*   Life in the Gupta Period
    Chinese traveller Fa-Hein visted India during the reign of Chandragupta II. He was written that the people did not lock their hourses in the Gupta rule as there was no fear of thieves. From the accounts of Fa-Hein, it appears that the people were happy, safe        and held high moral values under the Gupta rule.

    The Gupta ruler enjoyed limitless powers as was evident from their titles such as  Maharajadhiraja and Chakravarti.  The ministers, general and other official helped the kings in the administration. The empire was divided into provinces called Bhuktis. The            provinces were controlled by governors. They were helped by officials known as kumaramatya. Generally, the princes were appointed as governors. The provinces were further divided into districts or vishayas.  The vishyapati looked after a district.

    The village was the smallest unit of administration. It was looked after by a local chief or headman.

    The Gupta rulers maintained a strong standing army. Cavalry, war elephants and horse archery were important part of their army. They also maintained a navy to guard their regional waters. However, unlike the Mauryan rulers, they did not have a spy                  network.

    The Gupta rulers were aredent followers of Hinduism. They worshipped Lord Vishnu as their main deity, so they were called Vaishnavas. Despite being followers of Hinduism, the Gupta rulers funded the institutions of Buddhist and Jain faiths. It was during          their reign that the Buddhist University of Nalanda (located in modern Bihar) became a world-famous centre of learning.

    The prosperity of the Gupta Empire is indicated by the discovery of gold and silver coins issued by the Gupta rulers. Under the Gupta rulers, people enjoyed a high standard of living. Their  main occupations were agriculture, trade and industry. Both               domestic and foreign trade generated income for the rulers as well as  the masses. Items like pearls, ivory, textile and spices were exported to present-day West Asia, South-east Asia and some regions in the Mediterranean. Trade was carried on through       land and river transport.

   Agriculture thrived in the Gupta Empire. The main crops were rice, wheat, fruits and sugarcane. Agriculture was the main source for revenue.

*  Art and Science
    The Guptas were patrons of art and learning. Writers and poets were highly respect. Chandragupta II was a great patron of art and culture. Both Chandragupta and Samudragupta were accomplished musicians themselves. Hindu art, literature, culture            and science reached new milestones during his reign. He had in his court the Navaratnas (Nine Jewels) – nine persons who excelled in the field of literature, music, science etc. Amongst these men was the literary genius Kalidasa, who considered the            greatest sanskrit poet and dramatist.

    Great advances were made in science, astronomy and mathematics. Among notable scientific  accomplishments of the Gupta period was the work of Aryabhatta, a great astronomer and mathematician. Aryabhatta proved that the  earth is not flat but              round, and goes around the Sun. This period is known as the Golden Age in the history of Ancient India because it was marked by great advancement in science, glorious achievements in art and architecture, and peace and prosperity.

*    Causes of Decline
    The following causes contributed to the decline of the Gupta Empire 
    1.    The inability of the Gupta rulers to repulse the hum attacks undermined their power. Many native rulers challenged their authority and some even succeeded in annexing their territories.

    2.    Due to the revolt of the governors appointed by the Gupta kings, Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh no longer remained under the Gupta rule. Western India also broke away from the Gupta Empire.

    3.    The loss of western India dealt an economic blow to the Guptas as it deprived them of rich revenues from trade and commerce.

    4.     After the death of Kumaragupta and Skandagupta, the Gupta clan witnessed wars of succession to the throne. Sometime these wars led to two Gupta kings simultaneously ruling different areas.