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Introduction To The Gupta Period

In the fourth century, the Gupta Empire was established. The Gupta dynasty lasted from circa 320 - circa 540 CE. In the Gupta Age, the Hindu religion strengthened. During the Gupta period the Brahmins and Buddhists lived peacefully. The Ajanta and Ellora caves were created in this period. Many classical art forms and aspects of Indian culture were further developed. Scholars wrote many papers on various subjects during this period. These papers were on thing such things as grammar, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine, to name a few. The Kamasutra, the famous paper written on the art of love, was also written in this time period. During the Gupta Age much progress was made in literature, science, and especially astronomy and mathematics. Kalidasa was a literary figure who brought Sanskrit drama to new heights. Aryabhatta, who was the first Indian to make any significant contribution to astronomy, lived in this age. Due to these many new ideas, and breakthroughs in Indian civilization, historians have called Gupta India, "The Golden Age of Indian History".



Samudra Gupta

Samudra Gupta succeeded his father Chandra Gupta I. He allowed the kings he had defeated in Southeastern India to continue ruling their territories. However, tribute had to be paid. Samudra Gupta was also the first Gupta ruler to mint coins. He issued different types of gold coins. His conquest provided him with the gold needed to mint these coins.


Chandra Gupta II

Chandra Gupta II succeeded his father in A.D.376. He extended the empire westwards and brought the ports in Western India under Gupta control.During his reign, the Gupta empire reached the height of its power and was visited by Buddhist pilgrims from China.


THE GOLDEN AGE OF INDIA

The Gupta Period was usually described as the "golden age of India" as it was a period of great military power and wealth and there was also great development in the arts and sciences.


Ajanta Caves

It was only in the 19th century, that the Ajanta group of caves, lying deep within the Sahyadri hills, cut into the curved mountain side, above the Waghora river, were discovered. A group of British officers on a tiger hunt, stumbled on these ancient works of art. They depict the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 AD. The 29 caves were built as secluded retreats of the Buddhist monks, who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas, the ancient seats of learning, and nerve - centres of the Buddhist cultural movement. Using simple tools like hammer and chisel, the monks carved out the impressive figures adorning the walls of these structures. Exquisite wall - paintings and sculptures speak volumes of the India of yore. Many of the caves house panels depicting stories from the Jatakas, a rich mine of tales of the several incarnations of the Buddha. Images of nymphs and princesses amongst others, are also elaborately portrayed. Cave 1 houses some of the most well - preserved wall paintings which include two great Boddhisattvas, Padmapani and Avalokiteshvara. Caves 2 , 16 and 17 also contain amazing paintings, while Caves 1, 4, 17, 19, 24 and 26 boast of some of the most divine sculptures. The flying apsara, of Cave 17, and the image of Buddha preaching in Cave 17, are a couple of unforgettable works of art. The Ajanta caves and the treasures they house, are a landmark in the overall development of Buddhism as such.


Please Click here to view my page displaying Ajanta Cave's Paintings


The End Of The Gupta Empire

Chandra Gupta II was succeeded by his son, Kumara Gupta. He was not a good ruler therefore his empire suffered many attacks from tribes of Central Asia, especially the Huns. Although he still managed to keep the empire intact, his successor, Skanda Gupta could not defend the attacks. Therefore, the empire to fall and small kingdoms were formed.


Please click the dog at the bottom to run to the next sector, The Mughals