Take a close look at history and you will notice that it swings through two phases – epic bloodbath and peace. India’s ancient history is no different. The Gupta Empire represents a period of peace and prosperity that forged the very base of Hindu culture. It was a period when every aspect of Hindu society flourished and prominent scholars evolved whose work changed and reformed the very course and texture of human development. So, let us learn 30 interesting Gupta Empire facts and find out the contributions made by the scholars of that era.
Interesting Gupta Empire Facts: 1-10
1. Gupta Empire started somewhere in 320 CE (Common Era which is the same AD) and collapsed in 550 CE.
2. The empire was founded by Maharaja Sri Gupta but little did he know that he started an era that would be considered as ‘Golden Age of India’. Actually Sri Gupta and his son Ghatotkacha ruled between 240 and 319 CE. During their rule, the Guptas did not really create an empire but did lay the foundation stone. It was only in 320 CE that Chandragupta I (grandson of Sir Gupta) properly established the Gupta Empire. Much of his success came because he married Kumaradevi, the princess of the powerful Magadha. Chandragupta I received Magadha’s capital Pataliputra as dowry and then went on expanding his kingdom by conquering Saketa, Prayaga and much of Magadha and eventually assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja (King of kings).
3. Gupta Empire was large and at its peak, covered 21 kingdoms both inside and outside Indian subcontinent.
4. It was a period of peace and prosperity and ancient India under the Gupta Dynasty went through a phase of development and growth that spanned over philosophy, religion, logic, literature, art dialect, mathematics, astronomy, engineering, technology and science.
5. It was an era of prominent scholars. Some of the most prominent names include Vatsyayana, Vishnu Sharma, Varahamihira, Kalidasa and Aryabhata.
6. All these aforementioned scholars were special but most important scholar among them was Aryabhata whose contributions to mathematics and astronomy still continues to baffle modern scientists. Aryabhata was the first mathematician to give an accurate approximation of π and was also the first person to mention that π was irrational.
7. Aryabhata’s contribution to ZERO made him immortal through ages. He literally did not use the symbol for zero but his place value system implicitly used zero. The place value system was a counting system he developed which would have literally been impossible without the use of zero. He also calculated square roots and cubic roots which are literally impossible without place value system and zero.
8. Aryabhata wrote ‘Aryabhatiya’ when he was only 23 years old. Aryabhatiya is an astronomical treatise of 118 verses. It contains a mathematical section covering algebra, arithmetic, plane and spherical trigonometry, quadratic equations, continued fractions, table of sines and sums of power series.
9. While the West takes most of the credits of discovering how Solar System works, little do they mention that this ancient Indian scholar named Aryabhata was the first person on entire planet Earth to give a systematic treatment to planetary position in Solar System! He almost accurately calculated the circumference of Earth. According to his calculations, the circumference of Earth is 4,967 yojanas. 1 yojana was equivalent to 5 miles in those days and hence, the circumference as per Aryabhata’s calculations was 24,835 miles. As per modern calculations, the circumference is 24,902 miles.
10. Aryabhata also mentioned in Aryabhatiya that the rotation of heavens is nothing but the rotation of Earth on its axis. He also said that planets and Moon reflects the sunlight and hence they shine. It was he who figured out that the planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits. It was Aryabhata who found out the true reasons of solar and lunar eclipses.