Rise of Kingdoms

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At the end of the Vedic period, the Janapadas fought with each other for the new fertile lands and mineral wealth and for the same reason they tried to move towards the east. Because of this, they had clashes with the nonAryans who came from the east and south of the Indus Valley. Ultimately, the small Janapadas either defeated or joined themselves with the Mahajanapadas.

Many Janapadas joined to form the Mahajanapadas. They depended more on the types of lands than on the clans. There are sources to prove that during the period of Buddha there were 16 powerful Mahajanapadas in North India. Some of them were ruled by hereditary kings. The rest were ruled by elected kings.

There were 18 groups together in the Vajjian confederacy which had Vaishali as their capital.

Kosala, Avanti, Vatsa and Magadha were some of the powerful monarchies of this period. They fought with each other and other republics. Ultimately, Magadha defeated others and became the most powerful Mahajanapada

Name of Mahajanapadas

  • Anga
  • Magadha
  • Kosala
  • Kas
  • Vajji
  • Malla
  • Ked
  • Vatsa
  • Kuru
  • Panchal
  • Matsy
  • Surasena
  • Avanti
  • Gandhara
  • Kamboja

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Rise of Magadha

Bimbisara – Ajatasatru

  • First capital was Siravasthi, Lastly Pataliputra.
  • Bimbisara belonged to Haryanka Dynasty
  • His son Ajatasatru imprisoned his father

Sisunaga-Mahapadma Nanda

  • Sisunaga defeated the Haryanka Dynasty
  • Nanda Dynasty Succeeded Sisunga Dynasty He spread the rule of Magadha Throughout north India.
  • Mahapadmananda, the first Nanda king crossed the Vindhyas and annexed Deccan and extended the Magadha Empire beyond Vindhyas to Deccan.
  • Sisunaga and Maha padmananda, were Sudras they became the kings.
  • The Nandas patronized Jainism
  • During this period Macedonian king Alexander came with his troops through the West of India. He had to return since he was aware of the Nanda warfare and his soldiers were tired after a long journey.



Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta of Mauryan Dynasty revolted against the last Nanda king Dhanananda,

  • He took over the Magadha Dynasty (BC 324-299)
  • He also invaded parts of West India which were annexed by the Greeks under the leadership of Alexander.
  • Defeated the Greek General Seleucus Nikator also annexed Afghanistan and Gandhara with his empire.


The ambassador of Seleucus stayed at Pataliputra for many years and wrote about India in his book ‘Indica’


Chandragupta was succeeded by his son Bindusara who ruled for 25 years and succeeded by one of his sons Ashoka.

Ashoka’s Dharma Vijaya

  • Ashoka declared that helping his subjects and leading them in a righteous way is the duty of a king. He hated ‘Dig Vijaya’ (Conquest of the World)
  • To spread Dharma, he undertook a journey which was called ‘Dharma Vijaya’.
  • Constructed inns and hospitals for everyone irrespective of caste and creed.
  • Sacrifices were banned.
  • Ashoka was the first emperor who established the welfare state for people.

Ashoka and Buddhism

He was kind to Brahmins and Agivagirs

He organized the Third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra.Became a world religion by the efforts of Ashoka







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