Ancient India Simplified: The Rise of Magadha

1. The most powerful kingdom in North India from the 6th century to the 4th century B.C.
2. Agriculture Surplus because of fertile alluvial soil, and abundant water availability. 
3. Rise of towns and use of metallic money (Punched marked coins) boosted trade and commerce that increased royal revenue.
4. Use of Elephants on a large scale added to the military power.
5. Advantageous strategic geographic location both at Rajgor and Pataliputra. Rajgir was surrounded by a group of hills rendering it impregnable. Pataliputra was a water fort (Jaladurga), besides it was at the confluence of many rivers and hence allowed communication and navigation from all sides. Closeness to the natural resources such as Iron ore and Timber from forests allowed them to equip themselves with effective weapons.
6. Magadha Kingdom saw rule of 3 important dynasties:
  1. Hiranyaka Dynasty  (500-400 B.C)
    1. The first ruler: Bimbisara, contemporary of Buddha. 
    2. Bimbisara sent royal physician Jivika to Ujjain (Avanti)
    3. Ajatasatru seized the throne after killing his father Bimbisara.
    4. Udayin succeeded Ajatashatru and founded Pataliputra. 
  2. Shishunaga Dynasty (400-350 B.C)
    1. The most famous event was the shifting of the capital to Vaishali.
    2. Their greatest achievement was the destruction of the power of Avanti.
    3. Kalashoka hosted the 2nd Buddhist Council in 383 BC at Vaishali.
  3. Nanda Dynasty (350-320 B.C)
    1.  Mahapadma Nanada, who was from a ‘shudra’ lineage, laid the foundation of the Nanda dynasty in Magadha.
    2. Claimed to be an Ekarat, the sole sovereign.
    3.  Puranas refer to him as “destroyer of all Kshatriyas” i.e. Sarvaksatrantaka.
    4. He was a contemporary of Alexander of Macedonia.
7. The Nandas were overthrown by the Mauryan Dynasty under the Magadhan Empire by Chandragupta Maurya under the assistance of Kautilya (Chanakya).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *