The Gupta Empire ruled the country from AD 320 to AD 540. It was not as large as the Mauryan Empire, but it politically united the North Indian territories for more than a hundred years. The period of the Gupta Empire is known as the ‘Classical Age’ or the ‘Golden Age’ of Indian history. Many archaeological sources such as the Allahabad Pillar inscription, Mathura stone inscription, Udayagiri cave inscription, temples, forts, stupas, and coins give us important insights into the conditions prevailing during the Gupta Empire.
Archaeological Sources of the Gupta Empire
The Main Archaeological Sources of the Gupta Empire are
The Allahabad Pillar Inscription
- The Allahabad Pillar Inscription contains a prashasti which is written in praise of Samudragupta. It is written by Harishena. It mentions the names of the kingdoms and tribal republics which were conquered by Samudragupta.
- The inscription also gives us the list of the kings which were ruling India in the first half of the 4th century AD.
The Vishnu Temple at Deogarh
- The Vishnu Temple at Deogarh is located about 112 km away from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. The temple is completely made of stone.
- While the outer walls of the temple are decorated with scenes from Ramayana, the entrance and the pillars are adorned with many paintings and carvings. This temple gives us a glimpse of the craftsmanship of the people belonging to the Gupta dynasty.
- Located at Rajagriha in Bihar, the Nalanda University was a famous educational institution in India. It was founded by Sakraditya in the 5th century AD during the reign of Kumaragupta-I.
- Students from countries such as Korea, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Japan, Mongolia, China and Tibet obtained education from the Nalanda University.
- Logic, grammar, medicine, samkya, yoga, Vedas, sciences and mathematics were some subjects which were offered in the university.
- This university was destroyed by Ikhtiyar Khalji in the 12th century AD. The university was a testament of the high educational level of India during the Gupta Period.
Also, Read The Age of the Guptas