The Info List - Magadha

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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
Maurya Empire
and Gupta Empire, originated in Magadha. 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 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.[1] The kingdom of Magadha
eventually came encompass Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and the nations of Bangladesh
and Nepal.[2] 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. 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.[citation needed] Villages had their own assemblies under their local chiefs called Gramakas. Their administrations were divided into executive, judicial, and military functions.


1 Geography 2 History 3 Culture 4 Rulers

4.1 Haryanka dynasty
Haryanka dynasty
(c. 600 – 413 BCE)[9] 4.2 Shishunaga dynasty
Shishunaga dynasty
(413–345 BCE)[10] 4.3 Nanda Dynasty
Nanda Dynasty
(345–321 BCE)

5 References 6 Bibliography

Geography[edit] The kingdom of the Magadhi, before its expansion, corresponded to the modern districts of Patna, Jehanabad, Nalanda, Aurangabad, Nawadah and Gaya in southern Bihar, and parts of Bengal
in the east. It was bounded on the north by the river Ganges, on the east by the river Champa, on the south by the Vindhya Range, and on the west by the Son River.[citation needed] 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.[3] History[edit]

King Bimbisara
visits the Bamboo Garden (Venuvana) in Rajagriha; artwork from Sanchi

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

There is little certain information available on the early rulers of Magadha. The most important sources are the Buddhist Pāli Canon, the Jain Agamas
Jain Agamas
and the Hindu Puranas. Based on these sources, it appears that Magadha
was ruled by the Haryanka dynasty
Haryanka dynasty
for some 200 years, c. 543 to 413 BCE.[citation needed] 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.[4] The Hindu Mahabharata
calls Brihadratha the first ruler of Magadha. King Bimbisara
of the Haryanka dynasty
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.

The Haryanka dynasty
Haryanka dynasty
was overthrown by the Shishunaga dynasty. The last Shishunaga ruler, Kalasoka, 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.

Around 321 BCE, the Nanda Dynasty
Nanda Dynasty
ended and Chandragupta Maurya
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
Gupta Empire
remained Pataliputra
in Magadha. Culture[edit] 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.[citation needed]

kingdom coin, c. 430–320 BCE, Karshapana.

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”.[5] 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”.[6] 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.[7] 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
Nanda Dynasty
(345–321 BCE) that followed was mostly Jain. These Sramana
religions did not worship the Vedic deities, practiced some form of asceticism and meditation (jhana) and tended to construct round burial mounds (called stupas in Buddhism).[8] These religions also sought some type of liberation from the cyclic rounds of rebirth and karmic retribution through spiritual knowledge. Rulers[edit]

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Haryanka dynasty
Haryanka dynasty
(c. 600 – 413 BCE)[9][edit]

Bhattiya or Bimbisara
(544 BCE - 493 BCE) Ajatashatru
(493 BCE - 461 BCE) Udayin (461 BCE - 445 BCE) Anuruddha Munda Nagadasaka

Shishunaga dynasty
Shishunaga dynasty
(413–345 BCE)[10][edit]

Shishunaga (413 BCE – 395 BCE) Kakavarna Kalashoka (395 BCE – 367 BCE) Mahanandin (367 BCE – 345 BCE)

Nanda Dynasty
Nanda Dynasty
(345–321 BCE)[edit]

Mahapadma Nanda aka Ugrasena (345 BCE - 329 BCE), an illegitimate son of Mahanandin, founded the Nanda Empire
Nanda Empire
after inheriting Mahanandin's empire. Pandhuka Panghupati Bhutapala Rashtrapala Govishanaka Dashasidkhaka Kaivarta Dhana Nanda
Dhana Nanda
(Agrammes, Xandrammes) (329 BCE - 321 BCE), overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya


^ Ramesh Chandra Majumdar (1977). Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-0436-8. ^ https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=V3KDaZY85wYC&pg=PA128&lpg=PA128&dq=Magadha+Landmass&source=bl&ots=kR_umsr6So&sig=mCh3Q9HhtXwJWB6EgBogMvLHytY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjr4pPQwa7VAhWoDMAKHfpWBCoQ6AEIHzAB#v=onepage&q=Magadha%20Landmass&f=false ^ Bronkhorst, Johannes, Greater Magadha, Studies in the Culture of Early India, 2007, Brill Academic Publishers Inc., Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 2, South Asia
South Asia
Series, ISBN 90-04-15719-0 ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017.  ^ Bronkorst, J; Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India (2007), pp. xi, 4 ^ Bronkorst, J; Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India (2007), p. 265 ^ Wynne Alexander, Review of Johannes Bronkhorst. Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=31537 ^ Bronkorst, J; Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India (2007), p. 3 ^ Singh, Upinder (2016), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson Education, ISBN 978-93-325-6996-6 ^ Singh, Upinder (2016), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson Education, ISBN 978-93-325-6996-6


Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). "Political History of Ancient India". Calcutta: University of Calcutta. 

Law, Bimala Churn (1926). "4. The Magadhas". Ancient Indian Tribes. Motilal Banarsidas. 

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Tribes and kingdoms mentioned in the Mahabharata

Abhira Andhra Anarta Anga Anupa Assaka Asmaka Avanti Ay Bahlika Bhārata Chedi Chera Chola Chinas Dakshina Kosala Dakshinatya Danda Dasarna Dasharna Dasherka Dwaraka Gandhāra Garga Gomanta Gopa Rashtra Hara Huna Heheya Himalaya Huna Kanchi Kasmira Kalakuta Kalinga Kamboja Karnata Karusha Kashi Kekeya Kerala Khasa Kikata Kirata Kishkindha Konkana Kosala Kuninda Kunti Kuru Lanka Madra Madraka Magadha Maha Chinas Mahisha Malla Malava Matsya Mekhalas Mleccha Mudgala Mushika Nasikya Nepa Niharas Nishada Odra Pallava Panchala Pandya Parada Parama Kamboja Parasika Parvartaka Parvata Paurava Pishacha Pragjyotisha Pratyagratha Prasthala Pundra Pulinda Saka Salva Salveya Salwa Saraswata Saurashtra Sauvira Shakya Sindhu Sinhala Sivi Sonita Sudra Suhma Surparaka Surasena Tangana Trigarta Tulu Tushara Ursa Uttara Kuru Uttara Madra Utkala Vanga Vatadhana Vatsa Videha Vidarbha Yavana Yaudheya

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Great Indian Kingdoms (c. 600 BCE–c. 300 BCE)

Anga Assaka
(Asmaka) Avanti Chedi Gandhara Kashi Kamboja Kosala Kuru Magadha Malla (Mallarashtra) Machcha
(Matsya) Panchala Surasena Vajji Vatsa

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Middle kingdoms of India

Timeline and cultural period

Northwestern India (Punjab-Sapta Sindhu)

Indo-Gangetic Plain Central India Southern India

Upper Gangetic Plain (Kuru-Panchala)

Middle Gangetic Plain Lower Gangetic Plain


Culture Late Vedic Period Late Vedic Period (Brahmin ideology)[a] Painted Grey Ware culture

Late Vedic Period (Kshatriya/Shramanic culture)[b] Northern Black Polished Ware


 6th century BC Gandhara Kuru-Panchala Magadha


Culture Persian-Greek influences "Second Urbanisation" Rise of Shramana
movements Jainism
- Buddhism
- Ājīvika
- Yoga


 5th century BC (Persian rule)

Shishunaga dynasty


 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 Cheras 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
Bhagavad Gita
- Brahma Sutras - Smarta Tradition Mahayana Buddhism Sangam period (continued) (300 BC – 200 AD)

 2nd century BC Indo-Greek Kingdom Shunga Empire Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty

Early Cholas Early Pandyan Kingdom Satavahana dynasty Cheras 46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam

 1st century BC

 1st century AD

Indo-Scythians Indo-Parthians

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] Puranas 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) Vishnukundina

 6th century Nezak Huns Kabul Shahi


(tribes) Badami Chalukyas Kalabhra dynasty Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Culture Late-Classical Hinduism
(ca. AD 650-1100)[h] Advaita Vedanta
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) Pallava

 8th century Kabul Shahi

Pala Empire Pandyan Kingdom Kalachuri

 9th century


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 Rashtrakuta

References and sources for table


^ Samuel ^ Samuel ^ Michaels (2004) p.39 ^ Hiltebeitel (2002) ^ Michaels (2004) p.39 ^ Hiltebeitel (2002) ^ Micheals (2004) p.40 ^ Michaels (2004) p.41


Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press  Hiltebeitel, Alf (2002), Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture", Routledge  Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism. Past and present, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press  Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga
and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press 

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Magadh division topics


Magadha Barabar Caves


Arwal Aurangabad Gaya Jehanabad Nawada

Community development blocks



Lilajan/Niranjana Mohana Punpun Son


NH 2 NH 31 NH 83 NH 96 NH 110 Grand Chord Asansol–Gaya section Gaya–Mughalsarai section

Railway stations

Gaya Junction Son Nagar

Lok Sabha constituencies

Aurangabad Gaya Jahanabad Nawada

See also

Cities and towns in Magadh Division People from Aurangabad Bihar

Other Divisions

Bhagalpur Darbhanga Kosi Munger Patna Purnia Saran Tirhut

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Historical regions of North India

Ajmer Awadh Bagelkhand Bhojpur Braj Bundelkhand Delhi Doab Doaba Dhundhar Garhwal Gird Godwar Hadoti Jaisalmer Jangladesh Kumaon Magadha Mahakoshal Majha Malwa Malwa
(Punjab) Marwar Mewar Mewat Mithila Nimar Purvanchal Rohilkhan