Table of Contents
When we reflect on the richness of the Indian History, most of the time, we fall short of words. Before, India was occupied by the British, the country was ruled by a number of dynasties. Some of the dynasties are said to have co existed in the country at different regions, while some others are said to have ruled the country at different times. In short, when we ponder upon the Indian History, we definitely must have a check on the different dynasties and their rulers who reigned then. In most of the dynasties, there are names of some very famous rulers and emperors who have changed the course of that particular era itself. Therefore, in this article, let us read about the different Dynasties in India in detail. Have a Great Read!
The Word ‘Dynasty’ – An Insight
Before we begin to discuss the different dynasties in Indian History, we must first be crystal clear of what the word ‘Dynasty’ really means.
The word ‘Dynasty’ is often used to describe different people, usually rulers, of the same blood line, who ruled a particular kingdom successively. It is often used to define monarchies or feudal systems. However, it is also used in the context of republics or a federal system.
List of Dynasties in India
The Indian History is filled with many tales of kings and emperors who fought to keep their kingdom intact. From ancient times, there had been many different families/dynasties who ruled particular kingdoms for a definite time frame. So, in this article we have listed the major dynasties that were in power in our country since ancient times until the invasion of Mughals.
To begin with, each of these dynasties have a founder king, who is known to be the first to represent that particular dynasty. Also, they ruled the kingdom by following the practice of a capital state, just like in modern times.
Therefore, in the table given below, we have tried to list the names of the various dynasties in India along with their region of existence, founder king and reigning period. Have a look.
Dynasties, Founder & Reigning Period
|Name of the Dynasty||Region of Existence/ Capital||Founder||Reigning Period|
|Haryanka Dynasty||Magadha||Bimbisara||684 BC to 413 BC|
|Shishunaga Dynasty||Pataliputra||Shishunaga||413 BC to 345 BC|
|Nanda Dynasty||Magadha||Mahapadma Nanda||345 BC to 321 BC|
|Maurya Dynasty||Pataliputra||ChandraGupta Maurya||322 BC to 185 BC|
|Sungha Dynasty||Pataliputra Vidisha||Pushyamitra Sunga||185 BC to 75 BC|
|Kanva Dynasty||Pataliputra||Vasudeva||75 BC to 30 BC|
|Satavahana Dynasty||Maharashtra||Simuka||230 BC to 220 CE|
|Kushan Dynasty||Bagram||Kadphises||50 AD to 250 AD|
|Gupta Dynasty||Magadha – Pataliputra||Sri Gupta||320 AD to 600 AD|
|Chalukya Badami Dynasty||Badami||Pulakeshin||543 AD to 753 AD|
|Pallava Dynasty||Kanchi||Singha Vishnu||550 AD to 897 AD|
|Chalukya Vengi Dynasty||Vengi||Vishnu Vardhana||615 AD to 1118 AD|
|Rashtrakuta Dynasty||Maharashtra||DantiDurga||753 AD to 982 AD|
|Pala Dynasty||Bengal||Gopala||750 AD to 1174 AD|
|Chola Dynasty||South India- Tamil Nadu||Vijayalaya||850 AD to 1279 AD|
|Slave Dynasty||North India||Qutubudin Aibak||1206 AD to 1290 AD|
|Khilji Dynasty||North India||Jalal-ud-din Khilji||1290 AD to 1320 AD|
|Tughlaq Dynasty||North India- Delhi||Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq||1320 AD to 1414 AD|
|Lodhi Dynasty||North India- Delhi||Bahlol Lodhi||1451 AD to 1526 AD|
|Mughal Dynasty||North India- Delhi||Babur||1526 AD to 1857 AD|
Details about the Dynasties in India
As we have mentioned the list of all major dynasties in India, in the table given above, we will now discuss each one in a little detail. As far as any candidate who is preparing for a competitive examination is concerned, known the Indian History in depth is absolutely necessary. Therefore, with this article we aim to bring you closer to one of the most asked topics regarding Indian History in the competitive examinations- The Details of Major Dynasties that ruled India.
It is one of the first well known dynasties in India. However, it comes as the third dynasty to rule ancient India after the Pradyota dynasty & Brihadratha dynasty. The rulers of the Haryanka Dynasty ruled Magadha from 684 BC – 413 BC. The founder of the Haryanka Dynasty is Bimbisara, who is renowned as the most powerful ruler of this dynasty. However, after ruling for a long span of 55 years, he was imprisoned by his own son. At first, the capital city of Magadha when the Haryanka Dynasty ruled was Rajgriha. However, it was later shifted to Pataliputra, where many successive dynasties also followed the path.
After the people rebelled against the Haryanka rulers, the Shishunaga Dynasty ruled Magadha from 413 BC to 345 BC. Even though the Shishunaga dynasty did not rule Magadha for a long span of time, it had an impact on the civilization before being overthrown by the Nandas.
The Rulers of the Nanda Dynasty were powerful. However, their ruling period is marked as a transition period before being ruled by the Mauryas. During their reign from 345 BC to 321 BC, they conquered most of Northern India. Maha Padma Nanda, the founder of the Nanda Dynasty conquered Kalinga by overthrowing the Preceding dynasty.
One of the most powerful dynasties in India, during the ancient times, is known to be the Maurya Dynasty. The Mauryan Empire or the Maurya Dynasty is said to have brought a great change in the lives of people who lived then. Founded by the mighty Chadra Gupta Maurya, under the mentorship of the wise Chanakya, the Maurya Dynasty went on to rule Magadha (Now Bihar) from 322 BC to 185 BC. The political unity observed during the reign of Mauryas is said to have attracted foreign trade in India. Maura Kings concentrated on people welfare by giving focus on export of spices, silk, etc and also by building great infrastructure.
The last Mauryan Emperor, Brihadratha Maurya, was killed by Pushyamitra, the founder of Sungha Dynasty. This started the rules of the Sunghas in the kingdom of Magadha. The Sungha Dynasty ruled from 185 BC to 75 BC. Major parts of Central and Eastern parts of India were under the rule of the Sunghas.
After the Sunga Dynasty, the next dynasty that ruled major parts of India was the Kanva Dynasty. The story of this dynasty goes like this- Vasu Deva, who was a minister in the Sunga Dynasty, assassinated Devabhuti, the last ruler of the Sunghas. The Kanva Dynasty is believed to have ruled India for about 45 years, with its capitals as Pataliputra and Vidisha.
After the reign of Kanvas, Satavahana Dynasty ruled ancient India. Founded by Simuka, many great rulers hail from this dynasty including Gautamiputra Satakarni. Major parts of the Deccan region were under the rule of the Satavahana Dynasty from 230 BC to 220 CE.
The Kushan Dynasty ruled most parts of northern India from 50 AD to 250 AD, almost three centuries. Kujula Kadphises is the founder of this dynasty. However, it was under the reign of Emperor Kanishka I that the Kushan Dynasty reached the zenith. Kanishka played an important role in creating the Silk Route as well as spreading Buddhism in the nook and corner of the country.
Historians consider the reign of the Gupta Emperors as the Golden Age of India. This is because of the developments in the field of art, architecture, literature, science and technology. With the downfall of Mauryans, Kushans and Satavahanas came into power. However, it was short lived. The Guptas were the next dynasty that took over the Indian History by storm. The very powerful Gupta Dynasty was founded by Sri Gupta, Guptas ruled most parts of northern India from 320 AD to 600 AD. Some of the major emperors belonging to Gupta Dynasty are Chandragupta-I, Samudragupta, Kumaragupta I, etc.
Chalukya Badami Dynasty
The Chalukya Dynasty of Badami, often called the Chalukya Dynasty ruled the major parts of South and Central India from 543 AD to 753 AD. With the reign of the Chalukya Badami Empire, there was a major shift in the political atmosphere of South India. The southern parts of India that were earlier ruled by small kingdoms began to be ruled by larger empires. This brought about a consolidation in the entire south Indian region. This Dynasty founded by Pulakeshan, ruled the Southern parts of India between the Narmada and Kaveri rivers. Moreover, a sense of political stability, trade bloom, chalukyan architecture , etc are some of the major traits that this dynasty left us with.
The downfall of the Chalukya Dynasty happened when Dantidurga, the founder of Rashtrakuta dynasty, assaulted King Kirtivarman II of the Chalukya Dynasty in 753 A.D. Eventually the next powerful dynasty called the Rashtrakuta Dynasty came into force in large parts of the Indian Subcontinent. They ruled from 753 AD to 982 AD. Rashtrakutas took note to divide the kingdom into provinces for the ease of administration. Also, the export of silk, textile and spices took place in full fledge during the period of Rashtrakutas.
Founded by Gopala, the Pala Dynasty ruled from 750 AD to 1174 AD. The Emperors of the Pala Dynasty had a great army. They took keen interest in building temples and monasteries. They ruled most parts of northern India including the present day states of Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, etc. The emperor divided the kingdom into Provinces, Divisions, Districts and finally Khandalas. Art and sculpture soared to greater heights during the Pala Reign.
The Chola Dynasty, popularly called as “Cholas” is one of the most powerful dynasties that ever ruled South India. Furthermore, it is one of the longest ruling dynasties known to us. With a reigning period spanning from 190 AD to 600 AD, Cholas ruled South India for a very long time. Vijayalaya, the founder of the Chola Dynasty, defeated Pallavas to seize power. With Tanjore as the state capitals, numerous emperors ruled during the reign of Cholas by unifying the entire region of South India, which was indeed a difficult task back then.
The Slave Dynasty, otherwise called the Delhi Sultanate, comprises a line of rulers who were called ‘ Sultans’. They ruled most parts of North India for almost a century from 1206 AD to 1290 AD. Established by Qutubudin Aibak, the slave dynasty is also called Mamluk Dynasty. He made Lahore the capital of his empire and created several monuments throughout his kingdom. The downfall of the slave dynasty happened with the attack of the Khiljis.
The Khilji Dynasty ruled major parts of India for nearly three decades starting from 1290 AD to 1320 AD. Founded by Jalal-ud-din Khilji, the Khilji rulers brought about some major changes in the tax policy that eventually led to inflation. The emperors of Khilji dynasty introduced a tax system that is still noted for the unique approach by historians all over the globe.
This Muslim Dynasty of Turkish origin ruled major parts of India from 1320 AD to 1414 AD. Founded by Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq who is known as the wise fool, attributing to the numerous administrative reforms that failed due to lack of planning. At its zenith, the Tughlaq Dynasty ruled most parts of the Indian Subcontinent. Muhammad bin Tughluq , Firuz Shah Tughlaq, etc are some of the prominent rulers of Tuglaq Dynasty.
With the downfall of Tuglaq Dynasty, the Lodhi Dynasty came into power. This is an Afgan origin dynasty that ruled the Indian subcontinent from 1451 AD to 1526 AD. It was founded by Bahlol Lodhi. Even though being in power for many years, constant attacks were faced by Lodhi Emperors from Rajputs and later from Mughals.
When Ibrahim Lodhi, the emperor of Lodhi Dynasty was killed by Babur in the first battle of Panipat in 1526, there began the downfall of the Lodhis and the up rising of the Mughals. They ruled India from 1526 AD to 1857 AD. The Mughal empire is responsible for creating unity between the feuding small kingdoms. The rich cultural, architectural legacy that Mughals left us with is astounding till date.
To summarize, a huge part of Indian History is composed of various dynasties ruling the subcontinent. A clear picture of this will help us appreciate the roots of the history. We assume that this article was beneficial for all our readers preparing for various competitive examinations. With ample knowledge in Indian History, we assure you to score great in the upcoming examinations!