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general knowledge 2023 arihant | Indian History | Ancient India | Dynasties of Ancient India

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general knowledge 2023 arihant | Indian History | Ancient India | Dynasties of Ancient India




Haryanka Dynasty

  • Bimbisara was the founder, who expanded the Magadha kingdom by annexing Anga, and entering into matrimonial alliances with Kosala and Vaishali. He was contemporary of Buddha. Capital-Rajgir (Girivraja).
  • Ajatashatru came to power by killing his father. Annexed Vaishali, Kosala and Lichchhavi kingdom.
  • Udayin founded the new capital, Pataliputra.

Shishunaga Dynasty

Founded by Shishunaga; Kalashoka or Kakavarin of this dynasty convened the Second Buddhist Council. Their greatest achievement was the destruction of Avanti.

Nanda Dynasty

  • Considered non-Kshatriyan dynasty, founded by Mahapadma Nanda. Alexander attacked during Dhana Nanda's reign. Cyrus was the first foreign invader of India.
  • Alexander, the king of Macedonia, invaded India in 326 BC and fought the Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) with Porus (Purushottam) of Paurava dynasty

Mauryan Dynasty

Important rulers of Mauryan Dynasty are

Chandragupta Maurya (321-298BC)

The first ruler who overthrew the Nanda dynasty with the help of Chanakya.
  • He has been called Sandrocottus by Greek scholars.
  • Chandragupta defeated Seleucus Nikator, the general of Alexander (304 BC), who later sent Megasthenese the author of Indica to Chandragupta's court.
  • His mother was Mura-a Shudra woman in Nanda's court.
  • Mudrarakshasa was written by Vishakhadatta and describes about mechanisation of Chanakya against Chandragupta's enemy. Chandragupta maintained six wings of armed forces.
  •  He adopted Jainism and went to Sravanabelgola with Bhadrabahu.

Bindusara (298-273 BC) 

He was called Amitraghat (i.e., slayer of foes) by Greek writers; Greek ambassador, Deimachos visited his court; said to conquer the land between the two seas-The Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

Bindusara appointed his eldest son Sumana as his viceroy at Taxila and Ashoka at Ujjain.

Ashoka (293-273 BC)

  •  For the first eight years Ashoka ruled like a cruel king and maintained discipline.
  • He was called Devanamapriya, Dear to Gods in some of his inscriptions.
  •  The name Ashoka occurs only in copies of Minor Rock Edict I.
  • Three languages were used for Ashokan inscription that is Prakrit, Greek and Aramic.
  • Most of the Ashokan edicts were written in Brahmi script. It was James Princep who deciphered first the Brahmi script of Ashokan edicts in AD 1837.
  •  Ashoka was the first king to maintain direct contact with people through inscriptions.
  • Kalinga War (261 BC) mentioned in 13th Major Rock Edict converted Ashoka to Buddhism under Upagupta.
  • Sanchi Stupa was built by Ashoka.
  • The last Mauryan king Brihadratha, was killed by Pushyamitra Sunga in 185 BC, who established the Sunga dynasty.
  •  The Punch-marked coins carrying the symbol of the peacock and the hill and crescent, famed the imperial currency of Mauryas.
  • The Mauryan artisans started the practice of carving caves of monks to live in. Barabar Caves near Gaya is earliest example of such cave.
  • Ringwells for domestic use of water appeared first under the Mauryas. 
  • Sri Lanka is called Tamrapani in the Ashokan inscription.

The Sunga Dynasty (185-73 BC)

  • The Sunga Dynasty was established by Pushyamitra Sunga. (who killed last Mauryan King Brihadratha).
  • They were basically Brahmins. This period saw the revival of Bhagvatism.
  • Patanjali wrote 'Mahabhasya' at this time.
  • In arts, the Bharhut stupa is the most famous monument of the Sunga period.

The Kanva Dynasty (73-28 BC)

  • In 73 BC, Devabhuti, the last ruler of the Sunga dynasty, was murdered by his minister Vasudeva, who usurped the throne and founded the Kanva dynasty which was later replaced by the Satavahanas.

The Indo-Greeks

  • The most famous king among the Indo-Greeks was Menander (165-145 BC) also called Milinda, his capital was Sakala (modern Sialkot) in Punjab.
  •  Converted to Buddhism by Nagasena as per the Milindapanho-a Pali text.
  • The Greeks were the first to issue coins attributable to the king and also the first to issue gold coins in India; introduced Hellenistic art.

The Shakas

  • The most famous ruler was Rudradaman I (AD 130-150), who repaired Sudarshana lake in Kathiawar region, issued first ever inscription in Chaste Sanskrit (Junagarh inscription). He defeated the Satavahanas twice.
  • Vikramaditya, the king of Ujjain, was the only one who defeated the Shakas To commemorate the victory, he started the Vikram Samvat in 57 BC.
  • The Parthians The most famous king was Gondophernes (AD 19-45), in whose reign St Thomas visited India to propagate Christianity.

The Kushanas

  •  Also called Yechi or Tocharians, were nomadic people from the Steppes.
  •  Kanishka was the greatest of the Kushanas, who started the Saka Era in AD 78.
  •  Kushanas were the first rulers to issue gold coins on a wide scale known for metallic purity.
  • In the royal court of Kanishka, a host of scholars found patronage, like Parsva, Vasumitra, Asvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Charak (Physician) and Mathara. He also patronised the Greek engineer Agesilaus

The Satavahanas (or Andhras)

  • Simuka (60-37 BC) was the founder of the Satavahana dynasty.
  • Satavahanas were finally succeeded by the Ikshvakus in AD 3rd century
  • Under ( theworship Satavahanas halls ) and chaityas , many viharas ( monastries) were cut out from rocks mainly in North-West Deccan or Maharashtra the famous examples were Nasik, Kanberi and Karle.
  • The official language ofthe Satavahanas was Prakrit.
  • The Satavahanas issued coins of lead (mainly), copper, bronze and potin.
  • Gautamiputra Satakarni was a famous king.

Sangam Age

  • Sangam Age corresponds to the post-Mauryan and pre-Gupta periods.
  • South India, during the Sangam Age, was ruled by three dynasties- the cheras, cholas and pandyas.

The Pandyas

  • Their capital was Madurai famous for pearls. The Pandyas were first mentioned by Megasthenese.
  • Traded with Roman empire sent embassies to emperor Augustus.

The Cholas

  • The Chola kingdom, also called as Cholamandalam was situated to the North-East of Pandya Kingdom between Pennar and Vellar rivers.
  • Their Capital was Kaveripattanam/ Puhat.

The Cheras

  • Their capital was Vanji (also called Kerala country) It had important trade relations with the Romans

Sangam Literature

  • Sangam was a college of an assembly of Tamil poets, held under Royal Patronage. Three Sangams were held.
  1. (1) at Madurai chaired by Agastya
  2.  at Kapatpuram, chaired by Tolkappiyar
  3. at Madurai, chaired by Nakkirar.
  4. Kural by Tiruvalluvar is called the Fifth Veda or the Bible of Tamil Land.

Gupta Period

The important rulers of Gupta period are

Chandragupta I (AD 319-334)

Married a Lichchhavi princess who strengthened his position and enhanced the prestige of the Guptas
  • He was the first Gupta ruler to acquire the title of Maharajadhiraja.
  • Chandragupta I was able to establish his authority over Magadha. Prayaga and Saketa

Samudragupta (AD 335-380) 

  • He is called the Napoleon of India (by VA Smith) on account of his conquests.
  • Meghavarman the ruler of Sri Lanka, sent a missionary to his court for permission to built a Buddhist temple at Gaya.
  • The Allahabad pillar inscription gives detailed information about Samudragupta, it was composed by his court poet Harisena.
  • He assumed the titles of Kaviraj and Vikrama.

Chandragupta II (AD 380-414)

  • Mehrauli inscription on Iron Pillar near Qutub Minar is related to him.
  • His court was adorned by Navratnas, the chief being Kalidasa and Amarsimha.
  • Fa-hien, Chinese Pilgrim (AD 399-414) visited during his reign.
  •  Defeated Saka Kshatrapa Rudrasimha III
  • Chandragupta II also succeeded in killing Ramagupta, and not only seized his kingdom, but also married his widow Dhruvadevi.
  • He was the first Gupta ruler to issue the silver coins in the memory of victory over Sakas and to have adopted the titles Sakari and Vikramaditya.
  • The Gupta age is called golden age of Indian history and saw the issuance of the largest number of gold coins. 

Kumaragupta I (AD 415-455)

  • Chandragupta II was succeeded by his son Kumaragupta I.
  • Kumaragupta was the worshipper of God Kartikeya.
  • He founded the 'Nalanda Mahavihara' which developed into a great centre of learning.

Skandagupta (AD 455-467)

  • Skandagupta was the last great ruler of the Gupta dynasty.
  • During his reign the Gupta empire was invaded by the Hunas.
  • Success in repelling the Hunas seems to at have been celebrated by the assumption Betof the title 'Vikramaditya' (Bhitari Pillar Inscription).

Pushyabhuti Dynasty (AD 606-647)

  • The greatest king was Harshavardhana, son of Prabhakar Vardhana of Thaneshwar. He shifted the capital to Kannauj.
  • Hieun Tsang visited during his reign.
  • He established a large monastery at Nalanda. Banabhata adorned his court, wrote Harshacharita and Kadambari. Harsha himself wrote three plays and Priyadarshika, Ratnawali Nagananda.


  • Founded by Dantidurg; Krishna I built the Kailasha temple at Ellora. Amoghavarsha, who is compared to Vikramaditya, wrote the first Kannada poetry Kaviraj Marg. Rashtrakutas are credited for building cave shrine Elephanta, dedicated to Shiva.


Ruled Orissa; Narsimhadeva constructed the Sun Temple at Konark; Anantvarman built the Jagannath Temple at Puri; and Kesaris, who used to rule before Gangas built the Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneshwar


Founder-Simhavishnu; Capital-Kanchi; greatest king Narsimhavarman, who founded the town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) and built rock-cut rathas and even pagodas.
  • Palas, with their capital at Monghyr is known for Dharmapala, their second king, who founded the Vikramashila University and revived the Nalanda University.
  • The greatest ruler of Pratiharas was Bhoja (also known as Mihir, Adivraha).
  • Khajuraho temples were built during the reign of Chandellas of Bundelkhand.
  • Chalukyas of Vatapi-founded by Jayasimha were contemporary to Harshavardhan.
  • were contemporary to Harshavardhan. · Rajputs divided into four clans: Pratiharas(S Rajasthan), Chauhans (E Rajasthan), Chalukyas/Solankis (Kathiawar), Parmaras (Malwa). 

The Cholas

  • Founder Vijayalaya, Capital Tanjore.
  • Aditya I wiped out the Pallavas and weakened the Pandyas.
  • Purantaka I captured Madurai, but was defeated by the Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna III at the Battle of Takkolam.
  • Rajaraja I (AD 985-1014) led a naval expedition against Shailendra empire (Malaya Peninsula) and conquered.
  • Northern Sri Lanka; constructed Rajarajeshwari (or Brihadeshvara) Shiva temple at Tanjore.
  • Rajendra I (AD 1014-1044) annexed the whole of Sri Lanka; took the title of Gangaikonda and founded Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
  • Dancing Figure of Shiva (Nataraja) belongs to the Chola period. Local self government existed.

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