Against the backdrop of above mentioned circumstances, the imperial Gupta dynasty originated in the eastern part of the upper Ganga basin. By the close of the third century_ADjhis region was passing through a state of instability and the political power was changing hands very rapidly.

It is quite possible that maharaja Gupta exploited this opportunity and carved out a small kingdom for himself.

Goyal believes that maharaja Gupta may have started his carrier as a minister or commander of the rulers of Kaushambi i.e. Nava and Pushpashri. However, many believe that the Guptas were the feudatories of the Kushanas and succeeded them without any large time lag. Hence we find many Kushana elements in the Gupta political set-up.

Apart from the genealogical list we have certain other sources which inform us about the first Gupta ruler. It is generally believed that the seal with the legend Gutasya and a clay seal reading Shri-r-Guptasya may be ascribed to the first Gupta king. Another seal with the name Shrigupta inscribed on it was discovered from Rajghat.


A clay sealing was found at Sunet with the legend Shri-r-Guptasya. These seals are generally ascribed to the first Gupta King. Beyond these doubtful identifications we possess no information concerning him. Of his son Ghatotkacha we know even less.

But there is an interesting fact about him. In an inscription of Skandagupta found at Rewa, the genealogy of the Gupta family begins with Ghatotkacha and not with his father Gupta. The same pattern occurs in two Vakataka records which trace the genealogy of Queen Prabhavatigupta.

As none of these is an official Gupta record we cannot attach much importance to the omission of Gupta’s name. Bloch ascribed to him the seal bearing the inscription Shri- Ghatotkachaguptasya found at Vaishali. But now it has become almost certain that the name of this seal belonged to the fifth century AD. Goyal, however, gives Ghatotkacha a more important place in the history of the Gupta dynasty which will be discussed later.