Gupta Empire : Chandragupta, Samudragupta, Kumargupta, Skandagupta and Post Gupta Empire

Some 500 years after the collapse of Mauryan empire, a new dynasty called Gupta’s arose in Magadha. It was
unded by Sri Gupta. The important rulers of Gupta period are as follows

Chandragupta  l

He was the first Gupta ruler to assume the title of Maharajadhiraj.

He strengthenedhis empire by establishing matrimonial alliance with the family of Lichchhavis and occupied the whole of the fertile Ganga valley (Magadha, Prayag, Saket).

Samudragupta

He is the greatest ruler of the Gupta dynasty and is described as the “Napoleon of India” by V.A. Smith.

The most detailed record of his reign is preserved in Allahabad Pillar inscription, written by his court poet Harisena.

According to the Chinese writer Wang- Hiuen-Tse, Meghavarman (ruler of Sri Lanka) sent a missionary tO his court for permission to built a Buddhist.

He assumed the titles of Kaviraja and Param Bhagvat.

Chandragupta II

According to ‘Devi Chandragupta’ (Vishakhadatta), Chandragupta assumed the throne by defeating Kamgupta.

His court was adorned by Navaratnas, among whom the important once were Kalidas, Amarsimha and Varahamihira.

Fahein, (Chinese pilgrim), visited India during Chandragupta’s reign.

Kumargupta I

He adopted the title of Mahendraditya and introduced worship of God Kartikeya.

He founded Nalanda Mahavihara, which later developed into the great centre of learning

Skandagupta

He was the last great ruler of the Gupta dynasty and assumed the titles of Vikramaditya and Kramaditya.

Huns invasion took place during the reign of Skandagupta.

Post Gupta Period

The decline of the Gupta’s resulted in the emergence of various regional kingdoms.These kingdoms are as follows

Pushyabhuti Dynasty/Vardhana Dynasty

This dynasty was founded at Thaneswar (Kurukshetra,Haryana) by Pushyabhuti.

Harshavardhan, also known as Siladitya, was the greatest ruler of the dynasty, who established his capital at Kannauj.

Harsha maintained diplomatic relations with China. Hiuen-Tsang, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim, visited India during Harsha’s reign.

Chalukyan ruler Pulakeshin II of Vatapi inflicted a decisive-defeat on him at the bank of river Narmada.

Harshavardhan wrote three plays namely Nagananda, Ratnavali Priyadarshika and his court poet Banabhatta wrote Harshacharitra and Kadambari.

Chalukyas of Vatapi

The Vakataka power was followed by Chalukyas, established their capital at Vatapi/Badami. Jayasimha was the founder of this dynasty.

Pallava ruler Narsimhavarman Mammala invaded the Chalukya kingdom, captured Vatapi and assumed the title of Vatapikonda.

In AD 757, Chalukyas were overthrown by Rashtrakutas.

Chalukyas began the Vesara style of temple building examples include Ladh Khan 1Temple (Aihole), Vishnu Temple (Aihole), Durga Temple (Aihole) etc

The Gangas

Also called Chedagangas of Odisha.

Their king Narsimhadeva coustructed the Sun Temple at Konark.

Their king Anantvarman Ganga built the famous Jagannath Temple at Puri.

Pallavas of Kanchi

The kingdom was founded by Simhavishnu with its capital at Kanchi.

Narsinmhavarman was their greatest ruler who founded the town of Mamallapuram, where the famous Ratha Temple was constructed by him.

Pallavas began the Dravida style of temple architecture,examples, Shore temple (Mamallapuram), Kailashnathtemple (Kanchi) etc.

Sangam Period

Sangam was a college or assembly of Tamil poets held probably under the royal patronage of Pandayan king of Madurai.

According to the tradition, the first Sangam was held at Ten-Madurai (chaired by Agastya), second Sangam took place at Alvai (chaired by Tolkapiyyar), third Sangam took place at North Madurai (chaired by Nakkirar).

Three ancient kingdoms of the Sangam period are as follows

1. The Cheras (Emblem-Bow)

The Cheras occupied the region of modern day Kerala and Tamil Nadu, with their capital at Vanji. Muzris and Tondi were their main ports.

Udiyangeral was one of the earliest known Chera king. It is believed that he fed both the armies of Kurukshetra war and so earned the title Udiyangeral.

2.The Cholas (Emblem-Tiger) 

The Chola kingdom known as Cholamandalam was situated between the Pennar and Vellar rivers, which corresponded to the modern day Tanjore andnH-olor Tiruchchirapalli districts.

Uraiyaur (known for cotton trade) was their capital and Puhar was their main port.

Elara was their earliest ruler and Karikala was their greatest ruler, who founded Puhar (Kaveripattanam) and constructed embankment along the Kaveri river.

Cholas were wiped out by Pallavas.

3. The Pandayas (Emblem-Fish)

The Pandyan territory includes the modern districts ofTirunelvelli, Ramadan and Madurai in Tamil Nadu. It was situated on the banks of river Vaigai with its capital at
Madurai.

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