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For the Gupta king Chandragupta Vikramaditya, see Chandragupta II.
For other uses, see Vikramaditya (disambiguation).

Vikramaditya (IAST: Vikramāditya) was a legendary first-century BCE emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. According to the Bhavishya Purana, he was the second son of Ujjain's King Gandharvasena of the Paramara dynasty. Vikramaditya was born in 102 BCE and died on 15 CE.

Birth of Vikramaditya[edit]

According to the Bhavisya Purana, Gandharvasena, after ruling for 50 years, had his son Sankharaja made king. Gandharvasena went into the forest for meditation. His son died childless after ruling for 30 years, so Gandharvasena returned and ruled for another 20 years. In the year 101 BC his second son, Vikramaditya, was born.[citation needed]

The legend of Vikramaditya[edit]

The legendary Vikramaditya is a popular figure in both Sanskrit and regional languages in India. The two most famous tales, featuring him, in Sanskrit are Vetala Panchvimshati and Simhasana-Dwatrimshika ("The 32 (tales) of the throne"). These two are found in varying versions in Sanskrit and also in the regional languages.

A picture of vetala hanging by a tree and Vikram in the background.

Vetala Panchvimshati tell twenty-five stories in which the king tries to capture and hold on to a Vetala that tells a puzzling tale and ends it with a question for the king.

Simhasana-Dwatrimshika, the tale of the throne link to the lost throne of Vikramaditya which king Bhoja, the Tanwar king of Dhar, found after many centuries. Dhar become famous as well with a number of tales relating stories of how he attempted to sit on the throne.King Bhoja tries to ascend the throne of Vikramaditya. Thirty two female statues which adorn that throne challenge him to ascend the throne only if he has magnanimity equal to Vikramaditya as revealed by a tale she would narrate. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Bhoja to ascend the throne and in each case Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility.

Vikram Samvat calendar[edit]

Main article: Vikram Samvat

The Vikram Samvat or Bikram Samwat is the calendar said to have been founded by the emperor Vikramaditya[1] following his victory over the Sakas in 56 BCE, although it is popularly associated with the subsequent king Chandragupta Vikramaditya. It is a lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition and is currently the official calendar of Nepal.

In popular culture[edit]

Several various stories of this great king are popular. Most popular are Baital Pachisi and Dwatrimshati. Vikram Aur Betaal was a television programme directed by Ramanand Sagar that aired on Doordarshan was based on Baital Pachisi. Another Indian television series named Singhasan Battisi also aired on DD National in 1985 and a new series Betaal Aur Singhasan Battisi airs on SAB TV.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Encyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia by Edward Balfour, B. Quaritch 1885, p.502.