India is a land of various cultures and traditions, but it is not just our diversity that makes this country so special. India is also the home to some of the greatest rulers and warriors ever known. Many kingdoms flourished here long back and still remain strong till date. So here are 5 greatest kings of India that brought about a significant change in our history.
Ashoka Maurya (304-232 BC)
Commonly known as Ashoka the great, Ashoka Maurya was a ruler of the Maurya dynasty and ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from circa 269 BCE to 232 BCE and is one of the most glorious ever known to India. His reign spread from the Hindu Kush mountains in the west to Bengal in the East and covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. His capital was Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Bihar), with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain. Ashoka was successful in conquering Kalinga and was first of his line to do so. After seeing the number of deaths and destruction that took place in Kalinga Ashoka took up Buddhism at the beginning of around 263 BCE.
Chandragupta Maurya (340 BC- 298 BC)
The founder of the Maurya dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya ruled from 322 BC until he voluntarily took retirement for giving the throne to his son Bindusara in 298 BC. He was also one of the greatest forces behind unifying greater parts of into a state. He had succeeded into ruling almost all of the Indian subcontinent by the end of his reign, the Tamil regions (Chera, Chola, and Pandya) and modern-day state Odisha (Kalinga) were the only places that were not subjugated by him. The largest empire ever seen in India, the Maurya empire stretched from Bengal in the east to Afghanistan and Balochistan in the west, to the Himalayas and Kashmir in the north, and to the Deccan Plateau in the south.
Porus (340-315 BC)
Also known as Puru, was the sole reason why the Macedonians did not advance into India. Puru repelled Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges with only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horses. The width of Ganges was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of Alexander’s men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. Alexander was highly impressed by him and not only made him the governor of his own kingdom but also granted him dominion over lands to the south-east extending until the modern-day Beas.
Raja Raja Chola (985-1014 CE)
Raja Chola was popularly known as Raja Raja the great and was the forerunner of bringing magnificence to the Chola empire. His empire spread from Sri Lanka in the south, and Kalinga (Odisha) in the northeast. He was also a great lover of Tamil literature. Thirumurai which is a collection of Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar were collected and compiled during his region. He was the builder of the Brihadeeswarar Temple which is one of the tallest and largest temples in India.
Kanishka I or Kanishka the great (AD 127–150)
Famous for his military, political and spiritual achievements, Kanishka was an emperor of the Kushan dynasty. His empire stretched from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the south, north of the Amu Darya (Oxus) in the north-west of Pakistan and Northern India and went as far as Mathura in the south-east (the Rabatak inscription even claims he held Pataliputra and Sri Champa), and his territory also included Kashmir. He also has a town named after him called Kanishkapur.