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Ancient History / Post-Mauryan Era

Kushan Empire in India

Kushan empire in India is the biggest empire among all the foreign dynasties, which ruled India. Kushan kingdom was spread across much of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the northern parts of India upto Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi. First king of Kushan dynasty is Kujula Kadphises.

There were 4 capitals for Kushans, one at Purushapura or Pushkalavati (near modern Peshawar) in North-West and the others at Taxila, Begram, which was the summer capital and Mathura, which was the winter capital.

King Kanishka

  • Kanishka was the greatest among all the kings of post Mauryan period.

  • On the coins, we can find Kanishka image on the obverse side and the standing Buddha on the reverse side. In few coins, we can find the wordings "Kanishka, king of kings" written in Greek language.

  • There were two Buddhist scholars in the court of Kanishka namely, Vasumitra, who wrote Mahavibhasa Sastra and Asvaghosa, who wrote Buddha Charitha, Saundarananda and Sariputra Prakarana. Asvaghosa is the first dramatist in India.

  • Charaka, who wrote "Charaka Samhita", was the Court Physician of Kanishka, but it is not proven properly and is very much disputed.

Last known great king of Kushan empire is Vasudeva. During his reign, he got converted to Hinduism. He was the first king of Kushans to be named after a Hindu God.