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Solar dynasty

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House of Ikshvaku
CountryKingdom of Kosala, Kingdom of Videha, Shakya Kingdom
Final rulerSumitra (historical claimant)[1]
Style(s)Raja of Kosala
Deposition362 BCE
Cadet branches

The Solar dynasty or Sūryavaṃśa (lit.'Descendants of the Sun'; Sanskrit: सूर्यवंश), also called the Ikshvaku dynasty is a legendary Indian dynasty said to have been founded by Ikshvaku. In Hindu literature, it ruled the Kosala Kingdom with their capital at Ayodhya and later at Shravasti. They prayed to their clan deity Surya (a Hindu solar deity), after whom the dynasty formed its namesake. Along with the Lunar dynasty, the Solar dynasty comprises one of the main lineages of the Kshatriya varna in Hinduism.[2]

According to the Jain literature, the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Rishabhanatha himself was King Ikshvaku. Further, 21 Tirthankaras of Jainism were born in this dynasty.[3][4]

According to Buddhist literature, Gautama Buddha, descended from the this dynasty.

The important personalities belonging to this royal house are Mandhatri, Muchukunda, Ambarisha, Bharata, Bahubali, Harishchandra, Dilīpa, Sagara,[5] Raghu, Rama, and Pasenadi. Both the Hindu Puranas and the Buddhist texts include Shuddodhana, Gautama Buddha, and Rahula in their accounts of the Ikshvaku dynasty but, according to the Buddhist texts, Mahasammata, an ancestor of Ikshvaku who was elected by the people as the first king of the present era, was the founder of this dynasty.[6]


Suryavamsha, or the Solar Dynasty, is one of the two major legendary Kshatriya dynasties found in Hindu Puranic and epic literature, the other being Chandravamsha or the Lunar dynasty. According to Harivamsa, Ikshvaku is considered the primogenitor of the dynasty of, and was granted the kingdom of Aryavarta by his father Vaivasvata Manu. Manu settled down in the Aryavarta region after he survived the great flood. A. K. Mozumdar states that Manu is the one who built a city on the Sarayu (being the river that his mother Sanjana was the goddess of) and called it Ayodhya meaning the 'invincible city'. This city served as the capital of many kings from the solar dynasty and is also believed to be the birthplace of Rama.[7]

Some Hindu texts suggest Rishi Marichi, one of the seven sages and first human creations of Brahma as the progenitor of the dynasty. Marichi's eldest son Kashyapa is said to have settled down in Kashmir (Kashyapa-Meru or Kashyameru). He also contributed to the verses of the Vedas. Later, Vivasvan, son of Kashyapa and Aditi, famously known as the Hindu god Surya married Saranyu who was the daughter of Vishvakarman, the architect of devas. He had many children but Manu was given the responsibility of building the civilization and as a result it formed a dynasty that was named 'Suryavamsha' or the solar dynasty. Manu is also the progenitor of the Lunar Dynasty because he married his daughter Ila to Budha, the son of Chandra or the moon god and the couple gave birth to the magnanimous King Pururavas who became the first king of the Chandravamsha, or the Lunar dynasty.[8]

Historical claimants[edit]

After the death of the powerful king Prasenjit and disappearance of his successor Viḍūḍabha after defeating the Shakyas, the kingdom of Kosala declined. King Sumitra, who regarded himself to be the last Suryavamsha ruler, was defeated by the powerful emperor Mahapadma Nanda of Magadha in 362 BCE. However, he wasn't killed, and fled to Rohtas, located in present-day Bihar.[9]

Bhagavata Purana[edit]

Ikshvaku and his ancestor Manu are also mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana (Canto 9, Chapter 1),


In Buddhism[edit]

The Buddhist text, Buddhavaṃsa and Mahāvaṃsa (II, 1–24) traces the origin of the Shakyas to king Okkaka (Pali equivalent to Sanskrit Ikshvaku) and gives their genealogy from Mahasammata, an ancestor of Okkaka. This list comprises the names of a number of prominent kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, namely, Mandhata and Sagara.[11] The genealogy according to the Mahavamsa is as follows:[12][13]

  1. Okkāka[14]
  2. Okkāmukha
  3. Sivisamjaya
  4. Sihassara
  5. Jayasena
  6. Sihahanu
  7. Suddhodana
  8. Gautama Buddha
  9. Rāhula

In Jainism[edit]

Medieval era Indian art depicting King Ikshvaku (Rishabhanatha) imparting the skill of pottery to his people.

Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara is identified with King Ikshvaku and the founder of the Ikshvaku dynasty. The earliest recorded reference to the Ikshvaku dynasty can be found in the Swayambhustotra, a Sanskrit epic poem composed by Acharya Samantabhadra, a Jain poet originally from Tamil Nadu. The Swayambhustotra praises the 24 Tirthankaras, including Rishabhanatha, and mentions the lineage of the Ikshvaku dynasty:

Rishabhanatha or Ikshvaku, the first of the kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, was the seeker of liberation, won over His senses to get established in the pure Self, independent, endured afflictions, and steadfast in His resolve. He relinquished the expanse of the faithful lady earth, clothed, as it were, up to the ocean, and embraced the noble asceticism.[15] The Ikshvaku dynasty has a significant place in Jainism, as twenty-two Tirthankaras were born in this dynasty.[16]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Debroy, Bibek (25 October 2017). The Valmiki Ramayana, Volume 3. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. ISBN 9789387326286.
  2. ^ Zimmer 1952, p. 218
  3. ^ Jain, Champat Rai (1929). "Riṣabha Deva, the Founder of Jainism".
  4. ^ Zimmer 1952, p. 220
  5. ^ Ikshaku tribe The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883 -1896), Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section CVI, p. 228 'There was born in the family of the Ikshaku, a ruler of the earth named Sagara, endued with beauty, and strength...".
  6. ^ Malalasekera, G. P. (2007) [1937]. Dictionary of Pāli Proper Names: A-Dh. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 461–2. ISBN 978-81-208-3021-9.
  7. ^ A.K.Mazumdar 2008, p. 161.
  8. ^ A.K.Mazumdar 2008, p. 159.
  9. ^ Debroy, Bibek (25 October 2017). The Valmiki Ramayana, Volume 3. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. ISBN 9789387326286.
  10. ^ "ŚB 9.1.2-3". vedabase.io. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  11. ^ Law, B.C. (1973). Tribes in Ancient India, Bhandarkar Oriental Series No.4, Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, p.246
  12. ^ Misra, V.S. (2007). Ancient Indian Dynasties, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-413-8, p.286
  13. ^ Geiger, Wilhelm (tr.) (1912). "Mahavamsa, Chapter II". Ceylon Government Information Dept., Colombo (in lakdvia.org website). Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Okkāka". Palikanon. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Svayambhūstotra (स्वयम्भूस्तोत्र)". 2015.
  16. ^ Jain 1991, p. 2.
  17. ^ Jain 1991, p. 5.
  18. ^ Shah 2004, p. 15.
  19. ^ Shah, Chandraprakash, Shri Shantinatha, 16th Tirthankara


Preceded by
Kulakara (in Jainism)
Ikshvaku Dynasty Succeeded by

External links[edit]