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The Rise of Mauryans and the Foreign Invaders in India

By Seif Kamel

Maurya, the ruler of Magadha, was able quickly to control the situation after the attack of the soldiers of Alexander the Great on India. Many tourists who spend their hot deals in India are found of its rich diverse history.

Maurya was able to defeat the huge army of Alexander that consisted of more than half a million soldiers and he drove the Greeks to the West taking all the lands under his control.

Afterwards, Seleucus Nicator, the army general of Alexander tried to regain power over the Macedonian lands in India but Maurya was able to defeat him as well and took control of the lands that are now called Afghanistan.

Starting from 297 BC, the son of Maurya, with the name Bindusara, extended the lands of the Mauryan Empire to reach Mysore. Many historical attractions are located in the country today and this is why many Europeans and Americans prefer to have a tour India during their holidays.

When the son of Bindusara, Ashoka, came after his father to rule over the empire, he became the most famous of India early rulers to the extent that Nehru, the founder of independent India took the lion capital of Ashoka as the emblem of the new nation. Ashoka is defined by many historians as the founder of India and many of his architectural achievements are included in many travel packages to India.

Ashoka has invaded the tribal kingdom of Kalinga in 260 BC and two years afterwards he got sick with allergy. After he converted to Buddhism, he started denouncing the use of violence in favor of the law of moral righteousness.

Ashoka was credited for establishing a number of traditions as well. His administrative records were carved on stones and rock pillars. One of the most remarkable of these items is still present in the Sarnth in Uttar Pradesh.  These monuments can be included in many affordable tours to India

Despite his conversion to Buddhism, Ashoka continued ruling over his kingdom including the newly occupied territories of Kalinga where he warned their fighters against any attacks on the civilized villages of his empire.

At the end of his ruling period, the empire of Akosha extended almost all around India except the Northern sections that were occupied by three independent kingdoms; the Cholas, Cheras, and the Pandyas.

Ashoka has good diplomatic relation with his neighboring counties like Egypt, Syria, Macedonia, and Cyrene. These civilizations with their architectural achievements attract many travelers to spend their holidays in India and many other nations with long history.

The empire of Ashoka depended mainly on military achievements, a central administration, and a systematic style of revenues. This is besides his overwhelming character that made all his people loyal to him.

As usual when a great leader dies, his empire falls down immediately and this is what happened after Ashoka passed away in 232 BC. All the local governors declared themselves independent from the central empire ruling and administration.

Ashoka was able to create a civilization that remained for ages to impress travelers going on tours to India.Many invaders from central Asia appeared in the scene and in 184 BC, the last Mauryan King, Birhadratha, was killed to put an end to more than 180 years of the rule of Mauryans

The following five centuries after the decline of the Mauryans has witnessed the most complex period of the Indian subcontinent, many independent kingdoms, and a large number of outer invasions, considered being the dark ages of India.

The first invaders were the Bactrian Greeks, a section of the vast Seleucid Empire that was established by the army general of Alexander the Great, Seleucus.
 In around 180 BC, the Bactrian Greeks declared their independence from the rule or Selecus and they even extended their power to occupy Punjab and Mathura in India.

The Greek position in Bactria, however, was soon threatened by the arrival of newcomers from Central Asia.  Because of the history of the country, different than any other region in the world, many tourists would love to travel to India to enjoy their holidays.

Large –scale movements of central Asian Yueh – Chi nomads had precipitated the migration of the Shakes (Scythians), from the Aral sea area, who displaced the Parthians (Pahlavas) from Iran, who in turn wrested control of Bactria from the Greeks ( who henceforth administered their Indian territories from  a new capital in Kabul).

The finer details of these various population movements remain unclear, and they were probably more in the nature of migrations than invasions. Whatever the details, however, both the Yeuh-Chi and Shakes continued to drift slowly in the direction of India, finally arriving during the first century AD.

The Shakas were the first to arrive, establishing themselves in northwestern India until the coming of the Kushan branch of the Yueh-Chi, who drove the Shakes off into Gujarat and Malwa (the area around Ujjain), where they settled and became Indianized.

Having seen of the Shakas, the Kushans established a new dynasty in the northwest. The third and most famous of their kings, Kanishka ruled from Purushpura (modern-day Peshawar in Pakistan) for more than twenty years around 100AD and extended his rule east to Varanasi an south to Sanchi.

His empire prospered through control of trade routes between India, China and the West, and his court attracted artists and musicians as well as merchants. Many tourists who travel to India really admire its magic and long distinctive history.

Ashvaghosha, one of the first classical Sanskrit poets, wrote a life of the Buddha, the Buddha Charita, and is credited with converting the king of Buddhism. Many Buddhist worship sites are marvelous and attract many travelers to spend group tours in India.

Despite the disintegration of the Mauryan Empire and the proliferation of fiercely rival kingdoms, the period from 200 BC to 300AD was also one of unprecedented economic wealth and cultural development. The rulers of this period had many architectural achievements that are included in many custom tours to India.

The growing importance of the mercantile community encouraged the monetization of the economy and stimulated the growth of urban centers all over India. Merchants and artisans organized themselves into guilds, while external trade, overland and maritime, opened up lines of communication with the outside world.
The main highway from Pataliputra to Taxila (in northern Pakistan) gave India access to the old Silk Road, the most important trade route of the time, linking China to the Mediterranean via Central Asia.

Maritime trade traversed the coastal routes between the seaports in Gujarat and southern India and as far as south Arabia; and Indian merchants established trading communities in various parts of south Asia.

The arrival of so many foreigners, the growth of trade and increasing urbanization together had a considerable impact on the structure of society.  Many tours to India give the traveler the chance to view an interpretation of the history of the country reflected in its monuments.

Foreign conquerors and traders had to be integrated within the varna system of caste, while the burgeoning importance of the Vishay (merchant) class and the influence of urban liberalism all presented new challenges to the social order.

The Law Books (Dharma shastras ) were composed in this period in an attempt and duties. Important developments in India’s religious can also be linked to socioeconomic changes.

Radical schisms occurred in both Buddhism and Jainism and may be attributed to the increasing participation and patronage of the vaishyas; while the Vedic religion , which had been the exclusive domain of the Brahmins and kshatryas, underwent fundamental transformations to widen its social base.

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