Gupta Empire

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Author of this article is Laxman Burdak.
India in Gupta age

The Gupta Empire (320 - 540 AD) was one of the largest political and military empires in ancient India. It was ruled by the Gupta dynasty from around 240 to 550 CE and covered most of northern India and what is now eastern Pakistan and Bangladesh. During this period it was considered a Great power. The period of this Jat Empire is considered to be the Golden period in the History of India.

The origins of the Guptas

Genealogy of Early Guptas

The origins of the Guptas are shrouded in obscurity. Nothing certain is known about the rise of this dynasty. Only this much is known that a person named Srigupta took advantage of the confusion that prevailed in the country after the fall of Kushan Empire and declared himself the ruler of Magadha. Historians write that probably he belonged to a low caste but gradually rose to the position of an independent ruler. He was followed by his son Ghatotkacha. The most likely date for the reign of Srigupta is c. 240-280 CE His successor Ghatotkacha ruled probably from c. 280-319 CE In contrast to his successor, he is also referred to in inscriptions as 'Maharaja' .

At the beginning of the 4th century the Guptas established and ruled a few small Hindu kingdoms in Magadha and around modern-day Uttar Pradesh. Actual rise of the Gupta Empire started when Chandragupta I succeeded to the throne in 320 AD.


Ram Sarup Joon[1] writes that .... In the beginning of 4th Century AD, Sunder Verma ruled Patliputra (Patna). He was from Koot dynasty also called Rashtra Koot or Rathee (Rathee is a present Jat Gotra), and Vaishnavite by religion. Having no heir, he adopted Chandra Sen, A Lichhavi Prince who was a follower of Buddhism. As providence would have it, Sunder Verma's queen gave birth to a son -who was the legal heir. Chandra Sen had to quit. He however, never forgot his once promised goal, and finally, with the Lichavi's army, killed Sunder Verma and seized the throne. The public became averse to this outrage and prominent citizens started a damaging propaganda against him, using his Buddhist faith as the anchor.

In 340 AD, they invited and aided an invasion by Raja Kalva Verma, a Kakatak. Chandra Sen appreciating the public opposition, used his discretion and left the country. However, later in 344 AD he organized a force of Lichhavis and with it he recaptured the throne of Patliputra. Thereafter, the name of the ruling dynasty was changed from Lichhavi to Gupta.

Puranas have referred to this Gupta dynasty as the Golden Kshatriyas under whom religion prospered a great deal. This is because this dynasty, due to internal political pressures, adopted Vaishnava faith. Lichhavis have, however, been described as low caste.

According to the research of Hem Chandra, Lichhavis belonged to Madrak dynasty and were called Karskar or Kakkar because of their origin from Kar. Shale, Shal, Shi, all originating from Sialkot are also Madrak. In Sanskrit Scripture they have been called Jatra or Jatrali meaning Jat.

History of the Jats, End of Page-56

Hem Chandra has argued that if Karaskars were low caste. Raja Sundar Verma would never have adopted Chandra Sen as his son. In any case, there was no low or high caste as far as Madraks went. It is mentioned in Mahabharata that Madraks did not recognize the institution of 'Varnas'.

According to Dr. Jaiswal, the founder of Gupta dynasty was Raj Gupta. On pages 116 and 116 of his book, he has proved this dynasty as Karaskar Jats who are also called Kakkar or Khokar. The Khokar Jats had a large 'Khaap' (republic) in Multan. They intercepted Mohammad Ghori and severed his head. Another branch of the Kakkars is Kakkar Rai Baluch and Pathans of Baluchistan.

A large number of Guptas are Baniyas. It is, however doubtful whether they are the descendants of this dynasty, or of the famous astrologer Brahm Gupta. The daughter of Chandra Gupta II, who was married to Ugrasen II, gave her gotra as Dharan. It is possible that Dharan was a branch or an associate gotra of Karskar.

Jat Origin of Guptas

Jat Origin of Guptas is advocated by K P Jayaswal[2][3], Bhim Singh Dahiya[4], Hukum Singh Panwar[5], Tej Ram Sharma[6], B.G. Gokhale[7] Dalip Singh Ahlawat[8]

The Arya Manjushri Mul kalpa, is a history of India covering the period 700 BCE to 770 AD. The history was a Buddhist Mahayana work, by a Tibetan scholar, and was composed sometime in the 8th century CE.

K P Jayaswal on Jat Origin of Guptas:

K P Jayaswal brought this material out from above book in his eminently scholarly book :An Imperial History Of India C 700 BC – C 770 AD. K P Jayaswal has spotted and brought out the fact that the second Guptas, (Chandra Gupta II, Samudra Gupta etc circa 200 BCE to 600 BCE) were Jats, who came originally form the Mathura area. They were of the “ DharanGotra, as shown by the inscription of the Prabhavatigupta Plate, where she gives her father’s (and her) goth as Dharan.

Prabhavatigupta (प्रभावतीगुप्त) was the chief queen of Vakataka King Rudrasena II (256-278 CE). She was daughter of Gupta King Mahārājādhirāja Chandragupta II born of the union with a Naga princess Mahādevī Kuberanaga. Prabhavatigupta has recorded herself born in a Naga family of Dharana Gotra, which at present is found in Jats of Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

On the death of Rudrasena II, his queen Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II (376-413 AD),ruled her husband's kingdom for at least about 13 years, even though she is known to have three sons. Prabhavatigupta issued the Poona copper plate inscription in the 13th year of her rule as the mother of the Yuvaraja Divakarasena. In her Riddhapur copper plate inscription issued in the 19th regnal year of her son Pravarasena II, Prabhavati is represented as the mother of Maharaja Damodarasena and Pravarasena II. [9] (See details of both Poona copper plate and Riddhapur copper plate in Article on Prabhavatigupta)

K P Jayaswal states that the Dharan Jats still can be found in the U.P Mathura region and they proudly point to their ancient glory, of how their forefathers ruled Hindustan. According to him Gupta is said to have been a Mathura-Jata (Sanskrit- Jata-vamsa). Jata-vamsa, that is, Jata Dynasty stands for Jarta, that is, Jat. That the Guptas were Jat; we already have good reasons to hold (JBORS, XIX. p. 1U). His Vaisali mother is the Lichchhavi lady.

Here is produced point wise account from the famous historian K.P. Jayaswal's book, History of India, PP 115-16 :

  • That nowhere Guptas disclose their origin or Caste status. That their caste sub-division was Dharan. Since Prabhavati Gupta daughter of Chandra Gupta II and queen of Rudrasen II Vakataka in her copper plate grant of Pune has shown sub-caste of her family (Gupta) as Dharan (EI XV-41 P-42).
  • The Salvas were a branch of the Madras and were ruling at Sialkot. These Madras had a branch named Kuninda, who were related to Koliya Naga.
  • Karaskars were thus a Punjabi people a sub-division of the Madras. We know that the Madras were Vahikas and Jartas. This community, thus, consisted of several sub-divisions.
  • Since according to grammatical illustration of Chandra-gomin the Jarta defeated the Huns, which means Skanda Gupta defeated the Huns. Hence Guptas were Jartas or Jat.

Bhim Singh Dahiya on Jat Origin of Guptas:

Bhim Singh Dahiya has proved by applying “Grimm’s Law of Variation” that in Indo-European languages the alphabet “J” changes to “G”. Due to this law the Chinese call Jats as “Getae” and Germans call them “Got”, “Gaut” or “Goth”. The Proto-Germanic name Gaut changes to Gupt as under:

Gapt is considered to be a corruption of Gaut (Gaut→Gavt→Gaft→Gapt, cf. eftir and eptir, "after" in Old Norse). Gapt changed to Gupt in India.

When Chandragupta II, Vikramaditya married his daughter with a Vakataka prince he called tribe as "Dharan" which is a gotra of Jats even today. Skandagupta has written in an inscription of Junagarh that Gupta is a title, which means soldier or a chief.

Hukum Singh Panwar on Jat Origin of Guptas :

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[10] writes as under:

What about the Imperial Guptas? Were they Jats? Gupta, as the last name of the homonymous dynasty, has been quite controversial among historians. Latest researches have, however, shown that the last name, used by the members of that dynasty, was Gopata, "meaning thereby defender of the life, prestige: property and faith[11] and was obviously adopted by them as their titlel[12]. It was certainly not Gupta as we generally find in history. Their ethnonym was either Karaskar[13] or as Prabhavati, princess of Chandragupta Vikrmaditya-II, informs us,it was Dharana[14]. Evidence from other sources corroborates the assertion of the princess. KP. Jayaswal, on the authority of the Aryamanjusri-Mulakalpa, a history of India in Sanskrit and Tibetan, Written before 8th century AD., firmly holds that the so-called Guptas were Jats[15]. Unfortunately, we do not have any anthropological data of the Guptas to guide us to determine their racial affinity as we did in case of men belonging to and associated with Harshavardhana's dynasty and others of Sthanishvara.
However, the features of the figures of Samudragupta and Chandragupta-II (Vikrmaditya) on their coins, if they are any indications, unmistakably betray their Aryan (Nordic) taxonomy[16]. Notwithstanding ed. Oxford.this dubious affinity, the ethnonym i.e. Dharan (gotra), the evidence of the Manjusri-Mulakalpa and the observance of the practice of widow marrige, (a salient characeteristic custom of the Jats since long), by one of the Gupta emperors, go a long way in proving that they were Jats. The survival of the Dharan gotra among the Jats of Rajasthan and their proud assertion that the rule of their ancestors was the "Golden Age of Indian history" points to their descent from that dynasty.[17]

The first notice of this word 'Gupta' was taken by Panini in fifth century BC when two words are mentioned, viz., 'Goptri' and 'Gupti'. V S Agarwal in "India as known to Panini" defines 'Gupti' as 'defence' and 'Goptri' as the art of science of Military arrangements. On this basis the person who was incharge of defence was called 'Gupta' or 'Gopta'. Skandagupta wrote in his inscription that he had "appointed military governors in all provinces" (सर्वेषु देशेषु विधाय गोप्त्रीन) [18]

Thus we find that this word 'Gupta' means a military governor and used in this sense right from the fifth century BC to the 18th century AD and the so called 'Guptas' themselves used this word in the same sense. The mere fact that the word Gupta is a part and parcel of the names of the emperors, should not, and can not, give any other meaning to this word. If we give 'Gupta' the meaning of surname of the Vaishya caste, then even Chanakya will become a Vaishya because his name was Vishnugupta. Even the Mahabharata used this word 'Gupta' in the sense of military defence. [19]

While illustrating the use of a tense, grammarian Chandragomin mentions in sanskrit language अजय जर्टो हुणान - Ajay Jarto Hunan meaning "the invincible Jats defeated the Hunas". He was a contemporary of the event and we know from history that 'Guptas' were the only people who defeated Hunas. This has been rightly taken as proof that so called 'Guptas' were Jats. [20]

Majumdar and Atlekar mention the fact that at the time of marriage of Prabhavati Gupta, daughter of Chandragupta II, the name of their gotra was given as Dharan. The Poona plate of Prabhavati Gupta herself gives the gotra as Dharan. This has been identified with the still existing Dharan clan of Jats of Bikaner and the adjoining districts of the Punjab. [21], [22]

Hence Bhim Singh Dahiya concludes that Guptas were Jats.

Tej Ram Sharma On Jat origin of Guptas:

Poona Plates of 13th year of Prabhavatigupta reveal the Gotra of Prabhavatigupta to be Dharan which is a Jat clan. In this context we must note that Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II and chief queen of the Vakataka king Rudrasena II describes herself as belonging to the Dharan gotra in her Poona and Riddhapur copper plate inscriptions. Dharana is clearly the gotra of her father. Hence we see that Chandragupta II was of Dharan Gotra Jat. See details at - Prabhavatigupta.

K P Jayaswal takes it to stand for Dharan, a Jat clan found in Amritsar, and on the basis of the Kaumudimahotsava he concludes that Chandragupta I was a Karaskara or Kakkar Jat. [23] This view has been supported by B.G. Gokhale.[24]

Tej Ram Sharma[25] writes that Jayaswal emphasizes the similarity between the name of the Dharaniya Jats in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan and the Dharana gotra of the Guptas.[26] Chandragomin's grammatical illustration "ajayat jarto Hunan" (The Jarta or Jat king defeated the Hunas) has also been interpreted by Jayaswal to refer to the Gupta ruler Skandagupta's victory over the Hunas. Thus the Jat origin of the Guptas has been a favourite thesis of Jayaswal. Hoernle while identifying the people with Jats interprets the passage as referring to the defeat of the Hunas by Yasodharman.

The Gupta Dynasty - History

There were many important monarchical states during the period between the fall of the Kushanas and the rise of the Guptas such as kingdom of Nagas, Ahicchatra, Ayodhya, Kausambi, Vakatakas, Mukharis and Guptas. East Panjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were ruled by the Yaudheyas who were quite powerful. Licchavis were the powerful republic at that time. This republic existed even during the life time of Buddha. A matrimonial alliance with a Licchavi princess Kumaradevi brought strength and prestige to Chandragupta-I. The original of the Gupta dynasty is however still in obscurity, too many conflicting representations in the available dramas and inscriptions makes it further tough unless and until a solid evidence is found. Same holds good to the original territory of the Guptas. Some writers are under the opinion that Magadha was their homeland, but some views that it is not.

Sri Gupta (240 - 280 AD)

The Poona copper inscription of Prabhavati Gupta describes that Sri Gupta as the Adhiraja of Gupta dynasty. Portion of northern or central Bengal might have been the home of Guptas then. Though no much evidence is available, from the available records it is understood that Sri Gupta could be the first King of the Gupta lineage.

Ghatotkacha ( 280 - 319 AD)

Ghatotkacha became the successor of Sri Gupta. In two records of Prabhavati Gupta (daughter of Chandragupta II), Ghatotkacha is described as the Gupta king. Neither much evidence is found to clearly regard Ghatotkacha as the first king, nor much is known about him.

Chandragupta (319 - 335 AD)

Ghatotkacha (c. 280–319) CE, had a son named Chandragupta. In a breakthrough deal, Chandragupta was married to Kumaradevi, a Lichchhavi—the main power in Magadha. With a dowry of the kingdom of Magadha (capital Pataliputra) and an alliance with the Lichchhavis, Chandragupta set about expanding his power, conquering much of Magadha, Prayaga and Saketa. He established a realm stretching from the Ganga River (Ganges River) to Prayaga (modern-day Allahabad) by 320. Chandragupta was the first of the Guptas to be referred to as 'Maharajadhiraja' or 'King of Kings'.

Samudragupta (335 - 375 AD)

Samudragupta was the son of Chandragupta I and Mahadevi Kumaradevi, the grandson of Ghatotkacha. He was considered to be worthy for succession and hence was put on the throne by his father. He gained the name "Indian Napoleon" due to his conquests in many directions and in various kinds. The empire of Samudragupta was far the greatest that had seen in India since Ashoka's days. After completion of conquests, Samudragupta performed Horse sacrifice and coins representing Asvamedha Yagna were distributed to Brahmins. His coins gives us a lot of useful information about him. there are as many as eight different types, like Archer, battle axe, tiger slayer, Kacha, Asvamedha, Lyrist etc., Some of his coins such as battle axe, and archer types shows the advancement of the Indianization of the Gupta coinage.

Chandragupta died in 335 and was succeeded by his son Samudragupta, a tireless conqueror. He took the kingdoms of Shichchhatra and Padmavati early in his reign. He then took the Kingdom of Kota and attacked the tribes in Malavas, the Yaudheyas, the Arjunayanas, the Madras and the Abhiras. By his death in 380, he had incorporated over twenty kingdoms into his realm, his rule extended from the Himalayas to the river Narmada and from the Brahmaputra to the Yamuna. He gave himself the titles King of Kings and World Monarch. He performed Ashwamedha yajna (horse sacrifice) to underline the importance of his conquest.

Samduragupta was not only a warrior but also a great patron of art and literature. The important scholars present in his court were Harishena, Vasubandhu and Asanga. He was a poet and musician himself. He was a firm believer in Hinduism and is known to have worshipped Lord Vishnu. He was considerate of other religions and allowed Sri Lanka's Buddhist king to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya.

He was succeeded by his son Ramagupta, who was captured by the Saka Satraps (Kshatrapas) and was soon succeeded by his brother Chandragupta II.

Rama Gupta (375 - ??? AD)

Though no inscriptions or coins explains Rama Gupta well, there are materials such as Natyadarpan, and the historical drama "Devichandraguptam" which described Rama Gupta as son and successor of Samudragupta. According to Devichandraguptam in Shringararupakam, Rama Gupta sustains a humiliating defeat at the hands of Saka King. In order to secure the security of his people, Rama Gupta agrees to surrender his queen to the Sakas which provokes his brother Chandragupta-II.

Chandragupta-II in disguise of queen Dhruvadevi enters enemies camp and kills the Saka king to restore the huge empire, queen and the dynasty. This incident raises Chandragupta in the eyes of people and Dhruvadevi. The conduct of Rama Gupta gets betrayed by the brother and Rama Gupta kills him and sits on the throne. He then marries the widow of his brother.

Chandragupta II (375- 414 AD)

Chandragupta II, the Sun of Power (Vikramaditya), ruled until 414. It is said that his reign was preceded by a five year rule of his elder brother Ramgupta (375-380 AD), who suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of the Saka rulers.. It forced Chandragupta to set aside his brother and capture the reign of the empire in his own hands in 380 AD. Chandragupta ruled for a period of about 34-35 years from 380 AD to 415 AD. He married his daughter Prabhavatigupta to Rudrasena II, the Vakataka king of Deccan, and gained a valuable ally. Only marginally less war-like than his father, he expanded his realm westwards, defeating the Saka Western Kshatrapas of Malwa, Gujarat and Saurashtra in a campaign lasting until 409, but with his main opponent Rudrasimha III defeated by 395, and crushing the Bengal (Vanga) chiefdoms. This extended his control from coast-to-coast, established a second (trading) capital at Ujjain and was the high point of the empire.

Despite the creation of the empire through war, the reign is remembered for its very influential style of Hindu art, literature, culture and science, especially during the reign of Chandra Gupta II. Some excellent works of Hindu art such as the panels at the Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh serve to illustrate the magnificence of Gupta art. Above all it was the synthesis of the sacred and sensual elements that gave Gupta art its distinctive flavour. During this period, the Guptas were supportive of thriving Buddhist and Jain cultures as well, and for this reason there is also a long history of non-Hindu Gupta period art. In particular, Gupta period Buddhist art was to be influential in most of East and Southeast Asia. Much of advances was recorded by the Chinese scholar and traveller Fa-hsien in his diary and published afterwards.

The court of Chandragupta was made even more illustrious by the fact that it was graced by the navaratna, a group of nine who excelled in the literary arts. Amongst these men was the immortal Kalidasa whose works dwarfed the works of many other literary geniuses, not only in his own age but in the ages to come. Kalidasa was particularly known for his fine exploitation of the sringara (erotic) element in his verse.

With the aid of Mathura and Bilsad pillar inscriptions, it is clear that Chandragupta ruled between 375 AD until 414 AD. Chandragupta is also known as Vikramaditya, Narendrachandra, Simhachandra, Narendra Simha, Vikrama Devaraja, Devagupta and Devasri. He was selected by his father as a successor to the throne. He had two wives, with Kuveranga of Naga family - he was blessed with a daughter Prabhadevi. Prabhadevi was later married to the Vakataka king Rudrasena-II. Prabhadevi was the de facto ruler of Vakataka kingdom between 390 and 414 AD. The geographical location of the Vakataka kingdom allowed Chandragupta to take an opportunity to crush Western Kshatraps once for all.

The greatest of his military achievements was his advance to the Arabian sea and the subjugation of the peninsula of Saurashtra (Kathiawar). The annexation of Saurashtra and Malwa brought him huge wealth and soon made him to open up trade through sea ports. It is believed that Pataliputra continued to be the capital of his huge empire.

Chandragupta-II was a strong and well qualified ruler. He was a staunch Vaishnava and was tolerant to other sects too. According to the Chinese visitor of the time - Fahien, the city of Gaya was completely empty and desolate, the holy places of Bodhgaya was surrounded by jungle. Kapilavastu and Kusinagara were waste except for Ashoka's palace near Sanchi stupa which was still in existence. This shows that the Hinduism was predominant during Gupta rule.

Kumaragupta I (414 - 455 AD)

Chandragupta II was succeeded by his son Kumaragupta I. Known as the Mahendraditya, he ruled until 455. Towards the end of his reign a tribe in the Narmada valley, the Pushyamitras, rose in power to threaten the empire.

Like his father, Kumaragupta-I ruled for forty years. He had two sons, Purugupta (son of Anantadevi) and Skandagupta (son of Devaki??). Kumaragupta-I was known by several names such as Shri Mahendra, Ajita mahendra, Sima Mahendra, Asvamedha Mahendra, Mahendra Karma, Mahendra Kalpa, Shri Mahendra Simha, Mahendra kumar, Mahendra Aditya etc., It is stated that he ruled the whole earth bounded on the north by Sumeru and Kailasa mountains, the Vindhya forests on the south and two oceans on the east and west. People worshipped different Gods and Goddesses and the religion tolerance was seen stronger. His administration and personality kept the entire kingdom intact and integrated for forty years. The repulsion of Hunas immediate after his death proves the integrity of his subjects.

Skandagupta (455 - 467 AD)

Skandagupta is generally considered the last of the great rulers. He defeated the Pushyamitra threat, but then was faced with invading Hephthalites or "White Huns", known in India as Indo-Hephthalites or Hunas, from the northwest. He repulsed a Huna attack c. 455, But the expense of the wars drained the empire's resources and contributed to its decline. Skandagupta died in 467 and was succeeded by his son Narasimhagupta Baladitya.

Succession after Kumaragupta I is a matter of uncertainty. Different theories propose different lines of thoughts on succession by Skandagupta, Purugupta, Budhagupta and Kumaragupta II. Bhitari pillar inscription mentions most about Skandagupta and the Huna wars. The Kahaum pillar inscription boasts on Skanda's achievements. He is stated to have slain hundreds of kings and equated to Indra. At zenith of his power, he ruled entire northern Indian from Kathiawar in the west to Bengal in the east, the empire included Saurashtra, Gujarat and Malwa too.

Skanda followed a policy of religion toleration. He himself was a Bhagavatha, but did not interfere with the religion of his officers or subjects.

Puru Gupta (467 - 473 AD)

With the death of Skandagupta, Gupta empire began to decline. His brother Purugupta appears to have been the immediate successor to Skanda gupta. Purugupta was the son of Kumaragupta-I by his queen Ananthadevi and was old by the time he ascended the throne. A short rule of 6 years probably explains why so.

Narasimhagupta (467-473 AD)

Narasimhagupta (467-473) was followed by Kumaragupta II (473-476) and Budhagupta (476-495?). In the 480's the Hephthalite king Toramana broke through the Gupta defenses in the northwest, and much of the empire was overrun by the Hunas by 500. The empire disintegrated under the attacks of Toramana and his successor, Mihirakula; the Hunas conquered several provinces of the empire, including Malwa, Gujarat, and Thanesar, broke away under the rule of local dynasties. It appears from inscriptions that the Guptas, although their power was much diminished, continued to resist the Hunas, and allied with the independent kingdoms to drive the Hunas from most of northern India by the 530's. The succession of the sixth-century Guptas is not entirely clear, but the last recognized ruler of the dynasty's main line was Vishnugupta, reigning from 540 to 550.

Kumaragupta-II ( 473 - 476 AD)

Narasimha Baladitya was succeeded by his son Kumaragupta-II Kramaditya. The rule seems to have ended about the year 476 - 477 AD. It is obvious that Kumaragupta-II, Narasimha Baladitya and Purugupta altogether could rule only for about ten years.

Budha Gupta (477 - 495 AD)

Budha Gupta ruled for nearly 20 years from 477 AD to 495 AD. A large number of inscriptions refer to Budha Gupta. From the inscriptions we understand that his empire was still intact. According to the life of Hiuen Tsang, Budha Gupta was succeeded by Tathagata Gupta.

Kumaragupta III

Probably Krishnagupta and Harshagupta succeeded Budhagupta in ruling the empire. Budhagupta and Harshagupta was succeeded by Jivitagupta I. Kumaragupta III succeeded Jivitagupta I, but soon had to facemany difficulties. Maukharis became powerful, Gowdas started revolting in West Bengal, King of Andhras were another threat to him. Somehow he claimed victories over them, the next successor Damodaragupta, Mahasenagupta, Madhavagupta and Devagupta-II reigned with much great difficulties.

Deo-Baranark Inscription of Jivitagupta II mentions about Mâdhavagupta, His son Adityasênadêva, his son Dêvaguptadêva, his son Vishnuguptadêva, his son Jîvitaguptadêva (II.). Interestingly this inscription also mentions in Line-5 people like Râjaputras, Râjâmâtyas, Râjasthânîyas etc. It is a matter of research for whom these words are used.

All what we know about later Guptas is the name of rulers like Adityasena, Devagupta-III and the last king Jivagupta III. Gaudas destroyed the fame of Guptas. Though many inscriptions talk about Guptas rule even during 12th to 13th century AD, it is true that only petty kings of Gupta family continued ruling part of the original empire that they could retain.

The Guptas of Magadha or Later Guptas

A minor line of the Gupta clan continued to rule Magadha after the disintegration of the empire. These Guptas were ultimately ousted by the king Harshavardhana, who established an empire in the first half of the seventh century that, for a brief time, rivalled that of the Guptas in extent.

From around the middle of sixth century A.D. till about 675 A.D. the kings who ruled Magadha were known as Magadha Guptas or Later Guptas. However, it is not clear what connection they had with the Imperial Guptas of the earlier period.

The Aphsad inscription from Gaya gives the names of 8 Gupta Monarchs:

The Later Guptas entered into matrimonial alliances with other contemporary ruling families. For example. Harshagupta married his sister to a Maukhari king. Throughout this period the Later Guptas remained engaged in battle with one enemy or the other. For esample, Harshagupta had to fight the Hunas; his son Jivitagupta fought against Lichchhavis of Nepal and Gaudas of Bengal: and Jivitagupta's successor king Kumaragupta III defeated Maukhari King Isanavarman.

The next king Damodaragupta, son of Kumaragupta III, was defeated and killed by Maukhari king Sarvavarman and lost a portion of Magadha. For some time the successors of Damodaragupta retreated to Malwa because of the Maukharis but they again established their supremacy in Magadha.

Their most powerful ruler was Adityasena, who ruled in Magadha in 672 A.D., a date which seems to occur in one of his inscriptions. The Later Gupta power survived the empire of Harshavardhana and Adityasena signalised his accession to power by the performance of a horse sacrifice. According to the Aphsad inscription, his empire included Magadha, Anga and Bengal. It is just possible that his kingdom included a portion of eastern Uttar Pradesh. He was a Parama-Bhagavata and got a temple of Vishnu constructed.

The Later Gupta line came to an end with the expansion of the power of the Gaudas of Bengal westward. But the Gaudas themselves were subdued by Yasovarman of Kanauj.

Names of the Gupta kings

Tej Ram Sharma[27] has provided the following names of the Gupta kings which have been divide into two categories :

A. Main Rulers

1. Gupta

2. Ghatotkacha

3. Chandragupta I

4. Samudragupta

5. Chandragupta II

6. Govindagupta

7. Kumaragupta I

8. Skandagupta

9. Purugupta

10. Kumaragupta II

11. Budhagupta

12. Narasimhagupta

13. Kumaragupta III

14. Vishnugupta

B. Other members of the dynasty

1. Ghatotkachagupta

2. Vainyagupta

3. Bhanugupta

गुप्त साम्राज्य (धारण गोत्र के जाट शासक)

दिलीपसिंह अहलावत लिखते हैं -

गुप्तवंशज सम्राट् धारण गोत्र के जाट थे इसके प्रमाण निम्नलिखित हैं -

  • 1. जैसे वीर योद्धा मांडा जाटों के साम्राज्य को व्यापारी एवं दुकानदार मेड लोगों का साम्राज्य लिखने की भाषाशास्त्रीय गलती की गई है जिसको प्रमाणों द्वारा ठीक किया गया है। (देखो चतुर्थ अध्याय, शक्तिशाली मांडा जाट साम्राज्य प्रकरण) ठीक उसी तरह से इतिहासकारों ने धारण गोत्र के जाटों के साम्राज्य को गुप्त साम्राज्य लिखने की बड़ी भूल की है। गुप्त वैश्य वर्ण के नहीं थे, बल्कि क्षत्रिय वर्ण के थे।

1, 2, 3. आधार पुस्तकें - जय यौद्धेय, पृ० क्रमशः 87, 48, 46, लेखक राहुल सांकृत्यायन
4. जाट इतिहास, पृ० 54A, B, लेखक रामसरूप जून
5. जाटों का उत्कर्ष, पृ० 73, लेखक योगेन्द्रपाल शास्त्री।

जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठान्त-492

  • 2. यह धारण जाट गोत्र है जो कि वैश्य समाज में नहीं पाया जाता है इसके लिए “अन्धकारयुगीन भारत” पृ० 252 पर लेखक काशीप्रसाद जायसवाल ने लिखा है कि : “गुप्त लोग कारसकर जाट थे, जो पंजाब से चलकर आए थे। मेरी समझ में आजकल के कक्कड़-कक्करान जाट उसी मूल समाज के प्रतिनिधि हैं जिस समाज में गुप्त लोग थे। कारसकरों में भी गुप्त लोग जिस विशिष्ट गुप्त विभाग या गोत्र के थे, उनका नाम धारण या धारी या धारीवाल था। इसके लिए एपीग्राफिका इण्डीका, खण्ड 15, पृ० 41-42 पर लिखा है कि चन्द्रगुप्त द्वितीय की पुत्री प्रभावती जिसका विवाह वाकाटकवंशज रुद्रसेन द्वितीय से हुआ तब प्रभावती गुप्ता ने अपने पिता का गोत्र शिलालेख पर धारण ही लिखा है। इस बात का समर्थन कौमुदी महोत्सव नाटक और चन्द्रव्याकरण से भी होता है।स्कन्दगुप्त के द्वारा हूणों की पराजय का अजयज्जर्टो हूणान् वाक्य चन्द्रगोमिन् की व्याकरण से स्पष्ट गुप्तवंश का जाट होना सिद्ध करता है।
  • 3. वैदिककाल, महाभारतकाल तथा बौद्धकाल तक गुप्त शब्द किसी जाति के लिए लिखा नहीं मिलता है। गुप्त साम्राज्य के समय तक शर्मा, वर्मा, गुप्त, दास आदि इन शब्दों का प्रयोग किसी के नाम पर इतिहास में नहीं हुआ था। इन शब्दों का प्रयोग स्वामी शंकराचार्य (सन् 788 ई० से 820 ई० तक) के द्वारा नवीन हिन्दू धर्म प्रचलित करने के बाद शुरु हुआ। गौरीशंकर हीराचन्द ओझा और बशेशरनाथ रेयू ने गुप्तों को चन्द्रवंशीय क्षत्रिय लिखा है। बम्बई गजेटियर जिल्द भाग 2, पृ० 578, नोट 3 में और पाली संस्कृत एण्ड ओल्ड केनीयरज इन्स्क्रीपशन्स नं० 108 में भी इन लोगों को चन्द्रवंशी क्षत्रिय लिखा है। इन गुप्त लोगों के धारण या धारी गोत्र के जाट संयुक्त पंजाब के निम्नलिखित जिलों में बड़ी संख्या में बसे हुए हैं – लाहौर, अमृतसर, सियालकोट, गुरदासपुर, गुजरांवाला, जालन्धर, कपूरथला, जींद, नाभा, पटियाला, मालेरकोटला, लुधियाना, हिसार
  • 4. डाक्टर जायसवाल ने अपने अंग्रेजी इतिहास के पृ० 115-116 पर गुप्तवंश को कारसकर जाट जाति सिद्ध किया है। कारसकर, कक्कर और खोखर एक नाम के अपभ्रंश हैं। खोखर जाटों की एक बड़ी खाप मुलतान देश में रही जिन्होंने मुहम्मद गौरी से टक्कर ली थी और उसका सिर काट लिया था। इस खोखर जाट गोत्र के लोग बड़े वीर योद्धा थे। इनका वर्णन अलग से उचित अध्याय में किया जाएगा।
  • 5. इन गुप्त सम्राटों के वैवाहिक सम्बन्ध जाटवंशों में ही रहे। जैसे चन्द्रगुप्त प्रथम की महारानी कुमारदेवी लिच्छवि जाटवंश की राजकुमारी थी जो कि सम्राट् समुद्रगुप्त की माता थी। समुद्रगुप्त की महारानी दत्ता महादेवी यौधेय जाटवंश की राजकुमारी थी जिसके प्रथम पुत्र रामगुप्त का जन्म पाटलिपुत्र में हुआ और उसी से दूसरे पुत्र चन्द्रगुप्त द्वितीय विक्रमादित्य का जन्म अग्रोदका (अग्रोहा) में हुआ जो यौधेयों की राजधानी थी जिसका शासक उसका पिता था। रामगुप्त की पटरानी ध्रुवदेवी मालव या मल्ल जाटवंश की पुत्री थी। ध्रुवदेवी अपनी सास दत्तादेवी और परसास कुमारदेवी की योग्य बहू थी।

चन्द्रगुप्त द्वितीय ने भी नागवंश (जाटवंश) तथा वाकाटकवंश (जाटवंश) के साथ वैवाहिक सम्बन्ध स्थापित करके अपनी शक्ति को बढ़ाया। उसने नागराज की कन्या कुबेर

जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठान्त-493

नाग से स्वयं विवाह किया जिससे चन्द्रगुप्त द्वितीय के यहां प्रभावती नामक कन्या उत्पन्न हुई। उस प्रभावती कन्या का विवाह पूर्वी मालवा के वाकाटकवंश के राजा रुद्रसेन द्वितीय से कर दिया गया।

  • 6. गुप्त शब्द के विषय में ऋषि पाणिनि ने दो शब्द गोप्तरी और गुप्ती लिखे हैं। वी० एस० अग्रवाल ने “India as known to Panini” में इन शब्दों का स्पष्ट अर्थ किया है कि गुप्ती का अर्थ रक्षा है और गोप्तरी का अर्थ सैनिक प्रबन्धकला से है। इस आधार से जो मनुष्य रक्षा करने का अधिकारी होता है वह गुप्त या गोप्त कहलाता था। कश्मीरी कवि कल्हण ने अपनी ‘राजतरंगिणी’ में ‘गुप्तरी’ शब्द लिखा है जिसका अर्थ किया है “पृथ्वी का रक्षक” या “प्रदेश का रक्षक” (Rajat, viii, 341 and 339. stein Edition)। गुप्त का अर्थ सैनिक राज्यपाल भी है और यह इसी अभिप्राय से पांचवीं ई० पू० से सन् आठवीं शताब्दी तक प्रयोग में लाया गया और गुप्त सम्राटों ने भी इस गुप्त शब्द का इसी तरह प्रयोग किया।
यह बात ठीक समझ में आ जानी चाहिए कि गुप्त कुलनाम या उपनाम के तौर पर प्रयोग में नहीं लाया जाता, यह तो सदा व्यक्तिगत नाम का भाग है। यदि हम गुप्त का अर्थ वैश्य जाति के उपनाम या कुलनाम का लगा लें तो चाणक्य भी वैश्य जाति का हुआ क्योंकि उसका नाम विष्णुगुप्त था। किन्तु वह तो बड़ा विद्वान् ब्राह्मण था। इस तरह सहस्रों नाम हैं जिनके बाद गुप्त लगता है। उदाहरण के तौर पर चन्द्रगुप्त मौर्य जाट क्षत्रिय था। अनेक प्रसिद्ध ब्राह्मणों और क्षत्रियों के नाम के बाद में गुप्त मिल जाएगा परन्तु इस से वे वैश्य जाति के नहीं बन सकते। अतः निर्णय यह हुआ कि गुप्त नाम का अभिप्राय केवल सैनिक राज्यपाल से है, और यह कभी भी उपनाम या कुलनाम या जाति के नाम से प्रयोग में नहीं लाया गया।
  • 7. जब मथुरा में धारण गोत्र के जाटों का शासन था तब वहां इन्होंने विचार किया कि भारत को संयुक्त करके एक साम्राज्य बनाकर उसका सामान्य राज्यशासन बनाया जाए। इस उद्देश्य से इन्होंने लिच्छविवंशज जाटों से वैवाहिक सम्बन्ध किए, उस वंश का गणराज्य उस समय मगध के निकट वैशाली में था। डा० जायसवाल ने स्वयं खोज करके यह प्रमाणों द्वारा सिद्ध कर दिया कि गुप्त लोग जाट थे। (JRAS, 1901, P. 99; 1905, P. 814; ABORI XX P. 50; JBORS, xix, P. 113-116; vol xxi, P. 77 and vol xxi, P. 275)।
डा० जायसवाल की इस बात को दशरथ शर्मा तथा दूसरों ने भी प्रमाणित माना है।
डा० जायसवाल के इस मत कि गुप्त लोग जाट थे के पक्ष में लेख्य प्रमाण हैं जो कि ‘आर्य मंजूसरी मूला कल्पा’ नामक भारत का इतिहास, जो संस्कृत एवं तिब्बती भाषा में आठवीं शताब्दी ई० से पहले लिखा गया, उस पुस्तक के श्लोक 759 में लिखा है कि “एक महान् सम्राट् जो मथुरा जाट परिवार का था और जिसकी माता एक वैशाली कन्या थी, वह मगध देश का सम्राट् बना।” (Imperial History of India, P. 72)।
यह हवाला समुद्रगुप्त का है जिसकी माता एक वैशाली राज्य की राजकुमारी थी।

जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठान्त-494

उस सम्राट् समुद्रगुप्त ने अपने सिक्कों पर “लिच्छवि दौहित्र” बड़े गर्व से प्रकाशित करवाया था।
चन्द्रगुप्त प्रथम मथुरा का जाट था जिसका विवाह लिच्छवि राजकुमारी कुमारदेवी से हुआ था। उस सम्राट् के सिक्कों पर उन दोनों की मूर्तियां थीं।
  • 8. परिणाम - सब प्रकार से खोज करने से यह ज्ञात हुआ कि गुप्त लोग मथुरा के धारण गोत्र के जाट थे। इसके हर प्रकार के प्रमाण हैं जैसे लेखप्रमाण, शिलालेख, ऐतिहासिक, शास्त्रीय, मुद्रा सम्बन्धी आदि। परिणाम केवल एक ही है कि ‘गुप्त’ लोग जाट थे, जो शुरु में मध्य एशिया से आए, अपनी राजनीतिक कला और शस्त्रशक्ति के बल से मगध साम्राज्य के शासक बन गए, जहां पर लगभग 300 वर्ष तक शासन किया। इसलिए प्रत्येक इतिहासकार का कर्त्तव्य है, विशेषकर उनका जो सच्चाई और न्याय में विश्वास करते हैं, वे असत्य लेखों तथा मतों को स्पष्ट रूप से त्याग दें और सत्य मत व लेख को मानें। [28]


  • Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers, Dahinam Publishers, Sonepat, Haryana
  • K P Jayaswal : An Imperial history of India C 700 BC – C 770 AD, published by Eastern book House, Patliputra Path, Rajendra Nagar, Patna, Bihar, a reprinted by Brite printers, 27 new Rohtak Road New Delhi.
  • R N Kundra & SS Bawa, History of Ancient and Medieval India

External links


  1. History of the Jats/Chapter IV ,p. 56-57
  2. An Imperial History Of India/Gauda and Magadha Provincial History, p.53
  3. JRAS, 1901, P. 99; 1905, P. 814; ABORI XX P. 50; JBORS, xix, P. 113-116; vol xxi, P. 77 and vol xxi, P. 275
  4. ]]Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Empire of the Dharan Jats, Misnamed Guptas]],pp. 177-188
  5. Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria): The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations, pp.137-138
  6. Tej Ram Sharma:Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions, pp. 16-17
  7. B.G. Gokhale, Samudragupta, Life and Times, pp. 25-26.
  8. जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, pp.492-494
  9. Studies in the Political and Administrative Systems in Ancient and Medieval, by By D.C. Sircar, p.33
  10. Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria): The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations, pp.137-138
  11. Monier-Williams, Skt-Eng. Dictionary, pp.358-368
  12. Dahiya,op.cit., pp176-177
  13. Mukerji, R.K. Gupta Empire, 1950, p. 14; Jayaswal, JBORS,XIX,1933,pp115ff
  14. Majumdar, R>C. and Altekar, A.S.:Vakataka-Gupta Age-,p.131, IHQ.Vol.XI,1935,pp.326f.Epigraphia Indica, Vol.XV,p.39;Sharma,Dasharatha, JBORS,Vol. XXII,p. 227
  15. An Imperial History Of India,52
  16. Compare pictures of Samudragupta on coins Nos 10 and 11 and of Chandragupta II, Vikramaditya on no.12 given in a plate by V. Smith in his early History of India, 4th
  17. Author's personal finding from Jats of Dharan Gotra living in villages around Sangaria Mandi, Rajasthan.
  18. J.P. Fleet, CII, Vol. III, No. 14
  19. Bhim Singh Dahiya :Jats the Ancient Rulers, p.176-177
  20. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers, p.180
  21. Dharath Sharma, JBORS, vol. XXII, p. 227
  22. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers, p.181
  23. Tej Ram Sharma:Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions, pp. 16-17
  24. B.G. Gokhale, Samudragupta, Life and Times, pp. 25-26.
  25. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Names of the Gupta Kings and Queens,p.17
  26. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Patna, 1934, p. 235.
  27. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions, pp. 19-20
  28. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter V (Page 192-195)

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