King Kanishka – The King of Kushan Empire

King Kanishka – A Brave Warrior and a Builder of Kushan Empire

In the history of India, King Kanishka I was a brave warrior and is regarded as the greatest Kushan King.

Kushan King Kanishka was a great conqueror and a patron of Buddhism.  He had both the military ability of Chandragupta Maurya and the religious zeal of Samrat Ashoka. He is also remembered for convening the Fourth Buddhist Council which was presided by Asvaghosa.

After the death of Vima Kadphises a struggle for supremacy started among his governors and Kanishka won the battle to establish his authority in U.P. Then, he also conquered Punjab, Sind and the North-Western India and became the emperor of a vast tract of land.

The numismatic evidence and the stratification of the remains of Taxila indicate that Kanishka indeed succeeded Vima Kadphises.

King Kanishka – Founder of Saka Era

The era started by King Kanishka came to be known as the Sakabda or Saka era. Hence, the Saka era was founded by Kanishka I.

King Kanishka’a year of Accession

As regards the exact year of his accession “the choice really lies between 78 A.D. and 125 A.D.”

This view of Fergusson corroborates the idea that Kanishka rose in power in the first century of the Christian era and “the era started by him corresponds to 78 A.D.” This view of Fergusson has also accepted by noted historians like Oldenburg, Thomas, Banerjee, Rapson, Raychowdhury and many other indologists.

King Kanishka – A Brave Warrior and a Great Empire Builder

King Kanishka was a brave warrior and won many successes in war. The Epigraphic records show that U.P., Punjab, North Western Frontier Province and a part of Sind were ruled by him. In the east Mathura was also under his control. We have also found his inscriptions at Banaras and that of his immediate successors at Sanchi in Malwa. Possibly, Malwa was also ruled by King Kanishka. There are various literary evidences to testify his conquests. The famous Muslim writer Alberuni told us that King Kanishka ruled over Afghanistan and the adjoining parts of Central Asia. The Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsang told us that Kanishka’s territory included Gandhara, Peshawar and the east of Tsun-Ling Mountain. As per the records of Chinese and Tibetan historians it appears that King Kanishka conquered the Eastern India by annexing Ayodhya, Pataliputra and thus pacified the country which shows that he had conquered Bihar also. Kalhan’s Rajatarangini and some Buddhist Traditions also told us that King Kanishka added Kashmir also in his territory.

The Buddhist traditional records also told us about his conquest of Easter India up to the Kajangala of the Rajmahal hills. This obviously means that a part of Bengal, not the whole, was under the rule of King Kanishka. But Kanishka’s coins have been discovered at Tamluk in Midnapur district, Bogra, Murshidabad and Maldah areas of Bengal. This evidence strongly shows that the whole of Bengal was included in Kanishka’s kingdom.

Thus King Kanishka was undoubtedly a great empire builder. Within India his empire extended from Kashmir in the North to Vindhyas in the South and from Bihar in the east to the Indus valley of the West. Outside India his empire extended up to the Trans-Pamir region which included Khotan, Kashgarh etc. the Oxus valley region of Bactria and the vast tract of land lying between the Hindukush and the Indus which consisted of areas like Kabul, Kandahar, Seistan, Afghanistan and Baluchistan.

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