Haryanka dynasty

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Haryanka dynasty
544 BCE–413 BCE
The approximate extent of the Haryanka dynasty between the 6th and 5th century BCE.[1]
The approximate extent of the Haryanka dynasty between the 6th and 5th century BCE.[1]
later Pataliputra
Common languagesSanskrit
Magadhi Prakrit
Other Prakrits
Hinduism Buddhism
• 544-492 BCE
• 492-460 BCE
• 460-444 BCE
• 444-440 BCE
• 440-437 BCE
• 437-413 BCE
• Established
544 BCE
• Disestablished
413 BCE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Pradyota dynasty
Vedic period
Shishunaga dynasty
Today part ofIndia

The Haryanka dynasty was the third ruling dynasty of Magadha, an empire of ancient India, which succeeded the Pradyota dynasty and Barhadratha dynasty. Initially, the capital was Rajagriha. Later, it was shifted to Pataliputra, near the present-day Patna in India during the reign of Udayin. Thus Bimbisara is considered as the main founder of the dynasty.

According to the Buddhist text, the Mahavamsa, Bimbisara was appointed king by his father, Bhattiya, at the age of fifteen.[3]

This dynasty was succeeded by the Shishunaga dynasty.


The governance structure of Haryanka dynasty is mentioned in ancient texts. They mention gramakas (village headmen) who headed village assemblies and mahamatras (high-ranking officials) who had executive, judicial and military functions.[4]

Historically, this period coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley during the rule of Darius I from about 517/516 BCE.[5]



King Bimbisara of the Magadhan Haryanka dynasty visits the Bamboo Garden (Venuvana) in Rajagriha; artwork from Sanchi.

Bimbisara reigned from 545 to 493 BCE. The extent of his kingdom is mentioned in Mahavagga. His advisors included Sona Kolivisa, Sumana (flower gatherer), Koliya (minister), Kumbhaghosaka (treasurer) and Jīvaka (physician). He was given the title of Seniya.[4]

Both Jain and Buddhist texts claim the king was a follower of their respective religions. Uttaradhyayana Sutra says he was a follower of Mahavira, whereas Sutta Nipata depicts him and his wife, Khema, as followers of Buddha. The latter further mentions he deputed Jīvaka to assist Buddha's Sangha.[4] He also married Chellana and Kosala Devi, sister of Pasenadi.[6]

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.[7]


Ajatashatru of Magadha used catapults against the Licchavis.

Ajatashatru reigned from 493 to 462 BCE.[4] He married Vajira, Kosala's princess.[8]

In some sources, Bimbisara was imprisoned and killed by his son and successor, Ajatashatru, under whose rule the dynasty reached its largest extent. Ajatashatru was contemporary with Mahavira (599–527 BCE) and Gautama Buddha (563–483 BCE). Ajatashatru fought a war against Vajji, ruled by the Lichhavis, and conquered the republic of Vaisali.[8]


Udayin or Udayabhadra is mentioned in Buddhist and Jain texts as the successor of Ajatashatru. Puranas however mention him as the fourth king after Darshaka.[9]

Later rulers[edit]

Puranas mention Nandivardhana and Mahanandin as successors of Udayin. According to Buddhist tradition, Anurudhha, Munda and Nagadarshaka were his successors.[9]

List of Rulers[edit]


Haryanka dynasty was ultimately overthrown out of power by their Amatya (minister), Shishunaga.[9]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 145, map XIV.1 (a). ISBN 0226742210.
  2. ^ Rao 2012, p. 92.
  3. ^ Raychaudhuri 1972, pp. 97
  4. ^ a b c d Upinder Singh 2016, p. 270.
  5. ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2015). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia. Princeton University Press. pp. 7–12. ISBN 978-1-4008-6632-8.
  6. ^ Upinder Singh 2016, pp. 270–271.
  7. ^ Raychaudhuri 1972, p. 105ff
  8. ^ a b Upinder Singh 2016, p. 271.
  9. ^ a b c Upinder Singh 2016, p. 273.


Preceded by Haryanka dynasty
middle of 6th century –425 BCE
Succeeded by