Chedi kingdom was one among the many kingdoms ruled during early periods by Paurava kings and later by Yadava kings in the central India. It falls roughly in the Bundelkhand division of Madhya Pradesh regions to the south of river Yamuna and along river Betwa or Vetravati. The Chedi kingdom was ruled by Sisupala, an ally of Jarasandha of Magadha and Duryodhana of Kuru. He was a rival of Vasudeva Krishna who was his uncle's son. He was killed by Vasudeva Krishna during the Rajasuya sacrifice of the Pandava king Yudhisthira. Bhima's wife was from Chedi. The city called Suktimati is mentioned as the capital of Chedi. Prominent Chedis during Kurukshetra War included Damaghosha, Shishupala, Dhrishtaketu, Suketu, Sarabha, Bhima's wife, Nakula's wife Karenumati, Dhristaketu's sons. Other famous Chedis included King Uparichara Vasu, his children, King Suvahu, King Sahaja.
References in Mahābhārata
Chedi mentioned as a Kingdom of Ancient India (Bharata Varsha)
The Kuru-Panchalas, the Salwas, the Madreyas, the Jangalas, the Surasenas, the Kalingas, the Vodhas, the Malas, the Matsyas, the Sauvalyas, the Kuntalas, the Kasi-Kosalas, the Chedis, the Karushas, the Bhojas...(6,9)
Chedi was one among the kingdoms chosen for spending the 13th year of exile by the Pandavas.
Surrounding the kingdom of the Kurus, are, many countries beautiful and abounding in corn, such as Panchala, Chedi, Matsya, Surasena, Pattachchara, Dasarna, Navarashtra, Malla, Salva, Yugandhara, Saurashtra, Avanti, and the spacious Kuntirashtra. (4,1)
King Uparichara Vasu and the festival of bamboo pole
Uparichara Vasu was a king of Chedi belonging to the Puru Dynasty. He was known as the friend of Indra. During his reign, Chedi kingdom had a good economic system and contained much mineral wealth, which made a lot of merchants around the world, come to the Kingdom. It was abundant in animals and corn. There were many towns and cities in the kingdom. He possessed a very special chariot. He introduced a festival in his kingdom in the honor of Indra. The festival involved planting of a bamboo pole every year, in honor of Indra. The king will then pray for the expansion of his cities and kingdom. After erecting the pole, people decked it with golden cloth and scents and garlands and various ornaments. From Chedi, he ruled a large territory, placing his sons as governors of various provinces. His son Vrihadratha (Maharatha) was installed in Magadha, who later fathered Emperor Jarasandha. His other sons, viz Pratyagraha, Kusamva (Manivahana), Mavella and Yadu also became governors at various places. Thus the Chedi king attained the status of an emperor and his kingdom became a vast empire. He diverted the waters of river Suktimati from the locks of the Mountain Kolahala, for irrigating his capital-city which he named Suktimati. (1,63)
- This beautiful city of the Chedis was called after the Oyster (14,83)
His wife Girika, was from the valley of Kolahala. Girika's brother was installed as the generalissimo of Vasu's army. Apart from his five royal sons, he had a son and a daughter born of a woman of fisherman community. The male child, in due course established the Matsya Kingdom and founded the royal dynasty called Matsya Dynasty. The female child lived as a member of fishermen community. Her line established as fishermen on the banks of river Yamuna, in the kingdom of Kurus. The famous Kuru king Santanu's wife Satyavati was from this fishermen community. The author of Mahābhārata, vis Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa and the Kuru kings viz Chitrangada and Vichitravirya were the sons of Satyavati. Pandavas and Kauravas were the grandsons of Vichitravirya.(1,63)
- Another story connects Vasu with vegetarianism in ancient India. Filled with doubts respecting the propriety of eating flesh, some sages asked Uparichara Vasu for solving them. King Vasu, knowing that flesh is inedible, answered that it was edible. From that moment Vasu fell down from the firmament on the earth. After this he once more repeated his opinion, with the result that he had to sink below the earth for it. (13,115)Cite error: A
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Other kingdoms in this group include
- Heheya (Narmada valley)
- Surasena (Mathura district Uttar Pradesh)
- Dasarna (in Madhya Pradesh)
- Karusha (in Madhya Pradesh)
- Kunti (in Madhya Pradesh)
- Avanti (around Ujjain)
- Malava (Eastern Rajasthan) (migrated from Western Malava)
- Gurjara (Southern Rajasthan)
- Anarta (Northern Gujarat)
- Saurashtra (Southern Gujarat)
- Dwaraka (Offshore Gujarat)
- Vidarbha (North East Maharashtra)
- Kisari Mohan Ganguli, The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose, 1883-1896.