Mahapadma Nanda

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Mahapadma Nanda
King of Nanda dynasty
Reign c. 345 – c. 329 BCE
Predecessor Mahanandin
Successor Dhana Nanda
Born 400 BCE
Died 329 BCE
Issue Dhana Nanda
Dynasty Nanda
Father Mahanandin

Mahapadma Nanda (IAST: Mahāpadmānanda) (c. 400 – c. 329 BCE) was the first king of the Nanda dynasty. He was the son of Mahanandin, king of the Shishunaga dynasty and a Shudra mother. Sons of Mahanandin from his other wives opposed the rise of Mahapadma Nanda, on which he eliminated all of them to claim the throne.


The first Nanda bore the name of Mahapadma or Mahapadmapati (sovereign of an infinite host or of immense wealth) according to the Puranas, and Ugrasena according to the Mahabodhivamsa.[1] Puranas describe him as "the destroyer of all the Kshatriyas",[2]


The Puranas describe Mahapadma as a son of Mahanandin by a woman from the Shudra caste.[1][3][4] Jain works like Parishishtaparvan and Avashyaka sutra represent him as the son of a courtesan by a barber.[5][1] Curtius, a Roman historian, informs us that

his father was in fact a barber, scarcely staving off hunger by his daily earnings, but who, from his being not uncomely in person, had gained the affections of the queen, and was by her influence advanced to too near a place in the confidence of reigning monarch. Afterwards, however, he treacherously murdered his sovereign, and then, under the pretence of acting as guardian to the royal children, usurped the supreme authority, and having put the young princes to death begot the present king.[6]

— Curtius

Sons of Mahanandin from his other wives opposed the rise of Mahapadma Nanda, on which he eliminated all of them to claim the throne.[4][7]

The Indologist F. E. Pargiter dated Nanda's coronation to 382 BCE, and R. K. Mookerji dated it to 364 BCE.[8][page needed] However, H. C. Raychaudhuri places the event c. 345 BCE.[9]

According to Puranas Mahapadma had eight sons.[2] He defeated many kingdoms, including the Panchalas, Kasis, Haihayas, Kalingas,[a] Asmakas, Kurus, Maithilas, Surasenas and the Vitihotras; to name a few.[12]


  1. ^ Kalinga (India) formed part of the Nanda Empire but subsequently broke free until it was re-conquered by Ashoka Maurya, c. 260 BCE.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c Sastri 1988, p. 13.
  2. ^ a b Mookerji 1988, p. 8.
  3. ^ Mookerji 1988, p. 7-8.
  4. ^ a b Smith 1999, p. 39.
  5. ^ Mookerji 1988, p. 14.
  6. ^ Sastri 1988, p. 14.
  7. ^ Smith 2008, p. 37.
  8. ^ Sethna 2000.
  9. ^ Panda 2007, p. 28.
  10. ^ Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 204-209.
  11. ^ Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 270-271.
  12. ^ Sastri 1988, p. 17.


Mahapadma Nanda
Preceded by
(Shishunaga dynasty)
Nanda Emperor
Succeeded by
Dhana Nanda