The history of the Indian subcontinent is full of heroic tales of the great emperors and their great empires. After 1500 BC, many dynasties ruled on this land but some of them left a deep impression on the pages of Indian history. The Kingdom of an empire is an organized group or unit of people that are usually governed by a king. The power of a kingdom depended on how vast territory the king conquered. Archaeologists and history buffs admire many heroes and consider them as the epitome of courage.
Rulers like Samudragupta, Asoka, Jalalludin Akbar and Maharaja Shivaji inspire even today. But what made them so different and powerful from others? What inspired them to bring revolution during their reign? It was the name, honour and legacy of their empires. All these heroes belonged to different dynasties and these dynasties ruled during different times. Here, we will look at the top dynasties that ruled the South Asian subcontinent.
MAURYAN DYNASTY (322 BCE – 185 BCE)
Founded by Chandragupta Maurya, this was one of the earliest and the first major empire of ancient India. It supplanted the earlier Magadha kingdom and took power over large parts of eastern and northern India. He defeated the ruthless king of the Nanda Empire. The dynasty collapsed after the death of Asoka, the most powerful and famous ruler of the dynasty. Mauryan kings maintained a diverse empire in south Asia. They produced Indo-Greek coins. Kautilya’s Arthasastra gives a piece of deeper information about the same.
GUPTA DYNASTY (350-550 CE)
Based in the city of Patliputra (present-day Patna), the Gupta dynasty expanded under king Samudragupta and king Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya). The Gupta ruler produced the most spectacular and the purest gold coins. Under their region, the game of chess got invented and people started using zero. Mathematicians discovered Mathematical theorems and astronomical theorems. They conquered the northern borders of India and well protected the invasions of attackers and invaders. Their reign period was also considered the Golden period of ancient India. Dedicated to Samudragupta, The Prayag Prashasti (Allahabad pillar) was also craved during their reign. The empire collapsed in the 6th century because of continuous invasion and loss of territory.
VIJAY NAGAR EMPIRE
Named after it is capital city Vijaynagar, brothers Harihara and Bukka Sangama founded this empire in 1336, Karnata Rajya based in the Deccan plateau. It was the greatest empire of South India and it lasted for more than two centuries. The empire was a symbol of rebellion against the Tughluq rule. They promoted the ideology of Hinduism and unified the common people against Delhi Sultanate. During this period, Literature and art bloomed and attained new heights. Vijaynagar Empire was also known for its architecture and Hampi gives a glimpse of the same. The kingdom reached its peak under the righteous king Krishna Deva Raya followed by other successors. But the empire couldn’t manage to survive after the battle of Talikota as the empire got divided into small parts and separated from Vijaynagar.
After defeating Ibrahim Lodi in the year 1526 at the battle of Panipat, Zahir-ud-din-Muhammad Babur established the Mughal empire in India. It sustained because of military welfare. But the imperial got developed by Jalal-ud-din Muhamad Akbar(the grandson of Babur). He is also known as the greatest ruler of the entire empire as he introduced silver currency and abolished the Jizya tax. The Mughal Empire conquered a vast territory through negotiation, diplomacy and warfare. The architecture and monuments got built by Shah Jahan. The sixth major king Aurangzeb too, helped his kingdom political and cheap strength. But He is the most controversial king because he reimposed the Jizya tax, executed the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur and opposed bigotry against Shia Muslims and Hindus. The empire declined after his death and after the revolt of 1857, the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar got exiled in Burma.
It was an Islamic central empire in North India. Qutb-ud-din Aibak founded the sultanate in 1206. It lasted for 320 years and five different dynasties ruled. The founder dynasty was the slave dynasty, followed by the Khilji dynasty (1290-1320). The Slave dynasty(1206-1290) is also known for its first women empress Razia Sultana. The Khilji dynasty was overthrown by the Tughlaq dynasty. After the Tughluq dynasty collapsed, the Sayyid dynasty followed by the Lodi dynasty ruled the empire. Later, in the first battle of Panipat Babur defeated the last Delhi Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. The establishment of the Delhi sultanate brought the trend of Islamic culture to India. Nusrat khan’s conquest led to the destruction of many cities in Gujrat.
-By Aayushi Sharma