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The GUPTA EMPIRE was an ancient Indian empire founded by Sri Gupta . The empire existed at its zenith from approximately 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian subcontinent . The peace and prosperity created under the leadership of the Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. This period is called the Golden Age of India
India
and was marked by extensive inventions and discoveries in science, technology , engineering , art , dialectic , literature , logic , mathematics , astronomy , religion , and philosophy that crystallized the elements of what is generally known as Hindu
Hindu
culture . Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
, Samudragupta
Samudragupta
, and Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
were the most notable rulers of the Gupta
Gupta
dynasty. The 4th century CE Sanskrit
Sanskrit
poet Kalidasa credits the Guptas with having conquered about twenty-one kingdoms, both in and outside India, including the kingdoms of Parasikas , the Hunas , the Kambojas
Kambojas
, tribes located in the west and east Oxus
Oxus
valleys , the Kinnaras , Kiratas etc.

The high points of this period are the great cultural developments which took place during the reign of Chandragupta II. All literary sources like Mahabharata and Ramayana
Ramayana
were canonised during this period The Gupta
Gupta
period produced scholars such as Kalidasa , Aryabhata
Aryabhata
, Varahamihira , Vishnu Sharma and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta
Gupta
era. Strong trade ties also made the region an important cultural center and set the region up as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma
Burma
, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
, and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
. The earliest available Indian epics are also thought to have been committed to written texts around this period.

The empire gradually declined because of many factors such as substantial loss of territory and imperial authority caused by their own erstwhile feudatories and the invasion by the Huna peoples ( Kidarites and Alchon Huns ) from Central Asia
Central Asia
. After the collapse of the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
in the 6th century, India
India
was again ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. A minor line of the Gupta
Gupta
clan continued to rule Magadha
Magadha
after the disintegration of the empire. These Guptas were ultimately ousted by Vardhana ruler Harsha
Harsha
, who established his empire in the first half of the 7th century.

CONTENTS

* 1 Origin

* 1.1 Original homeland of the Guptas

* 2 History

* 2.1 Srigupta and Ghatotkacha * 2.2 Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
* 2.3 Samudragupta
Samudragupta
* 2.4 Ramagupta

* 2.5 Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
"Vikramaditya"

* 2.5.1 Chandragupta II\'s Campaigns against Foreign Tribes * 2.5.2 Fa-Hien

* 2.6 Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
* 2.7 Skandagupta * 2.8 Decline of the empire

* 3 Military organization * 4 Religion * 5 Gupta
Gupta
administration * 6 Legacy of the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
* 7 Art and architecture * 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 External links

ORIGIN

Main article: Origin of the Gupta dynasty

Gupta
Gupta
Empire 320 CE–550 CE

Sri Gupta (240 – 280)

Ghatotkacha (280 – 319)

Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
(320 – 335)

Kachagupta (335)

Samudragupta
Samudragupta
(335 – 380)

Ramagupta

Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
(380 – 413/415)

Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
(415 – 455)

Skandagupta (455 - 467)

Purugupta (467 – 473)

Kumaragupta II (473 - 476)

Budhagupta (476 – 495)

Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
(495 – ?)

( Bhanugupta ) (circa 510)

Vainyagupta (circa 507)

Kumaragupta III
Kumaragupta III
(circa 530)

Vishnugupta (540 – 550)

* v * t * e

According to many historians, the Gupta
Gupta
dynasty was a _ Vaishya _ dynasty. Historian Ram Sharan Sharma asserts that the _Vaishya_ Guptas "appeared as a reaction against oppressive rulers". A.S. Altekar , a historian and archaeologist, who has written several books on Gupta
Gupta
coinage , also regarded the caste of the Guptas as Vaishya on the basis of the ancient Indian texts on law, which prescribe the name-ending with Gupta
Gupta
for a member of the _Vaishya_ caste. According to historian Michael C. Brannigan, the rise of the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
was one of the most prominent violations of the caste system in ancient India.

Furthermore, it is not yet discovered whether the term Gupta indicated a surname of a specific family or referred to a clan . However Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
records and Chinese records provided by the later I-Tsing , furnished the names of the first three rulers of the Gupta Dynasty, Maharaja Sri Gupta, Maharaja Sri Ghatotkacha and Ghatotokacha's son, Maharajadhiraja Sri Chandragupta , considered the first Gupta
Gupta
emperor . Recently, a historian, Ashvini Agarwal, on the basis of the matrimonial alliances of the Guptas with the Vakataka
Vakataka
, assumed that they belong to the Brahman caste. Another modern historian, S. Chattopaddhyaya, has put forth a different theory about the ancestry of the Guptas. According to him, in the Panchobh Copper Plate , some kings bearing the title Guptas and related to the imperial Gupta
Gupta
Dynasty, claimed themselves as Vaishyas . Historian D. R. Regmi, says Imperial Guptas were descendants of Abhira-Guptas.

ORIGINAL HOMELAND OF THE GUPTAS

There is controversy among scholars about the original homeland of the Guptas. Jayaswal has pointed out that the Guptas were originally inhabitants of Prayaga
Prayaga
(Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
, in north India, as the vassal of the Nagas or Bhaarshivas . Thereafter they rose in prominence. Another scholar, Gayal supported the theory of Jaiswal, suggesting that the original home of the Guptas was Antarvedi embracing the regions of Oudh and Prayag . These historians have derived their theory from several Gupta
Gupta
Dynasty coins found in those regions, and this study of numismatic evidence led to the theory that the Guptas were the original inhabitants of that region of northeastern India. However another historian of this time in Indian history, Ganguli, has offered a different view about the original Gupta
Gupta
homeland. According to him the Guptas homeland is further south, the Murshidabad
Murshidabad
region of Bengal
Bengal
, and not Magadha
Magadha
in Bihar
Bihar
. He based his theory on the statement of the Chinese Buddhist
Buddhist
monk, Yijing (I-Tsing), who visited India
India
during 675 and 695 CE. Fleet and other historians however criticize Ganguli's theory because Sri Gupta ruled during the end of the 3rd century, but Yijing placed him at the end of the 2nd century. Hence the theory of historians, who have provided their views based on the accounts of Yijing, are considered less valid than theories based on other sources such as coinage.

From these theories, several conflicting opinions about the original homeland and the Empire
Empire
of the Guptas are available. According to Allan and a few other scholars, the Guptas were initially concentrated in the region of Magadha
Magadha
and from there they extended their sway to Bengal. According to other groups, the original homeland of the Guptas was Varendri or the Varendra Bhumi in Bengal, wherefrom they extended their Empire
Empire
to Magadha. Whatever the theory is, the rule of the Guptas initiated the Golden Age in history of ancient India
India
and with passage of time they became the sole authority of entire Northern India.

Bengali historians like HC Raychoudhuri the Guptas originated from the Varendri region which is now part of Rangpur and Rajshahi Division of modern-day Bangladesh
Bangladesh
. DC Ganguly, on the other hand, considers the surrounding region of Murshidabad
Murshidabad
as the original home of the Guptas.

HISTORY

SRIGUPTA AND GHATOTKACHA

The most likely time for the reign of Sri Gupta is c. 240–280. The Murundas who were feudal lords of Kushans provided or granted land to Srigupta. He can be called the first person of Gupta's empire but not the founder of the empire.His son and successor Ghatotkacha ruled presumably from c. 280–319. He challenged other feudal lords and conquered their lands . In contrast to his successor, Chandragupta I, who is mentioned as _Maharajadhiraja_, he and his son Ghatotkacha are referred to in inscriptions as _Maharaja_ At the beginning of the 4th century, the Guptas established and ruled a few small Hindu
Hindu
kingdoms in Magadha
Magadha
and around modern-day Bihar
Bihar
.

Yijing also mentioned about Sri Gupta in his writings. He was succeeded by his son Ghatotkacha.

CHANDRAGUPTA I

Main article: Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
Queen Kumaradevi and King Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
, depicted on a coin of their son Samudragupta
Samudragupta
, 335–380.

Ghatotkacha (reigned c. 280–319 CE), had a son named Chandragupta (reigned c. 320–335 CE) (not to be confused with Chandragupta Maurya (322–298 BCE), founder of the Mauryan Empire
Mauryan Empire
.) In a breakthrough deal, Chandragupta was married to Kumaradevi, a Lichchhavi princess—the main power in Magadha. With a dowry of the kingdom of Magadha
Magadha
(capital Pataliputra
Pataliputra
) and an alliance with the Licchavis of Nepal, Chandragupta set about expanding his power, conquering much of Magadha, Prayaga
Prayaga
and Saketa . He established a realm stretching from the Ganges River to Prayaga
Prayaga
(modern-day Allahabad
Allahabad
) by 321. He assumed the imperial title of _Maharajadhiraja_. He expanded his empire through marriage alliances.

SAMUDRAGUPTA

Main article: Samudragupta
Samudragupta
Coin
Coin
of Samudragupta, with Garuda pillar. British Museum
British Museum
.

Samudragupta
Samudragupta
, _Parakramanka_ succeeded his father in 335, and ruled for about 45 years, until his death in 380. He took the kingdoms of Ahichchhatra and Padmavati early in his reign. He then attacked the Malwas , the Yaudheyas , the Arjunayanas , the Maduras and the Abhiras , all of which were tribes in the area. By his death in 380, he had incorporated over twenty kingdoms into his realm and his rule extended from the Himalayas
Himalayas
to the river Narmada
Narmada
and from the Brahmaputra to the Yamuna . He gave himself the titles _King of Kings_ and _World Monarch_. Historian Vincent Smith described him as the "Indian Napoleon". He performed Ashwamedha yajna in which a horse with an army is sent to all the nearby territories of friends and foes.These territorial kings on arrival either accept the King's alliance, who is performing this yajna or fight if they don't. The stone replica of the horse, then prepared, is in the Lucknow Museum. The Samudragupta Prashasti inscribed on the Ashokan Pillar, now in Akbar’s Fort at Allahabad, is an authentic record of his exploits and his sway over most of the continent.

Samudragupta
Samudragupta
was not only a talented military leader but also a great patron of art and literature. He conquered what is now Kashmir
Kashmir
and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
enlarging the empire. The critical scholars present in his court were Harishena, Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
and Asanga . He was a poet and musician himself. He was a firm believer in Hinduism and is known to have worshipped Lord Vishnu
Vishnu
. He was considerate of other religions and allowed Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
's Buddhist
Buddhist
king Sirimeghvanna to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya
. That monastery was called by Xuanzang as the _Mahabodhi Sangharama_. He provided a gold railing around the Bodhi Tree.

RAMAGUPTA

Head of Tirthankara
Tirthankara
, Mathura Museum Main article: Ramagupta

Although, the narrative of the _Devichandragupta_ is not supported by any contemporary epigraphical evidence, the historicity of Rama Gupta is proved by his Durjanpur inscriptions on three Jaina images, where he is mentioned as the _Maharajadhiraja_. A large number of his copper coins also have been found from the Eran
Eran
- Vidisha
Vidisha
region and classified in five distinct types, which include the _Garuda_, _Garudadhvaja_, _lion_ and _border legend_ types. The Brahmi
Brahmi
legends on these coins are written in the early Gupta
Gupta
style. In the opinion of art historian Dr. R. A. Agarawala, D. Litt., Rama Gupta
Gupta
may be the eldest son of Samudragupta. He became king because of being the eldest. It may be a possibility that he was dethroned because of not being the worthy enough to rule and his younger brother Chandragupta II took over.

CHANDRAGUPTA II "VIKRAMADITYA"

Main article: Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
Krishna
Krishna
fighting the horse demon Keshi, 5th century

According to the Gupta
Gupta
records, amongst his sons, Samudragupta nominated prince Chandragupta II, born of queen Dattadevi, as his successor. Chandragupta II, _Vikramaditya_ (the Sun of Power), ruled from 375 until 415. He married a Kadamba princess of Kuntala and of Naga lineage (_Nāgakulotpannnā_), Kuberanaga. His daughter Prabhavatigupta from this Naga queen was married to Rudrasena II , the Vakataka
Vakataka
ruler of Deccan . His son Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
was married to Kadamba princess of Karnataka region. Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
expanded his realm westwards, defeating the Saka Western Kshatrapas of Malwa
Malwa
, Gujarat
Gujarat
and Saurashtra in a campaign lasting until 409, but with his main opponent Rudrasimha III defeated by 395, and crushing the Bengal (Vanga) chiefdoms. This extended his control from coast-to-coast, established a second capital at Ujjain
Ujjain
and was the high point of the empire. Gold coins of Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
.

Despite the creation of the empire through war, the reign is remembered for its very influential style of Hindu
Hindu
art, literature, culture and science, especially during the reign of Chandragupta II. Some excellent works of Hindu
Hindu
art such as the panels at the Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh serve to illustrate the magnificence of Gupta
Gupta
art. Above all it was the synthesis of elements that gave Gupta art its distinctive flavour. During this period, the Guptas were supportive of thriving Buddhist
Buddhist
and Jain
Jain
cultures as well, and for this reason there is also a long history of non- Hindu
Hindu
Gupta
Gupta
period art. In particular, Gupta
Gupta
period Buddhist art
Buddhist art
was to be influential in most of East and Southeast Asia. Many advances were recorded by the Chinese scholar and traveller Faxian (Fa-hien) in his diary and published afterwards.

The court of Chandragupta was made even more illustrious by the fact that it was graced by the _Navaratna_ (Nine Jewels), a group of nine who excelled in the literary arts. Amongst these men was the immortal Kālidāsa whose works dwarfed the works of many other literary geniuses, not only in his own age but in the years to come. Kalidasa was mainly known for his subtle exploitation of the _shringara_ (romantic) element in his verse.

Chandragupta II\'s Campaigns Against Foreign Tribes

4th century Sanskrit
Sanskrit
poet Kalidasa , credits Chandragupta Vikramaditya with having conquered about twenty one kingdoms, both in and outside India. After finishing his campaign in the East and West India, Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II) proceeded northwards, subjugated the Parasikas , then the Hunas and the Kambojas
Kambojas
tribes located in the west and east Oxus
Oxus
valleys respectively. Thereafter, the king proceeds across the Himalaya
Himalaya
and reduced the Kinnaras , Kiratas etc. and lands into India
India
proper.

The _Brihatkathamanjari_ of the Kashmiri writer Kshemendra states, King Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II) had "unburdened the sacred earth of the Barbarians like the Sakas , Mlecchas , Kambojas
Kambojas
, Yavanas , Tusharas , Parasikas , Hunas, etc. by annihilating these sinful Mlecchas completely".

Fa-Hien

Fa Hien , a Chinese Buddhist
Buddhist
, was one of the pilgrims who visited India
India
during the reign of Gupta
Gupta
emperor Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
. He started his journey from China
China
in 399 and reached India
India
in 405. During his stay in India
India
up to 411, he went on a pilgrimage to Mathura , Kannauj , Kapilavastu , Kushinagar , Vaishali , Pataliputra
Pataliputra
, Kashi and Rajagriha and made careful observations about the empire's conditions. Fa Hien was pleased with the mildness of administration. The Penal Code was mild and offences were punished by fines only. From his accounts, the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
was a prosperous period, until the Rome- China
China
trade axis was broken with the fall of the Han dynasty, the Guptas' did indeed prosper. His writings form one of the most important sources for the history of this period.

KUMARAGUPTA I

Main article: Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
Silver coin of the Gupta
Gupta
King Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
( Coin
Coin
of his Western territories, design derived from the Western Satraps ). _Obv_: Bust of king with crescents, with traces of corrupt Greek script. _Rev_: Garuda
Garuda
standing facing with spread wings. Brahmi
Brahmi
legend: _Parama-bhagavata rajadhiraja Sri Kumaragupta Mahendraditya_. Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
in 450 CE

Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
was succeeded by his second son Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
, born of _Mahadevi_ Dhruvasvamini. Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
assumed the title, _Mahendraditya_. He ruled until 455. Towards the end of his reign a tribe in the Narmada
Narmada
valley, the Pushyamitras , rose in power to threaten the empire. The Kidarites as well probably confronted the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
towards the end of the rule of Kumaragupta I, as his son Skandagupta mentions in the Bhitari pillar inscription his efforts at reshaping a country in disarray, through reorganization and military victories over the Pushyamitras and the Hunas .

He was the founder of Nalanda
Nalanda
University which on July 15, 2016 was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site.

SKANDAGUPTA

Main article: Skandagupta

Skandagupta , son and successor of Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
is generally considered to be the last of the great Gupta
Gupta
rulers. He assumed the titles of _Vikramaditya_ and _Kramaditya_. He defeated the Pushyamitra threat, but then was faced with invading Kidarites (sometimes described as the Hephthalites or "White Huns", known in India
India
as the Sweta Huna ), from the northwest.

He repulsed a _Huna_ attack c. 455, But the expense of the wars drained the empire's resources and contributed to its decline. The Bhitari Pillar inscription of Skandagupta , the successor of Chandragupta, recalls the near-annihilation of the Gupta
Gupta
Empire following the attacks of the Kidarites . The Kidarites seem to have retained the western part of the Gupta
Gupta
Empire.

Skandagupta died in 467 and was succeeded by his agnate brother Purugupta .

DECLINE OF THE EMPIRE

The Alchon Huns under Toramana and his son Mihirakula
Mihirakula
(here depicted) gravely weakened the Gupta
Gupta
Empire.

Following Skandagupta's death, the empire was clearly in decline. He was followed by Purugupta (467–473), Kumaragupta II (473–476), Budhagupta (476–495), Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
(495—?), Kumaragupta III (530—540), Vishnugupta (540—550), two lesser known kings namely, Vainyagupta and Bhanugupta .

In the 480's the Alchon Huns under Toramana and Mihirakula
Mihirakula
broke through the Gupta
Gupta
defenses in the northwest, and much of the empire in the northwest was overrun by the Huns by 500. The empire disintegrated under the attacks of Toramana and his successor Mihirakula
Mihirakula
. It appears from inscriptions that the Guptas, although their power was much diminished, continued to resist the Huns. The Hun invader Toramana was defeated by Bhanugupta in 510. The Huns were defeated and driven out of India
India
in 528 by king Yashodharman from Malwa
Malwa
and possibly Gupta
Gupta
emperor Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
. The much-weakened Late Guptas, circa 550 CE.

These invasions, although only spanning a few decades, had long term effects on India, and in a sense brought an end to Classical Indian civilization . Soon after the invasions, the Gupta
Gupta
Empire, already weakened by these invasions and the rise of local rulers such as Yashodharman , ended as well. Following the invasions, northern India was left in disarray, with numerous smaller Indian powers emerging after the crumbling of the Guptas. The Huna invasions are said to have seriously damaged India's trade with Europe
Europe
and Central Asia
Central Asia
. In particular, Indo-Roman trade relations , which the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
had greatly benefited from. The Guptas had been exporting numerous luxury products such as silk , leather goods, fur, iron products, ivory , pearl or pepper from centers such as Nasik
Nasik
, Paithan , Pataliputra
Pataliputra
or Benares
Benares
etc. The Huna invasion probably disrupted these trade relations and the tax revenues that came with them.

Furthermore, Indian urban culture was left in decline, and Buddhism
Buddhism
, gravely weakened by the destruction of monasteries and the killing of monks, started to collapse. Great centers of learning were destroyed, such as the city of Taxila
Taxila
, bringing cultural regression. During their rule of 60 years, the Alchons are said to have altered the hierarchy of ruling families and the Indian cast system . For example, the Hunas are often said to have become the precursors of the Rajputs .

The succession of the 6th-century Guptas is not entirely clear, but the tail end recognized ruler of the dynasty's main line was king Vishnugupta , reigning from 540 to 550. In addition to the Hun invasion, the factors, which contribute to the decline of the empire include competition from the Vakatakas and the rise of Yashodharman in Malwa
Malwa
.

The last known inscription by a Gupta
Gupta
emperor is from the reign of Vishnugupta (the Damodarpur copper-plate inscription), in which he makes a land grant in the area of Kotivarsha ( Bangarh in West Bengal
Bengal
) in 542/543 CE. This follows the occupation of most of northern and central India
India
by the Aulikara ruler Yashodharman circa 532 CE.

MILITARY ORGANIZATION

Gold coin of Gupta
Gupta
era, depicting Gupta
Gupta
king Kumaragupta holding a bow. Sculpture of Vishnu
Vishnu
(red sandstone), 5th century CE

The Imperial Guptas couldn't have achieved their successes through force of arms without an efficient martial system. Historically, the best accounts of this come not from the Hindus themselves but from Chinese and Western observers. However, a contemporary Indian document, regarded as a military classic of the time, the _Siva-Dhanur-veda_, offers some insight into the military system of the Guptas.

The Guptas seem to have relied heavily on infantry archers, and the bow was one of the dominant weapons of their army. The Hindu
Hindu
version of the longbow was composed of metal, or more typically bamboo, and fired a long bamboo cane arrow with a metal head. Unlike the composite bows of Western and Central Asian foes, bows of this design would be less prone to warping in the damp and moist conditions often prevalent to the region. The Indian longbow was reputedly a powerful weapon capable of great range and penetration and provided an effective counter to invading horse archers. Iron shafts were used against armored elephants and fire arrows were not part of the bowmen's arsenal contrary to popular belief. India
India
historically has had a prominent reputation for its steel weapons . One of these was the steel bow. Because of its high tensility , the steel bow was capable of long range and penetration of exceptionally thick armor. These were less common weapons than the bamboo design and found in the hands of noblemen rather than in the ranks. Archers were frequently protected by infantry equipped with shields, javelins, and longswords. The Guptas also had knowledge of siegecraft, catapults, and other sophisticated war machines.

The Guptas apparently showed little predilection for using horse archers, despite the fact these warriors were a primary component in the ranks of their Scythian, Parthian, and Hepthalite (Huna) enemies. However, the Gupta
Gupta
armies were probably better disciplined. Able commanders like Samudragupta
Samudragupta
and Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
would have likely understood the need for combined armed tactics and proper logistical organization. Gupta
Gupta
military success likely stemmed from the concerted use of elephants, armored cavalry, and foot archers in tandem against both Hindu
Hindu
kingdoms and foreign armies invading from the Northwest. The Guptas also maintained a navy, allowing them to control regional waters.

The collapse of the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
in the face of the Huna onslaught was due not directly to the inherent defects of the Gupta
Gupta
army, which after all had initially defeated these people under Skandagupta. More likely, internal dissolution sapped the ability of the Guptas to resist foreign invasion, as was simultaneously occurring in Western Europe
Europe
and China.

During the reign of Chandragupta II, Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
maintained a large army consisting of 500,000 infantry, 50,000 cavalry, 20,000 charioteers and 10,000 elephants along with a powerful navy with more than 1200 ships. Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
controlled the whole of the Indian subcontinent ; the Gupta
Gupta
empire was the most powerful empire in the world during his reign, at a time when the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the West was in decline.

RELIGION

Meditating Buddha
Buddha
from the Gupta
Gupta
era, 5th century CE.

The Guptas were traditionally a Brahmanical dynasty. They were orthodox Hindus , but did not force their beliefs on the rest of the population, as Buddhist
Buddhist
and Jainism
Jainism
also were encouraged. Sanchi remained an important center of Buddhism. Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
(c. 414 – c. 455 CE) is said to have founded Nalanda
Nalanda
.

Some later rulers however seem to have especially favoured Buddhism
Buddhism
. Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
Baladitya (circa 495-?), according to contemporary writer Paramartha , was brought up under the influence of the Mahayanist philosopher, Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
. He built a sangharama at Nalanda and also a 300 ft (91 m) high vihara with a Buddha
Buddha
statue within which, according to Xuanzang, resembled the "great Vihara
Vihara
built under the Bodhi tree
Bodhi tree
". According to the _ Manjushrimulakalpa _ (c. 800 CE), king Narasimhsagupta became a Buddhist
Buddhist
monk, and left the world through meditation (Dhyana ). The Chinese monk Xuanzang also noted that Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
Baladitya's son, Vajra, who commissioned a sangharama as well, "possessed a heart firm in faith". :45 :330

GUPTA ADMINISTRATION

A study of the epigraphical records of the Gupta
Gupta
empire shows that there was a hierarchy of administrative divisions from top to bottom. The empire was called by various names such as _Rajya_, _Rashtra_, _Desha_, _Mandala_, _Prithvi_ and _Avani_. It was divided into 26 provinces, which were styled as _Bhukti _, _Pradesha_ and _Bhoga_. Provinces were also divided into _Vishayas _ and put under the control of the _Vishayapati_s. A _Vishayapati_ administered the _Vishaya_ with the help of the _Adhikarana_ (council of representatives), which comprised four representatives: _Nagarasreshesthi_, _Sarthavaha_, _Prathamakulike_ and _Prathama Kayastha_. A part of the _Vishaya_ was called _Vithi_. There were also trade links of Gupta
Gupta
business with the Roman empire.

LEGACY OF THE GUPTA EMPIRE

Later image of Krishna
Krishna
and Radha
Radha
playing chaturanga on an 8 × 8 Ashtāpada

Scholars of this period include Varahamihira and Aryabhata
Aryabhata
, who is believed to be the first to come up with the concept of zero , postulated the theory that the Earth moves round the Sun , and studied solar and lunar eclipses . Kalidasa , who was a great playwright, who wrote plays such as Shakuntala
Shakuntala
, and marked the highest point of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literature is also said to have belonged to this period. The Sushruta Samhita , which is a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
redaction text on all of the major concepts of ayurvedic medicine with innovative chapters on surgery, dates to the Gupta
Gupta
period.

Chess
Chess
is said to have originated in this period, where its early form in the 6th century was known as _caturaṅga _, which translates as "four divisions " – infantry , cavalry , elephantry , and chariotry – represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, rook, and bishop, respectively. Doctors also invented several medical instruments, and even performed operations. The Indian numerals which were the first positional base 10 numeral systems in the world originated from Gupta
Gupta
India. The ancient Gupta text Kama Sutra by the Indian scholar Vatsyayana is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature . Aryabhata
Aryabhata
, a noted mathematician-astronomer of the Gupta period proposed that the earth is round and rotates about its own axis. He also discovered that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight. Instead of the prevailing cosmogony in which eclipses were caused by pseudo-planetary nodes Rahu and Ketu , he explained eclipses in terms of shadows cast by and falling on Earth. Borobudur
Borobudur
in Java, Indonesia
Indonesia
. The building’s design in Gupta
Gupta
architecture reflects India's influence on the region.

ART AND ARCHITECTURE

A tetrastyle prostyle Gupta
Gupta
period temple at Sanchi
Sanchi
besides the Apsidal hall with Maurya
Maurya
foundation, an example of Buddhist architecture . 5th century CE.

The Gupta
Gupta
period is generally regarded as a classic peak of North Indian art for all the major religious groups. Although painting was evidently widespread, the surviving works are almost all religious sculpture. The period saw the emergence of the iconic carved stone deity in Hindu
Hindu
art, as well as the Buddha
Buddha
figure and Jain
Jain
_tirthankara _ figures, these last often on a very large scale. The two great centres of sculpture were Mathura and Gandhara
Gandhara
, the latter the centre of Greco- Buddhist art
Buddhist art
. Both exported sculpture to other parts of northern India. Unlike the preceding Kushan Empire there was no artistic depiction of the monarchs, even in the very fine Guptan coinage, with the exception of some coins of the Western Satraps , or influenced by them.

The most famous remaining monuments in a broadly Gupta
Gupta
style, the caves at Ajanta , Elephanta , and Ellora (respectively Buddhist, Hindu, and mixed including Jain) were in fact produced under later dynasties, but primarily reflect the monumentality and balance of Guptan style. Ajanta contains by far the most significant survivals of painting from this and the surrounding periods, showing a mature form which had probably had a long development, mainly in painting palaces. The Hindu
Hindu
Udayagiri Caves actually record connections with the dynasty and its ministers, and the Dashavatara Temple at Deogarh is a major temple, one of the earliest to survive, with important sculpture.

*

Vishnu
Vishnu
reclining on the serpent Shesha (Ananta), Dashavatara Temple 5th century *

Buddha
Buddha
from Sarnath
Sarnath
, 5–6th century CE *

The Colossal trimurti at the Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves
*

Rock-cut temples at Ellora *

Painting of Padmapani Cave 1 at Ajanta

SEE ALSO

* Later Gupta
Gupta
dynasty * Empire
Empire
of Harsha
Harsha

NOTES

* ^ _ Gupta
Gupta
Dynasty – MSN Encarta_. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. * ^ India
India
– Historical Setting – The Classical Age – Gupta and Harsha. Historymedren.about.com (17 June 2010). Retrieved on 2011-11-21. * ^ N. Jayapalan, _History of India_, Vol. I, (Atlantic Publishers, 2001), 130. * ^ Ancient India. The Age of the Guptas.wsu.edu * ^ _A_ _B_ Raghu Vamsa v 4.60–75 * ^ Gupta
Gupta
dynasty (Indian dynasty). Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2011-11-21. * ^ Mahajan, p. 540 * ^ Gupta
Gupta
dynasty: empire in 4th century. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2011-11-21. * ^ Trade The Story of India
India
– Photo Gallery. PBS. Retrieved on 2011-11-21. * ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). _Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas_, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5 , pp.264–9 * ^ Grousset, Rene (1970). _The Empire
Empire
of the Steppes_. Rutgers University Press. p. 69. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9 . * ^ Nehra, R.K. _ Hinduism and Its Military Ethos_. Lancer Publishers,2010. Retrieved 2012-08-25. * ^ _A_ _B_ Brannigan, Michael C. _Striking a Balance: A Primer in Traditional Asian Values_. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Retrieved 2012-08-25. * ^ Sharma, R.S. _Early Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation_. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2012-06-06. * ^ List of Altekar\'s publications in the Open Library . * ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). _Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas_, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5 , pp.82-4 * ^ Human rights in the Hindu- Buddhist
Buddhist
tradition By Lal Deosa Rai, Page no.155 * ^ "Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal: Inscriptions". _google.com_. * ^ " Gupta
Gupta
Rule". _banglapedia.org_. * ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). _Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas_, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5 , pp.84–7 * ^ Majumdar, p. 474 * ^ "Founder of the Gupta
Gupta
Empire
Empire
Maharaja Sri Gupta". _theindianhistory.org_. * ^ Smith, Vincent A. (1999). _The Early History of India: From 600 B.C. to the Muhammadan Conquest_. Atlantic. p. 289. ISBN 81-7156-618-9 . * ^ The Gupta
Gupta
Polity, pp.199 * ^ Mahajan, p. 487 * ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). _Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas_. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 153–9. ISBN 81-208-0592-5 .

* ^ Bajpai, K.D. (2004). _Indian Numismatic Studies_. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. pp. 120–1. ISBN 81-7017-035-4 . * ^ Raychaudhuri, p. 489 * ^ ata shrivikramadityo helya nirjitakhilah Mlechchana Kamboja. Yavanan neechan Hunan Sabarbran Tushara. Parsikaanshcha tayakatacharan vishrankhalan hatya bhrubhangamatreyanah bhuvo bharamavarayate (Brahata Katha, 10/1/285-86, Kshmendra). * ^ Kathasritsagara 18.1.76–78 * ^ Cf:"In the story contained in Kathasarit-sagara, king Vikarmaditya is said to have destroyed all the barbarous tribes such as the Kambojas, Yavanas, Hunas, Tokharas and the, National Council of Teachers of English Committee on Recreational Reading – Sanskrit language. * ^ Prasanna Rao Bandela (1 January 2003). _ Coin
Coin
splendour: a journey into the past_. Abhinav Publications. pp. 112–. ISBN 978-81-7017-427-1 . Retrieved 21 November 2011. * ^ "Evidence of the conquest of Saurastra during the reign of Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
is to be seen in his rare silver coins which are more directly imitated from those of the Western Satraps ... they retain some traces of the old inscriptions in Greek characters, while on the reverse, they substitute the Gupta
Gupta
type (a peacock) for the chaitya with crescent and star." in Rapson "A catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. The Andhras etc...", p.cli * ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). _Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas_, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5 , pp.191–200 * ^ History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Ahmad Hasan Dani, B. A. Litvinsky, Unesco
Unesco
p.119 sq * ^ http://www.sgilibrary.org/search_dict.php?id=1489 * ^ " Nalanda
Nalanda
University Ruins Nalanda
Nalanda
Travel Guide Ancient Nalanda
Nalanda
Site". _Travel News India_. 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2017-02-20. * ^ Raychaudhuri, p. 510 * ^ _A_ _B_ The Huns, Hyun Jin Kim, Routledge, 2015 p.50 sq * ^ Raychaudhuri, p. 516 * ^ Sachchidananda Bhattacharya, _ Gupta
Gupta
dynasty_, _A dictionary of Indian history_, (George Braziller, Inc., 1967), 393. * ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen p.220 * ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Events & Dates by S. B. Bhattacherje p.A15 * ^ _Columbia Encyclopedia_ * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ The First Spring: The Golden Age of India by Abraham Eraly p.48 sq * ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen p.221 * ^ A Comprehensive History Of Ancient India p.174 * ^ Longman History & Civics ICSE 9 by Singh p.81 * ^ Singh, Upinder (2008). _A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century_. New Delhi: Pearson Education. p. 480. ISBN 978-81-317-1677-9 . * ^ Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum Vol.3 (inscriptions Of The Early Gupta
Gupta
Kings) p.362 * ^ _A_ _B_ In