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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Location of Kuninda relative to other groups: the Audumbaras, the Vemakas, the Vrishnis, the Yaudheyas, the Pauravas and the Arjunayanas

Kuninda (कुणिन्द) or Kulinda was an ancient central Himalayan kingdom documented from around the 2nd century BCE to the 3rd century, located in the modern state of Uttarakhand and southern areas of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. They fought Mahabharata War in Pandava's side

Variants of name

Mention by Panini

Kulinda (कुलिन्द) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [1]

Kingdom of Kuninda

The Kingdom of Kuninda (or Kulinda in ancient literature) was an ancient central Himalayan kingdom documented from around the 2nd century BCE to the 3rd century, located in the modern state of Uttarakhand and southern areas of Himachal Pradesh in northern India.

The history of the kingdom is documented from around the 2nd century BCE. They are mentioned in Indian epics and Puranas. The subhankar relates they were defeated by Arjuna.

One of the first kings of the Kuninda was Amoghbhuti, who ruled in the mountainous valley of the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers (in today's Uttarakhand and southern Himachal in northern India).

The Greek historian Ptolemy linked the origin of the Kuninda to the country where the rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and Sutlej originate.[2]

One of the Edicts of Ashoka on a pillar is also present at Kalsi, in the region of Garhwal, indicating the spread of Buddhism to the region from the 4th century BCE.

The Kuninda Kingdom disappeared around the 3rd century, and from the 4th century, it seems the region shifted to Shaivite beliefs. According to Hari Krishan Mittoo author of numerous books on Himachal, the Kanets are descendents of Kunindas.

Coinage: There are two types of Kuninda coinage, the first one issued around the 1st century BCE, and the second around the 2nd century CE. The first coins of the Kuninda were influenced by the numismatic model of their predecessor Indo-Greek kingdoms, and incorporated Buddhist and Hindu symbolism such as the triratna and images of Lakshmi. These coins typically follow the Indo-Greek weight and size standards (drachms, of about 2.14 g in weight and 19 mm in diameter), and their coins are often found together with Indo-Greek coins in hoards, such as those of the Yaudheyas, or the Audumbaras.

The finds of Kuninda coins have often been associated with finds of Indo-Greek coins, particularly those of Appolodotus.[3]

A very large portion of the Kuninda coins are in the name of king Amoghabhuti, and it is believed that coinage under his name continued after his death.[4]

Some later coins of the 2nd century CE bear the symbol of the god Shiva.[5]

Jat clans


V. S. Agrawala[6] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions janapada Kalakūṭa (कलकूट)/(कालकूट) (IV.1.173) - Sabhaparva calls it Kālakūṭa (कालकूट) and makes it a part of Kulinda conquered by Arjuna. Panini's Kuluna seems to be same as Kulinda and later Kuṇinda. Kulinda (Greek: Kulindrini was known to Ptolemy as an extensive country including the region of lofty mountains wherein the Beas, the Satluj, the Yamuna and Ganga had their sources. The Kalakūṭa lay some where in this area, with possible traces of its name in modern Kalka in Simla Hills.

The Salvas were a branch of the Madras and were ruling at Sialkot. These Madras had a branch named Kuninda, who were related to Koliya Naga. We know that the Madras were Vahikas and Jartas. Since according to grammatical illustration of Chandra-gomin the Jarta defeated the Huns, which means Skanda Gupta defeated the Huns. Hence Guptas were Jartas or Jat. [7]

The Mahabharata mentions the Janapadas in Himachal Pradesh such as Kuluta (Kullu), Trigarta (Kangra), Kulinda (Shimla hills and Sirmaur), Yugandhara (Bilaspur and Nalagarh), Gabdika (Chamba) and Audumbara (Pathankot).

Sandhya Jain[8] includes Kunindas (कुणिन्द), in the Mahabharata tribes listed on Pandava Side, who were a widely spread tribe in the Terai region of Haridwar (III.141.25). They were possibly of Kirata stock. Also known as Kulinda (from the river Kalindi), their coins have been found near the source of the Yamuna-Ganga. Dwelled north of the Yamuna from Dehradun to Jagadhri. They were the first tribe to be subjugated by Arjuna when he moved northwards from Khandavaprastha (II.23.13 ). Sided with the Pandavas in the war and attacked the Kauravas with a formidable army of elephants (VIII.62.33ff).

In Mahabharata

Kuninda (कुणिन्द) in Mahabharata (II.13.25), (II.23.13), (II.23.14), (II.48.3),(III.174.12),

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 13 mentions the tribes who fled out of fear of Jarasandha. Kuninda (कुणिन्द) tribe is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.13.25). [9].... the eighteen tribes of the Bhojas, from fear of Jarasandha, have all fled towards the west; so also have the Surasenas, the Bhadrakas, the Vodhas, the Salwas, the Patachcharas, the Susthalas, the Sukuttas, and the Kunindas, along with the Kuntis.

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 23 mentions Kuninda (कुणिन्द) in Mahabharata (II.23.13)[10] and (II.23.14)[11]

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 48 describes Kings who presented tributes to Yudhishthira. Parada (परद) are mentioned in Mahabharata (II.48.3). [12]....They that dwell by the side of the river Sailoda flowing between the mountains of Meru and Mandara and enjoy the delicious shade of topes of the Kichaka Venu (bamboo) viz., the Khashas, Ekashanas, the Jyohas, the Pradaras, the Dirghavenas, the Pashupashas, the Kunindas, the Tanganas, and Paratanganas, brought as tribute heaps of gold measured in dronas (jars) and raised from underneath the earth by ants and therefore called after these creatures.

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 174 mentions Pandvas' journey twelfth year of their sojourn in forests having arrived reach Saraswati River. Kuninda (कुणिन्द) are mentioned in Mahabharata (III.174.12).[13]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[14] ने लेख किया है ... कुलिंद (AS, 209): कुलिंद देश के योद्धाओं का उल्लेख महाभारत, कर्णपर्व (85, 4) में हुआ है। वे पांडवों की ओर से महाभारत के युद्ध में सम्मिलित हुए थे- ‘नवजलदसवणैर्हस्तिभिस्तानुदीयुर्गिरिशिखरनिकाशैर्भीमवगै: कुलिन्दा:’

अर्थात् तत्पश्चात् कुलिंद के योद्धा नए मेघ के समान काले ओर गिरिशिखर के समान विशाल और भयंकर वेग वाले हाथियों को लेकर (कौरवों पर) चढ़ आए। इससे आगे के श्लोक में ‘सुकल्पितहैमवता मदोत्कटा:’ ये शब्द कुलिंद देश के हाथियों के लिए प्रयोग में आए हैं, जिससे इंगित होता है कि ये हाथी हिमालय प्रदेश के थे और इस प्रकार कुलिंद की स्थिति भी हिमालय के सन्निकट प्रमाणित होती है। यह संभव है कि वाल्मीकि रामायण, अयोध्याकाण्ड 68, 16. में वर्णित कुलिंग नगरी का [p.210]: कुलिंद से संबंध हो। कुलिंग की स्थिति शायद बियास (व्यास) और सतलुज नदियों के बीच के प्रदेश में थी। शायद वर्तमान हिमाचल प्रदेश के पहाड़ी भागों में कुलिंद की स्थित रही होगी। महाभारत, सभापर्व 26, 4 में भी कुलिंदों या कुणिदों का उल्लेख आया है। कुणिंदों के सिक्के देहरादून से जगाधरी तक यमुना नदी के उत्तर-पश्चिम की ओर पाए गए हैं। कुलिंगा नदी भी शायद कुलिंद प्रदेश में ही प्रवाहित हुआ करती थी।


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[15] ने लेख किया है ... Kuninda (कुणिंद) (AS, p.201) - 'आनर्तान कालकूटांश च कुणिन्दांश च विजित्य सः, सुमण्डलं पापजितं कृतवान अनु सैनिकम' (II.23.14) महाभारत सभा पर्व 26, 4. कुणिंद के गणराज्य के कुछ सिक्के देहरादून से जगाधरी तक के क्षेत्र में यमुना के उत्तर-पश्चिम की ओर पाए गए हैं. संभवत: महाभारत में वर्णित कुणिंद जनपद की स्थिति इसी प्रदेश में थी. कुणिंद का पाठांतर कुविंद और कुलिंद भी है. (देखें कुलिंद)

कुणिंद परिचय

कुणिंद भारत का एक प्रख्यात प्राचीन जनसमूह था, जिसका पहली और चौथी शती ई. के बीच अपना महत्वपूर्ण गणराज्य था। 'महाभारत में इसका उल्लेख 'पैशाच', 'अंबष्ठ' और 'बर्बर' नामक पर्वतीय जातियों के साथ हुआ है। 'महाभारत' में कहा गया है कि वे शैलोदा नदी के दोनों तटों पर कुणिंद लोग निवास करते थे। उनका प्रदेश काफ़ी विस्तृत था और उनके कई सौ कुल थे। कुणिंदों ने युधिष्ठिर को 'राजसूय यज्ञ' के समय पिपीलिका सुवर्ण भेंट किया था। 'रामायण और पुराणों में भी कुणिंदों का उल्लेख हुआ है। वराहमिहिर के कथनानुसार कुणिंद उत्तर-पूर्व के निवासी थे। उन्होंने इनका उल्लेख कश्मीर, कुलूत और सैरिन्ध के साथ किया है। टॉल्मी ने भी कुणिंदों की चर्चा की है। उसके कथनानुसार ये लोग विपाशा नदी (व्यास), शतद्रु (सतलुज), यमुना और गंगा नदियों के उद्गम प्रदेश में रहते थे।

इस प्रकार साहित्यिक सूत्रों के अनुसार कुणिंद लोग हिमालय के पंजाब और उत्तर प्रदेश से सटे निचले हिस्से में रहते थे। संभवत: कुमायूँ और गढ़वाल का क्षेत्र इनके अधिकार में था। कुणिंदों के गणराज्य के जो सिक्के मिले हैं, उनसे ज्ञात होता है कि वे लोग अपना शासन भगवान चित्रेश्वर (शिव) के नाम पर करते थे। चित्रेश्वर शिव: (भू-लिंग) का मंदिर कुमाऊँ में चित्रशिला नामक स्थान में आज भी विद्यमान है। ऐसा भी जान पड़ता है कि इस गणतंत्रीय राज्य ने राजतंत्र का रूप धारण कर लिया था। सिक्कों पर अमोघभूति नामक महाराज का उल्लेख मिलता है।

संदर्भ: भरतकोश-कुणिंद


  1. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.54
  2. Ptolemy, Geography 7.1.42: ὑπὸ δὲ τὰς Βιβάσιος καὶ τοῦ Ζαράδρου καὶ τοῦ Διαμούνα καὶ τοῦ Γάγγου ἡ Κυλινδρινή, "and enclosed by the Bibasis, the Zaradros, the Diamuna, and the Ganges is Kylindrinē."
  3. A pageant of Indian culture: art and archaeology by Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya p.156ff
  4. A pageant of Indian culture: art and archaeology by Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya p.156ff
  5. A pageant of Indian culture: art and archaeology by Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya p.156ff
  6. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.54
  7. K.P. Jayaswal's book, History of India, PP 115-16
  8. Sandhya Jain: Adi Deo Arya Devata - A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface, Rupa & Co, 7/16, Ansari Road Daryaganj, New Delhi, 2004 ,p.116, s.n.5.
  9. शूरसेना भद्र कारा बॊधाः शाल्वाः पतच चराः, सुस्थलाश च सुकुट्टाश च कुणिन्थाः कुन्तिभिः सह (II.13.25)
  10. पूर्वं कुणिन्द विषये वशे चक्रे महीपतीन, धनंजयॊ महाबाहुर नातितीव्रेण कर्मणा (II.23.13)
  11. आनर्तान कालकूटांश च कुणिन्दांश च विजित्य सः, सुमण्डलं पापजितं कृतवान अनु सैनिकम (II.23.14)
  12. खशा एकाशनाज्यॊहाः परदरा दीर्घवेनवः, पशुपाश च कुणिन्दाश च तङ्गणाः परतङ्गणाः (II.48.3)
  13. चीनांस तुखारान दरदान सदार्वान; देशान कुणिन्दस्य च भूरि रत्नान, अतीत्य दुर्गं हिमवत्प्रदेशं; पुरं सुबाहॊर थथृशुर नृवीराः (III.174.12)
  14. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.209-210
  15. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.201

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