Kushan dynasty | Asian dynasty [short notes for UPSC]


Origin & migration

One of the five branches of Yuezhi tribes

Nomadic tribes who migrated from north west china

Spreads in afganistan, pakistan and northern india


Kushan dynasty was founded by kujula kadphises (30 ad- 80 ad)

Vim kadphises (95 ad-127 ad) was the sucsessor of kujula kadphises


Kushan rulers were also known as ‘devputra’

Kushan people kept statues of their former rulers in temples

Trade & economy

The greeks made healthy relations with kusana for their trade with china through silk route

Kusana earns a lot of money from trade through silk route

Gold and ivory was imported from ethiopia to india

Kushan rulers issued ‘gold coins’


Most of the buddha’s statues are made under gandhara art

Patanjali mentioned the cloth named ‘satka’ in mathura

Kushana introduced expertise in the field of

Horse riding in army

Military dress 

Array making in india

Kanishka (120 ad-144 ad)

Famous kushan ruler

Capital was purusapur (peshawar), taxila and mathura (2nd capital of kaniska)


Follower of mahayan cult of buddhism

4th buddhist council was organised by him in the presidentship of ‘vasumitra’


The gandhar art and the mathura art was developed during his reign


Sirkap city was founded in taxila by him

Scholars in the court of kanishka

  • Ashwaghosa
  • Vasumitra
  • Nagarjuna
  • Charaka
  • Parshwa
  • Mahachet
  • Sanghraksh


Court poet of kanishka

Initiated kanishka into buddhism

Ashghosa wrote

  • Saundaranand
  • Sutralankar
  • Buddhcharita
  • Buddhcharita is known as the ‘ramayna of buddhists’


Charak was the royal doctor of kanishka

He was a scholar of ayurveda

‘charaksanhita’ was written him


Wrote madhyamik sutra.

Known as the ‘einstien of india’

  • Mahavibhashsutra was written by vasumitra.
  • ‘vasudeva’ was the last ruler of kusana dynasty.

Saka samvat (78 ad)

Emperor vikramaditya grandson defeated the shaka’s in 78 ad

Shaka era marks the day of this victory 

Saka samvat is the official samvat used by the ‘indian government’

Sangam era

Era exists between 300 bc -300 ad


Sangam means learned council

Three sangams were held in south india

These sangams were known as ‘muchchangam’

Learned council was held at



Important words

Rulers were known as ‘asrar’

Large land owner was known as ‘vellar’

Hunters were known as ‘aeniyar’

Manram was the council of representatives

Agricultural land was known as marudam


Arikmedu was famous as business center

Agriculture was the main source of revenue

  • Sage augustus spreads aryan culture in the south india
  • Greeks made temple of sage augustus at muziris (an ancient harbour)

Kingdoms of sangam era





Uraiyur/puhar was the capital of cholas

Uraiyur was famous for its cotton cloth

Tiger was the emblem of cholas


Most powerful chola ruler

Built a long dam on kaveri river


Vanji was the capital of cheras

Bow and arrow was the emblem of cheras

Kingdom was famous for black pepper and turmeric

First to send ambassador to china

Chera ruler shenguttuvan started worship of kannagi or ‘pattni cult’


Madurai was the capital of pandyas

Carp was the emblem of pandyas

Pandya kingdom was famous for pearls

Megasthenis was the first who mentioned about pandyas

Compositions & their writers

SilppadikaramElango adigal
Shivang shindamaniTruktdewar
Periplus of the erithian seaGreek roman merchant (unknown)

Manimekhlai inscription mentions about

Sati pratha

Vishnu purana

Periplus of the erithian sea mentioned

Description of 24 sea ports from sind to kanyakumari

Trade between india and greece

  • ‘hippolus’ discovered ‘monsoon’.