TheHistory in UPSC mains GS -1 paper and IAS Prelims Syllabus is one of the major part of UPSC exam. As for the topic of Mauryan fctual data is very important and the works which were done at that time are important


  • Timeline of Mauryan Empire
  • Chandra Gupta Empire
  • Bindusara
  • Ashoka
  • Decline of Mauryan Empire





Chandragupta Maurya 321- 297 BC
Bindusara 297- 272 BC
Ashoka 272-232 BC
Dasaratha 252 – 224 BC
Samprati 224- 215 BC
Salisuka 215- 202 BC
Devavarman 202- 195 BC
Satadhanvan 195- 187 BC
Brihadratha 187- 185 BC



  • The Mauryan Empire was the first largest empires that ever established on Indian soil until 324 C.
  • In a series of battles, he defeated Dhana Nanda and laid the foundations of the Maurya Empire in about 321
  • Kautilya was the Prime Minister of Chandragupta He was considered as the real architect of the Mauryan Empire. The Mauryan Empire was spread from the valley of the Oxus (present Amu River) to the delta of Kaveri.
  • Chandragupta Maurya was the first ruler who unified entire India under one political
  • The detailed information about the administrative system of the Mauryan Empire is mentioned in Arthashastra. It is a book written by Kautilya. He was also known as
  • Megasthenese came in the court of Chandragupta Maurya as an ambassador of the Seleucus (the king of Greek).
  • Megasthenese has given detailed accounts of India and Indian people in his book ‘Indica.’ Though the original book is lost; however, historians extracted Megasthenese’s description through the quotations in the works of the later Greek writers.
  • The inscriptions of the great Ashoka are the most important and authentic source for the history of Mauryan
  • According to Buddhist TraditionsThe Buddhist literature, the ‘Mahavamsa’ and ‘Dipavamsa’ give a detail account of Chandragupta
  • Chandragupta Maurya has been described as a descendant of the Kshatriya clan of the Moriyas branch of Sakyas. They lived in Pipphalivana, in eastern Uttar
  • The ‘Mudrarakshasa’ is a play written by Vishakhadatta, referred Chandragupta as ‘Vrishala’ and ‘Kulahina,’ which means a person of humble
  • Chandragupta’s father was killed in a battle and he was brought up by his maternal
  • Chanakya observed the signs of royalty in the child Chandragupta and took him as his pupil. He took him at Taxila for his education and training. Taxila, at that time, was a great center of
  • The Greek sources described that while he was in Taxila, Chandragupta had seen Alexander in a course of the Punjab campaign. However, the reliable details of Chandragupta’s conquests and empire building process are not

According to Greek and Jain Sources

  • Chandragupta took advantage of the disturbances caused by the invasion of Alexander and his sudden death in 323 B.C. in
  • With the help of Kautilya, Chandragupta raised a large army and launched He first overthrew the Greek kshatrapas ruling in the region of north-western India.
  • Greek accounts mention him as Sandrokottos.
  • According to Parisistha-parvam (the Jain text), Chandragupta with the help of Chanakya, defeated the Nanda king and captured his empire and became the great ruler of Magadha
  • The Junagarh rock inscription describes that a dam for irrigation was constructed on the Sudarshana Lake by Pushyagupta, a provincial governor of Chandragupta
  • Inscriptions of Ashoka found at Girnar hills in Junagarh district in Gujarat and at Sopara, in Thane district in Maharashtra reflect that these areas were under the rule of Mauryan
  • In south India, Ashoka’s inscriptions have been found at Maski, Yerragudi, and Chitaldurga in
  • Rock Edict II and XIII of Ashoka explain that Chandragupta’s immediate neighbouring states (in the south) were Cholas, Pandyas, Satyaputras, and Keralaputras.
  • It is clear that Chandragupta had established a vast empire extended from Afghanistan in the west to Assam in the east and from Kashmir in the north to Karnataka in the south. The entire country except Kalinga was under his
  • Bindusara (son of Chandragupta), did not make any Thereafter, Ashoka (son of Bindusara) is said to have added only Kalinga to the Mauryan-empire.
  • Chandragupta Maurya had ruled for 24 years i.e. from 324 B.C. to 300 C.



  • Bindusara, the son of Chandragupta Maurya, ascend to throne after his
  • According to the Tibetan historian, Taranath, Chanakya continued as a minister of Bindusara after Chandragupta Maurya. Hemachandra, Jain scholar, also confirms this fact.
  • Divyavadana mentions that Bindusara appointed his eldest son Sumana (or Susima) as his viceroy at Taxila and Ashoka at Ujjain. It also mentions that when a revolt broke out at Taxila, Ashoka was sent to restore peace as Susima fails to suppress
  • Bindusara continued his policy of friendly relations with Hellenic
  • Dionysius was the Egypt ambassador came to the court of
  • Pliny mentions that Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt sent him as an
  • Bindusara had been given the credit of south Indian conquest, but most of the scholars believe that this was done by his father Chandragupta


  • Ashoka succeeded to the throne after the death of his father Bindusara in 273 C.
  • According to the Buddhist tradition,
    • Janapada Kalyani or Subhadrangi was his
    • He was appointed as a viceroy of Ujjain and Taxila while he was a prince
  • Ashoka was very cruel in his early life and captured the throne after killing his 99 But it appears an exaggerated figure.
  • Ashoka himself speaks affectionately about his brothers, sisters, and relatives in his edicts.
  • Ashoka was the first king in the Indian history who has left his records engraved on stones
  • The history of Ashoka’s reign can be reconstructed with the help of his inscriptions and some other literary
  • The Ashokan inscriptions are found at 47 places in different regions of India, Nepal, Pakistan, and
  • The inscriptions on rocks are called as the ‘Rock Edicts,’ and those on Pillars, ‘Pillar ’ edicts
  • Most of the information about the life of Ashoka can be had from the 50 edicts he placed throughout The most important of these edicts is the Rock Edict XIII (257-256 BC).
  • Ashoka’s name occurs only in copies of Minor Rock Edict-I found at three places in Karnataka and one in Madhya Pradesh. Whereas in all other inscriptions, he mentioned himself as ‘Devanampiya’ and ‘Piyadasi’ meaning beloved of the gods.
  • Ashoka ‘s inscriptions were written in four different scripts, namely:
    • Greek languages and scripts used in Afghanistan area;
    • Aramaic languages and scripts used in west Asia;
    • Prakrit language and Kharosthi script used in Pakistan area; and
    • Prakrit language and Brahmi script used in rest of the
  • Significantly, Ashoka has been referred to with names of Devanumpriya or Priyadarshini throughout the edicts


Kalinga war and its Impact

  • The Rock Edict XIII describes brightly the horrors and miseries of Kalinga war and its impact on Ashoka’s
  • Ashoka’s DhammaThe Rock Edict XIII describes that one lakh people were killed in this war, several lakhs perished and a lakh and a half were taken
  • These figures might be exaggerated, but it is clearly mentioned that this war had a devastating effect on the people of Kalinga. Likewise, this became the last battle fought by Ashoka
  • The panic of war completely changed the personality of He felt great regret for the killings of the war. He left the policy of aggression and adopted the policy for the welfare of people and animals.
  • Ashoka sent ambassadors of peace to the Greek kingdoms in west Asia and several other countries
  • Ashoka did not pursue the policy of peace for the sake of peace and under all conditions
  • Rajjukas was a class of officers appointed within the empire not only for rewarding people, but also punishing them if required.
  • Ashoka’s personal religion was
  • In Bhabru rock edict, he says that he had full faith in Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha
  • Ashoka accepted Buddhism as his main faith, but he never forced Buddhist ideals on his subjects
  • Ashoka believed in unity among ethical and moral values of all sects. He showed great respect to all sects and faiths
  • In Rock Edict XII Ashoka says, “I honor all sects and both ascetics and laymen, with gifts and various forms of recognition”. He pronounced his policy of equal respect to all religious sects very clearly
  • After the Kalinga War, the propagation of Dhamma became the utmost objective for Ashoka
  • Ashoka’s edicts explained Dhamma as a ‘Moral Law’, a ‘Common Code of Conduct,’ or an ‘Ethical Order’. Further, he says that it is not a religion or a religious system
  • In Pillar Edict II, Ashoka puts a question to himself: “What is Dhamma?” Then he mentioned the two basic constituents of Dhamma as less evil and many good deeds
  • Ashoka explains evils as rage, cruelty, anger, pride, and envy that are to be avoided
  • Ashoka explains many good deeds as kindness, liberality, truthfulness, gentleness, self-control, purity of heart, attachment to morality, inner and outer purity. These good qualities are to be pursued ardently
  • Dhamma is a code for moral and virtuous life. He never discussed god or soul or religion
  • Ashoka implanted a moral law i.e. Dhamma as the governing principle in every sphere of life
  • Ashoka not only preached, but had actually practiced these principles. He gave up hunting and killing of animals
  • Ashoka made liberal donations to the Brahmans and ascetics of different religious sects
  • Ashoka established hospitals for humans and animals and constructed rest-houses. He also ordered wells to be dug and trees to be planted along the roads for welfare of the people
  • Ashoka adopted Buddhism after observing the brutality of the Kalinga war
  • Non-violence and non-injury to living beings is the cardinal doctrines of Buddhism
  • Ashoka appointed a special class of officials called ‘Dharmamahamatras’ whose sole responsibility was to propagate Dhamma among the people
  • Ashoka conducted ‘Dharmayatras’ (religious journey) and instructed his officials to do the same
  • To propagate Dhamma, he sends his missionaries to western Asia, Egypt, and Eastern Europe
  • Ashoka sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to propagate Buddhism in Sri Lanka.



  • Ashoka ruled for almost 40 years and died in 232 C.
  • Soon after Ashoka’s death, the empire broke up and the decline of the Mauryan Empire set in.
  • In a period of about 50 years after Ashoka’s death, seven kings followed him in succession
  • The empire was divided into an eastern and western part. The western part was governed by Kunala, Samprati and others.
  • The eastern part with southern India was governed by six successors of Mauryan kings from Dasarath to They were having their capital at Pataliputra.
  • The power and prestige of the Mauryan Empire were challenged by Andhras (in the south India) and continuous attacks of Greek king in the west
  • The king Brihadratha was killed by Pushyamitra who was the commander-in-chief of the army
  • The incident of the killing of the king in full view of the public, and in the presence of his army clearly reflects that the king neither enjoyed the loyalty of his own army nor the sympathy of the people
  • This is the only recorded incident in the history of India till the 12th century D., wherein the king was murdered and replaced.
  • Pushyamitra ascended the throne, but he never declaring himself as the king rather retained the title of the senapati
  • In a very dramatic way, the Mauryan Empire declined and disappeared just in 50 years after the death of Ashoka

This article gives details of works of Mauryan Empire . IAS Aspirants should give importance to the factual data as these are some very prominent topics, which are asked in the IAS mains as well as IAS prelims exam. To read more Ancient history related artices, Click here