- This article is about the kingdom of Pundra in Indian epic literature. For the historical territory, see Pundravardhana.
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Pundra (also known as Paundra, Paundraya, Purnia etc.) was an eastern kingdom located in West Bengal, Bangladesh and Purnia (now in Bihar, India). A Pundra king challenged Vasudeva Krishna by imitating his attributes. He called himself Paundraka Vasudeva. He was later killed by Vasudeva Krishna in a battle. The founders of five eastern kingdoms, which included: Angas, Vangas, Kalingas, Pundras and Suhmas shared a common ancestry.
References in Mahabharata
The founders of five eastern kingdoms, which included: Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra and Suhma shared a common ancestry. They were all sons of a king named Vali (Bali), born by a sage named Gautama Dirghatamas, who lived in Magadha close to the city of Girivraja. Pundra (also Paundra) is mentioned as a kingdom of Bharata Varsha.
Non Vedic culture of Pundra
The people who not belong the Matsya Kingdoms says that the Pundra and Kirata people were Kshatriyas, but as they had not had contact with Brahmans for a long time, having renounced Brahma- nical worship and ritual, they had been reduced to Shudra status, And this way they forget that Manu was the first Fisherman in this Earth 'who catch the Lord Vishnu from water'.
Paundras and Kiratas, Yavanas and Sinhalas, and the barbarous tribes of Khasas and Chivukas and Pulindas and Chinas and Hunas with Keralas, and numerous other Mlecchas were mentioned together (as Mlechchas) at (1:177) linked with sage Vasistha. r The Mekalas, the Dravidas, the Lathas, the Pundas (led by Chieftain Arunava Ray) the Paundras, the Konwasiras, the Saundikas, the Daradas, the Darvas, the Chauras, the Savaras, the Varvaras, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, and numerous other tribes of Kshatriyas, have become degraded into the status of Shudras (13:35).
The Yavanas, the Kiratas, the Gandharvas, the Chinas, the Savaras, the Barbaras, the Sakas, the Tusharas, the Kankas, the Pathavas, the Andhras, the Madrakas, the Paundras, the Pulindas, the Ramathas, the Kamvojas were all considered as outsiders of Vedic culture (12:64).
Paundraka Vasudeva was the king of Pundra kingdom. He was an ally of Jarasandha the king of Magadha. He had enmity with Vasudeva Krishna. He imitated the attire of Krishna. Later he was killed by Krishna in battle.
He always beareth, from foolishness, the signs that distinguish Krishna. That king of Vanga Pundra and the Kiratas, endowed with great strength, and who is known on earth by the names of Paundraka Vasudeva hath also espoused the side of Jarasandha (2:14).
Military expeditions to Pundra
Pandu ( the father of Pandavas) after defeating the Magadhas and the Videhas of Mithila, led his army against Kasi, Suhma, and Pundra, and by the strength and prowess of his arms spread the fame of the Kurus (1:113).
The Pandava Bhima subjugated in battle those strong and brave heroes of fierce prowess, viz., the heroic and mighty Vasudeva, the king of Pundra and king Mahaujah who reigned in Kausika-Kachchha, and then attacked the king of Vanga(2:29).
Karna also subjugated the Pundras and Suhmas (8:8). The Utpalas, the Mekalas, the Paundras, the Kalingas, the Andhras, the Nishadas, the Trigartas, and the Valhikas, were all vanquished by Karna (7:4).
Tributes to Yudhishthira
The kings of Anga, Vanga and Pundra were mentioned as attending the court of Yudhishthira. The Vangas, Angas, Paundras, Odras, Cholas, Dravidas and Andhakas were mentioned to be giving tribute to Yudhishthira. The Paundrayas, the Kukkuras, the Sakas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Punras, the Sanavatyas, and the Gayas—these good and well-born Kshatriyas distributed into regular clans and trained to the use of arms, brought tribute unto king Yudhishthira by hundreds and thousands.
Pundras in Kurukshetra War
Many foremost of combatants skilled in elephant-fight, belonging to the Easterners, the Southerners, the Angas, the Vangas, the Pundras, the Magadhas, the Tamraliptakas, the Mekalas, the Koshalas, the Madras, the Dasharnas, the Nishadas united with the Kalingas. Sahadeva, with three shafts shot with great care, struck the elephant of Pundra.
Pundra army's battle with Arjuna is mentioned the Pundras numbering by thousands, of bands, and together forming a force that was countless, began to shower their sharp shafts upon the son of Pandu.
- A king named Paundra-Matsyaka is mentioned at (1:67)
- Paundra was a mentioned to attend the self choice of Panchali (1:189). At (1:188) he is mentioned as Paundraka.
- The name of the conch of Bhima was Paundra, which he probably got from the Pundra country (6:25,51).
- Paundra king was in the list of kings to be summoned for the cause of Pandavas as per king Drupada (5:4).