UPSC History The Mourya Empire Short Notes - The Mauryan Empire (322-185 B.C.)

Short Notes - The Mauryan Empire (322-185 B.C.)

Category : UPSC


The Mauryan Empire (322-185 B.C.)


  • Founder- Chandragupta Maurya
  • He defeated the king Dhanananda with the help of Chanakya.
  • Its capital was Pataliputra.
  • Greek and Latin name of Chandragupta was Sandracottos" or "Andracottus.
  • Megasthene [Greek Ambassador] came to his court.
  • Chandragupta Maurya embraced Jainism.
  • He died at Sravanbelagola of Chandragiri hill.
  • Chandragupta Maurya was succeeded by his son Bindusara.
  • Greeksources referto him as Amitrochates or in Sanskrit amitraghata ["destroyer of foes").
  • The palace of Chandragupta was made of wood.
  • Bindusara was followed by his son, Ashoka [273-232 B.C.).
  • The war of Kalinga [BC 261) was the turning point ofAshoka's life. The mass death of the war changed his mind and he became a follower of Buddhism.
  • Ashok Stambh of Sarnath was adopted as national emblem of India.
  • Sanchi Stupa was built by Ashoka.
  • Constructions carried out by Ashoka: Dhamek Stupa [Sarnath,   Uttar Pradesh), Bharhut stupa [Madhya Pradesh), Mahabodhi Temple [Bihar).
  • Ashoka's Dhamma was a code of conduct [a set of principles like respect to elders) mercy to slaves & emphasis on truth, non-violence & tolerance.
  • Last Mauryan King: Brihadratha [Killed by his general Pushyamitra).
  • Pushyamitra founded Sunga Dynasty.
  • Important Sources of History of Mauryan Empire- Arthshastra [Kautilya), Indica [Megasi:henes), Rajtarangini [Kalhan), Mahalihasya [Patanjali)
  • Other Sources: Puranas, Buddhist Texts, Asoka's Inscriptions, Rocks & Pillar Edicts of Mauryas.



Categories of Ashoka's Inscription


  • Bhabru - Conversion of Buddhism
  • Barabar Hills - Enjoins toleration
  • Tarai Pillars - Respect to Buddhism
  • 14 Rock Edicts - Administration and ethics.
  • Minor Rock Edicts - Personal history of Ashoka & summary of Dhamma.
  • 7 Pillar Rock Edicts - Appendix to Rock Edicts.


Sunga Dynasty (185 to 23 B.C.)


  • Pushyamitra Sunga was the senapati of lastking of Mauryan empire Briliadratha. He killed Brihadratha and founded the Sunga dynasty in 187 B.C.
  • It was a Magadha dynasty and its capital was Pataliputra but later Vidhisha was the capital of Sunga rulers.

Sunga Rulers

Pushyamitra Sunga




Andhraka Pulindaka






          Patanjali [grammarian of Sanskrit) was patronized by Pushyamitra Sunga.


Kanva Dynasty (73-28 B.C.)

  • Founder- Vasudeva Kanva.
  • Vasudeva was a Brahmin and follower of lord Vishnu.
  • Other Sunga Rulers: Bhumimitra, Narayana;Susarman.
  • Susarman was put to death by Satavahana ruler.


Satvahana Dynasty

  • It ruled in the Deccan and Central India after Mauryans.
  • Founder- Simuka
  • Andhra dynasty was situated between the region of Krishna and Godavari River.
  • Most powerful Satavahana king - Gautamiputra Satakarni [A.D. 106-130)
  • He defeated the Sakas, Yavanas [Greeks) and Pahlavas [Parithans)


Other Dynasties


  • Kharavela was the greatest king of Chedi Dynasty.
  • Source of information: Hatigumpha Pillar inscription (Created by Kharavela)
  • He opposed Demetrius of Bactria and defeated them.
  • The Indo-Greeks were the first to issue gold coins in India, Which increased in number under the Kushans.
  • The Sakas were a group of nomadic tribes of Iranian origin or Scythian tribes, who lived in Central Asia.
  • The most famous Saka ruler in India was Rudradaman-I (A.D. 130-150).
  • The Saka kingdom in north-western India was followed by that of the Parthians (Saka-Pahlavas in Sanskrit text).
  • The most famous Parthian king was Gondophernes.
  • They were defeated by the Kushans in the second half of the 1st century AD.
  • The Parthians were succeeded by the Kushans who established a powerful empire in north India.
  • The greatest of the Kushana rulers was kanishka and is known for his military prowess.
  • Capital of Kushans: Purushpura (Peshawar).
  • Kanishka is considered to have conflicted with the Pataliputra and had taken Asvaghosa, the Buddhist Monk to Purushpura.
  • He was a patron of Buddhism and convened the 4th Buddhist Council in the Kundalvana of Kashmir [or may be in Jalandhar) in 78 AD.
  • Scholars in the Court of Kanishid were Parsva, Vasumitra, Asvaghosa Nagarjuna, Charaka and Mathara.
  • Sushruta who wrote Sushruta Samhita has also been connected to Kanishka.
  • Founder of   Pallava   Simhavishnu, Capital - Kanchi.
  • Nrasimhavarman was the greates- king of Pallava Dynasty.

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