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History :
Kushan Empire is one of the most interesting Dynasties which ruled over the land of Jammu & Kashmir. The Kushans ruled from first to second century AD, extending its reach to each and every corner of the valley. The chapter of Kushan Empire is truly a glorious one in the Jammu & Kashmir history. During the reign of Kushans in Jammu Kashmir the influence of Buddhism was at its peak. Later the Kushans attained predominance over the other and the leader was Kadphises. And then began the history of Kushans.

Coin of Kushan Dynasty
Kadphises attacked the southern region of Hindu Kush, conquered Kabul and defeated Gandhara including the kingdom of Taxila.Later the leader Kadphises died in 78 AD. By then Kushans had supplemented the prince of Indo-Greeks Saka and Indo-Parthian communities along the frontiers of India.

The successor of Kadphises was Vima Kadphsis who conquered large parts of North India. The coins of Kadphises show that his authority extended upto Banaras and also till Indus basin. The valour of this king extended from Narmada to Saka Satraps in Malwa and Western India acknowledged his sovereignty.

The next ruler after Kadphises was his son Kanishka (100 - 126 AD), a prominent ruler of the Kushan Dynasty who achieved remarkable milestones in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. His decendants called him as Devaputra which means son of gods. The empire of Kanishka constituted Bactria (modern Afghanistan), Part of Central Asia (Tajikistan), northwestern India (modern Pakistan) and northern India till Pataliputra. Under the supervision of the ruler Kanishka the historical division between two versions of Buddhism, namely Mahayana and Hinayana, took place through the great Buddhist council that was organized.

Kushan head of Bodhisattva
Kanishka belonged to little Yuehi-Chi section of the horde. The capital during his period was Purusyapura where he built many Buddhist buildings. In the Initial dayshe managed Kashmir and consolidated Indus and the Gangetic basin. His army defeated Chinese by crossing the Pamirs. Kanishka was the active patron of Buddhist Church during the later part of his reign. The coins during his rule prove that he honoured a medley of Gods -Zoroastrian, Greek, Mitraic and Indian. The prominent Indian deity was God Shiva. This kushan king also convened a council of Buddhist theologians to settle disputes relating to Buddhist faith and practices.

The conclusions of Kaniskha council were engraved on copper sheets and preserved in the stupa of the capital. Delegates to the council primarily belonged to the Hinayana sect. Soon the Kushan power declined. Within the Kingdom Nagas and Yaudheyas troubled Kushans. During the period of Kushan Dynast,y Naga ruler probably performed ten ashvamedha sacrifices and few other tribes also like Malavas and Kunindas probably regained their importance at the expense of Kushan kings. Brisk trade prevailed as the area covered by the Kushan Empire helped the flow of trade between the east and the west.

Kushan Dynasty
Jammu & Kashmir
200 BC- 300 BC
Pali Prakrit Bactrian Sanskrit Greek
Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Greco-Buddhism Ancient Greek religion
Kujula Kadphises, Vima Taktu or Sadashkana, Vima Kadphises, Kanishka I, Huvishka, Vasudeva I

Gold coins issued by the Kushans were of great complexity . The coins speak about the prosperity of people and show the figure of Kanishka standing and sacrificing at altar and deities belonging to various religions. The coins also signify that Kushans were in direct contact with the Romans. The greatest contribution of Kushan Dynasty was Gandhara art. Stone images of the Buddha and Bodhisattavas were carved out and the chief feature was blending of Buddhist subjects with Greek forms.

It was quite commendable that effectiveness and efficiency with which the Kushan Rulers dictated the land of Jammu & Kashmir. The multi-dimensional importance of this Dynasty is described by the historical archives. In fact the imprints of Kushan Dynasty are still found in Jammu & Kashmir in the form of names.

Huvishka ascended the throne of Kanishka I. He was founder of a city Hushka in Kashmir named after him (described by Kalhan in Rajatarangini). During Kanishka's and Huvishka's reign the Kushana Empire was at its zenith. After Huvishka's reign, Vasudeva I took over the control of Kushana dynasty which by then had lost control over regions beyond Bactria or perhaps the Bactria itself. The Kushan dynasty had been totally assimilated in Indian culture. Vasudeva I was the last greatest king of the dynasty when Kushana empire was at it's height of splendor and prosperity.

Gandhara Art
After Vasudeva's death, the Kushan empire had started its decline . Vasudeva was followed by his son Kanishka II who lost all the territories west of river Indus to Sassanians. Vasudeva II, Vashishka, and Shaka are the kings who managed the dynasty after Kanisha II. After Vashishka the Kushan Empire had completly disintegrated into small kingdoms. By fourth century AD this dynasty went into total obscurity with advent of mighty Gupta emperors.

Administration & Society
Kushans were turbulent tribes in ancient India after confronting the several obstacles. The empire extending its limit not only in India but also in central Asia. The dynasty had vibrant rulers and India attained thriving progress in the fields of Art, Literature, Architecture and sciences.The Kushan Dynasty kings generally gave titles such as Maharajati-raja(king of kings), Daivaputra(son of heaven), soter(savior) and Kaisara(Caesar).During Kushan Dynasty four schools of art namely Sarnath, Mathura, Amaravati and Gandhara developed. The headless statue of Kaniskha is the epitome for the sculpturous art.