Mauryan vs Gupta Empires: Difference and Comparison

Ancient India was quite different from India today. Instead of the States, it had dynasties that prevailed all over the country.

Many influencers and rulers came forward and established several empires. The epitome of power was solely concentrated in a single body.

Two of the best-known empires of that time are the Mauryan and Gupta Empires.

Key Takeaways

  1. Mauryan and Gupta Empires are ancient Indian empires that ruled during different periods.
  2. The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE, while Sri Gupta founded the Gupta Empire in 240 CE.
  3. The Mauryan Empire was known for its centralized government, military power, and religious tolerance, while the Gupta Empire was known for its cultural achievements in art, literature, and science.

Mauryan Empire vs Gupta Empire

Mauryan was an empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya. It was formed before Christ. It was established in various countries. In the Mauryan empire, all the power belongs to the king. Sri Chandragupta was the founder of the Gupta Empire. It was formed after Christ. It was established within India. The reason for their fall is military issues.


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Mauryan Empire vs Gupta Empire

The Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan empire over the Indian subcontinent. The Mauryan dynasty prevailed before Christ and followed centralized administration.

Chanakya played an important role in the Mauryan empire and assisted Chandragupta in organizing the dynasty. The empire had its capital in the city of Pataliputra, which is known as Patna in India today.

In contrast, the Gupta Empire was established by Sri Chandragupta across major parts of India. It prevailed after the death of Christ and prioritized decentralized administration.

Kalidasa was rewarded with an insane amount of funds during this time. Just like the Mauryans, the Gupta dynasty had its capital in Pataliputra.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMauryan EmpireGupta Empire
FounderMauryan empire was formed by Chandragupta Maurya. Gupta empire was formed by Sri Chandragupta.
ExistenceIt came into existence before Christ. It came into existence after Christ.
Time-periodStarting from 325 BCE, it existed until 185 BCE. It existed starting from 320 CE till the 4th and 5th century.
ExtentIt was larger and established over India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was comparatively smaller and was established over major parts of India only.
PowerAll the powers were with the ruling king. The king did not have direct control here.
TaxationHeavy taxes were imposed on the people. People here did not have to pay heavy taxes.
ReligionThey followed Jainism and Buddhism. They followed Hinduism.
CultureIt was mainly based on Persian influence and monasteries. It included art, science, literature etc.
TradingThey involved in foreign trade. They went with internal trade.
FallThe empire fell due to issues after Ashoka’s death. It fell due to military issues.

What is Mauryan Empire?

The Mauryan empire has left an extraordinary mark on Indian society. The vast, autocratic dynasty continues to maintain a unique place in the history of the Indian subcontinent. 

The Mauryan empire was established by the great administrator Chandragupta Maurya and flourished between 325 BCE and 185 BCE. It covered all parts of India, along with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Chanakya was the one who assisted Chandragupta in making the empire more efficient and organized. The process of building the empire started by dethroning the Nanda dynasty.

Pataliputra was then made the capital of the newly formed dynasty. A centralized administration, i.e., a ruler having all the powers over the people, was finalized and followed.

The Mauryans never accepted the Hindu religion. They mainly practiced Buddhism and constructed several Buddhist monasteries.

Buddhist scriptures were also highly embraced. The cultural practices were a part of Persian influence.

Foreign trade was very common and highly in demand in those times.

However, after the demise of Ashoka, the empire started facing issues. There was no one as efficient to manage such a huge dynasty.

The Pushyamitra Sunga took advantage of it, and this further resulted in the fall of the vast Mauryan empire.

mauryan empire

What is Gupta Empire?

After the Mauryans, the Gupta Empire is known to be one of the hugest empires that ruled over Indian society in ancient times. The empire has set a remarkable footprint in the field of art and culture of the country.

Founded by Sri Chandragupta, the Gupta empire existed all through 320 CE till the 4th and 5th centuries. It was built over the major parts of India.

The empire followed a decentralized administration, where the ruler did not have direct control. Rather separate leaders were assigned for each part.

During this time, Kalidasa was highly praised and rewarded by the king due to his great work. Other details about the empire are mentioned in several documents created by Chinese travelers.

The Guptas embraced Hinduism and did put efforts to glorify the religion during their rule. Many Hindu temples with commendable architectural excellence were built.

The culture of the empire included art, science, medicine, and painting, which were regarded as very important and were commonly practiced. The people avoided foreign trade and stuck to internal trade only.

Unfortunately, with time, the empire was filled with several issues, including corruption, fragile leadership, and financial losses. This resulted in the fall of the empire, and Harsha Vardhana went on to establish the Vardhana empire over it.

gupta empire

Main Differences Between Mauryan and Gupta Empires

  1. Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan Empire, while Sri Chandragupta established the Gupta Empire.
  2. The Mauryan Empire was in power before Christ, whereas the Gupta Empire was in power after Christ.
  3. The Mauryan Empire was larger and covered more areas as compared to the Gupta Empire.
  4. The Mauryan king had all the powers, while the Gupta king did not have direct control.
  5. Mauryans followed Buddhism, whereas the Guptas followed Hinduism.
  6. The Mauryans levied heavy taxes on the common people, while the Guptas did not do so.
  7. Guptas involved in internal trade, while the Mauryans were frequently involved in foreign trade.

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