Decline of Gupta Empire: Causes, UPSC Notes | Why Gupta Period is Golden Age?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The era of the Guptas began with Chandragupta II as the ruler. However, the era started to falter under the rule of his grandson Skandagupta and son Kumaragupta. Several political forces, such as disagreements within the ruling family and provincial revolts, contributed to the decline of Gupta Empire.

This article will concentrate on the reasons for the Gupta Empire’s demise, in addition to the Gupta Empire’s political and economic circumstances. There were numerous economic causes for the decline of the Gupta Empire, such as the approval of non-productive occupations. It was necessary to exercise efficient rule, and the empire began to crumble under Skandagupta’s reign.

The decline of the Gupta Empire is related to the history of the Indian rulers. It is an important topic in the Indian history syllabus of the UPSC GS II examination. Many questions related to the decline of the Gupta Empire and why Gupta period is called the Golden age of India have been asked in the examination over the years. Therefore, it is necessary to be up to date with the events that led to the downfall of the Gupta dynasty.

Why Gupta period is Golden Age?

At its peak, the Gupta Empire ruled almost the entire Indian subcontinent. Historians regard it as India’s golden age. The empire was established by King Sri Gupta, but the lineage’s most notable and famous leaders are Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, and Chandragupta II. The empire’s size ranged from 35,00,000 km² to 17,00,000 km². Pataliputra was the capital of the Gupta Empire.

Causes of Decline of the Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire began to decline during the reign of Skandagupta, Chandragupta II’s grandson. Skandagupta’s empire was depleted of resources and wealth as a result of his vicious conduct.

  • The Huna people, also renowned as Huns, struck Gupta territory, severely damaging the empire.
  • This era ended around 550 CE, as it was split into provincial states as a result of discoveries from the north, east, and west.
  • There were major schisms and quarrels among the royal clans, which destabilised the rule. Huns successfully colonised Gandhara, Punjab, Gujarat, and Malwa in the sixth century, eroding the Gupta Empire’s policies.
  • Within this set of circumstances, the monarchs began to follow Buddhist practices instead of following Hinduism, which severely weakened the empire.
  • The Guptas turned their attention away from military conquests and expansionism, resulting in the decline of the Gupta Empire.
  • The Gupta empire was effectively followed by flawed rulers and countless retaliation from both local and foreign rulers throughout this era.
  • It was necessary to have impactful unity as well as resources.
  • The endless Hun attacks had deteriorated the empire.

Fall of Gupta Empire: Economic Factors

The following economic factors led to the decline of the Gupta dynasty:

  • Due to the massive setback in terms of “western India” in the fifth century, the emperors confronted a variety of economic challenges.
  • Trading with the Mediterranean and the lost opportunity of western India were the financial reasons for the Gupta Empire’s decline.
  • The emergence of Buddhist culture presented the Gupta emperors with a number of challenges.
  • The failure to implement land reform, in addition to flooding and crop malfunction, were all commercial reasons for the Gupta Empire’s demise.
  • Natural disasters have also harmed and harmed the quality of life and the economy.

Political Factors led to the Decline of the Gupta Empire.

The decline of the Gupta Empire was triggered by a variety of factors, which included feudal states, decreased trade, throne weaknesses, and invasions. Skandagupta, the last ruler of the Empire, took the throne around 455 A.D. Political factors contributed to the fall of the Gupta Empire because there was a failure to unite the Raj princes and, due to the occurrence of decentralisation, there weren’t any Indian leaders who attempted to unite the subcontinent.

  • In early 480 CE, the Huns began a massive intrusion to demolish the Gupta empire, effectively capturing the empire’s northwestern sector.
  • The Gupta Empire fell for a variety of political causes. The resettlement of the Silk Weavers’ establishment from Gujarat to Malwa in 473 AD, and their non-productive profession, demonstrates that there was no appropriate and large demand for generated clothes.
  • Gujarat’s effective perks from trade slowly faded away. Intrinsic rebellions, foreign interventions, and dynastic feuds all contributed to the Gupta Empire’s demise.
  • In the midst of the fifth century, the emperors made urgent attempts to maintain their gold funds by lowering the content of genuine gold, which was one of the economic reasons for the Gupta Empire’s demise.

Why Gupta Period is Golden Age UPSC

The decline of the Gupta Empire is an important segment of the UPSC syllabus. It is essential to cover the history of the Indian rulers in the syllabus, which covers the important events, factors, and foreign rebellions that led to the decline. A major part of this topic includes the role of political and economic factors in the decline of the Gupta Empire and why the Gupta period is called the golden age. It is also important to constantly keep referring to the Indian polity and history books for a good outcome in the IAS exam. You can also refer to the currently available UPSC study material and previous year’s question papers to improve your scores.

Decline of Gupta Empire UPSC Question

Practising previous year’s questions or sample questions will help you master this topic from the exam point of view. Solve this multiple-choice question on the Decline of the Gupta Empire UPSC to check your knowledge of the same.

Question: From the decline of the Guptas until the rise of Harshavardhana in the early 17th century, which of the following kingdoms held power in northern India? [UPSC Prelims 2021]

  1. The Guptas of Magada
  2. The Paramaras of Malwa
  3. The Pushyabhitis of Thanesar
  4. The Maukharis of Kannauj
  5. The Yadavas of Devagiri
  6. The Maitrakas of Valabhi

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1, 2 and 5
  2. 1, 3, 4 and 6
  3. 2, 3 and 4
  4. 5 and 6

Answer: (B) 1, 3, 4 and 6.

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