The ancient Gupta Empire existed between 550 BC and 320 BC. The extent of the kingdom covered almost every inch of the Indian subcontinent. Maharaja Shri-Gupta was the founder of this golden dynasty and it led to the modern civilization. The Guptas patronized peace and harmony like no other ruler has ever been and thus their rule is often referred to as the ‘Golden Age’. There were extensive scientific discoveries and inventions, growth in technology, art, engineering, logic, mathematics, dialectics, religion, literature, philosophy and astronomy. The most notable rulers were Chandragupta I, Chandragupta II and Samudragupta.
The Gupta dynasty was the producer of scholars like Aryabhatta, Kalidasa, Varahamihir, Vatsyayana, Vishnu Sharma and Prashastapada. Trade routes were discovered and extensive imports and exports were carried out.
Origin: K.P. Jayaswal suggests that the Guptas were descendants of the Jats. She says that the daughter of Chandragupta belonged to Dharana Gotra which she inherited from the Guptas. Fa Xian was a Chinese traveler who visited India during Chandragupta II’s reign and gave detailed descriptions of the administration. According to him the Guptas treated their subjects in the most generous ways with no strict penal codes and heavy punishments. The reign was supreme and he was pleased with it. The Gupta Kingdom in Magadha is better known from the accounts of Yijing, who came during the rule of Maharaja Shri-Gupta.
Administration: The Gupta Empire was divided into various administrative divisions for better implementation of the procedures. The empire often called Rastra /Rajya /Mandala /Desha /Avani /Prithivi was divided as 26 provinces which again had Vishayas as their divisions. A Vishayas was looked after by an Adhikarana or representative group.
Important landmarks: The Somay Gupta concept of ‘zero’ was put forward by Aryabhatta (The first satellite of India is in his name) who was a mathematician from this period. He also studied the eclipses and the earth’s revolution round the sun. he predicted the earth revolving around its axis itself which later came out to be true. Kalidasa’s Shakuntala is a very famous work and hails from this period. The game of Chess started from the gupta regime when strategies were started being planned. The aurveda type of treatment was practices by the doctors of the Gupta period and it even saw the origin of the positional number system with base 10. Kama Sutra is an ancient and widely acclaimed work concerning human sexual urges. It was written by Vatsyayana. Many trade routes were discovered and currency exchange was modernized.
Fall: Skandagupta was the last able gupta ruler. The later one who followed couldn’t save the territory from the invasion of the Huns. Skandagupta is also titled Kramaditya and Vikramaditya for his bravery. He succeeded in defeating Pusyamitra and repelled the White Huns when they first attacked. The ones who followed Skandagupta were Purugupta, Budhagupta, Narasimhagupta, Visnugupta, and Bhanugupta. Toramana ran over the empire Miharakula became the first successor. Thanesar, Gujarat and Malwa broke apart and through the then Guptas tried hard were not able to manage the attacks.