Legacy & Decline of The Gupta Empire

Legacy & Decline of The Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire was known as the "Golden Age of India" because of its artisan output, guilds, scientific and medical advancements, and trade. The Gupta Empire (320 AD to 550 AD) accomplished a great deal in a variety of subjects.

Legacy & Decline of The Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire was known as the "Golden Age of India" because of its artisan output, guilds, scientific and medical advancements, and trade. The Gupta Empire (320 AD to 550 AD) accomplished a great deal in a variety of subjects. 

Hence, the Gupta era is known as the classical age of art.

The decline of the Gupta Empire is attributed to a number of circumstances, including a rivalry with the Vakatakas, the ascent of Yashodharman of Malwa, and Huna invasions. 

In this section, you will discover the main facts about the Gupta empire's art and culture, as well as the causes for its downfall, in the IAS Exam (Prelims, Mains GS-I and Optional.)

Gupta Empire - Golden age of India:

Because of the tremendous achievements in the fields of arts, science, and literature that Indians achieved during the Gupta period, the Gupta period has been called the "Golden Age of India." The Guptas' affluence ushered in a time of magnificent achievements in the arts and sciences. From 320 CE until 550 CE, the Gupta Empire reigned.

Gupta Empire's Legacy - Literature:

  • During this era, Sanskrit literature thrived. Kalidasa was a brilliant poet and dramatist in the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. Great epics he wrote include Abhijnanashaakuntalam, Malavikagnimitram, Kumarasambhavam, Meghadootam, and Raghuvamsham.
  • During this period, the Sanskrit play Mcchakatika, credited to Shudraka, was written.
  • The Allahabad Prashasti was composed by poet Harisena and graced the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
  • Vishnu Sharma, of Panchatantra renown, flourished under the Gupta Empire.
  • Grammarians and poets made substantial contributions during this time period as well. During this time, Amarakosha, a Sanskrit dictionary, was also compiled.
  • It was prepared by Amarasimha, a poet and grammarian. Mudrarakshasa was written by Vishakhadatta. Vararuchi and Bhartrihari were two more grammarians who contributed to the Sanskrit language

Gupta Empire's Legacy - Science:

  • The Gupta era also witnessed significant advances in science, mathematics, and astronomy.
  • Aryabhatta, the famous Indian mathematician and astronomer, wrote Surya Siddhanta and Aryabhattiya. Aryabhatta is thought to have invented the term "zero." He also stated Pi's value. He proposed that the earth is not flat and that it rotates around its own axis as well as around the sun. He also provided the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is astonishingly close to the actual number. He published works in geometry, astronomy, mathematics, and trigonometry.
  • Scientists of this era developed the Indian number system with a base of ten, which is the current numeric system.
  • Brihatsamhita was written by Varahamihira. He was an astrologer as well as an astronomer.
  • Nalanda University, a Buddhist and other learning centers, drew students from all over the world. This ancient institution of learning was favored by the Guptas.

Gupta Empire's Legacy - Art & Architecture:

  • During the Gupta period, many magnificent temples, palaces, paintings, and sculptures were constructed.
  • Dashavatara Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples still standing. It is located in Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh, and it is an excellent example of Gupta architecture.
  • Ajanta mural paintings showed the Buddha's life in relation to Jataka stories. These paintings were painted during the Gupta Empire's reign. Gupta art and architecture may be seen in Sri Lanka in Ajanta, Ellora, Anuradhapura, and Sigiriya.
  • During this time, Indian classical music and dance flourished as well.
  • The Gupta heritage in the arts is still visible throughout Southeast Asia today.
  • The Bronze Buddha was also constructed during the Gupta period. It stands 7.5 feet tall and was discovered in Sultanganj.
  • Another wonderful example of Gupta-era architecture is the iron pillar. It is located in Mehrauli, Delhi. The iron pillar is 7 meters long and constructed of several metals, making it rust-free. This illustrates the metallurgical abilities of Indians at the period.

Gupta Empire's Legacy -Social Culture, and Religion:

  • During the Gupta Empire, the Hindu epics were also completed. During this time, the Hindu faith was encouraged and flourished throughout India.
  • The Gupta rulers were Vaishnavas by caste. They were also open to Buddhism and Jainism. They supported Buddhist art. During this time, the Shakti cult also flourished.
  • During this time, Bhakti traditions took the place of sacrifice.
  • Tantric rituals, for example, originated in the same period.
  • The invention of the game of chess has also been linked to this period. Chess was formerly known as Chaturanga, which means "four divisions."

The decline of the Gupta Empire:

  • The Gupta fall began under the reign of Skandagupta, Chandragupta II's grandson. He was effective in retaliating against the Huns and the Pushyamitras, but his kingdom suffered a financial and resource drain as a result.
  • Vishnugupta, who ruled from 540 to 550 AD, was the final recognized ruler of the Gupta line.
  • Internal conflict and dissensions among the royal family weakened it.
  • During the reign of a Gupta monarch, Budhagupta, the Vakataka ruler Narendrasena of western Deccan attacked Malwa, Mekala, and Kosala. Later, another Vakataka monarch, Harishena, defeated the Guptas in Malwa and Gujarat.
  • The Huns attacked northwest India under Skandagupta's reign but were repelled. However, by the sixth century, they had taken over Malwa, Gujarat, Punjab, and Gandhara. The Hun invasion damaged the Gupta rule in India.
  • Independent kings arose throughout the north, including Yasodharman of Malwa, the Maukharis of Uttar Pradesh, the Maitrakas of Saurashtra, and others in Bengal. The Gupta Empire was limited to Magadha. (Yasodharman had allied with Narasimhagupta in order to effectively retaliate against the Hun leader Mihirakula.)
  • The later Guptas' conversion to Buddhism rather than Hinduism, as opposed to their forefathers, damaged the empire. They were not concerned in empire-building or military conquests. 
  • As a result of weak emperors and constant invasions from foreign and domestic powers, the Gupta Empire declined.
  • By the early sixth century, the empire had collapsed and was controlled by a slew of provincial chieftains.

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