Huna people

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The "Hephthalite bowl", NFP Pakistan, 5th or 6th century CE. British Museum.[1]
Huna coin of King Lakhana of Udyana, legend "RAJA LAKHANA (UDAYA) DITYA ".
Huna king Napki Malka.

The Hunas, Hala-Huna, Hara-Huna, Alchon, Alxon, or Walxon were a group of Xionite and/or Hephthalite tribes who, via the Khyber Pass, entered India at the end of the 5th or early 6th century and were defeated by the Indian Gupta Empire and the Indian king Yasodharman.[2] In its farthest geographical extent in India, the Huna empire covered the region up to Malwa in central India.[3]

Their repeated invasions and war losses were the main reason for the decline of the Gupta Empire.[4]

Asia in 500 AD, showing the Huna domain at its greatest extent.


Chinese sources link the Central Asian tribes comprising the Hunas to both the Xiongnu of north east Asia and the Huns who later invaded and settled in Europe.[5] Similarly, Gerald Larson suggests that the Hunas were a Turkic-Mongolian from Central Asia.[4] The works of Ptolemy (2nd century) are among the first European texts to mention the Huns, followed by the texts by Marcellinus and Priscus. They too suggest that the Huns were an inner Asian people.[6]

According to Litvinsky, the initial Huna or Alxon raids on Gandhara took place in the late 5th and early 6th century AD, upon the death of the Gupta ruler, Skandagupta (455–470), presumably led by the Tegin Khingila. M. Chakravary, based on Chinese and Persian histories believes that the Hunas conquered Gandhara from the Ki-to-lo (Kidarites) in c. 475 AD. Gandhara had been occupied by various Kidarite principalities from the early 4th century AD, but it is still a subject of debate as to whether rule was transferred from the Kidarites directly to the Hephthalites. It is known that the Huns invaded Gandhara and the Punjab from the Kabul valley after vanquishing the Kidarite principalities.

Victory pillar of Yashodharman at Sondani, Mandsaur claiming victory over the Huns.

The Hunas are mentioned in the Tibetan chronicle Dpag-bsam-ljon-bzah (The Excellent Kalpa-Vrksa), along people like the Yavanas, Kambojas, Tukharas, Khaqsas, Daradas etc.[7][8]

The Hunas minted coins inspired bySassanian designs.[9]


The religious beliefs of the Hunas is unknown, and believed to be a combination of ancestor worship, totemism and animism.[10]

Sung Yun and Hui Sheng, who visited the chief of the Hephthalite nomads at his summer residence in Badakshan and later in Gandhara, observed that they had no belief in the Buddhist law and served a large number of divinities."[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iaroslav Lebedynsky, "Les Nomades", p172.
  2. ^ India: A History by John Keay p.158
  3. ^ Kurbanov, Aydogdy (2010). "The Hephthalites: Archaeological and Historical Analysis" (PDF). p. 24. Retrieved 17 January 2013. The Hūnas controlled an area that extended from Malwa in central India to Kashmir. 
  4. ^ a b Gerald James Larson (1995). India's Agony Over Religion. State University of New York Press. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-1-4384-1014-2. 
  5. ^ Hyun Jin Kim, The Huns, Abingdon, Routledge, passim.
  6. ^ Joseph Kitagawa (2013). The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture. Routledge. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-136-87597-7. 
  7. ^ Tho-gar yul dań yabana dań Kambodza dań Khasa dań Huna dań Darta dań...
  8. ^ Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang (1908), I.9, Sarat Chandra Das; Ancient Kamboja, 1971, p 66, H. W. Bailey.
  9. ^ Source
  10. ^ Mircea Eliade; Charles J. Adams (1987). The Encyclopedia of religion. Macmillan. pp. 530–532. ISBN 978-0-02-909750-2. 
  11. ^ "The White Huns - The Hephthalites". Silkroad Foundation. Retrieved 11 January 2013.