Origin of the Gupta dynasty

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The history of the Gupta dynasty began with its founding by Sri-Gupta around 240 CE, although dates were not well established. The empire covered most of Northern India and Eastern Pakistan, parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan and what is now eastern India and Bangladesh. The capital of the Guptas was Pataliputra, present day Patna, in the Indian state of Bihar.

When the Gupta dynasty ascended the throne around 320 CE, continuing until 550 CE, they consolidated northern India by subjugating the local and provincial powers that had become independent after the downfall of the Kushans. The period during the Gupta Empire is referred to as the Golden Age of India, embracing art, architecture, literature, sculpture and education.

There are conflicting theories regarding the original homeland of the Guptas. According to HC Raychoudhuri the Guptas originated from the Varendri region which is now part of Rangpur and Rajshahi Division of Bangladesh. DC Ganguly on the other hand considers the surrounding region of Murshidabad as the original home of the Guptas.[1]

Ancestry of the Guptas[edit]

The ancestry of Guptas of Imperial Guptas is mired in controversy and wrapped in obscurity. The Shunga and Satavahana records do mention the name Guptas but has no connection with 4th century Guptas. According to many historians Gupta dynasty was a Vaishya dynasty, according to historian, Ram Sharan Sharma, Guptas were a Vaishya dynasty, "who may have appeared as a reaction against oppressive rulers".[2] A.S. Altekar, a historian and archaeologist, who has written several books on Gupta coinage,[3] also regarded the caste of the Guptas as Vaishya on the basis of the ancient Indian texts on law, which prescribe the name-ending with Gupta for a member of the Vaishya caste. In opinion of famous art historian Dr. R. A. Agarawala, "Guptas" are said to be of Vaishya community. The historian H. C. Raychaudhuri, also holds that the Guptas belonged to the Dharana Gotra. According to Raichaudhuri, the Guptas were related to queen Dharini of Agnimitra, wife of the son of king Pushyamitra Shunga. Raychoudhuri drew this theory about the pedigree of the Guptas based on the Riddhapura copper-plate inscription of Prabhabati Gupta, daughter of Chandragupta II. In her records she claimed herself to be a descendant of the Dharana Gotra.

Furthermore, it is not yet discovered whether the term Gupta indicated a surname of a specific family or referred to a clan. However Gupta Empire records and Chinese records provided by the later I-Tsing, furnished the names of the first three rulers of the Gupta Dynasty, Maharaja Sri Gupta, Maharaja Sri Ghatotkacha and Ghatotokacha's son, Maharajadhiraja Sri Chandragupta, considered the first Gupta emperor. Recently, a historian, Ashvini Agarwal, on the basis of the matrimonial alliances of the Guptas with the Vakataka, assumed that they belong to the Brahman caste.[4] Another modern historian, S. Chattopaddhyaya, has put forth a different theory about the ancestry of the Guptas. According to him, in the Panchobh Copper Plate, some kings bearing the title Guptas and related to the imperial Gupta Dynasty, claimed themselves as Vaishyas. Historian D. R. Regmi, says Imperial Guptas were descendants of Abhira-Guptas.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Gupta Rule". banglapedia.org. 
  2. ^ "Early Medieval Indian Society (pb)". google.co.in. 
  3. ^ List of Altekar's publications in the Open Library.
  4. ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5, pp.82-4
  5. ^ Human rights in the Hindu-Buddhist tradition By Lal Deosa Rai, Page no.155 [1]
  6. ^ "Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal: Inscriptions". google.com.