Kujula Kadphises (also Kadphises I) is believed to be the founder of Kushan Dynasty in India. He was originally the Chief of one of the divisions of the Yue-chi who ultimately succeeded is bringing other divisions to subjection and made himself the sole monarch of the Yue-chi nation.
There is a good deal of controversy about the date of the first Kushana king.
Historians have suggested that the Kushana dominion extended during Kujula Kadphises’s time up to Taxila. The Taxila scroll of 78 A.D. which mentions “Maharaja Rajatiraja Devaputra Kushana” is according to Sir John Marshall and Sten Konow non else than Kujula Kadphises.
Dr. H.C. Roy Choudhury and Dr. D.C. Sarkar do not accept the views of Sten Konow in placing Kujula Kadphises to so late a period.
They point out the “Maharaja Rajatiraja Devaputra Kushana” mentioned in the Taxila scroll was not a Kujula Kadphises. It was a title adopted by the Kushana group of kings. Dr. Smith places Kadphises-I between 40 and 70 A.D. but according to Dr. R.K. Mukherjee and Dr. D.C. Sarkar Kadphises-I ruled from 15 to 65 A.D. This view is corroborated by the numismatic evidence.
Kujula Kadphises-I wrested Kabul valley from the Parthians, made himself master of Gandhara and Bactria, as also extended his sway up to Taxila. Thus his empire extended from the borders of Persia to the Indus.
Many coins bearing the name of Kadphises-I have been discovered. In the earlier coins there is no royal title in the legend but in coins issued later royal title appears. From this it is presumed that he may have begun his career as a vassal of the Greek king Hermaues of the Yue-chi to subjection. But this vies is very much controversial.
The epithets adopted by Kadphises-I, namely Dhramathida and Sachadharmathida meaning “established in true faith” may indicate that he was a worshipper either of Buddha or Siva. One of the coins of Kadphises has a figure on it which the numismatists interpret as Buddha seated in the conventional posture. But the figure has also been taken to represent Siva by some scholars. Kadphises’ coins with a diademed head on its observe shows the Roman influence, for it was a close imitation of the coins of Emperor Augustus or his successor Tiberius. Kadphises was succeeded by his son Kadphises-II, also known as Vima Kadphises.