Why is the Gupta period regarded as the golden age of Indian culture?

The Gupta period existed between mid 3rd century CE to 6th CE and covered most of the Indian subcontinent. This period not only saw the defense and expansion by the Gupta kings but also a significant rise in the achievements in the fields of architecture, art, science, politics, literature and trade with faraway empires.

Kalidasa who is regarded as ancient India’s greatest author wrote his most celebrated works in the Gupta period. Several medieval records state that he was a court poet in the legendary king Vikramaditya Chandragupta II’s court. Kalidasa’s work as based on the Vedas, Ramayana and Mahabharata which form the substructure of Hindu culture.

The Gupta period saw the most remarkable accomplishments in ancient Indian mathematics and astronomy. Contemporary mathematician-astronomers Aryabhatta and Varahamihira developed various concepts like place value system, zero, algebra, approximation of Pi, optics and Vedic astrology. From their works it is also known the astronomical instruments like gnomon, angle measuring instruments and water clocks existed in the Gupta Empire.

From the remaining works, it is evident that art, sculpture and architecture were at its peak in the Gupta period. The patterns and consistency in the works made it a recognized style obliviously named after the empire. The Ajanta, Ellora and Elephant caves were in fact produced under later dynasties, but they visibly convey the impact of Gupta style on them.

Out of the vast ancient Hindu cultural literature the Puranas are said to be completed in the Gupta period. The Puranas cover variety of topics like cosmology, philosophy, astronomy, astrology, gods and goddesses, rituals, folk tales etc. They have very ingenious use of Sanskrit grammar, compound words and prose.

The administration in the Gupta Empire was fairly complex and developed. The empire was divided into 26 provinces. Each province was categorized as Bhukti, Pradesha and Bhoga. The provinces were also divided into Vishayas and were governed by an administrator and four to five reprsentatives.

Hence the Gupta Period was indeed the golden age of the Indian Culture. It is also an interesting period to know more about. Some book recommendations about the Gupta Empire history: The Imperial Guptas by P.L. Gupta and The Gupta Empire by Radhakumud Mookerji.

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