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Mauryan Empire was one of the most powerful and greatest empires in India. Founded in 311 BC by the great emperor Chandragupta Maurya, the empire lasted from 321 to 185 BC. Pataliputra was its capital. Mauryan Empire is regarded as the first major empire in the history of India. India in this period saw the most efficient rulers of all the time, ranging from Chandragupta Maurya to Ashoka the great.

It was with the help of his intelligent guide Chanakya that Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan Empire by overthrowing the Nanda dynastical rule. The origin of Chandragupta is shrouded in mystery although his royal ancestry in referred to by ancient Indian literary works. He established a vast empire, conquered the Greeks to further extend his empire.

The Arthashastra of Chanakya written during this period is regarded as one of the most valuable treatise on political science. Chandragupta was converted to the religion of Jainism at the end of his life. He died as an ascetic, having fasted to death, in the typical Jain belief. He is one of the most famous of the Mauryan emperors.

According to Megasthenes, the nature of India was “The Indians all live frugally, especially when in camp. They dislike a great undisciplined multitude, and consequently they observe good order. Theft is of very rare occurrence. They live, nevertheless, happily enough, being simple in their manners and frugal. They never drink wine except at sacrifices. Their beverage is a liquor composed from rice instead of barley, and their food is principally a rice-pottage” during the period of reign of Chandragupta Maurya.

The next ruler of the Mauryan dynasty was Bindusara, the son of Chandragupta Maurya. Not widely known, he reigned from 297 to 272 BC. He is known as the man who conquered "the country between the two seas" Bindusara was called Amitrochates in Greek sources.

The man who was both the greatest conqueror and the greatest Buddhist devotee was indeed Ashoka the great. He succeeded his father Bindusara in 272 BC and united the Indian subcontinent for the first time. He led the Kalinga war and after seeing the bloodshed in war, changed his mind to hate war.

He was subsequently converted to Buddhism. He contributed a great deal in the spread of Buddhism. His rock edicts were built all over the country spreading messages of love, peace and ahimsa. He reigned from 268 to 232 BC.

After the death of Ashoka, Mauryan Empire slowly started to decline. Weak kings followed Ashoka. Dasaratha ruled from 232-224 BC. Samprati from 223 to 215 BC. Salisuka from 215 to 292 BC, Devaraman from 202-195 BC. The last two kings were Satadhanvan and Brihadratha. None of these kings were able to revive the Mauryan Empire. At around 185 BC, the empire declined almost completely.


This site covers all areas for Ancient Indian History for kids. There are several essays to refer to for your school history study. We start off with ancient India timeline, various ancinet empires like the Mauryan empire and the Gupta empire. You will find information about ancient Indian society and culture, rulers, wars, costumes and several such facinating subjects. History of ancient India for kids is quite fascinating and long.