16 Mahajanapadas, Name, Map with Present and then Capital

The 16 Mahajanapadas were a group of ancient kingdoms or territories in what is now India and Nepal. They existed during the time of the Buddha, around the 6th century BCE. Some of the most prominent Mahajanapadas include the Kosala, Magadha, Avanti, Kuru, Panchala, and Vatsa. They were independent states that had their own rulers and were not under the control of any single power. Some of them later became the basis for the powerful empires of ancient India.

The names of the 16 Mahajanapadas

The names of the 16 Mahajanapadas that existed during the time of the Buddha, around the 6th century BCE. They were:

  1. Anga
  2. Magadha
  3. Kasi
  4. Kosala
  5. Vajji
  6. Malla
  7. Chedi
  8. Vatsa
  9. Kuru
  10. Panchala
  11. Matsya
  12. Surasena
  13. Asmaka or Assaka
  14. Avanti
  15. Gandhara
  16. Kamboja

These Mahajanapadas were independent states that had their own rulers and were not under the control of any single power. Some of them later became the basis for the powerful empires of ancient India.

16 mahajanapadas map

16 Mahajanapadas

Emergence of Mahajanapadas

The emergence of the 16 Mahajanapadas can be traced back to the Vedic period in ancient India. The Rigveda, one of the oldest texts of Indian civilization, mentions a number of small kingdoms or chiefdoms that were ruled by rajas or kings. These kingdoms were known as janapadas.

Advertisements

During the later Vedic period, some of these 16 janapadas grew in size and power and came to be known as Mahajanapadas. These states were characterized by the emergence of powerful monarchs, the growth of cities and urban centers, and the development of new forms of governance and administration.

It is believed that the emergence of the Mahajanapadas was a result of the decline of the tribal system and the rise of the state system in ancient India. This transition was also influenced by the growth of trade and commerce, the introduction of new technologies, and the emergence of new social and economic classes.

The emergence of the Mahajanapadas also marked the beginning of the emergence of the powerful empires of ancient India. The most notable among these were the Magadha and the Kosala empires, which were the predecessors of the famous Maurya and Gupta empires.

It’s important to note that the exact year of the emergence of Mahajanapadas is still debated among scholars, but it’s generally agreed that it was around 6th century BCE.

Details of 16 Mahajanapadas

1. Anga

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Champa

Modern Location : Munger and Bhagalpur

Details : Anga was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas, an ancient kingdom or territory in the Indian subcontinent. It was located in present-day eastern India, in the region of the Chota Nagpur Plateau and the Bengal delta. The capital of Anga was Champa, located in present-day Bihar.

The kingdom was known for its trade and commerce, and was said to be rich in agriculture, forests and minerals. The Anga Mahajanapada is mentioned in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and is said to have been founded by king Karna.

2. Magadha

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Girivraja/ Rajagriha

Modern Location : Gaya and Patna

Details : It was located in present-day Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh in India. Magadha was known for its powerful and expansive empire, and was considered one of the most powerful kingdoms of ancient India.

The kingdom was founded by king Brihadratha, it was ruled by the Haryanka, Shishunaga, Nanda and Maurya dynasties. The most famous king of Magadha was the Emperor Ashoka, who ruled in the 3rd century BCE and is known for his policies of non-violence and religious tolerance. Magadha was also known for its contributions to the development of Buddhism, as it was the birthplace of the religion’s founder, Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha.

3. Kasi/Kashi

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Kasi

Modern Location :Banaras

Details : Kasi (also known as Varanasi or Benares) is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, located on the banks of the Ganges river. It is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and is a major religious center for Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists.

Kasi is known for its many temples and ghats (staircases leading down to the river) where devotees come to perform rituals and take a dip in the holy river. It is also known for its silk fabrics, ivory works, and perfumes. The city is also an important center for education and culture, with many universities and research centers.

4. Kosala

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Shravasti (northern), Kushavati (southern)

Modern Location: Eastern Uttar Pradesh

Details Kosala was an ancient Indian kingdom that existed in the 6th century BCE. It was located in the region that is now the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and parts of Nepal. The kingdom was ruled by the Kosala dynasty and its capital was at the city of Ayodhya. The most famous king of Kosala was King Rama, who is an important figure in Hindu mythology and the hero of the epic poem Ramayana.

5. Vajji

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Vaishali

Modern Location: Bihar

Details Vajji was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas, which were the major political entities in ancient India during the time of the Buddha (6th century BCE). The sixteen Mahajanapadas were: Anga, Magadha, Vajji, Malla, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Panchala, Matsya, Surasena, Assaka, Avanti, Gandhara, Kamboja, and Licchavi.

These were the powerful kingdoms that controlled large regions and had a significant political and economic influence during that time. Vajji was considered one of the most powerful among these sixteen, as it was a confederation of many small tribes and it had a strong army.

6. Malla

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Kusinara

Modern Location: Deoria and Uttar Pradesh

Details Malla was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas, which were the major political entities in ancient India during the time of the Buddha (6th century BCE). Malla was located in the region that is now the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and is known to be one of the most powerful Mahajanapadas.

The capital of the Malla kingdom was at Kusinara and it was ruled by a king. The Mallas had a reputation of being fierce warriors and they are known to have fought against other Mahajanapadas like the Kosala and the Vriji. The Malla kingdom was also a center of trade and commerce, and it was an important center of religious and cultural activities.

7. Chedi

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Sothivati

Modern Location: Bundelkhand region

Details Chedi was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas, which were the major political entities in ancient India during the time of the Buddha (6th century BCE). The Chedi Kingdom was located in the region that is now the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and it had its capital at Suktimati.

Chedi was known to be a powerful kingdom and it had a strong army. The Chedi kingdom was also known for its skill in metalworking and it was an important center of trade and commerce. The king of the Chedi, named Uparichara, was a powerful and influential ruler who is said to have conquered many other kingdoms and expanded his territory during his reign.

8. Vatsa

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Kausambi

Modern Location : Allahabad

Details Vatsa was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas, which were the major political entities in ancient India during the time of the Buddha (6th century BCE). The Vatsa kingdom was located in the region that is now the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and it had its capital at Kausambi.

The Kingdom was known to be a powerful kingdom and it had a strong army. The Vatsa kingdom was also known for its skill in metalworking and it was an important center of trade and commerce. The king of the Vatsa, named Udayana, was a powerful and influential ruler who is said to have conquered many other kingdoms and expanded his territory during his reign. He was also known for his patronage of arts, sciences and culture during his rule.

9. Kuru

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Indraprastha

Modern Location : Meerut and Southeastern Haryana

Details The Kuru Kingdom was located in the region that is now the Indian state of Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, and it had its capital at Hastinapur. The Kuru Kingdom was known to be a powerful kingdom and it had a strong army.

The kingdom was also known for its skill in metalworking and it was an important center of trade and commerce. The Kuru kingdom was also known as the Kuru dynasty and it was one of the most powerful and influential kingdoms of ancient India. The Kuru dynasty is also known for its association with the epic Mahabharata and its famous kings like Yudhishthira, Dhritarashtra, and Bhishma.

10. Panchala

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Ahichchatra and Kampilya

Modern Location : Western Uttar Pradesh

Details The Panchala kingdom was located in the region that is now the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and parts of Haryana, and it had its capital at Ahichchhatra.

Panchala was known to be a powerful kingdom and it had a strong army. The Panchala kingdom was also known for its skill in metalworking and it was an important center of trade and commerce. Panchala was considered a center of culture and learning. The Panchala kingdom is also known for its association with the epic Mahabharata and its famous kings like Drupada and Yajnasena.

11. Matsya

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Viratanagara

Modern Location : Jaipur

Details :The Matsya kingdom was located in the region that is now the Indian state of Rajasthan and parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Its capital was at Viratanagari, which was located on the banks of the Chambal River.

The kingdom was ruled by a king and it was known for its wealth and prosperity. It was known for its skill in metalworking and it was an important center of trade and commerce. Matsya was also known for its patronages of arts, sciences, and culture. The king of Matsya, named Virata, is also known for his association with the epic Mahabharata.

12. Surasena

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Mathura

Modern Location : Western Uttar Pradesh

Details Surasena was a kingdom in ancient India, located in the Mathura region of present-day Uttar Pradesh. It was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms) of ancient India, and was known for its powerful warriors and skilled horsemen.

The capital of Surasena was Mathura, which was also an important religious center for Buddhism and Jainism. The kingdom was ruled by the Yadava dynasty, and was conquered by the Kuru king, Jarasandha, in the Mahabharata epic.

13. Asmaka or Assaka

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Potali/Podana

Modern Location : Banks of Godavari

Details Asmaka or Assaka was a kingdom in ancient India, located in the present-day state of Maharashtra. It was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms) of ancient India. The kingdom was located in the region of the Godavari river, and its capital was Potali or Potana.

The kingdom is mentioned in the ancient Indian texts of the Mahabharata and the Puranas. The Asmakas are also mentioned in the Buddhist text, the Anguttara Nikaya, as one of the tribes that the Buddha visited during his travels. The kingdom was ruled by the Assaka janapada and was part of the southern power block in ancient India. It was conquered by the Satavahanas later on.

14. Avanti

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Ujjaini or Mahismati

Modern Location : Malwa and Madhya Pradesh

Details : Avanti was an ancient Indian kingdom, located in present-day central India. The capital of Avanti was Ujjain, which was also an important religious center for Buddhism and Jainism.

The kingdom was ruled by the Avanti dynasty and was known for its trade and commerce. The kingdom was located in the region of the Vindhya mountain range and was an important center of Buddhism and Jainism. The Avanti king Pradyota was a contemporary of the Buddha and was known to have patronized the Buddhist Sangha.

15. Gandhara

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Taxila

Modern Location : Malwa and Rawalpindi

Details : Gandhara was an ancient kingdom located in present-day northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. It was known for its rich culture, advanced civilization and was an important center of Buddhism and Gandharan art.

The capital of Gandhara was probably Pushkalavati (present-day Charsadda, Pakistan) and Taxila (present-day Pakistan). Gandhara was part of the ancient Silk Road, a trade route connecting China to the Mediterranean, making it an important center for trade and commerce.

Gandharan art, especially Gandharan Buddhism, was a unique blend of Greek, Roman, Indian and Persian art and architecture. This art form had a major influence on the development of Buddhist art in East Asia. Gandhara was conquered by Alexander the Great in 327 BCE and later became a province of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BCE.

16. Kamboja

Capital of the Mahajanapadas : Poonch

Modern Location : Rajouri and Hajra (Kashmir), NWFP (Pakistan)

Details : Kamboja was an ancient kingdom located in the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent, present-day northeastern Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of northwest India.

It was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms) of ancient India. The Kambojas were known to be a warrior tribe, and they were also involved in trade and commerce. They are mentioned in ancient Indian texts such as the Vedas, the Mahabharata and the Puranas.

The kingdom was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE and later by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE. Kambojas are also known to have had diplomatic relations with the ancient Chinese Han dynasty. Kamboja was an important center of Buddhism, and it is believed that the kingdom was visited by the Buddha during his travels.

Sociology Optional

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “16 Mahajanapadas, Name, Map with Present and then Capital”

  1. Pingback: Shruti Sharma IAS (AIR-1) Marksheet, Biography & More - UPSC

  2. Pingback: A Comprehensive Guide To Understanding The Warsaw Pact

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More

Scroll to Top