Kushan Empire: The Maurya Empire ruled from 322to 185 BCE. It was a geographically extensive and politically as well as militarily powerful empire in ancient India. The empire was established by Chandragupta Maurya in Magadha what is now Bihar. This empire further flourished under Ashoka the Great. At its peak, it stretched to the north to the natural boundaries of the Himalayas and to the east into what is now Assam.

To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Balochistan and much of what is now Afghanistan. It also included the modern Heart as also Kandahar provinces. The empire was expanded into India’s central and southern regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara.

Maurya Empire

However, it excluded extensive unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga which were subsequently taken by Ashoka. Ashoka propagated Buddhism and established many Buddhist monuments.

Chandragupta’s minister Chanakya wrote the Arthashastra. Arthashastra is considered to be one of the greatest treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion produced in Asia. The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are primary written records of the Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath is regarded as the national emblem of India.

Empires of Ancient India Maurya Empire, Kushan Empire
Statues Of Rituals During Mauryan Dynasty

The middle period was a time of notable cultural development. The Satavahana dynasty, also known as the Andhras, ruled in southern and central India after around 230 BCE. Satakarni, the sixth ruler of the Satvahana dynasty, defeated the Sunga Empire of north India. Afterward, Kharavela, the warrior king of Kalinga, ruled a vast empire. It was also responsible for the propagation of Jainism in the Indian subcontinent.

The Kharavelan Jain Empire included a formidable maritime empire with trading routes linking it to Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Borneo, Bali, Sumatra, and Java. Colonists from Kalinga settled in Sri Lanka, Burma, as well as the Maldives and the Malay Archipelago. The Kuninda Kingdom was a small Himalayan state that survived from around the 2nd century BCE to roughly the 3rd century CE.

Empires of Ancient India

The Kushanas migrated from Central Asia into northwestern India in the middle of the 1st century CE. They founded an empire that eventually stretched from Tajikistan to the middle Ganges. The Western Satraps were Saka rulers of the western and central part of India. They were the successors of the Indo-Scythians and contemporaries of the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and the Satavahana who ruled in central and southern India.

Empires of Ancient India Maurya Empire, Kushan Empire
Ashoka pillar

Different dynasties such as the Pandyans, Cholas, Cheras, Kadambas, Western Gangas, Pallavas, and Chalukyas, dominated the southern part of the Indian peninsula at different periods of time. Several southern kingdoms formed overseas empires that stretched into Southeast Asia.

The kingdoms warred with each other and the Deccan states for domination of the south. The Kalabras, a Buddhist dynasty, briefly interrupted the usual domination of the Cholas, Cheras, and Pandyas in the south.

Kushan Empire

The Kushan Empire expanded out of what is now Afghanistan into the northwest of the subcontinent under the leadership of their first emperor, Kujula Kadphises, about the middle of the 1st century CE.

Empires of Ancient India Maurya Empire,Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire

By the time of his grandson, Kanishka, they had conquered most of northern India, at least as far as Saketa and Pataliputra, in the middle Ganges Valley, and probably as far as the Bay of Bengal. They played an important role in the establishment of Buddhism in India and its spread to Central Asia and China. By the 3rd century, their empire in India was disintegrating; their last known great emperor being Vasudeva I.