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Ancient History / Guptan Era

Gupta Dynasty Rulers


    Some of the important Gupta dynasty rulers include Chandragupta I, Samudragupta and Chandragupta II. Sri Gupta was the founder and first ruler of Gupta dynasty. He took the title "Maharaja", a title that means a subordinate king. Guptas started as subordinate kings to Kushans.



    Chandragupta I

    Chandragupta I is the grandson of Sri Gupta. He took the title of "Maha Rajadhi Raja" (independent king). So, Chandragupta I is the first independent king of Gupta dynasty.

    He is married to Licchavi princess, Kumaradevi. At various places, we can find many gold coins depicting Chandragupta I and Kumaradevi. He is succeeded by his son, Samudragupta.

    Samudragupta

    • He was the greatest king of Gupta dynasty. Entire India came under the control of Samudragupta.

    • In the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta, a very lengthy description is given about him. It was authored by an officer named Harisena and his designation was Sandhi Vigrahaka (External affairs minister).

      The inscription talks about the victories of Samudragupta over the following kingdoms

      • 8 Aryavarta (North India) kingdoms (between Himalayas and Vindhyas)
      • 5 Pratyantas (Border states)
      • 9 Gana Rajyas (Republican states, ruled by elected heads)
      • 18 Atavika Rajyas (Forest Kingdoms)
      • 12 Dakshinapatha Rajyas (South Indian Kingdoms)(Most are located in AP) like Vengeya (Vengi) Hastivarma and Kancheya (Kanchi) Vishnugopa, etc were defeated.

    • British historian VA Smith called Samudragupta, Napoleon of India.

    Chandragupta II

    • Chandragupta II is the son of Samudragupta and is also one of the important kings of Gupta dynasty. The most important victory of Chandragupta II was the conquest of Ujjain, which was ruled by Sakas of Kardamaka dynasty for this he got the title, "Shakari" (Destroyer of Shakas). He also took another title, "Vikramaditya".

    • During his reign, Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited his court.

    • According to one tradition, the following 9 scholars and poets known as Navaratnas or Nine Gems were present in the court of Chandragupta II.

      • Kalidasa - He wrote 3 dramas, Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Malavikagnimitram, Vikramorvasiyam. His Kavyas were Meghaduta, Raghuvamsam, Ritusamhara, Kumarasambhavam

      • Harisena - He composed the Allahabad Pillar Inscription

      • Amarasimha - He wrote Amarakosha (a Sanskrit dictionary)

      • Vararuchi - He wrote Prakrita Prakasa (in Prakrit)

      • Dhanvantari (Ayurveda physician) - He wrote Nighantu (medical dictionary)

      • Kshapanaka - He was an astrologer

      • Varahamihira - He wrote Brihat Samhita and Pancha Siddhantika

      • Sanku - He was an architect

      • Vetala Bhatta - He was a magician and a writer, who wrote Nitipradipa


  • During the reign of Kumaragupta, first Huna invasion in India took place. It is Kumaragupta, who founded Nalanda University (Mahayana University). Vishnugupta is recognized as the last ruler of Gupta dynasty. Around 550 AD Gupta empire came to an end.