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15 Tips to Help You Write a Stellar Essay

write an essay on gupta administration

Essay-writing can be easier than you might think if you have a grasp of the basics and a willingness to engage with the subject matter. Here are 15 top tips for writing a stellar essay.

Do Your Research

This is one of the most important tips you’ll ever receive. Research thoroughly, even if it means you have too many notes. It’s better to have to leave stuff out than not have enough to write about.

write an essay on gupta administration

Make an Outline

Without a properly structured outline (with an intro, a four- to five-point body and a conclusion), your essay may be hard to write and to follow.

write an essay on gupta administration

Hook Attention

While you might just be writing your essay for a teacher or professor that is paid to read it, it still pays to grab their attention. A “hook” like a quote or surprising statistic in your intro can make your reader want to read on.

write an essay on gupta administration

Lay Out Your Thesis

The intro isn’t all about flair and grabbing attention. It’s also about laying out your thesis. Make your main argument clear in the first few sentences, setting up a question to answer or statement to prove.

write an essay on gupta administration

Avoid Passive Voice

If you want your writing to be persuasive, passive voice should be avoided. (That sentence was full of it, by the way. For example, “You should avoid passive voice” is a more convincing way to say “passive voice should be avoided.”)

write an essay on gupta administration

Avoid First-Person Voice

If you’re writing an academic essay, you should almost certainly avoid first-person voice. In other words, avoid saying “I” or “my.” Also restrict your use of the second-person voice (e.g., don’t use “you” unless it’s necessary).

write an essay on gupta administration

Start With Your Strongest Point

In general, it’s a good idea to start with your strongest argument in your first body paragraph. This sets the scene nicely. However, this might not be appropriate if you are structuring your essay points chronologically.

write an essay on gupta administration

Relate All Points Back to Your Thesis

Make it clear to your reader how each point you make relates back to your thesis (i.e., the question or statement in your introduction, and probably your title too). This helps them to follow your argument.

write an essay on gupta administration

Contextualize Without Losing Focus

Add contextualizing information for a richer presentation of your topic. For example, it’s fine (or even desirable) to discuss the historical background for certain events. Just don’t get bogged down by irrelevant details.

write an essay on gupta administration

Use Transition Phrases

Transition phrases, such as “furthermore,” “by contrast” and “on the other hand,” can also help your reader to follow your argument. But don’t overuse them at the cost of clarity. Read your essay aloud to gauge how it flows.

write an essay on gupta administration

Conclude With a Return to Your Thesis

A conclusion can do many things, but it’s useful to think of it as an answer to the question or statement in your intro. It’s sensible to summarize your key points, but always relate back to your thesis.

write an essay on gupta administration

Make Your Conclusion Seem Obvious

Restating your thesis in your conclusion (after having made all of your points and arguments in the body) can be persuasive. Aim to make your conclusion feel irrefutable (at least if it’s a persuasive essay).

write an essay on gupta administration

Check Spelling

If your spelling is sloppy, it’s natural for your reader to assume your approach to writing the essay was too. This could harm the strength of an otherwise persuasive essay.

write an essay on gupta administration

Check Grammar

Grammar is also important, for the same reason. It’s usually easy to pick up on dodgy grammar if you read your essay aloud. If you’re not a native English speaker, however, you might want to ask someone who is to check your essay.

write an essay on gupta administration

Check Vocabulary

To avoid harming your persuasiveness and authority, it’s fundamentally important to use the right words. Overly obscure language can detract from the clarity of your argument, but if you feel you have to use it, then you better know what it means.

write an essay on gupta administration


write an essay on gupta administration

Essay on the Administrative System Of Guptas

write an essay on gupta administration

The age of the Guptas has been regarded as the age of progress in India by all historians. Of course, Dr. Romila Thaper seems to be near the mark when she contends that when we accept the Gupta period as the classical age of ancient India we have accepted its limitations also.

That the living standard which reach 3d their peak were limited to upper classes alone and, further the classicism of the Gupta period was restricted to Northern India alone. With these limitation she agrees with others regarding the progress achieved during this period.

Majority of scholars agree with the view that it was die “Golden Age” of Ancient India. Dr. V.A. Smith writes, “The age of great Gupta Kings presented a more agreeable and satisfactory picture than any other period in the history of Hindu India.

Literature, Art and Science flourished in a degree beyond ordinary and gradual changes in the religion were effected without persecution.” The empire of the Guptas was certainly less extensive than the empire of the Mauryas prior to them.


The great Gupta ruler provided political unity to a large part of North India for nearly two centuries. The political institutions of the Gupta Age were not original but were rather “founded the historical traditions of the past and improved and adapted to suit contemporary conditions.”

They were both imposing and benevolent. The imperial perfection was achieved in the hands of the Guptas and their administrations was better than that of the Mauryas.

I. The Central Administration

Monarchy was the form of government which was in vague during the Gupta Age. But it was the benevolent monarchy The king was the head of the state as well as that of administration. The theory of the divinity of kings was popular during the Gupta period by which the royal power and prestige had increased.

The guptas were fond of sounding titles and the whole administrative structure was saturated with designations and titles.

The Gupta rulers assumed a number of titles such as ‘Raja-dhiraja’, ‘Maharaja-dhiraja ‘Paramaraja-dhiraja ‘Raja-dhirajashi’, ‘Eka-dhiraja’, ‘Pramdevata’, ‘Parambhattarka’, ‘Prithipala’, ‘Paramesvara’, ‘Samrat’, and ‘Chakravartin’.

Samudragupta is described as equal to the gods “Dhanda” or “Kubera”, “Varuna”, Indra” and “Antaka” or “Yama”.

Who was battle-axe of the god “Kritanta” or “Yama”,” Certainly, the establishment of a Vast empire had helped in increasing the powers of the rulers and divinity and assigned to the kings.

The Gupta Kings enjoyed a large number of powers. Those powers covered the political, administrative, military and judicial fields. Samudragupta, Chandragupta-II and Skandagupta personally led their armies.

The Gupta Kings appointed all the governors and important military and civil officers. They were also responsible to the king. The governors and their officers had to work under the control and guidance of the King. The King was the source of all honours and titles.

All land in the empire was the property of the King who could give away the same to anybody he pleased. He could construct dams, give shelter to any one, impose, recover and remit taxes and impart the justice. Yet the Kings could not afford to be selfish despots. They had to ruled according to “Rajya Dharwa” and with the help of their ministers.

In other words it is wrong to say that the Gupta Kings were autocrats. They shared their powers with ministers and other high officers. A large number of powers were delegated to the local bodies such as village Panchayats and town councils.

The king was required to adopt all means to win popularity among the people by respecting their wishes and promoting their welfare. The King toured the country with a view to keep himself in touch with the people . The important matters were decided in the joint meeting. The king respected the advice given by his ministers.

The secret of the success of the Gupta rulers lies in the principle of succession to kingship which was based on sound principles. The old law of the primogeniture was not in vogue then.

The usual practice was selection by the dying King of the best fitted prince from amongst his sons. Samudragupta represent this kind of selection.

The use of words “selected by the father in the Mathura inscriptions points to this in the case of Chandragupta-13 as well. The personal life of the King was very simple. He took great interest in redeeming the poor from misery in protecting religion and in dispensing justice.

(ii) Council Of Ministers

It appears that the Gupta rulers had their councils. Perhaps, it consisted of princes, high officials and feudatories. Kalidas refers to the “Mantri-Parishad” or council of ministers.

Some officers the designation of “Kanchuki” or “Chamberlain” acted as an agent between the King and the council. Whatever decisions were taken by the council of Mnisters were conveyed to the King through an “Amatya”.

It means that the matter was placed before the “Council of Ministers” and efforts were made to arrive at some conclusion then the decisions were conveyed to the King who was left to arrive at any conclusion he pleased. It was the duty of the “Council of Ministers” to advise the king but ultimately it had to obey the verdict of the King.

The emperor was assisted by a council of ministers of “Mantri-Parishad”. The prominent “Mantris” among whom was the “Prime Minister” of the state known as “Mantri Mukhya”.

The portfolios of war and peace, the chief Councillorship, military forces and law and order were held by different persons respectively known as, ‘MahasandhiVigrahaka’, ‘Amatya’, ‘Mahabaladhikrita’ and ‘Mahadandanayaka’.

Examiner’s Choice

The provinces were called Desas or Bhuktis and were governed by Uparikas.

The Uparika may represent the pradesikas of the Ashokan epigraphs and in the same as the Amatyas of the Satavahana provinces.

The provinces were divided into districts, called Vishyas. Each vishaya was administered by a royal official, known as the Adhisthana Adhikarna. Ranabhandahi-Karana was the military exchequer. Dandaparsadhikarna, office of the chief of police.

Vinayasthiti-Sthapaka, office of minister in charge of law and order.

Bhatasvapati, head of the infantry and cavalry. Mahapratikara chief chamberlain. Vinayasur, chief censor.

According to Kalidas, there were three ministers foreign-minister, finance minister and the law-minister. The ministers were expected to be experts in their spheres of works. In many cases their office was hereditary.

The great secrecy was maintained with regard to the deliberations in the meetings of the ministers. Further, it appears that the Question of the succession to the throne was a function of the ‘Council of Ministers’.

(iii) Civil Officers

The Guptas entire central government was under the direct control of the King. The most important officers of the royal court were known as “Mahapratihara” or “Receptionist”, “Rajamatya” or “Adviser to the king” and “Ajnasamchrikas” or courtiers.

The Gupta civil administration was a “bureaucracy of high- sounding officials like “Rajapurusha”, “Rajanayaka”, “Rajaputra”, “Rajamatya”, “Mahasamanta”, “Mahapratihara” and “Mahakumaramatya” etc.

(iv) Revenue And Police Officers

The duties of revenue and police administration were not separate and were run by officials like ‘Uparika’, ‘Dashparadhika’, ‘Chauroddharanika’, ‘Dandika’, ‘Dandapashika’, ‘Gaulmika’, ‘Kottapala’ or ‘Kottupala’ ‘Angarakshka’ and ‘Ayuktaka- Viniyuktaka’, ‘Rajuka’ etc.

(v) Military Officers

The military officers referred to in the inscriptions are the ‘Senapati’, ‘Mahasenapati’, ‘Baladhikrita’ ‘Mahabaladhikrita’, ‘Dandanayaka’, ‘Sandhivigrahika’, Mahasandhivigrahika’, Gopta etc. They were the key functionary in the Gupta army.

The Gupta army had four wings such as- informatory, cavalry, elephant and the navy. The main weapons of war were bows and arrows, swords, axes and spears.

(vi) Judicial Officers

Inscriptions of Gupta’s refer to such judicial officers as ‘Mahadanda nayaka’, ‘Mahakshapatalika’ etc. Probably, ‘Mahadandanayaka’ combined the duties of a judge and a general. The “Mahadandanayaka” was probably the “Great keeper of Records”.

It appears that the “Kumaramatya” a “Bhondapashika” and the “Uparika” had each his separate “Adhikarna” or “court or office” where the transactions pertaining to land were decided. It is possible that judicial matters were also decided there.

According to Fa-Hien, punishments were very lenient and capital punishment was very rare. However, the testimony of Fa-Hien is not accepted and it is pointed out by the Kalidas, Visakhadatta that punishments were pretty harsh in the Gupta period-such as death, death by elephant etc.

Four kinds of ordeals seemed to have been employed to ascertain the guilt or innocence of a person. These are by water, by fire, by weighing and by poison.

ii. Administrative Divisions

A study of the Gupta inscriptions shows that there was an 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 provinces which were called as, “Bhukti”, Pradesha” and “Bhoga”. Provinces were divided into “Vishayas” and put under the control of “Vishaya Patis”.

“Vishaya” were divided in “Nagaras” and “Nagares” were divided into villages. A part of a “Vishaya” was called “Vithi .” A union of villages was called “Pethaka” and “Santaka”. Smaller units or divisions of a village were “Agrahara” and “Patta”.

iii. Provincial Administration

The head of the provincial administration was known by various names and some of them were- “Uparika”, “Gupta”, Bhogika”, “Bhogapati” and “Rajasthaniya”.

In certain cases, the son of the King or “Rajaputra” was appointed the Governor. The minister in attendance on the royal Governor was called “Kumaramatya”.

There are the references to various provincial officials such as- “Baladhikaranika” or “Head of the army or military”; “Dandapasadhikaranika” or ‘Chief of the Police’; ‘Ranabhandarika’ or ‘Chief Justice’; ‘Vinayasthiti Sthapaka’ or ‘Minister of Law and order”; ‘Sadhanika’ or ‘Officer to deal with debts and fines’; ‘Hiranya-Samudyika’ or ‘Currency Officer; ‘Tadayuktaka’ or ‘Treasury Officers’; ‘Audrangika’ or ‘Collector of the Udranga tax’; ‘Aurna-Sthanika’ or ‘Superintendent of silk factories’; etc.

iv. District Or “Vishaya” Administration

The head of the “Vishaya” administration was the “Vishayapati” or District Magistrate’. The District Magistrate or “Vishayapati” was assisted in his work by the “Mahattaras” or “Village elders”.

“Gramikas” or “Village Headmen”, “Saulkikas” or Collectors of Customs and tolls’, “Gaulmika” or “officers in charge of forests and forts”, “Agar harikas”, “Dhruvadhikaranikas” or “Treasurers” etc.

There were many clerks in the department whose duty was to write and copy out the records and documents. The writers were called “Lekhakas” and “Diviras”. The officer-in-charge of the documents was known as the “Karanika”.

v. City Administration

The head of the city administration was known as the “Nagara-Rakshaka” or”Purapala”. “Purapala Uparika” was another officer who controlled the heads of the various cities.

A city was governed by a “Parishad”. In the city, there was a reference of” Avasthika”, who was a special officer who acted as the “Superintendent of Dharamsalas.”

vi. Village Administration

The village was the smallest unit of the administration. “Gramika” was the head of the village but there were other officials known as “Dutas” or “Messengers”, heads men, Kartri, etc. He was assisted by a village assembly but due to the lack of references, it is not possible to describe the exact duties and functions of the assembly.

The administrative and judicial business of villages were carried on by the Gramikas.

He was assisted by a group of village elders, such as Kutumbikas, Mahamataras etc.

The royal servant in the village was the Gram-Vridha.

Vii. Source Of Revenue

In order to meet the vast expenditure incurred on the maintenance of such a vast administration of the empire, the king levied different types of tax. Land revalue has always been an important source of income in an agricultural country.

Land revalue was one of the primary sources of the income of the Guptas and they helped in increasing agricultural production and provided security to the cultivators. Waste lands was brought under cultivation and pasture land was also protected and increased.

The government increased the man-made means of irrigation at both-capital and provincial levels. All this helped in the growth of agricultural and animal husbandry.

During the Gupta days “Uparika” or “land- tax”, which was levied on cultivators who had no property rights on soil, “Vata”, “Bhuta”, “Dhanya”, “Hiranya” or gold, “Adeya” etc. Perhaps, it was one sixth of the total produce.

Though there were other means of source of income like surplus or income tax known as “Bhaga”, customs, mint, inheritance and presents etc. In addition to these taxes, fines known as “Dasa-Paradha” from offenders and free labour due to the king known as “Vaishtika” formed the source of income.

On the whole, the Gupta administration was well organised. Peace and prosperity of the subjects and the progress achieved by them in practically all walks of their life was its proof. It is to be observed that the designation of Gupta officials continued even after the passing away of the Gupta empire.

The early Kala curiyas were the first to be influenced by the Gupta administrative system. Likewise the Chalukyas of Badami, the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed and the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani were also accepted the Gupta administrative system.

Related Articles:

  • How lack of permanent armed force became a source of weakness for the Guptas?
  • Short notes on the Later Guptas
  • Essay on the Administrative Policy of Gupta Emperors
  • What are the four causes of the downfall of the Guptas?



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Gupta Empire - Facts about Gupta Dynasty (NCERT Ancient History for UPSC)

In Ancient India, the Gupta Dynasty ruled the mid-to-late 3rd century (approximately) to 543 AD. Founded by Sri Gupta, the dynasty rose to fame with rulers like Chandragupta-I, Samudragupta, etc. An important topic in the History syllabus, it is also important for the  IAS Exam . This article will provide you with useful notes on the Gupta Empire. These notes will also be useful for other competitive exams like banking PO, SSC, state civil services exams, and so on.

Civil services aspirants can also refer to articles related to the Gupta Empire from the links mentioned in the table below:

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Gupta Dynasty (UPSC Notes):- Download PDF Here

Origin of Gupta Empire

Gupta Empire - NCERT Notes on Gupta Empire| Gupta Empire's Territorial Extent

The decline of the Mauryan empire resulted in the rise of two major political powers – the Kushanas and the Satavahanas in the north and south respectively. Both these empires brought political unity and economic growth in their respective areas. The Kushan reign in north India came to an end around c.230 CE and then a good part of central India came under the domain of the Murundas (possible kinsmen of the Kushanas).

The Murundas ruled for only 25 – 30 years. Around the last decade of the 3rd century CE (about  275 CE), the dynasty of the Guptas came to power. The Gupta empire established its control over a good part of the former dominions of both the Kushanas and the Satavahanas . The Guptas (possibly Vaishyas) kept northern India politically united for more than a century (335 CE- 455 CE).

  • The Guptas are believed to have been  feudatories of the Kushanas .
  • The original kingdom of the Guptas comprised Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with their centre of power at Prayag (U.P).
  • The Guptas set up their rule over the fertile plains of the Madhyadesha, also known as Anuganga (the middle Gangetic basin), Saketa (U.P Ayodhya), Prayag (U.P) and Magadha (mostly Bihar).
  • The Guptas made good use of the iron ore reserves in central India and south Bihar and also took advantage of their proximity to the areas in north India which carried on silk trade with the Byzantine empire (eastern Roman empire) .
  • The Gupta period in ancient India is referred to as the “Golden Age” because of the numerous achievements in the field of arts, literature, science and technology. It also brought about the political unification of the subcontinent.

Gupta Empire – Kings

A brief about the kings of the Gupta dynasty is given in the table below:

Given below is the video curated by experts in line with the CSE Syllabus , based on the rise of Gupta Empire in the country. Candidates can get detailed information about the Gupta period by referring to the vide given below:

write an essay on gupta administration

Gupta Empire – Chandragupta I (320 – 335 CE)

  • Was the son of Ghatotkacha.
  • Chandragupta Ⅰ is considered to be the founder of the Gupta Era which started with his accession in 319 – 320 CE.
  • He strengthened his position by a matrimonial alliance with the Lichchhavis (Nepal). He married Kumaradevi, a princess of the Lichchhavi clan and this added to the power and prestige of the Gupta family (Vaishyas).
  • He extended his kingdom through conquests. His territory extended from the Ganges River to Prayaga by 321 AD.
  • He issued coins in the joint names of his queen and himself.
  • He assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja (great king of kings).
  • He was successful in building a small principality into a great kingdom.
  • His empire consisted of Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and parts of modern Bihar, with Pataliputra as its capital.
  • He is considered the first great king of the Gupta Empire.

Gupta Empire – Samudragupta (c. 335/336 – 375 CE)

  • The Gupta kingdom was enlarged enormously by Chandragupta Ⅰ’s son and successor Samudragupta.
  • The Allahabad Pillar Inscription (Prayaga – Prashasti) gives a detailed account of his achievements. He followed the policy of war and conquest . This long inscription was composed by his court poet, Harisena, in chaste Sanskrit . The inscription is engraved on the same pillar that carries the inscription of peace-loving Ashoka.
  • Group Ⅰ – Includes rulers of Ganga-Yamuna doab , who were defeated. He uprooted nine Naga rulers and annexed their territories.
  • Group Ⅱ – Includes rulers of the eastern Himalayan states and some frontier states such as the princes of Nepal, Assam, Bengal, etc. who surrendered to his might. It also includes parts of Punjab.
  • Group Ⅲ – Includes the forest kingdom situated in the Vindhya region (central India) known as atavika rajyas and forced their rulers into servitude. The conquest of this region helped him to move towards the south. 
  • Group Ⅳ – Includes twelve rulers of eastern Deccan and south India who were defeated and his power reached as far as Kanchi (Tamil Nadu), where the Pallavas were forced to recognise his suzerainty . It is important to mention that Virasena was the commander of Samudragupta during his southern campaign. In the south, he adopted the policy of political conciliation and reinstated the defeated kings on their thrones. These states acknowledged his suzerainty and paid him tributes and presents .
  • Group Ⅴ – Includes the Shakas of western India and Kushana rulers of north-west India and Afghanistan. Samudragupta swept them out of power.
  • Though he had spread his influence over a vast area, and even received tributes from many kings of south-east Asia, Samudragupta exercised direct administrative control mainly over the Indo-Gangetic basin. According to Chinese sources, Meghavarman, the ruler of Sri Lanka, sent a missionary to Samudragupta for permission to build a Buddhist temple at Bodh Gaya.
  • After conquering the territories, Samudragupta celebrated by performing the  asvamedha (horse sacrifice). He issued coins with the legend “restorer of the asvamedha” . It is because of his military achievements that Samudragupta was hailed as the ‘ Indian Napoleon’.
  • He was equally great in his personal accomplishments. The Allahabad Pillar Inscription speaks of his magnanimity to his foes, his polished intellect, his poetic skills, and his proficiency in music. He is known by the title Kaviraja (king among poets) because of his ability in composing verses. His image depicting him with veena (lyre) is found in the coins issued by him. He is also credited with promoting Sanskrit literature and learning, characteristic of his dynasty.
  • He was an ardent follower of Vaishnavism but was tolerant of other religions . He showed a keen interest in Buddhism and was the patron of the great Buddhist scholar Vasubandhu.
  • Legends on his coins include epithets such as  Apratirathah (invincible), Vyaghra-Parakramah (brave as a tiger), Parakramah (brave).

Gupta Empire – Chandragupta II (c. 376 – 413/415 CE)

  • Samudragupta was succeeded by his son – Chandragupta Ⅱ. But according to some scholars, the immediate successor was Ramagupta, the elder brother of Chandragupta Ⅱ. But there is little historical proof for this.
  • During Chandragupta Ⅱ’s reign, the Gupta dynasty reached its peak by expanding territories through conquests as well as by marriage alliances . He married Kuberananga , a Naga princess and had a daughter, Prabhavati with her. He married Prabhavati to a Vakataka prince, Rudrasena Ⅱ (Deccan). After the death of her husband, Prabhavati ruled the territory as regent to her minor sons with the help of her father. Thus Chandragupta Ⅱ  indirectly controlled the Vakataka kingdom.
  • Chandragupta Ⅱ’s control over the Vakataka kingdom in central India proved quite advantageous for him. It helped him to  conquer Gujarat and western Malwa , which was under the rule of Shakas for about four centuries by that time. The Guptas reached the western sea coast which was famous  for trade and commerce. This contributed to the prosperity of Malwa and its main city Ujjain, which was also Chandragupta Ⅱ’s second capital.
  • An Iron Pillar inscription at Mehrauli in Delhi indicates that his empire included even north-western India and Bengal . He adopted the title ‘Vikramaditya’ (powerful as the sun) and Simhavikrama .
  • He issued gold coins (Dinara), silver coins and copper coins. On his coins, he is mentioned as Chandra .
  • During his reign, a Chinese traveller,  Fa-Hien visited India and wrote a detailed account about the life of its people.
  • The Udaigiri cave inscriptions refer to his digvijaya , that is, his conquest of the whole world.
  • Kalidasa – He wrote Abhijnashakuntalam, one of the best hundred literary works in the world and also the earliest Indian work to be translated to European languages.
  • Amarasimha – His work Amarakosha is a vocabulary of Sanskrit roots, homonyms and synonyms. It has three parts containing around ten thousand words and is also known as Trikanda .
  • He composed Pancha Siddhantika, the five astronomical systems.
  • His work Brihadsamhita is a great work in the Sanskrit language. It deals with a variety of subjects like astronomy, astrology, geography, architecture, weather, animals, marriage and omens.
  • His Brihat Jataka is considered to be a standard work on astrology.
  • Dhanvantri – He is considered to be the father of Ayurveda.
  • Ghatakarapara – An expert in sculpture and architecture.
  • Shanku – An architect who wrote the Shilpa Shastra.
  • Kahapanaka – An astrologer who wrote Jyotishya Shastra.
  • Vararuchi – Author of Prakrit Prakasha, the first grammar of the Prakrit language.
  • Vetala Bhatta – Author of  Mantrashastra and was a magician.

Kumaragupta Ⅰ (c. 415 – 455 CE)

  • Kumaragupta Ⅰ was the son and successor of Chandragupta Ⅱ.
  • Adopted the titles of ‘Shakraditya’ and ‘Mahendraditya’.
  • Performed ‘asvamedha’ sacrifices.
  • Most importantly, he laid the foundation of Nalanda University which emerged as an institution of international reputation.
  • At the end of his reign, peace did not prevail on the north-west frontier due to the invasion of the Huns of Central Asia . After occupying Bactria, the Huns crossed the Hindukush mountains, occupied Gandhara and entered India. Their first attack, during Kumaragupta Ⅰ’s reign, was made unsuccessful by prince Skandagupta .
  • The inscriptions of Kumaragupta Ⅰ’s reign are – Karandanda, Mandsor, Bilsad inscription (oldest record of his reign)  and Damodar Copper Plate inscription.

Skandagupta (c. 455 – 467 CE)

  • Adopted the title ‘Vikramaditya’ .
  • Junagarh/Girnar inscription of his reign reveals that his governor Parnadatta repaired the Sudarshan lake.
  • After Skandagupta’s death, many of his successors like Purugupta, Kumaragupta Ⅱ, Buddhagupta, Narasimhagupta, Kumaragupta Ⅲ and Vishnugupta could not save the Gupta empire from the Huns. Ultimately, the Gupta power totally disappeared due to a variety of reasons.

Also read: Vakatakas

Decline of Gupta Empire

The various reasons that led to the fall of the Gupta empire are discussed below:

Hun Invasion

The Gupta prince Skandagupta fought bravely and successfully against the early Huns’ invasion. However, his successors proved to be weak and could not check the Huns’ invasion. The Huns showed excellent horsemanship and were expert archers which helped them to attain success, not only in Iran but also in India. In the latter half of the 5th century, the Hun chief Toramana conquered large parts of western India, up to Eran near Bhopal in central India. By 485 CE, Huns had occupied Punjab, Rajasthan, Kashmir, eastern Malwa and a large part of central India. Toramana (in 515 CE) was succeeded by his son Mihirkula , who  was a tyrant ruler as is mentioned in the Rajatarangini by Kalhana and Hieun-Tsang refers to him as a persecutor of Buddhists . Mihirkula was defeated and  the Huna power was overthrown by Yashodharman of Malwa, Narasimha Gupta Baladitya of the Gupta empire and the Maukharis . However, this win over Huns could not revive the Gupta empire.

Rise of Feudatories

The rise of feudatories was another factor that led to the fall of the Gupta empire. Yashodharman of Malwa (belonged to the Aulikara feudatory family ) after defeating Mihirkula successfully challenged the authority of the Guptas and set up, in 532 CE, pillars of victory commemorating his conquest of almost the whole of northern India. Although Yashodharman’s rule was short-lived, it certainly gave a huge blow to the Gupta empire. The other feudatories too rose in rebellion against the Guptas and ultimately became independent in Bihar, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Valabhi, Gujarat, Malwa and so on . It is important to mention that after the reign of Skandagupta (467 CE) hardly any coin or inscription has been found in western Malwa and Saurashtra.

Economic decline

By the end of the 5th century, the Guptas had lost western India and this must have deprived the Guptas of the rich revenues from trade and commerce and hence crippled them economically. The economic decline of the Guptas is indicated by the gold coins of later Gupta rulers, which have less percentage of gold metal. The practice of land grants for religious and other purposes also reduced the revenues which resulted in economic instability.

The fall of the Gupta empire led to the emergence of numerous ruling dynasties in different parts of northern India e.g, Pushyabhutis of Thanesar, Maukharies of Kannauj and the Maitrakas of Valabhi . In peninsular India, the Chalukyas and the Pallavas emerged as the strong powers in Deccan and northern Tamil Nadu respectively . Get UPSC exam details related to the post Gupta period, curated by experts for the reference of IAS aspirants at the video given below:

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