Ancient India: Gupta and Post-Gupta
New Empires and Kingdoms GUPTAS
• Information about their history through inscriptions and coins.
• Changragupta was followed by Samudragupta.
• Samudragupta, Gupta ruler (1700 years ago, ie AD 300). Harisena was his court poet.
• Chandragupta, his father, was the first ruler of the Gupta dynasty to adopt the grand title of maharaj- adhiraja, a title that Samudragupta also used.
• “Prashasti” = inscription ‘in praise of’. Prashasti about Samudragupta was inscribed on the Asokan piller at Allahabad (Prayag).
• Four different kinds of rulers in different parts of India/Nepal/Srilanka either surrendered to him or made alliances. (Eg: Aryavartha, Dakshinapatha, gana sanghas etc).
• Main centers of Guptas: Prayag (Allahabad, UP), Ujjain (Avanti, MP) and Pataliputra (Patna, Bihar).
• Samudragupta’s son = Chandragupta II. Kalidasa and Aryabhata adorned his court. He overcame the last Sakas.
HARSHAVARDHANA & HARSHACHARITA
• Information about their history through biographies.
• He belonged to Pushyabhuti Dynasty when Gupta dynasty was fading.
• His court poet, Banabhatta, wrote his biography, the Harshacharita, in Sanskrit.
• Xuan Zang, spent a lot of time at Harsha’s court and left a detailed account of what he saw.
• Harsha took over the kingdom of Kanauj, and then led an army against the ruler of Bengal.
• Although he was successful in the east, and conquered both Magadha and Bengal, he was not as successful elsewhere.
• He tried to cross the Narmada to march into the Deccan, but was stopped by a ruler belonging to the Chalukya dynasty, Pulakeshin II.
THE PALLAVAS, CHALUKYAS AND PULAKESHIN
• The Pallavas and Chalukyas were the most important ruling dynasties in south India during this period.
• The kingdom of the Pallavas around their capital, Kanchipuram, to the Kaveri delta, while that of the Chalukyas [Aihole, the capital ] was centred around the Raichur Doab, between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra.
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