Kushadhwaja

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Kushadhwaja, was a younger brother of Janaka, the father of Sita, the heroine of Ramayan. He ruled the kingdom of Benares. He had two daughters, Mandavi and Shrutakeerti who were wedded to Bharata and Shatrughna, the brothers of Lord Rama and sons of Dasaratha.

Sudhanva, supposedly an evil king of Sankasya Nagar (present day Basantpur village in Farukhabad District of UP, India near Benares), demands the hand of Sita from Janaka. In a war that ensues, Janaka defeats and perhaps kills Sudhanva. He bestows the kingdom of Sankasya to Kushadhwaja, perhaps for administrative reasons.

Apparently, Kushadhwaja's dynasty continued for long, since the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad mentions one Janaka as the king of Benares.

The story in the Upanishad goes like this: When Ajatasatru, the king of Benares was approached by a Brahmin for presents, he said: " I am prepared to give you 1,000 cows in return for a discourse on Brahman. Since I am accustomed to people coming to me and saying "Janaka! give me this!! janaka! given me that!!"

Thus, Ajatasatru, the king of Benares, could be belonging to the dynasty of Janaka.