-goddess-type(makaravahini)may indicate that the sway of Samudragupta spread from the
Ganges valley to the realm of the ‘Tiger King’in Mahakantara.

Samudragupta’s ‘virtuous and faithful wife’. Possibly Datadevi, appears to be mentioned in an Eran inscription.

One of the last acts of Samudragupta was apparently the selection of his successor.

The choice fell on Chandragupta II, his son by Dattadevi.

Chandragupta II Vikramaditya:

Samudragupta was succeeded by his son Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, also called Narendra Chandra, Simha Chandra, Narendra Simha and Simha Vikram,born of queen Dattadevi.

The discovery of a few passages of a lost drama Devi Chandragupta,ascribed to Vishakhadatta, has thrown a new light on this problem.

From the avalible extracts we learn that Ramagupta, a coward and impotent (kliba)king, agreed to surrender his queen Dhruvadevi to a Shaka invader.

But the prince Chandragupta, the younger brother of the king, resolved to go to the enemy’s camp in the guise of resolved the queen with a view to kill the hated enemy.

The combined testimony of the Harshacharita of Bana, the Kavyamimsa of Rajashekhar, the Sanjan, the Cambay and the Sanglli copper plates of the Rashtrakuta rulers, indicates that Chandragupta had succeeded in killing Ramgupta, and not only seized hi kingdom but also married his widow.

In recent years, the discovery of some copper coins from Vidisha-Airikina region bearing the name of Ramagupta had added new dimension to the problem.

Goyal has come to the conclusion that after the death of Samudragupta, his younger son somehow managed to establish his authority over whole of the empire except the eastern part of Malwa where Ramgupta, the legistimate claimant to the throne, declared his independnec.

However, he was under constant threat from the Shakas.

Chandragupta II exploited this situation and in the name of the security of the Gupta empire invaded eastern Malwa.

In the course of the war Ramagupta was killed.

Later on, his window Dhruvadevi became the consort of the emperor.

Chandragupta II turned out to be a very successful and able ruler.

Apart from the above mentioned names, he is also known as Deva and is referred tot as Devagupta, Devaraja or Devashri.

Out of 1821 gold coins yielded by the Bayana hoard, as many as 983 belonged to the various types issued by Chandragupta II.

Chandragupta II thus, not only kept his paternal empire intact, but also added to it the provinces of Kathiawar or Saurashtra and northen Gujarat.

The immediate cause of the westward expansion of the empire was probably his desire to put an end to the hated Scythian(Shaka)yoke on the western part of the country.

In the meantime, Chandragupta II gave his daughter Prabhavatigupta in marriage to the Vakataka crown-prince Rudrasen II, the son of Prithvisena I(c. AD 360-85).

This matrimonial alliance proved to be a great boon to the Gupta empire.

With the advantage of this kinship, Chandragupta II easily captured the area held by the Shakas.
The process was completed in c.AD 412.

Another important event of his reign was the matrimonial alliance with the Nagas.

Chandragupta II married Kubeanaga, a princess of Naga lineage and Prabhavatigupta was his daughter from this wife.

Chandragupta II had at least two wives Dhruvadevi and Kuberanaga.

The first queen was the mother of Govinda Gupta and Kumara Gupta I..

He is also said to have got his son married to a Kuntala princess.

Mehruali pillar inscription containing the eulogy of a king called Chandra also known as Dhava.

He is said to have fought a battle in the Vanga country and defeated the enemies who, uniting together, came against him.

He also crossed the seven faces or feeders of the river Sindhu and defeated the Vahlikas.

This king was devoted to Vishnu, and set up the pillar as a standard of that god on the hill called Vishnupada.

This king has variously been identified with the Gupta kings Chandragupta I and II, king Chandravarman of the
Varman family of Mandasor,and with the Kushana king Kanishka who had a second name Chandra.

Goyal has identified Chandra with Samudragupta.

However, at present, scholars are generally in favour of identifying king Chandra with Chandragupta II.

If this identification is accepted, a few more conquests go to his credit.

This means that some of the kingdoms which either enjoyed a subordinate position such as daivaputrashahi-shahanushahi or were frontier tributary states such as Samatata, were incorporated by now and formed an
integral part of the Gupta empire.

Like Samudragupta, he also issued a wide varieties of gold coins.
Chandragupta II is represented as slaying a lion on some coins with the legend simha-vikrama whereas Samudragupta is shown as slaying a tiger.

This may be indicative of forner’s authority over Gujarat.

The figure of Chandragupta II seated on a couch redembles that musical instruments he holds a flower in his uplifted right hand with the legend rupakriti.

On many of his coins Chandragupta II has the title Vikramaditya.

In certain records of the twelfth century AD he is represented as the lord of the city of Ujjaini as well as Pataliputra.

Because of his fights with the Shakas and by his execution of their kings in their own cities he gained the epithets ‘sahasanka’ and ‘shakari’.

This has led some scholars to identify him with the Vikramaditya Shakari of the legends, whose court is said to have been adorned by ‘nine gems’ including Kalidasa and Varahamihira.

The traditions about the nine gems which included Virasena Shaba and Accharya Dignaga, is of a later origin.
Another notable contemporary of Chandragupta II was Fa-hien, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim who wrote about the kingdom ad administration in the Madhya-desh.

The last known date of Chandragupta II is 93 (AD 412-13)and he did not rule much longer after this date as his son Kumargupta was on the throne in the year 96(AD 415-16).

He thus had a long reign of more than 32 years.

Kumaragupta I and Goviindagupta:

According to R.G.Bhandarkar and Jagannath, Kumaragupta I did not inherit the paternal throne peacefully and had to face the opposition of this brother Govindagupta.

Goyal, believes that Govindagupta, the younger brother of Kumaragupta, acquired the experience of administration at Vaishali where his name figures in the seal of his mother Dhruvadevi.

Later on he was translated to Mandsor to look after the imperial interest in the western Malwa-the greatest trouble spot of the empire.

Kumaragupta’s known dates, from coins and iscriptions, range between c.AD 415-55.

There are as many as thirteen inscription of his reign.

Barring a probable conquest of western Malwa, no other incidents of his reign are know to us.

Kumaragupta I tried to expand his empire in the South.

The discovery of a big hoard of 1395 silver coins of Kumaragupta at Samand in the Satara district and a small find of his 13 coins from Ellichpur is Berar sugget his influence in those regions.

There is the fact that the size and fabric of the class III of his silver coins bear considerable resemblance to the coins of the Traikutaka dynasty, which ruled in the southern Gujarat.

It led Allan to suggest that they were issued when the Guptas suppressed the Traikutakas in that area.

In the light of these facts, according to Goyal,it is tempting to suggest that the horse-sacrific, on the occasion of which the ashvmeda coins of Kumaragupta I were issued, was performed to celebrated his southern adventure.

Raychaudhuri has suggested that the title Vyaghrabala parakrama used for Kumaragupta I suggests his conquest of the tiger infested territory beyond the Narmada.

It has been suggested that the rhinoceros-slayer type gold coins of Kumaragupta I were issued when he achieved some success against the contemporary kings of Kamarupa, for rhinoceros is peculiar to Assam.

Sohoin however believed that rhinoceros-slayer type coins were issued by Kumaragupta I on the occasion of the shraddha of his father.

Kumaragupta assumed the title Mahendraditya and is referred to as Shri-Mahendra-Simha., Ashvamedha-Mahendra etc,on his coins.

Ghatotkacha-gupta was the governor of Eran or eastern Malwa in the year AD 435-36.

One of his inscription in Eran and a seal of his in Vaishali have been found.

He also seems to have issued gold coins.

Another governor of Kumaragupta I was Chirata-datta who was ruling Pundravardhana-bhukti i.e.North Bengal.

Skandagupta Vikramaditya:

Skandagupta ascended the Gupta throne in 136 G.E(AD 455-56), the very year in which his father Kumaragupta
I died.

It seems his succession was not a peaceful one.

This information is derived from Bhitari stone pillar inscription.

R.C.Majumdar has suggested that after Kumaragupta’s death, there was a fratricidal was in which Skandagupta came of victorious after defeating his brothers including Purugupta, the rightful claimant,and rescued his mother.

He also observed that Skandagupta had no natural claim to the throne and the rightful heir of Kumaragupta I was Purugupta, the son of the Mahadevi Anantadevi.

The view that Skandagupt I was the immediate successor of Kumaragupta I seems to be confirmed by a verse in the AMMK.

On the basis of the Kathasaritasagara,the Chandragarbhaparichcha and Apratigha-type of coins, Goyal suggests that in his old age Kumaragupta I became recluse and the responsibility fell upon the shoulders of
Skandagupta who was selected for the purpose.

Skandagupta assumed the titles of Kramaditya and Vikramaditya.

The AMMK refers to his appellation Devaraja and in the Kahaum record Skandagupta is called Shakropana.
The Bihari record and the Junagarh prashasti refer to four categories of the enemies who were overcome by Skandagupta.

1.The Pushyamitras of the Bhitari record.

2.The hostile kings mentioned in the Jungarh record.

3.The Hunas or the Mlechchas

4.The other sons of the emperor

The Pushyamitras belonged to the Mekala region on the Narmada.

Sometime in the middle of the fifth century AD the ruler of Mekala changed his allegiance from the Guptas to the Vakatakas.

The Pushyamitra king of the Bhitari record has been identified with the Pandava ruler of Mekala, the subordinate ally of Narendrasena Vakataka;and his invasion on the Gupta empire with the help of the Vakataka ruler was a part of the general offensive which Narendrasena had launched against the Guptas.

In the struggle that ensued we learn that while preparing to restore the fallen fortunes of his family Skandagupta was reduced to such straits that he had to spend a whole night sleeping on the bare earth.

All these enemies were forced to submit finally.

The next important event that took place during the reign of Skandagupta was the Huna invasion.
About the time when Skandagupta ascended the throne, one branch of the Hunas, known as Ephthalites or white Huna, had poured across the Oxus valley, conquered Gandhara and advanced as far as the Sindhu,influcting the most barbarous cruelties on the people.

Fortunately Skandagupta proved equal to the formidable task.

He inflicted such a defear on them that for nearly half a century, or perhaps even more, they never dared to cross the Sindu river and penetrate into the interior of India.

In their third invasion, however, which they launched in the first decade of the Sixth century, the Hunas were eminently successful, for then they not only occupied the antarvedi, the heart of the empire, but also reduced the Gupta emperor to the status of their vassal.

No evidence that the ‘tranquil reign of Skandagupta,the lord of hundred kings’(kshitishatapatih),as described in an inscription dated AD 460-61, was seriously disturbed.

Foru royal seals from Nalanda and one from Bhitari give the following generlogy of Gupta kings.
Kumaragupta->Purugupta(Chandradevi)->Buddhagupta and Narasimhagupta->(Mitradevi)->Kumargupta->Vishnugupta.

Buddhagupta:

Accession of Buddhagupta in AD 476-77.

He ruled over extensive regions.

It was during his reign that the Gupta empire showed signs of visible decay.

The Maitrakas of Valabhi, ruling in Kathiawar, and the Parivrajaka maharaja Hastin of Bundelakhand refer in vague general terms to the paramount powere.

Similarly Maharaja Subandhu of Mahishmati does not refer to the Gupta Soverign in his land grants.

Governor of North Bengal were now called uparika-maharaja instead of only uparika used earlier.

Governor of Malwa and Surashtra also assumed the title maharaja.

The coins of Buddhagupta too reflect the decline.

His gold coins are very rare, and he discontinued issuing the type of silver coins current in Gujarat and Kathiawar.

Buddhagupta died c.AD 500.

Vainyagupta, Bhanugupta, Narasimhagupta Bladitya, Kumaragupta III, Vishnugupta etc. ruled at sometime or the other.

The Guptas continued to rule till about 550 AD.

Vainyagupta seems to have been ruling from Samatata and Nalanda whereas Bhanugupta from Eran.

The other Bhanugupta known from a single inscription of Eran fought a famous battle in which his general
Goparaja died and his wife committed sati.

This is the first inscriptional evidence of sati in India.

Disintegration of the Gupta Empire:

Buddhagupta, Chandragupta III, Vikramaditya, Vainyagupta and Dvadashadity were all murdered.

By AD 500 the Hunas,under Ramanila, known from his coins only, had conquered Gandhara.

The Huna power in Punjab was consolidated by Toramana.

From Punjab, Toramana invaded the Gupta empire.

It seems that Harigupta, a scion of the Gupta family, made common cause with the Huna invader.

Toramana conquered the antarvedi at least upto Kaushambi; and from there the Hunas went towards Malwa.

The conquest of the Gupta empire by the Hunas was facilitated by the feudal structure of its administration, which made it easier for the Huna king ot enlist the services of the local chiefs in support of his cause.

Dhanyacvishnu, a high official of the empire deserted the Gupta emperor and offered his services to the invader rajadhiraja maharaja Toramana Shahi Jauvia.

The Malwa region was occupied by Toramana by AD 510.

Bhanugupta and the latter occupied almost the whole of the valley of the Ganga.

He wa helped by Prakashaditya in this adventure.

Toramana died in AD 511-12.

Toramana was succeeded by Mihirakula or Graha.

Balaityaraja II was the Gupta contemporaruy of Mihirakula.

Mihirakula followed an anti-Buddhist policy and he was a staunch Shaiva.

On the other hand, the contemporary Gupta emperor Narasimhagupta II or Baladityaraja was a devout Buddihist, a patron of the Nalanda convent.

He could not,according to Goyal, fight Mihirkula because of his religious affiliation.

However, the struggle against the Hunas was carried on by some powerful feudatories of the empire.

One of them powerful feudatories of the empire.

One of them was a Mukhari chief, probably Ishvaravarman.

Another chief who came to the rescue of Baladitya II wa probably Yashodharman of Malwa.

Mihirakula was captured by the forces of Yashodharman.

In the meantime, the brother of Mihirakula had usurped his throne.

Mihirakula, therefore, sought and obtained an asylum in Kashmir.

Later, he treacherously killed the king of that region and occupied the throne.

He next killed the king of Gandhara and renewed his project of exterminating Buddhism.

Still later, Yashodarman became an independent sovereign and carried his victorious arma even against the Guptas.

He however, rose and vanished like a meteor between AD 530 and 540.

Others quickly emulated his example.

The most important among them were the Maukharis, ruling at first as feudal chiefts in Bihar and UP, assumed independence in the middle of the sixth century AD about 544 AD Ishanavarma Maukhari assumed the full royal title of maharajadhiraja.

The later Guptas, ruling as feudatories in Malwa and Magadha, established independent kingdoms.

By AD 550 the Guptas had no hold even on Magadha.

Dronaimha, the son of Maitraka Bhataraka, assumed the title of maharaja.

Thus we see that the erstwhile Gupta empire distingrated into several parts.

A kingdom was established alos in Samatata by Gopachandra.

Many other reasons which contributed to the decline of the Gupta empire.

Huge army till the time of Skandagupta.

The growing practice of land grands.

Growth of the royal family.

As polygamy becomes a norn among the emperors, the number of claimants to the throne also increases.

The Nagas:

A number of Naga families rose into prominence in UP and Gwalior in the third century AD.
They continued to dominate the upper Gangetic plain during the first half of the fourth century as well.

One Naga family was ruling at Padmavati near Gwalior, a second one at Mathura, and probably a third one at Ahichchhatra near Bareilly.

U.P.Nagadatta of Aryavarta, and King Achyuta of Ahichchhatra seem to have been Naga rulers.

The coins of Achyuta are numerous.

He may have ruled from c.AD 325 to 350.

His house was probably a branch of the Naga family ruling at Mathura.

The puranas tell us that seven Naga Kings ruled at Mathura before the rise of the Guptas.

The last ruler of the family was Ganapatinaga, who was overthrown by Samudragupta.

His coins are still found in large numbers in the bazaars of Mathura.

The most powerful Naga family during the first half of the fourth century AD was that of Padmavati, modern Padam Pawaya near Gwalior.

Its ruler at the beginning of the fourth century AD was Bhavanaga(AD 305-40).

One some of his coins he takes the title adhiraja and the trishula on his coins shown that he was a staunch devote of Shiva.

This king has been identified with the Bharashiva king Bhavanaga, whose daughter was married to the Vakataka crown prince Gautamiputra.

Its capital Padmavati was a flourishing city,and its fame as an educational centre continued down to the days of Bhavabhuti(AD 750), Nagasena succeeded Bhavanaga in AD 340 and was overthrown by Samudragupta.
The dominions of the Naga rulers of Padmavati and Mathura were annexed to the Gupta empire.

Some of them seem to have survived as petty rulers.

Princess Kuberanaga, wife of Chandragupta II, belonged to one such family.
Some of them were even absorbed in the ruling hierarchy of the new empire, such as Sharvanga, who was
made viceroy of a province.

The Mughals of Kaushambi:

The Mugha dynasty that rose to power in the Rewa-Kaushambi territory, continued its carrer to the end of the third century AD.

By the beginning of the fourth century AD a king named Nava, known from coins only, seems to have been ruling from Kaushambi.

Nava was succeeded by Pushyashri who also is known from his coins only.

Another king named Rudra, known from coins found at Kaushambi, has been identified by some scholars as king Rudradeva of the API.

The Vakatakas:

After the distegration of the Satavahana dynasty several small kingdoms grew up in the different provinces, which were previously under them.

The Abhiras usurped the provinces of Gujarat, Konkan and Northern Maharashtra including the districts of Nasik and Khandesh.

The Ikshvakus became the rulers in the Andhra region.

South Kosal and Kalinga were probably divided into small chiefdoms.

Vidarbha and Southern Konkan were overrun by the Vakatakas.

Jayaswal has held that Vakatakas originally hailed from a place called Vakata, which he identifies with Bagat in the northernmost part of the former Orchha state.

V.V.Mirashi has refuted the northern origin of the Vakatakas for the simple fact the Vakatakas never issued any coins but utilized the monetary issues, first of the Western Kashatraps and, later, of the Guptas.

No early records of the Vakatakas have been found north of the Narmada.

We may, however,accept the southern origin of the Vakatakas on the following grounds;

(i)Vindhyashakti, the founder of the dynasty derived his name from the hill Vindhya;

(ii)the epigraphs of the Vakatakas had a striking similarly to those of the Pallavas;

(iii)like the Satavahanas, Kadamabas and Chalukyas, the Vakatakas also called themselves Haritiputras or the descendants of Hariti;

(iv)the Vakatakas assumed the title of dharmamaharaj, a typical characteristic of the southern kings.
The earliest inscription which mentions the Vakataka family is a pilgrim record incised in characters of about the third century AD on a pillar at Amaravati in the Andhra country.

The Puranas do not name the royal family as Vakataka;they perhaps refer to it as Vindhyaka after
Vindhyashakti who was its founder.

Vindhyashakti is mentioned in the Puranas and in an inscription from Ajanta which calls him ‘the banner of the Vakataka family’, and gives the valuable information that he was a dvija.

The Puranas apparently mention two capitals in connection with the rule of his son Pravira(i.e.Pravarasena I), viz.

Purika and Chanaka.

Of these, Chanaka was probably the original capital of the royal family.

Chanka may have been situated somewhere in central Andhra.

Vindhyashakti is placed in the period c.AD 250-70.

The Puranas say that he lived a long llife of 96 years.

Vindhyashakti was succeeded by his son Pravarasena I, who was the real founder of theVakataka empir.

He performed all the seven soma sacrifies, including vajapeya, and also celevrated four ashvamedhas.

He assumed the unique imperial title samrat.

After annexing the Naga territory of Purika defeating its ruler Shishuka, he shifted his capital to Purika which was situated somewhere in Vidarbha at the foot of the Satpura mountains.

The puranas credit Pravarasena I with a long reign of sixty years and may have ruled from AD 270 to 330.
He sought to strengthen his position by a matrimonial alliance with the Bharashiva Nagas, Bhavanga, the maharaja of the Bharashiva family, was a contemporary of Pravarasena I.

Bhavanaga gave his daughter in marriage to the Vakataka prince Gautamiputra.

This matrimonial alliance seems to have greatly strengthened the power of Pravarasena, so much so that it triggered another alliance between the Guptas and the Lichchhavis.

After Pravarsebna I died, his four sons divided the kingdom out of which only two are known to us; the main branch and the Vatsagulma branch.

Rudrasena I, the son of Gautamiputra(who predeceased his father), took over the reigns of the main bracnch.

He was the contemporary of Samudragupta.

Rudrasena I was succeeded in c. AD 345 by his son Prithivisena I.

Prithivisena I probably had a long reign which seems to have terminated about AD 400.

About AD 395,Chandragupta II launched his attack on the Shake Kshatraps of Malwa and Kathiawar.

It is not unlikely that in this campaign Chandragupta II sought the alliance of his powerful neighbour, the Vakataka king Prithivisean I.

After his victory, Chandragupta II sought to cement the political alliance with the Vakatakas by giving his daughter Prabhavatigupta in marriage to the Vakataka prince Rudrasena II.

During Prithivisena I’s time the Vakata capital seems to have been shifted to Nandivardnana near Nagpur.

This place is surrounded by strong forts such as Bhirgarh and Ghughugarh, which may have been the reason for its selection as a royal capital.

Prithivisena was succeeded by his son Rudrasena II.

Unlike his ancestors, who were all Shaivas, this king became a devotee of Chankrapani (Vishnu)under the influence of his wife Prabhavatigupta.

She greatly venerated the footprints (pada-mulas)of Rama on the hill of Ramgiri (modern Ramtek)where she made both her known grants.

Rudrasena II died after a short reign of five years, leavindg behind at least two sons-Divakarasen and
Damodarasen- who succeeded him one after the other.

Divakarasena was a minor at the time of his father’s death.

So Prabhavatigupta looked after the affairs of the state as the regent.

Gupta influence became prominent at the Vakataka court during her regency.

Chandragupta II had deputed some of his trusted officers to assist his daughter in governing the kingdom.

One of these was probably the famous Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, who seems to have stayed at the Vakataka court
for some time.

He composed his Meghaduta at Ramagiri.

His graphic description of the six year old prince Sudarshana in the 18th canto of the Raghuvamsha may have been suggested by what he observed at the Vakataka court.

Divakarasena also seems to have died young.

He was succeeded by his brother Damodarsena under the assumed name Pravarasena.

A long reign of about 35 years from c.AD 420 to 455.

Sometime before his 18th regional year he founded a new city which he named Pravarapura and made it his capital.

A magnificent temple of Ramachandra was built there.

Pravarasena II was a devotee of Shambhu(Shiva).

Though himself a Shaiva, he coposed a poetic work in Prakrit titled Setubandha in glorification of Rama.
Narendrasena, who succeeded his father Pravarasena II in AD 455, married the Kuntala princess
Ajjhitbhattarika.

She probably belonged to the Rashtrakuta family founded byMananka.

Bharatabala of the Somavamshi dynasty was ruling at Mekala at that time.

Kosala (Dakshina)was being ruled by Bhimasena I.

Narendrasena seems to have annexed the Apupa country, which had the capital at Mahishmati.

Towards the end of his reign the Vakataka territory was invaded by the Nala king Bhavadatta Varma.

Evidence shows that a considerable portion of the Vakataka territoru was annexed by the Nalas, including
Nandhivaradhana, for some years.

Prithivisena II, who succeeded Narendasena in AD 465, was forced to move to the east and to set up his capital at Padmapura.
After consolidating his position he ousted his enemies and even decastated the enemy’s capital Pushkari.
Prithivisena II son retrieved his position in the north too and even some territories in Bundelakhand region which was being ruled by the scions of Uchchhakalpa dynasty, namely Vyaghradeva.

Prithisena II, a parambhagavata, is the last known member of this senior branch of the Vakataka dynasty.
Perhaps Harisena of the Vatsagulma branch, who made extensive conquests in all directions, incorporated
Northrn Vidarbha in his kingdom after the death of Prithivisean II.

The Vatsagulma Branch:

The founder Sarvasena who is mentioned in Basin plates and the Ajanta inscription as son of Pravarasena I.

He made Vatsagulma, modern Basin in the Akola district of Maharashttra, his capital.

Sarvasena continued the title dharmamaharaja which his father Pravarasena I had assumed.

His Prakit poetic work titled Harivijaya is praised by Dandin in his Avantisundarikatha.
Sarvasena also composed Prakit gathas, which were later included in the Sattasai.

He has been placed between the period c.AD 330-55.

Sarvasena was succeeded by his son Vindhyasena or Vindhyashakti II.

He pursued an aggressive policy and defeated the lord of Kuntala who was probably Mananka, the founder of the Early Rashtrakuta dynasty.

He ruled till AD 400.

Vindhyasena was followed by his son Pravarasena II.

After a short reign he was succeeded by his minor son whose name is lost.

He was succeeded records the construction of a tank called Sudarshan by Svamilladeva, a servant of Devasena.

Devasena may have ruled from AD 450 to 475.

Devasena was succeeded by his son Harishena in AD 475.

He is the last-known king of this line.

In AD 498, the Gangaera was started, marking the foundation of a new power in Kalinga.

In Andhra, Harishena seems to have supplanted the contemporary Shalankayan king and given the throne to the Vishnukundin king Madhavavarman I who married the daughter of Harishena.

Harishena ruled till AD 500.

Harishena’s minister Varahadeva caused the Ajanta Cave XVI to be excavated and decorated with sculptured and picture-galleries.

This cave is considered in some respects to be the most elegant.

This dynasty seems to have been overthrown in c.AD 550 by the early Kalachuris.

Krishnaraja seems to have founded this dynasty over the ruins of the Vakataka dominions.

The Abhiras:

On the downfall of the Satavahanas, the Abhira Ishvarasena established himself in Northern Maharashtra.

He started an era in AD 249, and it seems that the Abhira rule spread to parts of Central India, Gujarat and Konkan.

According to the Puranas, there were ten Abhira kings, but no other name is definitely known to us.

From an inscription it seems that Kathika was the family name of the Abhiras.

The purnas assign a period of only 67 years to the ten Abhira kings.

However, the correct period seems to have ended in AD 417.

The era founded by the Abhira king Ishvarasena is known as Kalachuri-chedi era or Abhira era.

Valkha capital of the Abhiras, the last king of which got excavated the magnificent Ajanta Cave XVII, which now has more paintings than any other single cave at Ajanta.

The Shakas of Mahishaka:

Its progenitor was the Shaka king Mana whose copper and lead coins have been found in the Andhra Pradesh.
The family of Shaka Mana was connected with the Kshaharata family of Bhumaka and Nahapana.

The Traikutakas:

The Traikutakas appear to have been feudatories of the Abhiras at first.

The names of only five kings of this family are known from grants and coins.

The first of these was Indra-datta who flourished in AD 415-40.

The second kign Maharaja Dahrasena, who probably succeeded maharaja Indra-datta, ruled over a wide territory which comprised parts of Gujarat, Konkan, Pune and Nasik.

Dahrasena was a devout worshipper of Vishnu.

He seems to have ruled in the period AD 440-65.

To proclaim his independence he performed ashvamedha sacrifice.
Vyaghrasena was the son and successor of Dahrasena, who in turn was succeeded by Madyamasena by Harishena.

Aniruddapura was the capital of this kingdom.

Vikramasena is so far the last-known king of the Traikutaka family.

The Traikutakas had probably to submit to the Vishnukundin king Madhavavarman I.
The Early Rashtrakutas of Manapura:

Founded by Mananka

Mananka wrested Kuntala from the Vakatakas and established himself at the newly founded city of Manapura.

Mananka was succeeded in AD 400 by his son Devaraja, who came under the influence of Chandragupta II.

After Devaraja, his three sons Vibhuraja alias Manaraja, Avindhya and Bhavishya cam to the throne one after the other.

Bhavishya was followed by his son Abinmanyu(AD 470-90).

Abhimanyu was reduced to Vasalage by Vakataka Abhimanyu was reduced to Vassalage by Vakataka king Harishena.

Dejjamahraja may have been one of the successors of Abimanyu.

After him Vishnukundin King Madhavavaman I took over the Rashtrakuta dominions.

The Kings of Dakshina Kosala:

A small dynasty was established by a person called Shura or Suryaghosha around AD 350.

He ruled till AD 375.

His capital was probably Shripura, about 20miles north-east of Arang, in Raipur district.
Bhimasena II was the last ruler of this dynasty.

Bhimasena II seems to have been overthrown by Jayaraja of the Sharabhapura dynasty.

The founder of this family, which ruled in South Kosala for some generation, was Sharabha.
Sharabha may have flourished about AD 460.

He founded the city of Sharabhapur which he made his capita.

Sharabha was succeeded by Narendra(AD 470-90).

Prasannamatra was the next king who founded the city of Prasannapura.

He had two sons, Jayaraja and Durgaraja.

Jayaraja, who succeeded Prasannamatra, overthrew Bhimasena II of Shripura.
After Jayaraja the kingdom was divided.

His son Pravara I ruled from Prasannapura, while his brother Manamatra had his cpital at Sharabhapura and later at Shripura.

Pravararaja II, a nephew of Manamatra, is the last known member of this family.
He seems to have been supplanted in AD 530 by Indrabala II, who founded the Somavamshi dynasty in Dakshinkosalai

The Panduvamshis or Somavamshis of Mekala and Kosala:

A Panduvamshi family ruled in the country of Mekala i.e. the region near the Amarakantaka hills.

We have four names of this family viz, Jayabala,his son Vatsaraja, his son maharaja Nagabala, and his son maharaja Bharaabala(Indrabala I).

While the first king was a petty chief, Nagabala and Bharatabala have, besides the royal title, the epithets paramamaheshvara, paramabrahmanya and paramdevatadhivatavishesa.

Lokaprakasha, queen of Bharatabala, is described as a princess of Kosala.

She was most probably the daughter of Bibhishana of th Shura dynasty.

Bharatabal was probably a feudatory of the Vakataka Narendrasena.

Possibly he was related to the Panduvamshi or Somavamshi kings of South Kosala with Shripura as capital.
Indrabala I was succeeded by Udayana in AD 490.

He made incursion till Kalanjana where he built a temple of Bhadreshvara.
He was succeeded by his son Indrabala II in AD 515.

Ousted from Mekala by the Parivrajaka maharaja Hastin, he moved to south Kosala as a subordinate of
Sudevaraja.

However, h overthrew Sudevaraja’s brother Pravaraja and became a king of south Kosal(Cjjattisgarh).

He probably founded the city Indrapura which became his capital.

Indrabala II’s son Ishanadeva built a temple of Laskhmaneshvars(now Lakhmesvara) at Kharod.

Ishanadeva’s brother and successor Nannadeva, a devout worshipper of shiva, erected several temples dedicated to that god under the name of Nanneshvara.

Tivaradeva who succeeded Nannadeva, suffered defeat at the hands fo the Vishnukundin emperor Madhavavaraman I.

Tivaradeva was succeeded by his son Nannaraja II who was the king of the entire Kosala country.

He was succeeded by his nephew Harshagupta in AD 580.

He was married to Vasata, the daughter of the Maukhari king Ishanavarman.

After a short reign, Harshagupta was succeeded by shivagupta alias Balarjuna who ruled for sixty years, from AD 595 to 655.

It was probably during his reign that south Kosala was visited by Hiuen Tsang.

Shivagupta had to submit to the powerful Pulkeshin II.

Soon after Shivagupta’s death, the kingdom was invaded by the Nalas, who ruled over the region now known as
Bastar.

The Nalas of Pushkari:

The puranas mention the dynasty of the Nalas ruling in South Kosala.
According to the Vishnupurana as many as nine kings of this dynasty ruled.

Vyaghraraja of Mahakantaka, whom Samudragupta subjugated after Mahendra of Dakshina Kosala, probably
belonged to the Nala dynasty.

Evidence of three kings, viz Varaha, Bhavadatta and Arthapti who flourished in that order.

Bhavadatta occupied the Vakataka capital Nandivardhana for some time.

Vakataka Prithivisena II, however, soon retrieved the situation and the Nalas were again settled in Pushkari, their capital.

Prithivisena II, then devastated the Nala capital Pushkari.

They suffered another disaster at the hands of Kirtivarman Chalukya.

Later, when the Chalukya Kingdom was overrun by the Pallavaas,the Nala kingdom again expanded.

They occupied the kingdom of the Somavamshis and ruled till the century AD when they were ousted gy a branch of the Kalachuri’s of Tripuri.

The Anandas:

The Brihatphalayanas, who succeeded the Ikshavakus in the lower Krishna valley, were overthrown by the Anandas.

The founder king Kandara who founded the town of Kandarapura and made it his capital.

Attivaraman and Damodarvarman were two other kings of this dynasty.

Attivarman or Hastivarman performed the exceedingly costly mahadana-Hiranyagarbha-several times.

Damodarvarman was his son and successor.

Both these kings calimed descent from the ancient sage Anand.

Flourished in the first half of the fouth century AD and seem to have been overthrown by the Shalankayanas.

The Shalankayanas:

Occupied the territory between the lower Godavari and the Krishna.

They are same as Ptolemy’s Shalakenoi.

Seven kingsof this line are known.

They all ruled from Vengi, Benagouron of Ptolemy.

The earliest was Devavarman who ruled in AD 300.

He performed an ashvamedha sacrifice.

The next known king is Hastivarman I, who was defeated and reinstated by Samudragupta.

He was succeeded by Nandivarman, who was succeeded by Hastivarman II.

His successor Skandavarman extended his power south of the Krishna and overthrew the Ananda king.

All the Shalankayana kings were devotees of the god Chitraratha i.e.shiva.

They flourished between AD 300 and 500.

Towards the close of the sixth centuryAD Vakataka Harishena defeated the Shalankayana ruler, deposed him and gave the kingdom to the Vishnukundin king maharaja Govindavarma.

The Vishnukundins:

The founder of the Vishnukundin dynasty was Vikramendra I.

Its original capital Vinhukonda in the Krishna district.

Vikramendra’s son and successor Govindavarman I took the imperial title maharaja.

The real founder of Vishnukundin power, however, was Govindavarman I’s son and successor Madhavavarman I alias Janashraya.

He was married to a Vakataka princess.

He performed eleven ashvamedhas, a thousand agnshtomas and several other Vedic sacrifies such as bahusvarna,pundarika, purushamedha, vajapeya, rajasuya, prajapatya and hiranyagarbha.

He also invaded south Kosala and the kingdom of the eastern Gangas.

He, however, suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Maukhari king Ishanavarman.

After ruling for about 50 years, i.e.from AD 475 to 525, his kingdom was divided by his grandsons.

Consequently the Kalachuris and the Rashtrakutas annexed two of them.

The third one ruled by Indravarman survived.

Indravarman ruled from AD 525 to 555.

Govindavarman II was the last important Vishnukundin ruler who was defeated and deposed by Pulkeshin II.

The Vishnukundins were paramamaheshvara and their family deity was Shriparvatasvamin.

The Early Kings of Kalinga:

The Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta shows that there were four or five petty states in Kalinga.

Only two are known from the inscriptions viz, Pishtapura and Devarashtra.

Pishtapura was the cpital of the kingdom.
It was ruled by the Mathara family and the earliest ruler was Shankarvarman.

Shaktivarman was his son and successor who called himself ‘the lord of the Kalinga country’.

Shaktivarman was succeeded by his son Prabhanjanavarman, who shifted his capital to Simhapura.

He also called himself kalinga-adhipati i,e.lord of Kalinga and ruler of the country between the Krishnavenna and the Mahanadi.

He was succeeded by Anantashaktivarman.

After him came Umavarman, Chandvarman and Vishakhavarman..

At the end of Vishakhavarman’s reign, Prabhanjanavarman of Devarashtra usurped the power.

He and his successors ruled from Devapura in the Vizagupatam region.

Anantavarman is the last known ruler of this dynasty.

The Vakatakas invaded his kingdom.

Consequently, a new royal family, called the Gangas, established itself in Kalinga and started a new family called Durajaya established itself at Pishtapura.

The founder of this family was Ranadurjaya.

This family was finally overthrown by Pulkeshin II.

The Mauharis:

The Mukharis (or Mokharis), a very ancient family, were possibly known to Panini and Patanjali.

Their antiquity is also proved by the legend ‘Mokhalinam’written in Mauryan Brahmi charcters on a clay seal found at Gaya.

When the Maukharis became politically significant they(also called Mukhara)claimed descent from the ‘hundred sons whom king Ashvapti got from Vaivashvata’.

Yajavarman, who probably founded this dynasty, was succeeded by his son Shardulavarman who in turn was succeeded by his son Anantavarman.

The term samanta-chudamani shows that they were feudatories of the imperial Guptas.

The royal seal gives us the following genealogy.

1.Maharaja Harivarman(Jayasvamini)

2.Maharaja Adityavarman(Harshagupta)

3.Maharaja Ishvravarman(Upagupta)

4.Maharajadhiraja Ishanavarman(Lashmivati)

5.Maharajadhiraja Sharvavarman(Indra Bhattarika)

6.Maharajadhiraja Avantivarman

7.Maharajadhiraja Grahavarman.

The first three members of this family were feudatories of the Gupta empire.

The family rose to prominence under Ishanavarman.

He is said to have defeated the Andhras and the Shulikas nad forced the Gaudas to remain in their proper realm.

He also fought with the Hunas and defeated them.

Thus he was most probably the first Maukhari king to set up an independent kingdom.

Ishanavarman was followed by at least three other rulers,Sharvavarman, Avativarman and Grahavarman.

Nothing of importance is known either of Sharvavarman or of Avantivarman.

But Avantivarman’s eldest son and successor Grahavarman figures prominently in Bana’s Harshacharita on account of his marriage with Rajyashri, the daughter of Prabahakarvardhana of the Pushyabhuti family of
Thanesar and sisiter of Rajyavardhana and Harshavardhan.

It is generally assumed that Kanyakubja, modern Kannauj on the Ganga, was the capital city of the Maukharis.
The Malava king Devagupta attacked Kannauj and killed Grahvarman bringing the Maukhari kingdom to an end.

The Later Guptas;

A line of kings, which was contemporary of the Maukhari dynasty, is known as the Later Gupta dynasty.
Not at all related to the imperial Guptas.

The early history of this dynasty is known from the Aphsad inscription of Adityasena, the eighth king of the dynasty.

The genealogy given in this record is:
1.Krishnagupta-------->
2.Harshgupta--------
3.Jivitagupta --------
4.Kumaragupta-------
5.Damodargupta-------
6.Mahasenagupta------
7.Madhavagupta--------
8.Adityasena.

Adityasena was the first king to assume the full imperial title.

Although initially the later Guptas and the Maukharis were related by marriage, they fought each other later.

Krishnagupta, the first king, may be placed in c.AD 490-505.

His son Harshagupta succeeded him and ruled till AD 525 to 545.

Kumargupta (AD 540-560), the fourth king, defeated the Maukhari king, Ishanavarman, in AD 554.

Kumaragupta is said to have died at Prayaga after his victory over Ishnavarman.

The struggle continued during the reign of Damodargupta, son of Kumargupta.

Damodargupta achieved a great victory over the Maukharis.

Damodargupta was succeeded by his son Mahasenagupta in the last quarter of the sixth century AD.

He seems to have gained a victory ever Susthitavarman of Kamargupta.

However, the simultaneous attack by the Maukharis and the king of Kamarpa resulted in setbacks for Mahasenagupta.

Further, it was during his reign that Shashanka founed an independent kingdom in Gauda(Bengal).

The Chalukya king Kirtivarman, who ruled from AD 567 to 597, is also said o thave attacked Anga, Vanga and Magadha at this time only.

Srong Tsan, the king of Tibet(AD 581-600), also led a campaign against Mahasenagupta.

After these losses, Mahasenagupta seems to have taken shlter in Malwa.

Madhavagupta, son of Mahasenagupta, was again made a king of Magadha by Harshavardhana and was
succeeded the title of maharajadhiraja and gave his daughter in marriage to the Maukhari king Bhogavarman.

His reign came to an end in AD 675.

The three successors of Adityasena-were rulers of some consequence.

Jivitagupta II appears to have perished fighting Yashovarman of Kanahuj and the Later Gupta dynasty disappeared.

The Kingdom of Vanga:

Samatat or Vanga was forced to acknowledge the suzerainty of Samudragupta.

However, during Vainyagupta’s reign and an independent kingdom was established in Vanga.

Three rulers named Gopachandra, Dharmadity and Samacharadeva, all of them assuming the title maharajaditya.

Gopachandra was perhaps the earliest of these three rulers.

We find coins of Prithuvira and Sudhanyaditya.
This kingdom finally succumbed to the powerful kingdom of Gauda under Shashanka.

The kingdom of Gauda:

After the fall of the Later Guptas, Gauda became a very powerful kingdom under Shahanka who was probably only a feudal chief initially.

He made karnasuvarna his capital.

He ruled over Magadha, conquered Orissa and established his supremacy over the Shailodbhava dynasty of Kongoda in Ganjam district and later also over Vanga.

Shashanka also invaded Kannauj after taking of Malwa and Rajvaradhana of Thanesar.

He was able to kill Rajyavardhana.

Chinese pilgrim Hiuan-tsang has referred to many acts of intolerance and oppression against the Buddhists perpetrated by Shashanka who was a Shaiva.

He was the first historical ruler of Bengal to establish an empire and carry his victorious arms as far as Kannauj.
Shashanka probably died in AD 637.

Kingdom of Kamarupa:

The Upper Brahmaputra Valley or Assam proper was known in ancient days as Kamarupa and Pragiyotisha.
Pushyavarman is usually regarded as the first historical king of Kamarupa.

Nothing is known of its first six rulers beyond the names.

The seventh, Narayanavarma, is said to have performed two ashvamedha sacrifices.

The eighth king Bhutivarman or Mahabhautavarman also performed an ashvamedha sacrifice in AD 564.
Bhutivarman was a powerful ruler who extended the boundaries of Kamarupa to Sylhet region.

The next king Susthitavarman was defeated by the Later Gupta king Mahasenagupta on the bank of the Lauhitya.

However, his son and successor Supratisthitavarman defeated the Gauda forces and reclaimed the fortunes.

He was succeeded by his younger brother Bhaskaravarman, a contemporary of Harshavardhana.

He is the only king of Kamarupa who is known to have played some part in the north Indian politics.

Bhaskaravarman sought and found alliance with Harshavardhana through his ambassador Hamsavega.
About the beginning of AD 643, when Hiuantsang was staying at Nalanda, Bhaskarvarma sent a messenger to Shilabhadra, the head of that great monastery, with a request to sent the Chinese priest to him.
Harshavardhan, greatly angered at this, sent a messenger to Bhaskaravarman to send the Bhaskaravarman first refused but relented at the threat.

He,in person, took the pilgrim to Harsha’s camp at Kajangala near Rajmahal.

Later he attended the great quinquennial assembly of Harsha at Prayaga.

Bhaskaravarman probably died about AD 650 and the kingdom was occupied by a mlechcha ruler named Slaasthamba.

Kingdoms of Orissa:

Mana and Shailobhava dynasties ruling the northern and southern part of Orissa repectively.

Shambhuyashas belonging to Mana dynasty ruling between AD 580 and 603.

This kingdom was conquered by Shashanka.

The Shilodbhabas ruled in Southern Orissa with Kongoda as their capital.

They traced their origin to lord Shailodbhava, who was created by Brahma out of rock.

We get accounts of three kings of this dynasty, viz., Madhavaraja Sainyabhita, his son Ayashobhita and his son Madhavaraja Sainyabhita II.

Madhavaraja Sainyabhita I’s father Ranabhita laid the foundation of the kingdom.

Maitrakas of Valabhi:

The original name of Maitrakas was ‘Mihir’ which is the Sanskritized form of the Persian Mihr, the sun; that the Maltrakas were an alien tribe of the Hunas who were Sun worshippers and that both the Maitrakas and the Hunas migrated to India about the same time in the middle of the fifth century AD.

In the opinion of Jackson, Bhatarka, the founder of the Maitraka dynasty, belonged to the Gujarat tribe.

Valabhi, modern Wala in Kathiawar, was the capital of Maitrakas.

The kingdom of the Maitrakas, in their palmy days, included Ujjain, Mandsor, Rewakantha, Bhroach, Vadnagar and Jungarh.

The king Dhruvabhatta of this family, according to Hiuan-tsang, was a kshatriya.

Bhatarka was a commander of Skandagupta who later founded the kingdom of his own.

He founded the city of Valabhi and asserted his supremacy over Kachchha,Lata and Malva.

Dharasen I. who succeeded Bhatarka, is designated asa senapati.

Dharasen I’s successor Dronashimha was first to assume royal title although the imperial power of the Guptas
was still acknowledged.

Dronasimha was succeede by his younger brother mahasamanta maharaja Dhruvasena I(AD 525-545).

Next in line was Guhasena, son of Dhruvasena I.

Guhasena is dated between AD 559 and 567.

His son and successor Dharasena II ruled between AD 571 and 589.

Dharasena II’s son and successor Shiladitya Dharmaditya was mentioned by Hiuan-tsang.

Shiladitya I was succeeded by his brother Kharagraha I in AD 615.

He was succeeded by his son Dharasena III who reigned for a brief period.

The next ruler was Dhruvasena II Baladity who was a contemporary of Harsha from AD 629 to 640.

Harshavardhana attacked this Maitraka ruler and defeated him.

However, Harsha, in order to secure the safety of the western bundary, reinsated him and gave his daughter in
marriage to the Maitraka king Dhruvasena II.

The next ruler of Valabhi was Dhruvasena II’s son, Dharasena IV(AD645-650).

He, for the first time, called himself a chakravarti.

The great poet Bhatti lived at his court and wrote his celevrated kavya.

Dharasena II’s death was followed by a period of confusion and the imperial crown reversed to thefamily of Shiladitya I.

It was Shiladitya (IV to VII)who succeede Shiladitya III alias Vajrata were all related as father to son and spanned the period from AD 690 to 770.

During the reign of Shiladitya V that the Arab invasion tool place.

In the couse of their raids during AD 725-765 the Arabs destroyed the city of Valabhi, and Shiladitya V and his successors began to issue grants from Khetaka.

The Maitrakas continued to rule for nearly half a century after that.
Shilditya VII, also known as Dhruvabhata, was the last known king who was on the throne in AD 766-67 and the rule of the family came to an abrupt end.

The Early Kalchuris:

In early periods the Kalachuris were known as Haihayas with Mahishmati as their traditional capital.

They are also known as Katachchuris and Kalatsuris.

An era, beginning in AD 248-49, was founded after the name of the Kalachuris.

Several branches of the Kalachuris, the earliest of which ruled over Malwa, southern Gujarat and Khandesh.

Krishnaraja, the earliest known chief of this dynasty, was succeeded by his son Buddaraja some time before AD 602.

Some time between AD 597 and 602 Buddharaja suffered a defeat at the hands of the Chalukya Mangalesha of Badamai.

He also seems to have fought with the Maukharis and the Pushyabhutis.

Some time before AD 616 the Mitrakas of Valabhi took possession of the central and southern Gujarat, while Khandesh passed into the hands of the Chalukya Pulakeshin II of Badami.

The House of Pushyabhuti:

We learn from the Harshacharita that a royal line was founded by one Pushyabhuti in a country known as Sthavishvara, the modern Thanshavar in Ambala district(Punjab).

The royal seals of Harshavardhana, the last and most powerful member of the dynasty, do not mention anything about Pushyabhuti and give the following generalog;

Naravardhana(wife: Vajrinidevi)------
Rajyavardhana(wife: Apsaradevi)----
Adityvardhana(wife: Mahasenagupta Devi)-----
Prabhakaravardhana(wife: Yashomati Devi)-------Harshavardhana.
Prabhakarvardhana was the first to adopt the royal title maharajadhiraja.

Hiuan-tsang mentions Harshvardhana as a Feishe(Vaishya).

In the Harshascarita Prabhakaravardhana hads also been called Pratapashila.

The Harshacarita indirectly describes his military campaigns by referring to him as “lion to the Huna deer, a burning fever to the king of Sindhu, a troubler of the sleep of Gujara, a bilious plague to the scent-elephant, the lord of Gandhara, a looter to the lawlessness of Lata, and an axe to the creeper of Malawa’s glory”.

Prabhalaravardhan’s queen Yashomati or Yashovati gave birth to two sons, Rajyavardhana and Harshavardhana and a daughter Rajyashri.

Prabkaravardhana got Rajyashri married to Grahavarma, son of Avantivarman of the Maukhari dynasty.
Prabhakaravardhan soon died and Yashomati committed sati.

Shortly after the death of Prabharakavardhan in AD 605, Rajyavardhana ascended the throne.
At this time the news of Grahavarman’s murder and Rajyabhuti court.

Rajyavardhana immediately entered into alliance with Kannauj.

Rajyavardhana defeated the Malvas but was killed throughtreachery by Shashanka, the Gauda king.
Under such tragic citrcumstances Harsha ascended the throne of Thaneshvar on the advice of the stateman Bhandi.

He took the title rajaputra instead of maharaja and took another name.

He planned a digvijaya to achieve his ends.

The first event of his march was the arrival of an envoy from king Bhaskaravarman of Kamarupa, with an offer of alliance which was accepterd by him.

Next, he met Bhandi returning with the entire force of the lord of Malva who was defeated by Rajyavardhana.

Then, after a few days march, he reached the Vindhya forest where he established contact wih its chiefs named Vyaghraketu nad Bhukampa, whose nephew Nirghata referred him to a hermit name Divakaramitra for news
about his sister.

Ultimately he was able to rescue his sister when she was about to take a plunge in the river to commit suicide.

After his personal achievement he went ot his base camp(skandhavar)of his operations against Shashanka.

According to the AMMK,there was a skirmish between the two kings, Harsha defeating Shasanka and wrecking havoc on the people of Bengal.

Bana tells us that Harsha put Bhandi in charge of the campign and “pounded a king of Sindh”.

The course of Harsha’s conquests suffered a serious setback on his expendition towards the Deccan.
Pulkeshin II of the Chalukya dynasty of Vatapi inflicted a decisive defeat on him so that ‘
Harsha’harsha(joy)melted away through fear’.

The Chalukya records describe Harsha as the lord of the whole of northern country(sakalottarapatheshvara)by defeating whom Pulakeshin acquired the high title of parameshvara and dakshinapathaprithivyah svami.

The territory directly under Harsha’s control included
1.Thaneshvar,
2.Kannauj
3.Achichhatra
4.Shravasti
5.Prayaga.
To these,
6.Magadha
7.Orissa were added after AD 641.

In AD 641 Harsha Shiladitya assumed the title of king of Magadha and in that capacity exchanged embassies with China.

His empire also included the small state of Kajangala(Rajmahal), where he held his camp and first met Hiuand-Tsang.

The emperor owned an elephant named Darpashata who was a ‘friend in battle and sport’.
Harsha convoked a vast religious Assembly at Kannauj and arranged for discourses on Mahayana Buddhism by its exponent Hiuan-tsang.

The conference continued for 18 days under Hiuantsang as its president.

Harsha held the quinquennial Assembly(the sixth of his reign)for distribution of royal charities at Prayaga.
Images of the Buddha, Adityadeva(Sun)and Ishvaradeva(Shiva) were installed on successive days for purpose of the offerings.

Besides these special assemblies, Harsha used to convene annually an Assembly of Buddhsts for purposes of discussion.

He went to Kashmir to offer worship to a tooth-relic of the Buddha which he found concealed underground nad then had it unearthed,and carried off by force, to enshrine it in a Vihara in Kannauj.

During the reign of Rajyavardhana, Bhandi, his cousin, seems to have been the chief minister.

The Emperor appointed to the provinces governor, called lokpalas by Bana.

The administrative divisions are thus mentioned in Harsha’s inscription in the descending order.
1.Bhukti(province), such as Shravasti, or Ahichchhatra bhukti.
2.Vishaya(district), such as Kundadhani or Angadiya.
3.Pathaka(sub-division of vishaya), and
4.Grama(village)

Among the chief officers of the stae under Harsha are mentioned the following:
1.Bhandi,
2.Avandti(supreme minister of war and peace),
3.Simhanda(Harsha’s senapati),
4.Kuntala,the commandant of the cavalry
5.Skandagupta (commandant of the elephant force,
6.Ishvargupta(keeper of records)and
7.Bhana or Bhanu.

The Emperor’s decrees were issued to officers of different ranks and grades,such as the mahasamanta, maharajas, daussadha-sadhanikas, pramataras, rajshaniya, kumaramatya, uparikas, vishayapatis, and regular and irregular soldiers (bhata-chata).

Hiuan-tsang says that these officials of the state were paid their salaries not in cash but in kind, in gransts of land, cities being assigned to them for their maintenance.

The country was not free from brigands who made traveling not very secure at places.
Hiusan-tsang was looted twice, once while crossing Chandrabhaga (Chenab) and for the second time while crossing Ganga.

Taxation was light.

The main source of revenue was the crown lands, the tax on which amounted.

The king’s dues from a village comprised the tulya-meya(sales tax)and bhaga-bhog-kara-hiranyadi,i.e.the share fo the produce, payments in cash and other kinds of income.

Harsha had set aside one –fourth of his land revenue to reward high intellectual eminence, and one for gifts to various sects’.

That is why we find that in the time of Harsha and of Hiuan-tsang’s visit, the Nalanda Mahavihara or university was in its most flourishing condition.

Harsha had made a gift of 100 villages to the university.

According ot I-tsing, Hatsha ‘versified the story of the Bodhisattva Jimutavahana and had the play called Nagananda set to music and performed by a band accompanied by dancing and acting.

Two other Bana, Mayura, the author of Suryashataka, and Divakara.

Soddhala, in his Udayasundari-katha, mentions, the poet Harsha along with Munja and Bhoja.

Harsha is called gir-harsha (one whose joylay in composition) by the same author.

The Pallavas:

The erstwhile Chola region was divided between the Pallavas to the north of the Kaveri river and Pandyas to the south.

Many have treated the name Pallava as a variant of Pahlava who were of Scythian origin.

Many others have sought to connect them with Jaffan, identified with the island of Manipallavam mentioned in the Manimekalai.

Pallava is a Sanskrit word meaning tender shoots and leaves of a plant.

And the official history of the Pallavas, as recorded in a relatively late Sanskrit inscription from
Amaravati, traces the line to an eponymous ancestor Pallava, child of a union between the apsaras Madani and the brahmana warrior Ashvathaman, fifth in descent from sage Bharadvaja, the son of Brahma.

All their early charcters are in Prakit, and obviously they were not Tamil in origin.

This view gains credence from the earliest Pallava inscription in Prakirit, recently discovered in the Paland taluk of the Guntur district, which clearly mentions Simhavarman of the Pallava dynasty.

Pallava history opens with three copper plate grants in Prakrit from the time of Shivaskandavarman.

He was perhaps the son of Simhavarman.

His dominions extended from the Krishna to the south Pennar and up to the Bellary district.

He belonged to the Bharadvaja gotra, performed a number of Brahmanical sacrifices and bore the title Dhamam-maharajadhiraja.

His successor was his son, Buddyankura born to his queen Charudevi.

After him there is a period of darkness broken by the appearance of Vishnugopa of Kanchi, who was one of the twelve kings of dakshinapatha defeated by Samudragupta.

The next stage in the history of the Pallavas is marked by a dozen copper-plate charters in Sanskrit.

We get many names of Pallava kings during the period AD 350-575.

At the same time we get information about the Kalabhras.

The Velvikudi grant says that after that village, whcich had been granted as brahmadeya by Mudukudumi ‘of many sacrifies’ and was enjoyed by the donees for a long time, it was abrogated by a ‘kali king named Kalabhran who took possession of the extensive earth after displacing numberless great kings’.

Budda-datta says that his Vinayavinichchaya was begun and finished when Acchchutavikkanta of the Kalabbhakula was ruling the earth.

A late literary tradition in Tamilnavalar-charitai knows of a king by name Achchuta who kept the three Tamil kings Chera, Chola and Pandya in confinement for some time.

The revival of Pallava and Pandya political power is followed almost immediately by a strong religious reaction against Buddhism and Jainism led by the celebrated Nayanars (Shaivas) and Alvars (Vaishnavas).

All indications point to Simhavishnu as the first monarch to strike a blow against the Kalbhra usurpation.

Simhavishnu(AD575-600)was master of the entire region between the Krishna and the Kaveri.

He was a devotee of Vishnu and bore the title Avanisimha (lion of the earth).

According to a literary tradition, great poet Bharavi visited his court.

The portrait of Simhavishnu is found sculptred in the Adivarh temple of Mamallapuram.

Simhavishnu was succeede by his son Mahendravarman I(AD 600-30) a versatile genius.

He was fond of many titles among which occur Vichitra-chitta, Mattavilasa, Gunabhara, Shatrnajati, Lalitankura, Avanibhajana and Sankiranjati.

Mahendravrman I fought with Pulakeshin II at a place called Pullalur near Kanchi.

Though Kanchipuram was saved, the Northern provinces were lost.

After his return to Badami, Pulkeshin II deputed his brother to the east to settle the newly conquered territory and that was the beginning of the line of Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi.

Mahendravarman was a follower of Jainism but converted to Shaivism under the influence of Tirunavakkarasu or Appar.

The Pallava monarch demolished Jaina foundations at Patalipuram (Cuddalore)and elsewhere, and used their material in the construction of a Shiva temple, Gunddhara Ishvram at Tiruvadi in South Arkot district.

However, this seems unlikely in the face of the fact that he was a tolerant monarch.

He deprecated extrems and corrupt religious practices of the Kapalikas and Shakyabhikshus in his book Mattavilasaprahasana.

He studied music under Rudracharya and composed exercises for the practice of students on a variety of the vina known as Parivadini, and had them engraved on rock at Kudumiyamalai (Pudukkottai).

With him begins in South India the practice of scooping out of the live rock mandapas and temples of simple and impressive designs.

In one of his inscriptions he glorifies his capacity to raise shrines without the use of bricks, timber,metal or mortar.

A labelled panel in the Varaha temple at Mamallapuram bears sculptures depicting two of his queens.
Rock temples are extant at various places in Trichinopoly, Vallam, Mahendravadi and Dalavanur.

Mahendravarma I was succeeded by Narasimhavarman I Mahamalla(AD 630-68).
Great of the Pallavas

He not repelled a Chalukya invasion by Pulakehin II, whom he defeated thrice, but also invaded the Chlaukya kingdom and captured its capital Vatapi in AD 642.

Pulakeshin II lost his life and hence Narasimhavarman assumed the title Vatapikonda.

After this war, Narasimhavarma is said to have invaded Ceylon in order to help his friend Manavarman.

He is also compared with the sage Agastya.

Hiuan-tsang visited Kanchipuram, most probably a little before the dispatch of the expedition against Badami, and noted that Buddhism of the Sthavira School and Digambara Jainism flourished in the city besides
Hinduism.

He noted that it was the birthplace of the celebrated Dharmapala, who became the abbot of the great vihara of Nalanda.

Narusimhavarman was a great builder and doubtless did much to embellish the sea-port which came to be called Mamallapuram after him.

Narasimhavarma (AD 630-68) was succeede by his son Mahendravarman II(AD 668-70), who had a short reign of about two years.

He died in a war with the Chalukyas.

He was succeede by his son Parameshvaravarman I (AD 670-95) who also had to fight the Chalukyas under Vikramaditya.

After many reverse he finally won adecidive victory over the Chalukyas and their ally, the Gangas.
Parameshvaravarman is called Ugradanda and ‘destoyer of the city of Ranarasika’in an inscription of his son.
Ranarasika was a title of Vikramaditya I.

Parameshvarvarman had many other titles like Atyantakama, Chitramaya, Gunabhajana, Shribhara, Ranajaya, Vidhyavinita Pallava, and Lokaditya.

Parameshvarvarman was succeeded by his son Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha (AD 695-722).
There was a lull in the conflict with the Chalukyas, and Rajasimheshvara, also called Kaillashnatha, at the capital.

Other temples built by Rajasimha were the Shore temple at Mamallapuram, the Airavateshvara at Kanchipuram and the Shiva temple at Panamalai, all embellished with excellent paintings.

The great Sanskrit rhetorician Dandin spent many years in Rajasimha’s court.

Maritime trade grew and embassies were spent to China in AD 720.

The title of ‘ the army which cherished virtue’ was conferred on the Pallava army.

Narasimhavarman II(Rajsimha)himself was honoured with the title ‘ king of the kingdom of south India’.
Rajasimha carried the love of ornate birudas far beyond any of his predecessors, and more than 250 of his titles are found on the way of Kailashnath alone.

The Velurpalaiyam plates state that Rajasimha re-established the ghatika(college)of the brahmanas.

Narasimhavarman II’s son and successor Parameshvaravarman II had to face a Chalukya invasion.

Kanchipuram was conquered and the Pallava king had to buy peace at a heavy price.

However, late he was killed in a war with the Ganga king at Vilande.

Parameshvarvarman II died without any heir to the throne.

It was followed by a brief period of anarchy.

Afterwards, the people choose from a collateral branch a young prince, Nandivarman II.

These events are recorded in detail in the sculptures and labels on the walls of the temple erected by
Nandivarman II(original name Parameshvara)and more briefly in the Kashakudi plates.

The young Nandivarman II enjoyed a long reign of sixty-five years.

The earliest trouble that he encountered was the appearance of a pretender to the throne in the form of a Chitramaya who was supported by Chera king Villava, Pandy Marvarman and Shabara chief, Udayana.
After initial reverse, he was able to kill his adversaries with the help of his general Udayachandra.

The main battles are known as Mannai battle and Nenmeli battle.

He seems to have performed ashvamedha sacrifice.

There was a renewal fo conflict between the Pallavas and Chaluyas.

Vikramaditya II invaded the Pallava kingdom, defeated Nandivarman and captured Kanchi.

Later Kirttivarman II, as crown prince, led a successful raid into Kanchi again.

Some time about AD 750, Dantidurga, the Rashtrakuta king, also invaded Kanchi; but this resulted in a matrimonial alliance in which Dantidurga gave his daughter Reva to Nandivaman in marriage.

She became the chief queen of the Pallava monarch and her son Dantivarman succeeded his father who ruled for 51 years.

Nandivarman II led an expedition against the Ganga kingdom, defeated Shripurusha and forced him to surrender much of his wealth and restore the necklace, containing the gem ugrodaya, which was taken away from Parameshvaravarman.

Nandivarman II’s attempts at checking the Pandya king Jatila Parantaka uttely failed despite forming a confederacy with the rules of Kongu, Kerala and Adigaimans of Tagadur.
Nandivarman II’s interests in Rashtrakuta royal court resulted in an attack by Dhruva, and forced his
submission and extracted a tribute of war elephants.

He continued to rule till about AD 795 but there is no information about the later part of his rule .

He was a Vaishnava and constructed the Vaikunthperumal temple, the Paramechchravinnagaram of Tirumangai’s hymns, one of the perfectly integrated temples in the Pallava style.

The celebrated Vaishnava saint Tirumangai Alvar was most probably his contemporary.
Nandivarman II was succeeded by Dantivarman (AD 795-846), his son, by the Rashtrakuta in his reign.

He was also defeated by Govinda II Rashtrakuta.

However, he continued to rule.

He married a Kadamba princess by name Aggalanimati, from whom he had a son Nandivarman III.
Nandivarman III ruled from AD 846 to 869.

He organized a strong confederacy with the Gangas and Rashtrakutas and defeated the Pandyas at Tellaru.
Nandivarman III was a patron of arts and literature, and the Bharatam was translated into Tamil under his patronage by Perundevanar.

A Tamil inscription at Takuapa in Siam, on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, mentions a tank called Avani-varnam and a Vishnu temple in its neighbouthood, both placed under the protection of the merchant guild known as Manigramam.

Avani-varanam occurs as a title of Nandivarman’s queen was Rashtrakuta princess, Shankha by name, most likely the daughter of Amoghavarsha I Nripatunga, since her son was also called Nripatunga.
Nripatunga, the successor of Nandivarman III ruled from AD 869-896.

He renewed hostilities with the Pandyas to avenge his father’s defeat at Kumbakonam.

In the battle on the banks of Arisil he defeated Shri Mara, whose reign ended with that combat.

There are two other Pallava princes whose relationship with each other and with Nripatunga is not very clear.

They are Aparajita and Vijaya Kampavarman.

Aparajita is known as Rajamarttanda (Sun among kings) in a Chola record.

It is possible that Nripatunga, Kampavarman and Aparajit shared power.

The Pandyas:

The Pandya kingdom was founded by Kodungon.

He ruled from c. AD 590 to 620.

He fought against the Kalabhras about the same time as Simhavishnu and resuscitated the Pandyand power.

His son and successor was Maravarman Avanishulamani(AD 629-45).

The third ruler in the line, Sendan or Jayatavarman (AD 645-70) bore the title Vanavan, which implied a victory against the Chera contemporary.

His son and successor was Arikesari Maravarman or Arikesari Parankusha.

He ruled from AD 670 to 710.

He was most probably the Kun Pandy and Ninrasir-nedumaran of legend, the contemporary of Nansambandar who, at the instace of queen Mangaiyarkkarasi, a Chola princess, and minister Kulachchiral, weaned the Pandya ruler from Jainism and converted him into Shaivism.

Arikesari was succeeded by his son Kochchadaityan who had the title Ranadheer.

He ruled from AD 710 to 735.

He assumed many other titles viz,, Vanavana and Sembityam or Sholan.

He is also called Madura-Karunatakan, the sweet Karnataka and Kongar-Koman,lord of the Kongu people.

The son and successor of Kochchadaiyan Ranadheera was Maravarman Rajasimha I(AD 735-65).

He is known as Pallava-bhanjana and defeated Pallavamalla.

He also defeated the Kongus and Malakongam.

Malava chieftain also surrendered to him.

He then defeated the combined army of the Ganga ruler Shripurusha and Chalukya Kirtivarman II at the battle of Venbai.

Consequently the Ganga feudatory had to marry his daughter with the Pandya prince Jatila Parantaka.
Rajasimha I is said to have performed many gosaharsra, hiranyagarbhas and trlabharas.

He is also reported to have renovated Kudal, Vanij and Koli.

Rajasimha I was succeeded by his son Jatila Parantaka about AD 765.

Jatila had also the name Varuguana and the titles Maranjadaiyan and Nedunjadaiyan.
He ruled till AD 815.

He won a victory against Nandivarman Pallavamalla at Pennagadam.

Maran Kavi was an important aid to the king who was also known as Madhurakavi and built a stone temple for Vishnu on the Anamalai hill, formely a Jain centre.

His brother Murti Eyivan was the Uttaramantri(chief minister)of the king.

Jatila won many battles and constructed a big temple for Vishnu in Kanjivaypperur and earned the title param-vaishnava.

Jatila Parantaka was succeede by his son Shri Mara Shri Vallabha who ruled from AD 815 to 862.

He had the titles Ekavira, Parachakrakolahala and Avanipashekhara.

He is said to have attacked Sri Lanka nad sacked its capital.

He was defeated by the Pallava Nandivarman III at Tellaru.

However,some time later Vallabha defeated the Pallava king at the battle of Kumbhakonam.

But again he was defeated by Nripatunga at Ariahit.

At this same time Sena II of Sri Lanka attacked and took Madura, the capital.
Shri Vallabha died soon after.

Varagunavarman II ascended the Pandya throne and started as a feudatory of the Pallvas.
Defeated by Pallava Aparajita.

He soon died and was succeeded by his younger brother Parantaka Viranarayana Shadaiyan (AD 880-900), during whose reign the Chola Aditya I made extensive conquests at the expanse of Pallava and Pandya powers.
Parantaka Viranarayana was succeeded by his son(born to Vanavana Mahadevi)Maravarman Rajasimha II who ruled from AD 900 to 920.

He had the titles Vikatapatava,Shrikanta, Rajashikhamani and Mandaragaurava.

He fought many wars including against the Cholas.

Rajasimha II ultimately had to abandon his capital and kingdom and flee to Ceylon.

Thus disappeared from history the first empire of the Pandyas and its last ruler Rajasimha II.

The Gangas:

The dynastic name of Gangas was borne by two distinct royal families, one ruling in Gangavadi (East Mysore)from about AD 400 and the other in Kalinga from AD 500.

The Mysore legends trace the line to an lkshvaku origin and speak of the migration of its founders from Ujjain, their encounter with the Jain ascetic Simhnadi at Ganga Perun, and their final settlement at Kuvalalapura.

The legends fo Kalinga trace there descent ultimately from the kings of the lunar line named Yayati and Turvasu, and more proximately from the Gangas of Kolar.
The Ganga’s creat was the elephant.

Konakanivarma (c.AD 400-25), the first ruler of the Jahnaveya kula is said to have belonged to the Kanvayana gotra.

He is called dharmamaharajadhiraja.

He is supposed to have been initiated into the Jaina doctrine syadavada by Simhanandi at the Parshvanatha basadi in Shravanabelagola.

The capital of the early kingdom was located first at Kuvala (Kolar)and later at Talakad on the Kaveri.
Konakanivarma was succeede by his son Madhava I(AD 425-50).

He had been credited with the preparation of a gloss on Dattakasutra, a treatise on erotics or possibly a sutra on adoption.

Madhava I was followed by his son Aryavarman (AD 450-72).
He came to the throne after dividing the kingdom for his brother Krishnavarman with the help of Pallava king Simhavarman.

Aryavarman was followed by his son Madhava II alias Simhavarman.
The Ganga king married a Kadamba princess, and the child of this union was Avinita who was anointed as king in his mother’s lap(AD 520).

He had a long reign but no events of any importance are recorded during the period.
His chief queen was a princess of Punnata, Jyestha by name.

His reign lasted till AD 605 when he was succeeded by his son Durvinita (Real name Madhavavarma).

He is claimed to have performed hiranyagarbha to mark his victory over his half-brother.

Durvinita gave one of his daughters in marriage to Pulakeshin II.

He also succeeded to the Punnata kingdom, whence his mother came, and took the title ‘lord of Punnat’.

In the Kavirajamarga of Nrimatunga (Amoghavarsha), Durvinita is mentioned as a great prose writer in Kannada, and tradition credits him also with the authorship of a Sanskrit version of the Brihatkatha, a commentary on the 15th canto of Bharavi’s Kiratarjuniya, and a Shabdavatara.

The reigns of Mushkara and Shrivikram were uneventful.

Bhuvikrama ruled from AD 665-79 and took part in Chalukya-Pallava battles.

Bhuvikrama was succeeded by his brother Shivamara I (AD679-725) whose reign was peaceful.

He was followed by his grandson Shripurusha who enjoyed a long reign of 50 years.

He also cooperated with the Chalukyas and defeated the Pallava king Parameshvaravarman II.

In the battle of Vilande, Shripurusha seized the royal Pallava umbrella along with the title of Perumanadi.

He attacked Pandya Rajasimha I with the help of Chalukya Kirtivarman II.

However, the allies suffered a defeat in the battle of Venbai(AD 750).

Later, the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I invaded Gangavadi and the Gangas were made feudatories.

In the records, Shripurusha is credited with the authorship of a treatise on elephant lore(gajashatra).

Shivamara II succeeded Shripurusha.

Shivamara II was for sometime imprisoned by a Rashtrakuta prince and later by the Rashtrakuta king Govinda III.

Shivamara’s was succeeded by Rajamalla in 817.

He was Shivamara’s nephew.

Nitimarga I succeeded him in AD 853 and ruled till 870.

From the region of Shivamara II onwards the Guptas played in the hands of the Rashtrakutas,Pallavas and the Chalukyas.

For most of the time they were feudatories of the Rashtrakutas.

For some period they were free from the Rashtrakutas, which was marked by the assumption of the title Satyavakya and Nitimarga, alternatively by successive rulers, Rajamalla being the first Satyavakya and his son
Ereganga Ranavikrama the first Nimimarga.

Rajamalla II(AD 870-907),Nimimarga II(AD 907-35), Rajamalla III(AD 935-38), Butunga II(AD 938-61), Marasimha II(AD 962-74), Rajmalla IV(AD 974-85),and finally, Rakkash Ganga(AD 985-1024) were all feudatories of the Rashtrakutas.

Rajamalla IV’s reign is famous for his general Chanmudaraya who was a valiant general, master of Kannada work,the Chamundaraya Purana or Trisasti-Lakshanamahapurana, in AD 978 which contains an account of the twenty four Jain Tirthankaras.

He also erected, in AD 983, a colossal statue of Gomatesvara at Shravanabelgola.
With Rakkasa Ganga, the Ganga rule came to an end as a result of the conquest of Gangavadi by Rajaraja Chola.

Rakkasa Chandombudhi, a work on prosody in Kannada.
Hemasena alias Vidydhananjaya wrote Raghavapandaviya, which narrates the story of both the epics through puns.

The Kadambas:

Claimed descent from Harita.

According to the Talagunda pillar inscription their name was derived from a unique Kadamba tree near their dwelling which was sacred to their tutelary deity Svami Mahasena(Karttikeya).

Mayurasharman, the first Kadama king, was crowned by the Pallavas.

This happened in AD 350.

He is known as Mayuravarman to medieval records who performed eighteen ashvamedhas.

Mayurasharman was succeeded by Kangavarman(AD 360-85).

After him came Bhagirtha (AD 385-410).

Bhagiratha was succeeded by his son Raghu(AD 410-25).

Raghu in turn was succeeded by his younger brother Kakusthavarman(AD 425-450).

He had a prosperous reign.

He is said to have given his daughters in marriage to the Guptas and the Vakatakas.

Kakusthavarman was succeeded by his son Shantivarman(AD 450-475).

He is said to have won three crowns (pattatraya).

Shantivarman’s son and successor, Mrigeshvarman(AD 475-88) who ruled from Vanavasi, fought unsuccessful
wars against the Gangas and the Pallavas.

Mandhatrivarman (AD 488-500), perhaps a first cousin of Mrigesh, usurped the throne for a short period.
Ravivarman (AD500-538), son of Mrigesh secured the throne again.

A stone inscription records that his queen became a sati at his death.

Ravivarman was followed by his son Harivarman(AD 538-50) who ruled from Vaijayanti(Banavasi).

With him ended the elder branch of the Kadamba royal family.

After him Krishnavarman II(AD 550-565)came to the throne.

He was succeeded by Ajavarman (AD 565-600).

Ajavarman became subordinate to Kirtivarman I Chalukya and with him the Kadambas ceased to exist as an independent kingdom.

Later attempts at gaining independence were not successful.

Chalukyas of Badami:

The Chalukyas of Badami were the successors of the Vakatakas.

They are also known as Chalkya and Chalikya.

Rice held that the Chalukyas and Pallavas were immigrants from Seleucia and Parthia and carried on their hostilities in this country as well.

D.R.Bhandarkar and V.A.Smith thought that Chalukyas were a branch of the Gurjaras.

The earliest documents of the Chalukyas of Badami state that they were Haritiputras, devoted to Svami Mahasen and Saptamatrikas.

According to Altekar, the Chalukyas originated from an indigenous brahmana family, being in some way related to thie Chutu Satakanis and the Kadambas of Karnataka.

Jayasimha and Ranarga, the earlier members of the dynasty, were nothing more than petty local chiefs.

The real founder of the gratness of the dynasty was maharaja Pulakeshin I(tiger-haired)(AD 535-66).
His biruds were satyashraya(‘the asylum of truth’).

Among the Chalukya kings Pulakeshin I alone is credited with the performance of ashvamedha sacrifice.

He is also known as Vallabha or Vallabheshvara.

He seems to have made Vatapi his capital city.

Durlabhamahadevi was his chief queen.

Pulakeshin I had two sons, Kirtivarman (Kirtiraja)and Mangalesh.

He had the prithivivallabha, satyashraya, pururanaparakrama etc.

He constructed a beautiful cave temple for Vishnu at Badami.

Kirtivarman was succeeded by his brother Mangalesh(AD 597-610).

He also had the titles ranavikrama, uru-ranavikrnta, and prithivivallabha.

He led an expedition against Kalachuri King Buddharaja and defeated him.

Mangalesh’s last days were embittered by domestic dissensions leading to a civil war between himself and his nephew Pulkashin II, son of Kirtivarman I, in which Pulakeshin II emerged victorious.

Pulakeshin II(AD 610-643)was the brightest rulers of the dynasty.

A detailed account of his victories is found in a long inscription engraved on the walls ofa Jaina temple at Aihole dated AD 634-635.

The court poet Ravikirti, who claimed an equal status with poets Bharavi and Kalidasa, composed a prashati of his patron Pulakeshin II.

He won many battles and annexed the defeated king’s territories.

These were the Kadambas, Mannyan of Konkan, Latas, Malavas and Gurjaras.

The Ganga ruler Durvinita gave one of his daughters in marriage to the conqueror.

He defeated the rulers of Kosala and Vishnukundins.

Pulakeshin II appointed his younger brother Vishnuvardhan as the governor of the Vishnukundin territory who remained loyal, but his son Jayasimaha I asserted independence.

Pulakeshin II invaded Pallava Mahendravarman I but coull not gain any success.

Sometime between AD 631-34 he fought a war with Harshavardhan of Kanauj and defeated him.

He again invaded the Pallavas, but the Pallavas now under Narasimhavarman I, defeated Pulakeshin’s army again.

The Pallava ruler advanced so the Chalukyan capital Badami with great force and made himself master of the city.

He los his life in the encounter in AD 643.

Pulakeshin II sent a complimentary embassy to the Persian court of Khusrau II in AD 625-26.

The Chinese traveller, Hiuan –tsang paid a visit to the Chalukya kingdom and was highly impressed by the power and efficiency of the administration of Pulakeshin II.

Three was a temporary decline in the fortunes of the Chalukyas after Pulakeshin II.

Vikramaditya I was able to re-establish the glory by compelling Narasimhavarman Pallava to leave Badami.

He proclaimed himself king in AD 654.

In AD 668, he advanced against Kanchi and defeated the Pallava Mahendravarman II, who later died.

He remained in effective possession of Kanchi for six years.

During this period, he invaded Cholas, Pandyas and the Keralas and plundered their territories.

Pallava king Parameshvarvaravarman defeated Vikramaditya I in AD 674 at Peruvalanallur.

Vikramaditya was succeeded by his son Vinayaditya in AD 681 and he ruled till 696.

A number of victories have been attributed to him.

Copper-plates issued by his son claim that Vinayaditya had defeated the overlord of Northern India and won as trophy phlidhvaja.

This perhaps has refrence to some skirmishes.

Vinayaditya was succeeded by his son Vijayaditya, some time in AD 696 and ruled till AD 733.

He was known by the pompous title samastabhuvanashraya.

The reign was marked by peace and prosperity.

The Sangameshvara temple at Pattadakal was built by him, and was originally known as Vijayeshvara after him.

It is one of the early examples of the so-called Chalukya style of architecture.

Vijayaditya was succeeded by Vikramaditya II in AD 733 and he ruled till AD 744.
During his reign an Arab invasion was repulsed, Pallava capital Knachi was sacked and many new temples were constructed.

His chief queen Lokamahadevi, of the Kalachuri family, built the great stone temple of Lokeshvara, now known as Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal.

Vikramaditya was succeeded by his son Kirtivarman II, the last of the line.

His power was slowly undermined by the Rashtrakutas and was finally destroyed by Krishna I.

Political Organisation:

Gupta empire gave the death-blow to the republican form of government.

The kingship in the Gupta period was based on purelya patriarchal form of royal succession.

The maintenance of the varnashrama dharma was an important royal duty according to the Gupta inscriptions.

The old theory that the king was entitled to taxes in return for protecting the subjects is repeated in some Gupta legal texts.

But it is no longer emphasized;on the other hand we notice a significant new trend.

Katyayana states that the king is entitled to taxes because he is the owner of the land.

The Gupta kings are repeatedly compared to different gods such as Yama, Varuna, Indra, Kubera,etc.

They are compared to Vishnu as regards their function of preserving and protecting the people, and Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu and goddess of prosperity, appears on many Gupta coins.

They are called deva, which clearly represents them as gods, although not the son of the God, as in the case of the Kushana kings.

Some individual ministers,such as Harishena, were very powerful because of combing the offices of the mahadandanayaka, kumaramatya,and sandhivigrahika in the same person.

The kumaramatyas formed the chief cadre for recruiting high fuctionaries under the Guptas.

Some of the kumaramatyas functioned in their own right and maintained their regular office called kumaramatyadhikarna.

Towards the end of the Gupta empire some kumaramatyas, such as the maharaja Nandana, asserted independence and issued land charters.

The office of the sandhivigrahika(minister of peace and war)first appears under Samudragupta, whose amatya Harishena held this title.

Recordkeepers or pustapalas district or the vishayapati.

Provincial governors known as uparikas.

The discovery of numerous Gupta gold coins and their use in land transctions in Bengal coupled with the prevalence of the tax known as hiranya suggest that at least higher officers were paid in cash.

However, Fa-hiem appears to be indicating that members of bureaucracy were paid in cash and also by grants of revenues.

The growing importance of cavalry is supported by seals and insciptions which speak of ashvapati, mahashvapati and bhatashvapati, evidently the commander of horsemen.

The early Gupta records do not mention of horsemen.

The term pilapati occurs in a 6th century inscription from Bengal.

The other military officers mentioned are mahabaladhikrita, mahapratihara and gaulmika.

The last two find mention in pre-Gupta inscriptions but the first appears as a new military functionary in this period.

The discovery of a seal bearing the legend Shriranabhandagardhikarana suggests the existence of some military store.

Hiranya or gold.

The list of taxes enumerated in the Arthashastra of Kautilya is much longer than that found in Gupta inscriptions, which would suggest that the burden of taxation decreased in Gupta times.

There are no traces of emergency taxes in Gupta times.
Ayuktaka and viniyuktaka were connected with land transaction.

While pustapala maintained records of land sales,land records were maintained by the gramakshapataladhikrita or the deshakshapataladhikrita.

Scribes called divira,karanika kayastha, etc.

Were employed chiefly in the revenue office, and Yajnavalkya advises the king to protect the subjects against the oppression of the kayasthas.

The officer who collected dues in cash is called hiranyasamudayuka and audrangika collected the royal share in kind.

The only officer connected with the collection of tolls on commodities seems to have been the shaulkika.

The official aurnasthanika had something to do with the regulation of the wool-market in Bengal and in Gujarat
we hear of drangika who collected customs in border towns.

The Gupta kings evolved the first systematic provincial and local administration, which was primarily concerned with the collection of revenues and maintenance.

The bhukti seems to have been the largest administrative unit under the Guptas.

There were at least six such divisions spread over Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

It was placed in charge of an uparika.

He was a governor appointed by the Gupta king, but the literal meaning of the term bhukti suggests that the territory placed under his charge was intended to be enjoyed rather than governed by him in his own interest.

The bhukti was divided into vishayas or districts.

The vishaya was in charge of the kumaramatya in early times, but later it came to be placed under the vishayapati.

Originarily in Bengal and Bihar the vishayapati was the head of the vishaya where he carried on administration with the help of the local office or adhikarana.

But in one case in western U.P.he was placed in charge of a district called bhoga.

The vishaya was divided into vithis which were administered by committee.

The vithi consisted of villages, which formed the lowest units of administration.

The leading part in managing the affairs of the village was taken by its gramika and elders known as the mahattama,or mahattaras.

In Bengal, village elders called mahattaras seem to have been organized inot corporate bodies at the distict level as well as at the village level.

The body at both the stages was called ashtakuladhikarana, a corporate organization comprising eight leading families.

In some areas in central India local affairs in the rural areas were managed by a committee of five known as the panchamandali.

Finally, we have various janapadas, which issued their seals and coins.

They were administered by a committee of five.

Some towns were being administered by some kind of parishads.

The towns in the Gupta empire were usually placed under an officer called purapala.

Vaishali in Bihar was an important town about whose administration we get some idea in Gupta times.

We hear of separate guilds of artisana(kulika)and of merchants (shreshthi)in that town.

But the most numerous seals, as many as 274, found there belong to the nigama guild of the shresthis, sarthavahas and kulikas.

The nigamas performed municipal functions in regard to bankers, traders and artisans, whom it represented, and also in relation to the employeed of various civil and military offices whose headquarters were situated in Vaishali.

We learn from Narada that the nigama framed its own rules known as samayas.

The machinery for maintaining Jaw and order in this period was based on the office of the dandanayaka, the dondika and the dandapashika.

Another officer charged with the duty of watchman was the chauroddharanika.

In towns the magisterial founctions were discharged by the vinayasthitisthapaka.

The Gupta period peovided a landmark in the history of the administration of law and justice in early India.

It produced a rich corpus of legal literature, which reflects a distinct advance in the legal system.

For the first time the lawgivers of the period draw a clear line between what may be regarded as civil and criminal law.

Brihaaspati enumerates eighteen titles of law and adds that 14 of these have their in property(dhanamula)and four in injury(himsamula).

On account of the growth of private property in land, which was sold for money in Gupta times, we find very detailed law about partition, sale, mortgage and lease of land in Gupta law-books.

The king is asked to decide suits with the help of at least three sabhyas(shudras excluded).

Civil courts seem to have functioned at important administrative centres.

Two seals from Nalanda containing the term dharmadhikarana seem to belong to this type and indicate that
Nalanda was the headquarter of some kind of civil.

Yajnavalkya and Brihaspati mentions three grades of local courts, kula,shrenl and puga, and Brihaspati adds that the appeal shall lie to the higher court in the some ordr.

Katyayana introduces gana in place of puga.

Katyayan advises artisans, farmers, etc..to get their disputes decided by their mahattaras.

The epigraphic ashtakuladhikarana relating to villages was evidently the counterpart of the kula court of the law-books.

The system of administration underwent several changes undr the Gupta, but the most stiking developments related to the grant of fiscal and administrative immunities to the beneficiaries and to the establishment of raltions with the subjugated kings called feudatories.

In grants from the time of Vakataka king Pravarasena II onwards, the ruler gave up his control over almost all sources of revenue, including pasturage, hides and charcoal, salt mines,forced labour and all hidden treasures and deposits.

Till the 5th century AD, the ruler generally retained the right to punish thieves, which was one of the main bases of the state power.

However, in central and Western India this right was also given away.
During the period wa start getting evidence of subinfeudation as well.

The earliest epigraphic evidence of the subinfeudation of land comes from Indore where an inscription of AD 397 records the consent of a feudatory chief without royal consent.

Land grants giving rise to feudal conditions are typical in Gupta times of those areas which were forested and mountainous and hence less exposed to commerce and the use of money.

The secular obligations of the priestly beneficiaries are coppertaid down; an example is the Chammak copper plate of the Vakataka king Pravarsena II.

It enjoits that they(one thousand brahmanas) shall not conspire against the king and the kingdom, commit theft and adultery, slay brahmanas,and poison kings etc..

The titles bhogika and bhogapatika suggest that these officers were assigned offices not so much for execising royal authority over the subjects and working for their welfare as for enjoying the revenue.

The obligations of the feudatories towards the sovereign are clearl; set forth in the Allahabad inscription.

The term samanta is not used for the conquered feudatories of Samudragupta .

It was from the fifth century AD onwards that the term samanta was used in the sense of vassals in South India, for the phrase samanta chudamanyah appears in Pallava inscription of the time of Shantivarman(AD 455-70).

In north India the earliest uses of the term in a similar sense have been found in a Bengal inscription, and in the Barbar Hill cave inscription of the Maukhari chief Anantavarman, in which his father is described as samanta-chudamanih(the best among feudatories).

Gradually the application of the term samanta was extended from defeated chiefs to royal officials.

Thus, in the inscription dated in the Kalachuri-Chedi era, from AD 597 onwards rajas and samantas took place of uparikas and kumaramatyas.

On the whole, we notice distinct feudal traits in the Gupta system of administration which prepared the way for a complete feudal structure in subsequent times (R.S.Sharma).

Economic Condition:

This period saw a rapid growth of prosperous cities.

Pataliputra, Ayodhya, which was probably the seat of jayaskandhavara as early as the time of Samudragupta.

Ujjaini also seems to have attained the rank of a capital city in the time of Chandragupta II.

Ujjaini soon became the centre of all cultural activities and has, since then, been immortalized in the annals of ancient India as the seat of Vikramaditya and the nine gems of his court.

Gargartatapura, which was a city situated on the banks of the river Gargara, is described as having been adorned
with wells, tanks, temples, worship halls, pleasure-gardens etc.

Dashapura (Mandsor)was a flourishing town, where a guild of silk-weavers migrated from the Lata province.

Airikina(Eran) is described as the svabhoganagara(pleasure-resort) of Samudragupta.

Vaishali, where a large number of Gupta seals have been discovered.

Indrapura and Girinagara.

Tamralipati on the eastern coast and Bhrigukachchha on the western coast, were the main centres of sea-borne trade and commerce.

Guilds:

The guild of silk-weavers who migrated from Lata to Dashapura.

They built in that city a ‘noble and unequalled’ temple fo the Sun-god in AD 437.

Another guild, namely, that of olimen, which carried on prosperous trade in the town Indrapura was designated after its head Jivanta.

The Mandsor inscription shows that the guilds usually carried on prosperous business and, in spite of occasional setbacks, often enjoyed quite a long career of useful activity.

Public Works:

The repairs of the Sudarshana lake and the connected irrigation plan, carried out in the province of Saurashtra, under the benevolent rule of Skandagupta’s provincial governor, Parnadatta and his son Chakrapalita.

Industries:

The casting of the wonderful iron pillar at Mehrauil would not have been possivle except in a fully equipped iron and steel plant.

The Allahabad pillar inscription mentions a large number of weapons which also must have been manufactured in such iron workshops.

Ship-builing was another big industry.

Silk-industry was a speciality of Dashapura.

It would appear from the testimony of the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien(AD 399-44) that distant parts of the country, on the frontiers of the Gupta empire, were comparatively desolate.

Literature:

The Gupta age constitutes a new epoch in the history of Sanskrit literature.

It may be called the great age of Sanskrit.

The final reduction of at least one of the two great Epics, viz, the Mahabharata,as well as the development of
the Puranas and Smriti or Dharmashastra literature.

The Yajnavalkya-smriti may be regarded almost as the official law-book of the Guptas.
Narada-smriti is another important work of the Gupta period.

It seem to have been a slightly earlier production than theYajnavalkya-smriti and depends primarily of the Bhrigu-samhita, thus confirming the Purana tradition about Bhrigu, Narada, Brihaspati and Angiras being the successive redactors of Manu’s Dharmashastra.

At the same time, the Narada-smriti shows considerable adavance over the Bhrigu-samhita.
It speaks of 132 sub-sections of Manu’s 18 titles of law, of 15 kinds of salvery, of 21 kinds of acquisition, of eleven kinds of witnesses etc..

According to P.V.Kane, the following Smriti works belong to this class:Parashara(AD 100-500);Katyayana(AD 400-600);Pitamaha(AD 400-700);Pulastya(AD 300-700);Vyasa(AD 200-500);and Harita(AD 400-700).

Under the pressure of new demands, the Puranas outgrew the old panchalakshana and began to attract matter relating to Dharmashasta,details of worship of particular deities, resume of philosophical doctrine, and so on.

The number of Puranas increased, and sometimes several texts competed for one and the same name and for a place among the recognized list of eighteen main Puranas,e.g.the Shrimad-B hagavata and the Devi-Bhagavata.

The views of the new sects found expression in the Purana texts; to wit, a Pashupata in Vaya and Linga;Sattvata in Vishnu; Dattatreya in Markandeya; Sun worshipas practiced by the Magas, Bhojakas and
Shakaldvipi immigrants in Bhavishya and Shamba.

Mahatmyas of Particular shrines and places of pilgrimages(tirthas)came to be added to old texts as new sections.

The Agni Purana is a thesaurus of poetics, dramaturgy, grammar, lexicography, astronomy, astrology,polity, war,architecture,medicine and so on; the Garuda Purana takes note, of perfumery and the lapidary art, and the Vishnudharmottara Purana of arts of dance, painting and sculpture.

Some of the Puranas such as Matsya,Vayu,Brahanda,Bhavishya, Vishnu and Garuda contain a brief account of the royal dynasties of northern India.

The kavyas,for the age of the Guptas was essentially the age of dramatic, lyrical and epic poetry.

By far the most outstanding name associated with that age is that of Kalidasa.

He lived in the fourth century AD and was a contemporary of Chandragupta II.

Among his poems, the Ritusamhara is always mentioned as his earliest production.

His Meghaduta is the ploneer dutakavya in Sanskrit literature.

To turn from the Meghaduta to the Kumarasambhava and the Raghuvamsha is to turn from lyrical beauty to epic grandeur.

In the Kumarasmbhavam, which describes the union of Shiva and Parvati in wedlock and the birth of their son Kumara or Karthika.

The Raghuvamsha is universally recognized as the finest specimen of Sanskrit mahakavya.

The poet describes the carrers of 28 kings belonging to the race of Raghu.

According to one literary tradition, Kalidasa is believed to have written for king Pravarasena –or at least revised for him the Prakrit poem Setubandha.

Two other kavyas imitating style of Kalidasa were written during this phase.

The Janakiharana, which deals with the life of Rama up to the abduction Sita by Ravana, is traditionally ascribea to Kumaradasa, who is said to have been the king of Ceylon between AD 517 and 526.

Next in point of time is Bharavi(AD 550)whose epic,Kiratarjuniya is reckoned among the five famous mahakavyas.

The poet provides in eighteen cantos the story of the fight between Arjuna and Lord Shiva, who had disguised himself as a Kirata.

Bharavi’s art was, no doubt, influence by Kalidasa while his own Kiratarjuniya served as a model for the Shisupalavadha of Magha (AD700).

It is possible to attribute to the Gupta period also the poem Ravanavadha of Bhatti.

This poem is more popularly known as the Bhattikavya.

A few inscriptions of the Gupta aga also possess, in some degree, most of the characteristic features of Sanskrit kavya.

The first place goes to the panegyric of Samudragupta in the Allahabad pillar inscription.

The author, Harishena, shows himself to be a worthy predecessor of Kalidasa.

Vatsabhatti, the author of the Mandsor inscription,seems an inferior poet.

The Jungarh rock inscription and Mehrauli iron pillar inscription are important from kavya point of view.

So is the Mandasor inscription of Yashodharman which was written by Vasula.

In the field of Drama we have Ashvaghosha, Bhasa and Shudraka as predecessors of Kalidasa.

Shudraka wrote the famous plays the Mirchchhakatika.

Though the play is ascribed to a king Shudraka, the remarks in the prastavana about Shudraka himself show it to be the handiwork of a court-poet.

There seems to be no doubt that the author of the Mrichchhakatiaka had revised and enlarged Bhasa’s romantic play,Daridra-Charudatta.

The Mrichchhakatika is regarded as one of the earliest literary productions of the Gupta period.

Vishakhadatta wrote two plays:Mudrarakshasa and Devi-Chandraguptam.

The Abhisarikavanchhitaka, another play of the same author based on the love-stories of Udyana, is known only from citations.

The Malavikagnimitra, the Vikramorvashiya and the Abhijnanashakuntalam are the three plays penned by Kalidasa.

The famous Tantrakhyayika, which is essentially of the nature of a storybook, must have been originally composed with a view to imparting to young princes instruction in political science and practical conduct.

The Tantrakhyayika, popularly known as the Panchatantra, has indeed had a long and eventful history.
Tantrakhyayika

The five oldest versions of the work which are avalible.

These are

1. the Tantrakhyayika which is available from Kashmir in an old and a newrecension;

2. the text from which a Pehlevi translation was prepared in circa AD 570;

3. a portion out of the Panchatantra which was inserted in the Brihatkatha of Gunadhya, and which is now to
be found, in a modified form, in the Brihakathamanjari of Kshemendra and the Kathasaritasagara of Somadeva;

4. a text, which may very well be called a childern’s edition of the Panchatantra and is sprcially current in South Indial;

5. a Nepalese text in verse.

In the introduction of the Tantrakhyayika as well as in all the versions of the Panchatantra, Vishnusharma is mentioned as the author of the work.

The date of composition of the Tantrakhyayika is not known, but it had become a very popular work in the 6th century AD-so much so that, at the instance of Khasru Anashirwan (AD531-79),it was translated into Pehlevi.

Mention may also be made in this connection of the three Shatakas of Bhartrihari- the Shringarashataka,the Nitishataka and the Vairagyashataka.

It has been held that Bhartrihari, the author of the Shatakatrayi, was the same as Bhartihari, the author of Vakyapadiya which is divided into three books, and is therefore, also known as the Trikandi.

Bhartrihari is also reputed to have written a commentary on the Mahabhashya of Patanjali.

His literary activity is placed just after the end of the Gupta period.

Among the grammatical works produced in the age of the Guptas, the earliest, perhaps, is the Katantra of Sarvavarman.

Another authority, Vararuchi, is reputed to have been the author of the Vartika on Panini’s sutras,of the Prakritaprakasha, which is a work on Prakrit Grammar, of the Vararuchisamgraha and the Lingavisheshavidhi etc.

According to a popular literary tradition Vararuchi was one of the nine jewels which adorned the court of Vikramaditya.

Chandragomin wrote his Chandravyakarana in the last decades of the sixth century AD.

He is also said to have written Chandravritti which is a commentary on his own Vyakaranasutras.

To about the fifth century AD belongs also the Kashika-vritti of Jayaditya and Vamana.

The Linganushasana of Harshadeva, which is a grammatical-cum-lexicographical work, is also generally ascribed to the middle of the seventh century AD.

The most famous lexicographical work in Sanskrit is the Namalinganushasana of Amarasimha-better known as the Amarakosha.

Amarasimha was one of the jewels of Vikramaditya’s court.

In ancient India, mathematics and astronomy originated and developed primarily as auxiliaries of the Vedic rituals.

Varahamihira wrote in the middle of the 6th century AD.

He wrote Panchasiddhantika.

Aryabhata was the first writer to deal with mathematics more or less as an independednt science.

According to his own testimony, Aryabhata wrote his work, the Aryabhatiya, in Kusumpura (Pataliputra)in the year 3600 of the Kaliyuga, when the he himself was 23 years old.

This means that he was borne in AD 476 and wrote in AD 499.

The Aryabhatiya is divided into four parts, out of which the last three are sometimes erroneously regarded as forming an independent work under the name Aryashataka.

The first part is called the Dashagitikasutra.

He had invented an alphabetic system of notation.

The second part of the Aryabhatiya is called the Golapada.

As regards geometry, Aryabhata considers among other topics, an area of a triangle, the theorem on similarity of triangle, the area of a circle and the theorem relating to rectangles contained by the segments of chords of a circle.

The value of 0 given by him is correct to four places of decimals (3,1416).

In algebra and arithmetic, he has given the rule of three, which is a definite improvement over the Bakshali rule, and a rule for solving examples concerning interest.

As in mathematics, so too in astronomy,Aryabhata wasan outstanding scholar of the Gupta age.

Through his work he has presented in a compact form the astronomical system which had already been developed in the Siddhantas.

His most original contribution, however, is his definite assertion that the earth rotates round its axis.

It is interesting to note tat two of his immediate successors, Varahamihira and Brahmagupta and stoutly opposed this assertion.

Aryabatta was the first to unilize sine functions in astronomy.

He discovered and accurate formula to measure the decrease or increase in the duration of two consecutive days.

He enunciated his own epicyclic theory to explain the variations in planetary motions;

He stated accurately the angular diameter of the earth’s shadow at the moon’s orbit, and gave a method a more correct calculation than before of the length of a year.

The astronomical works produced in the so-called scientific period provide evidence of the acquaintance of their writers with Greek astronomy.

Varahamihira wrote Panchasiddhantika in AD 505.

Varahamihira is also said to have been one of the nine jewels in the court of Vikramaditya.

The five Siddhantas, considered the most authoritative works on astronomy, are:Paitamahasiddhanta, Vashishthasiddhanta,Paulishasiddhanta,Romakasiddhanta and Suryasiddhanta.

The last four siddhantas belong to the early Gupta period.

The name of the Paulishsiddhanta (AD 380) would remind one of Paulus Alexandrinus.
Romakasiddhanta clearly betrays western influence both in name and contents.

This may have been possible on account of the active contact between the Roman empire and the Gupta empire.

The Suryasiddhanta (AD 400)is the most important and complete astronomical work of the period.

Alberuni mentions Lata as its author.

According to its opening stanzas.

However, Surya revealed this Siddhanta to Asura Maya in the city of Romaka.

In the field of astrology also we are much indebted to Varahamihira.

His Brihatsamhitta, besides being the most important texkbook on natural astrology, is a veritable compendium of ancient Indian learning and science.

Among Varahamihira’s other astrological works may be mentioned the Brihadvivahapatala and the Svalpavivahapatala which principally deal with the favourable muhurtas for marriaged; the Yogayatra, which describes the auspicious portents for the expeditions of kings; and the Brihajjataka and Laghujataka which concern themselves with future.

Vatrahamihira’s son, Prithuyashas, too was an ardent student of astrology, and wrote,in about AD 600, a work called Horashatpanchashika.

The earliest datable Indian work on medicine belongs to the early Gupta period.

In 1890, Lt.H.Bower discovered in a Buddhist stupa in Kashgar, a group of ancient texts(Bower manuscripts), three out of seven from among which deal with medicine.

On palaeographical grounds they belong to the second half of the fourth century AD.
The author’s names are not be found.

One of the three medical tracts deals with the study of garlic, digestion and eye-diseases and their cures.
Another tract contains formulas for the preparation of fourteen kinds of specifics for external and internal application.

The most important tract, however, is the one called the Navanitaka.

In 16 sections, it deals, among other things, with different kinds of powders, decoctions, oils and elixirs,while a considerable portion of the tract is devoted to childern’s diseases.

The Navanitaka mentions several earlier authorities like Agnivesha, Bheda, Harita, Jatukarna, Ksharapani and Parashara-all of them being pupils of Punarvasu Atreya.

The only familiar name referred to is that of Sushruta.

No work on chemistry belonging to the Gupta period has come down to us.

Nagarjuna, the great Mahayanist, is reputed to have distinguished himself also in chemistry.

As a matter of fact, he is believed to have been the real father of scientific chemistry.

Besides medicine, chemistry must have substantially helped the development of metallurgy.

The Mehrauli lron Pillar remains a living monument to the progress in metallurgy achieved in the age of the Guptas.

The Pillar which is 23 feet and 8 inches in hight and 16.4 inches in diameter at the base and 12.5 inches in diameter at the top, is made of pure malleable iron of 7,66 specific gravity.

The colossal copper statue of the Buddha, found at Sultanganj near Bhagalpur, which is about 71\2 feet in height and nearly one ton in weight.

Art of Architecture:

In the Gupta period the chief material that came to be used was dressed stone.

Caves:

The cave of north India belong to Brahmanism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The Brahmanical caves appear to have been the earliest.

The remains of one such cave, possibly the only instance of a cave shrine in Bengal, is found at Susunia in the Bankura district of West Bengal.

Only the back wall of the cave containing the inscription now remains and the plan or other arrangements of this cave shrine dedicated to the god Chakrasvamin(Vishnu)cannot be ascertained.

The hill of Udayagiri, near Bhilsa, contains a series of cave shrines nine in number, partly rock-cut and partly stone-built.

They were built in the beginning of the fifth century AD ascribable to the reign of Chandragupta II.
Cave No.I known as the ‘false cave’ and Cave no IXknown as Amrita Cave represent the earliest and the latest example of the series.

In the Buddhist group we have a series of caves in the neighbourhood of Bagh.

A period between AD 500 and 600.

There are altogether nine caves in this series.

Cave no 1.which consists of a single rectangular chanmber with a group of four pillars in the centre of the hall to support the roof.

This arrangemet is similar to the one found at Amrita Cave at Udayagiri.

The Cave No.II at Bagh represents an elaborate monastic establishment and chapel combined.

Locally known as the Pandavas cave, it consists of a square monastic hall with ranges of cellas on the three sides, a pillared portico in front and a chaitya chapel preceded by an anti-chamber at the farthest rear end.

The Cave No.III is locally known as Hathikhana or elephant stable.

Cave No.IVis locally known as the Rang Mahal from the fine series of paintings that still survive ans is the most important of all the Bagh caves.

It has and ornamental porch inside which is singular in its appearance and in not known to occur anywhere else.
Cave No. V is joined to Cave No. IV by a continuous portico and is usually described at the shala attaché dto the vihara cave.

Connected with cave V is the Cave No. VI most of which and the rest of the caves have collapsed.

The Bagh caves are interesting in more than one aspect.

The Chaitya hall is absent in the Bagh series.

A group of four central pillars forms the characteristic feature of the Bagh caves.

Buddhist caves are also found at Dhammar (between Kota and Ujjain)and at Khlvi.

The ones found at Dhammar are cut in a coarse laterite conglomerate.

At Kholvi there appear a number of caves which are of particular interest as exhibiting chaitya shrines in which the chaityas themselves have been hollowed out to form cells for the enshrinement of images.

These series of caves at Dhamnar and Kholvi probably represent the latest phase in the history of such kind of shrines envisaging a transitional phase to what was to come later, namely the age of the independent free standing shrines for proper installation of images.

The caves of the Jaina order are very rare and primitive in charcter.

In the Udayagiri-Khandagiri group, near Bhavanesavara, a few of the caves might have been cut during this period.

The Ganesha Gumpha at Udayagiri to the earlier period.

In this cave, however, and inscription of Shantikara belonging to the Bhaumakara dynasty records the dedication of a cave shrine in the eighth centuryAD.

The group of caves in the Khandagiri hills belong to the 11th century AD.

The rock cut tradition in Indian architecture declind roughly from about thirteenth century AD and no new form or conception appears to have emerged after his date

Temple Styles:

In Northern India the following well-defined groups may be recognized among the temples of the Guptas period.

1. Theflat-roofed square temple with a shallow porch in front.

2. The flat-roofed square temple with a covered ambulatory surrounding the sanctum cella and preceded by a porch in front, sometimes with a second storey above the shrine chamber.

3. The square temple with a low and squat tower or shikhara above.

4. The circular temple with shallow projections at the four cardinal faces.

The last one is represented by a single example, namely, the peculiar cylindrical brick structure, known as the Maniyar Math, I.e. the shrine of Mani Naga, in Rajagriha.

One of the most well known examples of the first group may be found in temple No,XVII at Sanchi.

In certain aspects this structure had oftern been compared to the best creations of classical architecture in Greece.

Other temples of this group are the Kankali Devi temple at Tigawa in Jabalpur and Vishnu and Varaha temples at Eran in Sagar, at Nachna Kuthara in M.P.

The numerous sculptural and architectural remains found at Gharwa(Allahabad), Bilsad(Etah),Khoh(Nagod) etc, from their style of carvings as well as from the evidence of inscriptions, are known to have belonged to the period under study.

Cunningham and Coomaraswamy are inclined to think that Pataini Devi temple near Unchannara (Nagod)also belonged to this period.

The temple no.XVII at Sanchi, is the oldest structural temple extant.

The Kankali Devi temple at Tigawa has been assigned to the period of Samudragupta.

The second group is represented by the so-called Parvati temple at Nachna Kuthara and the Shiva temple at Bhumara(Nagod), both situated in Madhya Pradesh.

The remains of a brick-temple at Baigram(Dinajpur), possibly of Govindasvamin, also belong to this group.

At Aihole in the Deccan the type is represnted by temples of the Lad Khan, the Kont Gudi and the Meguti.

The temples at Nachna Kuthara, Bhumara and Baigram have covered ambulatory(for pradakshina) and this style came to be known as sandhara prasada in the later days as opposedto the one without which was called nirandhara.

The Bhumara temple shows a peculiar feature in having a miniature shrine on either side of the staircase in front.

This ultimately resulted in the development of panchayatana temples.

The third group of Gupta temples is represented by the Dashavatara temple at Deogarh(Lalipur), the Mahadeva temple at Nachna Kuthara, a ruined temple at Bhitargaon (Kanpur) and the great Mahabodhi temple at Bodhagaya.

Records a notable advance on the temple of the first group in having a tower or shikhara capping the sanctum cella.

Dashavatara temple at Deogarh is perhaps the earliest example of a panchayatana composition.

The monastic institution at Nalanda grew up to be a famous establishment from about the fifth century AD Hiuan-tsang’s description of the establishment shows that the great temple erected by the king Blaaditya present ed a shape and form not unlike those of the Mahabodhi, which appear to have been characteristic of the early shikhara temple of the period.

The shikhara temple at Pathari belongs to about the 6th century AD and its height is found to be just twice the widteh of the building.

Varahamihira prescribed that the height of a temple should be double its width and the strict conformity of the Pathari temple with this almost contemporaneous injunction is interesting and might have been followed in a few other temples too.

The group of three ruined temples known as the Shatrughneshvara, the Bharateshvara and the Lakshamanesvara at Bhuvanesvar also appear to have belonged to this period.

The Lakshmana temple at Sirpur(Raipur) of the seventh century AD, represents one of the most beautiful monuments among the shkhara temples of the early period.

A new mahavihara grew up at Nalanda described by Hiuan-tsang in great detail.

Among the stupas belonging to this period, two merit special attention.

One is at Mirpur Khas in Sind and the other is at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.

The stupo of Mirpur Khas was constructed during the fourth century AD The stupa at Sarnatha is known as Dhamekha stupa and was probably erected in the Gupta age.

One of the two stupas at Jarasandha-Baithak at Rajgir exhibited an identical shape and form with the Dhamekha stupa and might probably have belonged to the same period.

Another stupa at Kesaria(Champaran)known as Raja Bena Ka Deora shows again a cylindrical shape with a slight bulge towards the top.

The Nagara Temple Style:

Development of distinctive styles of which three are recognized in the canonical shilpa texts.

They are the Nagara, the Vesara and the Dravida.

The temple style prevalent in the region between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas has between described as the Nagara in the available Shilpa texts.

With reference to the Nagara, the texts unaimouslay describe it as being quardrangular all over i.e.from the base to the stupi(top).

This,however, has been rejected as a distinctive feature.

The octagonal and circular shapes, prescribed respectively for the Dravida and Vesara styles, are also considered as inadequate distinguishing marks.

Nagara style revelas two distinctive features, one in planning the other in elevation.

In respect of the first, a north Indian temple always showsa square ground plan with a number of granduated projections in the middle of each side thus leading to the shape of a cruciform on the exterior with a numberof projecting and re-entrant angles.

In elevation, it has capped by a flat inwars in a convex curve and is capped bya flat spheroid slab with ribs round the edge(amalaka-shila).

A prominent feature of such a temple is supplied by the vigorous and unbroken linear ascent of the tower on account of which it is also known in some regions as the rekha shikhara.

The projections on each face of the square plan, leaves out a small portion at either end and a number of projecting angles(asras)and vertical planes are thus formed.

The latter are known as the rathakas in Sanskrit and as rathas in the Orissa shilpa texts.

The Kamikagama and the Mayamata describe a Nagara temple both as chaturasai(quadrangular)and ayatasra(angle-protected).

The cruciform ground plan and the curvilinear shikhara thus constitute the fundamental characteristics of a Nagara temple, of which the simplest arch-type may be recognized in a group of shrines of the 6th century AD,namely Dashavatara temple at Deogarh and the brick temple at Bhitargaon.

The Local Nagara Styles:

Temples belonging to Nagara style can be seen from the Himalayas in the North to the Krishna-Tungabhada basin in the south, and form Punjab in the west to Bengal in the east.

We have local traditions development mainly in

1. Orissa

2. Central India

3. Western India (Rajasthan, Gujarat&Kathiawar)

4. Malwa and the Deccan, and

5. Sindu-Ganga Valley.

1.Orissa:

Form the 7th to the 13th century AD numerous temples were erected in Orissa.

The sacred city of Bhavaneshvar, literally a temple town, furnishes us with hundreds of temples.

The Orissa group is, sometimes, supposed to have furnished a pure form fo the basic Nagara style.

Incidentally, Orissa had its own set of canonical shilpa texts in the vernacular interspersed with passages in Sanskrit critically edited by N.K.Bose.

The best examples of Orissa Nagara style are:the Parashurameshvara temple at Bharateshvara;the Lakshamaneshvara, the Bharateshvara and the Shatrughneshvara temples in front of the Rameshvara at Bhuvansevar; Svarnajaleshvara near the Kotitirtha; the Shishireshvara;the Mohini by the side of Vindusarovara and Mukteshvara etc.

The small Mukteshvara temple has been described as the “gem of Orissa architecture”by Fergusson.
Other examples of the Orissa style are Siddheshvara, the Kedareshvara and the Brahmeshvara, all situated in Bhuvanesvar,belonging to the eleventh century.

(2)Central India:

Another regional expression of the Nagara temple style.

The temple of Vaidyanatha Mahadeva at Baijnath near Rewa supplies us with the archaic form of the Nagara temple in Central India.

In the well known Lakshana temple at Sirpur may be recognized a lineal descendant of the Vaidyanatha Mahadeva temple of Baijnath.

One temple at Khorod(Bilaspur)and another at Pujaripalli(Sambhalpur)are equally important representations.

The temple at Baroli near the Chambal falls, affords an instructive example in the evolution of the distinctive Central Indian type of the Nagara temple.

The same is true of the Chaturmukha Mahadeva temple at Nachna Kuthara.

The process of variegating the temple structure by dividing and subdivinding the body, both horizontally and vertically, was carried alittle further in Central India.

For example, a typical Cental Indian temple is sapta-ratha in plan,and the cube of the cella is divided into seven sections horizontally.

In Orissa we have pancha-ratha plan and panchanga division only.

Further elaboration in the plan gradually evolved and reached their fruitin in the temples of Khajuraho, of which the Kandariya Mahadeva represents the most notable creation.

Other examples belonging to the Cemtral Indian group are:the Keshavanarayana temple, Machchhendranatha temple, Pataleshvara temple in Amarkantak, temples at Gurgi Masaun and Chandrehe, the Chaunsath Yogini temple at Bheraghat near Jabalpur and the Chaunsatha Yogini temple at Khajuraho.

(3)Western India:

In Rajasthan and in Gujarat- Kathiawar territories the development of Nagara style started in shrine of the triratha plan ultimately developing into pancharatha.

It is interesting to note many of the Nagara temples of this region appear to have been provided with a wooden ambulatory around the sanctum cella.

This feature, unkown in early Nagara temples elsewhere, seems to have been derived from a type of early temples, apparently and exceptional growth in this area.

The most emilnent monument of this type and perhaps the earliest (6th century)is a temple at Gop in the Barda hills.

Rajasthan provides us with the earliest remains of a structural shrine(c. 3rd BC),namely the circular structure at Bairat near Jaipur.

Fragments of an amalaka unearthed at Nagari, near Chittor (5th century AD)indicate building activities as early as the Gupta period.

Osia village(ancient Ukesha), near Jodhpur, provides us with about a dozen interesting temples, representing two phases of building activity, one earlu and the other late.

Among the temples of early series, a few are of panchayatana composition, such as the temple of Hari-Hara and the temples dedicated to Surya.

The temples found at Jharlapatan, Ambam and Buchkala also employed in the series of the Osia.

These early temples belong to about eighth-ninth centuries AD.

In Kathiawar-Gujarat region we have temples at Than, Visvavada, Harshadmata, Pindara, Villeshvara, the Sun temples at Sutrapada, Rhoda, and Pasthar, the Navalakha temple at Ghumli, the Ganapati and theMahadeva temples at Miani, tempe of Ranik Devi at Wadhawan, Muni Bhava’s temple near Than, the temple of Trinetreshvara at Tarnetar etc..

(4)Malwa and the Deccan:

A survey of the distribution reveals that this region was sometime under the Paramaras of Malwa.

It was during this period that the type reached its mature expression.

The Samarangana Sultradhara of the Paramara king Bhoja possibly refers to this type as Bhumija(born in the country).

The finest monument of this type is Nilakanthesvara temple at Udaypur in MP, built by the Paramara king Udayaditya.

The temple at Ambaranatha in thane is also an example of this type.

In this flat alluvial tract stone was not easily procurable and theprincipal building material was necessarily brick.

A few dilapidated temples in UP(Parauli, Kurari and Tinduli)are found to exhibit characteristics of the early Nagara temple, but for their preference for circular shape.

In the temple at Parauli(Kanpur)the sanctum cella is circular internally, but externally it is a polygon of sixteen sides, describing the periphery of a circle.

Several temples of similar external shape, but square internally, may be seen at Kurari(Fatehpur)while another,circular externally and square internally, still stands at Tinduli(Fatehpur).

The earliest monument of the Nagaru design in the Himalayan regions may be seen in a group or rock-cut temples at Masrur(Kangra)belonging to the eight century AD A group of structural templs at Baijnatha(Kangra)blonging to the ninth centuty are similar in form and design to the early Nagara temples in Orissa.

Several temples of early Nagara form at Chamba are characterized by pancharatha plan and in the bigger temples panchanga division of the bada.

In the eastern region, a few extant monuments in West Bengal and Chhotanagpur illustrate a familiarity with the Nagara temple conception.

There was an important group at Telkupi(Purulia)which has been submereged now.

Nearby at Para, Doram, Dulmi, etc., there stand a few small and unpretentious temples of Nagara style.

At Barakar(Burdwan) there are four stone temples collectively known as the Begunia group.

One of them belongs to the early phase related to the Paashurameshvara at Bhuvanesvar.

The brick temple at Sat Deulia(Burdwan)also shows similar conception.

The Siddheshvara temple at Bahulara(Bankura), the Jatar Deul in the Sunderbans and two stone temples at Dihar(Bankura), though belonging to eleventh century, show the Nagara style.

Exotic Types:

A few temples erected in the post-Gupta period do not conform to any of the styles.

Such temples are the celebrated Sun temple of Martand, built by Lalitadity Muktapida(AD 724-760), temples at Bangath, Avantipura, Avanteshvar, Avantisvami, Patan, Payar, Buniar and Pandrethan, the colossal brick temple at Paharpur(north Bengal)etc.

The temple at Paharpur belonging to the Palla period approximates fundamentally to the sarvatobhadra type as described in Indian shilpa texts.

The Paharpur style seems to have influenced the temples of Pagan in Burma and the Tjandi Loro Jonggrang and the Tjandi Sewu in Central Java.

Sculpture:

The Gupta sculptor invariably preferred a youthful human figure.

One constituent element of the Gupta art was idealization, which gradually led to the systematization of a series of aesthetic canons in terms of various attitudes(asana), gestures(mudra), flexions(bhanga),proportion and measurement (talamana)and iconographic signs(pratimalakshana).

So far as the theme is concerned, the sculptures of the Gupta period can broadly be divided into two categories

(i) free and independent sculptures mostly of the cult images

(ii) the narrative reliefs

The major orientation in direction of achieving the ‘classical’ form was given at two places:Mathura and Sarnath, leading to the emergence of the two fundamental styles of Gupta sculpture known after the two places of their origin.

The Mathura style represents the phase of transition from the Kushana idiom to the grace and serene dignity of the Gupta classical idal upheld by the sculptures of Sarnath.

Mathura sculpture was made of moderately fine red sandstone.

At Sarnath the material used was cream coloured sandstone which was quite suitable for intricate details and a fine finish.

The earliest dated example of Gupta sculpture, so far known, belongs to the Mathura style found from Bodhgaya.

It is an image of Bodhisatta belonging to the fourth century AD.

Some other famous sculptures of this period are:a reddish brown sandstone head found from Mathura now in the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, a head of Shiva in the stele from Kaushambi, a fourth century Shaivite head from Mathura now in the Calmann Gallery London etc..

The achievements of the fourth century Mathura sculptors, best expressed in the Bodhgaya Bodhisattva image, caught the attention of the sculptors of the other centres including those outside India.

A remarkable example of such a possible derivation is the celebrated fourth century Buddha image in dhyana-mudra at Anuradhapur.

Productions of the Mathura school.

Samapada, the left hand holding up a portion of the sanghati, while the right, which is broken now,presumably showed the abhayamudra.

One of the best productions of the classical phase of Sarnath, and the most celebrated, is the sculpture representing the Buddha as delivering his first sermon.

It shows the master as seated in the vajraparyanka attitude with hands diposed in the teaching gesture(dharmachakramudra).

He is seated on a throne with two leogryphs supporting a linte having markara ends.

On the plinth of throne is the representation of the Wheel of the law, flanked by two deer and seven figures, five of them representing the first adherents of the faith and the remaining two first adherents of the faith and the remaining two possibly the donor coupe.

Behind the head of the Buddha is the circular halo(prabha).

One either side of this nimbus, there is a flying figure of a gandhrava.

Other examples of the Sarnath school are:the head of the Buddha in the Nation Museum, three standing Buddha images, now in the Indian Museum, Calcutta (mentioned above)etc.

After the decline of the Gupta empire, the Gupta art seems to have reached far flung areas developin into many
regional styles.

A few interesting sculptures, like the image of Karttikeya from Banaras, the Ekamukhalinga from Khoh(MP),the Apsara from Gwalior(MP),the image of Ganga from Besnagar (MP)and the sculptures in the Shiva temple at Bhumara(MP)-all belonging to the Gupta period.

The Dashavatara temple at Dergarh has some sculpture depicting interesting formulations of the Gupta classical ideal.

The temple has sculptured friezes adorning the sides of the basement , and three beautiful alto-relivo sculptures in the niches.

The Classical Gupta plastic tradition, as received and interpreted by the sculptors of the Malwa region, is best expressed through the example like the images of Ganga from Besnagar, Apsara from Gwalior, the standing Shiva from Mandasor, the image of Narasimha in the Gwalior Museum, the sculptures on the lintel of the torana at Pawaya, the celebrated carved figures on the live rocks of the Udayagiri caves near Bhilsa, and also the Buddhist figures of the caves at Bagh.

Other important reliefs are:the Varahavatara relief in the Udayagiri caves, and the Bhaja Surya relief.

Two bronze images of the Budda are known from Dhanesar Khera(Banda distict UP), one of them is now in Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City.

Another bronze image of the Buddha comes from Phopnar in MP.

The Dhanesar Khera and Phopnar Buddhas represent a phase of experimentation in the style of metal images in which the touch of the true spirit and techanical diction of the classical Sarnath idiom was still to come.
Sultanganj Buddha, inspired many metal images of the Buddha of the Nalanda and Kurkihar studios of the subsequent period.

The colossal metal image of the Buddha (now in the Birmingham Art Gallery)from Sultanganj(Bihar)is an example of a union between classical Gupta trend and a regional predilection.

Is graceful abhanga posture, transparent drapery, luminosity of the texture of the plastic surface and, above all, to the plastic traditions of Sarnath.

Other examples showing these characteristics are:the Nagini figure from Maniyar Math(Rajpur), the standing image of the Buddha from Biharail(Bangladesh), the gold-plated image of Manjushri in brooze from Mahasthan(north Bengal), the figures of the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna, carved on the door-frames of the temple at Dah Parvatiya(Assam)and also the terracotta plaque from Tamluk(West Bengal)etc.

The sculptors of this region were influenced not only by the Mathura and Sarnath idioms of the Gupta Classical norms but also by the Kshatrapa-Satavahana art represented by the objects hailing from Devni Mori and Mirpur Khas.

The Govardhana-dharana panel from Mandsor, the door panel at Nagari, the bronze figure of Brahma from Mirpur Khan in Sind show influence of Mathura and Sarnath traditions.

The Samlaji-Dungarpur region had yielded a large numberof sculptures remains at places like Samlaji, Kalyanpura, Amjhara and Tanesara-Mahadeva which show the existence of a vital sculptural tradition.

The sculptures of this region are mostly carved of a soft schist of greenish blue that abounds in the Dungarpur area.

The notable examples are: the figure of a male divinity, figure of Kaumari and the representations of the mother and child,all belonging to Tanesara group.

Gupta Terracotta Sculptures:

References to the art of terracotta and clay figurines found in the writings of Kalidasa and Banabhatta.
Great treasures of terracotta figurines discovered from numerous sites of North India.

Harwan in Kashmir, Hanumangarh and Bikaner in Rajasthan, Sari Bahol, Takht-Bahi, Jamalgarh in Punjab, Brahmanabad and Mirpur Khas in Sind, Pawaya in MP, Sahet Maheth, Kasia,Kosham, Bhitargaon.,Bhita. Ahichchhatra and Rajghat in UP, Basarh in Bihar and Mahasthan, Tamluk and Bangarh in Bengal.

Society:

Caste system:

The formation of castes from tribal groups is a charcteristci of all periods of Indian history and the Gupta period is no exception.

The Mahishyas, a tribal people, are not recongnized in the Manusmriti, but they find a place in the social scheme of later writers like Yajnavalkya.

The Yavanas ans Shakas are regarded by Patanjalias anirvasita shudra, but they are included Manu in the list of degraded kshatriyas.

The son of a Brahmana father and kshatriya mother is called murdhabhishikta by some, and kshatriya by others, the second view being supported by several inscriptions.

The Hunas ultimately became recognized as one of the 36 respectable Rajput clams.

A number of other Rajput clans such as Paramara, Pratihara, Chahamana, Chalukya(Solank), Kalachrui etc.were also probably of foreign origin.

The formation of castes out of professional communities is also in evidence from the works like the Manusmriti.

By the tenth century Kayasthas had lost their original official and professional charcter and became a social class or community in some parts of the country.

The crystallization of the community into a caste may have been influenced by the adoption of the clerial profession by most members of an old tribe called Karna.

Another important feature of the period was the increasing use of cogno-mens which had started during the early centuries of the Chirstian era and was known in the earlier period of Indian history.

According to later nibandhakara, such as Yama and Shatalapa,the names brahmanas should end in words like sharmam or deva, those of kshatriyas in varman, trata etc., those of the vaishyas in gupta, data, bhuti etc. and those of the shudras in dasa.

The chief officers of a guild of oilmen at Indore were kshatriyas.

In an inscription of the time of Chandragupta II some kshatriyas are described as merchants.

A section of the silk-weavers of Lata adopted such professions as that of an archer, a story-teller, as exponent of religipus problems, as astrologer, as warrior and as an ascetic.

Yajnavalkya permits the shudras to become traders and agriculturists.

Hiuan-tsang refers to the shudras as and agriculture class in the seventh century, whilein the eleventh century Alberuni found no great difference between the vaishyas and the shudras.

At the lowest level the groups were called antyajas who represented the impure fifth social grade outside the four-varna and followed various kinds of despised professions.

Fa-hien says that the chandalas lived apart from other villages.

When they entered a city or a market place they struck pieces of wood to mark their presence so that men might avoid coming into their contact.

Hiuan-tsabg says: ‘Butchers, fishermen, public performners, executioners and scavengers have their habitations marked bya distinguishing signs.

They are forced to live outside the city and sneak along on the left when going about in the hamlets.

According to Alberuni, the Hindus of north-western India regarded foreigners as impure.

The social position of the slaves appear to have been better than of the antyajas.

Marriage and Family:

The ideal form of marriage was that between a bride and bridegroom of the same caster, although it was inaccurately called savarana marriage.

But asavarna and intercaste marriagaes were also known, especially in the royal families.
Some of the practice regarding marriage and prescribed in early works grandually cam to be obsolete and were
ultimately called kali-varjya.

The Manusmriti rather reluctantly admints the validity of anuloma marriages, while the Yajnavalkyasmriti does not regard even pratiloma marriages as entirely invalid.

Yajnavalkya allows the son of a shudra wife to inherit the property of his Brahman father, although Brihaspati recognizes the right only in the case of movable property but not in regard to land.

Yajnavalkya permits the wife of a lowe varna to participate in religious ceremony only if the husband had no wife of his own varna.

As regards intercaste marriages of both the pratiloma and anuloma types in royal families, we may refer to the marriage of a daughter of Kakusthavarman of the brahmana Kadamba family with a bridegroom of the non-brahman Gupta family(S.R. Goyal considers Guptas to be brahmanas themselves), and to that of the Gupta princes Prabhavatigupta with Vakataka Rudrasena II who was a brahmana of the Vishnuvriddha gotra.

This shows that there was no sampradana and the consequent gotrantara in her marriage with the Vakataka prince.

Prabhavatigupta’s mother Kuberanga also retained her father’s family name even after her marriage in the Gupta family.

But marriages which were not based on sampradana and did not involve a gotrantara went gradually out of use, at least among the ordinary people.

The system of niyoga, approved of by early writers like Manu, became gradually extinct.

Brihaspati was not in favour of it.

The remarriage of widows was looked upon with disfavour.

Narada and Parashara permit remarriage of widows under certain circumstances.

But both niyoga and widow remarriage ultimately came to be regarded as kali-varjya.

In the sixth century AD, Devichandragupta accepted the remarriage of Dhruvadevi.

But in later periods we do not find any such marriages.

The social position of the remarried widow called punarbhu, is nearer to that of a mistress than to that of a wedded wife.

The Kamasutra refers to anumarana and Eran inscription of AD 510 refers to it.

Sources of Guptas:

We all know that the ancient Indian scripts remained undeciphered for long time.

The earliest efforts to have read by Feroz Shah Tughluq and Akbar had failed.

However, the sustained efforts of the British scholars yielded fruits and the Ashoken inscriptions were read by James Princep.

Before Princep could finally read the Brahmi scripts many partially successful attempts were made by Charles Wilkins, Captain Troyer and W.H. Mill.

Charles Wilkins was able to read almost half of the letters of the Gupta alphabet by 1789.

In 1834, Captain Troyer read a part of the Allahabad Pillar inscription of Samudragupta.

In 1837 W.H. Mill deciphered the Bhitari Pillar inscription of Skandagupta.

Finally James princes not only read the earliest Brahmi script, but also successfully read a host of inscriptions of the Gupta period and in 1871 a table of the Gupta alphabet was published.

General Cunningham was able to solve many vexed problems.

He had suggested AD 319 as the initial year of the era used in the Gupta inscriptions though he later retracted from his position.

In 1888 J.F.Fleet published the epigraphs belonging to the Gupta dynasty in the vol.III of the Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum.

Epigraphy, though conventionally regarded as a branch of archaeology, is in fact much more closer to the evidence of literary variety.

The Gupta epigraphs may broadly be divided into two groups.
First group consists of private records which generally records the donations in favour of religious establishmts.

The epigraphs of the second group is also divided into two groups

(i) prashastis or purvas

(ii) tamra shasanas.

The epigraphs commemorating particular achievements or kirit of a king were called prashastis or purvas.
Kalhana calls them pratishtha shasanas which is slightly different from pure prashastis.

The tamra-shasanas on the other hand record the grants made in favour of learned brahmanas, religious institutions or deserving individuals and officials.

They are generally engraved on copper-plates and seldom on stone slabs.

The Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta , and the undated Mandsor inscription of Yashodharman, the Mehrauli stone inscription of Chandra, Eran stone inscription of Samudragupta, Junagrh rock inscription of Skandagupta and Bhitari pillar inscription of Skandagupta belong to the pure prashasti genre.

The other inscriptions of the Gupta period are as follows.
1. Nalanda copper plate of Samudragupta
2. Gaya copper plate of Samudragupta.
3. Matjura Pillar inscription of the time of Chandragupta II.
4. Sanchi stone inscription of the time of Chandragupta II.
5. Mathura stone inscription of the time of Chandragupta II.
6. Bilsad pillar inscription (Kumaragupta I).
7. Two Gadhwa stone inscriptions (Kumaragupta I).
8. Udaigiri cave inscription(Kumaragupta I).
9. Dhanaidaha copper plate(Kumaragupta I).
10. Mathura Jain image inscription (Kumaragupta I).
11. Tumain stone inscription(Kumaragupta I).
12. Karamdanda Brahmanical image inscription (Kumaragupta I).
13. Kulaikuri stone inscription (Kumaragupta I).
14. Two Damodarapur copper plates (Kumaragupta I).
15. Baigram copper plate (Kumaragupta I).
16. Mankuwar Buddhist image inscription (Kumaragupta I).
17. Indor copper plate of Skandagupta.
18. Kahaum pillar inscription(Skandagupta).
19. Supia (Rewa) pillar inscription (Skandagupta).
20. Paharpur copper plate of Buddhagupta.
21. Damodarpur copper plate of Buddhagupta 22. Eran pillar inscription(Buddhagupta).
23. Gunaighar coppe plate of Vainyagupta.

Cave inscriptions, many
1. Two Udaigiri cave inscriptions (Chandragupta II’ reign)
2. Udaigiri cave inscriptions (Kumaragupta I’s reign).
3. Basarh clay seals of Govindagupta (Chandragupta II’s reign).
4. Basarh clay seals of Ghatotkachagupta (Kumaragupta I’s reign).
5. Nalanda clay seal of Narasimhagupta.
6. Bhitari seal(Kumaragupta II’reign)
7. Nalanda seal (Kumaragupta II’ reign)
8. Nalanda seal (Buddhagupta’s reign)
9. Nalanda seal of Vishnugupta.
10 .Naland seal of Vainyagupta.
11. Mathura Jain image inscription(Kumaragupta I’s reign).
12. Karamdanda Brahmanical image inscription (Kumaragupta I’s reign).
13. Mankuwar Buddhist image inscription (Kumaragupta I’s reign).
14. Sarnath Buddhist image inscription (Kumaragupta II’s reign)
15. Sarnath Buddhist image inscription (Buddhagupta’s reign).

The first hoard of the Gupta gold coins was discovered as early as 1783 at Kalight.

Later on many such hoards were discovered.

In 1914 Allan published his famous Catalogue of the Coins of the Gupta Dynasties in which the coins found at Bharsar(1851), Jessore(1852), Hugli(1883),Tanda(1885), Kotwa(1885),Basti(1887), Hazipur(1893) and Tekri Debra(1910)were put together .

Later, A.S. Altekar published his Coinage of the Gupta Empire in which the coins found at Kasarva(1914), Mitathal (1915), Sakori(1914),Kumarakhan(1953) and Bayana(1946) were included.

The Bayana hoard is the biggest hoard of the Gupta gold coins discovered so far.

From the ashvamedha type coins of Kumaragupta I we know that he performed this expensive sacrifice.

From Chandragupta I-Kumaradevi type we know the importance of Gupta-Lichchhavi alliance.

The coin-types issued by Samudragupta create the impression that his reign was marked by unusual military activity while the types issued by Chandragupta II give the limpression that in his reign the atmosphere in the Gupta court had become more sober and sophisticated.
The Gupta kings rarely announce their full titles their coins, through they invariable mention their personal epithiets.
On the other hand, the Gupta rulers inscribed on their coins legends announcing their meritorious deeds.
This is in contrast to the coins issued by the foreign rulers.
The coinage of the successors of Kumaragupta I reveal a gradual decline in their artistic exectution and fineness.
It not only indicates the general deterioration in the economic condition of the empire but also helps us in assigning a probable date to a king who is not known from other sources.
The coins of Chandragupt I follow the standard of 121 grains.
The same is the case with most of the coins of Samudragupta though some of them are even lighter and weigh in the vicinity of 115 and 118.
The coins of Chandragupta II follow three weight standards of 121, 124 and 127 grains.
In the reign of Kumaragupta I the standard of 127 grains acquired the greatest popularity.
In Chandragupta II’s time 121 was the most popular.
Skandagupta gave upall these standards and adopted the standard 132 grains for his so-called King-and-Lakshmi type and variety A of the Archer type.
For the variety B of the latter he adopted the suvarna standard of 144 grains though usually the coins of this type weigh in the vicuinity of 141.5 grains only.
His successors generally followed the national standard(144 grains)though with the passage of time, their coins became heavier.
The coins of the later imperial Guptas are more heavily adulterated with alloy than the coins of the early rulers.
The coins of Chandragupta 1 have less than 9% of alloy and those of Samudragupta and Chandragupta II 10% to15%.
But the Archer-type coins of Kumaragupt I and the coinage of subsequent rulers contain an alloy ranging nearly between 20%to 30%while some coin attributed to Narasimhagupta and Kumaragupta Kramaditya have as much as 465% of alloy.
Vishnugupta who was probably the last emperor of the dynasty.
His coins have only 43% of pure gold.
Till now twenty-four hoards of Gupta coins have been discovered.
Fourteen of them are located in eastern UP, two each in Bengal and Bihar, three in MP and one each in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

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