Bimbisara (544 BC - 492 BC)
- Contemporary of Buddha.
- His capital was Rajgir (Girivraja). He strengthened his position by matrimonial alliance with the ruling families of Kosala, Vaishali and Madra (3 wives).
Ajatshatru (492 BC - 460 BC)
- Son of Bimbisara, killed his father and seized the throne . Annexed Vaishali, and Kosala.
Udayin ( 460 BC - 444 BC)
- He founded the new capital of Pataliputra, situated at the confluence of the Ganga and Son.
- Founded by a Minister Shishunaga. Dynasty lasted for two generations only.
- Greatest achievement was the destruction of power of Avanti.
(1st of non- kshatriya dynasties)
- Considered by many as the first non Kshatriya dynasty. Founder was Mahapadma Nanda.
- Alexander attacked India in their reign. Dhana Nanda was there at that time.
- Alexanders invasion: Alexander invaded India in 326 BC. He faught the famous battle of Hydaspes (on the banks of Jhelum) with the king of Punjab, Porus.
Nanda EmpireThe Mauryan Dynasty
Chandragupta Maurya (322BC- 297BC)
- With the help of Chanakya, he overthrew the Nandas.
- Defeated Selecus, the general of Alexander. Selecus sent Magasthenes (the author of ‘Indica’) to his court.
BINDUSARA ( 297BC-273BC)
- Called Amitrghat by Greek writers.
- He is said to have conquered ‘the land between 2 seas’, i.e., the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.
Ashoka ( 269 BC-232BC)
- Regarded as one of the greatest Kings of all times.
- THE KALINGA WAR (261 BC, mentioned in XIII rock edict) changed his attitude towards life . Ashoka became a Buddhist after that.
- The emblem of Indian Republic has been adopted from the 4-lion capital of Ashokan pillar at Sarnath.
- Built the Sanchi Stupa in present day Madhya Pradesh.
- The Indo–Greek ruler was Menander (165 – 145 BC), also known as Milinda.
- He was converted to Buddhism by Nagasena (described in the Pali text , Milinda panho or the question of Milinda).
- Greeks were the first to issue coins which can be definitely attributed to the Kings.
The Shakas or Scythians
- The Greeks were followed by the Shakas, who controlled a larger part of India than the Greek did.
- A king of Ujjain, who called himself Vikramaditya, defeated the Shakas. An era called the Vikram Samvat is reckoned from the event of his victory over the Shakas in 57 BC.
- The most famous Parthian king was Gondopherns (AD 19 – 45), in whose reign St. Thomas is said to have come to India for the propagation of Christianity.
The Kushans (45 AD)
- First to issue gold coins in India. Kanishka was their most famous king.
- He patronized the following persons:
- Ashwaghosha (wrote ‘Buddhacharitra’, which is the biography of Buddha)
- Nagarjuna (wrote ‘Madhyamik Sutra’).
- Vasumitra (chairman of fourth Buddhist council)
- Charak (a physician, wrote ‘Charak Samhita’)
Kanishka is known in the history for two reasons:
- He started an era in AD 78, which is known as Saka era and is used by Govt. Of India.
- He extended his whole – hearted patronage to Buddhism (Held the fourth Buddhist council in Kashmir).
The Sunga Dynasty
- Pushyamitra founded this dynasty.
- They were basically Brahamins. This period saw the revival of Bhagvatism.
- Patanjali’s classic Mahabhashya was written at this time.
The Kanva Dynasty
- The founder of this short–lived dynasty was Vasudeva, who killed the last Sunga king, Devabhuti.
- They were swept away by the Satavahanas of the Deccan.
The Satavahanas or The Andhras
- They were the successors of the Mauryans in the Deccan and the central India.
- Simuka is regarded as the founder of this dynasty. The most important king was Gautamiputra Satkarni (AD 106 – 130) who raised the power and prestige of Satavahanas to greater heights.
Sanchi under the Satavahanas The Pandyas
- Their capital was Madurai.
- The Pandya kings profited from trade with the Roman empire and sent embassies to the Roman emperor Augustus.
- The Kingdom was known as Cholamandalam or Cholamandal. The chief centre was Uraiyur, a place famous for cotton trade. Capital was Kaveripattnam / Puhar.
- Main source of wealth was trade in cotton cloth. They also maintained an efficient Navy.
- Their capital was Vanji (also called as Kerela Country)
- It owed its importance to trade with the Romans. The Romans set up two regiments there to protect their interests.
- All the gathered informations on Pandyas, Cholas and Cheras is based on Sangam literature . Sangam was a college or assembly of Tamil poets held probably under Royal Patronage (esp. Pandyas).
- Sangam age corresponds to the post–Maurya and the pre–Gupta period.
The Gupta Dynasty
Chandragupta – I (AD 319 – 335)
- Started the Gupta era in 319 – 320 AD.
- He enhanced his power & prestige by marrying Kumara Devi, princes of Lichchavi clan of Nepal.
- He acquired the title of Mahrajadhiraj.
SamudraGupta (AD 335 – 380)
- The Gupta kingdom was enlarged enormously by Chandragupta’s son Samudragupta, because of his bravery and generalship he is called the ‘Napoleon’ of India (by the historian V.A. Smith).
- He assumed the title of Kaviraj and Vikramanka.
Chandragupta – II (AD 380 – 413 )
- Took the title of Vikramaditya by defeating Rudrasimha III, a Kshatrap king of Ujjain.
- He was the first ruler to issue silver coins. Also issued copper coins.
- The iron pillar inscription, fixed near Qutabminar in Delhi mentions a king Chandra (considered by many as Chandragupta II only).
- His court was adorned by celebrated nine gems (navaratnas ) including Kalidasa, Amarsimha, Varahmihir, and Dhanvantri.
- Chinese pilgrim Fahien visited India at this time.
Kumaragupta – I (AD 413 – 455 )
- Founded Nalanda University ( a renowned university of ancient India).
- In the last year of his reign, the peace and prosperity of the empire was disturbed due to invasion of Turko – Mongol tribe, Hunas. During the war with the Hunas, Kumaragupta died.
Skandagupta (AD 455 – 467 )
- Kumaragupta – I was followed by Skandagupta. He faced Hunas effectively.
- After his death, the great days of Guptas were over. The empire continued but central control weakened, and local Governors became feudatory kings with hereditary rights.
Harsha Vardhan (AD 606 – 647 )
- Belonged to Pushyabhuti family & son of Prabhakar Vardhan.
- Originally belonged to Thaneshwar, but shifted to Kannauj.
- Defeated by Pulakesh–II, the great Chalukya king, on the banks of Narmada in 620.
- Chinese pilgrim, Hieun Tsang (prince of travellers) visited during his reign.
- He established a large monastery at Nalanda. Banabhatta, who adorned his court wrote Harshacharita and Kadambari. Harsha himself wrote 3 plays- Priyadarshika, Ratnavali and Nagananda.
Chalukyas of Vatapati (Badami)
- Founder – Pulakesin-I.
- Pulakesin – II was their most famous king. Was a contemporary of Harsha.
- Founder – Dantidurga.
- Their king Krishna – I is remembered for constructing the famous rock-cut Kailash temple at Ellora.
- Their king Krishna – III set up a pillar of victory and a temple at Rameshwaram.
- Rashtrakutas are credited with the building of cave shrine of Elephanta.
- Their king Narsimhadeva constructed the Sun Temple at Konark.
- Their king Anantvarman Ganga built the famous Jagannath temple at Puri.
- Kesaris, who used to rule Orissa before Gangas built the Lingaraja temple at Bhubaneswar.
- Founder Simhavishnu. They set up their capital at Kanchi (south of Chennai).
- Narsimhavarman was their greatest king. He founded the town of Mamalapuram (Mahabalipuram) which he adorned with beautiful rock-cut Raths or Seven Pagoras. Hieun Tsang visited Kanchi during his reign.
The Imperial Cholas (AD 846 – 1279)
- Founder- Vijayalaya.
- Capital was Tanjore.
- The greatest Chola rulers were Rajaraja – I (985 – 1014 ) and his son Rajendra – I (1014 – 1044 ).
- Rajaraja – I constructed the Rajrajeshwari temple (also called as Brihadeshwar Shiva temple) at Thanjavur. His son Rajendra – I annexed the whole of Sri Lanka. In the North, went as far as Ganga and the dominions of the Pala king Mahipala. He took the title of ‘Gangaikonda’ after that.
- Dancing figure of Shiva called Nataraja belong to this period only.
- Cholas temples has massive ‘Vimanas’ or towers and spacious courtyards. The entrances had elaborate Gopurams (gateways).
- Local self government was there (concept of Panchayati Raj has been borrowed from it).
The Palas of Bengal (Capital – Monghyr)
- Its founder was Gopala (750 AD).
- Their king, Dharampala founded Vikramsila University & and revived Nalanda University.
3 rival powers – Pratiharas, Palas and Rashtrakutas declined almost simultaneously as there was extra pressure to maintain their armies as well as the rise of feudatories.
- They were divided into 4 clans
- Pratihara or Pariharas of Rajasthan.
- Chauhans of Rajasthan.
- Chalukyas or Solankis of Kathiarwar.
- Parmaras or Pawars of Malwa.