Economic, Religious and Cultural Life

The rule of the Guptas witnessed the rise of economic, religious, scientific and cultural activities. Gupta rulers gave priority to agriculture, making of silk and textile products and craftsmanship. During this period, India had trade links with Western Asia, South-east Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean. The Gupta rulers followed Hinduism, worshipped lord Vishnu and were known as Vaishnavas. They built temples for Hindu deities and practiced idol worship and also performed religious sacrifices including ashvamedha yagna. The Bhakti cult gained mass popularity during the Gupta period. The Gupta period witnessed great mathematicians and astronomers like Aryabhatta and Varhamihira. Vagabhatta wrote the ‘Ashtanga Sangraha’ and the ‘Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita’ on ayurvedic system of medicine. The numeral system was developed in India and it had many contributions like the discovery of zero (0), development of decimal system and the value of pie (π). Kalidasa was the most outstanding writer of the Gupta period who wrote plays like Abhijnanashakuntalam, Malavikagnimitra, Vikramorvashiya and the epic poem, Meghadutam. Abhijnanashakuntalam is a love story of a lady named Shakuntala with king Dushyanta. The important literary works of the Gupta period are Shudraka’s Mrichchhakantika, Panchatantra and Puranas. The Fresco paintings on the walls of Ajanta caves are impeccable. Gupta rulers gave grants to various Buddhist learning centers and the Guptas patronized the Nalanda University.

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