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Panchanada (पञ्चनद) was name of Punjab region during Mahabharata times.[1] Punjab was part of the Indus Valley Civilization, more than 4000 years old.[2] List of Mahabharata people and places includes Panchanada (पञ्चनद) in Mahabharata (II.29.10), (V.19.29),(VI.20.10),(VI.52.5),(VIII.30.74), etc.


The main site of the Indus Valley Civilization in Punjab was the city of Harrapa. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of what is today Pakistan and eventually evolved into the Indo-Aryan civilization. The arrival of the Indo-Aryans led to the flourishing of the Vedic civilization along the length of the Indus River. This civilization shaped subsequent cultures in South Asia and Afghanistan.

Although the archaeological site at Harappa was partially damaged in 1857 when engineers constructing the Lahore-Multan railroad used brick from the Harappa ruins for track ballast, an abundance of artifacts have nevertheless been found.

Punjab was part of the great ancient empires including the Gandhara Mahajanapadas, Achaemenids, Macedonians, Mauryas, Kushans, Guptas and Hindu Shahi.

Agriculture flourished and trading cities (such as Multan and Lahore) grew in wealth.

Panjnad River

Indus River and its tributaries

Panjnad River (Hindi: पञ्ज्नद, Urdu/Punjabi Shahmukhi: پنجند, Punjabi Gurmukhi ਪੰਜਨਦ) (panj = five, nadi = river) is a river at the extreme end of Bahawalpur district in Punjab, Pakistan.

Location: Panjnad River is formed by successive confluence of the five rivers of Punjab, namely Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. Jhelum and Ravi join Chenab, Beas joins Sutlej, and then Sutlej and Chenab join to form Panjnad 10 miles north of Uch Sharif in Bahawalpur district.

Course :

The combined stream runs southwest for approximately 45 miles and joins Indus River at Mithankot. The Indus continues into the Arabian Sea. A barrage on Panjnad has been erected; it provides irrigation channels for Punjab and Sindh provinces south of the Sutlej and east of the Indus rivers.

Beyond the confluence of Indus and Panjnad rivers, the Indus river was known as Satnad (Sat = seven) carrying the waters of seven rivers including Indus river, which is believed to be in earlier times the Saraswati/Ghaggar/Hakra river which eventually dried and became a seasonal river due to seismic shifts in the glacial region of Himachal Pradesh where it originated and later on Kabul river and the five rivers of Punjab.

Jat History

Qanungo[3] writes that the author of Mujmal-ut-Twarikh records an interesting legend - that a joint embassy was sent by the Jats and Meds of Sindh to the Court of King Duryodhana, asking for a ruler to govern them. "The Jats and Meds . . . dwelt in Sindh and on the banks of the river which is Bahar (mouth of the Indus?) .... The Meds held the ascendancy over the Jats, and put them to great distress, which compelled them to take refuge on the other side of the river Pahan (Panjnad river?), but being accustomed to the use of boats, they used to cross the river and make attacks on the Meds, who were owners of sheep. It so came to pass that the Jats enfeebled the Meds, killed many of them and plundered their country. The Meds then became subject to the Jats.

"One of the Jat chiefs (seeing the state to which the Meds were reduced) made the people of his tribe understand that there was a time when the Meds attacked the Jats and harassed them, and that the Jats in their turn had done the same with the Meds. He impressed upon their minds the utility of both tribes living in peace, and then advised the Jats and Meds to send a few chiefs to wait on king Dajushan (Duryodhana), son of Dahrat (Dhritarashtra), and beg of him to appoint a in to whose authority both tribes might submit ... After some discussions they agreed to act upon it, and the Emperor Dajushan nominated his sister Dassal [Dushala], wife of King Jandrat (Jayadratha) a powerful prince to rule over the Jats and Meds. Dassal went and took care of the countries and cities . . . There was no Brahman or wise man in the country. She therefore wrote a long letter to her brother for assistance, who collected 30,000 Brahmans from an Hindustan, and sent them with their goods and dependents to his sister" (Elliot, i, 104).

In Mahabharata

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 29 mentions that Nakula subjugated Western Countries. Panchanada was one of them.

कृत्स्नं पञ्चनदं चैव तदैवापरपर्यटम
उत्तरज्यॊतिकं चैव तदा वृण्डाटकं पुरम
द्वारपालं च तरसा वशे चक्रे महाथ्युतिः (Mahabharata: II.29.10)

Udyoga Parva/Mahabharata Book V Chapter 19 mentions Kings and tribes Who joined Yudhishthira for war:

And for this reason the land of the five rivers, and the whole of the region called Kuru-jangala, and the forest of Rohitaka which was uniformly wild, and Ahichhatra and Kalakuta, and the banks of the Ganga River, and Varana River, and Vatadhana, and the hill tracts on the border of the Yamuna--the whole of this extensive tract--full of abundant corn and wealth, was entirely overspread with the army of the Kauravas.

ततः पञ्चनथं चैव कृत्स्नं च कुरुजाङ्गलम
तदा रॊहित कारण्यं मरु भूमिश च केवला (V.19.29)
अहिच छत्रं कालकूटं गङ्गाकूलं च भारत
वारणा वाटधानंयामुनश चैव पर्वतः (V.19.30)
एष थेशः सुविस्तीर्णः परभूतधनधान्यवान
बभूव कौरवेयाणां बलेन सुसमाकुलः (V.19.31)

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 20 mentions Warriors in Bhisma's division, which include Panchanada.

तस्य सैन्यं धार्तराष्ट्राश च सर्वे; बाह्लीकानाम एकथेशः शलश च
ये चाम्बष्ठाः कषत्रिया ये च सिन्धौ; तदा सौवीराः पञ्चनदाश च शूराः (Mahabharata:VI.20.10)

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 52 describes the order of army of the (Kuru) in Mahabharata War. Panchanadas were included in it.

भूरिश्रवाः शलः शल्यॊ भगथत्तश च मारिष
मथ्रकाः सिन्धुसौवीरास तदा पञ्चनदाश च ये (Mahabharata:VI.52.5)

External links


  1. Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency ..., Volume 1, Part 1-page-1
  2. Punjab History
  3. History of the Jats:Dr Kanungo/Origin and Early History, p.15

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