|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)|
Magadha (मगध) formed one of the sixteen so-called Mahājanapadas (Sanskrit, 'great country') or regions in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the portion of Bihar lying south of the Ganges, with its capital at Rajagriha (modern Rajgir).
- 1 Location
- 2 Mention by Panini
- 3 Geography
- 4 History
- 5 In Mahabharata
- 6 Kings of Magadha
- 6.1 Brihadratha Dynasty (c. 1700–799 BC)
- 6.2 Trigarta (Trigart Raje) Dynasty (BC unknown)
- 6.3 Pradyota dynasty
- 6.4 Hariyanka dynasty (545 BC-346 BC) and Shishunaga dynasty (430-364 BC)
- 6.5 Nanda Dynasty (424-321 BC)
- 6.6 Maurya Dynasty (324-184 BC)
- 6.7 Shunga Dynasty (185-73 BC)
- 6.8 Kanva Dynasty (73-26 BC)
- 6.9 Western Kshatrapas (35–405 AD)
- 6.10 Gupta Dynasty (c. 240-550 AD)
- 7 Visit by Xuanzang in 637 AD
- 8 Jat Gotras associated with Magadha
- 9 References
Magadha expanded to include Eastern Uttar Pradesh most of Bihar and Bengal with the conquest of Licchavi and Anga respectively. The ancient kingdom of Magadha is mentioned in Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, and heavily mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina texts. The first reference to the Magadha occurs in the Atharva-Veda where they are found listed along with the Angas, Gandharis and the Mujavats as a despised people. Two of India's major religions started from Magadha; Two of India's greatest empires, the Mauryan Empire and Gupta Empire, along with others, originated from Magadha. They advanced ancient India's science, mathematics, astronomy, religion and philosophy and were considered the Indian "Golden Age". The Magadha kingdom included republican communities such as Rajakumara. Villages had their own assemblies under their local chiefs called Gramakas. Their administrations were divided into executive, judicial and military functions.
Mention by Panini
The kingdom of the Magadha roughly corresponded to the modern districts of Patna and Gaya in southern Bihar, and parts of Bengal in the east. It was bounded on the north by river Ganga, on the east by the river Champa, on the south by Vindhya mountains and on the west by river Sona. During Buddha’s time and onward, its boundaries included Anga.
There is little certain information available on the early rulers of Magadha. The most important sources are the Buddhist Chronicles of Sri Lanka, the Puranas, and various other Jaina and Buddhist texts. Based on these sources, it appears that Magadha was ruled by the Śiśunāga dynasty for some 200 years, c. 550 BC - 350 BC. The Śiśunāga dynasty was overthrown by Ugrasena Mahāpadma Nanda, the first of the so-called nine Nandas (a.k.a. the Nanda or Nava Nanda dynasty). He was followed by his eight sons, whose names were (according to the Mahābodhivamsa) Panduka, Pandugati, Bhūtapāla, Ratthapāla, Govisānaka, Dasasiddhaka, Kevatta, and Dhana Nanda. According to the Sri Lankan Chronicles, the Nanda dynasty was in power for mere 22 years, while the Puranas state that Mahāpadma ruled for 28 years and his eight sons for only 12.
After the death of Bimbisara at the hands of his son, Ajatashatru, the widowed princess of Kosala also died of grief, causing King Prasenajit to revoke the gift of Kashi and triggering a war between Kosala and Magadha. Ajatashatru was trapped by an ambush and captured with his army; but in a peace treaty he, his army, and Kashi were restored to Magadha, and he married Prasenajit's daughter.
Accounts differ slightly as to the cause of Ajatashatru's war with the Licchavi republic. It appears that Ajatashatru sent a minister, who for three years worked to undermine the unity of the Licchavis at Vaishali. To launch his attack across the Ganga River, Ajatashatru had to build a fort at a new capital called Pataliputra, which the Buddha prophesied would become a great center of commerce. Torn by disagreements the Licchavis were easily defeated once the fort was constructed. Jain texts tell how Ajatashatru used two new weapons – a catapult and a covered chariot with swinging mace that has been compared to modern tanks.
In 326 BC, the army of Alexander the Great approached the boundaries of the Magadhan Empire. The army, exhausted and frightened by the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges River, mutinied at the Beas River (Hyphasis) and refused to march further East. Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, was convinced that it was better to return, and turned south, conquering his way down the Indus to the Ocean.
A short while later, Magadha was the seat of the powerful Mauryan Empire, founded by Chandragupta Maurya, which extended over most of Southern Asia under Asoka; and, later, of the powerful Gupta Empire. The capital of the Mauryan Empire, Pataliputra (modern Patna), was begun as a Magadhan fortress and became the capital sometime after Ajatashatru's reign. Chandragupta destroyed the Nanda dynasty around 321 BC, and became the first king of the great Mauryan Empire.
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है ...कीकट (AS, p.192) गया (बिहार) का परिवर्ती प्रदेश था. पुराणों के अनुसार बुद्धावतार कीकट देश में ही हुआ था. कीकट का सर्वप्रथम उल्लेख ऋग्वेद में है-- ' किंते कृण्वंति कीकटेषु गावो नाशिरं दुहे न तपन्ति धर्मं आनोभरप्रमगंदस्य वेदो नैचाशाखं के मधवत्रन्ध्यान:' 3,53, 14. इस उद्धरण में कीकट के शासक है प्रमगंद का उल्लेख है. यास्क के अनुसार (निरुक्त 6,32) कीकट अनार्य देश था. पुराण काल में कीकट मगध ही का एक नाम था तथा इससे सामन्यत: अपवित्र समझा जाता था; केवल गया और राजगृह तीर्थ रूप में पूजित थे-- 'कीकटेषु गया पुण्या पुण्यं राजगृहं वनम्' वायु पुराण 108,73. बृहद्धर्मपुराण में भी कीकट अनिष्ट देश माना गया है किन्तु कर्णदा और गया को अपवाद कहा गया है-- 'तत्र देशे गया नाम पुण्यदेशोस्ति वुश्रुत:, नदी च कर्णदा नाम पितृणां स्वर्गदायिनी' 26,47. श्रीमद्भागवत में कतिपय अपवित्र अथवा अनार्य लोगों के देशों में कीकट या मगध की गणना की गई है. महाभारत काल में भी ऐसी ही मान्यता थी. पांडवों की तीर्थ यात्रा के प्रसंग में वर्णन है कि वे जब मगध की [p.193] सीमा के अंदर प्रवेश करने जा रहे थे तो उनके सहयात्री ब्राह्मण वहां से लौट आए. संभव है कि इस मान्यता का आधार वैदिक सभ्यता का मगध या पूर्वोत्तर भारत में देर से पहुंचना हो. अथर्ववेद 5,22,14 से भी अंग और मगध का वैदिक सभ्यता के प्रसार के बाहर होना सिद्ध होता है. पुराण काल में शायद बौद्ध धर्म का केंद्र होने के कारण ही मगध को अपुण्य देश समझा जाता था.
Military Campaign of Karna: Mahabharata, Book 3, Chapter 252.... Then descending from the mountain and rushing to the east, he reduced the Angas, and the Bangas, and the Kalingas, and the Mandikas, and the Magadhas. the Karkakhandas; and also included with them the Avasiras, Yodhyas, and the Ahikshatras. Having (thus) conquered the eastern quarter Karna then presented himself before Batsa-bhumi.
Kings of Magadha
Brihadratha Dynasty (c. 1700–799 BC)
Semi-legendary rulers in Purana accounts.
- Susharma Chand
- Somapi (1678-1618 BC)
- Srutasravas (1618-1551 BC)
- Ayutayus (1551-1515 BC)
- Niramitra (1515-1415 BC)
- Sukshatra (1415-1407 BC)
- Brihatkarman (1407-1384 BC)
- Senajit (1384-1361 BC)
- Srutanjaya (1361-1321 BC)
- Vipra (1321-1296 BC)
- Suchi (1296-1238 BC)
- Kshemya (1238-1210 BC)
- Subrata (1210-1150 BC)
- Dharma (1150-1145 BC)
- Susuma (1145-1107 BC)
- Dridhasena (1107-1059 BC)
- Sumati (1059-1026 BC)
- Subhala (1026-1004 BC)
- Sunita (1004-964 BC)
- Satyajit (964-884 BC)
- Biswajit (884-849 BC)
- Ripunjaya (849-799 BC)
Trigarta (Trigart Raje) Dynasty (BC unknown)
- Katoch Clan Kings & Emperors
- Jaswal Clan Kings & Emperors
- Guleria Clan Kings & Emperors
- Sibaia Clan Kings & Emperors
- Dadwal Clan rulers
Ruling 799-684 BC according to calculations based on the Vayu Purana.
Hariyanka dynasty (545 BC-346 BC) and Shishunaga dynasty (430-364 BC)
- Bimbisara (545-493 BC), founder of the first Magadhan empire
- Ajatashatru (493-461 BC)
- Darshaka (from 461 BC)
- Shishunaga (430 BC), established the kingdom of Magadha
- Kakavarna Kalashoka (394-364 BC)
- Kshemadharman (618-582 BC)
- Kshatraujas (582-558 BC)
- Mahanandin (until 424 BC), his empire is inherited by his illegitimate son Mahapadma Nanda
Nanda Dynasty (424-321 BC)
- Mahapadma Nanda (from 424 BC), illegitimate son of Mahanandin, founded the Nanda Empire after inheriting Mahanandin's empire
- Dhana (Agrammes, Xandrammes) (until 321 BC), lost his empire to Chandragupta Maurya after being defeated by him
Maurya Dynasty (324-184 BC)
- Chandragupta Maurya (Sandrakottos) (324-301 BC), founded the Mauryan Empire after defeating both the Nanda Empire and the Macedonian Seleucid Empire, claimed descent from Shakya dynasty
- Bindusara Amitraghata (301-273 BC)
- Ashoka Vardhana (Ashoka the Great) (273-232 BC), considered the greatest ancient Indian emperor, first emperor to unify India (after conquering most of South Asia and Afghanistan), adopt Buddhism, grant animal rights and promote non-violence
- Dasaratha (232-224 BC)
- Samprati (224-215 BC)
- Salisuka (215-202 BC)
- Devavarman (202-195 BC)
- Satadhanvan (195-187 BC), the Mauryan Empire had shrunk by the time of his reign
- Brhadratha (187-184 BC), assassinated by Pusyamitra Shunga,a brahman
Shunga Dynasty (185-73 BC)
- Pusyamitra Shunga (185-149 BC), founded the dynasty after assassinating Brhadrata
- Agnimitra (149-141 BC), son and successor of Pusyamitra
- Vasujyeshtha (141-131 BC)
- Vasumitra (131-124 BC)
- Andhraka (124-122 BC)
- Pulindaka (122-119 BC)
- Bhagabhadra, mentioned by the Puranas
- Devabhuti (83-73 BC), last Sunga king
Kanva Dynasty (73-26 BC)
- Vasudeva (c. 75 – c. 66 BCE)
- Bhumimitra (c. 66 – c. 52 BCE)
- Narayana (c. 52 – c. 40 BCE)
- Susarman (c. 40 – c. 26 BCE)
Western Kshatrapas (35–405 AD)
- Nahapana (119–124 AD)
- Castanafl (c. 120)
- Rudradaman I (c. 130–150)
- Damajadasri I (170–175)
- Jivadaman (175, d. 199)
- [[Rudrasimha I (175–188, d. 197)
- Isvaradatta (188–191)
- Rudrasimha I (restored) (191–197)
- Jivadaman (restored) (197–199)
- Rudrasena I (200–222)
- Samghadaman (222–223)
- Damasena (223–232)
- Damajadasri II (232–239) with
- Viradaman (234–238)
- Yasodaman I (239-240)
- Yasodaman II (240)
- Vijayasena (240–250)
- Damajadasri III (251–255)
- Rudrasena II (255–277)
- Visvasimha (277–282)
- Bhartridaman (282–295) with
- Visvasena (293–304)
- Rudrasimha II (304–348) with
- Yasodaman II (317–332)
- Rudradaman II (332–348)
- Rudrasena III (348–380)
- Simhasena (380–?)
Gupta Dynasty (c. 240-550 AD)
- Sri-Gupta I (c. 240-290)
- Ghatotkacha (290-305)
- Chandra Gupta I (305-335), founder of the Gupta Empire, which is often regarded as the golden age of Indian culture
- Samudra Gupta (335-370)
- Rama Gupta (370-375)
- Chandra Gupta II (Chandragupta Vikramaditya) (375-415), son of Samudra Gupta, the Gupta Empire achieved its zenith under his reign, the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien describes Indian culture during his reign
- Kumara Gupta I (415-455)
- Skanda Gupta (455-467)
- Kumara Gupta II (467-477)
- Buddha Gupta (477-496)
- Chandra Gupta III (496-500)
- Vainya Gupta (500-515)
- Narasimha Gupta (510-530)
- Kumara Gupta III (530-540)
- Vishnu Gupta (c. 540-550)
Visit by Xuanzang in 637 AD
Alexander Cunningham writes that From Nepal, Hwen Thsang returned to Vaisali, and then proceeding to the south, crossed the Ganges and entered the capital of Magadha. He notes that the city was originally called Kusumapura, that it had been deserted for a long time, and was then in ruins. It was 70 li, or 11-2/3 miles, in circuit, exclusive of the new town of Pataliputra-pura. This name the Greeks slightly altered to Palibothra on the authority of Megasthenes, whose account is preserved by Arrian. " The capital city of India is Palibothra, in the confines of the Prasii, near the confluence of the two great rivers Erannoboas and Ganges. Erannoboas is reckoned the third river throughout all India, and is inferior to none but the Indus and the Ganges, into the last of which it discharges its waters. Megasthenes assures us that the length of this city is 80 stadia, the breadth 15; that it is surrounded with a ditch, which takes up 6 acres of ground and is 30 cubits deep ; that the walls are adorned with 570 towers and 64 gates." According to this account the capital of Magadha in the time of Seleukos Nikator was 220 stadia, or 25-1/4 miles, in circuit. This is about the size of the modern city of Patna, which when surveyed by Buchanan was 9 miles in length by 2-1/4 miles in breadth, or 22½ miles, in circumference. In the
Diodorus attributes the foundation of the city to Herakles, by whom he may perhaps mean Bala-Rama, the brother of Krishna, but this early origin is not countenanced by the native authorities. According to the Vayu Purana the city of Kusumapura or Pataliputra was founded by Raja Udayaswa, the grandson of Ajatasatru, who was the well-known contemporary of Buddha ; but the ' Mahawanso' makes Uddaya the son of Ajatasatru. According to the Buddhist accounts, when Buddha crossed the Ganges, on his last journey from Rajagriha to Vaisali, the two ministers of Ajatasatru, king of Magadha, were engaged in building a fort at the village of Patali as a check upon the Wajjians, or people of Vriji. Buddha then predicted that it would become a great city. From these concurring authorities I conclude that the building of the city of Pataliputra was actually begun in the reign of Ajatasatru, but was not finished until the reign of his son, or grandson, Udaya, about B.C. 450.
The position of the city at the junction of the Ganges and Erannoboas was formerly supposed to refer to the confluence of the Gandak or Hiranyavati, which joins the Ganges immediately opposite Patna. But it has been conclusively shown by Mr. Eavenshaw that the Son river formerly joined the Ganges
[p.454]: just above the city of Patna. As the Sona, or " golden " river, is also called the Hiranya-baha , ox the golden, on account of its broad yellow sands, its identification with the Erannoboas is complete both as to name and position.
Strabo and Pliny agree with Arrian in calling the people of Palibothra by the name of Prasii, which modern writers have unanimously referred to the Sanskrit prachya, or " eastern." But it seems to me that Prasii is only the Greek form of Palasiya or Parasiya, a "man of Palasa or Parasa," which is an actual and well-known name of Magadha, of which Palibothra was the capital. It obtained this name from the Palasa, or Butea frondosa, which still grows as luxuriantly in the province as in the time of Hwen Thsang. The common form of the name is Parās, or when quickly pronounced Prās, which I take to be the true original of the Greek Prasii. This derivation is supported by the spelling of the name given by Curtius, who calls the people Pharrasii, which is an almost exact transcript of the Indian name Parāsiya. The Praxiakos of Aelian is only the derivative form Palāsaka.
According to Hwen Thsang's estimate the province of Magadha was about 5000 li, or 833 miles, in circuit. It was bounded by the Gauges on the north, by the district of Banaras on the west, by Hiranya Parvata, or Mongir, on the east, and by Kirana Suvarna, or Singbhum on the south. It must, therefore, have extended to the
[p.455]: Karmnasa river on the west, and to the sources of the Damuda river on the south. The circuit of these limits is 700 miles measured direct on the map, or about 800 miles by road-distance.
As Magadha was the scene of Buddha's early career as a religious reformer, it possesses a greater number of holy places connected with Buddhism than any other province of India. The chief places are. Buddha-Gaya, Kukhutapada, Rajagriha, Kusagarapura, Nalanda, Indrasilaguha, and the Kapotika monastery, all of which will be described separately, whilst the smaller places will be noticed in the account of Hwen Thsang's route to the more important localities.
Jat Gotras associated with Magadha
Bhim Singh Dahiya has mentioned about the rule of Munda people in Magadha. The inscriptional evidences show that Jat rulers and tribes in north India from Kabul to Cuttack, in the period following the disintegration of Kushanas empire. Particularly Magadha area was under the rule of people who had the title, Murunda. They are admitted to be Sakas or Scythians. 
The Geographike of Ptolemy says that in 140 AD, the Murundas were established in the valley of the river Sarabos or Sarayu.  Half a century later, Oppien mentions the "Muruandien" as a Gangetic people.  S R Goyal quotes several other Jain authorities to show that Patliputra in particular, as well as Kanyakubja were ruled by Murundas/Sakas. The Jain ascetic, Padlipta Suri, cured the Murunda ruler of Patliputra of terrible headache and converted him to Jainism.  During the reign of Wu dynasty (220 - 227 AD) Fan Chen, the King of Kambodia, according to PC Bagchi sent his relative as ambassdor to the Indian King of Patliputra. The ambassador was heartily welcomed and the gesture was returned by the Indian king who sent two men as ambassador as well as four horses of the Yue-chi i.e. the Jat country, as presents to the King of Kambodia. According to this account Buddhism was in prosperous state at that time in Magadha and the title of the king was Meouloun. This title has been identified with Murunda and this shows that in the middle of third century AD the Murundas were still ruling over Patliputra.  These Murunda rulers of Patliputra had special relations with Peshawar. It was but natural, for, after all Murundas and Kushanas both belonged to the same Scithian stock. 
From this it is clear that racially the rulers of Magadha in the third century AD were identical with Kushanas, ruling Afghanistan. In the Puranas they are mentioned as ruling India after the Tukharas (Takhar Jats) and Puranas also say that 13 kings of Murunda dynasty ruled India. It is significant that the Puranas also mention that these Murunda rulers destroyed the caste system and, in the language of Purans, they raised "low caste people" to high offices and all these people were of "Mleccha" origin. The Vishnu Purana correctly gives the clan name of these people as Munda - a still existing Jat clan. The title Murunda means "Lord", in Saka language, as per Sten Konow. 
Thus the literary evidence and evidence of Puranas shows that immediately before the Guptas, the Mundas were ruling over Magadha and their rule lasted for about two centuries, by taking 15 years for one rule. It is unfortunate that none of the thirteen rulers, is even named in the Indian history. This is really a pity for the Indian historians. Apparently, all this was deliberately done to remove all traces of the rule of the Jats which lasted for many centuries in all parts of India. It is possible that the Puranas, which were revised during or after the Gupta age, deliberately excluded details of these Jat rulers. 
Thus inscriptional as well as the literary and Puranic evidence shows that various Jat clans ruling in North India. The Varikas, the Mauryas, the Mundas, the Kushanas, the Taanks, etc. are of them. Various other clans having republic governments, mentioned in the Allahabad Pillar inscription of Samudragupta, are still existing Jat clans. This clear picture of different Jat clans ruling in different parts of north India is striking and can not be ignored by any writer of Indian history. 
Kasya (कास्या) or Kashya (काश्य) is gotra of Jats were Suryavansh people, who ruled in Kashi. When they lost their kingdom of Kashi to the Magadha, moved from there to else where. Since they had com from Kashi hence known as Kashya or Kashiwat. Kasya gotra Jats live in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh.
The Burdak gotra of Jats are probably related with Virudhaka also. Virudhaka (विरूढक) (IAST: Virūḍhaka, Pali: Viḍūḍabha) was son of Raja Prasenjit and king of Kashi. Soon after usurping the prosperous kingdom built up by his father Bimbisara, the parricide Ajatashatru went to war with his aged uncle Prasenjit, and gained complete control of Kashi. Just after this Prasenjit, like Bimbisara, was deposed by his son Virudhaka, and died. The new king, Virūḍhaka (in Pali Viḍūḍabha), then attacked and virtually annihilated the little autonomous tribe of Shakyas, in Himalyan foothills, and we hear no more of the people which produced the greatest of Indians, the Buddha.  Probably Virudhaka, like Ajatashatru of Magadha, had ambitions of empire, and wished to embark on a career of conquest after bringing the outlying peoples, who had paid loose homage to his father, more directly under the control of the centre; but his intentions were unfulfilled, for we hear no more of him except an unreliable legend that he was destroyed by a miracle soon after his massacre of Shakyas. A little later his kingdom was incorporated in Magadha.  Alexander Cunningham found a sculpture of Virudhaka at Bharhut stupa in Satna district in Madhya Pradesh.  There is an inscription in a scene at Bharhut which reads as under:
- Vadukokatha dohati nadode pavate - This long label inscription shows a curious scene but could not be made out by historians. Infact Vaduko has been used for Burdak in prakrit language.
Dhillons are linked to the royal house of the Pandavas. Yudhishtra was ruler of Hastinapur and Indraprastha, later known as Delhi. The third ruling Jat dynasty in this line was Dhillon whose descendants are the present Jat gotras. Dhillon, Dhilwal and Dhill. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, has written in his book "Satyarth Prakash" ("The Light of Truth"), quoted from the famous book "Chadrika Pushtika" that from Yudhishtra to Harsha Vardhan, 124 rulers ruled for 4257 years 9 months and 14 Days . Six dynasties ruled during this period. The first three dynasties had their capitals in Hastinapur, Indraprastha and Kausambi. During the reign of the fourth generation, the capital was changed to Magadha. It is also mentioned that during the reign of the fourth generation of Yudhisthra, Hastinapur was destroyed due to changes in the course of the River Ganga.
Prodyota (प्रोद्योत) was a king of Avanti, now known as Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Podoth (पोदोथ) gotra of Jats have originated from King Prodyota (प्रोद्योत) of Avanti.  The inscriptions of Buddhists and Jainas give us information on the events which took place after the death of founders of these two religions. We know scarcely anything about the latter part of Ajatashatru's reign. There is evidence that he fought Prodyota, the king of Avanti, and that for a time at least the fortunes did not favour him.
Lamboria, Chavel, Talan, Chakora
Trigarta (Trigart Raje) Dynasty (BC unknown) :
- Katoch Clan Kings & Emperors
- Jaswal Clan Kings & Emperors
- Guleria Clan Kings & Emperors
- Sibaia Clan Kings & Emperors
- Dadwal Clan rulers
These clans are found in Jats.
Back to Jat Kingdoms in Ancient India
Back to Jats in Buddhism