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An Insider’s Guide to the Mauryan Empire and Beyond

Top CBSE schools in Barotiwala.

The Mauryan Empire is considered one of the most powerful empires in ancient India. Founded by Chandragupta Maurya with the help of his mentor and the creator of Arthashastra, Chanakya. Chandragupta Maurya kingdom extends from south Asia and covers modern Bengal and Afghanistan, North India, and several other parts of India. He ruled for 25 years, and after him, King Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire significantly marked the history and culture of India. In this blog, we will cover in detail their ascent to power, achievements, art, architecture and influence of the Mauryan Empire in India.

Chandragupta's Ascent to Power

The Mauryan Empire was the first empire whose rule extended to the entire Indian subcontinent. Its first ruler, Chandragupta Maurya, overthrew the Nanda dynasty and established the Mauryan Empire. As mentioned above, Chandragupta was a common yet ambitious and talented boy who was mentored/groomed by the great philosopher and teacher Chanakya/Kautilya. His journey from a common man to becoming a king under the guidance and support of Chanakya is mentioned in books. Many TV serials, such as Chanakya on Doordarshan and Chandragupta on Imagine, were also based on the life of Chandragupta Maurya, but they might not be factually correct.

Many mines, highways, and irrigation systems were constructed during Chandragupta's reign. It is believed that Chandragupta did not like waterways, therefore he built roads to travel smoothly. He made a highway between Patliputra and Takshashila and several other highways that supported the Mauryan Empire economy.

After Chandragupta, his son Bindusara became the king around 300 BC. He ran the entire kingdom smoothly and also consolidated the empire. Under his rule, the Mauryan Empire controlled the Deccan region and extended it to the western coast. The diplomatic ties that Chandragupta made with the Seleucid Empire were continued during the Bindusara rule. So, we can say he continued the legacy of his father.

Ashoka the Great

Ashoka was Bindusara's son and the last prominent emperor of the Mauryan Empire. He ruled from 265 to 232 BC and extended the domination of the Mauryan Empire throughout India. Large stone pillars, stupas and monasteries were created during his reign, which we will discuss later. 

It is described in some ancient texts that Ashoka, after gaining knowledge and power, became a ruthless leader. However, the Kalinga War changed the life of Ashoka significantly. During the war, hundreds of people lost their lives, which made Ashoka remorseful, and he stopped armed conquest. He adopted the teachings of Buddhism and followed the principle of right life, or dharma, for conquest. 

Ashoka respected people of all religions, praised the good things of other religions and didn’t criticise their viewpoints. He spread Buddhism all over Asia by appointing Dharma Mahapatro. He also sent his daughter and son to propagate Buddhism. Ashoka built many pillars, rock edicts, temples and more. Indian national emblem was taken from Ashoka’s lion capital of Sarnath. Mauryan Empire is broadly covered in the NCERT books, and you will get to read more about this ancient empire in the history textbooks of middle school or early high school grades while studying in the top CBSE schools in Baddi.

Art and Architecture

Art and architecture flourished during the rule of Ashoka in the Mauryan Empire. As he embraced Buddhism, the propagation of Buddhism and its activities greatly influenced the sculpture and architecture styles of the Mauryan period.

During the Mauryan Empire, particularly during the period of Ashoka, stupas were constructed. Terracotta Bricks or sun-burnt bricks were used to build the inner walls of the stupas. Stone or wooden umbrellas were used to decorate the dome of the stupas. These decorations represent the dharma’s unique supremacy. You can witness these features in the Sanchi stupas. 

Pillars constructed during the Ashoka rule were uniquely polished, which made them look like metal. Sarnath lion capital is an iconic piece of the Mauryan Empire. It has four Asian lions, which represent courage, confidence, pride and power. It has a circular abacus and contains 24 spokes, which are adopted in the Indian national flag. Along with pillars and stupas, caves are another artistic achievement of the Mauryan period. Some rock caves constructed during the Mauryan Empire are Barabar Hill and Nagarjuna Hill.


  • The Mauryan Empire had an organised bureaucratic system, which helped them maintain their security and keep them united.
  • A common economic system was included in their bureaucratic systems that supported stable agriculture growth and flourished trade.
  • They constructed roads, canals, highways and other infrastructures, which helped them in a lot of ways.

Influence of the Mauryan Empire

Mauryan was the first empire that ruled the entire Indian subcontinent for so many years. They established political stability and economic prosperity throughout India. Their strong administrative system, a network of roads, and a taxation system facilitated traders, farmers and common people. They also contributed to art and architecture by constructing marvellous pillars and stupas that are proudly standing even today. Moreover, their strong bureaucratic system helped in the promotion of Buddhism in India and several parts of Asia. Your teachers at top CBSE schools in Barotiwala will tell you more about the Mauryan Empire's political landscape, historical significance and architectural marvels, immersing you in a journey of time and culture.

Also Read: Unveiling the Secrets of the Indus Valley Civilization.


The Mauryan Empire is remembered for its excellent administration, military power, art and architecture. The first Mauryan emperor’s story also highlights how a great teacher and a deserving individual can achieve the impossible (Chandragupta's journey from a common man to becoming king is written in golden letters in history). We hope this blog has helped you learn everything about the Mauryan Empire. If you want to share anything, don’t hesitate to comment.