India • 04 • Maurya dynasty

  • Dates : -322 / -185

The Maurya dynasty

The Maurya dynasty was one of the most important in the history of India. It ruled ancient India from 321 BC to 185 BC and left a lasting legacy in many areas, including religion, philosophy, administration, architecture, and art.


Founding of the Maurya Dynasty

The Maurya dynasty was founded by Chandragupta Maurya. According to historical sources, he overthrew the king of Nanda of Magadha to establish his own empire. Chandragupta was aided in this endeavor by Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, who was a great strategist and political thinker. Chandragupta quickly expanded his empire by conquering neighboring regions.


The Height of the Maurya Empire under Ashoka

The reign of Ashoka was the most famous period of the Maurya empire. Ashoka is considered one of the greatest emperors of ancient India. He expanded the Maurya empire to a large part of India and also conquered the Greek kingdom of Bactria. However, Ashoka is primarily known for his achievements in the fields of religion and philosophy. After a bloody war, Ashoka converted to Buddhism and adopted non-violence and religious tolerance as principles of governance. He issued several edicts that promoted these ideals and were inscribed on stone pillars scattered throughout India. Ashoka's edicts also contributed to the spread of Buddhism throughout India and the rest of Asia.


Administration and Economy

The Mauryas introduced important reforms in administration and the economy. Chandragupta created a centralized system of administration and also established a network of spies to monitor activities in his empire. Ashoka continued these reforms and also created government departments to oversee different aspects of administration, such as justice, finance, and foreign affairs. He also improved roads and canals to facilitate trade throughout the empire.


Architecture and Art

The Maurya dynasty also made significant contributions to architecture and art in India. The Mauryas built several remarkable structures, including palaces, forts, and water reservoirs. One of the most famous examples of Mauryan architecture is the Ashoka Pillar, a 13-meter-high stone column adorned with sculptures and inscriptions. The Mauryas also produced a large amount of art, including stone and bronze sculptures.


Decline of the Maurya Dynasty

After Ashoka's death, the Maurya empire began to decline. It was weakened by internal rebellions and foreign invasions, until it was finally overthrown in 185 BC by the Shunga dynasty.


The Maurya dynasty left a lasting legacy in India. Its achievements in the fields of religion, philosophy, administration, architecture, and art have had a significant influence on Indian culture. The Mauryas also played an important role in the spread of Buddhism in India and beyond. The Maurya dynasty is a testament to the greatness of ancient India and its contribution to world civilization.

Geographical extension

The Maurya dynasty ruled over a large part of ancient India, extending from the northwest of India to the east. The Mauryan empire included the regions of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bengal, and Odisha. They had also conquered the Greek kingdom of Bactria, located in present-day Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Mauryan empire was one of the largest in the ancient history of India, with significant influence over neighboring regions such as Nepal and Sri Lanka. The Mauryan dynasty left a lasting legacy in the region, particularly in the fields of religion, philosophy, administration, architecture, and art.

list of rulers

Chandragupta Maurya (c. 322-298 BC) 

Bindusara (c. 298-273 BC) 

Ashoka (c. 273-232 BC) 

Dasharatha (c. 232-224 BC) 

Samprati (c. 224-215 BC) 

Salisuka (c. 215-202 BC) 

Devavarman (c. 202-195 BC) 

Shatadhanvan (c. 195-187 BC) 

Brihadratha (c. 187-185 BC)

India • 02 • Maurya dynasty: map

This map illustrates the maximum territory that the Maurya Dynasty had reached at its height, covering the current regions of Bihar, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh in India. Its main purpose is to provide a visual aid to understand the geographical extent of this dynasty. However, it's important to note that the contemporary borders of these regions may not necessarily coincide with the historical territories.