Chandragupta II stands out in the history of India as one of the greatest rulers. His rule, from 375 to 415 C.E. led to a golden age of the Gupta empire. The empire at its height stretched throughout the northern half of India, including the area now ruled by Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. His empire also stretched along the eastern coast of India almost to the southern tip. To create his huge empire, Chandragupta II directed his armies against his neighbors, defeating twenty one kingdoms.
In addition to military prowess, Chandragupta II elevated culture, art, mathematics, philosophy, religion, and astronomy during his reign. He sponsored a circle of poets known as the Nine Gems, foremost among them the renown Kalidasa. In astronomy and mathematics, Varahamihira stood at the forefront. In art, the relief panels on the Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh provide an example of the heights reached by Gupta artists.
In the area of religion, Chandragupta II supported Buddhism during the time of Buddhism's ascendancy in northern India, as well as Hinduism and Jainism. Kings in the Gupta empire received the title Parama Bhagavatas, a indication of the Bhagavata sect of Hinduism which developed fully around 900 C.E. with the writing of Bhagavata Purana. Merging science and art, the iron pillar, constructed to honor the Hindu god Vishnu, has stood the test of time, over 1,600 years, without rusting, decomposing or falling to invading armies.