• He was called Indian Napoleon by VA Smith because of his extensive military conquests. He assumed the titles of Vikramanka and Kaviraja.
  • Virasen was his commander in chief during the Southern campaign. Vasubandhu, a famous Buddhist scholar was his minister.
  • Samudragupta advanced through the forest tract of Madhya Pradesh to the coast of Odisha and then moved up to Kanchi, the capital of Pallavas.
  • Prayag Prashasti authored by Samudragupta’s court poet Harisena gives an idea about his accession and conquests.
  • Campaign of Samudragupta: Prayag Prashasti mentions subjugation of three Aryavarta kings, being followed by his southern campaigns defeating 12 kings and then again defeated 9 Aryavarta kings.
  • The great achievements of Samudragupta were the political unifications of India.
  • King of Aryavarta defeated by him:  Ahichchatra, Kingdom of Gwalior region.
  • Policy towards kings of Aryavarta: He subjugated them and annexed their territories.
  • Twelve kindoms defeated by Samudragupta in South India (Also known as Dakshinapatha)

(1) Kosala (Raipur, Durg, Sambalpur, Bilaspur)

(2) Mahakantara (Jeypore, forest region of Odisha)

(3) Kaurata (Sonpur and north-east of Mahendra hill)

(4) Pishtapura (Pithasuram, East Godavari district)

(5) Kottura (Ganjam district)

(6) Erandapalla (Chicacole or West Godavari district)

(7) Kanchi (Chingelput district)

(8) Avamukta (Godavari valley)

(9) Vengi (Krishna-Godavari delta)

(10) Palakka (Nellore district)

(11) Devarastra (Vishakhapatnam district)

(12) Kushthalpura (North Arcot district Tamil Nadu)

  • Policy towards southern kingdoms: Samudragupta first captured them (grahana) and then released them (moksha).
  • He issued 6 types of gold coins which throws light on his life. These coins were: Garur type, Dhanurdhar type, Ashvamedha type, Vyaghranihanta type, Parshuram type and Vinavadan type.
    • Vinavadan coins show him playing Veena.
    • Ashvamedha coins point to him performing this yajna.
    • Bhitari inscription and Pune Copper inscriptions of Prabhavati Gupta also refer to Ashwamedha Yajna by Samudragupta.
  • Granted permission to Buddhist King Meghavarman of Sri Lanka, to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya.
image 246

Fig: Possible extent of the Gupta Empire, near the end of Samudragupta’s reign


  • Duration: Mid-3rd century AD, contemporaries of Gupta dynasty (came after Satavahanas)
  • Location: Deccan India
  • Founder: Vindhyashakti I (Ajanta cave 16 inscription)
  • They were great champions of the brahmanical religion and performed numerous Vedic sacrifices.
  • They channelised brahmanical ideas and social institutions to the south.
  • Relations with Gupta: Chandragupta II married his daughter Prabhavati Gupta into the Vakataka royal family
  • largest number of Vakataka inscriptions including copper plate inscriptions belong to the reign of Pravarasena II.
  • Vakataka kings performed Ashvamedhas, vajapeya and vajimedha.
  • Vakataka inscriptions mention the terms klipta and upaklipta; they also refer to vishti or forced labour.
  • They were among largest land granting dynasty (Yavatmal plates of Pravarasena II record the renewal of an earlier grant or Poona plates of Prabhavatigupta also refer to the donees being granted the right to mines and khadira trees).
  • Buddhist Art/Architecture:
    • Rock-cut Mahayana Buddhist viharas and chaityas of Ajanta Caves was built under the patronage of Vakataka King Harishena of Vatsagulma branch.
    • Second phase of mural paintings  in Ajanta corresponds to the Vakataka period.
    • Ajanta Murals of Padmapani and Vajrapani painted during this dynasty.
  • Hindu Art/Architecture:
    • Pravareshvara Shiva temple built by Pravarasena II at Mansar, Nagpur (Mansar Shiva).
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