Huna people

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Main article: Hephthalites
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.
Billon drachm of the Hephthalite King Napki Malka (Afghanistan/ Gandhara, c. 475–576).
Obv: Napki Malka type bust, winged headdress with bull head in the center. Pahlavi legend "NAPKI MALKA".
Rev: Zoroastrian fire altar with attendants either side. Sun wheel, or possibly eight-spoked Buddhist Dharmacakra, above left.
Sardonyx seal representing Vishnu, with Shiva as the worshipper, Afghanistan or Pakistan, 4th to 6th centuries CE. The inscription in cursive Bactrian reads: "Mihira (Mihirakula?), Vishnu and Shiva". British Museum.

The Hunas or Alchon-group were Xionite 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] Although they were defeated, they were the main reason for the decline of the Gupta Empire


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

The Hunas initiated a coinage inspired from Sassanian designs.[4]

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

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.[5][6]


The Hunas were fervent worshippers of the Vedic Sun God and Shiva.[7]

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."[8]

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. ^ Source
  5. ^ Tho-gar yul dań yabana dań Kambodza dań Khasa dań Huna dań Darta dań...
  6. ^ Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang (1908), I.9, Sarat Chandra Das; Ancient Kamboja, 1971, p 66, H. W. Bailey.
  7. ^ History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume 3 By Boris Abramovich Litvinovskiĭ Page 173
  8. ^ "The White Huns - The Hephthalites". Silkroad Foundation. Retrieved 11 January 2013.