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Pauravas was an ancient Indian dynasty in the northwest Indian subcontinent (present-day India and Pakistan).


As the earlier 5th century BCE sources do not mention the Pauravas, the dynasty must not have been established by then. Hence, it was established in the 4th century BCE, which was around 40 years before their most prominent king, Porus's birth. According to a source, Porus ruled from 340 to 317 BCE.

Porus as Pauravas[edit]

Porus is considered "Paurava" due to the nearness of the name Porus to Paurava. However in Indian literature and history Porus is not mentioned anywhere, and the Pauravas referred to in Indian literature are a much older kingdom as per Purana and Mahabharata's writing.

The Persian kings Darius and Xerxes of the Achaemenid Empire claimed suzerainty of the Punjab region.[1] The Achaemenid Empire occupied land past the Indus River, thus would have governed lands claimed by Porus' Kingdom.

At the time of Alexander's invasion, the Pauravas were situated on or near the Jhelum River,[2] until the Chenab River. This was not only the extant of Porus' Kingdom, but was also the eastern limit of the Macedonian Empire.

Alexander defeated Porus at the Battle of the Hydaspes. Due to Porus' display in the battlefield, Alexander appointed him as a Macedonian satrap and additionally granted Porus with more land in the Indus. Alexander was initially set on venturing further into India, however the battle of Hydaspes against Porus curbed this aspiration. Alexander's army would mutiny when opposed to the Nanda Empire and their subordinate Gangaridai. According to the Greek historian Plutarch, the previous conflict against Porus' much smaller army dissuaded their advance.

As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants.

— Plutarch, Plutarch's Lives, Plutarch, Alexander, 62

Alexander would die on his way back from India.[2] The instability that ensued after Alexanders death resulted in a power struggle and dramatic changes in governance. Porus was soon assassinated by the Macedonia general Eudemus. By 316 BC, the Macedonian entity was conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, a young adventurer, who later conquered the Nanda Empire and founded the Indian Maurya Empire. After engaging and winning the Seleucid–Mauryan war for supremacy over the Indus Valley, Chandragupta gained controlled of modern-day Punjab and Afghanistan. This set the foundations of the Mauryan Empire, which would become the largest empire in the Indian subcontinent.[3]

Post-Mauryan Empire[edit]

Ancient Indian tribes between the Indus River and the Ganges River.

Following the disintegration of the Mauryan Empire, many regional entities emerged. The Taleshwar copper plates found in Almora, stated Brahmapura Kingdom rulers belonged to the royal lineage of Pauravas.[4] It is stated that these kings were brahminical in habitat and practices. It appears that the Pauravas were annexed by the militant Yaudheya Republic.[4]


Their most prominent king was Porus. He ruled from 340 BCE to 317 BCE, and the kingdom under him was full of prosperity, and flaunting riches. Some say that the empire declined after the death of Porus, but that theory does not garner support considering the fact that his son, Malayketu was still alive and ruled with an alliance with Chandragupta Maurya. Malayketu is said to have ruled till 299 BCE, after which he was succeeded by his son Bhadraketu.

No information on the Pauravas is present beyond that, hence it still remains unknown what happened to them in the 3rd century BCE. However, many state that may have been annexed by the Yaudheya Republic.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frank L. Holt (24 November 2003). Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions. University of California Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-520-23881-7.
  2. ^ a b Graham Phillips (31 March 2012). Alexander The Great. Ebury Publishing. pp. 129–131. ISBN 978-0-7535-3582-0.
  3. ^ Arthur A. MacDonell (28 March 2014). A History of Sanskrit Literature (Illustrated). p. 331. ISBN 978-1-304-98862-1.
  4. ^ a b Saklani, Dinesh Prasad (1998). Ancient Communities of the Himalaya. Indus Publishing. ISBN 9788173870903.