Golden age of the Guptas



       Caste system began to assume more rigidity. The Brahman class occupying   an important position. The division of the society was on the basis of Varna (colour) and different functions in the society. Usually marriage took place in the same caste. In the city separate dwelling quarters were assigned to the Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishiyas and Sutras. We come across authentic examples of inter marriages between the Varnas in the aruloma (order).


         Widow was observed a life of celibacy. Widow was not allowed to sexual contact with anybody. She was encouraged to self immolation. Self immolation was not rare. It was neither a prevalent custom nor imposed on widow.


                            There was accomplished courtesan skilled in art of pleasing men. Temples also maintained, girls for singing, dancing and entertaining the people daily. The position of women in general decline during this period. No purdah system in the period of Guts.


                            People belived in clean hygienic condition. Great attention was given to cleanliness. They were familiar with various forms of perfumes, scents and use of sandals etc… The food of the people consisted of rice, wheat, barley, pulses, butter, oil, sugar, meat etc…Meat eating was common except the Brahmins. City life was well developed. Urban life was appreciated, that led to the overall prosperity of the people


Agriculture, Industry, Trade and commence flourished during the Gupta period. They constructed lakes, digging canals for increasing agricultural yields. A number of crops were known and the major crops were paddy, wheat, barley, peas and oil seeds etc… Sugarcane crop was also known to them. Advice to the farmers was soil care, spacing the trees, preventing the plant diseases were prescribed and practiced. Strict penalties were imposed on those tampering with agriculture, operations or damaging agricultural implements, neglecting of agriculture were also fined. Textile industry reached its zenith. Silk, wool and bark of trees were woven and used much. The art of dying clothes was well known. Leather industry was well developed. Patronized leather containers, shoe, bags etc… Metals like copper, tin, gold, silver and iron. The craftsman dealing with pearls and precious stones enriched the art of that time. Internal and external trade developed, guilds and partnership were too important economic systems, which functioned in the country. The prosperity of the people which led to the prevalence of peace and the brilliant perfection in architecture, sculptures and paintings.


      The three allied arts of architecture are sculptures; paintings attained a high level excellence. Numerous temples are made by bricks which are found in Bhitargaon in Kanpur district and Paharpur (Bengal) and Sripur (Madhya Pradesh). The temples had a pyramid roof; its outside walls are decorated terracotta depicting mythological scenes but the temple architecture of lateral Guts exhibits new style, a new dimension with high sikhara with extensive mandapas (halls) which can be seen. The best specimen can be seen at the Deshavarta temple at Deogarh, the sikhara height being 120m

         In the history of temple architecture Gupta period is the formative and creative age. It has two important style one is Nagara and Dravidic . The stupa at Mirpurkhas in Sindh , Damekh stupa at Saranath are two important stupas . The rockcut architecture of the period is represented by two conventional types one is chaitya hall (shrine) and another is vihara (The monastery) . They are mostly found in, Ellora Ajanta, Aurangabad , bagh (Madhya Pradesh) , the most numerous vihara caves are found in Ajanta . The caves are remarkable for the variety of pillars as well the fresco paintings . The walls are ceiling decorated . Guptas sculptures make it development . The inspiration and charasteric features of Gupta figure had a tremendous impact on the Indian colonies in the Far East . The best specimen of Hindus sculptures are to be found in the Deogarh temple containing mythological themes of Rama , Vishnu , Narayan. From the Buddha period a number of Buddhist bronze and copper figures . A copper image of Gupta at about 2.5m height was found at Nalanda in Bihar . Iron Pillar of Delhi near Quatib Minar was erected about 415AD by Kumara Gupta in honor of his father Chandra Gupta-II. In the art of Gupta painting they attained a high degree of perfection . The specimens of Gupta paintings are preserved at Ajanta Dibagh caves .The  Sittannavasal in Puthukkottai  The Gupta art is a combination of an established tradition which absorbed the classical art of Mathura and Amaravathi . The chief characteristic of Gupta art are refinement , simplicity of expression and religious character . The intellectual elements dominates the Gupta . The Gupta art influenced the art of central Asia , java , Sumatra , Cambodia and other islands in the east


        The Gupta age was the period of Hindu renaissance . Buddhism also flourished . Though the Guptas patronized Hinduism they followed the policy of toleration . The period also witnessed the evolution of the Ramayana and Mahabharata . The puranas and dharmasastras in the modern forms . The Bhagavatgeeta was incorperated in the Mahabharata during the period


       Gupta period is the classical period of Sanskrit literature . Classical Sanskrit reached its perfection through Kalidasa . According to tradition he was one of the navaratnas who graced the court of  Chandragupta-II. He wrote the plays of Sakuntala . The other works are Vikrama Urvasiyam , Malavikagnimitra . Sakuntala deals with the love story of the king Dushyanta and Sakuntala  . Vikrama Urvasiyam deals with the love of king Purvana with nymph Urvasi .Malavikagnimitra plays deals with the love story of Agnimitra and Malavika. Kalidasa also wrote two lyric poems Megaduta or Cloud messenger dealing with the way in which a lover in Central India send his love messages through a cloud for his wife in Himalaya through the cloud . Another one poem was Ritusambhara  or cycle of season on which describes the season in versus

        Sudraka was another great poet of this period . He wrote ‘Mercchchakatika’ or ‘Little clay cart’ , it deals with romance of  Charndotta , a merchant of Ujjain with Vasantasena , a rich courtesan . Visakadatta wrote the plays of  Mudra Rakshasa and Devi Chandraguptam . First one deals with how Mauryans came to power after putting an end to the unpopular rule of the Nandas . Devi Chandragupta is a political drama . Bharavi  was another poet of eminence , who wrote Kirata Arjuniya . Besides Panchathandra is assigned to the Gupta age . It is a collection of stories having moral values and has been translated into a number of languages

     In Buddhist literature the works of Vasubandhu , Aryadeva , Asanga and Dingnaga contributed to Buddhist .Tatsyana,  who written Kamasutra or Science of sex . The Nalanda University is started by Kumara Gupta attracted scholars from other Asian countries


     Great progress was made in the field of scientific studies in Gupta period . The formation of the theory of zero and evolution of decimal system are to be credited to the thinkers of the age 

     Aryabatta , Varahamihira  , Brahmagupta were the foremost astronomers and the mathematicians of the world . Aryabatta wrote Surya Siddhartha. In this he explains and examins the true causes of the solar and lunar eclipses . Aryabatta was the first Indian astronomer who discovered and declared that the earth rotates in its axis . Aryabatta’s famous work was Aryabattiyam written in 449AD , which deals with Arithmetic , Geometric , Algebra and Trigonometry . Varahamihra deals with astronomy , physical geography , botany and natural history . His other works are Panchasiddhantika , Brihajjataka , and Laghujataka . Brahmagupta another famous astronomer and mathematic anticipated newton by declaring that all things fall to the earth by law of nature . For it is nature of the earth to attract and keep things.

      The medical schools of Chakara , Susruta of the Gupta age . Palakapya had written Hasti Ayurveda on Vetinary science . Nagarjuna was a famous Buddhist scholar and a great student of medicine, chemistry and metallurgy. He also discovered new medicines . During this period Dhanvantri was a famous physician of Ayurvedic medicines

      Thus the Gupta age witness progress in education, literature and sciences. It was an age of intellectualism which led to progress inventions and innovations in every field of learning


       The Gupta kings issued coins of gold and silver. It possess the features of artistic taste . In the coins of Chandra Gupta –I the obverse side we find the king and his queen Kumandra Devi standing face to face with each other . While their names are engraved by their sides . On the reverse there is Durga seated on a lion

        The coins of Samurai Gupta , he has been shown in different poses as an archer , with his Queen Datta Devi, with the battle axe and slaying the tiger , on certain others horse ashwamedha yaga on the obverse and Lakshmi and reversed engraved . Chandra Gupta-II added certain other types . He has been shown as slaying a lion and some  others as a horse man and others with a royal umbrella

         The coins of Samutra Gupta and Chandra Gupta-I had no foreign influence . Best specimens of numismatic art . Of course the art began to decline during the reign of kumara Gupta –II . Yet coins of various types such as peacock types , elephant rider types , archer types were issued

         The coins are fine in shape and the names ,the picture engravings of kings , queens and animals etc..which are remarkably artistic . This prove that art of coinage had acquired perfection during Gupta age