Lesser Known & Interesting Facts about Chandragupta Maurya

Samrat Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan Empire was the first person to unify the Indian subcontinent. Before his time, India only comprised of independent states except of course the kingdom of Magadh that was ruled by the Nanda dynasty. Chandragupta changed the history of India in many respects.

Here we share everything about the Mauryan Samrat, the founder and first emperor of the Mauryan Empire:

By आशीष भटनागर at Hindi Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By आशीष भटनागर at Hindi Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Chandragupta Maurya Is Believed To Be a Kshatriya

According to the Mahavamsa, the Buddhist text, Chandragupt belonged to the sect Moriya – a division of the Kshatriya clan. Further, the Mahaparinibbana Sutta elaborates that the Moriyas were from the Kshatriya community of a place called Pippalivan. Over the years, there have been several plays that tell a different tale about his lineage but traditions and Buddhist texts confirms that Chandragupta belonged to the Kshatriya lineage.

Also Read: Know Everything about Chandragupta Maurya and His Two Wives! 

Chandragupt was Only 20 When He Founded the Mauryan Empire

The aim and goal of Chanakya and Chandragupta was same – to dethrone the Nanda king and put a full stop to their atrocities. Next, Chanakya, the teacher of Takshahila University trained Chandragupta and together, they calculated the end of the Nanda Empire.

After an initial rebuff, Chandragupta and Chanakya consistently aimed to remove Dhana Nanda from his position. They could defeat not just the commander of the Nanda Empire Bhadrasala but also King Dhana Nanda himself. This is how the duo sieged the power of the capital city Patliaputra and laid the foundation of the Mauryan empire. Chandragupta was only 20 back then.

Chandragupt Maurya Gained Wide Public Support & Was Favored by His Subjects

It was year 322 BCE when Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan Empire by seizing the throne of Dhana Nanda and putting an end to the Nanda Empire. Post his victory, he fought and defeated Greek invaders, the generals of Alexander the Great in the northern areas.

After all these successful campaigns back to back, Chandragupt Maurya was seen as a courageous leader who could not only put an end to the corruption by the Nanda dynasty but also prevent foreign invaders to enter the state. This is how he gained public support.

The Army of Chandragupta Maurya had 6,00,000 Foot Soldiers

According to Megasthenes, a Greek ambassador in the Patliaputra court, we find several accounts and reports of the Mauryan Empire from 317 to 312 BCE. He noted several reports of Chandragupta Maurya and India. As per his reports, the army of Chandragupta Maurya comprised of 9,000 war elephants, 30,000 horses and 6,00,000 foot soldiers.

Also Read: Lesser Known Facts About the Urban Life of Mauryan Empire 

Chandragupt Maurya and Unification of India

Post defeating the Nanda King, the new King looked forward to expansion. He not just defeated Alexander generals’ in the north including Seleucus Nicator capturing present day Kandahar, Gandhar, Balochistan and Afghanistan but also went beyond the Deccan Plateau and Vindhya range in the south. Except, the Tamil area and Kalinga, Chandragupt captured the entire area. Prominent poet of the Sangam literature ‘Mamulanar’ described how the Mauryan Army invaded the Deccan Plateau.

Also Read: Lesser Known Facts about Devi Helena Maurya ~ Chandragupta Maurya’s Wife   

The Death of Chandragupt Maurya: How did Chandragupta Maurya die?

The Mauryan Samrat voluntarily renounced his throne and turned into an ascetic by giving all his responsibility to his heir and son Samrat Bindusara. He became a follower of Jainism. According to the Jain traditions, the emperor turned ascetic and migrated in the South.

According to the legends, Chandragupta starved himself to death in a cave in a placed called Sravana Belgola which is about 150 km from the present day Bangalore.

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