Magadha was an ancient Indian kingdom in southern Bihar and was counted as one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas (Sanskrit: "Great Countries") of ancient India. Magadha played an important role in the development of Jainism and Buddhism, and two of India's greatest empires, the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, originated in Magadha.
The existence of Magadha is recorded in Vedic texts much earlier in time than 600 BCE. The earliest reference to the Magadha people occurs in the Atharvaveda, where they are found listed along with the Angas, Gandharis, and Mujavats. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganges; its first capital was Rajagriha (modern Rajgir), then Pataliputra (modern Patna). Rajagriha was initially known as 'Girivrijja' and later came to be known as so during the reign of Ajatashatru. Magadha expanded to include most of Bihar and Bengal with the conquest of Vajji confederation and Anga, respectively, The kingdom of Magadha eventually came encompass Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and the nations of Bangladesh and Nepal.
The Haryanka dynasty was the second ruling dynasty of Magadha, an ancient kingdom in India, which succeeded the Barhadratha dynasty. The reign of this dynasty probably began in the middle of 6th century BCE. Initially, the capital was Rajagriha. Later, it was shifted to Pataliputra, near the present-day Patna in India.
The founder of this dynasty was Bimbisara himself. According to the Buddhist text, the Mahavamsa, Bimbisara was anointed king by his father at the age of fifteen. According to George Turnour and N.L. Dey, the name of the father of Bimbisara was Bhatiya or Bhattiya, but the Puranas refer him as Hemajit, Kshemajit, Kshetroja or Ksetrauja and the Tibetan texts mention him as Mahapadma. This dynasty was succeeded by the Shishunaga dynasty.
The Nanda dynasty originated from the region of Magadha in ancient India during the 4th century BCE and lasted between 345-321 BCE. At its greatest extent, the empire ruled by the Nanda Dynasty extended from Bengal in the east, to the Punjab region in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range. The rulers of this dynasty were famed for the great wealth which they accumulated. The Nanda Empire was later conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire.
Anguttara Nikaya describes more about 16 Mahajanapada.
The Anguttara Nikaya (anguttaranikaya; literally "Increased by One Collection," also translated "Gradual Collection" or "Numerical Discourses") is a Buddhist scripture, the fourth of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the "three baskets" that comprise the Pali Tipitaka of Theravada Buddhism. This nikaya consists of several thousand discourses ascribed to the Buddha and his chief disciples arranged in eleven nipatas, or books, according to the number of dhamma items referenced in them.
Avanti was an ancient Indian janapada (realm), roughly corresponded to the present day Malwa region. According to the Buddhist text, the Anguttara Nikaya, Avanti was one of the solasa mahajanapadas (sixteen great realms) of the 6th century BCE. The janapada was divided into two parts by the Vindhyas, the northern part had its capital at Ujjayini and the southern part had its centre at Mahishmati.
Ajatashatru was a king of the Haryanka dynasty of Magadha in North India. He was the son of King Bimbisara and was a contemporary of both Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. He forcefully took over the kingdom of Magadha from his father and imprisoned him. He fought a war against Vajji, ruled by the Lichchhavis, and conquered the republic of Vaishali. Ajatashatru followed policies of conquest and expansion. He defeated his neighbours including the king of Kosala; his brothers, when at odds with him, went to Kashi, which had been given to Bimbisara as dowry. This led to a war between Magadha and Kosala. Ajatashatru occupied Kashi and captured the smaller kingdoms. Magadha under Ajatashatru became the most powerful kingdom in North India.
Bimbisara was the great follower of Mavira and Goutam Buddha.
King Bimbisara is referred to as King Shrenika of Rajgir in Jain literature who became a devotee of Jainism impressed by the calmness of Yamadhar (a Jain Muni). He frequently visited Samavasarana of Lord Mahavira seeking answers to his queries. He asked about the true version of Ramayana and an illuminating sage (King Prasana).
According to Buddhist scriptures, King Bimbisara met the Buddha for the first time prior to the Buddha's enlightenment, and later became an important disciple that featured prominently in certain Buddhist suttas. He is recorded to have attained sotapannahood, a degree of enlightenment in Buddhist teachings.
The Shishunaga dynasty is believed to have been the third ruling dynasty of Magadha, an empire of ancient India. According to the Puranas, this dynasty was the second ruling dynasty of Magadha, succeeding the legendary dynasty founded by Brihadratha.
Shishunaga, the founder of the dynasty, was initially an amatya or "minister" of the last Haryanka dynasty ruler Nagadasaka and ascended to the throne after a popular rebellion in c. 413 BCE. The capital of this dynasty initially was Rajgir; but later shifted to Pataliputra, near the present day Patna, during the reign of Kakavarna. According to tradition, Kakavarna was succeeded by his ten sons. This dynasty was succeeded by the Nanda Empire in c. 345 BCE.
The last king of Shishunanga dynasty was Nandi Bardhan.
Pataliputra adjacent to modern-day Patna, was a city in ancient India, originally built by Magadha ruler Ajatashatru in 490 BCE as a small fort near the Ganges river.
Extensive archaeological excavations have been made in the vicinity of modern Patna. Excavations early in the 20th century around Patna revealed clear evidence of large fortification walls, including reinforcing wooden trusses.
Patliputra situated in between Son and Ganga river.
The Sudarshan Lake is located in Girnar , Gujarat . This lake was constructed by Pushyagupta Vaishy, the governor appointed in his Girnar by the order of the emperor Chandragupta Maurya , the founder of the Maurya dynasty . Tishap, the great patron of the emperor Ashoka , restored this lake and strengthened it. In later times Skandagupta spent a lot of money generously and constructed a dam on this lake.
Megasthenes was an ancient Greek historian, diplomat and Indian ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period. He described India in his book Indika, which is now lost but has been partially reconstructed from the writings of the later authors.
Megasthenes was born in Asia Minor and became an ambassador of Seleucus I Nicator of the Seleucid dynasty to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However, the exact date of his embassy is uncertain. Scholars such as Kaushik Roy place him in the Maurya court between 302 and 298 BCE, prior to Chandragupta's voluntary death in 297. Other Greek envoys to the Indian court are known after Megasthenes: Deimachus as ambassador to Bindusara, and Dionysius, as ambassador to Ashoka.
Ashoka was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. He was the grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, who had created one of the largest empires in ancient India and then renounced it all to become a Jain monk. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire, and reigned over a realm that stretched from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east. It covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Patna), with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain.
Bindusara (r. c. 297 - c. 273 BCE) was the second Mauryan emperor of India. He was the son of the dynasty's founder Chandragupta, and the father of its most famous ruler Ashoka. Bindusara's life is not documented as well as the lives of these two emperors: much of the information about him comes from legendary accounts written several hundred years after his death.
Bindusara consolidated the empire created by his father. The 16th century Tibetan Buddhist author Taranatha credits his administration with extensive territorial conquests in southern India, but some historians doubt the historical authenticity of this claim.
Chanakya was an Indian teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist and royal advisor. He is traditionally identified as Kauṭilya or Vishnugupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise, the Arthashastra. As such, he is considered the pioneer of the field of political science and economics in India, and his work is thought of as an important precursor to classical economics. His works were lost near the end of the Gupta Empire and not rediscovered until the early twentieth century.
Chanakya assisted the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta in his rise to power. He is widely credited for having played an important role in the establishment of the Maurya Empire. Chanakya served as the chief advisor to both emperors Chandragupta and his son Bindusara.
King Udayin was the Indian ruler of Haryanka dynasty who ruled over Magadha from 460 BCE to 440 BCE. He was the son of Ajatashatru and grandson of king Bimbisara. King Udayin laid the foundation of the city of Pataliputra at the confluence of two rivers, the Son and the Ganges. He shifted his capital from Rajgriha to Patliputra because of the latter's central location in Magadha empire. He was succeeded by Anuruddha.
Shishunaga (or Shusunaga) (c. 444 - 363 BCE) was the founder of the Shishunaga dynasty of the Magadha Empire in the present day northern India. Initially, he was an amatya (official) of the Magadha empire under the Haryanka dynasty. He was placed on the throne by the people who revolted against the Haryanka dynasty rule. The Puranas tell us that he placed his son at Varanasi and himself ruled from Girivraja (Rajagriha). He was succeeded by his son Kalashoka (Kakavarna).
Mahapadma Nanda (c. 400 - c. 329 BCE) was the first king of the Nanda dynasty. He was the son of Mahanandin, king of the Shishunaga dynasty and a Shudra mother. Sons of Mahanandin from his other wives opposed the rise of Mahapadma Nanda, on which he eliminated all of them to claim the throne.
The first Nanda bore the name of Mahapadma or Mahapadmapati (sovereign of an infinite host or of immense wealth) according to the Puranas, and Ugrasena according to the Mahabodhivamsa. Puranas describe him as "the destroyer of all the Kshatriyas".
Edicts started at the time of Ashoka.
The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka as well as boulders and cave walls made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire during his reign from 269 BCE to 232 BCE. These inscriptions were dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail the Ashoka's view about dhamma, an earnest attempt to solve some of problems that a complex society faced. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created.
The Edicts are divided into:
Major Rock Edicts: 14 Edicts (termed 1st to 14th) and 2 separate ones found in Odisha
Major Rock Inscriptions: Minor Rock Edicts, the Queen's Edict, Barabar Caves inscriptions and the Kandahar bilingual inscription.
Kalhana mentions that a king named Ashoka had earlier established a town called Srinagari. Kalhana describes this town in hyperbolic terms, stating that it had "9,600,000 houses resplendent with wealth". According to Kalhana, this Ashoka reigned before 1182 BCE and was a member of the dynasty founded by Godhara. Kalhana states that this king adopted the doctrine of Jina, constructed stupas and Shiva temples, and appeased Bhutesha (Shiva) to obtain his son Jalauka.
Ashoka's Srinagari is generally identified with Pandrethan (near present-day Srinagar), although there is an alternative identification with a place on the banks of the Lidder River. According to Kalhana, Pravarasena II resided at Puranadhishthana ("old town") before the establishment of Pravarapura; the name Pandrethan is believed to be derived from that word. Accordining to V. A. Smith, the original name of the "old town" (Srinagari) was transferred to the new town.
Ashoka ( died 232 BCE ) was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. He was the grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, who had created one of the largest empires in ancient India and then renounced it all to become a Jain monk. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire, and reigned over a realm that stretched from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east. It covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra (in Magadha, present-day Patna), with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain.
In about 260 BCE, Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha). He conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors had done. Some scholars suggest he belonged to the Jain tradition, but it is generally accepted that he embraced Buddhism. Legends state he converted after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. "Ashoka reflected on the war in Kalinga, which reportedly had resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations, ending at around 200,000 deaths. "Ashoka converted to Buddhism about 263 BCE. He is remembered for the Ashoka pillars and edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, and for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.
Sanchi is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh,India.It is located in 46 kilometres (29 mi) north-east of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh. The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics. The original construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant of nearby Vidisha. Sanchi was also her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka's wedding. In the 1st century BCE, four elaborately carved toranas (ornamental gateways) and a balustrade encircling the entire structure were added. The Sanchi Stupa built during Mauryan period was made of bricks. The complex flourished until the 11th century.
Pushyamitra Shunga (c. 185 - c. 149 BCE) was the founder and first ruler of the Shunga Empire in North India.
Pushyamitra was originally a Senapati "General" of the Maurya Empire. In 185 BCE he assassinated the last Mauryan Emperor, Brihadratha Maurya, during an army review, and proclaimed himself King. He then performed Ashvamedha and brought much of North India under his rule. Inscriptions of the Shungas have been found as far as the Ayodhya (the Dhanadeva-Ayodhya inscription), and the Asokavadana account of the Divyavadana claims that the Shungas sent an army to persecute Buddhist monks as far as Sakala (Sialkot) in the Punjab region in the northwest.