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Mauryan Period: Ancient History of Rajasthan

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Mauryan Period – Rajasthan

The Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, 2,000 years back when he overthrew the Nanda King. His assistant was Chanakya, a shrewd advisor and strategic thinker. He has written a book called Arthashastra that comprises his thoughts on politics, economics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war and religion.

Chandragupta was succeeded by Bindusara, his son who extended the Mauryan Empire till Mysore. Bindusara was succeeded by his son Ashoka, who is regarded as the greatest ruler of the empire by many historians. He extended the Mauryan Empire till the modern-day Afghanistan, with Patliputra as capital.

The Mauryan Emperors appointed the family members to control the large empire. Only the capital Patliputra was controlled by the emperor while states like Ujjain and Taxila were governed by royal princes. The Emperors also appointed officials for collecting taxes, maintaining law and order and keeping a check on the activities of the subjects.

  1. Bairat (Viratnagar)

Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, Director of Archaeology and Historical Research of former Jaipur state, conducted excavations at Bairat sometime in the thirties of the last century. we know that the so called Bhabru Rock Edict found by Captain Burt in 1840 must have come from Bijak ki Pahari because this place alone has provided evidence of Mauryan period and also another Ashokan edict. This edict is the only known edict of Ashoka, which is inscribed on a stone slab (Shila phalaka) as distinguished from stone pillar (Shila Stambha) or rock. It also provides definite proofs of Ashoka’s faith in Buddhist religion and his consequent exhortation to monks and nuns and to laymen and laywomen to listen to and to study seven select passage from the Buddhist scriptures.

The principle monuments brought to light are numerous remnants of two Ashoka pillars, a temple of an entirely new type and a monastery both of which latter monuments must have been erected by Ashoka himself. It was capital of Matsya Mahajanapada.

  • It was a part of Mauryan Empire.
  • In 1837, Ashoka’s Rock Edict was discovered by Capt. Burj from Bijak-ki-Pahadi.
  • Evidence of the Buddhist stupa sites was found here.
  • In 634 A.D Huang Tsang visited Bairat.
  • Sculptures, coins, pottery, seals and metal objects were found from the excavation.
  • It was excavated by Daya Ram Sahni in 1936.
  • According to Maan Sarovar inscription of 713 A.D., Maan Maurya was the ruler of Bairat. This inscription also mentions the name of 4 rulers. Maheshwar, Bhoj, Bhim and Maan.

Post Mauryan Period

Post-Mauryan coinage refers to the period of coinage production in India, following the breakup of the Maurya Empire. The centralized Mauryan power ended during a Coup d’état in 185 BCE leading to the foundation of the Shunga Empire. King Ashoka ruled for 50 years and after the war of Kalinga, he led the path of peace and Buddhism. Since the successor of king Ashoka wasn’t capable of ruling the kingdom.

  • Greek ruler Menander attacked Rajasthan in 150 B.C.
  • 16 Greek coins were found from Bairat.
  • Coins were found from the Rang Mahal of Hanumangarh belonging to Kushan period.
  • The first Saka king in India was Maues who ruled in Gandhar and extended his power in northwest India.

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