Short biography of Kumaragupta I & Govindagupta


According to R.G. Bhandarkar and Jagannath Kumaragupta I did not inherit the paternal throne peacefully and had to face the opposition of his brother Govindagupta. However, Goyal believes that Govindagupta, the younger brother of Kumaragupta acquired the experience of administration at Vaishali where his name figures in the seal of his mother Dhruvadevi.

Later on he was transferred to Mandsor to look after the imperial interest in the western Malwa-the greatest trouble spot of the empire.

Kumaragupta’s known dates, from coins and inscriptions, range between c. AD 415-55. He had thus a long reign of no less than forty years. There are as many as thirteen inscriptions of his reign; but they convey very little information regarding the political history of the country. As a matter of fact, barring a probable conquest of western Malwa, no other incidents of his reign are known to us.


However, there are some indications that Kumaragupta I tried to expand his empire in the South. The discovery of a big hoard of 1395 silver coins of Kumaragupta at Samand in the Satara district and a small find of his 13 coins from Ellichpur is Berar suggest his influence in those regions.

Further, there is the fact that the size and fabric of the class III of his silver coins bear considerable resemblance to the coins of the Traikutaka dynasty, which ruled in the southern Gujarat. It led Allan to suggest that they were issued when the Guptas suppressed the Traikutakas in that area. In the light of these facts, according to Goyal, it is tempting to suggest that the horse-sacrifice, on the occasion of which the ashvameda coins of Kumaragupta I was issued, was performed to celebrate his southern adventure.

Raychaudhuri has suggested that the title Vyaghrabala parakrama used for Kumaragupta 1 suggests his conquest of the tiger infested territory beyond the Narmada. Similarly, it has been suggested that the rhinoceros-slayer type gold coins of Kumaragupta I were issued when he achieved some success against the contemporary kings of Kamarupa, for rhinoceros is peculiar to Assam.

Sohoni however believed that rhinoceros-slayer type coins were issued by Kumaragupta I on the occasion of the shraddha of his father. Further, whatever be the nature of his Deccan campaign it is clear that Kumaragupta I was able to hold on to the empire created by his grandfather father.


Kumaragupta assumed the title Mahendi and is referred to as Shri-Mahendra-Si Ashvamedha-Mahendra etc. on his coins. So his governors and feudatories are also known as Ghatotkacha-gupta was the governor of Er eastern Malwa in the year AD 435-36. One of inscriptions in Eran and a seal of his in Vai have been found. He also seems to have issued coins. Another governor of Kumaragupta I Chirata-datta who was ruling Pundravardh bhukti i.e. north Bengal

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