Mauryan Empire UPSC Notes

Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan Empire in 322 BC. The Mauryan era was a golden era for Indian History. This Empire gave us big Public Figures like Chanakya( Vishnugupta), Ashoka the Great, and the founder of this Dynasty, Chandra Gupta Mauryan.

The Mauryan Period was a very famous and effective time in Indian History. They made so many remarkable government changes and helped people eliminate the exploitation of Dhananad. Chandra Gupta Mourya was a great leader and big warrior, and Ashoka the great was a fabulous and powerful king of the Mauryan Dynasty. They made so many pillars and stupas which are very good tourist places in our country. Ashoka made remarkable changes in our History; this Empire was the first Pan-Indian Empire in Indian History.

The Maurya Empire is one of UPSC’s most important and frequently asked topics.

Rise of the Mauryan Empire

Chandra Gupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire. He formed this Dynasty in approximately 321 BC. Alexander died in 321 BC, and Chandragupta Mauryan got a lot of power; he took advantage of this, defeated Ghananda Nanda, took victory on Magadh, and formed a new empire called Mauryan Empire with the help of his Guru Chanakya(Vishnugupta).

Chandra Gupta removes the corrupt Nand Empire. Chandra Gupta Governed this Dynasty for 24 years and worked for the welfare of this great Empire. He expanded this Empire not only to Pan India but also to Afghanistan and Persia.

Ashoka the great and Bindusara also continued this journey. They also expanded this dynamic Empire to the world, but after the Kaling war, Ashok stopped blood shading and converted his religion, and worked to spread Dhamma. After Ashoka’s death, his successors were very weak and ineligible to handle such a large emperor.

This glorious emperor fell and declined from India after 50 years of Ashoka the great’s death, and the Sungha Emperor began to rule.

Chanakya was a very intelligent and clever person. He was very good and leadership and governing. He was the Prime Minister of the Mauryan Empire. He is the writer of the famous book Arthashastra; he helped Chandra Gupta very much in forming his government in Magadh.

Mauryan Empire was the first Empire that ruled all over the country; Chandra Gupta forcibly captured additional land from his alliances.

After Chandra Gupta Bindusara became the emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, after him Ashoka became the emperor, he glorified the History of the Mauryan Dynasty; after Ashoka’s death, his Empire became very weak, and after 50 years of his death, his successor Brahmdratha killed his commander Chief named Pushya Mintra Sunga. And after that, this large and powerful Empire completely falls.

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Mauryan Dynasty Map

Mauryan Dynasty Map
Mauryan Dynasty Map

Ruler of Mauryan Empire

Chandra Gupta Mauryan

Chandra Gupta Mauryan was the first emperor and founder of the Mauryan Empire. He was very brave and fought a lot of battles during his period. From his childhood days, he was very clever, and he met Chanakya. He changed his life completely, gave him leadership training, and prepared him to become a great emperor of the country.

Chanakya found him very useful for taking revenge from his enemy Ghananad Nand. In 321 BC, after the death of Alexander Chandra Gupta, Mauryan formed a very large army and fought battles against Ghananad Nand defeated him in this battle and formed Mauryan Empire. He got so many titles as Phylarchus called him Sandrokptos, Strabo, Justin and Arrian called him Sandrocottus.

Chandra Gupta Mauryan made so many political reforms after becoming emperor for the welfare of society in his period. The culture and economic growth were so high because he had a very good administration, and Chanakya was his Chief Minister. As we all know, he was a very good strategy maker and leader. They started many weapon manufacturing centers and made a very powerful full Dynasty.

No art and cultural activities were found during his time, and there are no proper details and evidence available about the death of Chandra Gupta Mauryan, but as per some historians, he died in 297 BC  in Shravanbelgola.


After the death of Chandragupta Mauryan, his son Bindusara became the 2nd emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, and like Chandra Gupta, he also continued to rule the Empire very smoothly and always worked to extend his area and power.

He was also known as Amitraghata, Amitra Khada, and Amitrochates. He was the father of Great Ashoka. He maintained very good foreign relations with the Greeks, and Bindusara followed Hinduism(Brahmanism).

As per many historians, Bindusara died in 270 BC; after his death, his son Ashoka became the third emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty.

Ashoka the Great

After the death of Bindusara, his son Ashoka the Great becomes the emperor of India. He was a very famous and great emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, He ruled on approx all over India, and he expanded Mauryan Empire all over the world. During this period, he fought a very famous Kalinga War in this war, so many people died, and after seeing so much bloodshed, Ashoka got very upset and decided to stop the violation; and after this war. He started to follow Buddhism and always supported non-violence and peace, he respects all religions, but he followed Buddhism and start promoting this religion. Ashoka made so many stupas all over the country.

The names Stupas and Vihar made by Ashoka are

  1. Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India
  2. Dhamek, Sarnath, UP, India
  3. Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar, India
  4. Baravar Caves, Bihar, India
  5. Nalanda Mahavihara, Bihar, India
  6. Taxila Vishvavidhyalay, Taskhashial, Pakistan
  7. Bhir Mound (reconstructed), Taskhashial, Pakistan
  8. Bharhut Stupa, M.P., India
  9. Deorkothar Stupa, MP, India
  10. Butkara Stop, Swat, PAK.
  11. Sannati Stupa, Karnataka, India
  12. Mir Rukun Stupa, Nawabshah, Pakistan

Ashoka died in 232 BC, he support Buddhism very much.

Brihadratha  Mauryan

After Ashoka the Great, his grandson Dhasharatha Mouryan became the emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty. After Ashoka, all his successor was so weak, and after the death of Ashoka, The Maurya empire was finally knocked down by Pushyamitra Shunga in 185BC. Brihadratha Mauryan was the last emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty.

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Geography of the Mauryan Empire

Mauryan Empire boundaries include the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Eastern and Western Ghats, Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and Indus River. Geographically, the Mauryan Empire covered a wider area than the Gupta Empire.

The most important places of the Mauryan empire are Bharhut, Sanchi, Nagaranjunkonda and Bodhgaya.

Ashok made so many Pillars and carved edicts, Mauryan Empire had so many vast deserts and many fertile land rugged plateaus, and the Indus river was the lifeline of the Mauryan Empire.

Mauryan Art and Architecture

Mauryan Architecture was so famous and still exists in our culture, art and architecture were praised and encouraged by the Mauryan Empire. Ashoka promoted Buddhism, and there are so many Stupas found. The Amravati stupa was built in the Lower Krishna Valley by Mauryan Empire, and after that, they made Nagarjunkonda Ghantashala stupas. Ashoka made so many pillars with write up with Buddhist Quotes and peaceful write these pillars called “Pillars of Dharma”.

The lion capital of Ashoka was founded in Sarnath and was one of the famous pillars of Ashoka; the height of this pillar is 2.15M total of 7 feet. On the top part of this pillar, the lower part, there is a lotus flower apart from this there is a drum on that 4 animals were designed, and they represent four cardinal directions an ox denotes east, the horse denotes the west, an elephant denotes south, and the loins denotes the north, four lion stands on the top of the pillars.

Ashoka Chakra from this pillar we use in our National flag, and the Indian government considers this as a National logo.

Top pillars made by Ashoka

  1. Ashoka Pillar, Sarnath – This is the most famous and incredible pillar made by Ashoka
  2. Ashoka Pillar, Allahabad- This pillar is outside Allah’s bad fort.
  3. Ashoka Pillar, Sanchi-This is a very beautiful tourist place, and these pillars are found near the Sanchi Stupa.
  4. The Ashoka Pillar, Vaishali- After the Kalinga war, Ashoka changed his heart and stop doing bloodshed for the sake of the area; and started to follow Buddhism and spread awareness regarding this. He made so many pillars and ask to write peaceful quotes on pillars.

Administration of the Mauryan Empire

There were four provinces in the Mourya Empire, including the imperial capital at Pataliputra.

These are the 4 provincial capitals

  • Tosali in the east
  • Ujjain in the west
  • Suvarnagiri in the south
  • Taxila in the north

The administration of the Mauryan Empire was very good and supportive.

The Mantriparishad assisted the king in making all decisions. Their mantriparishad consisted of the following:-

  • Yuvaraj: The crown prince
  • Purohit: The chief priest
  • The Senapati: The commander in Chief
  • Amatya: Civil servants and a few other ministers.

These are the higher member of Mantriparishad; Mauryan Empire had so many strategists and policy maker advisors. Chanakya was the most famous chief minister. He was the main pillar of forming this Dynasty,

His clever political policy helped Chandragupta to defeat the Dhananada and form a perfect and happy government under the Mauryan Empire.

The military of the Mauryan Dynasty was very strong till Ashoka after Ashoka; it got weekend,

There are six committees that work for military operations. The first looked after the navy, the 2nd  managed transport and provisions, the 3rd  was responsible for foot soldiers, the 4th  for horses, the 5th  for chariots, and the 6th for elephants.

The espionage Department handled Mahamatyapasarpa-controlled secret agent. The Police department was also available to keep and make peace and safety of people in the country. The jail was known as a lockup, a lockup known as a charge; All principal centers had their Police Headquarters.

Religion During Mauryan Empire

This Dynasty was familiar to all religions; Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism were the most followed religions of this Dynasty.

After the Kalinga war, Ashoka converted to Buddhism and spread this religion worldwide. He used art and architecture to spread this religion.

Ashoka stops non-vegetarian foods and completely stops the meat from his royal kitchen.

He sent his executives to Shri Lanka, Greece, and Egypt to promote Buddhism worldwide.

Decline of the Mauryan Empire

Mauryan Empire started falling after the Death of the great Ashoka in 232 BC, his grandson Brihadratha was killed by Pushyamintra Singh, and he formed Singh Empire after the Decline of the Mauryan Empire.

There are so many reasons behind the fall of this Empire after Ashoka, and his successors were so weak and ineligible to handle such a big empire. There are so many religious reasons also there. In addition, they faced continuous attacks from outside forces, and control over the military got weekend. The Empire was also divided into small parts, and the monarchical system was also one of the biggest reasons behind the fall of this Mauryan Dynasty.

Revolt of regional and internal forces also weekend Mauryan Emperor, Liberal Policy of Ashoka became one of the biggest reasons of decline this kingdom.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 Who defeated the Maurya dynasty?

Ans:   In 185 BC, Pushyamitra Shunga destroyed the Maurya empire.

Q.2 Who founded the Mauryan Empire?

Ans: A Mauryan dynasty was founded by Chandragupta (or Chandragupta Maurya).

Q.3 Is Mauryan Empire a Hindu?

Ans: Yes, Mostly Mauryan Empire is Hindu.

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