Gupta Administration

In the Mauryan period, the political authority was concentrated in the hands of the king. But, the Gupta administration was decentralized in nature. It means that feudatories i.e. local Kings and smaller chiefs ruled a large part of their empire.

The pompous titles such as maharajadhiraja, parambhattaraka, parameshvara etc were adopted by the imperial Guptas.

These lesser rulers adorned their names with titles like raja and maharaja.

The kingship was normally hereditary.

The king was the focus of the administration.

Princes, ministers and advisors assisted him.

The princes were also made the viceroys of the provinces.

Provinces were known as desha, rashtra or bhukti and their head was called uparika.

The provinces were divided into a number of districts called pradesha or vishaya.

The administrative head of the vishaya was known as vishayapati.

The vishayas were further divided into villages. The village headman called gramadhyaksha looked after the affairs of the village with the help of village elders.

The artisans and merchants took an active part in the town administration during the Gupta period.

The Gupta bureaucracy was less elaborate as compared to that of the Mauryas.

The high-level central officers under the Guptas were called the kumaramatyas. Important functionaries like mantri, senapati were all recruited from that cadre.


Administrative posts were not only hereditary but often several offices were combined in the hands of the same persons as in the case of Harisena, the composer of the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta.

He has been described as a mahadandanayaka (chief judicial officer) as well as a mahasandhivigrahika (minister for war and peace).

The ruler himself often appointed high-ranking officers but the hereditary nature of the post must have weakened the royal control over the administration.

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