The Mauryan empire had 3 main kings – Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara, and Ashoka. The remaining 6 Mauryan emperors after the reign of Ashoka were very weak. This article will throw light on the 3 important Mauryan Empire Kings.
Chandragupta Maurya – First Mauryan Empire King
- Chandragupta Maurya was born around 340 BC and died around 293 BC.
- Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire in India.
- The Nanda Empire was defeated and conquered by Chandragupta Maurya.
- Pataliputra was the capital of Chandragupta’s empire.
- Pataliputra was located near the Ganges river. It is close to modern-day Patna, Bihar.
- Chandragupta Maurya had one son. His name was Bindusara
- Chandragupta Maurya was guided by the legendary strategist named Chanakya.
- Chanakya is also called the ‘Indian Machiavelli”.
- Chandragupta Maurya laid the first foundation for uniting most of India.
- The empire of Chandragupta Maurya expanded from Afghanistan to Bengal, and even expanded into Central India and South India.
- Although Chandragupta Maurya built a massive empire, and a large army, and effectively used principles of statecraft, he renounced them to lead an ascetic life in his final years.
- Ashoka the Great was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya.
- The life and accomplishments of Chandragupta Maurya are given in the ancient Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Greek texts.
Bindusara – Second Mauryan Empire King
- Bindusara was the son of Chandragupta Maurya and the father of the great Emperor Ashoka.
- It is estimated that Bindusara ascended the throne around 297 BCE.
- Bindusara ruled for approximately 25 to 28 years. Different historical records have given different numbers.
- Bindusara inherited a massive empire from his father. He extended the Mauryan empire farther south to the area currently known as Karnataka.
- Bindusara did not conquer the friendly kingdoms located in the Tamil Nadu region.
- During the reign of Bindusara, Ashoka was serving as the viceroy of Ujjain.
- During the rule of Bindusara, people revolted twice. The first revolt was due to the misgovernance of his son Susima. This revolt was stopped by Bindusara.
- The second revolt could not be stopped by Bindusara in his lifetime. This revolt was crushed by Ashoka.
Ashoka – Third Mauryan Empire King
- Ashoka wanted to give up violence and bloodshed as he was horrified to see the bloodshed after winning the Kalinga war.
- Ashoka’s 13th Rock Edict describes the Kalinga war vividly.
- Ashoka was perhaps the only king in the entire world who gave up his desire to conquer new territories after winning a major war.
- Mahendra was the first-born son of Emperor Ashoka.
- Maharani Devi was the first wife of Emperor Ashoka.
- Sanghamitra and Mahendra were the children of Maharani Devi.
- Ashoka sent his children Sanghamitra and Mahendra to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism.
- They played an important role in the spread of Buddhism.
- Mahendra was sent as a Buddhist missionary to the Anuradhapura Kingdom in Sri Lanka.
- Ashoka appointed officials known as the dhamma mahamatta, to carry the message and teach people about dhamma.
- NCERT Notes: Mauryan Empire: Reasons For Decline [Ancient Indian History for UPSC]
- Ashoka Inscription (The Edicts of Ashoka) [NCERT Notes – Ancient Indian History Notes For UPSC]
- Mauryan Empire (322-185) BCE – Ancient Indian History NCERT Notes for UPSC
- NCERT Notes: Ashoka – Life & Dhamma [Ancient Indian History Notes for UPSC]
- Kalinga War – Background, Events, Aftermath
- Sanchi Stupa – Know More About the Lion Capital
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many kings were in the Mauryan Empire?
The Mauryan empire had 3 main kings – Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara, and Ashoka. The remaining 6 Mauryan emperors after the reign of Ashoka were very weak.
Who was the greatest king of the Maurya dynasty?
Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka were the two greatest kings of the Maurya dynasty.
Who is the first king of India?
Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan empire can be considered as the first king of undivided India. He was guided by the famed philosopher Chanakya.
Who defeated Ashoka?
Ashoka was not defeated in war or battle. Ashoka renounced violence after witnessing the destruction caused by him and his army during the Kalinga war.
Did Chandragupta Maurya meet Alexander?
Chandraputa Maurya never met Alexander. Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan empire, a few years after the death of Alexander.