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Tribes and nations in the ancient Epic Map of India; Khasas are described to have lived around Gandhara, Trigarta and Madra Kingdom

Khasas (Devanāgarī: खश; Khaśa) are a tribe mentioned in the ancient Indian and Tibetan literatures. They were native Bahliki speaking peoples who lived in the northern Indian subcontinent.

Names and variants[edit]

The original spelling for the name in Sanskrit literature is Khaśa (Sanskrit: खश) while variants of name also used are Khasa (खस), Khaṣa (खष) and Khaśīra (खशीर).[1]

Indian sources[edit]

Khasas is located in India
Rajapuri (Rajauri)
Rajapuri (Rajauri)
Rajapuri (Rajauri), capital of lord of the Khasas, in present-day India

The Mahabharata mentions the Khasas as one of the northern mleccha tribes. In the Karna Parva of Mahabharata, Khasas are mentioned living in the Panjab region between Āraṭṭa and Vasāti:

prasthalā Madra-Gandhāra Āraṭṭa nāmatah Khaśāh Vasāti Sindhu-sauvīrā[1]

The Bhagavata Purana describes them as a previously outcast group who redeemed themselves by adopting Vaishnavism. The Manusmriti describes them as the descendants of outcast Kshatriyas.[1] The 12th century text Rajatarangini describes the rulers of Rajapuri (modern Rajauri) as the "lord of the Khasas". The Khasa chiefs of Rajapuri freely intermarried with Kshatriya rulers of Kashmir and the Khasa chief of Lohara married daughter of Shahi Kings of Kabul. The Khasas (identified with Khasa Mallas) are also mentioned in several Indian inscriptions dated between 8th and 13th centuries CE.[1] Bharata Nātyaśāstra mentions that the mother tongue language of Khaśas was Bāhliki language in the phrase:

Bāhlikabhāśodhīchyanāṃ Khaśāṇāṃ ca svadeśajā[1]

The 954 AD Khajuraho Inscription of Dhaṇga states Khasa kingdom equivalent to Gauda of Bengal and Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. The Nalanda inscription of Devapala and Bhagalpur; copper plate of Narayanpala also mentions about Khasas. The three copper plates from Pandukeshavara explains the territories of Khasas.[1]

Tibetan sources[edit]

The Khasas are mentioned in the Tibetan chronicle Dpag-bsam-ljon-bzah (The Excellent Kalpa-Vrksa), along with people like the Yavanas, Kambojas, Tukharas, Hunas, Daradas etc.[2]


Aurel Stein identified the Khasas mentioned in the Rajatarangini with the modern Khakhas.[1]

Khasas are thought to be connected to the medieval Khasa Malla kingdom and the modern Khas people of Nepal.[3] The modern Khas people of Nepal have also been connected with the ancient Khasas, although their period of migration in Nepal remains ambiguous.[4] In Nepal the Khas people first settled around present day Humla and Jumla. The Khasa kings of Nepal formed the famous Malla Kingdom, which ruled Humla from the eleventh century before collapsing and splintering into local chiefdoms during the fourteenth century.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Laxman S. Thakur (1990). K. K. Kusuman, ed. The Khasas An Early Indian Tribe. A Panorama of Indian Culture: Professor A. Sreedhara Menon Felicitation Volume. Mittal Publications. pp. 285–293. ISBN 978-81-7099-214-1. 
  2. ^ Tho-gar yul dań yabana dań Kambodza dań Khasa dań Huna dań Darta dań...(See: Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang (1908), I.9, Sarat Chandra Das; Ancient Kamboja, 1971, p 66, H. W. Bailey.
  3. ^ Kumar Pradhan (1984). A History of Nepali Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 5. 
  4. ^ Witzel, Dr. Michael (1976). "On the History and the Present State of Vedic Tradition in Nepal". Vasudha. 15 (12): 17–24; 35–39. 
  5. ^ Kelly, Thomas L.; Dunham, V. Carroll (March 2001). Hidden Himalayas (PDF). New York: Abbeville Press. ISBN 9780789207227. 

Further reading[edit]