The Maurya Empire | facts and achievement. Indian history [short notes for UPSC]

General information

  • Reign was 137 (322 bc – 184 bc) years
  • Established by chandragupta maurya
  • Council of ministers was appointed to help the emperor
  • Sales tax was 1/10 of the sales
  • Government land known as ‘sita bhoomi’
  • The prostitutes were also known as ‘roopajiva’
  • The fertile land without rainfall was known as ‘adevmatrik’

Secret service department

  • Head of the department was ‘mahamatya sarpa’
  • Secret agent was known as’ gudh purush’
  • Secret agent who stayed at one place was known as ‘sanstha’
  • Secret agent who moves from one place to another was known as ‘sanchar’

Administrator of provinces known as

  • Kumar
  • Aryaputra
  • Rashtik

Smallest unit of administration

  • Gram
  • Its head known as ‘gramik’

Lower level administrator who handles 10 villages

  • Gop

Administration of cities

  • A ‘block’ of 30 persons was formed
  • Block was divided into 6 committees
  • Each had 5 members in it
  • Last ruler was brahadratha
  • Who was killed by his army commender ‘pushyamitra shung’ in 184 bc.


  • Born in 375 bc in golla region according to jaina texts
  • According to buddhist text birth place is takshashila in present pakistan
  • Died in 283 bc in patliputra (maurya empire)

Other names

  • Kautilya
  • Vishnugupta

He was a

  • Teacher
  • Scholar
  • Philosopher
  • Politician
  • Economists
  • Jurist

Served as prime minister (advisor)

  • Chandragupta
  • Bindusara

His book

  • ‘arthashastra’
  • Written in sanskrit

‘arthashastra’ deals with

  • Politics
  • Economics
  • Governance
  • Military affairs
  • Issues of social welfare

 The provinces of maurayan dynasty.

UttrapathTaxilaKamboj, gandhar, kashmir, punjab and afghanistan
Avanti rashtraUjjaniKathiawad, malwa, gujrat and rajputana
Madhya pradesh/prachiPatliputraUttar pradesh, bihar and bengal
DakshinapathaSuwarnagiriSouthern areas of vindhyachal
KalingaToshaliKalinga kingdom (5th province added in empire by ashoka)

Mauryan rulers

Chandragupta (322 bc- 298 bc)

  • Founder of maurya dynasty
  • Born on 345 bc
  • Got the throne of magadha empire in 322 bc
  • Chanakya helped chandragupta to become the king
  • Appointed ‘chanakya’ as the prime minister
  • King of kashmir ‘pravertak’ helped chandragupta to defeat nanda dynasty


  • His spritual teacher was bhadrabhahu
  • During the last days of his life chandragupta adopted jainism


Empire was divided into 4 provinces

Different head of departments known as ‘amatya’

Other names

‘mudrarakshas’ of vishakhadutta mentioned chandragupta as ‘vrashal’

The greeks called chandragupta as ‘sandrokottos’

End time of his life

Spent last years of his life in ‘shravanbelgola’ in present karnataka

Died (sanlekhna method) there in 298 bc due to fasting

Chandragupta’s military was divided into 6 parts






Military assistance department


Ambesador of seleucus nicator who reside in royal court of chandragupta

Wrote a book named ‘indica’

Called patliputra as ‘palibrotha’

Megasthenis divided indian society into 7 groups







Court members

Seleucid maurayan war (305-303 bc)

Fought between seleucus nicator and chandra gupta maurya

Seleucus nicator tried to retake the areas of indian ‘satrapies’ of the macedonian empire

Which was occupied by chandragupta maurya

Seleucus nicator was defeated in this war

He married his daughter ‘karnelia’ with chandragupta

Chandragupta gave 500 elephants as gift to seleucus nicator as mentioned by plutork

According to treaty seleucus nicator gave areas to chandra gupta maurya





Bindusara (298 bc- 272 bc)-

Successor of chandragupta maurya

Got the throne in 298 bc

His prime minister was chanakya


 amitraghata (destroyer of enemies)

Ambassador’s of foreign countries

Greek ruler antiocus send his ambesador ‘dimecus’ to bindusara’s court

Egyptian ruler ‘philadelfus’ send his ambedador ‘diyaniseyus’ to bindusara’s court


Follower of ‘ajivak cult’


Won 16 states


Syrian ruler antiocus to send wine, dry figs and a philosopher

  • At the time of his death, ashoka was the governor of avanti (ujjain)

Ashoka (268 bc- 232 bc)-

Born in 304 bc in patliputra.

Died in 232 bc in patliputra.

Mother’s name was ‘shubdrangi’

Got the throne in 268 bc

Greatest ruler of the mauryan dynasty

Ashoka freed ‘lumbini’ from all religious taxes

His other names mentioned in his inscriptions



His name mentioned in puranas- ‘ashokawardhan’

Kalinga war

Got the victory over kalinga in 261 bc

Defeated ‘nandraj’ the ruler of kalinga

Kalinga was famous for elephants

Kalinga capital was ‘toshali’

After kalinga war ashoka gave up war

Kalinga war is mentioned in 13th inscription of ashoka


Empire was divided into 5 provinces

These provinces were known as ‘chakra’

The magistrate of janapads was known as ‘rajuk’

His religion

Follower of shaiv religion

After kalinga war he adopted buddhism

Initiated by upagupta into buddhism

Sent his son mahendra and daughter sanghmitra to srilanka to spread buddhism

He established

Lalitpattan township in nepal

His inscriptions

Total number of inscriptions is 14

Script used – kharoshthi, brahmi, greek and aramaic

His inscriptions was discovered by padriti pantheiler in 1750

James prinsep was the first person who read these inscriptions in 1837

Ashoka built caves




Vishwa jhopdi for ‘ajivak’ (monks), to live in on the hill of baraber

Successor’s of ashoka

Dasharatha (232 bc- 224 bc)-

Samprati (224 bc- 215 bc)-

Shalishuka (215 bc- 202 bc)-

Devavarman (202 bc- 195 bc)-

Shatadhanvan (195 bc- 187 bc)-

Brihadratha (187 bc- 180 bc)-

Last ruler of maurya dynasty

Killed by his army commender ‘pushyamitra shung’ in 184 bc

Details of 14 inscriptions of ashoka-

InscriptionMentioned topics
1st  inscriptionProhibition of animal sacrifices.
2nd  inscriptionMentioned medical facility system of human and animals, mentioned the kingdoms of south india like chola, pandyas, keralputra and satyapur.
3rd  inscriptionOrdered the royal servants to visit in their areas in every five years also mentioned some religious rules
4th  inscriptionAshoka announced dhammaghosa instead of bherighosa, impact of dhamma on society.
5th  inscriptionMentioned the appointment of dhamma mahamatras, ashoka mention that “every human is my child”
6th  inscriptionTeach self control
7th  inscriptionMentioned ashoka’s religious travels
8th  inscriptionMentioned first dhamma yatra to bodhgaya and bodhi tree.
9th  inscriptionIt condemns the popular social ceremonies instead of this it gave stress on the practice of dhamma.
10th  inscriptionOrdered higher authorities always to think about public interest.
11th  inscriptionDescribed dhamma
12th  inscriptionAppoinment of women dhamma mahamatta and to respect the thought of others.
13th  inscriptionDescription of kalinga war, mentioned neighbouring rulers
14th  inscriptionIt mentions the locations of their inscriptions and motivates people to live religious life.

Details of 7 pillar edicts (inscription) of ashoka –

Pillar edictsPlaceDetails
Prayag pillar edictKoshambiJahangir shifted to this pillar from koshambi to allhabad fort, It mentioned ashoka’s thought for protection of public. It also called as ‘rani ka abhilekh
Topra-delhiTopraFiroz shah tugluq shifted this pillar from topra to delhi. it defines benefits of dhamma.
Meerut-delhiMeerutThis pillar was discovered by t. Franthler in 1750 ad. Firoz shah tugluq shifted this pillar from meerut to delhi.It mentions the abolition of sins in human behaviour.
Lauriya-ararajChamparan biharDeals with duties of royal officials
Lauriya-nandangarhChamparan biharThis pillar was engraved with peacock.It mentions the list of birds and animals which should not be killed.
RampurvaChamparan biharIt was discovered by karlayl in 1872 ad.
Topra- delhiTopraTestimental edicts