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Kushan Empire – Notes PDF

The Kushan Empire in South Asia began in the early 1st century CE in the ancient Bactria region of Central Asia, near the Oxus River.

Kushan Empire GK notes PDF: The Kushan Empire was a mixed Chinese-Bactrian empire that arose in the first century AD in Central Asia’s Bactrian and Scythian regions. The empire began in Bactria (modern-day Afghanistan) and expanded to encompass Xinjiang, Parthia, Punjab, Indus, and Benares. The Kushan Empire was founded by Emperor Kujula Kadphises.

After living in the Aksu region for about 100 years, Kujula Kadphises, the commander in chief of the Kushan of the Yu-Chi nation, assembled the people of other nations and took the title of Wang (King). His reign is considered to be 15-64 AD. He is the first known name in the history of Kadaphises. Kujula Kadphises first advanced south of the Hindu Kush Mountains, defeating the Pahlavis and capturing Kipin and Kabul. He then asserted his rights to bacteria. During this time he introduced copper coins to the south of the Hindu Kush. He was able to expand the kingdom from the Persian border to the Jhilam river or the Indus river through several war victories. Some important Kushan Rulers are mentioned below.

Kujula Kadphises (30 AD to 80 AD):

  • According to the Chinese historian Suma Qian, the first Kadphises united the five branches of this Yu-Chi nation.
  • This founder Kadfises or Kundul Kadfises was the founder of the Krishna Empire.
  • The king of the Kushan dynasty, the first Kadfises or Kuzul Kadfises established the power of Kabul and Kashmir.
  • The first Codphysis had the title – Dharmasthit and Satyadharmasthit.

Vima Kadphises (95 AD to 127 Ad):

  • Vima Kadphises was the son of Kundul Kadphises.
  • He converted to Shaivism and referred to himself as Maheshwar in his coins.
  • He introduced the first gold coin of India.
  • A huge number of Roman gold coins discovered during this period demonstrate India’s affluence at the time, as well as the rising trade with the Romans.

Kanishka (127 AD to 150 AD)

At the time of Kanishka’s accession to the throne, the Kushan kingdom included Afghanistan, most of the Indus region, Punjab, Parthia and parts of Bactria.

After gaining the kingdom, he took possession of Kashmir. According to Chinese and Tibetan sources, he invaded Magadha and captured Pataliputra. It is known from his common currency that he extended the kingdom to Gazipur and Gorakhpur. He defeated the king of Parthia. According to many, he was able to capture Ujjain. He conducted operations in Turkistan and was able to conquer Kashgar, Khotan and Yarkand in Turkey. According to Hiuen Tsang’s account, he was defeated in the first campaign against China. In another subsequent expedition, he was able to capture a prince of the Chinese emperor.

  • Kanishka was thesSon of Vima Kadphises.
  • Kanishka was the greatest emperor of the Kushan empire.
  • The fourth Kushana king, Kanishka the Great, reigned for around 23 years.
  • The most accepted theory is that Kanishka ascended the throne in 76 AD and Sakabda/saka Samvata started from this year.
  • His capitals were Purushpur (now Peshawar) and Mathura (second capital).
  • He built a city called Kanishkapur in Kashmir.
  • Kanishka was first defeated by the hands of Pen-chao, the general of the Chinese king Ho-ti, but in the second battle he won.
  • After the Mauryas empire, only Kanishka was able to establish such a huge empire.
  • Kanishka is called the second Ashoka.
  • During the reign of Kanishka, the fourth Buddhist council was performed in Kashmir and Buddhism was broken up into Hinayana and Mahayana.
  • In Madhura, a headless statue of Kanishka was found

Huvishka (150 Ad to 180 AD):

  • Huvishka was the son of Kanishka
  • He become the emperor after the death of Kanishka
  • Huvishka shifted his capital from Purushpur to Mathura.
  • He built a town called Huskpur near the Barmula Pass in Kashmir.
  • Reign his era was found from epigraphic evidence of the Buddha Amitabha.
  • Huvishka was a strong follower of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
  • The words “the 28th year of the reign of Huvishka” was mentioned in a statue found during his reign.

Vasudeva I (190 AD to 230 AD)

  • Vasudeva I was considered as the last “Great Kushans ruler”.
  • He converted to Hinduism during his reign.
  • He was the first Kushana king to be named after the Indian God Vasudeva (Krishna).
  • He was a follower of Shaivism.
  • Vasudeva introduced the nandipada symbol on his coinage.

Vāsishka (247 to 267 AD)

  • Vāsishka was a Kushana emperor, who ruled for around 22 years.
  • His reign was extended to Mathura, Gandhara and the south of south as Sanchi.
  • Vasishka is mentioned in four inscriptions, one of which is a Kharoshti inscription from the Indus Valley civilization.
  • On the Sanchi site, the name Vasishka was recovered.
  • He had lost some part of Bactria due to the battle with Kushano-Sasanians.
  • He also lost the Mathura to the Gupta empire.

Contribution of the Kushana to the history of India

  • After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, the political situation in India was chaotic. The Kushans introduced political order there. Internal peace is established. This peace and security bring back the prosperity of the country and initiates a new revival in the cultural field.
  • The main feature of the culture of the Kushan period was socialization. They included different types of people in the same empire. Socialization also takes place among the tribes. As a result, coordination was achieved between different parts of the empire.
  • The trend of coordination extends beyond the borders of the country to Ram, Southeast Asia and the Far East. With the establishment of the Kushan Empire, Indian civilization merged with Central and West Asia.
  • Sanskrit literature developed on the initiative of Kushan kings.
  • The Kushans not only accepted but also gave. The fusion of Kushan culture with Indian tradition gave birth to liberal and cohesive culture. So the trend of that culture continued even after the end of the Kushan Empire.
  • The contribution of the Kushan period is important in the field of literature and art. Kanishka was a great fan of literature. His court was adorned by great scholars like Ashwaghosh, Nagarjuna, Basumitra, and Charak.
  • Ashwaghosh wrote ‘Buddhacharita’ in Sanskrit. It depicts the biography of the Buddha. His other two famous books are ‘Bajrasuchi’ and ‘Saundarananda’. Buddhist texts’ Mahabastu ‘Divyavadan’ etc. were also written in Sanskrit. Nagarjuna, a Buddhist scholar, wrote Madhyamika Sutra and Shatasahstrika Prajnaparamita. Basumitra’s epic is an immortal creation of the age. Ayurvedacharya Charak wrote the famous book on Ayurvedic medicine, Charak-Sanhita.
  • A new style of art developed in the Kushan period combining Greek, Roman and Indian art. This style is known as Gandhara art. The main theme of Gandhara’s art was Buddhism.
  • With the encouragement of the Kushana kings, the sculpture was developed in Mathura in the entire Indian style. The main subject of Mathura art was Buddha. However, Jain Mahavira and some secular things were also its subjects.

One-Liner Questions Answers from Kushan Empire:

Sl NoQuestionsAnswer
1Which reign was known as the golden age for Mathura school of art?Kushan
2The fourth Buddhist Council was held during which king?Kanishka
3What is the name of the nation of the Kushans?Yu-chi
4Who is the founder of the Kushan Empire?Kujula Kadphises
5Who is the last emperor of the Kushan dynasty?Basudev
6Who introduced Shakabda?Kanishka
7Which industry reached the peak of development in the Kushan period?Gandhara art
8Who introduced the first gold coin in India?Kushan Rulers
9Vima Kadphises was a follower of which religion?Shaiva, meaning worshiper of Shiva.
10Who is called the second Ashoka?Kanishka
Important QnA from Kushana Empire

Descriptive questions answer from Kushan empire:

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