By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 8 India During Mauryan period students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 8 India During Mauryan period

Rise of Magadha Empire:
Magadha was an important kingdom among the Mahajanapadas that existed in ancient India. Fertile and rich land, perennial rivers, excellent facilities of navigation, availability of commercial markets etc., were the reasons for the rise of Magadha as empire. In the 6th century BCE, the Haryanka dynasty ruled over Magadha.

Nanda and Mauryan Empire:
Nanda Dynasty: The Nanda dynasty is mentioned in the Puranas. The Magdhan empire established by Ajatashatru was further expanded by Mahapadma Nanda. According to some scholars, the Nanda rule had spread up to Nanded in the South, whereas some scholars think that it was extended up to Mysore.

On this basis it can be said that Mahapadma Nanda was the first great emperor of India. Dhanananda was the last ruler of the Nanda dynasty. During his period, the state treasury was enormously rich. His military was also very huge. It consisted of 2,00,000 infantry, 60,000 cavalry, 6000 elephants and 2000 chariots.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 8 India During Mauryan period

Mauryan Empire: Mauryan Empire was the first well organised and strongly controlled empire in the history of India. Religious texts and other literature, inscriptions, coins, sculptures etc. are the sources that help us to clearly understand the political, social, economic, and religious conditions of this period.

The Mauryan empire had spread on a large region of the Indian sub-continent and was controlled by a central power. The Mauryan rule brought about consolidation of the political system.

Emperor Ashoka: Ashoka became the emperor of Mauryan empire after the death of Bindusara. He got himself coronated in 268 B.C.E. He called himself as ‘Devanampiyo Piyadasi’ (Beloved of the Gods) in many of his rock edicts and pillar inscriptions. During the early period of his rule, Ashoka adopted his ancestors’ policy of Digvijaya and expansion of kingdom.

He attacked Kalinga and conquered it. There was a great human loss in this war. Ashoka became victorious. The destruction caused due to the Kalinga War brought about a great change in the mind of Ashoka.

Administrative system, trade, literature, art and architecture, social life:
Administrative system: The nature of administrative system during the Mauryan period is clearly understood with the help of Kautilya’s Arthashastra, Megasthenes’ Indica and the inscriptions of Ashoka. Chandragupta Maurya was a valiant king and an efficient administrator.

He set up a defined mechanism of state administration, which suited the economic conditions and the needs of the Mauryan empire. The Mauryan emperors created a unified empire. At the same time, they devised a decentralised administrative system for efficient functioning of the vast empire.

Trade: There was an increase in revenue due to well-organised taxation system. ‘Bali’ was a tax to be given in the scale of the land under cultivation. ‘Bhag’ was a share from the tax on production. Agricultural land and the tax acquired from the agricultural production was the basic foundation of the administrative system.

Industries gained momentum during this period. Cloth production was the most important industry. Apart from that metallurgy, carpentry, ivory art, spinning, weaving and many such professions began.

Literature: Literature reflects the thought process of the people and the political, social, economic and religious conditions. During the Mauryan period, along with the literature in Sanskrit language, the use of Pali and Ardhamagadhi literature in Prakrit language is also seen. For the spread of Jainism and Buddhism, literature was created in Prakrit language.

The Prakrit languages mainly included Pali, Ardhamagadhi, Shaurseni, Maharashtri etc. The world famous work of Panini’s Ashtadhyayi was composed in this period. Bhasa was one of the great dramatists in Sanskrit literature.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 8 India During Mauryan period

Art and architecture: After the establishment of Mauryan rule, there was happiness, peace, prosperity and good governance. Mauryan art is the beginning of ancient Indian architecture and the sculptural art. It appears that, during the Mauryan period, the artists had acquired the skill of cutting and carving the stone. In both, the skill of a specific expression of art and the technique of mirror polish of the stone is seen. This is known as ‘Mauryan Polish’.

During this period stone statues of Yaksha and Yakshi are found. Especially the statues of Yakshi are beautiful and finely carved. The famous Chauri bearer of Didarganj is supposed to be one of such statue. The Yaksha statues in Parkham and the female images at Besnagar and Patna of this period are exhibited in the Mathura museum.


→ Perennial – Lasting or existing for a long or infinite time.
→ Matrimonial – Related to marriage.
→ Expansionist policy – Relating to territorial or economic expansion.
→ Mahaparinibbana – Refers to the ultimate state of Nirvana (everlasting peace).