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Mahishmati was an ancient city mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. It was the capital of the kingdom named Heheya. Kartavirya Arjuna, a Yadava king, was the foremost ruler of Mahismati and Haiheya (Mbh 13:52). He was killed by Bhargava Rama. Epic Ramayana mentions about the attack of Rakshasa king Ravana on Mahishmati. Pandava general Sahadeva also has attacked Mahishmati, when King Nila was its ruler (2:30). King Nila of Mahishmati is mentioned as a leader in the Kurukshetra War, rated by Bhishma as a Rathi. His coat of mail had blue colour (Mbh 5:19,167).It was a major trade centre in Mauryan and post Mauryan period.Mahishmati was terminus of Dakshinapath trade route which was extended to Amravati in Andhra Pradesh.Mahishmati is identified to be modern day Maheshwar, a town in the Khargone District in Madhya Pradesh state of India.
During the 6th and 7th centuries, Mahishmati may have served as the capital of the Kalachuri Kingdom. The Kalachuris were the builders of the famous cave temples on Elephanta Island in Mumbai harbor and also of several caves at the well-known site of Ellora, including the famous Rameshwara cave (Cave 21). Both Elephanta and Ellora are World Heritage Sites.
- Subodh Kapoor (2002). Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Geography, Volume 2. Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd. p. 435. ISBN 9788177552997.
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- "Kalachuris of Mahismati". CoinIndia. Retrieved 2012-01-08.