Kumaragupta I, also known as Shakraditya and Mahendraditya[citation
needed], was an emperor of the
Gupta Empire in 415–455 CE. He was
the son of his predecessor, Chandragupta II, and
known as Dhruvasvamini). He was an able ruler and retained, intact,
the vast empire, which extended from
Kathiawar and from the
Himalayas to the Narmada. He ruled efficiently for nearly forty years.
However, the last days of his reign were not good. The Gupta Empire
was threatened by the rebellion of
Pushyamitras of central India and
invasion of the White Huns (probably the Kidarites). But, Kumaragupta
was successful in defeating both threats and performed the Ashvamedha
(horse sacrifice) to celebrate his victory. He issued new coins with
images of his namesake, Lord Kumara.
1 Administrative set-up
2 Succession after Kumaragupta I
4 Decline of the Gupta Empire
6 External links
During his reign, Chiratadatta was the governor of Pundravardhana
Bhukti. A prince, Ghatotkachagupta was the governor of
Eran and a
third governor (or feudatory), Bandhuvarma was the ruler of Dashapura.
The Karmadande inscription (436 CE) mentions Prithivishena, who was
initially mantrin and kumaramatya (minister) of Kumaragupta I, but
later became his mahabaladhikrita (general).
Succession after Kumaragupta I
Silver coin of King Kumaragupta (414–455 CE).
Obv: Bust of King Kumaragupta with cap decorated with
crescents(derived from the coin design of the Western Satraps).
Garuda bird, circled by legend in Brahmi "Parama-bhagavata
rajadhiraja Sri Kumaragupta Mahendraditya" ("Most devout King of Kings
Kumaragupta I circa 414-455 CE. Obverse legend: "Kumaragupta, who has
destroyed his enemies and protected his client kings, is victorious
over his foes".
Kumaragupta I horse type coinage. Circa 414-455 CE.
Modern scholars are divided in opinion regarding the immediate
successor of Kumaragupta I. While some believe that he was succeeded
by his son Skandagupta, others contend that he was succeeded by his
other son, Purugupta. Some even think that
Skandagupta and Purugupta
are the same person.[unreliable source?]
The Junagadh rock inscription of
…whom the goddess of fortune and splendour of her own accord
selected as her husband, having in succession (and) with judgment
skillfully taken into consideration and thought over all the causes of
virtues and faults, (and) having discarded all (the other) sons of
kings (as not coming up to her standard).
The full significance of this passage is obscure. It is, however,
certain that the superior ability and prowess of
Skandagupta in a time
of crisis led to his choice as ruler in preference to other possible
claimants after the death of
Kumaragupta I and proud of his successes
against the barbarians,
Skandagupta assumed the title of
The continuous attacks of the
Kidarite Huns weakened the Gupta empire.
Skandagupta died in 467 CE. After his death, the Gupta empire began to
An inscription on a figure of a yaksha from Mathura in the reign of
Kumaragupta has been dated to 432 CE, and a pedestal (with no king's
name on it, but presumably from Kumaragupta's reign) has been dated to
The Bilsad inscription is the oldest record of his reign and it dates
to Gupta year 96, which corresponds to 415 CE.
Kumaragupta Tumain inscription of Kumāragupta, Madhya Pradesh
Decline of the Gupta Empire
Inscriptions prove that the Gupta sovereignty was acknowledged in the
Jabalpur region in the Narmada valley as late as CE 528, and in North
Bengal till CE 543–544.
Kumaragupta II is believed to have been
ruling in 473–474 CE and
Buddhagupta from 476–495 CE. The Gupta
empire began to disintegrate and by the middle of the sixth century
CE, they had merely become petty chiefs.
The last known date of his reign occurs on an inscription on one of
his silver coins, corresponding to 445 CE.
^ CNG Coin 
^ Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004). A History of India
(Fourth ed.). Routledge. pp. 94–97. Retrieved 1 October
^ Sukumar Dutt (1962). Buddhist Monks And Monasteries of India: Their
History And Contribution To Indian Culture. George Allen and Unwin
Ltd, London. p. 329. ISBN 81-208-0498-8.
^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas,
Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5, pp.191–200
^ Raychaudhuri, H. C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India,
Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.500–1
^ "Evidence of the conquest of Saurastra during the reign of
Chandragupta II is to be seen in his rare silver coins which are more
directly imitated from those of the Western Satraps... they retain
some traces of the old inscriptions in Greek characters, while on the
reverse, they substitute the Gupta type (a peacock) for the chaitya
with crescent and star." in Rapson "A catalogue of Indian coins in the
British Museum. The Andhras etc...", p.cli
^ CNG Coins 
^ Mahajan, V. D. (1960, reprint 2007) Ancient India, New Delhi: S.
Chand, ISBN 81-219-0887-6, pp.506–9
^ An English translation of the text of the Junagadh Rock Inscription
Skandagupta Archived 29 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Falk, Harry. (2004) "The Kaniṣka era in Gupta Records." Silk Road
Art and Archaeology 10. Kamakura: The Institute of Silk Road Studies,
Coins of Kumaragupta I