Gupta

Founded by Sri Gupta, the Gupta Empire ushered in the 'Golden Age' in India. Arts, Science, Architecture and Learning took the front seat in the dynasty's history. Known for being the first dynasty to unite and rule most of the Indian subcontinent, the Guptas adopted a policy that combined matrimonial alliances and military conquests for expanding their territory.

The Gupta Empire nurtured many renowned scientists and scholars. Aryabhata, a scientist with a futuristic vision, was one of the first to suggest that the Earth rotated upon its own axis. He also attempted to approximate the value of π. He came with the concept of 'zero' in mathematics. Another scholar was a poet and dramatist named Kalidasa. Kalidasa is known for his poems and dramas including Abhijnanashakuntalam which explores the story of Dushyant and Shakuntala.

The cave paintings at Ajanta, although painted by later dynasties, are based on the Gupta style of art. Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta Caves, too, are based on the Gupta style of architecture. A metallurgical feat of this period is the Iron Pillar, currently housed in Delhi, which has withstood the test of time. Despite 1500 years of rains and sun, the pillar has not rusted, nor has it corroded.

Another noted feature, unique to the Guptas, is their coins. The Guptas minted coins in a wide variety of types in gold, silver, copper and lead fabrics. The numismatic artwork of the Gupta period is noteworthy. Along with being aesthetically pleasing, the coins reveal information about the issuing ruler. Eg. Coins of the Ashvamedha type point to the fact that the issuing kings performed the Ashvamedha Yajna in order to expand their empire.

The Gupta period is known for the cultural and scientific renaissance it sparked in the kingdom. The fields of mathematics and astronomy saw major advancement. Although many of the books originally penned down are lost, they have been mentioned in contemporary and later works written by scientists over the world. Many of the theories proposed by the scientists belonging to the Gupta period still hold ground their respective fields.

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