Friday, September 4, 2009

The Guptas: Kings

Bodhisatwa with a Lotus in Hand, a Cave Painting in Ajanta

Contemporaries of Guptas'
Northern India was a patchwork of minor states in the third century AD.

The kingdom of the Nagas was an example of one of the Kushan kingly states. Its power rested mainly in Vidisa, Kantipuri, Mathura and Padmavati. The most famous of its rulers were Sisha, Bhogin, and Sada-chandra Chandramsa, while the Ahicchatra rulers were Bhadraghosa, Suryamitra, Phalgunimitra, Agnimitra, and Brihatsvatimitra.

Coins have found dating to the three centuries of the first millennium AD that prove the existence of Achyuttra, who was defeated by Samudragupta, the second of the Gupta kings.

The Ayodhya rulers were Dhandeva, Vishakhadeva, Ushyamitra, Satyamitra, Ayumitra, and Sanghmitra, but there is some dispute about the founder, Vindhyasakti or Paravarsena, who performed four horse sacrifices and adopted the title of 'samrat' in the Vakatakas. He was succeeded as king by his son, Rudrasena, who was defeated by Samudragupta.

The Maukharis kingdom, with its ruler, King Sunderverman, was based in Oudh. He constructed sacrificial pillars.

In the Kaushambi kingdom the rulers were Sudeva, Brihatsvamitra, Asvaghosa, Agnimitra, Devamitra, Varunmitra, Jyeshthmitra, and Partapatimitra. They minted coins which carried their likenesses.

The Arjunayan kingdom was located in modern Bharatpur and Alwar states in Rajasthan. It was defeated by the Guptas.

The Yahudey kingdom was located in East Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Rajasthan, which in turn was also defeated by the Guptas.

The Malava kingdom was located in Punjab at the time of Alexander's invasion but later on the Malavas settled in Rajasthan and made Malavnagar, near Jaipur, their capital. They defeated the Sakas and the Mankhari Senapati, but were then defeated by the Guptas.

The Licchavis, or Sibis, possessed large numbers of infantry and were a powerful force at the time of Alexander's invasion, ruling Rajasthan near Chitod, with a capital at Madhyamika. The Licchavi state was known to be a powerful one at the time which witnessed the rise of the Guptas (AD 240-320). It had been a republic even from the time of Buddha, around eight hundred years before.

The rulers of the Gupta dynasty itself were Srigupta, Ghatokacha, Chandra Gupta I. The last was responsible for creating the empire which was then ruled by his descendants.

Gupta Empire

The classical age of the Guptas (AD 320-550)
The age of the Guptas, or the Classical Age, refers to the period when most of northern India was reunited under the Gupta empire. All kingdoms large and small fell under the sway of the Guptas. Their introduced beautiful gold coins, became associated with beauty, art, Hindu deities (like Durga, Shiva, etc), and Sanskrit literature of that period. Religious toleration and freedom of worship speaks volumes about their approach to governing the many peoples who came under their authority. Kamasutra was created during this period. The great Kalidas(literature) and Aryabhatta(astronomy) lived in this era. The great writings of Kalidasa include Ritusamhara and Meghauta in Sanskrit literature at its highest quality. It has been described as a Golden Age for its relative peace, law and order, and extensive achievements during this period. This is generally known as Hindu culture with all its variety, contradiction and synthesis.

Aryabhata, also Aryabhatta (476-550?), Hindu astronomer and mathematician, born in Pātaliputra (modern Patna, India). He was known to the Arabs as Arjehir, and his writings had considerable influence on Arabic science. Aryabhata held that the earth rotates on its axis, and he gave the correct explanation of eclipses of the sun and the moon. In mathematics he solved the quadratic equation, although many of his geometric formulas were incorrect. His only extant work is the Aryabhatiya, a series of astronomical and mathematical rules and propositions, written in Sanskrit verse.

Art and architecture (fourth-seventh centuries AD)
The enormous wealth of imperial territory under the Guptas had led to cultural achievements in the arts and architecture. According to historians, in architecture, sculpture, and painting and in other branches of art, the Gupta era is one of the most creative periods of Indian History. During this period, 'Sarnath' became known as a school par excellence in the Buddhist art. Some of the most beautiful images of Buddha are products of this school. The sculpture of Buddha giving his first sermon in the Deer Park is one of the best from Sarnath. Besides this, the Buddhist pantheon includes Indra, Surya, Yakshas, Yakshis, Dwarapalas, and also Mithun couples, winged horses and mythical animals in Hinayana stupas and viharas as at Sanchi, Bharhut, Bodhgaya, Bhaja, Karle Bedse, Pitalkhoda, Bodhisatva and others. In Mahayana, monuments such as those at Ajanta, Ellora, Aurangabad, Karle, Bedsa, Pitalkhoda and Kanheri are known to be amongst the very best historical monuments.

It was a period when Hinduism was the official religion of the empire. Consequently the era was also inspired by innumerable images of popular Hindu gods and goddesses, and those, including Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna, Surya and Durga, were worshiped in this period.

A colossal image of Lord Vishnu in the Udaigiri caves in Madhya Pradesh house, and other statues of this period found in various temples and museums, are indicative of various dimensions of early Hindu art, sculpture which has been created with great skill.

Temple architecture went through great changes under the Guptas, losing the old square sanctum and emerging with pillared porches. Earlier temples of the period had a flat slab roof, often monolithic, but later temples in brick and stone developed a shikhara. This evolution was gradual and easily traceable through the development of the plan and the ornamentation of the pillars, couples, goblins, flying angles, door frames, and also though dominant elements which again included goblins, couples, and flying angles, plus door keepers and a figure relief in the centre of the lintel which was emblematic of a deity consecrated in the temple. Free standing sculptural temples was a major factor in design.

Permanent materials like brick and stones were used for the first time where previously only bamboo and wood had been used. Then structural temples took the place of cave temples for the convenience of idol worship. Most of the towns and cities of the period were adorned with temples which reached great heights, according to Hiuen Tsang. Temple architecture came in a variety of forms, just like its expression in different forms and shapes, and an artistic standard was generated which became the general rule of temple construction in the modern age. Dr S K Saraswati states that Gupta temples can be divided into five different types: square with a flat roof and a 'mandapam'; square with a flat roof and 'parikrama' space around the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple with its gods; square with a low shikara dome; a rectangular temple with a vaulted roof curved at the centre; and a circular temple with projected corners. Excellent carving and panels on the walls was the specialisation of these forms of architecture. Besides, the extinct remained about Gupta architectures are Siva temple at Nachana, the Parvati Temple at Ajaya Garh in Uttar Pradesh, the Vishnu Temple in Central Province, and the Ekkalinga Siva Temple at Satana.

Sculptures of deities, their consorts, celestial beings, couples, directional deities, composite animals and decorative motifs formed the mass of images and these were carved on the walls of the temples and other interior areas. Deities carved in the sanctum were made according to religious canon and were installed by performing a special consecration ceremony. The artists visualised their own ideas in their sculptures, such as youthful bodies, benign expressions, and ideal proportions. They showed various subjects through their sculptures in temples to mirror everyday life, such as military processions, royal court scenes, musicians, dancers, acrobats, and amorous as well as religious scenes. And also some non-religious figures like apsara or devanganas (celestial woman) and vyalas (composite animals).


The caves during the Guptas era denote the Buddhist and Hindu sects in their architectural pattern. The best examples of Gupta dynasty architecture are Parvati temple (Nachana), Bhitarangaon temple, Vishnu temple (Tigawa), Shiva temple (Bhumara), and Dasavatara temple (Deogarh), plus caves at Chaitanya, Vihara, Bagh, Ajanta, and Ellora, and cave architecture at Khandagiri, Udaygiri and Undavalli. Cave paintings denote the Buddhist outline which was very popular during the Gupta era. These were continued for almost a century, and recorded the culmination of earlier tendencies and styles as they transformed into the new style and techniques in architecture. A famous rock-cut monastery in Ajanta consists of several Chaitya halls and numerous residential Viharas. Both its facades and interiors contain elegant relief sculptures. The wall interiors are covered with painted murals that feature superb figures drawn with a graceful winding line. A close inspection will reveal only a little difference in the images of major Indian religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It can be seen in large stone figures, stone and terracotta reliefs and also large and small bronze statuettes made in the refined artistic style of the Guptas. There are many significant Buddha art objects which were crafted during the seventh century at the time of the Pala (or Pallava) and Sena dynasties. The Guptas were mainly known for different images in bronze and hard black stone, especially from Nalanda and other places which showed extra attention towards ornamentation and fabrication, indicating the development of the Gupta dynasty itself.

Gupta architecture added some special features to carving such as spacious porches joined onto large halls, or a whole temple complex surrounded by a spacious courtyard, and one of the important features was the writing of texts around temple buildings.

Gupta architecture is revealed mainly through caves and temples. The first one is 'Mirpur Khas stupa', built in the fourth century AD.having two Buddhist stupas which represent the stupa architecture Their arches, and curve, denotes that arch-making was known to the Indians before the Muslims arrived. The second stupa is the 'Dhameka Stupa'. It is built with bricks which represents the idiom of Gupta architecture.

Sculpture played a very important part in Gupta architecture. It was a mirror of the prosperity which had a great influence on the foreign Gandhara school. It achieved unprecedented excellence under the Guptas. It was originally developed in Mathura, and carried on to perfection at Sarnath. These two places were important for the development of sculptural architecture. Bharat and Sanchi are the best examples of sculptural architecture. Artists of the Gupta dynasty imagine gods and goddesses in human form, and made carvings of human figures or religious images in the spiritual meaning and revealing their physical grace. The Bodhisattva images are one example of artistry from the Mathura school of art which are now paid a remarkable amount of attention by history lovers. Some of the more outstanding varieties of sculptural images include the mudras (signals of palms and fingers denoted different ideas) and the bhangas (the postures of the asanas). As per historians these mudras and asana were originally initiated by the Guptas.

Painting was the most popular form of artistic expression amongst the rich and poor of the Gupta period. The royal families had their 'Pratima grihas' and 'chitrashalas' or picture galleries. And common people used to paint on scrolls of linen. Ajanta, Badami and Bagh are some examples of the cave paintings which were created during the period. The cave paintings are mainly based on Jataka stories and the life of Buddha. Bodhisattva-Padmapani of Ajanta is one popular example of a Gupta painting. It represents Bodhisatva standing in the 'Trivanga' style, with a jewelled crown on his head, holding a lotus in his right hand with a glow on his face.

Gupta coins were different in the sense that they were made up from silver and gold. The coins marked a high watermark in Indian currency. Some coins were developed by Chandragupta II, they were based on spirituality like he preside image of goddess Lakshmi, seated on Lotus, Or in other kind like horsemen, lion, peacock type coins which marked the artistic elegance of the Guptas Dynasty.

The Gupta period is known for its use and promotion of Sanskrit literature, inscriptions, sophisticated metal coins, monuments, astronomical observations, and advanced mathematics which made use of decimal notation and the numeral zero. All this served to make the empire one of the most enlightened places in the world at this time. Many great Mahayana masters lived and also wrote about this time while various Buddhist establishments such as Nalanda attracted many pilgrim-monks from China and other places. Six hundred years previously, the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka (269-232 BC), had succeeded in making Buddhism the religion for the majority of people in northern India. When he achieved this neither Brahmanical Hinduism or Jainism died out, thanks to Ashoka's religious toleration. After Ashoka all the rulers that followed also showed religious toleration, which only added to the prosperity of the territories they ruled. The Guptas though showed a preference to their family deity, Vishnu, and pursued a policy of the perfect freedom of worship.

All modern studies on chess genealogy agree that we can find the origins of chess in ancient India, when, in an indeterminate period around the 6th century during the Gupta Empire, the game called Chaturanga, was invented.

The rule of the Gupta emperors led to unprecedented achievements in the fields of science, mathematics, art, astronomy, literature, religion and philosophy. Gupta emperors built several temples which are remembered for their superb architecture. From Nagara-style temples to rock-cut caves; a variety of religious monuments were constructed during their rule. The Gupta emperors truly proved themselves to be prolific builders. Whether it was trade, medicine, astronomy, metaphysics, martial arts or sculpture, the Gupta emperors employed every possible strategy to make their subjects happy and prosperous.

Susruta resided at the court of the Gupta kings at Pataliputra during the 'Golden Age' of Hindu culture. He wrote medical texts about surgery and he advocated the sterilization of wounds. Susruta is the author of the Susrutasamhita, the work known after his name, and one of the most brilliant gems in Indian medical literature, and thus he is recognised as the father of Indian surgery.

Gupta military machine
Strong military power played a key role in the success of the Gupta empire. The great powers or efficient martial system was achieved by Gupta from Chinese and Western observers and not just from Hindus. A contemporary Indian document, the Siva-Dhanur-veda, which is regarded as a military classic of the time, offers some insight into the military system of the Guptas.

It seems the Guptas were heavily dependent on infantry archers, and their bows. It proved to be the dominant weapon of their army. The Hindu version of the longbow was composed of metal, or more typically bamboo, and fired a long bamboo cane arrow with a metal head. It was not like the composite bow of western and Central Asian military forces, because bows of this design would be less prone to warping in the damp and moist conditions often prevalent in the region. Between the other options for weapons the Indian longbow was considered to be a powerful weapon capable of great range and penetration and was an effective tool for killing horse archers. Other weapons were also used as effective weapons such as iron shafts against armoured elephants, fire arrows against a bowmen's arsenal, etc. Steel weapons seem to have been highly prominent in the Middle Kingdoms era in India. One of these was the steel bow. This was capable of long range firing and could penetrate exceptionally thick armour due to its high tensile strength. These were actually less common weapons than might be thought, though. One of the most commonly used weapons was of a bamboo design and could be found in the hands of noblemen rather than in the ranks. The military was very organised. The ranks were arranged in a way that offered the best levels of protection to the ordinary soldiers. Archers were frequently protected by infantry equipped with shields, javelins, and swords, etc. Other than these, the Gupta armies used siege craft, including catapults and other sophisticated war machines.

Samudragupta and Chandragupta II would very likely have understood the need for combined armed tactics and proper logistical organisation. Their success was from the concerted use of elephants, armoured cavalry and foot archers in tandem. They also maintained a navy to control regional waters during war time. They showed more interests towards using horse archers, despite the fact that these warriors were the main component in the ranks of their Scythian, Parthian and Hepthalite (White Hun) enemies.

Historians believe that the collapse of Gupta empire during the war with the White Huns was due to internal dissolution which weaken their ability to resist foreign invasion.

Sources of information about the Gupta empire

Literature (and see Inscriptions, below)
The 'Puranas', the name of an ancient Indian genre of Hindu or Jain literature. They are primarily post-Vedic texts containing a narrative of the history of the Universe, from creating to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy and geology.

The play, 'Kaumudi Mahotsava', a drama composed by the female writer, Vijjaka, which refers to King Chandrasena who is called Karaskara. King Chandrasena is identified with Chandragupta I of the Gupta dynasty by Dr Jayswal and Chandra of the Mehurali Iron pillar inscriptions by others.

The play, 'Devi-Chandraguptam', a drama composed by Vishakadaatta which refers to King Chandragupta II who is very often referred to as Vikramaditya or Chandragupta.

'Harshacharita', a Sanskrit word which means 'The Deeds of Harsa', is the biography of Indian emperor Harsha as written by Banbhatta, who is also known as Bana, a Sanskrit writer of seventh century India. He was the 'Asthana Kavi' or court poet of King Harsha. It was his first composition and can be treated as one of the very first historical poetic works in the Sanskrit language. Harsha Charit ranks as the first historical biography in Sanskrit and as such it is written in a florid and fanciful style.

Nalanda University

Historical studies indicate that the University of Nalanda was established 450 CE under the patronage of the Gupta emperors, notably Kumaragupta

The Mahayana Buddhist Chronicle
The Mahayanists wrote their own Buddhist doxographies in the early fifth century. The earliest Mahayana chronicles, the Manjusriparpyccha was translated into Chinese by Sanghabhara, who travelled to India between AD 506 and 520.

'Arya-Manjushri Mul kalpa', dealing with imperial dynasties and Indian history from 700 BC to AD 750. The history was a Buddhist Mahayana work by a Tibetan scholar, and was composed sometime in the eighth century AD.

Records of the travels of two Chinese pilgrims, Fa-Hien and Hiuen-Tsang, who visited India in the fifth and seventh century AD respectively. Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang left behind an account about India and Bengal. He is also known as Xuanzang, or Hsuan-tsang, and was born in Henan Province in China in AD 603. From Xingdu throughout China until he reached Changan, then under the rule of Tang emperor Taizong he travelled in search of the sacred books of Buddhism and eventually came to India.

He knew about Fa-Hien's visit to India. He was also concerned about the incomplete and misinterpreted nature of the Buddhist scripture that Fa-Hien had brought back to China.

Starting from China in AD 629, he passed through Central Asia via the northern trade route which went through Kuch (Gujarat) and then reached northern India, where he arrived at the city of Kanauj. There he was guest of Harshavardhana, the great Indian emperor. He visited the sacred Buddhist sites in Magadha and spent a great deal of time studying at the great Nalanda monastery.

The pilgrim next travelled to parts of western, northern and south-eastern Bengal, and then to southern and western India. He returned to China, again by way of Central Asia, though this time by the southern route via Khotan. Hiuen-Tsang recorded the details of all the countries he visited. He also included information on countries he had heard reports of; for example, he has recorded some stories about Sri Lanka when he was in southern India, though he had not visited the island.

Across India most people had become vegetarians, except for fish which was widely consumed in Bengal and places to its south. And unlike parts of the Roman empire, a traveller in India had little reason to fear robbery. Hiuen-Tsang travelled about in India for eleven years and recorded that he was never molested or robbed.

His records of visits to the places in Bengal - 'Raktamritikka' near 'Karnasuvarna', 'Pundranagar' and its surrounding area, 'Samatata' and 'Tamaralipti'. All these records were helpful for uncovering the political, social, and archaeological history of Bengal. Besides this he covered the 'Gauda' tribal kingdom under Shashanka of seventh century Bengal.

Inscriptions are an important and reliable source of history for the Guptas. They are incised on stone, as well as on metal, the latter consisting of copper plates or the Meherauli Iron Pillar inscription. The Allahabad inscription of Samudragupta or the Mandasor Pillar inscription of Yashodharman are examples of some of the chronicles of contemporary events. Besides this there are many donative inscriptions to provide records of religious endowments or secular donations.

The coins show the progressive evolution of indigenous Indian coinage and of its emancipation from the prevailing foreign and Kushan models.

Another source is monuments, which are a source of artistic and religious history, and provide information of different schools of art, with examples including Mathura, Varanasi and Nalanda.

Temples are another example of inscriptions of religious history such as those of Vishnu, Shiva, and Durga (Hindu gods), Buddha (Bodhisattva), and Jain Tirthankaras. Udaygir temple (at Gwalior) and Pathari are the most famous examples of these inscriptions.

The stone temple in Deogarh of Dasabatara with its excellent carvings and panels on the walls, is an extant remain of Gupta architecture.

Origin of Guptas:
Political imbalance demoshed Kushan Empire and the emergence of the gupta dynasty in India. Gupta dynasty ruled India between 3rd century and 6th century C.E. The Gupta period is often described as a period of Hindu renaissance. It supported art, music, architecture, sculpture and paintings.

SriGupta (240-280 AD) was ruling a small Hindu kingdom called Magadha from Vaishya community near Ganga river, a prayag based feudatory of Kushanas. He and his son ‘Ghatotkach’ (ruled probably from c. AD 280-319) was having hold over ‘Patliputra’ and nearby areas. They were may be holding some of the parts of northern or central ‘Bengal’ too. It is understood that Sri Gupta could be the first king of the Guptas. He In contrast to his successor, he is also referred to in inscriptions as ‘Maharaja’ but, the Poona copper inscription of Prabhavati Gupta describes Sri Gupta as the ‘Adhiraja’, no much records are available.

At the beginning of the 5th century the Guptas established and ruled a few small Hindu kingdoms in Magadha and around modern-day Bihar.

Ghatotkacha (280 – 319 AD) became the successor of Sri Gupta. The two records of Prabhavati Gupta (daughter of Chandragupta II) indicates Ghatotkacha as the Gupta king. But neither much evidence is available to clearly prove Ghatotkacha as the first king of Guptas.

Chandragupta I (320-335) Chandragupta was born in 305 AD. When he was in his teens, he married a Lichchhavi (present-day Nepal) princess named Kumaradevi. Through this matrimonial alliance, he gained enormous power and used it to his great advantage. . The Gupta emperors, from the very beginning, were renowned for their military skills, chivalry, diplomacy and astuteness.

Chandragupta I is truly recognised as the consolidator of the Gupta Empire. He launched a series of military expansions, pushing the kingdom's boundaries westward. By 320 A.D He extended his territory to Magadha, Prayaga (present-day Allahabad in north central India.)and Saketa. He proclaimed himself as a Maharajadhiraya (King of Kings). Many historians consider 320 A.D. was the beginning of the Gupta dynasty.

Samudragupta (335-380) He was the son of Chandragupta I and Mahadevi Kumaradevi, grandson of Ghatotkacha. Chandra Gupta lay dying, and he told his son, Samudragupta, to rule the whole world. Samudra Gupta's forty-five years of rule would be described as one vast military campaign. He fought with overwhelming nine kings near Ganges plain and incorporating their subjects and lands into the Gupta Empire. He defeated Bengal, Nepal and Assam and expanded his empire westward, conquering Malava and Ujjayini. . He raided Pallava and humbled eleven kings in southern India. . He made a vassal of the king of Lanka, and he compelled five kings on the outskirts of his empire to pay him tribute. The powerful kingdom of Vatakata in central India. He gained the name “Indian Nepoleon” due to his conquests in many directions and various kinds.

Samudragupta performed Horse sacrifice when he completed the conquests. Also introduced different coins representing Asvamedha Yagna were distributed to Brahmins. Eight different types of coins have found like archer, battle axe, tiger slayer, kacha, Ashwamedha, lyrist etc.

c. 375-? Kushan kings-

Ramgupta (375-???) Things are available to prove that he was son of Samudragupta, although any inscription or coins are not available for that. Some historical dramas like ‘Devichandraguptam’ material like ‘Natyadarpan’,and a historical drama ‘Devichandraguptm’ which described Rama Gupta as son and successor of Samudragupta. It is said in the drama that Rama Gupta sustains a humiliating defeat at the hands of sakas and agrees to surrender his queen to the Sakas which provokes his brother Chandragupta II. He disguise of queen Dhruvadevi, enters enemies camp and kill the Saka king to restore the gupta empire, and queen. This incident raises Chandragupta in the eyes of people and Dhruvadevo. The conduct of Rama Gupta gets betrayed by the brother and Rama Gupta kills him and sits on the throne. He then marries to the widow of his brother.

Chandragupta II/ Vikramaditya (380-413) Samudra Gupta died (around 380) and was succeeded by his son Chandragupta II or Vikramaditya. He was one of the most distinguished ruler of Gupta Empire.

Addressed as `Maharaja` the Gupta emperors were gallant and possessed a cultural bent of mind. This was one of the reasons why several litterateurs received royal patronage. Whilst he fought with unfathomable courage to extend his empire, he was an ardent admirer of various cultures. He extended Gupta rule to India's west coast, where new ports were helping India's trade with countries farther west. While Rome was being overrun and the western half of the Roman Empire was disintegrating.

c. 410-413

Kumaragupta I/ Mahendraditya (415-455) Chandra Gupta II died in 415 and the Gupta kingdom succeeded by his son (some people say Skanda gupta succeeded his father in 455), Kumara Gupta, who maintained India's peace and prosperity. He maintained Gupta Empire remained undiminished during his forty year reign. Then India suffered more invasions due to Roman Empire around this time.

Skandagupta/ Vikramaditya (455-467) He was son of Kumargupta I. Skanda Gupta the crown prince was able to drive the invaders (Hephthalites) back, into the Sassanian Empire, where they were to defeat the Sassanid army and kill the Sassanid king, Firuz.

He was popular amongpeople especially women and children praised him. Then the Hephthalites returned, and he spent much of his reign of twenty-five years combating them, which drained his treasury and weakened his empire.

Skanda Gupta died (467), and after a century and a half the cycle of rise and disintegration of empire turned again to disintegration. Contributing to this was dissention within the royal family. Benefiting from this dissention, governors of provinces and feudal chieftains revolted against Gupta rule. For awhile the Gupta Empire had two centers: at Valabhi on the western coast and at Pataliputra toward the east. Seeing weakness, the Hephthalites invaded India again -- in greater number. Just before the year 500, the Hephthalites took control of the Punjab. After 515, they absorbed the Kashmir, and they advanced into the Ganges Valley, the heart of India, raping, burning, massacring, blotting out entire cities and reducing fine buildings to rubble. Provinces and feudal territories declared their independence, and the whole of north India became divided among numerous independent kingdoms. And with this fragmentation India was again torn by numerous small wars between local rulers.

Purugupta (467-473 AD) Gupta empire began to decline after death of Skandagupta. His brother appears to have been the immediate successor to Skandagupta. Purugupta was son of Kumaragupta I by his queen Ananthadevi. He ascended the throne at his oldage. He ruled just for 6 years.

Narsimhagupta Baladitya (467-473) He was son of Purugupta by the queen Shri Vinayadevi.

Kumargupta II (473-476 AD) The successor after Narsimha Baladatitya was his son Kumaragupta II (Kramaditya). The rule seems to have ended about the year 476-477 AD. It is understood that Kumaragupta II, Narsimha Baladitya and Purugupta altogether could rule only for about ten years.

Buddhagupta (477-495 AD) A large number of inscription refer that Buddhagupta could manage to keep the empire intact. He ruled for about 20 years. Buddhagupta was succeeded by Tathagata Gupta. Some people even believe that Krishna Gupta and Harsha Gupta succeeded Budhagupta in ruling the empire and then Budhagupta and Harshagupta succeeded Jivitagupta I.

Kumargupta III (????) There was Kumargupta III wh succeeded Jivitagupta I. He faced many difficulties by Mukharis, Gowdas in West Bengal, then from Andhra king. They tried to threat him and somehow he he claimed victories over them.

The next successor of gupta dynasty are Damodarguptas, Mahasenagupta, Madhavagupta and Devagupta II had threat by the enemies. It is believe that Adityasena, Devagupta III and the lat king Jivagupta III were the names of last guptas. And it was Gowdas who destroyed the fame of Fuptas.

Bhanugupta (c.499-543) As per the inscription Bhanugupta was merely a ‘Raja’ (Not a Maharaja). He therefore stand in the history of guptas as a governor of Malwa under emperor Narsimha Gupta. Huna’s attack fell upon Malwas and Bhanugupta lost the battle. Hunas then moved further towards Magadha. As the date of inscription it was during AD 510 after the Toraman ruled over Malwa.

Vainyagupta (fl. 508) In Comilla eastern Bengal, Gunaigarh copper plate inscription has found therecords of vainyagupta. It has recorded that Vainya Gupta granted some lands in a village for maintaining Buddha vihar.

Three Archer gold coins have been discovered and it would be belongs to Vainyagupta. He was associated with eastern Bengal, so believable that he belongs to the direct line of imperial guptas. Still have conflicts over these two. The copper inscription, Gunaigarh found is soldered royal seal mentioning the name of ‘Maharaja Sri Vainya Guptah’.

Vishnugupta (c. 540-550) was one of the lesser known kings of the Gupta Dynasty.He is generally considered to be the last recognized king of theGupta Empire. His reign lasted 10 years, from 540 to 550 CE.


  1. people are forgetting history.
    such a good article must be promoted in order to achieve a genuine benefits to the people.

  2. Thank you so much Mr. Abhijit Rajadhyaksha, Mr. Ashutosh and Helle. Sorry for the late response.


  4. one suggestion Brother please connect to Facebook..Then information will Spread and use full to every one

  5. Mr.Srinu...m not sure about it. Thank you so much for your query and comment. I really appreciate.

  6. @ gaky...I will surely do that when time comes. Right now I m busy in my further studies and may not be able to give time for the facebook page. This is the only reason I can give u. Thanks a lot sir!!!

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  11. Many thanks for compiling this history...