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.


NANDA  DYNASTY (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.



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.


  • 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 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.


  • 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).


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.

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