Magadha was an ancient Indian kingdom in southern Bihar, and was counted as one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas (Sanskrit: "Great Countries") of ancient India. Magadha played an important role in the development of Jainism and Buddhism, and two of India's greatest empires, the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, originated in Magadha.

The Mauryan Empire and Gupta Empire, both of which originated in Magadha, saw advancements in ancient India's science, mathematics, astronomy, religion, and philosophy and were considered the Golden Age of India. The Magadha kingdom included republican communities such as the community of Rajakumara. Villages had their own assemblies under their local chiefs called Gramakas. Their administrations were divided into executive, judicial, and military functions.

Kingdom of Magadha

Magadha and other Mahajanapadas in the Post Vedic period.
Magadha and other Mahajanapadas in the Post Vedic period.
Expansion of the Magadha state in the 6th-4th centuries BCE.
Expansion of the Magadha state in the 6th-4th centuries BCE.
CapitalRajagriha (Girivraj)
Later, Pataliputra (modern-day Patna)
Common languagesOld Indo-Aryan (e.g. Magadhi Prakrit, other Prakrits, Sanskrit)
GovernmentAbsolute Monarchy as described in the Arthashastra
Samraat (Emperor) 
Historical eraAntiquity
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kikata Kingdom
Nanda Empire
Today part ofIndia


The kingdom of the Magadh, before its expansion, corresponded to the modern districts of Patna, Jehanabad, Nalanda, Aurangabad, Arwal Nawada and Gaya in southern Bihar, and parts of northern Jharkhand. It was bounded on the north by the river Ganges, on the east by the river Champa, on the south by the Chota Nagpur Plateau, and on the west by the Son River.

This region of Greater Magadha had a culture and belief system of its own that predated Hinduism. Much of the second urbanisation took place here from c. 500 BCE onwards and it was here that Jainism became strong and Buddhism arose. The importance of Magadha's culture can be seen in that Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism adopted some of its features, most significantly a belief in rebirth and karmic retribution.[1]


Bamboo garden (Venuvana) at Rajagriha, the visit of Bimbisara
King Bimbisara visits the Bamboo Garden (Venuvana) in Rajagriha; artwork from Sanchi.
Early Vedic Culture (1700-1100 BCE)
Kikata, predecessor of Magadha as shown in early vedic period map, but most of the scholars place it in South Bihar
Late Vedic Culture (1100-500 BCE)
Magadha in Late Vedic period (1100-600 BC)

Kikata was an ancient kingdom in what is now India, mentioned in the Vedas. It is believed that they were the forefathers of Magadhas because Kikata is used as synonym for Magadha in the later texts [2]. It probably lay to the south of Magadha Kingdom in a hilly landscape.[3] A section in the Rigveda (RV 3.53.14) refers to the Kīkaṭas (Hindi:कीकट), a tribe which most scholars have placed in Bihar (Magadha) such as Weber and Zimmer [4] while some scholars such as Oldenburg and Hillebrandt dispute that. According to Puranic literature Kikata is placed near Gaya. It is described as extending from Caran-adri to Gridharakuta (vulture peak), Rajgir. Some scholar such as A. N. Chandra place Kikata in a hilly part of Indus valley based on argument that countries between magadh and indus valley are not mentioned such as kuru, kosala etc. Kikatas were said to be Anarya or non vedic people who didn't practice vedic rituals like soma, According to Sayana, Kikatas didn't perform worship, were infidels and nastikas. The leader of Kikatas has been called Pramaganda, a usurer.[5][6] It is unclear whether Kikatas were already present in Magadh during rigvedic period or they migrated there later.[7] Like Rigveda attributes of Kikatas, Atharvaveda also speaks about south eastern tribes like Magadhas and Angas as hostile tribe who lived on the borders of Brahmanical India.[8] Bhagvata Purana mentions about the birth of Buddha among Kikatas.[9]

The Magadha state c. 600 BCE, before it expanded from its capital Rajagriha.

The existence of Magadha is recorded in Vedic texts much earlier in time than 600 BCE. The earliest reference to the Magadha people occurs in the Atharvaveda, where they are found listed along with the Angas, Gandharis and Mujavats. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganges; its first capital was Rajagriha (modern day Rajgir), then Pataliputra (modern Patna). Rajagriha was initially known as 'Girivrijja' and later came to be known as so during the reign of Ajatashatru. Magadha expanded to include most of Bihar and Bengal with the conquest of Vajji confederation and Anga, respectively.[10] The kingdom of Magadha eventually came to encompass Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and the areas that are today the nations of Bangladesh and Nepal.[11]

The ancient kingdom of Magadha is heavily mentioned in Jain and Buddhist texts. It is also mentioned in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas.

There is little certain information available on the early rulers of Magadha. The most important sources are the Buddhist Pāli Canon, the Jain Agamas and the Hindu Puranas. Based on these sources, it appears that Magadha was ruled by the Haryanka dynasty for some 200 years, c. 543 to 413 BCE.

Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, lived much of his life in the kingdom of Magadha. He attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath and the first Buddhist council was held in Rajgriha.[12]

The Hindu Mahabharata calls Brihadratha the first ruler of Magadha. King Bimbisara of the Haryanka dynasty led an active and expansive policy, conquering the Kingdom of Anga in what is now West Bengal. King Bimbisara was killed by his son, Prince Ajatashatru. King Pasenadi, king of neighbouring Kosala and brother-in-law of King Bimbisara, promptly retook the gift of the Kashi province.

Accounts differ slightly as to the cause of King Ajatashatru's war with the Licchavi, an area north of the river Ganges. It appears that Ajatashatru sent a minister to the area who worked for three years to undermine the unity of the Licchavis. To launch his attack across the Ganges River, Ajatashatru built a fort at the town of Pataliputra. Torn by disagreements the Licchavis fought with Ajatashatru. It took fifteen years for Ajatashatru to defeat them. Jain texts tell how Ajatashatru used two new weapons: a catapult, and a covered chariot with swinging mace that has been compared to a modern tank. Pataliputra began to grow as a centre of commerce and became the capital of Magadha after Ajatashatru's death.

Nanda Empire, c.325 BCE
Nanda empire 450 BC or 346 BC

The Haryanka dynasty was overthrown by the Shishunaga dynasty. The last Shishunaga ruler, Mahanandin, was assassinated by Mahapadma Nanda in 345 BCE, the first of the so-called "Nine Nandas", i. e. Mahapadma and his eight sons.

In 326 BCE, the army of Alexander approached the western boundaries of Magadha. The army, exhausted and frightened at the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges, mutinied at the Hyphasis (the modern Beas River) and refused to march further east. Alexander, after the meeting with his officer Coenus, was persuaded that it was better to return and turned south, conquering his way down the Indus to the Ocean.

Maurya Empire, c.250 BCE 2
Maurya Empire, c. 250 BCE.
Approximate extent of the Shunga empire (c. 180 BCE).
maximum extent of Gupta Empire during the reign of Chandragupta II, 414 AD

Around 321 BCE, the Nanda Dynasty ended and Chandragupta Maurya became the first king of the great Mauryan dynasty and Mauryan Empire with the help of Chanakya. The Empire later extended over most of South Asia under King Ashoka, who was at first known as 'Ashoka the Cruel' but later became a disciple of Buddhism and became known as 'Dharma Ashoka'. Later, the Mauryan Empire ended, as did the Shunga and Khārabēḷa empires, to be replaced by the Gupta Empire. The capital of the Gupta Empire remained Pataliputra in Magadha.


Several Śramaṇic movements have existed before the 6th century BCE, and these influenced both the āstika and nāstika traditions of Indian philosophy.[13] The Śramaṇa movement gave rise to diverse range of heterodox beliefs, ranging from accepting or denying the concept of soul, atomism, antinomian ethics, materialism, atheism, agnosticism, fatalism to free will, idealization of extreme asceticism to that of family life, strict ahimsa (non-violence) and vegetarianism to permissibility of violence and meat-eating.[14] Magadha kingdom was the nerve centre of this revolution.

Jainism was revived and re-established after Mahavira, the last and the 24th Tirthankara, synthesised and revived the philosophies and promulgations of the ancient Śramaṇic traditions laid down by the first Jain tirthankara Rishabhanatha millions of years ago.[15]Buddha founded Buddhism which received royal patronage in the kingdom.

According to Indologist Johannes Bronkhorst, the culture of Magadha was in some ways different than the Vedic kingdoms of the Indo-Aryans. He argues for a cultural area termed "Greater Magadha", defined as roughly the geographical area in which the Buddha and Mahavira lived and taught.[1]

Magadha kingdom Circa 430-320s BC AR Karshapana
Magadha kingdom coin, c. 430–320 BCE, Karshapana.
Magadha kingdom coin Circa 350 BC AR Karshapana
Magadha kingdom coin, c. 350 BCE, Karshapana.

With regard to the Buddha, this area stretched by and large from Śrāvastī, the capital of Kosala, in the north-west to Rājagṛha, the capital of Magadha, in the south-east".[16] According to Bronkhorst “there was indeed a culture of Greater Magadha which remained recognizably distinct from Vedic culture until the time of the grammarian Patañjali (ca. 150 BCE) and beyond”.[17] Vedic texts such as the Satapatha Brahmana demonize the inhabitants of this area as demonic and as speaking a barbarous speech. The Buddhologist Alexander Wynne writes that there is an "overwhelming amount of evidence" to suggest that this rival culture to the Vedic Aryans dominated the eastern Gangetic plain during the early Buddhist period. Orthodox Vedic Brahmins were, therefore, a minority in Magadha during this early period.[18]

The Magadhan religions are termed the sramana traditions and include Jainism, Buddhism and Ājīvika. Buddhism and Jainism were the religions promoted by the early Magadhan kings, such as Srenika, Bimbisara and Ajatashatru, and the Nanda Dynasty (345–321 BCE) that followed was mostly Jain. These Sramana religions did not worship the Vedic deities, practised some form of asceticism and meditation (jhana) and tended to construct round burial mounds (called stupas in Buddhism).[19] These religions also sought some type of liberation from the cyclic rounds of rebirth and karmic retribution through spiritual knowledge.


Two notable rulers of Magadha were Bimbisara (also known as Shrenika) and his son Ajatashatru (also known as Kunika), who are mentioned in Buddhist and Jain literature as contemporaries of the Buddha and Mahavira. Later, the throne of Magadha was usurped by Mahapadma Nanda, the founder of the Nanda Dynasty (c. 345–321 BCE), which conquered much of north India. The Nanda Dynasty was overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya Empire (321–180 BCE). There is much uncertainty about the succession of kings and the precise chronology of Magadha prior to Mahapadma Nanda; the accounts of various ancient texts (all of which were written many centuries later than the era in question) contradict each other on many points. Furthermore, there is a "Long Chronology" and a contrasting "Short Chronology" preferred by some scholars, an issue that is inextricably linked to the uncertain chronology of the Buddha and Mahavira.[20]

Pre-Maurya, Long and Short Chronologies

According to historian John Keay, a proponent of the "Short Chronology," Bimbisara must have been reigning in the late 5th century BCE,[21] and Ajatashatru in the early 4th century BCE.[22] Keay states that there is great uncertainty about the royal succession after Ajatashatru's death, probably because there was a period of "court intrigues and murders," during which "evidently the throne changed hands frequently, perhaps with more than one incumbent claiming to occupy it at the same time" until Mahapadma Nanda was able to secure the throne.[22]

The following "Long Chronology" is according to the Buddhist Mahavamsa:[23]

  • Haryanka dynasty
    • Bimbisara (reigned c. 546–494 BCE)
    • Ajatashatru (c. 494–462 BCE)
    • Udayin (c. 462–446 BCE)
    • Anuruddha and Munda (c. 446–438 BCE)
    • Nagadasaka (c. 438–414 BCE)
  • Shishunaga dynasty
    • Shishunaga (c. 414–396 BCE)
    • Kalashoka (c. 396–368 BCE)
    • Ten sons of Kalashoka (c. 368–346 BCE)
  • Nanda Dynasty (c. 346–324 BCE)

On the other hand, the Hindu Puranas give a different sequence:[24]

  • Shishunaga (reigned for 40 years)
  • Kakavarna (36 years)
  • Kshemadharman (20 years)
  • Kshatraujas (29 years)
  • Bimbisara (28 years)
  • Ajatashatru (25 years)
  • Darbhaka or Darshaka or Harshaka (25 years)
  • Udayin (33 years)
  • Nandivardhana (42 years)
  • Mahanandin (43 years)
  • Nanda Dynasty (100 years)

A shorter list appears in the Jain tradition, which simply lists Shrenika (Bimbisara), Kunika (Ajatashatru), Udayin, followed by the Nanda Dynasty.[24]

Maurya Dynasty (322–180 BCE)

Gupta Empire



  1. ^ a b Bronkhorst, Johannes, Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, 2007, Brill Academic Publishers Inc., Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 2, South Asia Series, ISBN 90-04-15719-0
  2. ^ Macdonell, Arthur Anthony; Keith, Arthur Berriedale (1995). Vedic Index of Names and Subjects. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. ISBN 9788120813328.
  3. ^ Chandra, A. n (1980). The Rig Vedic Culture And The Indus Civilisation.
  4. ^ e.g. McDonell and Keith 1912, Vedic Index; Rahurkar, V.G. 1964. The Seers of the Rgveda. University of Poona. Poona; Talageri, Shrikant. (2000) The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
  5. ^ Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India, Their Religion and Institutions: Inquiry whether the Hindus are of Trans-Himalayan origin, and akin to the western branches of the Indo-European race. 2d ed., rev. 1871. Trübner. 1871.
  6. ^ Rig-Veda (1857). Rig-Veda Sanhitá a Collection of Ancient Hindú Hymns Translated from the Original Sanskrit by H.H. Wilson: Third and fourth ashtakas or books of the Rig-Veda. Wm. H. Allen and Company.
  7. ^ Dalal, Roshen (15 April 2014). The Vedas: An Introduction to Hinduism’s Sacred Texts. Penguin UK. ISBN 9788184757637.
  8. ^ Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India, Their Religion and Institutions: Inquiry whether the Hindus are of Trans-Himalayan origin, and akin to the western branches of the Indo-European race. 2d ed., rev. 1871. Trübner. 1871.
  9. ^ Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India, Their Religion and Institutions: Inquiry whether the Hindus are of Trans-Himalayan origin, and akin to the western branches of the Indo-European race. 2d ed., rev. 1871. Trübner. 1871.
  10. ^ Ramesh Chandra Majumdar (1977). Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-0436-8.
  11. ^ Archived 29 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Reginald Ray (1999), Buddhist Saints in India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195134834, pages 237-240, 247-249
  14. ^ Padmanabh S Jaini (2001), Collected papers on Buddhist Studies, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120817760, pages 57-77
  15. ^ Archived 10 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Bronkorst, J; Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India (2007), pp. xi, 4
  17. ^ Bronkorst, J; Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India (2007), p. 265
  18. ^ Wynne Alexander, Review of Johannes Bronkhorst. Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Bronkorst, J; Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India (2007), p. 3
  20. ^ Heinz Bechert, When Did the Buddha Live?: The Controversy on the Dating of the Historical Buddha (Sri Satguru Publications, 1995), p.129
  21. ^ Keay, John. India: A History. Revised and Updated (Grove Press, 2010), p.141
  22. ^ a b Keay (2010), p.149
  23. ^ Bechert (1995), p.126
  24. ^ a b Mahavamsa, translated by Wilhelm Geiger (London: Pali Text Society, 1912), Introduction pg. xli



Ajatashatru (IAST: Ajātaśatru; Pali: Ajātasattu; Kunika; r. c. 492 – c. 460 BCE– or early 4th century BCE) was a king of the Haryanka dynasty of Magadha in East India. He was the son of King Bimbisara and was a contemporary of both Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. He forcefully took over the kingdom of Magadha from his father and imprisoned him. He fought a war against Vajji, ruled by the Lichchhavis, and conquered the republic of Vaishali.

Ajatashatru followed policies of conquest and expansion. He defeated his neighbours including the king of Kosala; his brothers, when at odds with him, went to Kashi, which had been given to Bimbisara as dowry. This led to a war between Magadha and Kosala. Ajatashatru occupied Kashi and captured the smaller kingdoms. Magadha under Ajatashatru became the most powerful kingdom in North India.

He is the inventor of two weapons used in war called rathamusala (blade chariot) and mahshilakantaka (engine for ejecting big stones).


Anga was an ancient Indian kingdom that flourished on the eastern Indian subcontinent and one of the sixteen mahajanapadas ("large state"). It lay to the east of its neighbour and rival, Magadha, and was separated from it by the river Champa. The capital of Anga was located on the bank of this river and was also named Champa. It was prominent for its wealth and commerce. Anga was annexed by Magadha in the 6th century BCE.Counted among the "sixteen great nations" in Buddhist texts like the Anguttara Nikaya, Anga also finds mention in the Jain Vyakhyaprajnapti’s list of ancient janapadas. Some sources note that the Angas were grouped with people of ‘mixed origin’, generally in the later ages.


Assaka (Pali) or Ashmaka (IAST: Aśmaka), was a region of ancient India (700–300 BCE) around and between the river Godavari. It was one of the shodasa (sixteen) mahajanapadas in the 6th century BCE, mentioned in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya.

The capital is variously called Potali, or Podana, which now lies in the Nandura Tehsil.

The Buddhist text Mahagovinda Suttanta mentions about a ruler of Assaka, Brahmadatta who ruled from Potali.The Matsya Purana (ch.272) lists twenty-five rulers of Aśmaka, contemporary to the Shishunaga rulers of Magadha.

Later, the people spread southward to the territory of the Rashtrakuta empire, which is now in modern Maharashtra.

Ashmaka is also identified as Assaka and Aśvakas in Buddhist literature and Gatha Saptashati of king Hāla.


Bimbisāra (c. 558 – c. 491 BC or during the late 5th century BC) also known as Seniya or Shrenika in the Jain histories was a King of Magadha (r. 543 – 492 BC or c. 400 BC) and belonged to the Haryanka dynasty. He was the son of Bhattiya. His expansion of the kingdom, especially his annexation of the kingdom of Anga to the east, is considered to have laid the foundations for the later expansion of the Maurya Empire.He is also known for his cultural achievements and was a great friend and protector of the Buddha. Bimbisara—according to Hiuen Tsang—built the city of Rajgir (Rajagriha), famous in Buddhist writings (others attribute the city's foundation to his successor). He was succeeded on the throne by his son Ajatashatru.

Chandra Nandini

Chandra Nandini is a 2016 Indian Hindi-language drama television series which started airing on Star Plus on 10 October 2016. It is produced by Ekta Kapoor under her banner Balaji Telefilms and is directed by Ranjan Kumar Singh. Starring Rajat Tokas as Chandragupta Maurya and Shweta Basu Prasad as a princess Nandni, the story-line is based on the life of Chandragupta Maurya.It is dubbed in Tamil on STAR Vijay under the same title. In Sri Lanka, the show telecasting in Sinhala on Swarnavahini.

Haryanka dynasty

The Haryanka dynasty is believed to have been the second ruling dynasty of Magadha, an empire of ancient India, which succeeded the mythological Barhadratha dynasty. The reign of this dynasty probably began in the middle of 6th century BCE. Initially, the capital was Rajagriha. Later, it was shifted to Pataliputra, near the present day Patna in India. Brihadaratha founded the dynasty around 566 BCE, although Bimbisara, his grandson, significantly expanded the dynasty's boundaries during his rule from 544 BCE to 492 BCE. Thus Bimbisara is considered as the main founder of the dynasty.

According to the Buddhist text, the Mahavamsa, Bimbisara was anointed king by his father, Bhattiya, at the age of fifteen.This dynasty was succeeded by the Shishunaga dynasty.

History of Bihar

The history of Bihar is one of the most varied in India. Bihar consists of three distinct regions, each has its own distinct history and culture. They are Magadh, Mithila and Bhojpur.Chirand, on the northern bank of the Ganga River, in Saran district, has an archaeological record from the Neolithic age (about 2500–1345BC). Regions of Bihar—such as Magadha, Mithila and Anga—are mentioned in religious texts and epics of ancient India. Mithila is believed to be the centre of Indian power in the Later Vedic period (c. 1100-500 BCE). Mithila first gained prominence after being settled by Indo-Aryan peoples who established the Videha kingdom. The Kings of the Videha Kingdom where called Janakas. A daughter of one of the Janaks of Mithila, Sita, is mentioned as consort of Lord Rama in the Hindu epic Ramayana, written by Valmiki. The Videha Kingdom later became incorporated into the Vajji confederacy which had its capital in the city of Vaishali, which is also in Mithila.Magadha, another region of Bihar was the centre of Indian power, learning and culture for about a thousand years. One of India's greatest empires, the Maurya empire, as well as two major pacifist religions, Buddhism and Jainism, arose from the region that is now Bihar. Magadha empires, most notably the Maurya and Gupta empires, unified large parts of the Indian subcontinent under their rule. Their capital Pataliputra, adjacent to modern-day Patna, was an important political, military and economic centre of Indian civilisation during the ancient and classical periods of Indian history. Many ancient Indian texts, aside from religious epics, were written in ancient Bihar. The play Abhijñānaśākuntala was the most prominent.

The present-day region of Bihar overlaps with several pre-Mauryan kingdoms and republics, including Magadha, Anga and the Vajji confederation of Mithila. The latter was one of the world's earliest known republics and had existed in the region since before the birth of Mahavira (c. 599 BCE). The classical Gupta dynasty of Bihar presided over a period of cultural flourishing and learning, known today as the Golden Age of India.

The Pala Empire also made their capital at Pataliputra once during Devapala's rule. After the Pala period, Bihar played a very small role in Indian history until the emergence of the Suri dynasty during the Medieval period in the 1540s. After the fall of the Suri dynasty in 1556, Bihar again became a marginal player in India and was the staging post for the British colonial Bengal Presidency from the 1750s and up to the war of 1857–58. On 22 March 1912, Bihar was carved out as a separate province in the British Indian Empire. Since 1947 independence, Bihar has been an original state of the Indian Union.


According to the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Jarasandha (Sanskrit: जरासन्ध) was a very powerful king of Magadha. He was a descendant of King Brihadratha, the founder of the Barhadratha dynasty of Magadha.He was a great senapati. he was also known as magdha samrat Jarasandh. He is worshipped as mool-purusha (lineal descent) of Rawani Kshatriya clan, Chandravanshi

Kshatriya. According to Vayu Purana, the descendants of Brihadratha ( Jarasandha's Father) ruled magadha for 2600 years followed by Haryanka dynasty.

Kanva dynasty

The Kanva dynasty or Kanvayana was a dynasty that replaced the Shunga dynasty in parts of eastern and central India, and ruled from 75 BCE to 30 BCE.Although the Puranic literature indicates that the Kanva Dynasty ruled in Magadha (in eastern India), their coins are primarily found in and around Vidisha in central India, which had also been the capital of the later Shunga rulers.The last ruler of the Shunga dynasty, Devabhuti, was overthrown by his minister Vasudeva, who founded the Kanva dynasty in 75 BC. The Kanva ruler allowed the kings of the Shunga dynasty to continue to rule in obscurity in a corner of their former dominions. There were four Kanva rulers. According to the Puranas, their dynasty was brought to an end by the Satavahanas.


Kṣemā (Sanskrit; Pali: Khemā) was one of the two chief female disciples of Buddha (the other being Uppalavanna). The Sutta Nipata mention her to be the wife of Bimbisara, king of Magadha, and a follower of Buddhism.

Kikata Kingdom

Kikata was an ancient kingdom in what is now India, mentioned in the Vedas. It is believed that they were the forefathers of Magadhas. It lay to the south of Magadha Kingdom.

A section in the Rigveda (RV 3.53.14) refers to the Kīkaṭas (Hindi:कीकट), a tribe which most scholars have placed in Bihar (Magadha).Zimmer has argued, in referring to Yaska, that they were a non-Aryan people. According to Weber, they were a Vedic people, but were sometimes in conflict with other Vedic people.

Magadh Mahila College

Magadh Mahila College, established in 1946, is a women's college in Patna, Bihar. It is affiliated to Patna University, and offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in science, arts and commerce.

Magadha Empire

Magadha empire may refer to the following, for a general view of the states based on Magadha, see Magadha.

Haryanka Empire (Bimbisara dynasty), (c. 544 – c. 492 BC)

Udayin Empire(Udayin dynasty), (c. 492 – c. 413 BC)

Shishunaga Empire (c. 413 – c. 344 BC)

Nanda Empire (c. 344 – c. 321 BCE)

Maurya Empire (c. 321 – c. 185 BCE)

Shunga Empire (c. 185 – c. 75 BCE)

Kanva Empire (c. 75 – c. 30 BCE)

Satavahana Empire (c. 30 – c. 320 CE)

Gupta Empire (c. 321 – c. 550 CE)

Pala Empire (c. 750 – c. 1162 CE)


The Mahājanapadas (Sanskrit: महाजनपद, lit. 'great realm', from maha, "great", and janapada "foothold of a tribe, country") were sixteen kingdoms or oligarchic republics that existed in ancient India from the sixth to fourth centuries BCE. Two of them were most probably ganatantras (republics) and others had forms of monarchy. Ancient Buddhist texts like the Anguttara Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region, prior to the rise of Buddhism in India.The 6th–5th century BCE is often regarded as a major turning point in early Indian history; it saw the emergence of India's first large cities after the demise of the Indus Valley Civilization, as well as the rise of sramana movements (including Buddhism and Jainism) which challenged the religious orthodoxy of the Vedic Period.

Archaeologically, this period corresponds in part to the Northern Black Polished Ware culture.


Maha Kasyapa or Mahākāśyapa (Pali: Mahākassapa) or Kāśyapa was one of the principal disciples of Gautama Buddha. He came from the kingdom of Magadha. He became an arhat and was the disciple of the Buddha who was foremost in ascetic practice.

Mahākāśyapa assumed the leadership of the Sangha following the death of the Buddha, presiding over the First Buddhist Council. He is considered to be the first patriarch in a number of Mahayana School dharma lineages. In the Theravada tradition, he is considered to be the Buddha's third foremost disciple, surpassed only by the chief disciples Sariputta and Maha Moggallana.

Maurya Empire

The Maurya Empire was a geographically-extensive Iron Age historical power based in Magadha and founded by Chandragupta Maurya which dominated the Indian subcontinent between 322 and 187 BCE. Comprising the majority of South Asia, the Maurya Empire was centralized by the conquest of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, and its capital city was located at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The empire was the largest political entity to have existed in the Indian subcontinent, spanning over 5 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles) at its zenith under Ashoka.

Chandragupta Maurya raised an army, with the assistance of Chanakya (also known as Kauṭilya), and overthrew the Nanda Empire in c. 322 BCE. Chandragupta rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India by conquering the satraps left by Alexander the Great, and by 317 BCE the empire had fully occupied northwestern India. The Mauryan Empire then defeated Seleucus I, a diadochus and founder of the Seleucid Empire during the Seleucid–Mauryan war, thus acquiring territory west of the Indus River.At its greatest extent, the empire stretched along the natural boundary of the Himalayas, to the east into Assam, to the west into Balochistan (southwest Pakistan and southeast Iran) and the Hindu Kush mountains of what is now eastern Afghanistan. The dynasty expanded into India's southern regions by the reign of the emperors Pushkar and Bindusara, but it excluded Kalinga (modern Odisha), until it was conquered by Ashoka. It declined for about 50 years after Ashoka's rule, and dissolved in 185 BCE with the foundation of the Shunga dynasty in Magadha.

Under Chandragupta Maurya and his successors, internal and external trade, agriculture, and economic activities all thrived and expanded across South Asia due to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration, and security. The Maurya dynasty built the Grand Trunk Road, one of Asia's oldest and longest trade networks, connecting the Indian subcontinent with Central Asia. After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced nearly half a century of centralized rule under Ashoka. Chandragupta Maurya's embrace of Jainism increased socio-religious reform across South Asia, while Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism and sponsorship of Buddhist missionaries allowed for the expansion of that faith into Sri Lanka, northwest India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Egypt, and Hellenistic Europe.The population of the empire has been estimated to be about 50–60 million, making the Mauryan Empire one of the most populous empires of antiquity. Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the national emblem of the modern Republic of India.

Nanda Empire

The Nanda dynasty ruled in northern India during the 4th century BCE. The Nandas overthrew the Shaishunaga dynasty in the Magadha region of eastern India, and expanded their empire to include a larger part of northern India. Ancient sources differ considerably regarding the names of the Nanda kings, and the duration of their rule, but based on the Buddhist tradition recorded in the Mahavamsa, they appear to have ruled during c. 345-322 BCE.

Modern historians generally identify the ruler of the Gangaridai and the Prasii mentioned in ancient Greco-Roman accounts as a Nanda king. The chroniclers of Alexander the Great, who invaded north-western India during 327-325 BCE, characterize this king as a militarily powerful and prosperous ruler. The prospect of a war against this king led to a mutiny among the soldiers of Alexander, who had to retreat from India without waging a war against him.

The Nandas built on the successes of their Haryanka and Shaishunaga predecessors, and instituted a more centralized administration. Ancient sources credit them with amassing great wealth, which was probably a result of introduction of new currency and taxation system. Ancient texts also suggest that the Nandas were unpopular among their subjects because of their low status birth, their excessive taxation, and their general misconduct. The last Nanda king was overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya Empire, and the latter's mentor Chanakya.

Pradyota dynasty

Pradyota dynasty, also called prthivim bhoksyanti (lit. enjoying the earth), is an ancient Indian dynasty, which ruled over Avanti in the present-day Madhya Pradesh state, though most of the Puranas (except a manuscript of the Brahmanda Purana, preserved in the University of Dhaka) say that this dynasty succeeded the Barhadratha dynasty in Magadha. The dynasty ruled for 138 years.

Shaishunaga dynasty

The Shaishunaga dynasty (IAST: Śaiśunāga, literally "of Shishunaga") is believed to have been the third ruling dynasty of Magadha, an empire of ancient India. According to the Hindu Puranas, this dynasty was the second ruling dynasty of Magadha, succeeding the legendary dynasty founded by Brihadratha.Shishunaga, the founder of the dynasty, was initially an amatya or "minister" of the last Haryanka dynasty ruler Nāgadāsaka and ascended to the throne after a popular rebellion in c. 421 BCE. The capital of this dynasty initially was Rajgir; but later shifted to Pataliputra, near the present day Patna, during the reign of Kakavarna. According to tradition, Kakavarna was succeeded by his ten sons. This dynasty was succeeded by the Nanda Empire in c. 345 BCE.

Tribes and kingdoms mentioned in the Mahabharata
Great Indian Kingdoms
(c. 600 BCE–c. 300 BCE)
Timeline and
cultural period
Northwestern India
(Punjab-Sapta Sindhu)
Indo-Gangetic Plain Central India Southern India
Upper Gangetic Plain
(Ganga-Yamuna doab)
Middle Gangetic Plain Lower Gangetic Plain
Culture Late Vedic Period Late Vedic Period
(Srauta culture)[a]
Painted Grey Ware culture
Late Vedic Period
(Shramanic culture)[b]
Northern Black Polished Ware
 6th century BC Gandhara Kuru-Panchala Magadha Adivasi (tribes)
Culture Persian-Greek influences "Second Urbanisation"
Rise of Shramana movements
Jainism - Buddhism - Ājīvika - Yoga
 5th century BC (Persian conquests) Shaishunaga dynasty Adivasi (tribes)
 4th century BC (Greek conquests) Nanda empire
Culture Spread of Buddhism Pre-history Sangam period
(300 BC – 200 AD)
 3rd century BC Maurya Empire Early Cholas
Early Pandyan Kingdom
Satavahana dynasty
46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
Culture Preclassical Hinduism[c] - "Hindu Synthesis"[d] (ca. 200 BC - 300 AD)[e][f]
Epics - Puranas - Ramayana - Mahabharata - Bhagavad Gita - Brahma Sutras - Smarta Tradition
Mahayana Buddhism
Sangam period
(300 BC – 200 AD)
 2nd century BC Indo-Greek Kingdom Shunga Empire
Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty
Early Cholas
Early Pandyan Kingdom
Satavahana dynasty
46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
 1st century BC
 1st century AD


Kuninda Kingdom
 2nd century Kushan Empire
 3rd century Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom Kushan Empire Western Satraps Kamarupa kingdom Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)
Culture "Golden Age of Hinduism"(ca. AD 320-650)[g]
Co-existence of Hinduism and Buddhism
 4th century Kidarites Gupta Empire
Varman dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)
Kadamba Dynasty
Western Ganga Dynasty
 5th century Hephthalite Empire Alchon Huns Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)
 6th century Nezak Huns
Kabul Shahi
Maitraka Adivasi (tribes) Badami Chalukyas
Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)
Culture Late-Classical Hinduism (ca. AD 650-1100)[h]
Advaita Vedanta - Tantra
Decline of Buddhism in India
 7th century Indo-Sassanids Vakataka dynasty
Empire of Harsha
Mlechchha dynasty Adivasi (tribes) Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)
Pandyan Kingdom(Revival)
 8th century Kabul Shahi Pala Empire Pandyan Kingdom
 9th century Gurjara-Pratihara Rashtrakuta dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom
Medieval Cholas
Pandyan Kingdom (Under Cholas)
Chera Perumals of Makkotai
10th century Ghaznavids Pala dynasty
Kamboja-Pala dynasty
Kalyani Chalukyas
Medieval Cholas
Pandyan Kingdom (Under Cholas)
Chera Perumals of Makkotai
References and sources for table


  1. ^ Samuel
  2. ^ Samuel
  3. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  4. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  5. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  6. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  7. ^ Micheals (2004) p.40
  8. ^ Michaels (2004) p.41


Community development blocks
Railway stations
Lok Sabha
See also
Other Divisions
Historical regions of North India

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