(Last Updated on : 20-01-2009)
Before the rise of the Gupta dynasty, northern India was divided into number of small monarchical kingdoms and republics.
It can be known from the puranas, the Nagas were very powerful in Vidisa, Kantipuri, Mathura and Padmavati. The Nagas had spread in the different parts of the country. Sisha, Bhogin and Sada-chandra Chandramsa were some of the famous rulers of the Naga dynasty of Vidisa. The inscriptions refer Bhavanag. Some coins found at Padmavati mention his name. Allahabad inscription of Samudragupta describes that Samudragupta had defeated the two Naga kings. They were king Ganpati Nag and Nagasena. Some scholars are of the view that king Virsena of Mathura was also a king of Naga dynasty. His coins have been discovered in Mathura, Punjab and district Bulandshahr, etc.
Bhadraghosa, Suryamitra, Phalgunimitra, Agnimitra, Brihatsvatimitra etc. were the kings of Ahichattra kingdom and the coins of the first three centuries of A.D. refer to these kings as well. Some of the coins refer the name of Achyuttra who was defeated by Samudragupta.
Vindhyasakti is said to be the founder of Vakataka dynasty. But some scholars are of the view that it was Paravarsena who founded the Vakataka dynasty. He was a powerful king and performed four horse sacrifices and adopted the title of 'samrat'. He was succeeded by his son Rudrasena. Samudragupta defeated Rudrasena and incorporated his kingdom into his empire.
From certain coins it can be known that Dhandeva and Vishakhadeva were the ruler of Ayodhya. Dhandeva was probably the descendent or Pushyamitra. Satyamitra, Ayumitra, Sanghmitra were some of the other rulers of Ayodhya.
The Maukhari kingdom
Sunderverman was the king of Maukhari dynasty and ruled in Oudh. The Maukhari Senapatis are given the credit of constructing sacrificial pillars.
Certain coins refer to Sudeva, Brihatsvamitra, Asvaghosa, Agnimitra, Devamitra, Varunmitra, Jyeshthmitra and Partapatimitra as the ruler of Kaushambi.
Before conquering the whole of northern India, the Guptas were also a local power. Srigupta is regarded the founder of the Gupta dynasty. Srigupta was succeeded by Ghatokacha. After Ghatotkacha, Chandra Gupta I succeeded him as a king. In Chandra Gupta's reign the growth of the Gupta empire begins in rapid strides.
The Arjunayans ruled in the modern Bharatpur and Alwar states in Rajasthan. They had become prominent during the reign of the indo Greek kings but after them the Sakas subdued them. Thereafter, they again rose after the decline of the Kushanas but were ultimately defeated by the Guptas as well.
The Yaudheyas had established their rule in the east Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan. They were the worshipper of Brahmandeva. The Sakas and the Kushanas had subdued them but after their fall they again came into prominence. They were ultimately subdued by the Guptas.
The Malavas ruled in Punjab at the time of Alexander's invasion but later on they settled in Rajasthan and made Malavnagar near Jaipur as their capital. The Malva coins refer to the legend 'Malavanam jayah'. They are said to be the first to use vikram era. They also used the Krita era. They had defeated the Sakas and the Mankhari Senapati was their vassal. However, they were also subdued by the Guptas.
This was a very old republic. It existed in the time of lord Buddha and was a very strong republic before the rise of the Guptas. This is born by the fact that Chandra Gupta I had married a Lichchhavis princess.
They had a very big infantry and were a strong power at the time of the Alexander's invasion. Later on they settled in Rajasthan and made Madhyamika as their capital. This Madhyamika was placed near Chitod.
The republic of Kunindas
This republic was between the Yamuna and the Sutlej and the upper courses of the Bias and probably Chatra was their capital.
The Kulutas lived in the valley of Kabul and were successful in overthrowing the Kunindas. Virayasas and Bhadrayasas were their famous rulers.
The Audumbaras were placed in the eastern part of Kangra, Gurdaspura and Hoshiarpura. Dharaghosa, Sivadas and Rudradasa were some of their famous rulers. Their coins have the figure of a Siva temple with a Dhavaja, a trident and a battle area. Some of the names of the Audumbara rulers can be mentioned as Agnimitra, Mahimitra, Bhumitra and Mahabumitra. Their names were mentioned in the coins.